INVESTIGATION PERSUASIONThe last time we brought you news about the Pima County elections-integrity debacle, we left some election-integrity activists whining about lynching references and jokes about MRI machines. Hey, election-integrity peeps: A sense of humor is a good thing, the last time we checked. Why don't y'all consider developing one?
Meanwhile, the Pima County Board of Supervisors was making big promises about an investigation that would determine what, exactly, happened during last month's primary election, when those election-integrity activists expressed serious concerns about some oddities noted by election observers, including:
• Chain-of-custody issues regarding ballot bags unsealed and/or with the wrong paperwork inside.
• What's being described by activists as the "illegal" arrest of Democratic Party-appointed election auditor John Brakey.
• The fact that Pima County officials blamed the late returns on reforms pushed by the Pima County Democratic Party, which smells kind of like bullshit to many, including The Skinny.
• Finally, claims of overall mismanagement in the elections department, which is run by Brad Nelson. (Off with his job!)
According to Board of Supes Chairman Richard Elías: Yes, the investigation is still in the works. Elías says county staff is currently collecting information for the investigation, and the only thing needed before an investigation can officially start is the formation of a county-created Election Integrity Commission. Each supervisor is responsible for appointing a representative from their districts, as are both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.
Elías says he understands that only one more representative is needed in order for the commission to have a quorum, but first, the supervisors must ratify all appointees.
Elías says the only holdups that he's aware of come from the parties, and from Supervisor Ray Carroll.
Patrick McKenna, an aide of Carroll's, says there's no holdup coming from his office. In true Sugar Ray style, Carroll asked election-integrity activist Mickey Duniho to serve on the commission. McKenna says he wouldn't be surprised if Carroll's appointment is challenged by the rest of the supes.
Elías says he expects the appointments to be approved during the board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 7.
And what about the latest "smoking gun" brought out by election-integrity activists at their September press conference: testimony from former elections employee Noel Day? Will that be part of the investigation? That has yet to be determined.
Like Zbigniew Osmolski, Day is another witness from whom Democratic Party attorney Bill Risner has collected an affidavit. Unlike with Osmolski, however, the county has yet to respond to our request for information on Day's testimony, and why he was removed from his position with the county.
In July, the county told The Skinny that Osmolski was let go because he was hitting the sauce during work hours and not behaving appropriately with female co-workers. But so far, the county's been close-lipped about Day's employment history.
During the press conference, Day said he witnessed during the November 2006 election what election-integrity activists describe as an illegal pre-audit hand count by elections employees, outside of the ballots' chain of custody--in other words, election employees were counting ballots when and where they shouldn't have been.
Day said he saw these employees sitting in an elections-division employee break room surrounded by piles of ballots and open ballot bags. Day said he brought this to the attention of the county.
"Within a month, I was let go. I was not fired and was told I was doing an excellent job. My position was simply eliminated by Brad Nelson," Day said.
IGNORE THOSE BOULDERS!Despite what the morning daily reported in late August, the public still has access rights to a road that goes through the luxury Saguaro Ranch development in the Tortolita Mountains. The dirt road is an extension of Thornydale Road that goes up a hill and is legally recorded as a public easement by the county. Neighbors have used the road for hikes and horse-riding for more than 40 years. (See "Tortolita Showdown," Currents, May 22.)
While Judge John Davis did not grant a temporary injunction requiring Saguaro Ranch developer Stephen Phinny to remove the boulders he's placed in front of the Thornydale extension, he also did not issue a judgment that denies residents and the public from walking on those roads.
This was good news for residents near Saguaro Ranch who've been bickering with Phinny over the last few years regarding access to that road. Phinny has told neighbors that the roads that run through his development are private, and he placed boulders at the entrances to keep people out.
Phinny's neighbors, however, are still waiting for Davis to schedule a hearing in order to make a final decision through a declaratory judgment lawsuit they filed in June. A declaratory judgment is the only way to determine whether the road remains a public easement.
Saguaro Ranch neighbors have been getting the word out through a recently produced YouTube video with suggestions on how to ignore the boulders that Phinny placed at the road entrances, and tips on how to enjoy the Tortolita Mountains. The basic message: You won't get arrested--even if Phinny or Saguaro Ranch employees say you will!
LEGISLATORS MAKE THE GRADEThe Border Action Network recently released its 2008 Legislative Scorecard, which gives lawmakers--and the laws they supported or didn't support--a grade based on the support of human rights, or the lack thereof.
Those placed on academic probation include District 30's Republican Jonathan Paton, which is too bad, since he gets to share the list with the likes of loons like Russell Pearce.
Border Action's annual scorecard analyzes Arizona legislation and the lawmakers' votes to either help or hurt the lives of immigrant families. For the first time this year, that analysis included legislation that could impact people of color in Arizona.
The highest district score went to Tucson's District 27's Sen. Jorge Luis Garcia, Rep. Phil Lopes and Rep. Olivia Cajero Bedford.
While some pols were chastised with academic probation, others were deemed champions by the organization--including representatives Tom Prezelski (who was defeated in his primary), Steve Farley and Nancy Young Wright, as well as senators Paula Aboud and Debbie McCune Davis.
GOLF 'N' OVERRIDEWant a chance to discuss gray-water installation and golf with Ward 2 Tucson City Councilman Rodney Glassman? Then cough up $20 to support the Tucson Unified School District budget override.
Glassman's getting his (mini) golf on for Proposition 403 by hosting a fundraiser on Sunday, Oct. 12, at Golf 'N' Stuff, 6503 E. Tanque Verde Road. Tickets are $20 each and include a round of miniature golf; four turns at bumper boats, laser tag, batting cages or go-carts; and four tokens for video games.
And if you can survive the frustration of not getting your ball past the windmill, you might be eager to win a raffle for unlimited mini-golf. E-mail to get your tickets.
If you're wondering whether good-old-fashioned politicking is part of the Prop 403 campaign: Yes, siree, it sure is.
Every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon until the Nov. 4 election, supporters are walking neighborhoods.
Meet up at 8:30 a.m. at the Tucson Education Association office at 4625 E. Second St., or at Congressman Raúl Grijalva's campaign headquarters at 452 S. Stone Ave.