Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Redistricting -- IRC chair replacement hopefuls & Superior Court hearing -- UPDATED 5pm MST

Initial (very cursory) review of applications to become chairman of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission reveals what will certainly be a very contentious process. In the event a replacement must be named, that is.

David L. Roberts indicates he is editor at the White Mountain Independent newspaper. It appears he allows Sylvia Allen (R-6,000 year old Earth) to use his paper as a bully pulpit to make false and outrageous claims about the AIRC members and process thus far this year. From Allen's 11/15 op-ed in Mr. Roberts' newspaper:
By creating an independent commission that is totally unaccountable to the people, the people’s voice has been lost, and all that matters is the individual partisanship pressure the commissioners feel from special interests. We need to repeal the initiative that created the IRC and put this process back in the hands of the people, as it was originally constitutionally designed.
If ever there was an Orwellian juxtaposition of meaning, it is that.

Allen is also the "A" in what others in eastern Arizona call the ABC team, of Allen, Brenda Barton and Chester Crandall. From the Eastern Arizona Courier:
During a gathering on the night of Veteran’s Day, the ABC team of Senator Sylvia Allen and Representatives Brenda Barton and Chester Crandall spoke to local Tea Party constituents.
“Without answering, think about this. What was the Tea Party started for?” local Tea Party president Don Carter asked.
Carter then introduced the tail end of the “ABC” team, Chester Crandall, who reportedly wished to speak first at the forum.

With an opening statement that “freedom isn’t free,” Crandall reviewed recent news regarding the redistricting process under the direction of Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission.
“The only good thing I’ve heard is that the Supreme Court is refusing to hear the appeal of the recent actions of the IRC,” Crandall said.
Crandall went on to explain that Arizona voters did their best to take the politics out, but the redistricting process will always be political no matter what precautions have been put into place. He also said (the voters) gave the power to five people who answer to no one.
“The (IRC) went ahead and used the one thing they wanted, which was competitiveness, and ignored the other four,” Crandall said.
This ABC team is also behind the very energetic work that Globe activist Jesse Bryant has been doing in seeking NUMEROUS resolutions from eastern and northern Arizona rural city and town councils opposing the work of the AIRC.

From an email Bryant sent out to one or more of those councils (emphasis mine):
Our legislative team has endorsed this proposal: Senator Sylvia Allen, Representative Chester Crandell, Representative Brenda Barton. The list of Communities that have already passed a resolution in support of it include, City of Globe, Town of Miami, Town of Superior, Town of Winkelman, Town of Duncan, Town of Hayden, City of Show Low, Town of Eagar, Town of Springerville, Town of Pinetop-Lakeside, Town of Snowflake, City of Winslow, City of St Johns, Town of Camp Verde.
In conversations with Bryant, I found him to not be a typical tea partier. He is personable, articulate and can speak to signficantly more on redistricting than simply the tired tea party talking points. However, his background is most disturbing.

Bryant is well known in Globe, where he resides. People active in civic matters there say he often appears at city council meetings and speaks up during calls to the public. He apparently is active in his church, and appears to have been taken under the wing of one of the council members to mentor.

When I asked Bryant who has paid for gas and other expenses in his energetic endeavor to unify rural Arizona against the AIRC, he told me he either rides with others or pays his own way. When I asked him about his employment, he vaguely replied that he works various part-time jobs in construction. The bottom line, in my view is that Mr. Bryant has had MANY years to develop his skill at being verbally evasive when it comes to dealing with the uncomfortable (and disturbing) aspects of his background. 

I asked him directly if he was registered to vote. He answered directly -- and simply -- no. But he also knew where I was going with the questions at that point. In his community, he does not hide the fact that he is a convicted sex offender. But he also was not willing (and perhaps not emotionally able) to discuss the specifics of his offense. Before I spoke with him the first time, all I knew was that he was listed in the Arizona Sex Offender Registry. He told me he was 14 when the act occurred. He would not tell me the age of his victim. Those I spoke with from Globe who know Bryant said he continues to volunteer in situations involving children.

Now 30-years old, Bryant is viewed as someone who is still trying very hard to belong. Tea party and Republican groups embrace him and allow him to carry their message.

The MOST disturbing thing to me is that Sylvia Allen, Brenda Barton and Chester Crandall have been VERY active on multiple fronts to undermine the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and the work that has been put in thus far.


The first name on the current list of IRC applicants, Alton Briggs, did not submit a Statement of Interest.

Mr. Briggs apparently has been outspoken on the issue of healthcare reform. When I talked with him this afternoon, he did not remember having written that post (it was more than two years ago). We discussed the issue. He did not sound dogmatic on it at all, but felt that since he had forgotten to submit the statement of interest his application is probably dead anyway.


Others checking on the applicants told me that Messrs. Doyle, Rimmer and Weston all have consistently voted in Republican primary elections and appear to be solid Republicans.

More to come, perhaps later today.

Tomorrow, oral arguments in the Arizona Supreme Court.

Today, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dean Fink held a hearing on the lawsuit(s) over Tom Horne's investigative demand. The Associated Press reports a key claim, central to whether or not anything was done wrong by AIRC chair Colleen Mathis, was withdrawn today by an assistant county attorney.

The withdrawn claim had questioned whether the commission's deliberations at a June meeting were a sham because three members allegedly had talks that produced a decision prior to action in public.
Colleen Connor, a lawyer for Maricopa County, withdrew the claim made earlier by Attorney General Tom Horne's office because she said it was premature and the investigation hasn't moved forward.
The other asst. county attorney, Tom Liddy (son of the infamous G. Gordon Liddy) apparently irritated Fink with repeated claims of IRC stonewalling. However, another attorney pointed out that waiting for judicial clarification of the extent to which the IRC legislative privilege applies cannot reasonably be considered stonewalling.

Fink took the entire matter under advisement but gave indications that depending on the outcome of the special action in Arizona Supreme Court, this case might end up being entirely moot.


UPDATE 5pm MST Wednesday

It seems I was too kind in my description of Dave Roberts.

He runs a regular column in his White Mountain Independent called "Roberts Rules of Order."

On November 10, 2011 (last week), his headlined column, Obama a citizen? Probably. Natural Born Citizen? No is brazenly outrageous.

This is an area of eastern Arizona where John Mills, Scott Freeman and Rick Stertz were all trying to convince people that voter registration showing near equal Democrats and Republicans would set up a Democratically dominated legislative and Congression district. Come on folks, this guy has people PAY HIM to blanket the region with tea party and birther propaganda.

Now Mr. Roberts wants to be chairman of the AIRC! Give me a freakin' break.

THIS information completely blows away all claims made by GOP operatives (and AIRC members) that establishing a competitive district hands seats over to Democratic politicians.


UPDATE 9:30pm

Mr. Bryant from Globe called me a few minutes ago. Of course, he was displeased with being named in this blog post. He asked me if I thought it improper for him to be civic-ally active. I told him that I had absolutely no problem with that but reminded him that it makes him subject to scrutiny.

When I invited him to write a rebuttal and send it too me by email, his immediate reply was that he was going to investigate my personal life and write about it somewhere else.

Asking him for clarification of whether he was threatening me, he backed off.

Boundary established. Hopefully, it will be honored. 


  1. I figured this would happen, that registered "independents" who consistently support ultra-conservative Republicans would attempt to become Chairman of the AIRC. This just shows even more the conspiracy by Republicans and ultra-conservative "independents" to sabotage the will of the people and to perpetuate the Republican super-majority.

  2. @veritas, I've said before that abusive comments from people I cannot truthfully identify will not be published.

    I intend, that unless you provide a way for me to actually identify you, to delete your comment. Now, as to the claim you made, it is patently absurd and clearly wrong.

    No member of the current redistricting commission was appointed by anyone other than duly elected members of the Arizona Legislature. So, not only can I not now identify you, but the word "veritas" means "truth" in Latin. Since your claims are not true, you are tragically lying, mostly to yourself.

    Also, the Republican supermajority in the legislature is the direct result of gerrymandering by Republican-leaning former IRC chairman Steve Lynn and Republican former IRC counsel Lisa Hauser.

    So, veritas is dramatically wrong on both counts.

    IF you satisfactorily respond to me before morning, I may allow your comment to remain.

  3. The commenter calling him/herself "veritas" submitted another, much more rambling comment but was too much of a coward to take the mask of a fake name off.

    She/he called me names and essentially gave me permission to take the comments down. Even though I certainly don't need that permission.