Political notebook: Local tea party leaders pass on advocacy torch

2012-02-12T00:00:00Z Political notebook: Local tea party leaders pass on advocacy torchRhonda Bodfield Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 12, 2012 12:00 am  • 

The public face of the Tucson Tea Party is changing, with co-founders Trent and Jennifer Humphries stepping down.

After three years of running the organization, Trent Humphries said, "Jennifer and I are tired. It's a lot of work."

Humphries said that while he was good at putting on large events, that part of the movement has run its course.

"Our goal was always to build an activist community in Tucson," he said, adding he thinks they've been successful. "If you look around, the conservatives have more than a couple dozen campaigns running simultaneously. They never had the ability to do that three years ago."

Jennifer is moving on to work for Republican candidate Dave Sitton's congressional campaign in CD8. Trent will go back to IT work.

The new leader, Ralph Kayser, is better at the stuff of mounting campaigns, Humphries said, which will be key this year.

Pima County Democratic chairman Jeff Rogers weighed in on the news: "The Tea Party has been shown to be nothing more than a concentration of some of the most extreme right-wing elements of the Republican Party. It was never anything more than that, and it's fitting that, now exposed, it is coming to an end."

There you go, Ralph. Welcome to the rodeo.

a Non-announcement announcement

You can't wave a bumper sticker without hitting a candidate running for Congress - to the point some are feeling compelled to make announcements they actually aren't running for a thing.

Republican Ruth McClung, a political neophyte who gave U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva a spirited race in a heavily Democratic district in 2010, ended any speculation that she might take another run at Congress. The fact we're still waiting on the feds to sign off on new congressional lines makes it too difficult to make an educated decision about where to run, she said.

And the Republican chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission, Gary Pierce, is likewise staying put, despite being urged to run for Congress.

Oh good. Three down. That leaves, oh, 678 or so.

Anger management

County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry says he's mad as hell and he's not going to take it any more.

The target of the Chuckster's "Network" moment: state Rep. Terri Proud comparing him to a dictator and throwing around words like "corruption" in recent media accounts of why she wants to give small cities like Marana, Sahuarita and Oro Valley leverage to demand more goodies in future county bond packages.

Huckelberry said he was so torqued that he fired off a strongly-worded missive.

How torqued? His declaration of personal angst is titled: "Pima County Bonds: Real, Tangible and Measurable Public Benefits."

That's as good as it gets. The rest is essentially a long fact sheet.

For starters, Chuck, we're talking about the Legislature. Since when did facts matter?

But more to the point, Peter Finch got an Oscar for venting his outrage. If Huckelberry doesn't step it up a notch, he could be up for a Razzie.

Name just One good thing

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild has been trying to convince people the city isn't so bad after all, saying it's time to change the discussion.

He even tried it this week with Keith van Heyningen, an acerbic conservative activist who comes to the weekly City Council meetings to rail about the city's latest or perceived misdeeds and ineptitude.

Rothschild asked van Heyningen if he could start the weekly diatribe by saying just one nice thing about the city.

Van Heyningen mulled for a moment, then said he was happy Dickman's Deli is back.

The long-standing deli on the east side almost had to close its doors, when the owner lost her lease and faced $180,000 in renovation costs to meet federal and local regulations.

After working with the city and getting a new estimate, it all worked out. The deli is operating at its new location. Gotta love happy endings, especially when they come with pastrami.

Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield at rbodfield@azstarnet.com or 573-4243.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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