This is one dumb city. People watch politicians' serious slow motion gaze as they cryptically state, "I'm 'so-and-so' and I approved this message". They drive past billboards with big, colorful names of politicians that they are expected to remember when it's magic marker time. They'll watch the same hackneyed media figures force intrigue into every candidate line-up with flimsy interpretations of candidate motives. So the public allows themselves to be inundated with these political messages without question or analysis. Given all the effort placed on convincing the public that politicians and pundits understand the prevailing public opinion, you would think the public would have at least a passing interest in the integrity of their electoral process. Unfortunately, it's more important to create the illusion that public opinion is being influenced than than to actually change public opinion. People seem content buying into the biggest lie in Pima County: that we can rely on our current elections division to provide a result that will truly reflect what the people actually wanted.
Here is a laughable encounter with those in Tucson who benefit from perpetuating this myth:
In the mid 90's, Downtown Saturday Nights used to be an open market with anybody involved being able to sell their wares or exchange ideas. Not so with Second Saturdays. These days, the wealth of the city tends to create merchant driven events on public property placing restrictions that should legally hold water only on private property. The rationale is that moneyed interests flipping the bill for advertising, security, and any other public service soak-fests get to commandeer the public sidewalks and streets for an evening of benign, Disneyesque interaction. It seems that anybody who doesn't play ball or have brick and mortar must answer to the Izod police.
Dave Ewoldt, my favorite candidate for state Senator, District 28, is opening up headquarters for his AZ Senate campaign and is presenting my film, "Sweet Remedy" as part of the line-up to attract like-minded folks to the location. They thought that "Maybe we could have a booth at this upcoming Second Saturdays!" "Great!" I said. "I can be Mister Merchant Guy!" I can use my business as an excuse to pass these flyers out on behalf of a politician I believe in. My work, however, makes me suspicious to "the man". I actually had to provide a film clip just to be judged acceptable to this merchant circus. It all began with my question over the confusing statement in the "Second Saturdays" website that says there shall be 'no proselytizing'. What? Every merchant selling their wares does precisely that. What do they mean, 'no proselytizing'?
Out of fairness, here is the coordinating spokeswoman's reply to my question, "What do you mean 'no proselytizing?'", which must have been summoned from deep within their nonprofit charter:
This is an event coordinated by downtown merchants to promote the independent artistic & creative sector in Tucson & local businesses downtown. It is also a family friendly event and proselytizing isn't welcome of any nature, be it someone aggressively pushing their salsa for sale or ideology. Any vendor wanting to have a booth space, whether it is an organization or a sole proprietor must sell handcrafted, locally made wares/merchandise or artwork to participate.
I'm an independent filmmaker with movies that were shot all across the country and edited in Tucson so I explained how this fits the bill with their description. The newest movie in my inventory is 'Fatally Flawed', which was the result of discovering the RTA trying to sneak their initiative past the most adversely effected people in Tucson. I didn't get into production until I watched the trial involving Pima County's battle to obtain the RTA database files. That's when I was convinced that the 2006 RTA election was suspect.
In light of the recent discovery of the missing poll tapes in the RTA election (which we saw coming a mile away), I made the last minute decision to emphasize 'Fatally Flawed' at my Second Saturdays display to inform the public of the missing poll tapes.
My A-Frame sign declared that the poll tapes were missing in the RTA election and suggested that this is why Terry Goddard refused to count them. As I mentioned before, the Merchant Politbureau must have seen me coming because I wound up jumping through all kinds of hoops to get the most remote vendor space tucked away on Stone Avenue at the edge of Tucson's Saturday night universe. Despite the journey, people wound up passing the sign and, yes, some Foothillsian sportsters in their late 50's scowled in disapproval. I'm still wondering if they were drawn to the area by the overtly proselytizing christian rappers at the corner of Stone and Broadway.
Within a half hour, the first staff member came by to tell me to remove the sign. "Why?" I asked.
"Because it's political."
"How is it political?"
She just rolled her eyes. "This is a family event."
I guess I couldn't respond to her. This reply seemed to suggest that the population wants to keep their children pig ignorant about any threats to the democratic process and I can't help but think, "what's the point of pumping kids with ritalin if their minds are already wiped clean?"
Next came along the same staff member that I had emailed back and forth about my local merchantness. I felt like she was rooting for me in the first place to get past all the hoops, especially when she told me about all the folks who complained. They were Democrats that didn't like seeing Terry Goddard's face on the poster. "That's what makes it political." Ahah! They just don't want to know that their only chosen alternative to Jan Brewer was Terry Goddard: He Who Wouldn't Count the Poll Tapes. Maybe this is why it is fruitless to even try to remind the Democrats that Goddard had already demonstrated early in the election season that he could not be trusted.
My friend the facilitator had some helpful hints for me. The Izod police have not yet been instructed to crack down on people visiting the vendors. "Floaters" without special merchant passes may hand out flyers or petitions to whomever they want. That soon led to taping the 4'x3' poster on the the back of my visiting friend, Ann-Rose. Thanks to Chet for the snapshot.
To date, no other media outlet in Tucson has bothered to inform the public about the missing RTA poll tapes. Not even to falsely reassure the public that the poll tape issue lacks significance. It's as if the establishment has not yet figured out how this story can fit into their illusion of democracy.
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