Battle for the Board
Secretive big-buck supporters are pushing candidates who want to Trumpify Pima County
District 1 Supervisor Ally Miller's plan to Trumpify the Pima County Board of Supervisors got a big boost with a couple of independent expenditure committees that have targeted District 3 Democrat Sharon Bronson in recent weeks.
One of them, run by Miller ally Joe Boorgaart, is embracing the Trump connection with the name "Make Pima County Great Again." Boorgaart filed paperwork saying he'd spend less than $500 on the effort, which means he's getting a great deal on all those signs he's erected to blame Bronson for the potholes in the streets.
Meanwhile, a bigger spender is a new Maricopa County-based political committee called America Revived PAC, which sent out a major mailer hammering Bronson a variety of alleged sins. Among them:
• Pima County's "crushing" $1.3 billion debt, which is absolute nonsense. First of all, the debt has been approved by Pima County voters in order to fix roads, build parks, replace a dilapidated animal pound and purchase open space; it's not used for operations and it's hardly crushing. It's called bonding and it's the normal way governments finance major projects.
• Property tax increases. The Board of Supervisors has largely kept property taxes stable; the biggest increase came as a result of Republican lawmakers and Gov. Doug Ducey trying to force new expenses onto the county. Bronson and the other supervisors successfully sued the state and got that tax shift reversed, leading to major property-tax cuts this year. And you know who opposed that lawsuit? It was Ally Miller, who insisted—wrongly—that the county didn't stand a chance in court.
It's impossible to say at this point who, exactly, is behind America Revived PAC, as campaign-finance reports are not due until a few days before the election.
But we do know this: Miller has opposed every effort the county has made toward transforming the local economy away from a dependence on homebuilding and toward a future based on jobs related to trade, technology and biosciences. She has crusaded against efforts to retain and expand Raytheon, the region's largest private employer—which has put her at odds with many of Miller's fellow Republican elected officials, including Gov. Doug Ducey, Congresswoman Martha McSally and Sen. John McCain. The fact that Miller would oppose efforts to find common ground between the Democrats on the Board of Supervisors and those Republican elected officials tells you that the region is in for a rough ride should DeMarco win against Bronson and give Miller the vote she needs to become chair of the board and Queen Nut of Pima County.
What is Ally Miller doing with all these emails?
After Dylan Smith of the Tucson Sentinel (followed by Joe Ferguson of the Arizona Daily Star and your humble Skinny scribe) requested emails and other electronic records in order to get to the bottom of the absolutely bizarre story regarding one of Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller's aides masquerading as a reporter, the public learned that Miller was a big fat liar when she claimed she didn't use her personal email for the public's business. As Miller herself wrote in an email advising staffers to use private emails to keep the public from knowing what she was discussing: "We have to be more secretive."
Exposed as someone who fibs about following the law, Miller has fought back by requesting hundreds of thousands of emails from Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry and her fellow Pima County Supervisors in an unsuccessful effort to prove there was a massive conspiracy among county officials and local media to discredit her. This is a perfect example of Miller's paranoia; there is no conspiracy. We media types pursued the story not because we were ordered to by Chuck Huckelberry; we pursued them because (a) it was a bizarre story and (b) it was obvious to anyone with half a brain (which evidently excludes Miller and her various flying monkeys in social media and conservative radio circles) that now-former Miller aide Timothy Desjarlais was lying about not being involved in a harebrained scheme to launch a news website under a pen name at the same time he was working as her communications assistant.
Miller still hasn't turned over her personal emails and is the subject of a slow-moving investigation by the Arizona Attorney General's Office. Meanwhile, this would-be champion of the taxpayer has requested more public records and is taking up an insane amount of time and financial resources from the County Clerk's Office while producing zero evidence that anything improper has been taking place, no matter how hard the dumbass Arizona Daily Independent tries to spin things. Miller is now the equivalent of one of those vexatious litigants who file bogus lawsuits as a form of harassment against elected officials and judges.
It now appears that Huckelberry is out of fucks to give regarding Miller, as illustrated by last week's memo to the County Attorney's Office wondering if there's some way to stop Miller's relentless requests to read all of his email (which is really ironic given that she was convinced that Huckelberry was reading all of hers as soon as she took office).
"Supervisor Ally Miller has renewed her expansive and onerous requests for public records from me and other members of my staff," Huckelberry wrote to Thomas Weaver, the chief civil deputy county attorney. "While her previous July 13, 2016 requests for records were equally expansive, they at least carried the pretense, stated repeatedly by her on various social media accounts, that she was seeking evidence that my office, the other four supervisors and the County Communications Office conspired with the local media to have them write stories about her mishandling of her employee's attempt to masquerade as a journalist. She also sought proof we subsequently conspired with the media to have them report her apparent four-year effort to illegally cloak the business of her office in secrecy via the use of personal email and encrypted computer files and portable data storage devices.
"Supervisor Miller's records requests of September 22, 2016 are virtually identical to the requests of July 13, but without the pretense," Huckelberry wrote. "The media have mostly moved on from the Timothy DesJarlais scandal, and her gross violations of State public records laws are being investigated by the Arizona Attorney General's Office. Yet Supervisor Miller continues her expansive and onerous requests of my office, Chair Bronson's office and the Communications Office; attempting to discover any mention of the DesJarlais scandal—as well as obtain every email sent or received by any of my staff, the Communications Office, and Chair Bronson and her staff—as well as a host of other electronic communications and internet browser data. Lacking the DesJarlais scandal pretense, one can only conclude the sole purpose of this latest series of requests is harassment."
Huckelberry was seeking a legal avenue to stop the waste of time and money that Miller's requests have generated, but he offered another potential solution: "I would be happy to have our Information Technology Department routinely transfer my email records to Supervisor Miller if she would take full responsibility for redacting those communications in accordance with Arizona law."