Thursday, December 24, 2009

JD or not JD? – That is the question


Clueless Grant Woods thinks he has the answer

(Reprinted from Common Sense)

For those of you who live in Rush Limbaugh’s Rio Linda, JD is former Congressman and current KFYI 550 AM conservative, radio talk-show host. Grant Woods is a washed up politician who formerly held the post of Arizona Attorney General.

You can always tell when a politician is beginning to panic. A leading indicator is a poll that shows them losing ground or trailing another candidate. Not too long ago, Senator John McCain was shown to be out of touch with Arizona and another poll showed him in a statistical dead heat with JD Hayworth, in a bid for the Senate in the 2010 election. This is rather remarkable in-as-much as Hayworth is not even in the race. In fact, his position does not differ dramatically from that of Charlie the mailman who serves the postal route in our neighborhood. Charlie also has not declared his candidacy for the Senate seat, and we doubt he will. However, JD might, and this is why McCain is showing signs of discomfort.

Many seasoned politicians keep a bag of dirty tricks in their closets, that they haul out when the season starts. In a cowardly attempt to ensure they maintain the aura of “Mr. Clean,” they get someone else to do the dirty work for them. Grant Woods is apparently eager to fill that role. He recently filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission in Washington, alleging that Mr. Hayworth and his employer, Clear Channel, the owner of KFYI, are violating federal law through in-kind contributions, in a bid to launch JD’s campaign for the US Senate.

It is the nature of talk shows that callers will phone in and suggest that the host ought to run for this office or that. Some of JD’s fans have talked to him about running for governor; others have suggested taking back his seat from Congressman Harry Mitchell, and of course, some believe that JD would make a fine US senator. John McCain has alienated a substantial portion of his natural base by drifting leftward, and no issue separates candidate McCain and non-candidate Hayworth more than illegal immigration. McCain is virtually an icon for immigration reform, (wink-wink) which is just another way of saying: Let’s keep the floodgates open so non-citizens

can destroy our country (McAmnesty). Hayworth has been very critical of McCain and others on this, and wants sealed borders along with strong measures to encourage illegals to pack up and move to their natural homes. This division makes McCain and Hayworth natural political rivals, and sets the stage for a potential battle.

Will JD declare himself a candidate? At this point nobody knows, including Hayworth himself. Political life is not a bed of roses. It exposes anyone who decides to swim in those murky waters to the seedy underside of human behavior. Anything goes, families become fair game, and even non-candidates who are suspected of posing a potential threat become targets. Frequently it is the American people who suffer the most, when the vanguards of special interests prevail. Maybe this time we will get lucky. Keep your fingers crossed and support the candidate who supports us, the little guys. One thing is sure. Whatever feud simmered between Grant Woods and John McCain for almost two decades has been put aside in their mutual political panic concerning the popularity of JD Hayworth with the Republican Base in Arizona.

That’s a small miracle at this special time of year-and in its own strange way, makes Hayworth a uniter, not a divider!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The sheriff vs the feds and illegals

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

December 19, 2009

Obama administration sides with lawbreakers

Sheriff Joe fights back - you can help

arpaio

My Dear Friends:

.I am outraged at the sham being played right now by the Obama administration to stop my lawful enforcement of our immigration laws. Please - I need your help today.

The United State Justice Department just advertised late last week that they established a Sheriff Joe Arpaio "Hotline" fo

r the sole purpose of soliciting people (so-called victims) to call and report so-called injustices and wrongdoings that my deputies are allegedly conducting. This is a blatant and transparent demonstration of the hollow shell of the Justice Department's non-existent case against me. Further, it clearly shows the level of outright fraud on their part to bring baseless allegations against the very deputies that THEY THEMSELVES trained to arrest illegal aliens.

Just last month, the Obama White House through the Justice Department and Homeland Security Department under Janet Napolitano, took away my authority to make street arrests and detain illegal immigrants and human smugglers. I have defied that outrageous and irresponsible federal policy that does nothing but tie the hands of Sheriffs and Police officers all across the country.

Since October when my Deputy Sheriffs had their federal authority pulled by the Obama White House, we have continued crime suppression operations in accordance with the Constitution of the United States and the Laws of the State of Arizona. My office, in this short month-and-a-half time, has arrested 54 felony smugglers and caused the deportation of over 1,400 illegal aliens. This brings to a total of illegal aliens captured and deported to almost 35,000 in the last two years. This represents almost one-third of the total arrests and deportations in the entire United States; and more than all of the other 64 local law enforcement agencies combined.

The Obama White House wants to put me out of business. Why?

The only reason they are doing this is to stop me from enforcing the laws of this state and our country. Why? Why would they try to prevent me from arresting those who are breaking the law? It all comes down to AMNESTY. They want to so badly weaken laws against illegal immigration that they can establish automatic citizenship for those who cross our borders illegally. It is appalling to think that the Obama administration wants to spend our tax dollars in placing these criminals in hospitals and hotels at our expense while they figure out a way to con the citizens of the United States that this is good for our economy. This is rubbish and insults the intelligence of hard working Americans.

If the liberal politicians and media want me to stop arresting illegal immigrants and human smugglers, then they need to change the law. For me to pick and choose which laws I want to enforce would not only be a dereliction of duty, it would lead to anarchy and chaos. I am saddened that so few politicians will join this fight and choose to ignore the laws and make empty excuses as to why we cannot secure our borders. That is why I need your help today.

The DOJ knows full well that by establishing a toll-free number, in English and in Spanish, that my political opponents, left-wing open borders activists and extremists can "stack the deck" and make any open-ended allegation they want to. The Department of Justice has already lied and openly violated the rights of my Deputies.

The allegations against me and my office are already absurd. You can just imagine what will happen now.

Never in my thirty years of working as a federal law enforcement official did we ever target a locally elected Sheriff the way this Obama Administration has. This is a fight that I cannot lose. This is the front line in the battle on illegal immigration. This is a fight that WE cannot lose.

The same people who have called me a racist; depicted me as a KKK member hanging a Hispanic man; burned me in effigy; beheaded me in effigy then paraded my severed head in a mob of cheering protesters; sued and picketed me will be calling that hotline on daily basis making more and more outrageous and false claims against me and my dedicated Deputies.

This action by the Justice Department is completely irresponsible, reckless and provocative. In fact, it's so far out there they may have gotten the idea from the Reverend Al Sharpton. (The Rev. Al Sharpton came to Phoenix earlier this year just so he could hold an Anti-Arpaio rally and label me a racist.)

Today, I make you a steadfast promise: No matter what political shenanigans these people try, I will never back down one inch. And, I'm not going to surrender.

But I desperately need your help.

These left-wing groups and their allies in the media need to know just how strong the support is among law-abiding people like you for me and my policies. They are mounting an all out effort to remove me as Sheriff. For months now, people have been bused in to protest in front of my headquarters. Will you please stand with me and help me fight this fight?

It's going to take a lot of resources to combat these false allegations - as well as the latest talk about a recall campaign against me. We anticipate the hardest campaign in Maricopa county history to remove me due to my unyielding stance on illegal immigration enforcement.

Your financial support today is so critical. Please log on to http://www.reelectjoearpaio.com right now and make a much needed contribution. Any amount you can offer today is tremendously appreciated. I promise I will not let you down. Our country's future depends on what we do now.

I cannot thank you enough for joining me in this battle. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Maricopa County

P.S. In addition to making a contribution, please do me a favor and forward this email to your friends, family and other individuals who share our views. Together we can win this fight. Thank you.

Paid for by Re-Elect Joe Arpaio 2012

Friday, December 18, 2009

Politicians worse than payday lenders

Payday lenders have been unsuccessfully trying to get the law that allows them to operate extended. Without this change, the industry will cease to exist on July 1, 2010.

You may have noticed that various politicians, including Attorney General Terry Goddard, have lined up to bash the payday loan industry. http://www.azsos.gov/election/2008/info/PubPamphlet/english/Prop200.htm Typical of this bashing has been regulator, er, legislator Debbie McCune-Davis bashing payday lenders for charging a 391% annual interest rate. http://www.azsos.gov/election/2008/info/PubPamphlet/english/Prop200.htm

But when it comes to usurious activities by our city officials, Goddard and McCune Davis look the other way.

In late September I received a $16 parking ticket from the City of Phoenix for an expired meter. Actually, someone else was driving my car, and I paid the ticket, but the City says the payment arrived too late and has assessed extra charges. It's now mid-December, about two and a half months after receiving the ticket, and the $16 ticket has grown to $58.

For those of you with a calculator at home that's a 1,226% annual interest rate, a rate that would make your neighborhood loan shark blush.

I've got no love for the payday loan industry, but I would have been much better off taking a loan out from a payday lender, even at 341% interest, and paying the City with that money. Of course, the politicians want to rid me of that option by eliminating payday lenders. It's also interesting to note that payday lenders can only sue you if you don't pay, whereas the City will take your car away for nonpayment (but don't worry, you can take their crappy bus service or trolley around if you lose your car!)

So I ask you, who is worse, the payday lender or the politician?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Criminal Complaint Filed against Presiding Criminal Judge

MARICOPA COUNTY ATTORNEY NEWS RELEASE

County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced today that a criminal complaint has been filed against Judge Gary Donahoe for hindering prosecution, obstruction of justice and bribery. The counts involve the alleged obstruction of a criminal inquiry into the new Court Tower involving the Superior Court, the Board of Supervisors, and their shared law firm, along with other acts.

Judge Donahoe had scheduled a hearing today on the Board of Supervisors’ unprecedented request that the County Attorney be barred from prosecuting them or other county employees for any crime. Such a hearing, which the County Attorney’s Office regards as illegal, has apparently never before been held in Arizona history. It would have allowed, and all but ensured, that ongoing grand-jury matters, which are confidential by state statute, be aired in front of criminal defendants and suspects. Judge Donahoe now has vacated the hearing.

Thomas stated, “When persons who are charged with enforcing the law willfully misuse that authority to protect themselves or their benefactors from investigation or prosecution for possible crimes, that conduct will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.”

Arpaio stated, “I have many officers working in the court system who have an ongoing relationship with the judiciary. Today’s events pertaining to Judge Donahoe are unfortunate and difficult. But it is our joint duty to uphold the law. When one fails to do so, one must be held accountable.”

Stapley, Wilcox Indicted

MARICOPA COUNTY ATTORNEY NEWS RELEASE

Other Investigations Continue

Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced today that the Maricopa County grand jury has indicted Supervisors Donald T. Stapley Jr. and Mary Rose Wilcox.
Stapley has been indicted on 2 counts of fraudulent schemes and artifices, 19 counts of theft, and 2 counts each of perjury, forgery and false swearing. The first count of fraudulent schemes involves obtaining mortgage loans under fraudulent pretenses. The second fraudulent scheme and theft counts relate to Stapley’s alleged solicitation and use of NACo campaign funds for personal aggrandizement.

Stapley allegedly spent $6000 of these funds at Bang and Olufson electronics, along with $1300 for hair implants, $400 for candle holders and $10,000 for furniture for his home. He also spent these funds, solicited as campaign money, to buy tickets to Broadway plays and movie theatres, flowers, grocery store bills, massages, department stores and trips for his family to Sundance, Utah to ski, a trip for his son and friends to Florida and a three-week vacation in Hawaii for his entire family at a beach house costing approximately $11,000.

Wilcox was indicted for 12 counts of conflict of interest and 8 counts each of perjury, forgery and false swearing. Wilcox obtained five known loans from Chicanos Por La Causa, an organization devoted to assisting the disadvantaged, through its lending arm, Prestamos. While she had a $7500 loan outstanding in 2002 and into 2003, she allegedly voted on numerous contracts or grants involving that agency as a member of the Board of Supervisors. She never filed any type of conflict notice with the Clerk of the Board as required by law. She continued to vote to give Chicanos Por La Causa funds in 2004-2005 then obtained an additional loan of $50,000 in 2005. While that loan was outstanding, she voted in 2005-2006 to give the same organization contracts or grants. In 2008, she received three loans, one personal loan for $120,000 and two business loans totalling $240,000.

In an effort to mediate differences with the Board of Supervisors, Thomas transferred the first Stapley case and other criminal investigations to the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office. After sheriff’s deputies arrested Stapley on new charges earlier this year, and following the failure of these efforts at reconciliation, Yavapai County returned ongoing matters to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, and Thomas appointed special prosecutors to investigate them. However, in an unprecedented act, the Board refused to approve their appointment. As a result of these and related factors, including an attempt to save taxpayer dollars, Thomas’ office has opted to prosecute these matters itself.

Thomas stated the law is clear there is no conflict of interest for his office to prosecute county officers or employees for crimes, and these defendants will be treated the same as any others. Even retired Judge Kenneth Fields, whom Arpaio and Thomas sued in a federal racketeering lawsuit last week, found there was no conflict of interest in the County Attorney’s Office’s first indictment and prosecution of Stapley.

The Arizona Court of Appeals has held specifically that the Maricopa County Attorney can prosecute a Maricopa County elected official for crimes in office without a conflict of interest (State v. Brooks). The Arizona Supreme Court likewise found no conflict of interest in the Attorney General’s prosecution of Governor Evan Mecham.

All of the defendants named in the federal racketeering lawsuit filed last week by Arpaio and Thomas are under active criminal investigation for hindering prosecution and other offenses. Sheriff’s deputies have formally requested voluntary interviews from the four Superior Court Judges named in the lawsuit.

Thomas stated that any person, and particularly government employee or taxpayer-funded individual, who takes any public or private action to obstruct or intimidate investigation or prosecution of county officials or employees will be dealt with appropriately. Sheriff Arpaio stated, “The allegations against these elected officials reflect a pattern of their using their offices to benefit themselves.” “Nobody is above the law,” said Thomas. “Our office will continue to aggressively prosecute whitecollar, fraud and public-corruption cases.”

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sheriff Arpaio: JUDGE’S RECORD SHOWS BIAS IN JAILING OF SHERIFF’S DETENTION OFFICER

MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF PRESS RELEASE

Officer’s Judgment Right or Wrong; Jail Time Unacceptable

(Maricopa County, Arizona) An examination of Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Gary
Donahoe’s record over the past 18 months shows that defendants who have committed crimes such as child abuse, drug possession, and aggravated assault, often walk away without serving any jail time. Yet, this week, when a young Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office detention officer who acted in good faith attempting to maintain the safety and security of courtroom staff and the public, was ordered to serve jail time by Judge Donahoe as a way to fire a political shot and to send a message to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Some examples of Judge Donahoe’s past rulings are as follows:

Tommy Hammond Reckless Child Abuse No Jail Time
CR2004-018462-001 Class 3 Felony Probation Only
(Presentence report states the child suffered “serious physical injury”)

Zachary James Alosi Theft of Means of Transportation No Jail Time
CR2007-174674-003 Class 3 Felony Probation Only

David Earl Sharp Theft of Credit Card or Obtaining No Jail Time
CR2007-169111-001 a Credit Card by Fraudulent Means Probation Only
Class 5 Felony

Christopher Sandoval Possession or Use of Narcotic No Jail Time
CR2007-112755-001 Drugs Probation Only
Class 4 Felony

Steve Elliott Eilers Solicitation of Perjury No Jail Time
CR2008-006933-001 Class 6 Felony Probation Only

Jerome Henley Possession or Use of No Jail Time
CR2007-153604-001 Marijuana Probation Only
Class 1 Misdemeanor

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and members of the law enforcement community have
expressed shock and disappointment in the fact that Detention Officer Adam Stoddard was jailed this week for civil contempt.

The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) stated, “Punitive actions issued from the bench for apparent political purposes against a law enforcement officer acting in good faith were
completely unnecessary in this situation.”

Officer Stoddard was working as the security officer in Judge Lisa Flores’ courtroom when a
criminal hearing was held on October 19, 2009 for known Mexican Mafia associate, Defendant
Antonio Lozano. During that hearing, Officer Stoddard’s training and education caused him to
detect that Mexican Mafia activity may have been afoot between the defendant and what he believed to be out of custody gang members in the courtroom who could potentially jeopardize the safety and security of the courtroom.

While addressing the security concern, Officer Stoddard noticed a document written in pencil, which led him to believe was written by the defendant in plain view, that he had not previously checked for contraband. Upon quick review of the document, Stoddard determined that certain words further heightened his security concerns. In a split second decision, Officer Stoddard took the document in plain view of the judge and security cameras that he was aware would be captured on tape, and handed it over to another officer for copying to preserve the evidence for security purposes.

Judge Donahoe took several days to determine that the contents of this document posed no seriousthreat to security of the courtroom. Perhaps if Officer Stoddard had the luxury of thinking about his decision for several days he may have acted differently. Officer Stoddard instead had little time to make a decision because of the threat that he perceived.

The document was part of the defense counsel’s case file. The document was subsequently shared with the judge but, importantly, was never shared with the prosecutor. To date the contents of this document have been sealed by the court.

Judge Donahoe originally ordered Officer Stoddard to hold a press conference in front of the court
building to publicly apologize to defense counsel or go to jail. Judge Donahoe further ordered that
the defense attorney be satisfied with Stoddard’s apology or risk going to jail upon her decision.

The Sheriff’s Office stands behind Officer Stoddard because the security threat he perceived was
very real and Officer Stoddard was doing his best to protect the judge, attorneys, and everyone in the courtroom. Sheriff Arpaio stated, “If this judge wants to take a politically motivated shot at my office, he should take it at me, not a young hard-working detention officer trying to do his job.”

Judge Donahoe’s treatment of Officer Stoddard is unconscionable and unprecedented. Officer
Stoddard – a hardworking detention officer who was acting in good faith to protect the judge and her courtroom, and who has not been convicted of a crime – must be freed immediately!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Why is AZ Republic reporter Yvonne Wingett covering criminal issues when she has 5 Failures to Appear?


Why does Arizona Republic reporter Yvonne Wingett support the criminal activities of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors? Maybe is because her track record with the law isn't so clean either. Yvonne Wingett is the Arizona Republic reporter assigned to cover the county and criminal issues. Her articles appear to be nothing more than press releases for the County Supervisors, regularly attacking law enforcement. We have discovered the reason for this. She has five Failures to Appear in court. WHY ISN'T SHE IN JAIL???? Anyone else would be. She flaunts the law. What is this woman, who clearly has no respect for the law, doing assigned to cover criminal issues? It is unclear from the case numbers what kind of offenses these were, probably some kind of traffic offense. At any rate, it is inappropriate for someone who repeatedly puts others lives at danger on the road then is held unaccountable, to be covering criminal issues involving county law enforcement and the Superior Court. She needs to be removed from covering these kinds of issues, as we have seen in her coverage of Sheriff Arpaio and County Attorney Thomas's prosecution of the supervisors, she will not provide fair coverage.

(To look up Yvonne Wingett's Failures to Appear, click here and search on her name)


M-0741-3199941
YVONNE MARIE WINGETTDEFENDANT
TEMPE, AZ 852831401Phoenix Municipal

M-0741-3197315
YVONNE MARIE WINGETTDEFENDANT
TEMPE, AZ 852831401Phoenix Municipal

M-0741-3212007
YVONNE MARIE WINGETTDEFENDANT
TEMPE, AZ 852831401Phoenix Municipal

M-0741-3196250
YVONNE MARIE WINGETTDEFENDANT
TEMPE, AZ 852831401Phoenix Municipal

M-0741-3173776
YVONNE MARIE WINGETTDEFENDANT
TEMPE, AZ 852831401Phoenix Municipal

M-0741-3325511
YVONNE MARIE WINGETTDEFENDANT 1978PHOENIX, AZPhoenix Municipal

M-0741-3790943
YVONNE MARIE WINGETTDEFENDANT
TEMPE, AZ 852831401Phoenix Municipal

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Silly Arizona Republic editorial glosses over criminal issues in racketeering complaint

The Arizona Republic wrote an editorial yesterday entitled, "Dear Judge, Toss aside case from Arpaio, Thomas." Besides the obvious fact it is inappropriate for a newspaper to tell a judge how to handle a case, especially a high-profile criminal case, it is pretty clear from the editorial that no one bothered to even read the racketeering complaint. No wonder the Republic's circulation keeps tanking, in Journalism 101 they teach you to read about the subject you're going to write on. Instead, it's quite clear they knew what they were going to write before they ever read the facts. It has become painfully obvious that the Republic's editorial board and reporter Yvonne Wingett are essentially writing press releases for the Supervisors, there is no objectivity in their articles.

If the editorial board had actually read the complaint, they might have expressed a little concern over what's really happening: the Board of Supervisors is stonewalling Arpaio's and Thomas's efforts to prosecute two of their own for felonies, and they are protecting them by buying off the Superior Court through promising them a $341 million brand-new court tower with penthouse quarters for judges. Their attorney, Tom Irvine, is also the attorney for the Superior Court, a blatant conflict of interest that any 1st year law student could spot. And they're using our tax dollars to do all of this. Our tax dollars are funding their stonewalling efforts, Tom Irvine, and their new Shadow County Attorney's Office they've set up.

What would the Republic's editorial board like to happen instead? Dismiss the criminal complaints against Supervisors Stapley and Wilcox and let them walk around without ever being held accountable? Without laws and the enforcement of laws in society, we have chaos. Now we hear that Stapley is going to be promoted to chairman of the Board of Supervisors! Enough is enough. Irvine should have his bar license removed and should be required to reimburse the taxpayers for the millions of dollars he's taken in within the past couple of years from the Supervisors and the Superior Court.

Racketeering complaint against Supervisors, Superior Court, and their unethically shared attorney



















Monday, November 23, 2009

Another classic example of yellow journalism, full of lies by Yvonne Wingett


submitted by a reader


Yvonne Wingett, the Arizona Republic hack reporter assigned to cover Maricopa County government, developed a pattern of playing fast and loose with the facts. In the absence of any real news, she makes up her own. Her close relationship with the County Supervisors, colors her coverage of all county affairs. She turns a blind eye to the Supervisors' illegal acts and gives their attempts to take over other county agencies a free pass. She is complicit in assisting the Supervisors smear other county agencies and is often seen cozying up to the County PIO, Richard de Uriarte. Take the article she wrote in Saturday's Arizona Republic about an audit of the County Treasurer's Office, entitled “Audit Cites Treasurer's Office Slip-ups.” Did she even bother to read it first (the entire audit is pasted below)? (http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2009/11/21/20091121treasureraudit1121.html )

The Supervisors ordered an audit of the County Treasurer's Office for no reason other than to harass the office, which had not been acceding to its demands. Wingett ignores the overall positive report, and instead accuses the office of mishandling procurement and the hiring of contractors. She asserts that “the office failed to follow county procurement policies on tens of thousands of dollars of contracts.” This sounds terrible, but in reality, it involved two contracts for computer services. One of them was arranged by the County's OET division, not the Treasurer's Office. So the County Supervisors should have been dinged for failing to follow procurement policies, not the Treasurer's Office.

As for Wingett's other accusation, she says the office did not properly formalize agreements before hiring two contract employees. She left out the fact that both the hiring and the payments took place during the prior administration. The exact quote from the report on the issue is,


The payments to Help Desk Technology and Teri Johnson occurred before November 13, 2007 and were authorized by the previous Treasurer.”


She also ignores the main audit finding:


“For the period reviewed, we found that TIF expenditures were in compliance with ARS §11-495. In addition, we found that TIF revenues were collected and recorded in compliance with this statute.”


Why would she do this? Simple, it's more helpful to the Supervisors to smear their enemy’s current County Treasurer.


This kind of reporting demonstrates that Wingett cannot be trusted to be a fair and impartial reporter. She is the very model of the worst kind of reporter. Her biases come through, and it is reporting like hers that is the reason why people are increasingly deserting the Arizona Republic as a legitimate news source. She is a discredit to all real reporters and an embarrassment to the Arizona Republic, and that’s hard to do.








Monday, November 16, 2009

Look who's in bed together!



submitted by a reader

Phoenix New Times has the story connecting Chuck Coughlin from High Ground - the consulting firm exposed by Sonoran Alliance for getting the Republican Party to push an 18% sales tax increase - to indicted County Supervisor Don Stapley in order to find someone to send a threatening letter to the County Attorney about his hiring of special prosecutors to prosecute Stapley. According to the article, Coughlin has it out for the County Attorney ever since he was prosecuted for campaign finance violations when he ran the Prop. 400 campaign to raise taxes (which passed, now we have light rail). Between the two, they got their friend Pat Gilbert, who runs the Marc Center which Coughlin and Stapley and Stapley's former business partner and convicted felon Conley Wolfswinkel have long supported, to submit a public records request to the County Attorney for information relating to the outside prosecutors they hired to prosecute Stapley.

Sounds highly unethical.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shadow county attorneys office larger than we thought

This was posted in a comment on the Sonoran Alliance, explaining that there are more attorneys under Swanson and Stewart than previously thought -

Article didn’t get the Smith’s hatchman correctly…its Wade Swanson. He has at least 11 attorneys under him, 5 paralegals, and 9 more support staff. Richard Stewart now has a staff of 10.

Monday, November 9, 2009

State Bar of AZ adds 5 new diversity committees - already has 8

(submitted by a reader)

Not satisfied with having the most diversity bar subgroups in the country, the Arizona State Bar has decided to add 5 more. Currently, the Bar has:

EXISTING DIVERSITY GROUPS
Sexual Orientation and Gender committee
Minorities and Women in the Law committee
Arizona Women's Lawyers Association
Black Women Lawyer's Association
Native American Bar Association
Arizona Black Bar
Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association
Arizona Asian-American Bar Association

NEW DIVERSITY GROUPS
Kenyan-African-Americans, Luo tribe (Obama)
Kenyan-African-Americans, Kikuyus tribe
Potswama Native American tribe
Transgendered attorneys
Transsexual attorneys


Evinto Podhopper, the Diversity Director for the State Bar, had this to say about the expansion,

"We felt that it was necessary to add a minority group for Kenyans, considering Obama is now our president. But because his wealthy Kenyan tribe is currently warring with the other dominant tribe in Kenya, we thought it was best to keep the two separate from one another. Although we don't know of any real Kenyans in Arizona practicing law, we figure by creating a group just for them, some of them will step forward and identify themselves."

"We've added a subgroup for the Native American Potswama tribe which has just been recognized by the federal government as a tribe. Because they were only just now recognized, they feel like their interests aren't the same as tribes that have already been recognized for awhile, and would feel more comfortable with their own representation."

"There was some feuding going on in the Sexual Orientation and Gender committee between the gays, lesbians and bisexuals on one side, and the transgendered and transsexuals on the other side. In order to make everyone happy, we thought we would separate out the transgendered and transsexuals who were suffering the most oppression and discrimination. I think I should receive an award for coming up with this plan for peace."

A member of the Arizona Board of Governors, who spoke to us only on condition of anonymity, said, "Great, now instead of sitting through 8 boring reports while our eyes glaze over, we're going to have to sit through 13. I am part Potswama but I am not going to admit it and have people look at me and blame me for another boring report. What does being Potswama have to do with the law anyway? Attorneys are required to pay mandatory dues that pay for this kind of stuff. I don't think that's right."

Friday, November 6, 2009

Supervisors' Shadow County Attorney's Office growing larger than County Attorney's litigation dept.


We've been told that the Supervisors' new Shadow County Attorney's Office is expanding and paying its newly hired attorneys huge salaries - WITH YOUR TAX DOLLARS. They started their own litigation department last spring under Wade Stewart, the 35-year old attorney they hired who they're paying $175,000/yr (higher than any attorney at the entire County Attorney's Office, even senior 25-year prosecutors who prosecuted the Serial Shooters case). Wade is a green attorney who issued an embarassingly incorrect legal opinion a couple of weeks ago based on an Attorney General's opinion that had been reversed. We're told his new litigation department is now up to 10 attorneys and growing - that's 3 more attorneys than the County Attorney's litigation section has ever had! The Supervisors have also started a second section of attorneys under Richard Stewart, a former litigator for the County Attorney's Office.

After the Supervisors gutted the budget for the County Attorney's Civil Division in order to steal the division and put it underneath them, they lured many of the employees away with gigantic pay increases. One litigator was given a $27,000/yr pay increase! Yes that's right. County Attorney employees haven't received raises for two or three years due to the recession, and their jobs have become harder due to the hiring freeze and the Supervisors forcing the law enforcement office to cut 15%, yet the Board of Supervisors is hiring new attorneys like it's going out of style and giving them ridiculous pay increases.

This new Shadow County Attorney's Office is so shadowy, it's not even listed on the Supervisors' org chart. Although the diversity manager is. The Supervisors seem to have forgotten that the people elected Andrew Thomas to head the County Attorney's Office, not them. A Rasmussen poll last month found that Thomas's approval rating is currently at 64% among voters with an opinion, considered a high approval rating. Most of the County Supervisors got elected to their positions because those undesirable offices fly under the radar and attract few candidates. The voters of Maricopa County don't want the unpopular Supervisors stealing away the County Attorney's Office from under Thomas. What this comes down to is this: The Supervisors are trying to stop Thomas from prosecuting two of their own for numerous alleged felonies, by taking away funding for his office to decimate it.

The legitimacy of the Shadow County Attorney's Office is currently being litigated in the Court of Appeals.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Why is Senate president Bob Burns writing "Conservative calls for sales-tax hike?"


AZ Senate President Bob Burns (R) has an article in the Republic defending a referral to the ballot of an 18% sales tax increase. Why is the leading Republican in the Senate publicly calling for a tax increase referral? Shouldn't this be coming from the Democrat Party?

Instead of criticizing Republican Governor Brewer for line-item vetoing the spending cuts the legislature had included in the budget in order to balance the budget, Burns attacks everyone else. He criticizes budget gimmicks but doesn't criticize the governor's budget gimmick of using the line-item veto to increase the budget! Governor Brewer is equally at fault, especially since she has been the main Republican advocating for the sales tax increase. Governor Napolitano got us into this mess, but Governor Brewer is not fixing it by increasing taxes. Raising taxes never improves the economy but merely enables big spenders to continue their bad habits.
I surprised many people when I announced earlier this year my support for putting a 1-cent-per-dollar sales-tax increase on the ballot. Do not misunderstand me. The revenue generated from such a tax increase (less than $900 million in current economic conditions) will not entirely solve the problem. I also recognize the distinct possibility that voters may reject any such proposal. In either case, I will continue to advocate for more reductions in state spending to balance the budget.
And here he sounds as if he is somewhat supportive of voting for the tax increase once it makes it to the ballot!
We have lost enough precious time already. The question needs to be asked: Are you willing to pay, in addition to your current tax burdens, another penny on the dollar in sales tax in order to provide more revenue for your government? There may not be an official declaration that Arizona is in a state of emergency, but in my view, we're in one.
This is real disappointment. Burns should not claim to be a conservative if he is advocating for sales tax increase referral. The article should have been more correctly named, "Republican caves into pressure for 18% sales tax increase and fails to call out Governor."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Supervisors Wilson, Brock and Wilcox vote to hike photo speed camera ticket fees

Sonoran Alliance covered the story of the Supervisors notifying the public at the last minute (only 24 hours notice in advance) that they would be voting on hiking speed camera ticket fees by $20. Despite their attempt to keep the public uninformed, several people showed up and expressed their opposition to the speed camera ticket hike. Yet the Supervisors ignored them and voted for it anyways (Supervisors Stapley and Kunasek didn't vote). The speed cameras are widely disliked in Arizona and have not been successful at bringing in promised revenues. The Supervisors aren't representing their constituents by voting to increase the fines.

Paper misfired in labeling Arpaio

Letter to the editor in the Arizona Republic from Barnett Lotstein of the County Attorney's Office

Sunday's editorial ("Elected officials allowed costly fight to rage on") and E.J. Montini's column ("Thomas vs. the supervisors: The dog, the hydrant and us") both hit and missed the mark.

The editorial accurately described the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors' attempt to stymie the appointment of special prosecutors as "foot-dragging designed to protect one of its own - (Don) Stapley."

The Editorial Board misfired in attempting to characterize both Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the board as "wallflowers." That describes the board, not Sheriff Arpaio. It's safe to say that Arpaio doesn't take his marching orders from anybody except voters.

Those of us who work regularly with the sheriff know that Chief Deputy David Hendershott does not set policy. He is a competent, effective second in command.

The Editorial Board hit the bulls' eye in characterizing County Manager David Smith as the board's "generalissimo." His agenda of increasing his power has resulted in a search-and-destroy mission against elected officials, including the county attorney, sheriff and treasurer. If anyone needs to be reined in, it is "generalissimo" Smith.

In a more light-hearted vain, while the editorial writer has chosen to compare me to Othello's Iago, I would suggest I am more like Tonto to the Lone Ranger.

As to Montini, I suggest that the only dog in his rhetorical inquiry is the Board of Supervisors and that the public is the hydrant. I will not describe what the dog is doing so as not offend his sensibilities and to ensure that my comments are fit for inclusion in a family newspaper.

- Barnett Lotstein,Phoenix

The writer is a special assistant county attorney.