Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Miscellaneous Endorsements: Maricopa County and Central Arizona

Four more endorsements, then sleep, work, and the polls, all the while anxious about the eventual disposition of Proposition 101:

  • Elect Dan Saban Maricopa County Sheriff.

    Joe Arpaio's PR men promote him as "America's Toughest Sheriff". What does having America's Toughest Sheriff get the people of Maricopa County? Publicity stunts, money wasted pursuing immigration paperwork offenders instead of criminals, civil liberties violations, extradition refusals, and quite a few sure-loser lawsuits. If they end up spending a night in his "Tent City" jail, it may even cost them their lives. The Wikipedia article on the man is a good place to start for those unfamiliar with his record, or just search for his name on Google.

    The County's authoritarian-leaning electorate has been predisposed to view Arpaio's detractors as "whiners", "supporters of criminals", and other such nonsense. Reflect for a moment on why our Constitution has e.g. the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, and if that doesn't convince you he has to go, consider how much those lawsuits are costing the taxpayer. If you're still not convinced he has to go, let me remind you that he has been using his office to harass and intimidate< critical journalists, leading to a standoff with Phoenix police when his deputies threatened to arrest a New Times reporter for the offense of searching public records, and also to a lawsuit over the retaliatory arrest and false imprisonment of New Times executives. If you don't think that behavior crosses the line, you likely think that the First Amendment is for whiners and that mere mortals ought never question any behavior by any "authority figure". But if you believed that, you wouldn't be reading my endorsements.

    Dan Saban is running to restore the respectability of the Sheriff's office and department, to end the stream of lawsuits, the posturing, the gimmicks, and the publicity stunts--none of which have made Maricopa county a safer place to live--replacing them with modern practices that work. Joining with the Arizona Republic and most of the area's policemen's organizations--again, strange company!--I encourage you to give him your vote.

  • Elect Judah Nativio to the AZ Senate, district 18

    Russell Pearce, more than anyone else, "poisoned the waters" at the Capital, whipping up xenophobia, even declaring illegal immigrants to "have no rights", as if to incite the people to a Rwandan solution.

    Term-limited out of the State House of Representatives, he's running for the State Senate. Judah Nativio, a cardboard-cutout Democrat, is his opponent. Don't send Pearce back to the Capitol; vote Nativio. Better to elect a mediocre Democrat than the State's major instigator of anti-immigrant hysteria.

  • Vote Joe Cobb in Congressional District 4

    I haven't much to say about incumbent Ed Pastor. (This is why I need a co-blogger in Maricopa County.) As far as I've been able to discern, the long-serving Democrat has a voting record that's "middle of the road" given his Party affiliation.

    What I do know, however, is that in any given room it's likely that (Libertarian) Joe Cobb can think circles around 99% of the other people present. Unlike most of the Libertarian Party's candidates he demonstrates an understanding of subtlety and that public policy is a balancing act. He demonstrates a genuine intellectual curiosity, an even temper, a courteous modesty, and the humane liberal values that characterize the libertarian movement but are all too absent from the Libertarian Party. More importantly, although he has not served in elected office, his past experience in government makes him well-qualified to serve in Congress, perhaps more so than any other Congressional challenger in the State.

    When I recommend voting for a Libertarian or a Green, it's usually as a protest vote. Don't vote for Joe Cobb as a protest vote. Vote for Joe Cobb because he's the best man for the job and, in a just world, would be a shoo-in.

  • Re-elect Jeff Flake in Congressional District 6. If any incumbent Congressman, anywhere in the USA, deserves re-election, it is Jeff Flake. Since leaving the Goldwater Institute for Congress eight years ago, Flake has become the House's premier advocate of fiscal restraint and one of its foremost champions of civil liberties. The "Flake Hour" set off the fight against earmarks. Party leadership made him pay for it, but he's stood firm. Perhaps if they'd have listened to Flake, they wouldn't be set to lose the House to the Democrats, again, despite low overall Congressional approval ratings.

    Contrast this with Democratic challenger Rebecca Schneider, who gripes that "people are tired of Jeff Flake not helping them. Need I explain to you, Ms. Schneider, how disingenous it is to call B slipping an earmark at the end of a bill to spend A's taxes for the benefit of C "help"? Or perhaps she really thinks that the job of a Congressman is to drive around the Valley and assist people stuck on the highway in changing their tires, or coax cats down from trees. Schneider's website reads like a third party candidate's thoughtless rant (and full of greengrocers' apostrophes and similar errors, too!), and her statements to the press show her to be similarly out of her league. Give her a few years on a school board or water board to learn to think about policy, perhaps then she'll be worth considering. The only reason she even has a hair of a chance this year is because of general anger at the Republican Party.

    That a Libertarian newcomer (with a website creepily reminiscent of the LaRouchies), Rick Biondi, is running against Flake is startling. Flake is easily the most libertarian member of the House. He voted against Sarb-Ox, voted against Medicare Part D, supported comprehensive immigration reform, and while he may have initially supported the PATRIOT Act and the war in Iraq, came to oppose both, and vote accordingly, in little time. Perhaps Biondi's run is an exercise in vanity?; surely there was room for a Libertarian on the State Senate ballot! Libertarians: look up Flake's record--he's not the "lesser of two evils"--and pass on Biondi.

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