Monday, December 03, 2007

Roy Warden's lawsuit

Remember Roy Warden? If you don't, I'll jog your memory. Warden is the somewhat tall, pot-bellied, white-haired blowhard who used to show up at public events with his CCW permit affixed to his chest like an ID badge, and who was convicted of assaultfor putting his gun to the head of a teenager who stepped within his roped-off area.

He'll also tell you he's a freelance journalist, although his activities were limited to "publishing" "Common Sense II", an e-mail newsletter sent to Pima County civic activists and officials, including myself, for a while. I was even the subject of one of these pamphlets, due to my involvement with the ACLU-AZ. He even threatened to report me to the bar association; he can go ahead and report me to all the bars in town, and probably get better results, as I'm not a lawyer. Of late he's been stating in public fora that I'm a member of the Man Boy Love Association and a child-molester; I'm about as much a homosexual as I am a lawyer! As I understand it, he's not a prohibited posessor, but perhaps I can get his gun through a defamation suit? He's nearly indigent, and a Glock is a heck of a lot nicer than my Taurus.

Roy lives in a strange fantasyland in which legal representation constitutes endorsement of a client's views. If you've wondered why he reserves especial venom for the ACLU and his former pro-bono counsel, it's because they dropped him like a hot potato after he made statements to the media insinuating that they supported his conspiracy theories about Barbara LaWall, even after being asked to stop. Warden thinks his rights were violated. As his former counsel, who is a friend of mine, is still practicing law without any penalty from the Bar Association, I'm inclined to say Warden is incorrect on that point.

If you've wondered what he's been up to lately, read the 43 USC 1982 complaint below. To Roy, Roy is ever a victim. Isn't that a symptom of a mental problem? I waver between hating and pitying the fool, depending on whether it's a defect of character or a defect of the brain.

Roy Warden, Publisher
Common Sense II
PO Box 16466
Tucson, Arizona 85732
(520) 881-0535



BOB WALKUP, individually and in his official capacity as Mayor of the City of Tucson; NINA TRASOFF, individually and in her official capacity as Councilperson for the City of Tucson; CAROL WEST, individually and in her official capacity as Councilperson for the City of Tucson; SHIRLEY SCOTT, individually and in her official capacity as Councilperson for the City of Tucson; KARIN UHLICH, individually and in her official capacity as Councilperson for the City of Tucson; JOSE IBARRA, individually and in his official capacity as Councilperson for the City of Tucson; STEVE LEAL, individually and in his official capacity as Councilperson for the City of Tucson; MIKE HEIN, individually and in his official capacity as City Manager for the City of Tucson; MIKE RANKIN, individually and in his official capacity as Attorney for the City of Tucson; RICHARD MIRANDA, individually and in his official capacity as Chief of the Tucson Police Department; KATHLEEN ROBINSON, indivi-dually and in her official capacity as Assistant Chief of the Tucson Police Department; MIKE GILHOOLY, individually and in his official capacity as Captain of the Tucson Police De-partment; JEFF COLEMAN, individually and in his official capacity as Lieutenant of the Tucson Police Department; TRAYNOR, in-dividually and in his capacity as Officer of the Tucson Police Department; PEG WEBER, individually and in her official capacity as Northwest Director of the Tucson City Parks and Recreation Department; MARCO AL-CANTARA, individually and in his official capacity as employee of the Tucson City Parks and Recreation Department; WADE COL-WELL, individually and in his capacity as agent of the state; LUKE SALCIDO, individually and in his capacity as agent of the state; ARTURO RODRIQUEZ, individually and in his capacity as agent of the state, ALEXANDER RODRIQUEZ, individually and in his capacity as agent of the state; THE CITY OF TUCSON; THE TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT, and DOES 1-100, Defendants. ))) ))))))))))))))) )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) Case No. CIV 07 190TUC CKJ FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF, COMPENSA-TORY AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES FOR VIOLATIONS OF TITLE 42 U.S.C.§ 1983

COMES NOW the Plaintiff Roy Warden, in response to the Order of this Court dated April 27, 2007, with a Complaint for Damages against the Defendants, named and unnamed above, and as grounds therefore alleges:


1. This is an action pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. §1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1343, seeking redress for the negligent and intentional deprivation of the Plaintiff’s constitutional rights. Venue is proper in the 9th District of Arizona, as all of the acts complained of occurred in Pima County Arizona.


2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1343(a)(3) for negligent and intentional violations of constitutional rights as provided by 42 U.S.C. §1983. The Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages—including exemplary damages—as well as attorney fees and costs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1988.

3. The Plaintiff seeks redress for violation of the Plaintiff’s rights to speech, press, petition and assembly under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, the Plaintiff’s right to be free of illegal seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, the Plaintiff’s right to be free from malicious abuse of process and unlawful seizure as provided for by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution of the United States, and the Plaintiff’s right to due process of law as guaranteed by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution of the United States.


4. Pursuant to Rule 38 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Plaintiff requests a trial by jury.


5. Plaintiff Roy Warden, writer and publisher of political newsletters Common Sense II, CS II Press and Director of the Tucson Weekly Public Forum, is a citizen of the United States and was a resident of Pima County Arizona at all times relevant to this complaint.
6. Defendant Bob Walkup was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in his official capacity as Mayor, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant Walkup is sued in his individual and official capacities.
7. Defendant Nina Trasoff was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in her official capacity as Councilperson, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant Trasoff is sued in her individual and official capacities.
8. Defendant Carol West was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in her official capacity as Councilperson, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant West is sued in her individual and official capacities.
9. Defendant Shirley Scott was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in her official capacity as Councilperson, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant Scott is sued in her individual and official capacities.
10. Defendant Karin Uhlich was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in her official capacity as Councilperson, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant Uhlich is sued in her individual and official capacities.
11. Defendant Jose Ibarra was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in his official capacity as Councilperson, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant Ibarra is sued in his individual and official capacities.
12. Defendant Steve Leal was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in his official capacity as Councilperson, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant Leal is sued in his individual and official capacities.
13. Defendant Mike Hein was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in his official capacity as City Manager, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant Hein is sued in his individual and official capacities.
14. Defendant Mike Rankin was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in his official capacity as City Attorney, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant Rankin is sued in his individual and official capacities.
15. Defendant Richard Miranda was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in his official capacity as Chief of the Tucson Police Department, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant Miranda is sued in his individual and official capacities.
16. Defendant Kathleen Robinson was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in her official capacity as Assistant Chief of the Tucson Police Department, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant Robinson is sued in her individual and official capacities.
17. Defendant Mike Gilhooly was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in his official capacity as Captain of the Tucson Police Department, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant Gilhooly is sued in his individual and official capacities.
18. Defendant Jeff Coleman was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in his official capacity as Lieutenant of the Tucson Police Department, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant Coleman is sued in his individual and official capacities.
19. Defendant Traynor was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in his official capacity as Officer of the Tucson Police Department, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant Traynor is sued in his individual and official capacities.
20. Defendant Peg Weber was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in her official capacity as Director of the Northwest District of the Tucson City Parks and Recreation Department, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant Weber is sued in her individual and official capacities.
21. Defendant Marco Alcantara was employed by the City of Tucson, and acted individually and in his official capacity as employee of the Tucson City Parks and Recreation Department, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Defendant Alcantara is sued in his individual and official capacities.
22. Defendant Wade Colwell, believed to be a resident of Pima County, acted indivi-dually and in his capacity as agent of the state, under the direction and control of Kathleen Robinson and other Defendants, when he assaulted Plaintiff on May 06, 2006 in Kennedy Park, Tucson Arizona, for the purposes of depriving Plaintiff of his constitutional rights.
23. Defendant Luke Salcido, believed to be a resident of Pima County, acted indivi-dually and in his capacity as agent of the state, under the direction and control of Kathleen Robinson and other Defendants, when he assaulted Plaintiff on May 06, 2006 in Kennedy Park, Tucson Arizona., for the purposes of depriving Plaintiff of his constitutional rights.
24. Defendant Arturo Rodriquez, believed to be a resident of Pima County, acted individually and in his capacity as agent of the state, (1) on June 03, 2006 in front of the Mexican Consulate when, under the direction and control of Kathleen Robinson and other Defendants, he assaulted Plaintiff for the purposes of interrupting Plaintiff’s rally and depriving Plaintiff of his constitutional rights, and (2) on December 15, 2006 when he testified at Plaintiff’s trial, under the direction and control of Pima County Legal Defender Isabel Garcia, for the purposes of depriving Plaintiff of his constitutional rights.
25. Defendant Alexander Rodriquez, believed to be a resident of Pima County, acted individually and in his capacity as agent of the state on December 15, 2006 when he testified at Plaintiff’s trial, under the direction and control of Pima County Legal Defender Isabel Garcia, for the purposes of depriving Plaintiff of his constitutional rights.
26. Defendant City of Tucson, a municipal corporation, is a unit of local government organized under the laws of the State of Arizona. The Tucson Police Department is a department of the City of Tucson.
27. Defendant Does 1-100 are (1) individuals who acted as agents of the state under the direction or control of named or unnamed Defendants, and (2) Tucson City employees, including employees of the Tucson Police Department, who acted individually and at the direction of their superiors, within their enforcement, administrative and executive capacities, under color of state law, regulations, customs and policies at all times relevant herein. Does 1-100 are sued in their individual and official capacities.
28. All named Defendants were served with Notices of Claim, pursuant to A.R.S. § 12-821.01, that included an administrative demand. None of the Defendants have responded to the administrative demand.
29. Plaintiff is an unpaid political activist working on behalf of the people of Pima County, the publisher of Common Sense II and CSII Press, and the Director of the Tucson Weekly Public Forum.
30. Plaintiff has spent the last 4 years investigating allegations of malfeasance within the legal and political institutions of Pima County, including the malfeasance of Pima County and Tucson City Officials who have used their public offices (1) to protect the financial interests of local contractors, etc., who now depend upon a continual flow of low cost Illegal Alien Mexican labor, and (2) to advance a left-wing political agenda, which includes but is not limited to the deliberate violation of federal immigration law, the flooding of the American Southwest with millions of Illegal Alien Mexicans, and the creation of a new empire called “Aztlan.”
31. Additionally, Plaintiff is the Plaintiff in Warden v Hoffman, Fell, Leonardo, etc., Case No. CV 05-020 TUC JCG, a Title 42 § 1983 action now before the Court, alleging Pima County employees and Pima County Superior Court Judges have committed a series of malicious, criminal and tortuous acts in violation of Plaintiff’s right to engage in political communication within the public areas, and on the front steps, of the Pima County Courthouse.
32. On April 10, 2006 Plaintiff participated in a lawful political demonstration pro-testing 15,000 left-wing Open Border Activists who had gathered in Armory Park, Tucson Arizona, to hear public speakers, including members of the Tucson City Council and Pima County Board of Supervisors, declare their support for the abolishment of the American/Mexican border, the overthrow of the United States Government and the governments of various states, and the creation of a new empire in the American southwest called “Aztlan.”
33. The theme of the Open Border Activists, as set forth on Congressman Raul Grijalva’s website, was “Hoy Marchamos! Manana Votamos!”
34. Plaintiff submits the Tucson Police Department After Action Report, dated May 10, 2006, accurately documents numerous acts of violence committed by Open Border Activists, including felony aggravated assaults on TPD Officers , in Armory Park, on April 10, 2006.
35. Sometime on or about April 11, 2006 both named and unnamed Defendants com-municated with officials from the Mexican Consulate , Pima County Legal Defender Isabel Garcia, and other prominent Open Border Activists, for the purposes of depriving Plaintiff of his constitutional rights.
36. On April 11, 2006, as a direct consequence of the communications between named and unnamed Defendants as set forth in paragraph 35, Plaintiff was arrested for events that occurred during the rally the previous day, charged with Reckless Burning , Criminal Damage, and Assault, denied a trial by jury, and tried before the bench of Tucson Municipal Court Judge Eugene Hays. On November 01, 2006, Petitioner was acquitted.
37. Several days after Plaintiff’s arrest on April 11, 2006, TPD assistant Chief Robinson came to his residence, promised TPD protection for Plaintiff’s future rallies and political events if he would agree not to demonstrate on May 01, 2006, and emphatically stated: “You don’t understand just how much these people hate you Mr. Warden. They mean to kill you!”
38. On or about May 05, 2006, Tucson Parks and Recreation Department employee Marco Alcantara submitted a fraudulent work estimate regarding repairs to the Armory Park Shuffleboard Court to North West District Supervisor Peg Weber, who, knowing it was fraudulent, gave it to Tucson City Prosecutor Alan Merritt for Plaintiff’s prosecution in Case One, as set forth in paragraph 36.
39. On May 06, 2006, while engaged in lawful political activities in Kennedy Park, Tucson Arizona, Plaintiff was assaulted by Wade Colwell, Luke Salcido, and other local Open Border Activists, in full view of Tucson Police Officers and KVOA News reporter Lorraine Rivera. That night, via a KVOA News interview conducted by Lorraine Rivera, Wade Colwell stated the purpose of his assault was to prevent Plaintiff and his supporters from engaging in political speech and the commission of symbolic acts protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
40. Just prior to the assault on May 06, 2006 Wade Colwell asserted his prior com-munications with TPD Assistant Police Chief Kathleen Robinson, whom Colwell stated, counseled him and others and approved of the assault: “We spoke with Kathy (Robinson) for 2 hours. She told us what we could do!”
41. Plaintiff now possesses a DVD video recording revealing Assistant TPD Police Chief Robinson and other uniformed police officers aiding, abetting, and con-gratulating Colwell, Salcido, and other activists, for the success of their assault in Kennedy Park on May 06, 2006, which did prevent Plaintiff and his followers from completing their speeches and committing the constitutionally protected symbolic act of Burning the Mexican Flag .
42. On June 03, 2006 Plaintiff participated in a political demonstration in front of the Mexican Consulate, located at 553 S. Stone Street, Tucson Arizona. At this and all future events, Plaintiff erected a simple rope barrier to maintain a perimeter between speakers and counter-demonstrators, and to protect public safety .
43. During the June 03, 2006 protest in front of the Mexican Consulate, Plaintiff was compelled to take minor defensive measures to promote public safety and to repel an assault committed by Arturo Rodriquez, a “Chicano” student activist and self proclaimed “proud member of MEChA ” who pushed across Plaintiff’s rope barrier and advanced menacingly towards the public speaker.
44. On June 06, 2006 Plaintiff was arrested during a demonstration outside the Tucson City Council and charged with Assault, Disturbing the Peace and Making Threats and Intimidation, all misdemeanor charges arising out of Plaintiff’s po-litical activities outside the Mexican Consulate on June 03, 2006. The case was eventually assigned (again) to Tucson Municipal Court Judge Eugene Hays. Again, Plaintiff was denied trial by jury.
45. On December 15, 2006 Defendants Arturo and Alexander Rodriquez testified at Plaintiff’s trial, under the direction and control of Pima County Legal Defender Isabel Garcia, who gave hand signals and otherwise “coached” both Defendants while each gave testimony. See December 15, 2006 Letter of Laura Leighton, former paralegal employed by the Tucson City Public Defender, to Judge Hays. (Exhibit One)
46. On December 22, 2006 Plaintiff was legally restrained from giving additional testimony and convicted by Judge Hays, in absentia , for assault, and two counts of making threats and intimidation. Subsequently, Judge Hays sentenced Plaintiff to three years probation, prohibited Plaintiff from going within 500 feet of any public demonstration (even his own) and suspended Plaintiff right to carry a side arm in self defense. The conviction and sentence are now under appeal.
47. On August 17, 2006, Plaintiff and a group of supporters were prevented from engaging in public speech using a public address system from a public sidewalk located directly across the street from the entrance to the Armory Park Commun-ity Center, where a group of Open Border Activists, led by Isabel Garcia and Congressman (CDR 7) Raul Grijalva, were conducting what had been advertised as a “public meeting to address community concerns on border issues.”
48. Defendant TPD Assistant Chief Robinson moved Plaintiff and supporters ½ block away to another location; when Plaintiff asked Defendant Robinson her authority for moving the group’s location and denying his use of a bullhorn, she provided none, other than to say, “If you don’t stop you will be arrested.”
49. On March 06, 2007, during the customary “Call to the Audience” portion of the Tucson City Council meeting, Plaintiff announced the beginning of the Tucson Weekly Public Forum, and offered robust condemnation to the Mayor and City Council for their support of Open Border Policy, the violation of federal immi-gration law, and the importation of millions of Mexican Illegal Aliens into the United States.
50. On March 12, 2007 between 11:45 am. and 1:15 pm , Plaintiff convened the first Tucson Weekly Public Forum on the public sidewalk, near the corner of Pen-nington and Stone, adjacent to the Tucson City Public Library, and began distributing the “Isabel Garcia” edition of Common Sense II to all those in attendance. (Exhibit Two)
51. Plaintiff’s literature was torn up by “Chicano” students. Plaintiff was sworn at, spat upon and threatened with death by these same “Chicano” students, in spite of Plaintiff’s invitation to enter the rope barrier, use the public address system and speak, all in full view Tucson Police Officers who stood idly by and did nothing to stop the assaults or to maintain public order.
52. On March 13, 2007 Plaintiff, via the “Call to the Audience”, again excoriated the Mayor and Tucson City Council, and declared: “For the past 25 years the business of Pima County and Tucson has been the importation and exploitation of Illegal Alien Mexicans, and for 25 years business has been good!”
53. On March 19, 2007 Plaintiff held the second Tucson Weekly Public Forum. A crowd of “Chicano” students gathered, including self announced members of “La Raza” and “MEChA” who (apparently) originated from the Calli Olin Academy, a charter school adjacent to “Chicanos por la Causa ”.
54. The “Chicano” students again ignored Plaintiff’s invitation to speak, declared that Plaintiff would be raped should he ever end up in jail, and began spitting on and swearing at Plaintiff and other public speakers, in full view of Tucson Police Officers, including Captain Gilhooly and Lieutenant Coleman, who stood idly by and made no effort to stop the assaults or to maintain public order.
55. Via public address system, Plaintiff described the rape threats with particular detail, excoriated Pima County Legal Defender Isabel Garcia, and declared: “Someday federal agents are going to surround your building, come into your office and arrest you!”
56. At Captain Gilhooly’s direction, Petitioner was cited for violation of the Tucson City Sound Ordinance, TCC 16-31 (A), in spite of the fact Tucson Police made no attempt to measure the decibel level of Plaintiff’s speech, as required by law.
57. On March 20, 2007 during the “Call to the Audience”, Plaintiff turned his back on the Mayor and Tucson City Council, and, in sum and substance, told the citizens in attendance: “On the issue of illegal immigration, there is a concert of action between the Tucson City Council, Legal Defender Isabel Garcia, and rich contractors, to import Illegal Mexican Aliens, exploit their labor and exploit their votes.”
58. Plaintiff invited members of the audience to attend the Tucson Weekly Public Forum, to speak their views, “…especially if they are contrary to mine. We want to hear the Left Wing explain just why we need to keep importing and exploiting Mexico’s poor.”
59. On March 26, 2007 Plaintiff held the third Tucson Weekly Public Forum, inside its’ customary and necessary protective rope barrier, at its’ usual location, on public property, near the corner of Pennington and Stone.
60. Plaintiff began his public address by robustly excoriating Judge Hays’ attempt to silence his public speech, concluding: “Municipal Court Judges don’t have the authority to silence political speech.” Plaintiff then extended an invitation to speak via the public address system to the “Chicano” students who had begun to gather.
61. One of the “Chicano” students responded by spitting on public speaker Russell Dove, declaring: “This is not America! This is Mexico!”
62. In response to Plaintiff’s invitation, an unidentified member of the public not connected to Plaintiff’s group, asked for permission and entered the perimeter to speak.
63. In full view of TPD officers who stood idly by, a “Chicano” student kicked over the corner post of the rope barrier Plaintiff had erected to keep the opposing factions separate and to protect public safety, and tore down a political sign.
64. “Chicano” students, hurling spit, insults and death threats, then kicked down a second barrier, in full view of TPD Officer Traynor, who stood smiling. Plaintiff informed Officer Traynor: “You’re going up on charges for failure to protect us.”
65. A female counter-protester, formerly combative, asked permission and entered the protective circle, where she used the public address system to express her opinion in support of Left Wing Open Border Policy.
66. When a large group of “Chicano” students approached, Plaintiff extended an invitation to them to speak, and told them: “I stand up in support of Zapata’s dream. Mexico oppresses its poor. I burn the Mexican Flag in support of Mexico’s poor.”
67. A Tucson Police Officer later reported that one “Chicano” student responded to Plaintiff’s invitation to speak with the following comment: “Take off that gun, you pussy white faggot, and step out here and we will take care of you!”
68. The “Chicano” students, some 50-75 in number and now under the direction and control of their teachers, began cursing and spitting on Plaintiff and other public speakers, and made the following assertions: “This is Mexico!” “We are in our land, Aztlan!” “Viva La Raza!”, “All white people deserve to die! ”, and a host of expletives so vile and so disgusting, that a proper sense of decorum inhibits Petitioner from setting them forth here.
69. Plaintiff then received a second citation for violation of the Tucson City Sound Ordinance, TCC 16-31 (A), inspite of the fact Tucson Police made no attempt to measure the decibel level of Plaintiff’s speech, as required by law.
70. In full view of Lieutenant Coleman and Officer Traynor, “Chicano” students again spat upon Plaintiff, who, now angry at police for their failure to even take minimal steps to protect public safety, then addressed Lieutenant Coleman and Officer Traynor: “He spit on me! Go arrest him. Hop to it, Boy!”
71. The “Chicano” students, still under the control and direction of their teachers, tore and stomped on an American Flag, and later began chanting in unison: “Mexico! Mexico! Mexico!”
72. All of the preceding was filmed by Plaintiff and his supporters, and by Channel 50 News. That evening, KVOA News presented a stunning and biased report which excoriated Plaintiff for “cursing and screaming” and failed to mention the desecration of the American Flag, the pro-Mexico chanting or any of the provocative and criminal acts committed by the “Chicano” students.
73. The following day, March 27, 2007, Plaintiff, in sum and substance, made the following comments to the Mayor and the Tucson City Council:
“For the past 25 years you people and your predecessors have loaded up this county and loaded up this country with Illegal Mexican Aliens. You’ve done it for money and for votes. And now it’s all coming to a head.

“You’ve got one week to get your police department in shape and protect public safety, or there will be bodies in the street. I’ll use deadly force to protect myself from the imminent threat of death. It’ll make the OK Corral look like a Sunday school picnic.

“There’s a federal lawsuit and injunction coming. And some of you people are going to jail!”

74. On Saturday March 31, 2007, five days after the third meeting of the Tucson Weekly Public Forum, a TPD squad wearing full body protection, under the command of Lieutenant Coleman, arrested Plaintiff as he left the residence of a personal friend and political supporter who was in New York, away on family business.
75. Plaintiff was charged with various misdemeanors including three counts of Disorderly Conduct, one count of Making Threats and Intimidation and one count of Unlawful Assembly, all arising out of Plaintiff’s conduct at the Tucson Weekly Public Forum the previous Monday.
76. Over Plaintiff’s strenuous objections, TPD officers, (apparently) acting on a warrant issued by Superior Court Judge Bernini, searched Plaintiff’s car, seized the public address equipment necessary for the Tucson Weekly Public Forum, entered the private residence of Plaintiff’s supporter, seized Plaintiff’s firearm and taser device, rifled through various drawers and clothing, emptied and re-filled several small jewelry boxes, examined Plaintiff’s evidentiary tape and video recordings and (apparently) viewed and copied Plaintiff ‘s computer files.
77. Plaintiff was booked into the Pima County jail, put into protective custody, and subjected to various threats by Hispanic Pima County Deputy Sheriffs, include-ing: “We got Ramos and we’ll get you!”
78. The condition of Plaintiff’s release, which prevent him from coming within 500 yards of the location he used for the Tucson Weekly Public Forum was confirmed on April 04, 2007 by Judge Hays who was assigned Plaintiff’s case again for the third time. Plaintiff may not (1) attend monthly meetings of the Tucson Civilian Police Advisory Review Board, (2 ) make a report to the Independent Police Auditor, (3) go to the offices of attorneys who now represent some of Plaintiff’s various interests, (4) enter the Pima County Justice Court or the Pima County Superior Court, (5) engage in any activity within the vicinity of the Tucson Municipal Court, except to attend his own hearings.
79. On April 04, 2007, after assigning Plaintiff’s defense to the Tucson City Public Defender , Judge Hays told Plaintiff: “You probably will be arrested if you return to address the Tucson City Council.”
80. In his Motion to Withdraw as Attorney of Record dated April 12, 2007, Tucson City Public Defender Charles Davis succinctly apprised Judge Hays of the poli-tical ramifications of Plaintiff’s current prosecution, as set forth in paragraphs 38-43 above:
“(I)t has come to our attention that the defendant recently addressed the City Council “Call to the Audience.” Apparently, several of the Council members felt threatened by defendant in his remarks . This puts us in a untenable position in terms of our ability to represent the defendant. We are a City department that relies on the City Council for budget support and policy direction. Defendant must have an attorney who has no ties to the City Council or the City of Tucson government.” (emphasis added)

81. On April 23, 2007 Municipal Court Judge Riojas, upon motion by Tucson City Prosecutor Alan Merritt who clearly stated his objective was to stop Plaintiff from speaking in Armory Park on May 01, 2007 in opposition to left wing radi-cal Hispanics who seek the violent overthrow of the United States government, issued an Order of the Court which suspended all Plaintiff’s first amendment rights, all of Plaintiff’s second amendment rights within 500 feet of any political demonstration, and prevented Plaintiff from speaking in Armory Park on May 01, 2007.
82. On May 04, 2007, in an editorial entitled “Immigration reform: The time is now” noting the lack of enthusiasm of Counter Protestors to the demonstration in Armory Park for Immigration Reform (Open Border Policy) on May 01, 2007, the editor of the Arizona Star stated:
“According to a story by Lourdes Medrano and Dale Quinn in Wednesday’s Star, some 2,500 Tucsonans marched in favor of reforming the nation’s broken immigration laws. Counterprotestors numbered about half a dozen.

“The Tucson showing was a high-point for anti-immigration forces.

“If more people truly feel it is in the best interest of this country to deport all illegal immigrants and greatly increase border security, then more counter-protestors would have gone out to blunt the message of those in favor of immigration reform.”

83. Plaintiff repeats and re-alleges each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1-82 as though fully set forth herein.
84. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that even the temporary interruption of protected rights creates “irreparable harm”. Plaintiff seeks immediate injunc-tive relief (1) enjoining the Tucson Police Department from further subjective and unconstitutional application of the “Makes Unreasonable Noise” portion of Arizona’s Disturbing the Peace Statute, (13-2904), and (2) enjoining the Tucson Police Department from further subjective and unconstitutional application of the Tucson Noise Ordinance TCC 16-31 without first measuring the volume of sound produced by Plaintiff’s public address system, as provided by the ordinance, and, as set forth in paragraphs 56 and 69; Plaintiff agrees not to exceed the decibel levels set therein;

85. Plaintiff repeats and re-alleges each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1-84 as though fully set forth herein.
86. The Arizona Supreme Court has stated:
“Any question regarding infringement of First Amendment rights is of the utmost gravity and importance, for it goes to the heart of the natural rights of citizens to impart and acquire information which is necessary for the well being of a free society. Since an informed public is the most important of all restraints upon misgovernment, (the government may not take) any…action which might prevent free and general discussion of public matters as seems essential to prepare the people for an intelligent exercise of their rights as citizens.” New Times Inc. v Arizona Board of Regents, 110 Ariz. 367, 519 P.2d 169 (1974)

87. In harassing, intimidating, arresting and prosecuting Plaintiff as described above, Defendants acted negligently, maliciously, in bad faith, and, with a callous and reckless disregard for Plaintiff’s rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, as generally set forth above and as set forth with particularity in paragraph 3. Defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the harm done to Plaintiff.
88. Plaintiff repeats and re-alleges each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1-87 as though fully set forth herein.
89. By the arrest and detention of Plaintiff, wholly unsupported by probable cause to believe the Plaintiff had engaged in any criminal conduct during any of his political rallies, the Defendants acted negligently, maliciously, in bad faith, and, with a callous and reckless disregard for Plaintiff’s rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, as generally set forth above and as set forth with particularity in paragraph 3. Defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the harm done to Plaintiff.
90. Plaintiff repeats and re-alleges each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1-89 as though fully set forth herein.
91. By directing the Tucson Police Department to (1) cite Plaintiff for alleged vio-lations of the Tucson City Noise Ordinance (TCC 16-31), and (2) to arrest Plain-tiff for speaking out in opposition to current Tucson City Policy, which now depends upon a continual flow of Illegal Mexican Alien labor to satisfy the needs of local real estate developers, and (3) by directing the Tucson City Attorney Mike Rankin to commence a series of three criminal prosecutions intended to intimidate and prevent Plaintiff from engaging in political activities in opposition to Tucson City Policy, the Defendants acted negligently, maliciously, in bad faith, and, with a callous and reckless disregard for Plaintiff’s rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, as generally set forth above and as set forth with particularity in paragraph 3. Defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the harm done to Plaintiff.
92. Plaintiff repeats and re-alleges each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1-91 as though fully set forth herein.
93. Title 18 U.S.C. Part 1 Chapter 13 §241, provides:
“If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same…(t)hey shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”

94. As executive, administrative and enforcement level employees of the City of Tucson, all named Defendants, (excepting Peg Weber, Marco Alcantara, Wade Colwell, Luke Salcido, Arturo Rodriquez and Alexander Rodriquez), had an affirmative duty to protect the rights of the Plaintiff, not to trample upon them. Upon assuming their positions of public trust, all named Defendants, (excepting those noted above), swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, yet from April 11, 2006 when Defendants first caused Plaintiff to be cited for engaging in a political protest in Armory Park in opposition to Tucson City and Pima County policy, to April 23, 2007 when Municipal Court Judge Riojas, acting under the direction of the Tucson City Mayor and Tucson City Council suspended all Plaintiff’s rights secured by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Defendants (excepting those noted above) received and responded to Plaintiff’s various protected communications and publications, communicated with each other, and individually and in concert with the others, acted negligently, willfully, maliciously, in bad faith, with a callous and reckless disregard for Plaintiff’s rights, with the specific intent of depriving Plaintiff of rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. Defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the harm done to Plaintiff.
For nearly a century the Federal Courts have energetically protected the expressive rights of those who exist on the fringes of American society—Communists, Nazis, Klansmen and Hells Angels—with the following rationale: “If we don’t protect the rights of the minority among us, someday the government will step in and deny these rights to the rest of us.”
“As Chief Justice Hughes wrote in De Jonge v Oregon, 299 US 353, 365, 260, it is only through free debate and free exchange of ideas that government remains responsive to the will of the people and peaceful change is effected. The right to speak freely and to promote diversity of ideas and programs is therefore one of the chief distinctions that sets us apart from totalitarian regimes.” Terminiello v City of Chicago, 337 U.S. 1 (1949).
The long-feared day of totalitarianism, of blatant disregard for the right of free political expression and the harsh reality of brown-shirted thugs wearing jack boots strutting through the streets of an American city, has finally come to pass. The City of Tucson’s aggressive use of the Municipal Court and Police Department to (1) silence the voice of political dissent, and (2) to protect the criminal activities of radical Hispanic hate groups whose clearly stated objective is the violent overthrow of the United States government, and (3) to protect from public view the Cities’ own criminal enterprise to extend its’ own financial and left-wing political agenda, is taken directly from Hitler’s playbook.
Our Founding Fathers established the Courts for perilous and revolutionary times such as these. During the great Civil Rights era, the Courts protected the political rights of the American people so they could organize, assemble and accomplish what in effect was a peaceful revolution; Plaintiff earnestly prays this Court will do no less now.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays that this Court:
A) Issue immediate injunctive relief baring the Tucson Police Department from the selective and unconstitutional application of Tucson City Sound Ordinance, TCC 16-31 (A), and the “Makes Unreasonable Noise” portion of Arizona’s Disturb-ing the Peace Statute, (13-2904);
B) Order Tucson City to provide all enforcement level employees with mandatory training regarding their duty, independent of the direction of their superiors, to establish all the elements of probable cause related to a specific criminal offense prior to effecting an arrest;
C) Order Tucson City to provide all enforcement level employees with mandatory training regarding their duty to protect the constitutional rights of the people;
D) Award Plaintiff compensatory damages in an amount deemed fair, just and reasonable, for (1) the harm Plaintiff has suffered as set forth in paragraph 3 above, (2) the emotional distress Plaintiff has suffered by his loss of rights and reputation, (3) Plaintiff’s loss of income as a result of having to defend himself in three criminal prosecutions, (4) the negligent and intentional deprivation of the Plaintiff’s civil rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and 42 U.S.C. §1983;
E) Award Plaintiff exemplary damages in the amount of $10,000,000.00 (ten million dollars) as an example to the Defendants and to deter other government officials from abusing the prerogatives of their power and acting in a similar malicious and unlawful manner;
F) Award Plaintiff reasonable attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1988; and;
G) Grant such additional relief as the Court deems just and proper.

RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED, this 8th day of May, 2007.

BY: ________________________________
Roy Warden, Plaintiff

State of Arizona
County of _____________

On this ____day of ____________________, 2007, before me the undersigned Notary Public, personally appeared Roy Warden, known to me to be the individual who executed the foregoing instrument and acknowledged the same to be his free act and deed.

My Commission Expires:_______________ ___________________________

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I stand corrected: AZ Prop. 13 is serious.

The insufferably wacky ("Nor can you prove otherwise...") Jeff Greenspan handed off Prop. 13 Arizona to more competent hands in order to work full time on Ron Paul's campaign. Unlike past efforts, this one is organized and serious. The name is still stupid. "Proposition 211 on this year's ballot is Prop. 13..."

The Prop. 13 Arizona committee is getting ready to file a single initiative, striking Article 9 Section 19--currently full of more holes than Swiss cheese--from the State Constitution entirely, and replacing Section 18 with a rollback and limited increase. More to follow when the language is finalized.

Arizona Tax Revolt, a separate group, is also putting forth promising, albeit perhaps redundant, initiatives. More on that later.

Thanks to Tom Jenney of the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers for the heads-up on my obsolete details.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Last one about Rodney Glassman

Unless he puts his foot in his mouth or a prostitute is found dead in his trunk (hmm...that gets me to thinking: Rodney Glassman is the local candidate in recent years most likely to be found with a dead hooker in his trunk) this is the last post I'll be doing about Rodney Glassman.

I was going to stop already, but this is so over-the-top I can't miss the opportunity.

Glassman has taken to supercillious pretense whenever he feels Lori Oien is talking more about him than the issues. (Glassman has yet to learn how much character matters when people are to be trusted with positions of power.) Yet he began a candidate-to-candidate Q and A session by asking Oien about her views on abortion, which is about as much a city issue as is foreign aid to sub-Saharan Africa.

Then came the soul-bearing moment. "When I go about having sex with women, I like to know we're on the same page."

I wonder if, after having knocked up some debutante he's impressed with his slick ways and big bucks, he pesters her to get an abortion like he pestered Jim Kolbe and others for donations. Is that why he now likes to see that they're on the same page?

Either way, if my sister were to bring home a man like that to Thanksgiving dinner, there'd be fisticuffs, blood, and arrests. I'd call him a weasel, but weasels are warm blooded.

A tax revolt ballot initiative for Arizona

There have been rumors, including a cryptic note from Tom Jenney of Americans for Prosperity, about a serious tax revolt, possibly consisting of a TABOR initiative, in Arizona. Prop. 13 Arizona certainly isn't it--if anything, the decidedly stupid name makes that clear--but on the off chance that it makes the ballot, its two amendments would be a welcome addition to the state constitution.

Prop 13 Arizona was filed by Jeff Greenspan, a paleo-con and perennial foe of taxation. Jeff is a curious character, who considers random capitalization of words, sprinkling his writing with "logic" and "rational" and general spinning about to be argument. At least on the Internet, he's reminiscent of Zippy the Pinhead. However, he seems to have his act together more than in years past. Although only one of the two initiatives have been filed with the Secretary of State's office, at least this time there's a website and other people on board.

The two proposed amendments would eliminate exceptions to the Consititution's tax rate caps, roll back valuations to 2003 for properties purchased before then, and set two percent per year cap on valuation increases. Curiously, this is lower than inflation. Perhaps it'll be the measure's undoing.

That is, if it makes the ballot. I'm not expecting Greenspan to deliver, although I'll be pleased if he does.

Perhaps someone at the Star reads my 'blog.

I spent a few minutes last Friday writing about Rodney Glassman's business antics, and a few more dropping links to the post on Craigslist and other comment boards, to find today that the Daily Star has, with professional quality, covered the matter. The papers have previously been quiet about Glassman's past.

"Mission accomplished!", or did I waste my time. I'll never know.

Read the comments below the Star article. You'll find that Glassman, at one time, barred kids who bought their equipment elsewhere from skating on the rink. What a weasel! Penny wise and pound foolish, for sure. One can actually get away with that, in government--"Do as I say, or else"--which is why we want the carpetbagging phony-philanthropist Glassman away from the reins of power.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rodney Glassman's past life: why character matters in the Tucson City Council race.

If you want to embarrass Tucson City Council hopeful Rodney Glassman, ask him what he was up to when he got himself kicked out of Carol West's office back in 2000. It's already cost him her endorsement, as well as that of former councilman Jerry Anderson, who's leading "Democrats for Oien." In a city full of yellow-dogs of the worst, pseudo-elitist type--the sort that confound Democrat registration with a measure of intelligence and consider it a 1:1 correlate with being a Good Person--that means a lot.

I don't know whether or not Glassman's transfer to the U of A, where he picked up three degrees from known easy programs, was brought about by academic difficulties at Cornell. Regardless, while he was here, he took over management of his family's struggling ice arena.

The official story is that Glassman turned the operation around, making it profitable. We're supposed to admire him for this: it's what passes for accomplishment in the life of a man who has only credentials. What the Glassman camp doesn't tell you is that Glassman first tried to get the City to bail the operation out, becoming so obnoxious about it to alienate Anderson and become the first and last person West ever had to ask to leave.

Glassman has not denounced this rent-seeking behavior or even apologized, leading us to one of two conclusions:

  1. Rodney Glassman the Councilman would approve of the behavior of Rodney Glassman the businessman and accept the transfer of the burden of failing enterprises from private owners to taxpayers.
  2. Rodney Glassman is truly wicked. He knows that government bailouts of business are wrong, but asked for one anyway.

Pace Richard Dawkins, I'm not inclined to think of people as evil or wicked without good reason. Thus I'm left to conclude that to elect Rodney Glassman to the city council would be to elect another cronyist who believes that government should help private enterprise along with favors and privileges.

Should casting a vote for Lori Oien even be in question? If it still is, the ever-irascible right-wing commentator Emil Franzi has dug up some truths about Glassman and his (partly tax-funded!) vanity foundation that will make your decision certain.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Are dangerous predators like Andrew Thomas or Joe Arpaio living in your neighborhood? Check these public records.

Joe Arpaio, "America's Toughest Sheriff", has blustered on occasion that his address is a matter of public record, and that he travels without guard, so that if anyone--such as mothers of his victims--wants to take him out, they could.

When someone publishes that address in a newspaper, however, chief goon (and bigot enabler) Andrew Thomas goes on the warpath. He's learned, however, that attempts to intimidate a major city's weekly are politically perilous. We still take freedom of the press seriously here in the States.

Now Thomas is upset--crocodile tears, if you ask me--that, the website run by the Arizona Republic and Phoenix channel 12, published links to public documents giving his home address, complaining that it put him and his family in peril. The paper, as a courtesy, deleted the links.

I don't advocate doing anything to anyone's wife and children, nor do I believe that assassinations are an appropriate way to take even folks as low as Thomas and Arpaio out of office. However, Thomas, for the prosecution of Matt Bandy, for the failure to prosecute Patrick Haab, and for numerous offenses against the public trust and the liberty of the people, is beneath the courtesy shown to him by the Republic. For well-known reasons--including the attempt to intimidate the New Times--the same applies to Arpaio.

Both men's addresses are public record, on the Maricopa County Recorder's website. Both of Thomas's and Arpaio's residences may be found on their 2004 Financial Disclosure Statements.

Kids, if you go trick-or-treating to the addresses given, have your parents check things over. The homes are known for harboring bad apples.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Municipal Unicron-ism

In the absence of outside restraint, Arizona cities will eat everything.

Driving home late yesterday night from a conference in Flagpole, I was reminded by a sign declaring the Phoenix city limits--several miles north of Happy Valley Road--that Arizona law has an absurd quirk which allows cities to annex large amounts of empty land. Phoenix isn't even the craziest example; the sleepy little town of Buckeye is 48 miles wide north-south and 24 miles wide east-west.

Arizonans have, as a rule, fought both incorporation and annexation. Rillito, completely surrounded by Marana, has held out for years. Green Valley has yet to even come close to incorporation. Casas Adobes residents have made it clear that they want to be a part of neither Marana nor Oro Valley nor Tucson; independent incorporation is still a contentious matter. Residents of unincorporated areas receive basic services (protection of law, etc.) from the county and contract privately for the rest (bring that up to anyone who says "libertarianism looks good on paper but doesn't work in life"!); incorporation replaces this market process with political bureaucracy. Living in an unincorporated area does mean that a sizable portion of one's taxes are sent to Phoenix, never to return, but the benefits may nonetheless be outweighed by the costs.

Frustrated in their attempts to seize inhabited areas and expand power and tax revenues, Arizona's municipalities have been moving towards what amounts to preemptive annexation, allowing them to continue to run cities like multilevel marketing or pyramid schemes. Spending like drunken sailors is alright; subsidized growth within the city's wide limits will make the latest bond issue look like chump change in a decade or two when the tax base has doubled!

Growth in Arizona will inevitably continue, and since we have yet to meaningfully reform our water laws and privatize the aquifiers, it will become increasingly irresponsible. Allowing annexation of undeveloped areas sets up an incentive for politicians to encourage such sprawl. Moreover, residents of new development ought to have the choice of being subject to existing city government, their own local government, or none at all. That's a matter of justice, moreover, it keeps the cities honest.

Arizona's annexation law has an obvious flaw, and needs to be reworked again.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Tucson City Election: Kalafut's Picks

Tucsonans vote on two ballot propositions, a mayor, and three city councilmen this fall. Election Day is 6 November, but due to the universal mailing of early ballots, many, including me, have already voted. My choices were as follows:

  • No on Proposition 100
    This proposition would raise the Mayor's annual salary from $42,000 per year to $48,000, and each City Councilman's salary from $24,000 to $36,000.
    These positions--especially the city councilor's--are not supposed to be full-time employment; that is why Tucson has a City Manager. The Citizens' Commission on Public Service and Compensation is recommending the increase because higher salaries will attract more "diverse and representative" candidates, increase salaries to keep pace with inflation, align salaries with average salaries in the city, and because the duties of the Mayor and councilmen supposedly necessitate more than 40 hours of work per week.

    If the Mayor and Council are working more than 40 hours per week on their duties, something is culturally or structurally wrong with each office. Rejecting Proposition 100 forces them to address this existential question, and may move us in the direction of adopting the superior Council-manager form of government, already common in the rest of the state.

  • No on Proposition 200
    Adding a "garbage fee" to the water bill without lowering taxes, allowing competition, or instituting a pay-for-use fee schedule was one of the City Council's lowest acts in recent memory. Prop. 200, the Tucson Water Users' Bill of Rights would remedy this, but at the same time prohibit privatization or either garbage or water, imposes a water delivery cap without an associated permit-trading system, forbids use of purified effluent as tapwater, and would likely result in an increase in wildcat well drilling and sprawl development. As I've written before, it's a deliberately deceptive mess, forcing us to swallow three doses of bad to get one of good. Send it to the rubbish heap to join John Kromko's political career.

  • Bob Walkup for Mayor
    I wanted for Dave Croteau to come together as a candidate, so that I could vote for him over the growth lobby's choice, incumbent Bob Walkup. When I thought he was going to support a cap-and-trade approach to water conservation, he had my vote, however, he abandoned that position when his party endorsed Prop. 200 in the process of courting--or not courting; I'm hearing different stories from different people--John Kromko, the proposition's author. Croteau has a vision involving sustainability and "re-localization" which he paints in broad strokes, never making the connection to concrete policy proposals, or clarifying how he'd accomplish his objective without running afoul of the State and Federal Constitutions, the laws of economics, or the liberty of the people.

    Although he speaks of a "living wage", I don't see him as being Yet Another Leftist Class Warrior. I do see him as being representative of a problem that has plagued the Green Movement from its beginnings: aesthetics do not readily translate to policy. There are no major Green think-tanks, nor is significant academic scholarship done is support of the Green position. The libertarians, social democrats, and conservatives can reference serious works of philosophy and economics to support their positions; the Greens are stuck with touchy-feely values that amount to little more than unconstrained statements about the best of naively possible worlds. (I share quite a few of those values, but find that the Greens, in their guessing-game, get their policy implications mostly wrong. That's a matter for another time.)

    We'd all love to live in Candyland, but I'd like to know what a person is going to do about the here-and-now, given the dirty constraints of reality, before I trust him with any power. Croteau is off in space; Walkup, as we've seen, doesn't screw things up too badly, so in the absence of serious competition, he has my vote by default.

  • Beryl Baker for City Council, Ward One

    Speaking of candidate who paint with a broad brush, it's been difficult to get detail from Regina Romero. The issue about which she has spoken the most is KIDCO, a city-funded after-school babysitting program. Romero would have it expanded and make it more educational. That would be a fine position for the executive director of a charitable non-profit or even a daycare entrepreneur, but I expect City Councilmen to have more to say about matters of concern to residents and local businesses than about how to expand a handout program.

    Beryl Baker, on the other hand, is a neighborhood activist advocating nuts-and-bolts reform. In light of that, I forgave her endorsement of Prop. 200 and gave her my vote.

  • Lori Oien for City Council, Ward Two

    Lori Oien's record of community involvement is even more impressive than Baker's, and she offers a concrete platform of fiscal responsibility and improved city services.

    Rodney Glassman is an arrogant trustafarian dandy with an inflated resume. He runs a charitable foundation, yes, and is what passes for a socialite in Tucson, but his only discernible past political or activist experience was as a Raul Grijalva lackey. (Grijalva, for those who've forgotten, is an ineffectual, thuggish Congressman with a far-left voting record and a campaign strategy based on unionism and class warfare.) The newspapers say Glassman offers "leadership"; I find him as vapid now as I did when he defeated the far more substantial Robert Reus in the primary. Let him grow up a bit and learn to offer voters policy, not just personality. Vote Lori Oien.

  • Dan Spahr for City Council, Ward Four
    Dan Spahr's tying of his campaign to the occupation of Iraq with a "Support the Troops" slogan is both tacky and bizarre, and he's a bit of a populist in the right-wing empty-head sense regarding social issues, but he brings some good to the table, including community policing and a belief that the Rio Nuevo strategy must be changed to focus on private investment, not public subsidy. The Tucson City Council has needed a fiscal conservative dissenter of the sort that Ann Day has been on the Pima County Board of Supervisors, and Shirley Scott hasn't been it. In the interest of throwing the bums out, I held my nose and voted Spahr.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A real tax credit is the way to cure the fake one's ills.

Last week, the Tucson Citizen reported on use of Arizona's tuition tax-credit program to fund K-12 level education at Rainbow Acres, an adult group home. While this use falls outside the intent of the 2002 law, it's in accord with its letter.

We should consider the benefit to retarded adults a positive side effect, not a sign of fraud or a reason to scrap the tuition tax-credit program. One can expect, when a complicated system that adds a layer of institutions--school tuition organizations in this case--to the mix is created, that there will be unintended consequences, positive, negative, or both. If Arizonans want to get serious about reforming education for the state's children, a simpler solution will do.

In what has become the most-viewed post on the Pima County Libertarian Party's weblog, I proposed that Arizona's legislature take steps to remedy the market failure keeping private education beyond the means of too many families: the double-payments problem. Offer a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, with a cap much higher that Iowa's or Illinois's paltry $500, to parents, grandparents, godparents, neighbors, or anyone else who pays the private education expenses of a particular minor child.

This does away with the money-laundering system of tuition organizations, and it's fair: parents should not have to pay both for their children's education and for that of the children of the less responsible or less well-off.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Seeking a co-blogger

I'm not going to be in Arizona forever; I estimate another two years before I'm a Californian. I'd like to hand this 'blog over to someone at that time, and have a co-blogger or two until then. Any takers? Send me an e-mail if interested.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Check our legislators' alibis.

As regular readers of this irregularly updated 'blog know, I take a dim view of the antics of Russell Pearce, Don Goldwater, and their type. Instead of debunking economic fallacies and promoting high-minded morals, they bring out the worst in Arizonans, enhancing the irrational hatred of the Mexican and turning spite into rage. Unless Congress moves to fix the problem, we're going to see a Vincent Chin incident, with blame lying as much with men (and I use the term loosely) like Pearce as with the perpetrator.

The rage felt over Mexican immigration--it's always about "ILLEGALS" but the truth comes out between the lines--is difficult to understand, and naturally so, as it's irrational. (Have you noticed the patchy, shifting, post-hoc nature of the justifications given?) To get a sense of how crazy it is, consider the following Seattle-area incident, which trumps the bizzare anger over pressing two for Spanish or having to suffer through hearing other people have conversations in a foreign tongue.:

Well, let's look at it this way: At least, this guy wasn't buying a blowtorch.

But that age-old adage that patience is a virtue somehow slipped the mind of a man shopping at The Home Depot on Utah Avenue South in Seattle on Thursday.

Around 9 p.m., the man was in line at a self-service checkout stand, ready to buy a pry bar and a hacksaw, according to a Seattle police report.

But, as a manager told an officer, the man accidentally hit the button on the computer screen for Spanish.

That was the tipping point for this consumer.

He became "frustrated that the machine was speaking Spanish," the police report says.

So, instead of asking for help, he let loose a blow with the pry bar and shattered the computer. He ran from the store and made a beeline to some railroad tracks, the report said.

A Seattle police officer searched for the man, but didn't find him.

The manager believes he caused about $10,000 in damage. He left the pry bar in his shopping cart.

Does anyone know the whereabouts of Russ Dove or Roy Warden that day? Check the security tape. Does the perp resemble Mr. Pearce?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Full text of the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act

Lately it's felt like preventing the institution of socialized medicine would be as difficult as stopping an oncoming train. We might just have to suffer through a generation of waiting lists, declined care, and overseas travel for treatment in order to prove what credible healthcare economists are already telling us.

If one wants to avoid being hit by a train, the other option is to derail it before it arrives. The "Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act", a ballot initiative being advanced by Medical Choice for Arizona, would do exactly that, preventing many of the abuses associated with socialized medicine and restricting its form to either residual welfare or a voucher system.

Medical Choice for Arizona is not yet on the Web, and the Secretary of State's office has not posted the full text either. I was sent a xerox by that office, and have copied the initiative word-for-word below. Remember: you saw it here first.

Commentary to follow soon.



Be it enacted by the People of Arizona:

1. Article II, Section 36: Constitution of Arizona is proposed to be added as follows if approved by the voters and on proclamation of the Governor:


2. The Secretary of State shall submit this proposition to the voters at the next general election as provided by Article XXI, of the Constitution of Arizona.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A few more words on Arizona Libertarian Party v. Brewer

My "official" opinion as the 1st Vice Chairman of the Pima County Libertarian Party on the recent Arizona Libertarian Party v. Brewer decision is posted on the Pima County Libertarian Party weblog, however, there are a few things that I ought to say speaking for myself.

While the proximate effect of the decision is to prevent outsiders from hijacking the Libertarian ballot line, the case has much more significance as election law than it will in boosting the fortunes of the AZLP, for the simple purpose that the AZLP does not use its ballot line for anything of significance.

The AZLP does run candidates, usually underqualified ones who don't take campaigning seriously. (I was, self-consciously, one of those in 2004.) It rarely has contested primaries, and has yet to have a serious impact in a partisan race. Even moving the Overton Window, or otherwise changing the terms of debate, doesn't happen as often as it could because the Party fields candidates like Ernie Hancock or Barry Hess, clueless on the publicly relevant issues pertinent to the office sought, seemingly without reservation.

Yuri Downing was a mere gnat compared to the swarm of bees that is self-defeat. Back in 1990, Rick Tompkins, acquiring the voter list by less than ethical means, sent a mailer to every Libertarian in the state recommending they change their registrations and vote for Prescott slimeball Sam Steiger. The number of people driven off by Ernie Hancock's boorish populism is something we'll probably never know (although I've heard enough ex-Libertarians' anecdotes to put the number at more than a handful), but we do know that his war with members who merely insisted that the organizing law be followed hurt both state registrations and the the National party, causing Harry Browne to fall short of 50-state ballot access.

Libertarians have stopped suing each other, but keep shooting themselves in the foot. Mike Renzulli's motion to deny any Party support (including sales of the voter list!) to candidates who participate in Clean Elections did not receive a vote at the shambles that was the last State Convention, but the ensuing discussion was enough to drive Rick Fowlkes, our best candidate in the last two elections, over to the Republicans. Furthermore, this year, the State board made the decision for the Libertarian electorate that no Presidential primary would be held in 2008. (I'm still hoping that George Phillies or Wayne Root will have the cojones to say "we don't care".) There are better uses for my time (as a grad student working more-than-full-time) than to try to unseat the corrupt ideologues behind the decision. Hancock, for his part, is busy doing as Tompkins did, encouraging libertarians to change their registrations to vote for the paleoconservative Congressman Ron Paul in the Republican primary.

Libertarian policy solutions can succeed in Arizona, with last year's Prop. 207 being the most salient example. Libertarian candidates have no trouble getting more than their share of press when they're actually newsworthy. What's holding Libertarians back in this state is not election law, it's Libertarians. If the Party wants to advance a libertarian agenda at all--and after the 2007 State Convention, that itself is debatable--it needs to get serious about using its ballot status to run strong candidates, for appropriate offices, who threaten to take votes from the major party candidates or, even worse, get elected. Imagine that? Hold public office? How very un-Libertarian!

And how ironic it is, that the most significant policy change effected by the AZ LP is not a great advancement of liberty; it's ALP v. Brewer.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Robert McWhirter and the Pre-History of the Sixth Amendment

Maricopa County assistant legal defender (and former Federal public defender) Bob McWhirter has been making a name for himself with his irreverent, lively lectures on the historical origins of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment protections.

ACLU-AZ's Central Chapter hosted one such lecture last Saturday, and I made the drive up from Phoenix. Presenting a well-paced lecture, approachable by the audience's slouching teenagers yet satisfying to the rest of us, his reputation is deserved.

For those who won't get the chance to attend one of his lectures: a book is in the works.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Solidarity Forever, our Union Does Kids Wrong!: the Tucson Education Assocation's recipe for extortion.

Here's a recipe for extortion:

  1. Set up a monopolistic public-school system. Don't provide vouchers or even tax credits to parents who take responsibility for their own childrens' education; let the double-payments trap make school choice a luxury.
  2. Limit choice even within that system. Go out of your way to find nonsensical restrictions to place on high-performing charter schools, the better to make all options affordable to the average Joe equal.
  3. Bundle most of a major city's schools in a single administrative district.
  4. Although teaching is a highly individualized profession--teachers are not fungible--allow the teachers' union to impose an equal-pay-for-equal-work salary structure instead of market-oriented "merit pay", which incentivizes performance and rewards excellence.
  5. Accept a contract without a clause preventing strikes or requiring honesty in taking of sick leave.

The result: Salary negotiations are handled en masse, and if the teachers' side isn't getting what it wants, it can cause massive disruption by shutting down the schools. The parents who can least accommodate having the kids home during the day--public school parents--pick up the slack, and it's only so long until the school board buckles.

I'm not about to say what sort of pay raise the TUSD teachers should get, and it's worth noting that the difference between the school board and the teachers' union is over more than just the raise.

What's clear, however, is that the current system is set up to stick it to two groups: the first being parents (largely working-class in this district), who bear the cost of these labor disputes by having to take off of work or hire sitters, and the second being the children, who lose a day of study and effectively more, once the distraction and scramble are done.

As correctly noted by the Star, last Friday was TUSD's second sickout in recent memory. If TUSD were a private school, parents would be wary. Since TUSD isn't, parents should be irate. It's high time that the stand was taken, for no more sickouts, ever. That doesn't mean to cave into every demand of the union.

The long term solution, the one that's best for parents, kids, and the community is to bust the union, gently. If the teachers are going to play hardball, with sham sick days, the district ought play right back and insist on merit pay. Moreover, and more importantly, the State should move towards full school choice--every child is in a school actively chosen by the parent--in two ways simultaneously. A goal should be set: all public schools become charters by 2015. Furthermore, a real tuition tax credit system, that gives a dollar-for-dollar tax credit with a high cap to parents, grandparents, godparents, well-meaning negihbors, and anyone else who directly pays for a kid's private education or homeschooling expenses, should be instituted, giving more families the option of free-market education.

In a market system, parent's don't have to wait for politicians to do as they ought--which rarely happens--for reform. Furthermore, they can escape schools with perennial labor problems. Most acutely, any particular school's labor problems won't disrupt a major city!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Kromko's lost his moxie.

I should probably have 'blogged about this last week, before it began being reported in bits and pieces:

After several successful alliances on local issues, the Pima County Libertarian Party asked John Kromko to run for mayor, on their ticket. This was going to happen, until the day of the deadline, when Kromko gathered his "Water Users' Bill of Rights" supporters who, for bizzare reasons, didn't like the idea. In an act of cowardice, Kromko decided against running as a Libertarian.

Someone from the Green Party supposedly told Kromko that Dave Croteau would withdraw from the race if Kromko decided to run as a Green. (What the difference is between running as a Green and running as a Libertarian, from the perspective of the Enough! crowd, is beyond me.) What a slap in the face to Dave Ewoldt and the rest who are working to put together a respectable campaign for Croteau!

What I didn't know until I picked up the paper today is that Kromko actually filed to run as a Green, and subsequently withdrew due to lack of funds. If he'd had enough moxie to run as a Libertarian, he'd be in the race--the Libertarians have had trouble finding candidates this cycle--and would have bully pulpit from which to promote his initiative. (He was also going to take Clean Elections money, so the official excuse doesn't make any sense.)

Apparently, John Kromko's courage has gone the way of his mojo. Perhaps it's time for him to retire. Perhaps this is retirement.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Your tax dollars at work.

I'm a grad student in a department at the University of Arizona that'll go unnamed for now.

In a building full of high-tech equipment, one thing stood out: the old, 1960s-vintage Western Electric model 2500 phones, in a dingy cross between tan and Pepto-Bismol pink. I took their continued presense as a sign of (much appreciated) fiscal austerity, given the department's seemingly endless budget crises.

There are still old folks out there leasing their phones, and I just found out that the department is one of them. The phones were still being rented, for over $20 per month! Assuming 50 phones in the department, this comes to $1000 per month, or $10000 per year! So much for fiscal austerity!

A young office assistant came around today with replacement phones that cost less than two months' rental on the old ones, and told me this when I asked where the old Western Electric models were going. It was so outrageous, I had to confirm it in the business office.

It would seem that a little slice of Soviet efficiency lurks wherever your tax dollars are at work!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What, then, isn't a land-use regulation?

The city of Tucson has a love-hate relationship with so-called "big box" stores. On the one hand, your average Joe or Jose shops at the superstores, from the early-morning opening to the late-night closing. Tucsonans like the big-boxes so much that where they can--outside city limits--many stay open 24 hours. It's also no secret that Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes, and Food City (in addition to the anchor department stores at the various malls) make Tucson a weekend shopping destination for quite a few Sonorans.

On the other hand, the big boxes, especially Wal-Mart, are the target of quite a few affluent NIMBYs, who for varying, mainly aesthetic, reasons--it's a symbol of the auto-driven sprawl that they like for themselves but would prefer others would decline--would rather such stores didn't exist and who go to bizzare lengths to make it difficult for the big-boxes to do business within city limits.

Take, for example, Tucson's ordinance requiring that retailiers meeting the "big box" criterion can only devote 10% of their floor space to groceries, that is, unless it devotes greater than 90% of its floorspace to groceries. Instead of letting the businesses assume the risk of determining what consumers want, the City Council, back in 1999, pretended to do so for them.

Of course, the Councilmen didn't have the consumer in mind at all. We can't even say that the ordinance was a misguided effort to "protect" small business; the effect was to "protect" Albertson's, Food City, and big-box law flouting Fry's (notorious for using freight containers to keep itself under 100,000 square feet) from Target and Wal-Mart. Mark Kimble laid it out clearly in last Thursday's Citizen: the grocery restriction was included the big-box ordinance at the behest of the United Food and Commercial Workers' Union, the same, nefarious group trying to strong-arm Basha's--Arizona's only family-owned grocery chain and a regular contributor to various good causes--into unionizing its employees without a vote. Wal-Mart is, famously, union-free.

On the heels of securing neighborhood support and a favorable City Council vote for a Supercenter at 36th and Kino, Wal-Mart decided to go one further and petition to put the "Consumer Choice Initiative", repealing the grocery provisions of the big-box ordinance, on this November's ballot. 11,615 valid signatures were required, over 22,000 (one of them mine) were collected.

In the face of this seemingly strong support to at least see the question put to a vote, the City Clerk rejected the petitions, claiming that land-use regulations cannot be amended by the ballot initiative process. That may or may not be true; it's not enshrined in the State constitution, but it was the result of a 1997 court case.

The supposed reasoning behind the decision--if anyone can locate it, please leave a comment!--was that ballot initiatives would undermine the public participation supposedly central to the zoning process. The catch is: the big-box ordinance, with the grocery provision, was passed without public discussion!

Furthermore, land-use regulations are concerned with such matters as traffic, lighting, parking, noise pollution, and the like--externalities--and not with everything that goes on inside a store. A law saying Ace Hardware may not sell nails, only screws, or that drugstores can't sell newspapers unless they also sell Harry Potter, is not a land-use law, no matter where it's found in the statute, unless, like "public use" or "interstate commerce", every law is a land-use law.

Wal-Mart was ready to take the city to court, but has backed down for mysterious reasons. Was there a threat to renege on the variance involving 36th and Kino? Who knows. As a signer of the petition, I could be a plaintiff myself, but I'm too busy and too broke.

I've heard plenty of FUD and a few truly legitimate gripes about Wal-Mart, such as the corporate welfare it's been given in Prescott, but for the first time I can say that the company has let me down.

Postscript: It's clear which of Tucson's two newspapers is more favorable to enterprise--and to individual liberty in general--and it isn't the Daily Star. Keep that in mind when your subscription renewals come up.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Scanning the headlines...

From yesterday's Star:
125 here are hit by 'Ponzi scheme'

Of the roughly half-million retirees in the Tucson metro area, only 125 are saying "I paid 15% of my income to the Social Security system for fifty years, and this is what I get?"

(Real update--about ballot initiatives--to follow soon!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Kromko's lost his mojo!

Until recently, if you'd have asked me who to go to for advice about ballot initiatives, I'd have recommended John Kromko. While we occupy opposite ends of the political spectrum, he an old Great Society leftist and I someone who'd name his 'blog after Barry G. But he's the rare low-tax leftist, and on local issues, such as last year's RTA swindle, we're usually on the same page. More to the point, he is--or, rather, was--Arizona's expert in initiative politics.

Strange of him, then, to not only back but actually write a guaranteed loser! Having failed to collect the requisite amount of signatures to kill the so-called "garbage fee" (the one that isn't tied to service, can't be opted out of, and gets one's water shut off if one dosen't pay) two years ago, largely because he broke his arm and didn't ask for sufficient help, he's come back with a grotesque mashup that is not only ill-wrought but will also almost certainly violate the single-subject rule.

Called the Tucson Water Users' Bill of Rights, it proposes to repeal the garbage fee, forbid the association of any fee for any service other than water delivery with water usage or the water bill, and ban so-called "toilet to tap" use of treated effluent for drinking water.

Fair enough, although it already runs afoul of the single-subject rule. What comes next, however, is laughable. The measure would forbid the privatization or private outsourcing of garbage and water services! The last time I checked, private garbage service works well in unincorporated Pima County--better than the government-run service in the City--and aquifier-by-aquifier cap-and-trade privatization was the only means to acheieve sustainable water use in the desert. Apparently a now-and-forever ban on such things is worth it to Kromko because it prevents an end-run around this bill's provisions.

It gets worse. The last section of the initiative is a virtual poison pill, requiring new water connections to cease if CAP flows diminish more than 20% or when 140,000 acre-feet per year of delivery is to be exceeded. Rather than establish a water market wherein (e.g.) a golf course may sell its yearly use rights to a developer if it's profitable, Kromko would have development--infill, renewal, and sprawl alike--cease.

It's too bad Kromko didn't bring more people to the table when drafting this. We could have had multiple single-subject initiatives proposing sensible solutions, instead, we're treated to a multi-subject mess of nonsense, which, tellingly, Tucson Citizen political gossip columnist and economic ignoramus Jim Nintzel calls intelligent.

Friday, May 25, 2007

An idiot in the AG's office, and how Arizona's Congressional delegation voted on HR 1252

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard has, infamously flaunted his ignorance regarding the economic mechanisms setting gas prices.

To quote a sample:

Gasoline retailers and their trade associations claim that gasoline stations must immediately raise their prices in response to a threatened supply disruption because they must raise enough money to pay for their next shipment of potentially higher priced fuel. They call this arbitrary and speculative behavior “replacement cost” pricing. Whatever the reason, gasoline retailers actually seemed to be competing to raise prices during the Katrina episode. I personally observed that as soon as one station posted higher prices, others in the area quickly matched it. To do otherwise, retailers told my Office, would be to risk being overrun by customers and pumped dry.

Yes, avoiding being pumped dry is what replacement-cost pricing is all about. If you could undercut another retailer and be sustainably flooded with customers--or at least get more--you would. That's the process in effect when gas prices "come down like a feather." Apparently Goddard has yet to hear of "competition".

Read the rest. It's funny in a sick way, and stands as evidence that the man doesn't have either the brains or the knowledge to be a responsible Attorney General. Ignorance-based prosecutions are as intolerable as malicious ones.

Arizona's House delegation had the opportunity earlier this week to show whether or not they, unlike Goddard, get it, and whether or not they'd vote on something either pointless or blatantly unconstitutional for the sake of political posturing. Here's how they voted on HR 1252:

Aye AZ-1 Renzi, Rick [R]
Nay AZ-2 Franks, Trent [R]
Nay AZ-3 Shadegg, John [R]
Aye AZ-4 Pastor, Edward [D]
Aye AZ-5 Mitchell, Harry [D]
Nay AZ-6 Flake, Jeff [R]
Aye AZ-7 Grijalva, Raul [D]
Aye AZ-8 Giffords, Gabrielle [D]

Flake's "Nay" is predictable, as are the ayes of Grijalva and Giffords.

I'll throw in the first dollar for a collection to send each "Aye" voter a copy of Gwartney et al's Common Sense Economics, preferably by some postal method involving a whack on the head.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Good ol' Russel Pearce

Courtesy of the troglo-conservatives at comes the latest zinger from arch-bigot Russell Pearce, a claim that "Illegals" don't have the right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

Presumption about the immigration status of May Day marchers aside, the claim is patently false, both by the plain language of Article 2 of the Arizona constitution and the Federal bill of rights, and based on numerous precedents such as INS v. Lopez-Mendoza.

One can't write Pearce off as an ignoramus. He is a liar, making such claims repeatedly to fan the nativist flames. He's had plenty of time to be set straight, and he continues. I repeat: Russel Pearce is a liar.

The claim that "'illegals' have no rights" is a popular right-wing myth, and as it continues to spread, the likelihood of a right-wing race riot increases. Pogroms are what happens when the notion that people have (de facto or de jure) no protection of law is added to their being objects of irrational hate. Men spreading such ideas do not deserve the honor of and are unfit for the responsibility of public office.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Arizonans discovering that the so-called "laws of economics" aren't right-wing propaganda

Way back in October 2006, before Obama was an outright socialist, when ugly talk of ILLEGALS dominated the comment sections of the local rags and soft-libertarian Jim Kolbe was still my congressman--a long time ago, in other words, I remarked that, if Arizonans passed a minimum wage increase,
Teenagers, those coming off the welfare rolls, and those in transition between occupationss--none of whom are represented in the AFL/CIO--will be hurt most of all, albeit in a manner invisible to all but the professional economist.

I was wrong. The effects are so obvious that the Arizona Republic reports them without surprise or false sense of irony. Of course teenagers are finding less work. And of course the developmentally disabled are finding themselves unemployable.

The Arizona Industrial Commission, for its part, asked Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard to say it ain't so, that the voters couldn't have meant to raise everyone's wage, that after all, the Federal minimum wage doesn't apply to the disabled! (The voters couldn't have meant to approve the union spying provisions, but that's another matter altogether.) Unfortunately, Goddard got this right; the new state law supersedes Federal law.

Of course, the voters meant it. A minimum wage law is, plain and simple, a ban on selling one's labor for less than a prescribed amount. The economic effects--fewer employment opportunities at the margin--have been well-understood for years, and a vote in favor of such a measure means either (A) the voter doesn't know and doesn't care to know, or (B) knows and doesn't care.

The legislature is trying to fix this; HB 2318 would amend the law to create an exception, subjecting the disabled solely to Federal minimum wage laws. Such a remedy, however, would likely be thwarted by the stipulation that amendments to ballot initiatives must "further their purpose". If the purpose of the minimum wage law is to make the state Candyland or a worker's paradise, (now there's some judicial activism for you!) then that's fair enough. If it's merely a price control, then fat chance!

One of these days Arizonans, and Americans, may wake up and suddenly realize that price controls--and economic central planning in general--don't work, have never worked, and can never work. Until then our hope in this matter is that the legislature forces a special election and voters at least realize that driving the retarded out of work and onto the welfare rolls was a stupid thing to do.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Yes, it's legal to beat photo radar!

As reported in Wednesday's Daily Star, the Senate Transportation Committee refused to approve a measure to ban license plate covers.

That means, that products such as the PhotoShield and Reflector covers will remain legal in Arizona, at least under state law.

Such a ban was not likely to affect spray-on products like PhotoBlocker, which do not in any way obscure the letters or numbers on a plate.

Yes, those are affiliate links. If you want to promote PhantomPlate's products on your website, you need only sign up at their website for their affiliate program. If you own an auto parts or simiar store, they are also looking for dealers.

Bush's healthcare merely a baby-step in the right direction.

This isn't an Arizona matter, so I'll keep it brief and just say that I've had yet another guest opinion get printed in the Citizen (albeit in the online edition for timeliness's sake).

Health care requires real fix, not socialism

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tucson City Council asks for the monkeywrench

Speed limits are the sort of law we only tolerate due to discretionary enforcement. Without enough police to catch every violator, the police--unless it's time to fill quotas--tend to go after more dangerous--and more profitable--offenders and let those of us going eight over on Speedway at eleven at night slide.

Tucson's City Council voted 7-0 tonight to undermine our grudging respect of traffic laws by installing red-light cameras and photo radar systems at intersections and purchase and staff a roving photo radar van at a cost of roughly $100,000/year. Although the threshhold speeds will be set--initially--to a tolerable eleven over, mechanistic enforcement does away with the illusion that speed and red-light enforcement are done primarily to protect the public safety.

Photo radar and red-light cameras are intended to be revenue generators, a way for the city to better fund its bloated budget without raising taxes. As such, as was noted by (outgoing Pima County LP vice-chairman) Rich McKnight, the only credible person who bothered to show up to tonight's meeting to speak against the program, they're a waste of the taxpayers' money.

It doesn't take much to monkeywrench a photo-radar system. Mail isn't proper service for a citation; ignoring a mailed ticket is probably the best response, as the city has 180 days after the supposed infraction to properly serve the ticket, which may be more expensive than it's worth. Distorting or reflective plate covers or highly reflective license plate spray may thwart the photo system.

And, of course, it's not unlikely that some local character will have one beer too many and use the cameras for pellet-gun practice. Moreover, a photo-radar van sounds like a blank canvas for a street art project, allowing the speedily creative to put three-foot, chartreuse smiley-face stickers or Mystery Machine style decorations all over it while its crew waits for Sanjay to stick the dozenth doughnut in the box. Not that I'd advocate anything illegal on this blog, of course. Hyperactive imaginations aren't banned, yet.

The best case for us is a victory for David Cain and removal of Tucson's system before it's even fully implemented. Otherwise a long fight to make this as fiscally and politically unprofitable as possible is ahead. Until then, if Maricopa County's experiences are representative, expect tens of hours--and thousands of dollars--of hassles.

The Pima County Libertarian Party hasn't found anyone to challenge City Council incumbents this year. Takers?