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Gabrielle Giffords' doctor, Gerard Francisco, was on Capitol Hill this week to discuss rehabilitation efforts as part of the country's health care system, and he spoke with the Website POLITICO about her recovery.

"I think in about a year or so, we will have a better idea of what her functional abilities are going to be eventually," Francisco said. He added that it would be unfair to Giffords to speculate about a timetable or what might occur.

Read the full story here.


U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' staff is taking on the federal deficit and spending argument in her absence. Her staff announced in a Friday press release that in conjunction with the Concord Coalition, it will host a town hall next Thursday to discuss deficit reduction methods.

The Concord Coalition's Website describes it as a non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to educating the public about the causes and consequences of federal budget deficits, the long-term challenges facing America's unsustainable entitlement programs, and how to build a sound foundation for economic growth."

Among the speakers will be David Walker, described by the Washington Post as a "deficit hawk", and others who specialize in trying to figure out how to fix the federal financial problem.

The goal of the two-hour is laudatory: "to cut through partisan rhetoric and ideological divides to engage in a realistic dialogue about our nation’s financial future," according to a press release from Giffords' office.

Cutting through partisan rhetoric is a terrific goal and perhaps even achievable at this forum. Achievable in political reality? Don't hold your breath.


The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission interviewed four firms today, hoping to find one to serve as a mapping consultant. The mapping consultants help the commission redraw the congressional and legislative district lines.

The commission heads to Tucson next for a meeting Wednesday. Since they didn't select a firm at today's meeting, that's likely to be on the agenda. When the agenda for that meeting is ready, you'll be able to find it at this link.



Pinal County is following in the footsteps of Pima County. Both have banned fireworks in the unincorporated areas due to extreme fire danger this summer.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors approved the ban yesterday, and Pinal followed with a vote today.

Both votes come not only because of high fire danger, but because the state legalized use of fireworks this year. While summer revelers can still purchase the fireworks, they can't set them off in these areas, including in the city of Tucson. Some professional shows are still planned for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, however.

According to a news release from Pinal County, similar bans are in effect in Maricopa, Coconino and Cochise counties, plus on State Trust Lands and property owned by the Bureau of Land Management.

Pima County Pinal County,


Jonathan Rothschild has wanted to be mayor of Tucson for so long he can taste it. Now, his victory is virtually assured.

Yet, one political wag asks, why would anyone want to be mayor of Tucson?

"Wanting to be mayor of Tucson is like wanting for your whole life to be vice president of the United States," the wag said.

Rothschild likely will get the nod in November over whoever the Green Party candidate is. Two Greens, David Croteau and Mary DeCamp, will be on the primary ballot. But with just 800 Greens registered in Tucson, whoever wins the Green primary doesn't stand much of a chance.

Republican Shaun McCluskey released a statement today saying he has withdrawn from the nominating process. But by law, says the city clerk, a candidate cannot withdraw once there's a court challenge to the nomination. And that there is in McCluskey's case, with Democrats challenging his petitions as not having enough valid signatures.

McCluskey may want to be on the record as having withdrawn so he can file new petitions with adequate signatures by the end-of-July deadline to be a write-in candidate. That's unlikely to occur under the court challenge, to be decided on today.

Earlier court challenges knocked Republican Ron Asta and Democrat Marshall Home off the ballot. Asta didn't have enough signatures, and Home didn't meet the residency requirement.

Which leaves Rothschild. He has worked in Tucson for many years as a lawyer. He moved into the city from the Catalina Foothills a few years ago with the express intention of establishing residency to run for mayor. He has resigned as the business manager of his downtown law firm.

Tucson's next mayor? Jonathan Rothschild.


Just when some political pundits thought they were detecting shakiness in the up-to-now unshakable conservative Republican control of Arizona state government, top leaders are saying there's little to it.

The supposed rift came in the ill-fated special session Gov. Jan Brewer called two weeks ago to extend unemployment benefits. On its first day, the Legislature recessed in quick time without introducing any bills. On its second day, it met, talked awhile and adjourned when leaders determined they couldn't get the votes for passage.

That led the governor to an angry outburst suggesting that she had a deal with Senate President Russell Pearce. But others said that wasn't so, and the comments pushed theories that the Republicans were at odds with one another.

Not so, Brewer and others say, confirming what Tucson area Sens. Al Melvin and Frank Antenori told AZPM'S Andrea Kelly last week, as she reported in this blog.

Ginger Rough gives a solid accounting of it in Sunday's Arizona Republic (read it here) quoting Brewer's spokesman and House Speaker Andy Tobin in make-nice terms intended to smooth everything over.

Brewer herself gave an explanation in last Friday's Arizona Capitol Times (read it here), saying, "I firmly reject the ridiculous notion that I called the Legislature into special session as part of some grand political strategy, or to embarrass legislators. This mischief is promoted by confirmed political provocateurs."

About Political Buzz

News, commentary, analysis from the AZPM political team: Christopher Conover, Andrea Kelly, Michael Chihak.