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Posts Tagged ‘Karin Uhlich’

10th November
written by Downtown Dudette

In a strange Op Ed to the Arizona Daily Star Councilwomen Uhlich, Romero and Scott tried to explain that they were in fact the ones calling for investigations and audits all along.  The Op Ed which comes out at the heels of an audit released by the Arizona Auditor General regarding the spending of $230m in the Tucson downtown redevelopment project is strangely written to give the readers some sort of comfort that we have the right elected officials on the job.  Read the Op Ed HERE.

The online comments are by far the best way to test the mood of the voters come 2011.

Uhm…ladies…you do realize we already flushed the $230 million…right ?


A mayor and city council which has no credibility cannot expect the same of Rio Nuevo. Get a clue Star. Sad.


No. The time is long past. Along with close to a quarter billion with a B dollars.

A new intergovernmental agreement between the city and the Rio Nuevo Board? Sorry, that train left the station about 10 years ago.

A new focus on the Tucson Convention Center? According to the Rio Nevero audit you mention in your apologia, the TCC was always intended to be the core component of Rio Nada.

The three of you need to step aside and actually accept responsibility for being either too obtuse or completely unconscious during your involvement with this fiasco.

Now is not the time for would’a, should’a nonsense from those at the heart of this mess.


Well, I guess the blame game has started and it’s all Mike Hein’s fault. What these three don’t understand is that THEY VOTED FOR ALL OF THE RIO NUEVO PROGRAMS AND TREATED RIO NUEVO LIKE A SLUSH FUND! But its ok now we will get it straightened out. Got a news flash for you three, especially Shirley Scott who was on the council at the beginning of Rio Nuevo with Smilin Bob it is you fault and you need to be voted out the next election. You squandered over 250K dollars of taxpayer money. YOU HAD TO VOTE FOR EVERY DOLLAR SPENT, IT JUST DIDN’T HAPPEN BY ACCIDENT. It really makes me sick that you say that we are attempting to straighten out Rio Nuevo. Rio Nuevo is a self standing board that is charged with spending money on projects to make more money for the TIF. You voted to spend Rio Nuevo money on whims while your hand picked Rio Nuevo Board gave you the ok sight unseen. You sold the TCC to the Board and didn’t even bother to file any paperwork. And you three have enough nerve to write an article in the paper and say we are doing something. What a crock of crap today. I think I will go throw up.

11th October
written by Downtown Dudette

Here’s another Player Report. The Player Reports are supporting stories detailing how a select few individuals or groups that know how to ‘play the game’ benefit above and beyond our standard business owners. The Players ultimately ruin the system for the rest of us. The Players thrive in our dysfunctional leaderless community. Read The Player opinion in the Inside Tucson Business.

From today’s Star, Rob O’Dell is reporting that two developers with over $4 million in projects hinging on an upcoming vote by the Tucson City Council held a fundraiser to for Council incumbents, Nina Trasoff and Karin Uhlich.  We expect a recused from the upcoming vote on the developers vote AT THE VERY LEAST.

From Saturday’s Star:

Campbell’s agreement, which calls for the city to finance a public parking garage on his property, comes to the council for a final vote on Tuesday.

Stiteler’s and Martin’s development agreement comes up for final approval June 16, and the two previously met with the council last Tuesday, three days after the fundraiser.

The city and developers have been negotiating since December.

The Stiteler/Martin proposal calls for the city to give the developers $4 million worth of city properties in exchange for guarantees they will promptly complete the commercial development of properties they already own and spend $5 million on affordable housing and Downtown community groups.

Campbell needs the city to build a $3 million parking garage on East Congress Street, across from the former Greyhound site, where he plans 104 units for University of Arizona students and more than 46,000 square feet of shops, bars and a gym.

Trasoff, Uhlich and Martin all said the donations were aboveboard, adding that politicians need to raise money in order to compete in and win elections. The Democratic council members said they would never allow a political donation to influence their decisions.

How is this any different from – HERE? or HERE or HERE.

10th October
written by madge

The Tucson Weekly makes their picks for City of Tucson City Council. Looks like the incumbents didn’t fair to well. The Weekly passes on picking the Republicans because that would would be way too far of a stretch.  We commend The Weekly and Nintzel for resisting the temptation to go against his liberal roots and through a couple Democrats under the bus. 


Ward 3: Sonoran Hot Dog

Voters will choose between Democrat Karin Uhlich, Republican Ben Buehler-Garcia and Green Party candidate Mary DeCamp.

Uhlich, who is completing her first term, is big on transparency and process, but we fear that too often, those terms have been used to cover an unwillingness to make a decision.

While we agree with Uhlich on some issues, her waffling on budget issues has cost the city. She led an effort to delay a 25-cent increase in bus fares last year, only to agree to an increase this year. Over that 12 months, the city lost out on a million dollars.

Uhlich also voted to cut the costs of the Parks and Recreation Department’s leisure classes when she was first elected. Now she thinks those fees need to be increased, but won’t support doing it until next year. That’s the kind of delay the city can scarcely afford.

Uhlich’s opponent, Ben Buehler-Garcia, is a decent enough fellow who has been active in economic-development issues. But we can’t endorse someone who is supporting something as dreadful as the Public Safety First Initiative, which will screw up the city’s budget for years to come.

We feel that Green candidate Mary DeCamp’s ideas—such as creating a new currency for Tucson residents—are just too far ahead of their time for her to earn a spot on the City Council. She can do more to push those innovations in the private sector.

And so we endorse the Sonoran hot dog found at El Guero Canelo, 2480 N. Oracle Road. This feast combines the four food groups—vegetables, grains, dairy and bacon—and reflects the melting pot of cultures that is Tucson. This dog never disappoints, even if it’s not very good for us.

Ward 5: Democrat Richard Fimbres

Richard Fimbres is new to the world of city politics, but he learned the ropes of managing public budgets while on the Pima Community College governing board. He’s got a solid background in law enforcement and budget review that will serve Tucsonans well if he wins his council race. Fimbres, who hopes to replace the retiring Democrat Steve Leal, has spent more than two decades managing programs with the Pima County Jail; he’s worked in law enforcement in the military; he’s headed up the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety; and he’s even been the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s Man of the Year. It’s an impressive résumé, and it’s enough for us to encourage you to vote for him.

His Republican opponent, Shaun McClusky, is a political rookie who supports the Public Safety First Initiative and shows little grasp of the city budget, which disqualifies him from our endorsement.

Ward 6: Jasper the Marbled Polecat

Councilwoman Nina Trasoff has disappointed us too often for us to support her. Like Uhlich, Trasoff voted to delay an increase in bus fares and supported an irresponsible decrease in park fees that she now regrets, even though she’s not doing anything to increase them—thereby solidifying the city’s economic base—until next year. And to say that she mishandled the fiasco with the Rialto Theatre over the summer is a considerable understatement.

Republican Steve Kozachik has done admirable work developing new athletic facilities at the University of Arizona, but like Buehler-Garcia and McClusky, he’s supporting the Public Safety First Initiative, which makes him far too irresponsible for us to support. Kozachik tells us he can identify all sorts of waste in the city budget, but he doesn’t want to share that info with us. Well, we’re not buying that he has a secret plan to balance the budget.

Unable to support either candidate, the Weekly instead endorses Jasper the marbled polecat, who arrived this summer at the Reid Park Zoo. Although a new resident of Ward 6, Jasper seems so adorable that we can’t believe he’d make a bad decision at City Hall.

21st July
written by Land Lawyer

From flyers that have been intercepted it appears that the Arizona Democratic Party in conjunction with  the grocery service union may have had a hand in pushing Eddie Basha’s grocery chains into bankruptcy.  Stranger still, Eddie Basha has been a major democratic supporter for years including a run for Governor as a Democrat in 1994.

Basha ran in the Democratic circles and is huge supporter of Hispanic education and donor of over $100 million over thier 75 years in Arizona to community causes. 

No doubt the economic downturn played a role as did heavy expansion fueled by cheap money. Things dried up for Bashas as quick as bankruptcy and foreclosures mounted in far reaching suburbs.

It appears that the United Food and Commercial Workers Union has been throwing everything they could at Basha’s, AJ’s and Food City since they failed to unionize the chain in 2002. Liberal local blog – Blog For Arizona,  weighed in on big bad Basha’s union busting tactics in 2006.

A Local Tucson Political Connection?

Guess who’s recieved a political contribution from the Phoenix union that played a major role in taking down Food City? None other than Tucson’s very own Karin Uhlich. Why would a Tucson council person receive a donation from a Phoenix grocery union local?

Her campaign also received by far the most from political committees: $3,500.

Those contributions included $1,000 from Arizona List, $410 from the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, and $2,080 from the political action committee for the United Food and Commercial Workers union’s Local 99 in Phoenix.

Here’s the story explaining the the fight between Basha’s and the union:

From The Arizona Republic:

It’s been the most bitter of fights.

And, for Bashas’ Supermarkets Inc., painfully expensive.

The grocer’s battle with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union has cost the company millions of dollars in legal fees, damage-control marketing expenses and lost business since the escalation of the conflict in 2006.

On Monday, Bashas’ executives blamed the battle with UFCW Local 99, in addition to Arizona’s ailing economy, frugal shoppers and tight credit, for the company’s filing late Sunday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Union representatives defend their approach. The UFCW represents about 16,000 workers at Arizona Safeway and Fry’s grocery stores. It has spent years recruiting Bashas’ workforce, which has shrunk from 14,000 a few years ago to 10,700 today.

The union lost a bid in 2002 to represent workers at Bashas’ Food City Hispanic markets and tried to organize the whole company in 2006 when Bashas’ changed its health-care plan without consulting the union.

While Bashas’ is a non-union shop, UCFW has its foot in the door at seven union stores, which the company acquired a decade ago from AJ’s Fine Foods stores. Bashas’ refused to negotiate with the union, which sparked the first of dozens of unfair labor practices charges filed by the union.

Phoenix attorney Michael Manning, who represents Bashas’, believes the company may have been able to survive outside of bankruptcy without the union’s aggressive organizing efforts.

“It pushed them over the edge,” he said.

In its bid to represent Bashas’ employees, the UFCW has used boycotts, pickets, tactics designed to scare customers and a raft of federal complaints with the National Labor Relations Board and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other agencies, Manning said.

Bashas’ countered with a 2007 defamation/racketeering lawsuit against the union that recently amended to include extortion. The suit alleges the union threatened to “destroy” Bashas’ with the same tactics it used on Southwest Supermarkets and MegaFoods, if it didn’t allow the UFCW in to represent its employees.

Southwest and MegaFoods were non-union stores, like Bashas’, that earlier filed for Chapter 11 protection and ultimately went out of business.

“We can’t force union representation on our employees,” Proulx said of the company’s decision not to let the union in. “That’s something they have a right to vote on.

Bashas’ lawsuit alleges the union’s Hungry for Respect Web site has hinted that Bashas’ sells tainted Chinese milk and peanut butter laced with salmonella. The union also used the site to accuse Bashas’ of selling expired baby formula and violating health codes at its stores.

“They have used some of the nastiest tactics I’ve seen in all my years dealing with unions,” said Proulx, who believes the union planted the expired baby formula on its shelves.

The union attacks also have targeted Bashas’ Chairman Eddie Basha.

It has tried to link Basha with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in order to drive customers away from Bashas’ Food City Hispanic markets. Arpaio is known for conducting raids on businesses thought to employ illegal workers.

Cisco Echeverria, who oversees Bashas’ Food City stores, acknowledged the protests and demonstrations have kept customers away.

Union spokesman Corey Owens said the union is still organizing at Bashas’ and will file for an election when it has sufficient support.

Owens said the UFCW denies the allegations that it threatened to destroy Bashas’.

Besides what some describe as scare tactics, the union has filed dozen of charges against Bashas’ with the National Labor Relations Board and a number of complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Proulx called the charges frivolous, but some are advancing through the federal complaints process.

A complaint that Bashas’ discriminated against Hispanic workers by paying them less than Anglo employees is being investigated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC investigates only cases it believes have merit and has had to sue Bashas’ to get the company to cooperate.

Last year, an NLRB administrative law judge found that Bashas’ engaged in unfair labor practices by closing stores, replacing checkers with U-scan machines and altering health-care terms without telling the union.

A second NLRB case alleges, in more than 70 instances, that Bashas’ illegally tried to block the union’s organization efforts and retaliated against sympathetic employees. The case has been heard by an administrative law judge, but a decision has not been issued. Like the EEOC, the NLRB hears only cases it believes have merit.

Despite its efforts to organize Bashas’, the union has not officially notified the NLRB of its intent to represent Bashas’ or to hold an election.

Proulx believes that’s because the union knows it will lose.

“They just want to be let in without being asked in by the employees,” he said.

Those contributions included $1,000 from Arizona List, $410 from the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, and $2,080 from the political action committee for the United Food and Commercial Workers union’s Local 99 in Phoenix.


Way to go guys you push hard enough and you can actually take down a third generation businesses that employs thousand and serves Hispanic communities not to mention an important contributor to local non-profits.

Best of luck to Basha’s, AJ’s and Food City. I live near a Food City in Tucson and love their selection of authentic Mexican food ingredients.

A direct reprint from The Tucson Citizen in 2007:

July 16, 2007

Stanton : Bashas’ bashed

Tactics used by United Food and Commercial Workers union against the family-owned business raise far too many questions

United Food and Commercial Workers could almost double its union membership if only Eddie Basha and family would cooperate.

They won’t. So the Bashas are getting bashed.

In its latest assault, UFCW claims 683 cans of outdated infant formula recently were purchased at 55 stores in the chain, which includes Bashas’, Food City and AJ’s Fine Foods.

That’s a lot of cans. Even if it were true, which is dubious at best, expired formula isn’t harmful. And as a mother, I dare say the consumer can check the expiration date.

Besides which, the federal Women, Infants and Children program run through the Arizona Department of Health Services revved up market monitoring in the wake of these claims and has found all its contractors, including Bashas’, to be in compliance.

But maybe you got the flier from the union’s Hungry for Respect group – four pages of emotionally charged, color photographs of sweet infants.

Poor babies. Sucking down old formula all because of Bashas’? We think not.

This campaign against Arizona’s only family-owned grocery chain raises too many questions, even for me.

I was a proud, longtime member of the Denver Newspaper Guild. But my union didn’t indulge in strong-arming or blackmail to get its way.

As for UFCW, consider:

● Arizona’s Local 99 has 16,000 members; Bashas’ has 14,000 “members” – employees whom the company deems members of its family.

The National Labor Relations Board repeatedly has rebuffed UFCW efforts to unionize the chain’s stores.

The NLRB ruled Jan. 18 that the “petitioned-for unit is not an appropriate unit for collective bargaining . . .”

It ruled June 26, 2002, that the “petitioned-for multifacility unit of Food City . . . in Maricopa County is not an appropriate unit for bargaining.”

Bashas’ wouldn’t object to its employees casting secret ballots overseen by a federal mediator.

They did that five years ago, and UFCW withdrew after it saw the votes. Wonder why.

But Bashas’ won’t accede to the demand to simply give up its staff for union recruitment.

Arizona is a right-to-work state, and employees get to choose.

● UFCW seems quite fond of the “outdated products” complaint.

In California, UFCW wants to sign up Farmer Joe’s. Those markets, like Bashas’, want the NLRB to oversee any election.

In early July, as the Arizona union leveled accusations at Bashas’, the California UFCW claimed Farmer Joe’s was selling outdated groceries.

If both locals are so concerned with expiration dates, you have to wonder why they didn’t check other grocery chains, too.

But this approach isn’t new. Back in the early 1990s, UFCW was citing Food Lion in Virginia and North Carolina with selling outdated baby formula.

● Several Bashas’ workers “feel helpless” because they can’t “speak up in the work force,” said Katy Giglio, UFCW communications coordinator.

Giglio promised last Tuesday to have some of them call me by Friday. None did.

She said she would e-mail me, among other things, documentation on UFCW’s product collection methods, details on church workers said to have helped with that collection, and a letter she said UFCW sent Bashas’, offering at the start to let it inspect the cans of formula and sales receipts.

I got no e-mails.

● If the latter letter exists, it’s curious that UFCW made a big production of inviting Bashas’ to its offices at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday to see the formula cans, UPCs, lot numbers and sales receipts.

Bashas’ officials, upon learning that the union had called a press conference at that time, skipped the media circus and went to photograph the items at 1 p.m. instead, said Kristy Nied, head of Bashas’ communications.

Eddie Basha, whose father and uncle opened the family’s first store in Goodyear in 1932, is incensed that UFCW is impugning his family name and his employees’ integrity.

In Tucson last week, he cited the story of the Little Red Hen, who planted seeds and harvested and ground the wheat but didn’t get offers of help till she’d baked the bread.

After 75 years of building a business, “Now the union looks very avariciously at these 14,000 family members (workers) and what the pot would be if they could sign them up.”

With Bashas’ pay and benefits, including a fully funded pension plan, 401(k) with matching contributions, tuition grants and “member-to-member” program to help Bashas’ employees in need, “We care more than the union does,” he said.

Bashas’ has contributed more than $100 million to community causes, he noted, asking: “What the hell has the union given to this community?”

Bashas’ now is exploring every legal option available.

“I’m going to fight them in the streets; I’m going to fight them in the sewers; I’m going to fight them wherever I have to fight them,” Basha told me.

“They have tenacity, and they think we’re not going to have any fortitude.

“They picked the wrong Marine.”

Semper fi, Eddie.

Billie Stanton may be reached at 573-4664 or bstanton@tucsoncitizen.com.

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