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Stories by Tom Prezelski

The way we were

Pima County ahead of its time in shift from coroner to medical examiner

Police dramas, long a staple on television, have made the public take for granted the presence of professional experts like medical examiners. We easily forget that this is a relatively recent phenomenon, and that this function was once entrusted to laymen.... Read more»0

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Guest opinion

MLK and ignorance of history

In retrospect, inducting Martin Luther King Jr. into the Pantheon of American Heroes may have been a mistake and a disservice to what he fought for. Unfortunately, to make King an icon, we have had to make him non-controversial. We had to hollow him out, enabling anyone to fill that vessel with whatever supports their agenda. This is unfortunate, because his struggle continues.... Read more»0

The way we were

Pima's 1884 election the most crooked in history

Our most-recent Arizona elections will be remembered as the most suspenseful in decades, with some races remaining unresolved for weeks. One election in Pima County in 1884 was not resolved for nearly two years and stands out as among the most disputed electoral contests in our history.... Read more»0

The way we were

County Attorney Schafer led murder prosecution of notorious 'Pied Piper' Schmid

The history of Pima County includes a number of fascinating trials, the stories of these each speak to a specific time and place. The tragic and bizarre trial of murderer Charles Schmid in 1966 is no exception. The case brought unwanted scrutiny to Tucson, and drew the attention of a nationally famous trial lawyer. ... Read more»1

The way we were

When the governor & county attorney clashed

The 1960s were a time of transition for Arizona as the state's rapid postwar growth transformed its political leanings from Democratic to Republican. Into this political turmoil stepped a crusading Pima County attorney whose career ambitions led him to feud with a reform-minded governor from Tucson.... Read more»0

The way we were

Troubled legacy: Barrio razing paved way for Downtown gov't construction

Half a century ago, the city of Tucson, in the name of progress, razed the oldest and most vibrant neighborhood in Arizona, a move that continues to inspire lingering bitterness in the community. Though the project was driven by the city, Pima County had a role in what occurred, and the aftermath transformed county government.... Read more»0

The way we were

Organizing Pima County's first government

In 1854, Congress approved the Gadsden Purchase, which transferred some 29,670 square miles, including what is now Pima County, from Mexico to the U.S. What was previously a remote and neglected frontier outpost of one nation was now a remote and neglected frontier outpost of another. ... Read more»0

The way we were

Vail left his mark as rancher, miner & political figure

On July 3, the Pima County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution declaring "Empire Ranch, Walter L. Vail, and Arizona Cowboy Heritage Day" to honor the legacy of one of the most storied Anglo-American pioneers of 19th century Southern Arizona. While his career as a rancher and miner were significant enough, it was his contribution as a political figure that has proven most transformative and long-lasting. ... Read more»0

Guest opinion

Prezelski: Why is Clodfelter giving platform for Phx political hack to discuss TUSD?

Tom Prezelski: 'In the last few days, state Rep. Todd Clodfelter announced a 'desegregation town hall.' While having an open public forum to discuss this issue is something this community needs, it is pretty clear that this is not what the event is going to be about."... Read more»0

The way we were

Quijotoa: The mining town that was

For most of Pima County's history, Tucson, by far our largest city, was also our only incorporated municipality. As other communities quite distant from the county seat would emerge with mining booms and railroad development, officials were left with the problem of how to adequately serve residents there. ... Read more»0

The way we were

Dreaming of canals

A few months back, this column discussed George Roskruge and his 1893 map of Pima County which hangs on the wall of many local government offices. It was only after publication that someone pointed out to this writer an unusual feature on the map: the "Proposed Santa Cruz Valley Water Storage Company's Canal." ... Read more»0

The way we were

Pima County women voting long before national suffragists

Every American knows that the right of women to vote was recognized nationally with the 19th Amendment in 1920. Some folks will point out that in many western states this happened sooner. What is less known is that women in Pima County were exercising their right to the franchise as early as 1884. ... Read more»0

The way we were

Pima County has provided health care since its founding

Providing for health care has been a priority for Pima County's government since its foundation. The law passed by the Second Territorial Legislature of 1865 that created County Boards of Supervisors enumerated 13 duties for the new officers, one of which was to "take care of and provide for the indigent sick of the county.... Read more»0

The way we were

Removing Az politicians from office not unprecedented

Earlier this month, Arizonans were treated to the rare spectacle of the State House of Representatives voting to remove one of their own for misbehavior in office. The press was quick to point out that this was not an unprecedented act, but one would have to go back 70 years to see when it happened before. Clearly, this is an extreme measure. ... Read more»0

Guest opinion

12 Gen-X Republicans who will have some explaining to do some day soon

Now that it is clear that those who pushed Arizona's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage are on the wrong side of history, they all better start thinking up what lame excuses they are going to be making. Their grandchildren’s generation is sure to ask questions.... Read more»0

Guest opinion

KOLD jumps the shark with 'psychic' report

The last few weeks have been tough on anyone who still believes that the media should have a serious role in the public dialogue in Tucson. As if to remove any doubt that things are in a downward spiral, KOLD decided to observe the two-year anniversary of the disappearance of Isabel Celis with a “special report” with a Phoenix-area psychic giving “insights” into the as-yet unsolved case.... Read more»2

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