Emil Franzi: Southern Arizona political history, Part 1 – Rosemont Mine

By Emil Franzi

I guess I missed it. That giant center-right conference held in Phoenix with everybody from neocons to paleolibs that decreed that we should all move to the top of the pile above every other issue support for the Rosemont Mine.

The knee jerk reaction of almost all business groups supported by the GOP at all levels was to slobber over what was clearly a total scam, obvious to anybody who did the minimum of due diligence. Mines good – enviros bad was as far as their non-analysis got.

I called our family financial advisor early on with a simple question not identifying the politics involved: would you advise investment in this company? A couple days later he called back and said “run, don’t walk away from this one.” The big clue – the principals cashed in their annual stock options annually. I will leave him anonymous for now, but a guy who drives a Hummer is not exactly running with the tree huggers.

Here’s how their scam worked. Periodic and totally fraudulent announcements that they were about to break ground on the mine just to pimp their stock a few points with sales to the gullible before they dumped it again. Annual event – a handful of sleazy hustlers made literally millions.

Another problem caused by their success was to run a flag over this valley that literally invited every other sleazebag hustler to come where the pickings are easy.

The main problem was and is the lack of imagination shown by our weak-kneed so-called “business establishment”. There basically isn’t one. All these clowns could do was reject the thought of being on the same side as green people on anything, which is stupid on its face. That those greenies, who are hardly the political equivalent of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard, regularly kick their ass is obvious by checking the Tucson City Council currently inhabited by great leaders like Councilwoman Regina Romero, a woman so dumb that you wonder if someone has to chew her food.

The political bankruptcy of many so-called business leaders is exemplified by the half-assed solutions to problems many have endorsed. Example – Let’s get more state tax revenue by getting everybody into an incorporated town or city. This is Supervisor Ally Miller’s real plan to fix our roads and is as useless an idea as she is a public official.

First, it’s chump change that would be dwarfed by the taxes needed to fund new towns and annexations. The real problem for this really bad idea is that 36% of those in this county lives in an unincorporated area. We do that because we like it that way.

Let me make it simple enough that even the Greater Tucson Chamber of Commerce can grasp it. Call me when those in Tucson Country Club Estates start passing annexation petitions to be part of the City.

Locally the Rosemont issue trumped all others, best example being the attitude shown GOP Supervisor Ray Carroll who saw the Rosemont scam early on when they packed a public hearing by promising almost instant jobs to a bunch of unemployed workers. Full disclosure – Ray is a dear friend and I have worked all of his campaigns since 1996 which gave me the delightful pleasure of stomping the asses of the jerks who came after him.

I once asked a local GOP business type who purported to have conservative beliefs why he opposed a guy who was pro-life, pro-gun and low tax. He mumbled something about Rosemont. He must have been at the big meeting I missed.

Note that part of their scam was to buy up several thousand acres in the surrounding Sonoita area after the threat of the mine lowered their value and cut a deal with the Donaldson family’s ranching outfit to populate it with enough cattle to secure them the agricultural tax exemption. Glad Donaldson is doing well, but it’s a hint as to their real motivation.

The small group of hustlers in charge of Rosemont (an outfit that never mined anything in its long history) retired by selling out to the Canadian firm of Hudbay who have been much more low key that their predecessors, perhaps because they actually mine stuff.

We are also told that those inside Hudbay are wondering why they bought into this turkey in the first place now that they have discovered the massive opposition the project has caused with folks who can afford enough lawyers to keep them in court for years even if they get all the permits required from multiple government agencies at several levels.

That Pima County CEO Chuck Huckelberry is on the same page as Carroll also has not endeared him with the slow-witted who drank all that Rosemont Koolaid along the way.

I’ve stated it before. As a citizen of this valley, I consider myself reasonably well governed by folks like Carroll and Huckelberry. The options presented are far more horrifying.


Emil Franzi is the Editor-in-Chief/Publisher of the Southern Arizona News-Examiner.



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