Awww, Vernon!

My first posting described an encounter with Vernon Walker, Republican candidate for City Council, Ward V (see “Vernon Walker – Ward V Candidate”). My, my, how appearances can deceive! He really did seem like an “aw, shucks” kind of guy.

I first saw him at a Citizen’s Advisory Committee meeting at the Himmel Park Library. At this particular meeting, everybody introduces himself. When it was Vernon’s turn, he said, “Vernon Walker, political candidate,” followed by a short, self-deprecating giggle. My first thought was, “No,no,no! Say, ‘Hi! I’m Vernon Walker, and I want to be YOUR councilman from Ward V. I want to make sure that the important work that all of you do here, blah,blah,blah, thank you!’ and stop wringing your hanky!” It was there that I found out that computers intimidated him.

He surfaced again at Salpointe High School to attend a presentation about the “Meth Epidemic” (see posting entitled “Meth Memories”). Again, he was there, but he didn’t do anything. At least he should have jumped up in the middle of the show and shouted, “I’m Vernon Walker, your new voice from Ward V, and I say that we need a City Council that is not going to continue to tolerate this epidemic that’s infecting our children, our families, blah, blah, blah, I’m sorry if I’m out of line here, but this issue is too important! Thank you.” Hey, this stuff isn’t rocket science.

So you can imagine my surprise when this apparent nebbish appears on the cover of the Tucson Weekly! Jim Nintzel wrote a shocking expose’ of Mr. Walker, that included reports of failure to pay taxes, screwing tenants out of deposits, failure to pay creditors, and not voting.

Now I know that some of you are thinking, “Tucson Weekly, yeah right, probably BS.” In fact, I know a real estate attorney who can’t say “Tucson Weekly” without spitting, sneering, or both. I agree that they often get it wrong; but hey, any rag that published Emil Franzi can’t be all bad. I believe Jim Nintzel. I say this because, on more than one occasion, I have dealt with him directly and found him to be fair, honest, accurate, and an awfully nice guy.

Ah! Nintzel’s article jogged my memory! Vernon Walker is the guy who angered the residents of the Samos neighborhood when he bought an old stucco house on North Martin, shoe-horned two hideous duplexes into the back yard, and rented them to drug dealers! The neighborhood folks (many of whom support “infill” over “sprawl”) went absolutely ape. The family across the street sold its house and moved to the foothills. The crisis even made the Tucson Citizen. The neighbors complained bitterly, and Vernon responded with some pap about being poor once and wanting to help people. I heard that the property is currently for sale.

So what was Vernon Walker thinking when he decided to run for office? Did he think that none of this would come out? Even if he thought that he could keep under the media radar, did he think that “opposition research” would not be a part of Councilman-for-Life Steve Leal’s campaign?

One thing is certain, he ignored the first rule of electoral politics: If you’re despicable, you better be a Democrat.