Column: It's a new Council, Mr. Lyons

It's a new day, a new era, and a time to can the clichés and just think about what the Kingman City Council can be.

A good reason for optimism can be found in John Salem's promise that name-calling "won't be tolerated anymore." That has been a staple of too many meetings and might have been - but probably wasn't - an indirect dig at Les Byram, the former mayor who stepped down Monday.

Clearly there has been a need for order and just good manners that have been sorely lacking when a number of topics were discussed.

That said, one wonders if Salem inwardly grimaced Monday night when Councilman Ray Lyons questioned why Residents Against Irresponsible Development didn't oppose a proposed supper club on Bank Street for really old people like me.

Maybe Lyons was just curious, but it might strike some that he was itching to start something - the kind of thing that led to name-calling at Council meetings.

A good start for this Council, meanwhile, will be gutting the impact fee ordinance if not doing away with it entirely. It's bad enough that the city is tacking on thousands of dollars to the price of a new home, but the fees associated with commercial enterprises - particularly mom and pop operations - are deal-breakers.

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The race and sports books in Vegas haven't set the odds, but you've got to wonder if there is any way possible that the Arizona Legislature and Gov. Janet Napolitano are going to be able to create a balanced budget by July 1, which is the start of the fiscal year.

I've got a theory, and that's all it is, that the majority Republicans are going to come up with a proposed budget about 10 days before the deadline, and it's not one that Napolitano or the Democrats in the House and Senate are going to like.

Of course, it's obvious at this point that nobody from either party is going to like the final product because every passing month brings more bad news regarding how well the state economy is performing.

In this half-baked theory, the Republicans - some of them still steaming from perceived double-crosses in the form of Napolitano vetoes - will offer the budget and basically say, "That's it." With next to no time remaining before the fiscal year starts, the Republicans believe they can make Napolitano blink.

This is wishful thinking, of course, but the compromising better start soon, or on July 1, it will get ugly.

Speaking of Napolitano, anyone heard she is being considered as Barack Obama's running mate?

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Did you catch the news brief in Wednesday's Miner regarding state Sen. Karen Johnson?

It reads as follows:

"An Arizona state legislator wants U.S. Sen. John McCain to give credence to suspicions that demolition explosives were planted in the World Trade Center and another building, causing their destruction on Sept. 11, 2001.

"Republican Sen. Karen Johnson of Mesa urges McCain to meet with individuals who have concluded that impacts of hijacked jets and subsequent fires did not cause the buildings' destruction.

"Johnson says in a letter to McCain she has spoken with the individuals and agrees with their conclusions."

The story concludes with news that McCain's people haven't gotten back to Johnson yet.

Or maybe they did call but Johnson didn't hear the phone because she was wearing the tinfoil hat model that covers her ears.