State Rep. Daniel Patterson (D-LD29), by all accounts a passionate environmental activist in Tucson, is currently embroiled in his own domestic situation.
Both Patterson and his wife, Jeneiene Schaffer filed for divorce last summer.
Schaffer sought an Order of Protection based on a history of domestic violence in their marriage. Patterson has also, in the past, been charged with assault and disorderly conduct in situations not involving his wife.
There are a number of issues to sort out regarding the Pattersons' divorce and Daniel's temper, but some things are clear and evident. At minimum, it appears Daniel has anger issues which have gotten him in trouble on multiple occasions and in a variety of situations.
Tucson blogger Three Sonorans wrote about this situation a couple of days ago. Patterson left a comment on that blog saying:
This one-sided wrong blogger, who regularly attacks Arizona Democrats and pretty much everyone, has never attempted to contact me for the truth.The Arizona Eagletarian interviewed Schaffer and has made several attempts, by phone and email to get Patterson's side of the story.
My wife and I agreed to get a divorce. This is a hard time for me and my family.
Sadly, there are some rumors around that have no merit. Don’t believe the hype.
I have always supported my family, I still do and I will continue to.
Divorce is a difficult private personal family matter and I am asking people to please respect that.
The ONLY response from Patterson sounds eerily the same as his comment to Three Sonorans AND like it was written by an attorney:
My wife and I have agreed to get a divorce. This is a hard time for me and my family. Sadly, there are some rumors around that have no merit. Don't believe the hype. I have always supported my family, I still do and I will continue to. Divorce is a difficult private personal family matter and I am asking people to please respect that.However, Patterson is a public figure. He has had multiple police reports filed which clearly reflect the fact that his temper/anger have gotten him in trouble. There should be no question that this has become a matter of public concern.
IF Patterson and his wife had AGREED on the divorce, having filed last summer, the litigation would not have been drawn out, it would be over by now. As of today, there is no divorce decree, several hearings have taken place and a trial date has been set. Those facts do not support a claim that he and his wife agreed on anything except that they needed to get a divorce.
Patterson further claims that he has always supported his family, still does, and will continue to do so. What does Patterson mean when he uses the word "support?"
Patterson's employer (other than the Arizona House of Representatives) is Washington, DC based non-profit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). PEER was served with wage assignment orders from the Pima County Courts in January.
According to documents issued by the Pima County Child Support Clearinghouse, PEER has not yet responded to the order or forwarded any support for the Pattersons' daughter. Schaffer's situation clearly shows that Patterson has not provided financial support as required by Arizona Revised Statutes Section 25-320 and ordered by Pima County Superior Court.
Is the irony in Patterson's comments along with the fact that whistle-blower organization PEER appears to be stonewalling on Patterson's behalf lost in the shuffle?
Anyone who has been through a divorce with children involved knows it puts a tremendous amount of stress on the family and on the children.
Many of Patterson's colleagues in the state legislature are aware of his anger issues. Some have noted as much in communications with Schaffer.
While there are parallels between Bundgaard and Patterson and their situations, there are also major differences. Bundgaard doesn't, as a result of his freeway encounter with Aubry Ballard, have to deal with supporting a child.
I can speculate as to why Tucson area Democrats didn't deal with Patterson's situation last summer. It was election season. Patterson represents a "safe" (another irony, perhaps?) district for Democrats in state legislative races.
The Arizona Coalition against Domestic Violence has called for both Bundgaard and Patterson to resign. In that call, the Coalition states:
Media reports and public statements about the current cases send a dangerous message to victims suffering through abuse that their calls for help may not be believed or answered.If they were to resign, Arizona law provides that those appointed to replace them would have to be from the same party as the resigning official. What is the downside, from the perspective of the voters or political parties?