Bils' Due

To the Editor,

Thank you for Dave Devine's item about my consumer advocacy against the City of Tucson ["Anti-Campoy Ploys," November 21]. Unfortunately, the story had some serious factual errors and omissions that need to be addressed.

In fact, I actually filed a discrimination complaint in late March 2001 with the City's Equal Opportunity Office about the Tucson Police Department's violation of the ADA rights of disabled drivers by imposing identity checkpoints over a large area of town on the night of the Fourth Avenue riot. Later, however, EOO's Sylvia Campoy dumped the complaint after I voiced concern that her office had a conflict of interest in its investigating TPD, since, like the police, it works for the city manger.

Campoy's absurd grounds for dropping the investigation was that I verbally "withdrew" my written and signed complaint by merely mentioning to her office my concern about a conflict, which then sent me to the Arizona Attorney General's office (which in turn told me Arizona law prevented the state from investigating municipal misconduct). In my opinion, Campoy's assertion was a pretext to quit investigating a complaint against TPD that an Arizona Center for Disability Law attorney confirmed as meritorious in a March 21, 2001 Arizona Daily Star story. City Manager James Keene should immediately reinstate the complaint, which concerns the rights of thousands of disabled Tucsonans, and investigate it!

As for Campoy's allusion to my so-called "verbal abuse or threats" in her letter explaining the reason why she dumped my complaint, which was it? The copy of it I gave the Weekly reflects she never identified any abuse or threats therein, and as my response shows, the only "threat" I ever uttered was that I would try to get her fired.

As for events involving me at City Hall, the Weekly also seriously misstated and omitted some important facts about them.

Contrary to fact, I never "admit[ted]" losing my temper in a "September incident" on the City Hall premises, nor did I ever call the City to apologize for one--since I never lost my temper at City Hall and tape recordings reflect that. What other tapes show did happen was, after a TPD lieutenant called me and refused to take my report in October about police corruption, I later bitched--by phone and angrily so (but without threats or naughty words)--to Assistant City Manager Bruce Nesselt, who had irritatingly phoned me three times in five minutes despite my refusal to take two of his calls. A later recording shows I telephonically apologized to Nesselt out of self-respect--the only "apology" every due or expressed to anyone.

About my absurd October arrest at City Hall for non-existent "disorderly conduct" just three days after criticizing Chief Miranda to the City Council as "limp- wristed" for his--well, limp-wristed--handling of TPD corruption, the Weekly didn't mention one can't be arrested and charged with that offense in Arizona unless police see the alleged crime occur, which in this case they couldn't have because (1) it did not happen and (2) they were not on the scene.

As the Weekly correctly reported, the tape-recording of this retaliatory bust (which I told KOLD's Eddie Lopez six days beforehand I expected might soon happen) indeed proves I was "calm and collected" while at City Hall, remaining so even when the cops I called to report the assault on me by the Police Auditor's clerk arrived and refused to take my complaint. They later busted me to whitewash my report of an alleged crime by a city employee. Unfortunately also unmentioned was that the purported "victim"--who works for both the same city government the police do and the same police auditor I criticized in an August 11 Star guest editorial for failing to "independently audit" TPD and becoming its stooge on its riot panel; later said should have been fired for it; and personally criticized just days before that arrest for not investigating my complaints--had such additional political motives to falsely accuse me.

The city manager's letter to me unconstitutionally barring me from entering every city agency office is a hallmark of fascism. It offers no process to appeal the edict, and demands I first get written permission from, and then show a picture ID to, a TPD captain who is his overpaid ex officio security guard to get into any such office. To make sure it neatly buried everything else, the letter also (1) summarily dismissed my aforementioned EOO discrimination complaint against TPD and (2) similarly dismissed several complaints I had previously brought to Police Auditor Liana Perez about other TPD misconduct Perez admitted in a taped conversation she never investigated!

An important point the article didn't touch is that I have been a consumer and civil rights advocate in Tucson since 1990 and, over that period, the record of my achievements shows I have never used, nor have advocated using, unlawful acts to accomplish my objectives. I am indeed a cheerfully defiant thorn in the side of city government for the public good, but strictly a lawful one.

I learned long ago that to be an effective consumer advocate, I must sometimes endure being severely criticized and even abused by government and private-sector adversaries to perform a calling that can be the moral equivalent of waging war for the people. That in this instance I must defend against an unjustified political arrest for my protected and peaceful free expression to city government, which it has fraudulently labeled "disorderly conduct" to divert public attention from its own corruption, is simply the price of doing what I do. It is one I would willingly pay again in the future--and urge other citizens to themselves risk--for the honor to help build a freer and more just society.

--Willy Bils

Gas Wars

To the Editor,

In response to the Rev. Bill Bowler [Mailbag, November 15], having watched his arrogant, mean-spirited performances on cable, I would say that the Skinny was on target with its comments, and, therefore, scorched a major nerve in him.

While there are undoubtedly many people who have been persecuted for doing the work of the Lord, there are also many people who are reviled because they are, indeed, horses' asses, or big bags of hot gas who have a lot more to learn than they have to teach.

I invite Tucson Weekly readers to tune in to Rev. Bowler's show and decide for themselves which group he belongs in. The truth is in the eye of the beholder.

--Paul Wine