Cartoon 11-9-11

Removal of IRC Chair Colleen Mathis

When the drafters of Proposition 106 took their idea to the ballot in 2000, they knew they had to address the possibility of the State needing to remove a Commission member. They wrote that a Commission member could be removed by the Governor, with the support of two-thirds of the State Senate, for acts considered “gross misconduct” or “substantial neglect of duty”

Thank goodness they included that in the proposition approved by Arizona voters. Because of that wording, and the overwhelming evidence that Chair Colleen Mathis committed “gross misconduct” and “substantial neglect of duty”, the Governor was able to remove Ms. Mathis before she could do any more damage to our state.

We have to get past the arguments of which party benefits by which map. That’s not what this is about. To make the decision to remove a member of the IRC, we must look at their actions in office. Take the partisan blinders off and look at how Ms. Mathis committed “substantial neglect of duty.”

• She admitted meeting in violation of open-meeting laws in a pursuit “of consensus” on awarding the mapping consultant contract.

• There is evidence that Ms. Mathis fudged the scoring on the mapping consultant in order that her preferred company was chosen. One political commentator indicated that her actions resembled bid rigging.

• She failed to disclose on her application that her husband was the Treasurer of Democratic candidate for the Legislature Nancy Young-Wright.

• Contrary to the Constitution she appointed two vice-chairmen instead of one.

• Her presentation of a donut-hole map, and the instructions to the Commission was a violation of the Constitutional requirement that the maps work from a grid and make adjustments to that grid.

• She privately created her own Congressional district map and forced a vote on that map on the same day it was introduced.

This list of her misconduct does not even include the pages of unconstitutional activities discovered during the course of the Joint Legislative hearings on the Independent Redistricting Commission.

We don’t even need to speculate on the partisan motivations behind all these actions. The actions themselves are more than enough to remove her.

Proposition 106 included very specific guidelines on the role of the Legislature in the redistricting process. This Legislature has followed those guidelines to the letter. Legislative leaders selected four of the five members. The Legislature reviewed the conduct and product of the Commission and made comments to the IRC. Members did this by convening a joint bipartisan commission, although Democrats shirked their duty by “boycotting” meetings. The State Senate has followed the requirement to review and confirm/refuse in the case of the Governor’s removal of a commissioner. Once the Senate received the Governor’s call of a special session and findings outlined in her removal letter to the former IRC Chair, the Senate had a duty to act.

As the weeks go on, many will discuss whether the IRC system is even the best way to draw Congressional and Legislative maps. But that is the system we are under right now, the Governor and Legislature worked in a Constitutional manner and removed a Commission member for a series of unconstitutional acts.

Sen. Andy Biggs, R-22
Majority Leader


The police state and Victoria’s Secret

My hometown of Scottsdale, Ariz. recently bought an armored SWAT vehicle that looks like something out of Hitler’s Wehrmacht. Its cost of nearly $400,000 was picked up by our munificent federal government. It will come in handy if there are ever riots at the Victoria’s Secret store in Scottsdale’s upscale Fashion Square Mall.

Not being of sound mind due to being driven crazy by the irrationality of government and citizens, the purchase compelled me to examine the federal budget for the two line items of Police and Corrections. Below are figures showing the growth in civilian employees and payroll for the two items from 1999 to 2009.

Federal Police
No. of employees in 1999 = 104,096
No. of employees in 2009 = 178,537
Percent of increase = 71.5 percent

Percent of increase in U.S. population for same period = 10 percent

Payroll in 1999 = $514.4 million
Payroll in 2009 = $1.084 billion
Percent of increase = 110 percent

Overall inflation for same period = 28.8 percent

Federal Corrections
No. of employees in 1999 = 30,974
No. of employees in 2009 = 36,802
Percent of increase = 18.8 percent

Payroll in 1999 = $118.1 million
Payroll in 2009 = $202.6 million
Percent of increase = 71.5 percent

No doubt, some readers of this will claim that the increase in federal police employment is due to 9/11. Oh, really? The tragedy of 9/11 didn’t happen because of a lack of law enforcement resources. It happened because federal law enforcement agencies weren’t talking and cooperating with each other.

In any event, the number of federal police employees comes to a mind-boggling 3,570 per state, not counting federal corrections employees.

Also not counted are thousands of IRS agents, OSHA agents, Agriculture agents, Dept. of Education agents, lingerie inspection agents at Victoria’s Secret, and other agents beyond the grasp of my enfeebled and sick mind. Nor does it include the 45,000 TSA screeners – or at least I don’t believe it does, because TSA agents don’t have police powers. (Sorry for being indefinite about this, but quantum mechanics is easier to understand than the federal budget.)

On a related note, the federal government had about three million civilian employees as of 2009, or about 60,000 employees per state. The total payroll for these employees was approximately $16 billion, or $320 million per state. This puts a new meaning to the founding principle of federalism.

Clearly, more research is needed on what all of these federal employees are doing. To that end, I’m headed for Victoria’s Secret.

Mencken’s Ghost


Triangulation in political warfare

First of all, a disclaimer: I am an independent voter, to the right of Attila the Hun, George S. Patton, Curtis LeMay and John Wayne. I vote for the best person, regardless of political affiliation, but, most of all, I tend to vote against candidates (the last candidate to receive my vote for the presidency was Ronald Reagan. Since then, I have written in “NONE OF THE ABOVE,” rather than voting for the evil of two lessers).

We are now faced with the phenomenon of triangulation in politics. ObaMarxists, funded and encouraged by communist multibillionaire George Soros, are committed to the discrediting of any conservative candidate who could oppose Glorious Leader. The present target is Herman Cain, who poses the greatest danger to Glorious Leader’s re-election. Why? Those who voted for Obama in 2008 to show they were not racists may have another black choice, this time on the pro-American, conservative, pro-business side. Most intact black families tend to be religious, patriotic and conservative. Obama may have already lost their support.
This is where triangulation comes in. By eliminating Cain via unfunded allegations of sexual impropriety, the next logical opponent to the Democrats would be Mitt Romney, by default. Then, the evangelical Christians who back Texan Rick Perry could be swayed into staying at home or voting for a third party candidate, just to avoid electing a Mormon, who, in their eyes, is a “cultist.” This would split the opposition, to the benefit of Puppet-Master George Soros and his bought and paid-for figurehead president.

We have one chance to snatch our moribund republic from the grave. We can succeed by electing the NoBama, whoever he may be. At this point, the only viable candidate seems to be Cain, who has had a real job and has had people working for him in very successful business enterprises. We are at the “fourth down on the opponent’s 20-yard line, score tied, four seconds left” stage of the game. Victory depends on the last-second field goal… except that there is no next season for us if we lose. Obama, who lately has been ruling by fiat, with one executive order after another without any congressional participation, is already transforming the USA into the USSA. Past is prologue. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, Perón, Allende, Castro, Chávez, etc. are the past. Let us learn from it!

J-P. A. Maldonado
(Hitler and Perón régime survivor)

P.S. If we fail, see you at the FEMA political re-education facility!


Occupied White House

President Barrack Hussein Obama and his minions have cast aspersions upon, tossed accusations at and employed veiled threats against the Tea Party protesters, but fail to discredit or discourage them. The radical left now appears to be indulging in the purest form of flattery by trying to emulate them. These feral humans being billed as Occupied Wall Street, Occupied D.C. hold no resemblance to the TEA partiers who were law-abiding, nonviolent, sanitary and self funded. The Occupiers are a mob of uninformed socialists looking for yet another handout from the taxpayers.

Evidence is beginning to appear that "contributions" to this rabble have their origins with none other than ACORN. It would seem the President’s favorite community organizing supporters seek to insert a little Chicago style politics into these spontaneous protests. All with the goal of keeping the White House occupied by Obama himself.

Randy Edwards
Cave Creek


Noise from Harold’s

I would like to voice my frustration with the outdoor concerts Harold's has decided is in all of our best interests. If we wanted to move to Rock Concertville, we would have chosen a different home than the one we bought in Carefree. We ALL understand how a precarious economy puts pressure on our tax base, and thriving businesses alleviate that burden, but to what extent do we all have to suffer. The ownership of Harold's should be required to purchase large sound barrier/reflector screens that deflect/reflect the sound back into the crowd. They should go up on each side of the seating area so the crowd can enjoy it ‘til their ear drums explode. I'm sure this can be done, but it's not free. I've seen what Harold's charges for their concerts and this is simply a cost of doing business. This is the type of stuff that true leadership by mayors and council members makes happen. Thank you.

Robert A. Schmidt


Noise violations

Dear Mayor Francia and members of the Town Council,

My wife and I have become increasingly concerned and alarmed by the frequency in noise violations that emanate from the Buffalo Chip and Harold's. We are aware that both of those venues have festivities such as for the 4th of July but this has been expanded to the bull riding and has now been further expanded into outdoor entertainment with loud speakers. The volume that is being put out during these events is mind boggling. We live more than a mile away and the volume is louder than my TV even though I must keep the windows closed.

I have now checked the codes for Cave Creek and have read with interest what is stipulated under TITLE XIII, General Offenses, sub paragraph 130.07, Nuisances. I am sure that you and your people are aware of these paragraphs but allow me to compare what the codes say as opposed to what is happening here.

The code states that it is the policy of the Town of Cave Creek to prohibit excessive or offensive noises from all sources subject to its police power. It further states that above certain levels, excessively loud noises are detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens and in the public interest, such noises should be eliminated. The code then states that it shall be unlawful and a violation of this section for any person to make, continue or cause to be made or continue or to allow or permit any excessive or offensive noise as defined in "D".

Under D2, the code states that it is unlawful to operate any device such as loudspeakers or sound amplifiers that exceed the allowable noise level. In the Tables, one can see that the allowable level is 75dBa. The dBa level is to be measured at the property line from where the noise is coming which, in this case, would be the Buffalo Chip and/or Harold's. They are definitely using loud speakers and amplifiers.

Mr. Francia, I understand that you want to increase the revenues in Cave Creek through sales taxes and that you represent the interests of the various businesses. However, you also represent all citizens and we also have our legal rights. The two businesses in question have their right to conduct business but we also have our right to be protected from violations of the city codes; in this case from excessive noise. Your codes state that excessively loud noises are detrimental to the health and welfare of the citizens and should be eliminated. My wife is undergoing chemo therapy treatments and the doctors have said she is not to be subjected to a lot of stress. I can assure you noise so loud that it permeates our house even though we are over a mile away and have the windows closed is quite stressful. The quality of life is greatly diminished.

The code states that the Town Marshall will uphold the codes when necessary. Has he or you or anyone on the town council actually witnessed how loud the noise is? I can guarantee you that the level far exceeds 75dBa.

I would like to hear from you as to why the noise levels have been allowed to increase to the levels that they are now even though the codes are quite explicit on the matter.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Manfred Braun


Outside noise levels (bands, PA systems) in Cave Creek town core

Dear Mr. Mayor,

For the past 5 years the noise levels in the City of Cave Creek have steadily increased to the point it has become totally unacceptable. Every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday the noise grows louder and louder with the town doing less and less to control it. It used to be an occasional Friday or Saturday, but now it is EVERY Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Could you and the council PLEASE do something, anything, to confine or limit the number of days and sound level of these activities? We moved here for the "Old West Feel," not a Rock Band, Biker Band atmosphere that invades and destroys any of that "Old West Atmosphere."

Any help you could provide for this unacceptable situation would be heaven to our ears and minds.

Tom and Debby Brooks
Cave Creek


Supervisors trying to fix outcome of bar trial against Thomas by repeatedly firing his attorneys

The Arizona State Bar has spent $426,984 on a political witchhunt against Thomas that they have dragged out for over a year, yet Thomas is not allowed equivalent legal representation

From an article in the Arizona Republic ...

Once again, the county is refusing to pay all of Thomas' attorneys, effectively firing two of them midhearing.

The county is legally obligated to provide legal counsel for county officials and employees in litigation that arises from their work.

The county controls the purse strings and has repeatedly fired attorneys retained by Thomas, Aubuchon and Arpaio, citing cost or misconduct as reasons.

Fired and unpaid attorneys

- Ernest Calderon, who was vocal in Thomas' defense, was fired from Thomas' legal team by the county sometime between March and June 2010.

- Kris Kobach, who helped write Arizona's immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, and was consulting with the Sheriff's Office, was fired by interim County Attorney Rick Romley in June 2010. At that time, county officials were also trying to figure out how Washington, D.C., attorney Robert Driscoll, who represented Arpaio in a racketeering suit against county officials and judges, was paid $155,000 from a fund reserved for racketeering investigations. Driscoll testified in the ethics hearing Thursday.

- The law firm of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC. which represented Thomas in his state Bar hearings and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in numerous matters, was fired by the county in September 2010 after being accused of billing irregularities. The firm is still owed $1.1 million, but the county wants auditors to examine $5 million in billings first.

- Mark Goldman and the law firm of Wilenchik & Bartness PC, which represented Aubuchon, were fired in October 2010, with the accusation that their billings were exorbitant. The county paid them more than $263,000 before the state Bar complaint was filed.

In February 2010, the county agreed to pay for Aubuchon's and Thomas' defenses but set a low cap of $100,000 for each. Aubuchon's attorneys announced that they would work pro bono rather than abide by the cost restriction.

Thomas' team had neared the $100,000 limit by this June, and Wilson, the former lead attorney, threatened to withdraw when the county balked at paying more money. The county, working through County Attorney Bill Montgomery, agreed to renegotiate, and Wilson and his team stayed on.

"Bar counsel has had five lawyers working full time," Wilson said. "And they had a year-plus head start on us."

Those attorneys are paid by the state Bar, which is a quasi-governmental body supported by attorneys' membership dues.

According to Bar spokesman Rick DeBruhl, the costs of the investigation, the hearing panelists and the attorneys amounted to $426,984 as of September.

Thomas has been represented by a team of four attorneys since before the hearing began.
But Don Wilson, Thomas' lead attorney, said he was notified last week that the county would not pay for "multiple attorneys at depositions and hearings."

Wilson declined to give details other than that. According to an Oct. 20 memo from the county's risk-management department, Thomas was allowed only two attorneys at a time at depositions or hearings.

Maricopa County officials would not answer any questions about the decision not to pay all his attorneys.

American Post–Gazette
Distributed by COMMONSENSE, in Arizona