The Hilton Tucson El Conquistador chicken and pasta at last Thursday's joint session of the Marana and Tucson chambers of commerce was far from rubbery. Quite good, truly.
Likewise, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer's speech was not of the "rubber chicken" variety. It was forceful and defiant. It made claims of achievement. It was personal. And it made clear that Brewer, appointed governor of Arizona less than two years ago, when things were going to heck, is ready for further immersion.
Two important things have strengthened Brewer. First, her 1 percent sales tax increase was passed by the voters May 18. That outcome was in part a referendum on Brewer. Had it lost, she'd be in trouble.
Secondly, Brewer is being widely hailed for her support of Senate Bill 1070, the immigration status law that has plunked Arizona into a national debate. Most Arizonans support the law, polls indicate. She's met with President Obama to urge federal action along the border. And she'll continue to defend the law, and Arizona, "no apologies, no quitting, no retreat."
That's the kind of talk voters want from their governor.
Brewer has enormous tasks before her, whether she's elected or otherwise. The Democrats, Rep. Steve Farley in particular last week, make the case the Republicans have slashed education funding, driven ideological wedges to deflect attention from real problems, and ignored the minority party. Fair points to ponder.
Yet, if Brewer wins, first against Dean Martin and Buz Mills in August, and again in a race with Terry Goddard in November, she'll have control of the podium, hold onto a Republican majority in the Legislature, and find herself in a position to move Arizona into the future.
If she wins.
How about Brewer's endorsement of Republican Rep. Vic Williams, even in a room that held others of her party? She praised the freshman legislator, who faces an August primary election, for supporting budget reductions "time and time again," and for helping to send Proposition 100 to the voters.
Oro Valley is finding the money to keep its Coyote Run transit service at a reasonable level of operation.
That's a good decision.
Communities are judged, of course, on how they treat their children, their elderly and their disadvantaged. There are a number of people in Oro Valley who depend very much on the transportation Coyote Run provides. Government should properly divert funds from other needed uses — Steam Pump Ranch cannot be allowed to fall apart, for example — in the short term, while trying to figure out long-term solutions to pay for essential services.
Why not talk to the Regional Transportation Authority about ways to operate a personal transit service in Oro Valley? There may be genuine economies of scale to be gained, while keeping an excellent level of service. The people want governments to talk about common interests, and common solutions, rather than protect fiefdoms.
On occasion, around The Explorer, you might hear the instruction "Be quick, but don't hurry."
It's from the late, great John Wooden, the terrific college basketball coach and better person who died earlier this month at age 99.
A few more "Woodenisms," for the fridge …
"Never mistake activity for achievement."
"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."
"Ability is a poor man's wealth."
"Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts."
"It isn't what you do, but how you do it."
"Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful."
And, the topper, "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."