Becky Fenger Fenger PointingSEPTEMBER 22, 2010

Censoring Suzy Stingray


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Some people hate political signs. Some tolerate them. Few, if any, will ever be as clever and entertaining as the ones created by the campaign committee "Suzy Says Yes on Prop 111."

The signs first caught my attention as I was tooling along Lincoln Drive. I could have sworn I read "Bill Clinton Loves My Sushi" as a friend and I passed a gaggle of billboards. Nah, it couldn't have been. Then I caught a glimpse of one that read, "Rod Blagojevich is the Best Tipper," surrounded by the usual candidate offerings. My curiosity piqued, I figured this certainly rated further investigation.

A closer exam of the signs revealed a cartoon character named Suzy Stingray waving an American flag in each hand. The color scheme is red, white and blue, with a message urging us to vote "Yes on Prop 111," the ballot measure to change the title of Secretary of State to Lieutenant Governor. A logo for Stingray Sushi restaurant appears on one side and the disclaimer on the other end. Different quotes pop up in the upper corners, such as "Larry Craig Likes Our Bathrooms," or "Mark Sanford Likes My Latin Flavors." Yowie!

I had read about the dustup between Stingray Sushi and the City of Phoenix Transit Department and could only shake my head in disbelief. In a rather bizarre decision, a transit official refused to allow the restaurant to place its ads for the opening of a second location at the Biltmore Fashion Park at Phoenix bus stops because they are "too violent and sexually explicit" for the public to handle. It seems that Suzy Stingray's skirt was too short and (gasp!) she was holding a pistol in each hand.

Phoenix Public Transit Department spokeswoman Marie Chapple had a suggestion for the ad agency: Make Suzy's skirt longer and holster her guns. When the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association got wind of this brouhaha, they opined that the transit officials had gone a tad out of range on this ruling.

Even the staid Goldwater Institute weighed in on the silliness of the Phoenix Transit Department and its campaign against miniskirts on mascots. Is the department aware that Porky Pig is (horrors!) pantless?

The Phoenix Stingray Sushi at the Biltmore is in Councilman Sal DiCiccio's district.  He had a meeting with the owner because he couldn't believe the City is trying to do this to a local small business that is trying to expand during the recession. Look. They are a bunch of Phoenix guys who graduated from Arcadia High School and now have a couple of restaurants. We shouldn't be programmed to hate them with the kind of hot heat hate saved for Wall Street and big corporations, as taught by our schools.

But I still couldn't figure out what the "Yes on Prop 111" campaign had to do with the commercial signage issue with the City of Phoenix transit officials. The answer is: nothing, except for the common denominator of Rose and Allyn Public Relations. I should have known that only Jason Rose could come up with something so far out of the box as the Prop 111 package.

Back to Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio. He has been a real dynamo lately in watching out for his constituents' well-being and pocketbooks. Phoenicians can thank their lucky stars (and ballot boxes) for not electing the labor leader woman who challenged him. Sal has fought against increased fees for goods and services and written repeatedly in newsletters of his opposition to the fat, fat salaries and pensions city workers are getting. But the other council members prefer to raise fees and taxes rather than part with city perks.

Whether or not we establish the office of Lieutenant Governor is not that momentous to me either way. What is far more important is having government bureaucrats banning short skirts and demonizing gun rights. I cannot imagine anyone less qualified.