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Popeyes is a gas

The New Popeyes on Campbell was built on the site of a gas station. The station stood fallow for at least 10 years. That’s because some gasoline tanks at some gasoline stations built a few decades ago leaked. Hence the need for remediation, which sellers were loathe to do. Buyers weren’t thrilled at the prospect, either. Wonder how much it cost to clean up the Popeyes site? Do not hold your breath, waiting to find out from your local newspaper or TV station.

And besides which, who gives a flying Trump?

Stifling rumors

We are here to stifle rumors. The following rumors are untrue:

The Arizona Daily Star plans an in-depth series on the future of water use in the Tucson basin, including CAP and water pumping projections, the relationships between Tucson Water, Metro Water and Oro Valley’s water utility. This series will place in context how the city of Tucson abandoned its mandate to be control basin’s water supply. The mandate was part of a massive (at the time) bond issue that authorized the city to acquire water rights in the Avra Valley . The series will include an analysis of heavy water users such as the Sahaurita pecan farms and mining on the east slope of the Santa Ritas as well as a brief history of the water wars from 1977 and the recharge farce led by Bob Beaudry.

The Star also plans detailed coverage on the city of Tucson’s inability to get anything done. This includes traffic managements problems traffic pothole city streets, and why Mayor Jonathan Rothchild and his city council are ineffective. This will also include structural problems of city government as dictated by the city charter.

The Star also plans a close analysis of Pima County costs, comparing various departments to those in Maricopa County. This will include comparisons in personnel pay rates, debt, debt financing and other major expenditures.

The primary focus of the Pima County v Maricopa County analysis will answer the question why roads in the Valley of the Sun are enormously superior to those in the Old Pueblo. This will consider factors such as greater temperatures in Phoenix as well as greater highway use.

Now that Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller won reelection, the Star will report how she proposes to fulfill her promise to fix Tucson’s streets. It will do this even though she refuses to speak to the Star.

The Star will produce a series of articles demonstrating how charter schools have devastated public education. It will also show how the “owners” of charter schools have spent public money without being held accountable.

The Star will resume detailed border coverage, which at one time decades ago was excellent and has of late become nonexistent.

The Star will report the extent of silver mining in the Patagonia Mountains that threatens as much as 17,000 acres.

The Star will describe in detail the Legislature’s refusal finance higher education despite its obvious benefits. It will show what level of support would be required if the Legislature financed 100 percent of the cost of operating the state’s three universities.

The Star will begin a multi-series analysis of how legislative districts are being drawn by the independent commission and include how the Republican dominance affects Southern Arizona.

The Star will commence to publish locally written editorials on topics of concern to the community, thereby demonstrating some modicum of leadership and point of view.

A little correction music, if you please

In an editorial piece this a.m., the Star published an editorial from this day in 1941 by then editor and publisher William R. Mathews, who predicted the Pearl Harbor attack two weeks before it happened.


In its introduction, today’s Star said Mathews bought the paper in 1924. In fact, he bought it in partnership with Ralph Ellinwood.

Ellinwood’s father E.E. Ellinwood loaned Mathews most of the money for him to leave the Santa Barbara Press.

Mathews’ responsibility was to manage the Star’s business. He had been successful at the Press. Ralph Ellinwood

was a liberal who wanted a newspaper in the worst way. His father was willing to give him one but not without

a smart businessman’s partner. They bought the Star from Phelps Dodge, which had made the paper a shill for the copper

business. EE Ellinwood was attorney for the company.

Sadly, Ralph Ellinwood died in 1930. Mathews then declared himself editor and publisher. He wrote editorials,

at least one a day. They were often prescient like the prediction of Pearl Harbor.

Sometimes they light heartedly supported the barber shops $15-cent increase for a haircut.

Mathews’ collection at the UA library contains correspondence between Mathews and Secretary Cordell Hull as well

as many other notable international figures. He was present on the USS Missouri with MacArthur when the Japanese signed the unconditional  surrender/

Here is a piece from four years ago that appeared on this blog. The Star tends to look back on its editorials these days because it doesn’t

hardly ever write any of its own because it is afraid  taking a stance would irritate its ever-disappearing readers, a position Mathews would have found

abhorrent, irresponsible and cowardly:

William R. Mathews, the Star’s curmudgeon editor and gifted editorial writer

November 22, 2012 by admin 3 Comments (Edit)


The Arizona Daily Star today (Nov. 22) ran an editorial (read it here) that first was published on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 23) 1961. The newspaper did not say who the writer was, but I think I recognize the direct clarity of style and thought as being that of William R. Mathews.

Mathews was a professional curmudgeon, otherwise engaged as editor and publisher of The Arizona Daily Star from 1930 until his death in 1969. It was said one could not get elected dog catcher without Mathews’ approval.

It might have been true. He played politics full time, locally, statewide and on a national basis. He seemed to have a direct pipeline to the State Department. He predicted the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor two weeks before it happened. He was aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo harbor when the Japanese surrendered.

He was a gifted writer as the editorial shows. It surprises me that he was so good. He also was incredibly productive; his editorials appeared everyday even when he traveled so extensively. I imagine he never dreamed he would write editorials for a living.

Mathews fought in the Great War, and was a hero, capturing Germans and winning the Croix de Guerre. He was the business manager of a Santa Barbara newspaper when fate beckoned, and he accepted a position at the Star for 2 percent ownership. In return for the small interest in the paper, Mathews was to watch over the paper’s business affairs, a sort of ballast to Ralph Ellinwood who was editor by virtue of the fact his father bought the paper for him. His father, E. E. Ellinwood, was an attorney for Phelps Dodge.

Ralph Ellinwood was by all accounts a good editor. He was a graduate of Columbia’s School of Journalism and had worked for the Sacramento Union. He, too, had fought in World War I and spent time in a German prison camp. Ellinwood died young in 1930 after only a few years in charge of the Star. Ownership fell to Ellinwood’s widow, Clare, and Mathews. He ran the editorial operations. Mrs. Ellinwood played a part in management.

There’s very little to commemorate Mathews’ contribution to the city. There’s a small plaque with his bust in relief outside the entrance to the UA School of Medicine. He was the driving force behind the UA medical school, having campaigned personally and in print to bring it here.

Mathews carried out Ralph Ellinwood’s desire to establish the liberal tone to the Star’s editorials. Thus he is among the first to blame for the Star’s alleged reputation as The Red Star.


Deja vu all over again

The French have their own Trump. She is Marine Le Pen, the head of the right-wing National Front party. She’s pleased as punch with Trump’s victory. The New York Times quoted her as saying:

“It’s the emergence of a new world. “It’s the end of the 20th century.”

Actually, it seems more like the 20th century all over again, beginning with January 30, 1933. In Berlin. A couple months before the Reichstag fire. Five years before Kristollnacht.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana

Trump’s inner circle not big enough…

It’s amazing that the national press reported that Trump fired Jersey Gov. Chris Christie from his transition team, but never said why. They dutifully reported that Christie was implicated, but never charged, in the Bridgegate affair. But nothing else. The NY Times came closest:

Two people familiar with the reorganization discussion said Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, had wanted to marginalize Mr. Christie, who had come to recognize that he was not in the running to serve as a top adviser in Mr. Trump’s White House. It was unclear whether concerns about his ability to be confirmed might prevent him from being offered a cabinet post.

 Doubtful that Christie’s confirmation prospects had anything to do with it. Kushner has every reason to want to “marginalized” Christie. In April, Politico reported that Christie put Jared Kushner’s father in jail. Jared Kushner is now part of Trump’s inner circle, which isn’t big enough the NJ guv and the son-in-law. It’s a safe bet that Jared Kushner loathes Christie.

The Star’s presidential nonendorsement

It is said that newspaper’s editorial page is its conscience.

The Star, you may have noticed, had naught to say about the presidential election, before or after. I would suppose this means the Star has no conscience. Its reluctance to support or oppose either candidate reflects the Star’s fear that taking a position would drive readers away.

The Star, like all newspapers, is the only business that enjoys a place in the First Amendment. It is said that as such the Star has a responsibility to a free press.

On the contrary: The First Amendment means the Star is free to be a cowering, chicken-shit enterprise whose only interest is profit.


In one of the opening scenes of the 1940 Hitchcock movie Foreign Correspondent, a New York newspaper publisher is scanning his newspaper for war news. There are stories relating to the war, but he mutters, “No news.” He calls his editor and asks who is the best cop reporter. He sends that reporter — Joel McCrea — to Europe.

I thought of that publisher last night as I watched the broadcast of NBC News the day after possibly the most important presidential election of the century, perhaps in history.

There wasn’t a lick of news. There were excerpts from Trump’s speech, from Clinton’s speech, from Obama. There was a piece on what a surprise. There was a report of unhappy voters. There was a segment on the new first family (humdinger there). And there was the obligatory segment on how we make nice in presidential transition, Trump’s spite and contempt notwithstanding.

There was nothing explaining how the frigging American press got it wrong, why the polls were wrong about Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan or why it was constantly reported that Trump had no clear path to 270 votes.

There was nothing about how much was spent on the polls, how they were conducted, not a breath of how years ago Arrianna Huffington poked holes in how polls were taken.

In 1990, Nicaragua held a presidential election. National polls reported Daniel Ortega, hero of the Sandinista war, would win in a landslide. He lost in a landslide. Violeta Chamorro, his nemesis and ideological opponent served as president for seven years. Poll respondents lied.

And it seems possible that poll respondents in the 2016 U.S. election also lied.

In its extended coverage of the election aftermath Wednesday, NPR spent most of its time chatting about what Trump said he would do if he were elected and whether he would actually do it. Now there’s a noose service for you, worse than an empty suit, a vacuous exercise in shit think.

It might be news if someone reported what it would take to restore manufacturing jobs in the United States. That is to say how Trump would accomplish his goal. It might be news if some alleged news outlet discussed what would happen if the North American Free Trade Agreement were declared null and void. Much of that information is available at your one-stop Libertarian stronghold, the Cato Institute, which for decades now has argued that all barriers to foreign workers should be dropped and worldwide labor should be allowed to flow freely.

Chump/Trump has been allowed to shovel horse pucky for 18 months without serious, thoughtful challenge. Someone has to point out to those legions of deluded rural red-state voters that what they want is impossible, that time travel exists only in Hollywood imagination, and the Happy Days of the 1950s will never return.

It seems that the same may be true of serious news reporting. There are so few news organizations that practice it that it can be labeled an endangered endeavor. The press is the only business sanctified by the First Amendment. It used to be considered a sacred responsibility. But no more. It has been lost, floating in the ether of dwindling corporate profits, corporate governance and other financial evil. It is, I fear, about to join the Dodo bird.


November roses

pb040007I am always surprised by roses in November. After they have gone through the punishment of June, they bounce back with the desert fall, lovely as spring.pb040008


Not to be missed

This column by David Fitzsimmons: Clickith aqui

I should add — as I have been a critic — that today’s edition of the Arizona Daily Star was interesting and well-edited.