Watching the recall effort take place in legislative district 18 one is left wondering why other recalls are not taking place elsewhere across the state, especially in legislative district 17.
Pearce recaller and failed Democratic US Senate candidate, Randy Parraz, likes to cite public policy differences as the reason for recalling Russell Pearce but fails to mention any of the other State Senators or Representatives who also voted for these same pieces of legislation.
Mr. Parraz, why not seek recall efforts against any of the other legislators who voted for these same public policy proposals? And if your motive is to recall someone who you disagree with on public policy issues, why haven’t you made a practice of this during all the off-year elections since you cannot seem to win elections (including your own) during the regular election cycle.
Pearce recaller’s motives don’t make sense if this is only about disagreements on public policy.
That’s why Pearce recallers like to bring up the Fiesta Bowl scandal as another reason for recalling Senator Pearce. They argue that Pearce accepted in-kind donations from Fiesta Bowl representatives over several years and then voted on legislation that affected the Fiesta Bowl.
Hmmmm… I thought that’s how lobbying worked at the State Capitol, especially when it comes down to labor and teachers unions donating gobs and gobs of money to Democrats.
What Pearce recallers fail to mention and the hypocrisy is GLARING, is that Fiesta Bowl representatives also gave in-kind donations to other legislators. At the top of the list is Legislative District 17 State Representative, Ben Arredondo who actually voted a $6,450,000 MILLION subsidy to bring the Insight Bowl from Phoenix to Tempe. Maybe a little more clarification on the gifts to Arredondo from a third party is appropriate at this point. Here’s what the Arizona Republic wrote on May 13th:
Gifts to Arredondo
Arredondo, a former teacher and coach, was running for Tempe City Council in 2001 when seven Fiesta Bowl employees made $875 in contributions to his campaign. Three years later, four employees made another $1,200 in contributions.
At that time, the Fiesta Bowl was headquartered in Tempe and played its game in ASU’s Sun Devil Stadium.
In 2005, the Fiesta Bowl was looking to move its sister game, the Insight Bowl, out of downtown Phoenix. Negotiations began with Tempe, which was looking to replace the Fiesta Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium since the Fiesta was moving to Glendale. One of the key negotiators was Arredondo, according to Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman.
“It’s fair to say Ben Arredondo was intimately involved with ASU, Insight and the Fiesta Bowl,” Hallman said. “Ben Arredondo was continually involved in negotiations.”
Hallman said Arredondo also was close to Husk, who, in addition to lobbying for the Fiesta Bowl, had been a paid consultant for Tempe.
After reaching a memorandum of understanding in July 2005, the city the following year agreed to give the Fiesta Bowl a $6.45 million subsidy to host the Insight Bowl through 2013. The subsidy for each of the next two years is $850,000, while the final year’s payment is $900,000, according to the contract.
In 2007, 2008 and 2009, the Fiesta Bowl said it provided Arredondo with expensive National Football League tickets, including 2009 Super Bowl tickets worth $4,000. In summer 2009, the bowl said, he called saying he wanted to go on a trip. The bowl paid all expenses for Arredondo and his wife, Ruthann, to travel to Minnesota to watch a college football game.
“We paid for everything: the game, the hotel, the meals and the airfare,” Anthony Aguilar, the bowl’s director of community and corporate relations, told Fiesta Bowl investigators.
Arredondo did not return calls to his house, where messages were left with his wife. Ruthann Arredondo declined to answer questions.
On April 1, after the Fiesta Bowl investigative report had been released, Arredondo amended his financial disclosure forms for 2007, 2008 and 2009 to show he received a gift worth more than $500 from the Fiesta Bowl. The amended 2009 form indicates his wife also received a gift. The nature of the gifts was not disclosed.
Where am I going with all this? Here’s my point: The recall effort against Russell Pearce is NOT really about public policy. And it’s not even about the Fiesta Bowl in-kind donations.
The recall effort against Russell Pearce is about people who hate and don’t like Russell Pearce. It’s about working voters up into a rabid frenzy mob mentality to go after someone who you can later say, “We took down Russell Pearce!” If this was a regular election year, these frothing folks would not have anything to rally around because they’d be defending their own political turfs from an electorate that votes right of center. This is about Randy Parraz building a list of people to be exploited elsewhere against another Republican.
So my big question is why won’t the Parraz-led recallers be consistent and also recall Representative Ben Arredondo? The reality is they won’t because Arredondo votes the way they want him to vote.
My challenge is for them to stop being hypocrites and mount a recall effort against Ben Arredondo. And if they can’t find it in themselves to be intellectually honest and consistent, maybe its time for another group to form and recall Ben Arredondo.
UPDATE – November 9, 2011:
The Recall election was a major success for Randy Parraz and crew. Election night, Parraz made the following statement to the Arizona Republic:
Parraz said he and his allies may go after other politicians whom he blames for poisoning Arizona’s political discourse, singling out Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was at Pearce’s side throughout the recall campaign.
“We’re looking at other people, like Sheriff Arpaio,” Parraz said. “If that’s the type of politics Sheriff Arpaio wants, we’ll see what happens in the new year.”
Don’t say we didn’t warn you…