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ABUSIVE POLITICS

As you may recall from last week's column, state Rep. Daniel Patterson's political career is crashing and burning following allegations by his (now ex-)girlfriend that he physically abused her and took her dog.

Patterson, who has rubbed even his Democratic colleagues the wrong way at times, soon found he had few friends at the Capitol or here in Tucson. His fellow Democrats in the House called on him to resign and asked for an ethics investigation. The executive director of the Arizona Democratic Party, Luis Heredia, demanded that the two-term lawmaker step down. The local Latina group Las Adelitas said it was time for him to go.

Patterson, however, appears determined to hang on to his job, at least until voters have their say.

Officers from the Pima County Sheriff's Department were finally able to serve Patterson with two orders of protection last Friday, March 2.

Shortly after the Tucson Weekly reported that service online, Patterson e-mailed us to let us know that we only got the story half-right. He suggested we call his attorney, Joe St. Louis.

One of the protection orders was filed by his ex-girlfriend and former campaign manger, Georgette Escobar, who claims Patterson assaulted her. The other protection order is from his ex-wife, Jeneiene Schaffer, who accused Patterson of abuse during their divorce, although charges were never filed.

On Monday, March 5, the Weekly called St. Louis' office twice, but we didn't hear back from him by our press time on Tuesday.

Perhaps Patterson was hoping his attorney would unveil the investigation he released to the Arizona Capitol Times on Thursday, March 1. (In that story, Patterson was quick to point out that his attorney hired an investigator without his knowledge.) The investigation focused on Escobar's past, ranging from a California State Bar disbarment to domestic-violence charges, car theft and drug-possession convictions.

Patterson said getting the investigation out to the press was "relevant to the credibility of my accuser."

State Rep. Katie Hobbs, who was one of the first Democratic lawmakers to call for his resignation, said the investigation doesn't pardon Patterson from any wrongdoing. Hobbs told the Weekly that Patterson has an opportunity to consider the calls for his resignation, "which I am sure he's doing. I am not aware of the timeframe on that."

If you take a look at Patterson's own tweets after the Friday, Feb. 24, fight that started this mess, it appears he already knew about Escobar's past.

On Feb. 27, Patterson tweeted: "Allegations are lies from person with bad mental problems & violent criminal history trying to blackmail me. I will not resign."

On Feb. 29: "False accuser Georgette Escobar, under a former name, was convicted of domestic violence spousal battery in California."

Patterson's latest tweet addressed the call for his resignation, as well as a possible legislative ethics hearing, just like the one former State Rep. Scott Bundgaard went through after roughing up his ex-girlfriend.

On March 3: "Art. 4 Pt. 2 Sec. 6 of #Arizona Constitution exists so lawmakers can do our jobs for people without harassment during session."

Patterson was referencing the language in the state Constitution that offers lawmakers immunity if facing criminal charges during the legislative session—a legal maneuver Patterson could use if charged, but not to avoid being served.

Rumors began circulating last week that Patterson could face domestic-violence misdemeanor charges based on a Tucson Police Department investigation. However, Tucson City Prosecutor Baird Greene told the Weekly that charges have not been filed, and his office is waiting for the police department to complete its investigation.

The day Patterson was served, his attorney filed a petition for a restraining order against Escobar to prevent her from entering Patterson's home, saying that the city court had no jurisdiction to provide Escobar with an order allowing her access to the residence.

The evidence in Patterson's petition states that Escobar stole Patterson's passport and legal documents, and that she was emotionally unstable and suicidal—details he never mentioned in a missing-persons report he filed regarding Escobar with TPD last month.

Escobar told the Weekly in response to Patterson's investigation that she feels like she is in more danger than ever before. The documents released by St. Louis use her real name—a name she claims she legally changed when she went into a domestic-violence shelter in an effort to escape an abusive husband who was stalking her after she left him.

With her real name released, Escobar said she has no choice but to go back into hiding, and that we will likely never hear from her again.

Escobar told The Skinny that she's probably not the first person involved in local or state politics to have an arrest record or a troubled past. But at this moment, because she's worked hard to be clean and sober, she's proud of the person she's become, not the person she was back then, she said.

She claims documents regarding her name change are sealed, but that Patterson knew about them, which is how his attorney's investigation was able to find the records on her disbarment and criminal history.

"He beat me for days and chained me to the bed and furniture," Escobar said about what she experienced with her estranged husband before finally escaping. "I don't think people really understand what abuse victims go through. Actually, after going through this right now, I don't think they really care."


GREEN SCHEME

Attorney Bill Risner has filed a lawsuit to knock Green Party candidate Charles Manolakis off the ballot in the Congressional District 8 special election on June 12 to complete the term of Gabrielle Giffords, who stepped down from Congress in January.

Risner filed court case on behalf of Luke Knipe, a Democratic Party activist who reportedly noticed that Manolakis is a registered Democrat, not a member of the Green Party.

If Manolakis is kicked off the ballot, there would be no third-party candidate on the ballot when Democrat Ron Barber, a longtime aide to Giffords, faces the winner of the April 17 Republican Party primary.

A hearing has been set for March 12, according to a court document.


DRINK EVERY TIME SOMEONE PROMISES LOWER TAXES

Speaking of the CD 8 primary between state Sen. Frank Antenori, 2010 GOP congressional nominee Jesse Kelly, broadcaster and businessman Dave Sitton and former Air Force fighter pilot Martha McSally: You can catch all four candidates in two debates next week.

The first one will take place up in SaddleBrooke, which is state Sen. Al Melvin's stronghold. Melvin supported Kelly in the 2010 election, but has switched allegiances to Antenori this year.

The Battle-Brooke of SaddleBrooke is from 3:45 to 5:45 on Wednesday, March 14, at the Mountain View Clubhouse, 38759 S. Mountain View Blvd.

The next night, the four candidates will meet again as the Sabino Teenage Republicans host a debate. The STAR-Spangled Tangle will feature moderators from the real alternative media in this town: the right-wing radio guys, including Jon Justice, Emil Franzi and Joe Higgins. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the debate is from 6:30 to 8:30 on Thursday, March 15, at Sabino High School, 5000 N. Bowes Road.

More by Jim Nintzel

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