Archives for May 2011

McClusky: Tucson Bureaucrats Get A Car, Close A Pool

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 27, 2011
CONTACT: Sam Stone

Get a Car, Close a Pool

Tucson, AZ — While our current Mayor and City Council claim to serve the people of Tucson, evidence continues to pile up that the only people they really serve are themselves. While we’re cutting programs and closing public swimming pools, 26 City of Tucson employees continue to drive cars, fill their gas tanks and change their oil-all courtesy of the taxpayers of Tucson.

What’s worse is that these individuals are department heads and higher-ups, most of whom already make in excess of $100,000 per year, plus benefits. Not counting the gas and maintenance, the cost to Tucson taxpayers is about $161K per year. Add in the gas and maintenance and it’s easily a quarter million.

And what would it cost these individuals if they had to drive their own cars around on city business? Nothing. That’s because any individual who uses their personal vehicle for company business can deduct their mileage when they file their federal income taxes.

“Why are we closing swimming pools and leaving our streets full of potholes instead of asking these people to drive their own cars to work?” asked Tucson Mayoral candidate Shaun McClusky. “How can they look the people of Tucson in the face and say that a car allowance is more important than giving people opportunities for recreation and clean, safe streets?

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Sarah Palin ramping up for a Presidential campaign out of Arizona

I gave an interview to Arizona Family TV-3 this evening regarding Sarah Palin’s move to Arizona and the liklihood she will launch a campaign based out of Arizona. Here is the video clip from that interview:

Now my thoughts on an Arizona-based Palin Presidential campaign:

Geographically and climatically, Arizona is far different and more conducive for a nationwide campaign than Alaska would ever be. Arizona is a state that has very little to worry about climatically other than the heat and a rare shutdown of Sky Harbor’s runways over the blast-furnace temperature we experience during the summer. Where else can a national campaign set up home base and not have to worry about earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes or crippling weather? An Alaska-based national campaign that would have to run until next November would have serious challenges during the upcoming 2011 winter months.

It also makes sense geographically for Palin to base a federal campaign out of Arizona. We are one of the fastest growing states and Arizona has major transportation hubs, modern infrastructure and a technologically savvy community. We’re in a region of the country that is highly accessible to and from other parts of the country making travel more of a convenience rather than a challenge to a national campaign.

I also happen to believe that the Palin’s fell in love with Arizona during their multiple visits here over the last three years. Arizona is a great place to raise a family and be a part of a broader community. Ultimately, Americans move to places where they feel comfortable and I’m willing to bet the Palin’s feel very comfortable right here in Arizona.

Now the politics.

Arizona will have 11 electoral votes up for grabs in 2012. That makes Arizona a high priority campaign state. Arizona is also guaranteed NOT to have a home state favorite running for President in 2012. John McCain will certainly not run again and Jon Kyl has already decided to retire from politics (although I think he could be coaxed into taking a seat on the US Supreme Court). Unlike Texas or Florida where Rick Perry, Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush have been rumored as potential candidates, Sarah Palin would not have to worry about competing for the nomination against someone who has been prominent in Arizona politics for years.

I like to say that Arizona is also a crimson red Republican state with a independent maverick attitude. Arizonans are conservative but they have a discernible mistrust of government and especially the federal government. In 2010, Republicans swept all statewide seats and took super majorities in both the State House and Senate. That makes Arizona a comfortable spot for any conservative political leader and Sarah Palin fits that mold.

Palin also has a huge following here in Arizona among women, conservatives in general and a thriving Tea Party movement. Having spoken with many conservative grassroots activists over the last year, it’s obvious to me that she would have no problem building a hardcore base of support among the grassroots and party faithful. Many would be proud to adopt Palin as their own.

The other thing that Arizona has to offer a Palin campaign is organization and structure. There are several proven campaign networks and organizations already in place and no shortage of talented political strategists and operatives here in Arizona. I would not doubt that Palin would also call in some political endorsements including several from our congressional delegation whom she supported during the 2010 election cycle.

Finally, a bit of insider politics that could make an Arizona-based Palin campaign a real game changer. At a national level, everyone knows that Palin poses a competitive threat to Michele Bachmann. Here in Arizona, a Palin campaign poses a serious threat to Mitt Romney. During the 2008 Presidential Primary, Romney did very well in the East Valley especially with the LDS community. Having Palin stake out home territory here in Arizona would clearly lay down a challenge to Romney’s campaign not to take Arizona for granted.

Will Sarah Palin run? As I said in my interview, my source indicates that she is ramping up very quickly. She’s just launched a bus tour of several states including a stop in New Hampshire and she’s due to release a personal documentary that is sure to draw crowds, interest and likely donors. There’s so many things right with an Arizona-based campaign that it only makes complete sense that another Arizonan will venture into the fast and furious waters of presidential politics.

 

 

AZ Republic and liberal columnist denounce dropping Stapley prosecution

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona

Friday, May 27, 2011

Republic: [Dropping the charges] was not vindication [of Stapley]
Columnist E.J. Montini: Prosecutor ought to pursue charges vs. Stapley

When the Arizona Republic and its most liberal columnist, E.J. Montini, who usually writes columns attacking Sheriff Arpaio, agree with us that someone is corrupt, then there is no doubt something is really, really wrong. Even the liberals at the Republic cannot sit back and ignore all the evidence piled up against Stapley. The Republic and Montini both wrote columns yesterday expressing disappointment that the criminal charges against County Supervisor Don Stapley were dismissed by Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores. Flores alleges that she had to drop the charges because the prosecution was botched, but Montini is having nothing of it. Why doesn’t Flores fix the problems and prosecute him herself? It’s pretty obvious to everyone observing that Stapley’s powerful connections are helping him skate.

Here are some excerpts from the articles:

Montini: “Prosecutor ought to pursue charges vs. Stapley”

This is not how the justice system is supposed to work, unless you live in Arizona.

Here, it’s normal.

It must be, because no one seems to be complaining.

The prosecutor looking into accusations against Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley says that he is probably a criminal but that she’s not going to prosecute him.

Stapley then declared his “long nightmare is over,” said he is “relieved and grateful” and, oh yeah, wants the county (that’s us) to give him $10 million.

Why not? It’s Arizona.

For more than two years, Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores has been reviewing an investigation of Stapley by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (under former head Andrew Thomas).

Stapley is suing the county for investigations he described this week as “abusive, indefensible, illegal attacks.”

In her review of the case, Flores said, among other things, “We cannot avoid the fact there have been significant sustained and pending findings of unprofessional and unethical conduct by major players.”

At the same time, however, Flores said, “We believe Stapley committed seven felony offenses for which we have sufficient evidence to go forward with prosecution.”

The allegations involve false swearing on financial-disclosure documents. Flores won’t pursue them because “the way in which the investigation and prosecution of Stapley progressed was fundamentally wrong, and to pursue further criminal actions against Stapley would be a miscarriage of justice.”

Then again, isn’t letting someone who’s suspected of crimes walk away a miscarriage of justice?

Particularly because doing so may help that suspect collect millions from a lawsuit?

“We are mindful this decision allows a suspect whom we believe to be guilty to go unprosecuted,” Flores wrote in explaining her decision.

Exactly. And what kind of message does that send?

In addition to the charges of false swearing against Stapley, Flores commented on the roughly $140,000 in (unregulated) campaign funds Stapley collected to win an uncontested, volunteer position with the non-profit National Association of Counties.

Reports indicate at least $86,000 was spent on personal items, including a fabulous family trip to Hawaii, and that some of the donors benefited from votes Stapley cast as a supervisor.

According to an article last year by The Arizona Republic’s JJ Hensley and Craig Harris, five donors who contributed $35,000 later did business with the county, while two others did business with the county and then contributed a total of $7,000.

One example included a $5,000 donation to Stapley from the Arizona Rock Products Association.

Within a month, Stapley moved to award a $1 million county contract for some of the association’s members who won a competitive bid.

Of that behavior, Flores said, “The pure depth, duration and nature of Stapley’s ‘gift’-related conduct is significantly of a more sinister nature than the reported conduct of elected officials involved in the Fiesta Bowl matter.”

But still no prosecution?

Flores said of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the County Attorney’s Office, “The vast record is littered with behavior so egregious that a reasonable person’s sense of fairness, honesty and integrity would be offended.”

I believe it would. I also believe that a jury of reasonable people would understand that the bad behavior of investigators didn’t cause (and shouldn’t excuse) the bad behavior of a defendant.

A person might even argue that suggesting jurors couldn’t separate the “egregious” actions of investigators from those of a criminal defendant would, to borrow a phrase, offend “a reasonable person’s sense of fairness, honesty and integrity.”

Arizona Republic Editorial: “This was not vindication”

By opting to drop all charges against Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley, Gila County Prosecutor Daisy Flores effectively has ended the legal case against the supervisor.

Stapley is correct that his “long nightmare is over.” Breathe easy at last, Mr. Supervisor.

But as Flores made abundantly clear, Stapley cannot claim anything remotely like “innocence.”

The only innocents in this long-running drama are the county taxpayers Stapley is suing for $10 million in damages.

As for the other seven charges, Flores concluded they had merit – in at least four of the felony charges, abundant merit.

Despite concluding in her review that “we believe Stapley committed seven felony offenses for which we have sufficient evidence to go forward with prosecution,” Flores found that, alas, “sometimes, the guilty are permitted to go free because of the way in which an investigation or prosecution was conducted.”

The charges against Stapley that Flores believed had merit involved a fund the supervisor created in 2004 to run for the executive committee of the National Association of Counties. Getting elected as an officer of the association would require no real campaigning. Stapley ran unopposed for an unpaid, volunteer position with a non-profit organization.

Yet, over four years, he collected nearly $140,000 for his “campaign” fund, a fund that would pay for furniture, a sound and video system, a $12,042 trip to Hawaii and, reportedly, hair transplants, among many other personal expenditures.

Relating the gambit to a more recent scandal involving dubious gifts and campaign contributions – the Fiesta Bowl mess – Flores concluded what Stapley did was far more “sinister”:

“While making no comment on the Fiesta Bowl matter itself,” Flores said, “the pure depth, duration and nature of Stapley’s ‘gift’ related conduct is significantly of a more sinister nature than the reported conduct of elected officials involved in the Fiesta Bowl matter.”

More disturbing was the list of individuals and organizations that responded to Stapley’s solicitation letters with contributions. Several of those contributors would benefit from votes Stapley cast as a supervisor. As Flores concluded, Stapley had found what he believed was an “end run around campaign-finance laws” designed to prevent just this sort of influence-peddling.

“It is absolutely inconceivable that Stapley would think that he had no duty to disclose tens of thousands of dollars worth of donations as gifts on his financial-disclosure statements,” she wrote.

Even by her decision to dismiss certain charges, such as the accusations of theft, Flores made it clear that Stapley’s behavior left the prosecutor feeling soiled: “Although Stapley’s personal use of the money was immoral and unbecoming of an elected Arizona public official, it was not illegal.” This is what Stapley considers vindication?

Along with numerous other county officials, Supervisor Stapley is pursuing a lawsuit against Maricopa County taxpayers, claiming he was “damaged significantly” by people those taxpayers put into office.

As Flores made abundantly clear, the case against Stapley went too far. But that is a far cry from saying he was innocent. And it certainly shouldn’t cause him to reap a big payday from taxpayers.

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Friday Poll: Whose your pick for Tucson Mayor?

This Friday’s poll will focus on the race for Mayor of Tucson.

Tucson is a tough municipality to get elected as a conservative. The current mayor, Bob Walkup – a Republican, was elected in 1999 and won re-election twice. He will not be seeking a second term.

This leaves the field to four candidates: Shaun McClusky, Jonathan Rothschild, Ron Asta and Marshall Home. Two other candidates, Jon McLane, a Green Party candidate, withdrew and threw his support behind Republican Shaun McClusky. Another candidate, Thomas Lombardi, a Democrat also withdrew from the race.

As we go to post this poll, we have some questions regarding the credibility of Marshall Home as a candidate. If anyone knows whether Mr. Home is still in the race or is not qualified to run, please let us know.

(The poll will remain open until next Friday and will limit repeat voting.)

Sheriff Babeu: Mr. President – Protect America First

May 26, 2011

Sheriff Paul BabeuPresident Obama says the border is more secure than ever, declared the border fence complete and said, “these people will never be satisfied, until we build a moat and put alligators in the moat.” We don’t need a moat or alligators in Arizona – we simply need the federal government to do their job and secure the border!

Last year, 219,300 illegal immigrants were apprehended in just one sector of Arizona and many with violent felony criminal records. The US Border Patrol estimates another 400,000 made it safely past them in Arizona and now reside in your community.

If the majority of regular illegal immigrants can sneak into America, what does this say about the ability of terrorist sleeper cells? The porous US/Mexican border is the gravest national security threat facing America. This is no longer just a political fight to stop Barak Obama from giving amnesty to over 12 million illegals, it’s also about protecting our nation from terrorist threats. Thousands of illegal entrants hail from State Department countries of interest–Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and others. In some cases, we have confirmed their troubling ties to terrorism. Yet for those we apprehend, how many today live amongst us?

If the border is secure, why did the feds post 15 Billboard signs in Pinal County warning American citizens; Danger – Public Warning – Travel Not Recommended, due to armed drug cartel smuggling? This is 70 miles into Arizona, where Homeland Security confirms that no fewer than 100 of our beautiful mountains have been repurposed as lookouts for the Mexican Drug lords.

America can secure the border if we replicate the success of what was accomplished in the Yuma Sector. The Yuma Sector has now attained a 96% reduction of illegal border crossings. The Senator McCain/Kyl 10-Point Border Security Plan is developed largely from the learned successes of the Yuma Sector during Operation Jump Start.

This plan calls for immediate deployment of 6,000 armed soldiers for a period of two years. While soldiers are deployed, the double barrier fence is completed with video surveillance, lighting, sensors and roads to support rapid deployment of US Border Patrol. Thirdly, fully enforce the law without any diversion option.

We need focus on the solution to secure our border, not on a path to citizenship or amnesty for 12 million. If President Obama were sincere, why did he not pass immigration reform in his first two years, when he had supermajorities in the House and Senate? Instead, in a purely politically and racially divisive manner, he says he’ll fight now when there is little hope of passage. The President has failed to fulfill his core constitutional duty to protect America.

President Obama led us to believe he would end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re no closer to leaving than when he made these false promises. He bombs Libya for humanitarian reasons and yet ignores the outcry of neighboring Mexico in their war against the drug cartels, which have claimed over 35,000 lives and nearly toppled their government. Mexico is America’s second largest trading partner and we share nearly 2,000 miles of porous border, which presents a far graver national security threat than anything we face in the middle east.

Mexico is not our enemy. The cartels are the enemy of Mexico and America. They have brought their violence here to America. Local Sheriffs can’t fight them alone. We can address this growing threat, or we can make jokes, laugh and believe the border is more secure than ever.

Respectfully,

Paul Babeu, Sheriff
Pinal County, Arizona
President, Arizona Sheriff’s Association
2011 National Sheriff of the Year

(Sheriff Babeu is also a retired Army Major and served as the Commanding Officer for Task Force Yuma)

 

 

 

Russell Pearce: Major Victory for Arizona and the American Worker

The U.S. Supreme Court has handed our great state a significant victory. It upheld our 2007 law penalizing businesses for knowingly hiring workers who are here illegally. No longer will companies be able to ignore the rule of law and hire illegal aliens, shutting out legal Arizona workers. With the highest unemployment in a generation, we must do all we can to get Arizona back to work, and this ruling means those here legally will not have to compete with the illegal crowd. That is great news.

In 2007, I sponsored HB 2779, the “Fair and Legal Employment Act”, because I knew something needed to be done to stop the profits-over-patriotism crowd. These companies ignored the law and hired illegals, because it was cheap labor, but certainly not cheap to the Arizona taxpayer. In the cost of $2.6 billion to educate, medicate and incarcerate illegal aliens. Now, with this Supreme Court ruling, the state has the clear right to require employers to verify work eligibility status of all new employees. The E-verify system puts the responsibility for verifying documents on the government, with 99.7% accuracy.

Now that our efforts have proven to not only be the right thing to do but to also be politically popular, you are seeing people who have fought us looking to claim credit. Then-Gov. Napolitano did sign HB 2779, but that’s not the whole story. She opposed this bill and just about every effort we made to crack down on illegal immigration, but the writing was on the wall. We were collecting thousands of signatures to put a tougher measure on the ballot. Napolitano had no choice but to sign this bill, to avoid that tougher law. All you have to do is look at her efforts as Secretary of Homeland Security to know that she believes in non-enforcement of our immigration laws.

The message is now clear to any business that is still considering hiring illegals. If you do so, you will face sanctions, and you could lose your license to operate. This is indeed a “death penalty” for those businesses that choose to hire those here illegally. Fewer illegals means more job openings for citizens looking for work. We are hoping to bring down the “help wanted” sign in our state.

 

Illegal aliens are getting the message that they are not welcome in Arizona. Tens of thousands of illegals have left the state since we began our efforts to crack down on illegal immigration. It is working, and our state’s taxpayers are paying less for emergency care at our hospitals and paying less for education at our schools. Our efforts are making a difference, and we will keep up the fight, with attrition by enforcement.

So what does this new ruling mean for the fate of SB 1070? I’d say it looks good. In his majority ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the employer sanctions law “falls well within the confines of the authority Congress chose to leave to the states.” That is at the heart of the fight over SB 1070, and Justice Roberts is making it clear a state has the right, and in fact the duty, to uphold and enforce federal laws. It is becoming pretty clear that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold SB 1070.

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US Supreme Court rules for AZ

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona
Thursday, May 26, 2011

 

US Supreme Court rules for AZ

States can yank licenses for companies that hire illegal aliens

By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
 
 8:34 AM PDT, May 26, 2011
 
The Supreme Court on Thursday gave Arizona and other states more authority to take action against illegal immigrants and the companies that hire them, ruling that employers who knowingly hire illegal workers can lose their license to do business.

The 5-3 decision upholds the Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007 and its so-called business death penalty for employers who are caught repeatedly hiring illegal immigrants. The state law also requires employers to check the federal E-Verify system before hiring new workers, a provision that was also upheld Thursday.
 
The court’s decision did not deal with the more controversial Arizona law passed last year that gave police more authority to stop and question those who are suspected of being in the state illegally. But the ruling is likely to encourage the state and its supporters because the court majority said states remained free to take action involving immigrants.
 
Thursday’s decision is a defeat for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, several civil-rights groups and the Obama administration, all of whom opposed the Arizona law and its sanctions on employers. They argued that federal law said states may not impose “civil or criminal sanctions” on employers.
 
But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said another portion of the same law made clear that states were free to use their “licensing” laws to punish employers. Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. formed the majority in Chamber of Commerce vs. Whiting.
 
The Arizona law upheld Thursday was signed into law by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano, who now serves as secretary of Homeland Security for President Obama.
 
In dissent were Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. They said federal law prohibited states from imposing their own immigration-related rules on employers. Justice Elena Kagan sat out the case.
 
Soon after the Arizona employment law went into effect, lawyers for the chamber and civil-rights group sued, contending it was preempted or trumped by federal immigration laws. But a federal judge and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Arizona measure. The Supreme Court affirmed those decisions Thursday.
 
Roberts noted that eight other states had passed similar laws. They are Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
 
The other Arizona law involving police enforcement has been challenged – successfully, so far – by the Obama administration and civil-rights groups. They say enforcement of laws against illegal immigration is exclusively in the hands of federal authorities. A federal judge and the U.S. 9th Court of Appeals have put that Arizona law on hold. Gov. Jan Brewer said she planned to appeal the issue to the Supreme Court.

 

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Jennifer Rawson Turns in Petitions for Tucson Ward 2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 26, 2011
CONTACT: Rebecca Guthrie

Tucson, AZ – This morning Ward Two City Council candidate Jennifer Rawson turned in fifty-two pages of signature petitions and a total of 543 signatures to qualify her to be on the November 8th ballot.

In a statement Mrs. Rawson said “I am thankful to all the volunteers who helped collect signatures over the last several months. I look forward to getting out and meeting the voters and discussing how we move Tucson and Tucsonans forward towards a more prosperous future.”

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Arizona House: State Legislators Give Back

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 26, 2011
CONTACT: Paul Boyer

Several state Representatives will be working on Friday, May 27 in downtown Chandler from 8:00am to 2:30pm on a home renovation project with Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona.

Representatives Eddie Farnsworth, Tom Forese, J.D. Mesnard, Steve Montenegro, Terri Proud, Amanda Reeve, David Stevens will all be in attendance to help renovate the foreclosed home.

“Habitat is a wonderful organization that instills the pride of home ownership through the personal responsibility and sweat equity each future homeowner must provide in order to move in,” Representative J.D. Mesnard said. “I’m thrilled about helping this couple renovate their future home and pleased to see the city of Chandler partnering with Habitat to serve our residents through these projects.”

To qualify, future Habitat homeowners must earn 30 to 60 percent of the area median income; take classes on financial fitness and home maintenance since many are first time homeowners. They must work 100 construction hours on a renovated home known as “sweat equity” prior to moving in. They receive a 0 percent interest mortgage paid to Habitat which goes into a fund that allows them to purchase more land along with the “sticks and bricks” to build/renovate even further.

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Speaker Tobin Responds to U.S. Supreme Court Upholding Arizona’s Employer Sanctions Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 26, 2011
CONTACT: Paul Boyer

The following statement is attributed to Speaker Andy Tobin (R-District 1):

“To our critics who say Arizona has no role in immigration related issues, the Supreme Court has said otherwise. The Obama Administration was one of those critics and after four years of lawsuits and scare tactics, I’m glad to see we finally came out on top on this one. We’re grateful that we can now give Arizonans confidence that we are continuing to implement the rule of law given that President Obama is more interested in mocking those of us who want our border secured than protecting American citizens.”

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