I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Report on Board of Supervisors Meeting

Report forwarded from Liz at CODE Pink Phoenix:
Subject: Sept. 2: Public Comments at Board of Supervisors meeting
Date: Wednesday, September 2, 2009, 6:40 PM
“This town is the laughing stock of not only the U.S., but of the world!!”

Those words were said Tuesday, September 2, 2009 in the Public Comments agenda of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meeting. During the Public Comment, there were about 15 individuals from the MCSA-like POV and 3 or 4 individuals who spoke about the MCSO detention officers who are having unpaid overtime withheld.

Guierillima Pritchardo spoke in Spanish. Though we know at least two of the Supervisors understood, (Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox), the other Supervisors do not speak Spanish and they need translators to understand the concerns of their contituencies, the non-Spanish speaking people attending BofS meetings also need to translators as well, and visa versa, the Spanish speakers need to understand what the Supervisors are saying during the meetings. I can quote Guierillima from one of her phrases: "quiermos cambio positivo" Note that there were observers from the U.S. Dept. of Justice in the Supervisors Auditorium today to see about translators.

Kristy Thielen and Joel Nelson and Jason Odhner expressed how they had been acquitted of the charge of Disorderly Conduct yesterday. Kristy asked: "you have the power and responsibility to oversee Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the MCSO" and that the arrests (twice for Kristy) were unreasonable and irresponsible."

Shana Higa, defense attorney for Kristy Thielen, stated that the violation of the defendants rights were violated as much by the Board of Supervisors as they were by the MCSO, and Supervisors have a responsibilty to uphold the Constitution.

Irene Chavez said that since 1996, Joe Arpaio has been responsible for deaths in the Jail facilities. She listed many of the gruesome deaths and then demanded that the Board of Supervisors do something to stop this man Joe Arpaio.

Raquel Teran asked the Board if they understood the Spanish language speaker, Guillerima? She then described the intimidation and harassment she felt when 3 Sheriff Deputies arrive at her door in the early morning of December 19, 2008, two days after the Board of Supervisors meeting when 4 others were arrested for Disorderly Conduct. She stated that the Court ruled that the Sheriff's decisions were wrong and political in nature. She suggested that instead of harassing, those Sheriffs should have served some of the 40,000 outstanding criminal warrants, not making political maneuvers.

Liana Rowe spoke as a clergy person, she said she sometimes speaks for those who cannot speak or themselves. She spoke of the expenditures of the MCSO on petty crimes when they are not funding the safety of the incarcarated. She spoke of the health denials of the incarcerated. She said there are international treaties that state the rights for translations, that there are 30% monolingual Spanish speakers in Maricopa County.

Carlos Galindo spoke of the behavior on the witness stand of Supervisor Kunasek and of MCSO Sgt. Arcitelli. Their answers were deceptive, uncooperative, and that they spoke in biased and a defamatory manner. He spoke of how Barb Heller, a nativist, was seen in a video during the trial and she was demeaning immigrants and that Chair Kunasek applauded her defamatory words. That Arcitelli was bullish and showed how he felt he was above the law. He said that the only honorable thing for Kunasek to do would be to resign, that he had violated public trust.

Randy Parraz spoke, he exclaimed to the Board that he is NOT GUILTY of the charges of Criminal Trespassing and of Disorderly Conduct as charged in September, 2008. He said that the Supervisors should now send a Letter telling Arpaio and the MCSO NOT to come to provide Security at the Supervisors meetings. That they had tried to suppress Free speech. He said that Chief Thrombi of the MCSO had provided such a low threshold of evidence of the charges against him that his Defense Lawyers did not even have to provide defense, the charges were dropped after the State had presented their case. He again requested that the Sheriffs conduct be on the Board's Agenda.

Monica Sandschafer  said she grew up believing it is not only a right, but a moral and ethical obligation to address elected officials. That being engaged with government to make sure officials hear what we have to say, she was disillusioned upon finding out the indifference of government officials in Maricopa County, Arizona. She told of trying to get on the agenda for 6 months with no response. She said that before the arrests in December (twice), 2008, she had never been arrested before. Her voice was faltering as she described her experience of spending 10 hours in detention for coming to a public meeting and clapping.

Finally, Jameson Johnson spoke observing that the subject of much of this scorn against the Board of Supervisors, Andrew Kunasek was not present. He said he can't imagine what Kunasek has to do that is more important than being here today. He read the 1 st Amendment of the Constitution"
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
He referred to a case from 1938, Lovell v. City of Griffin (from Wikipedia):
The Court reasoned that the ordinance violated the Freedom of the Press condition of the First Amendment, as the city demanded that all distributed periodicals, not merely those that were considered obscene, offensive to public morals, or which advocate unlawful conduct, obtain a license from the city before they could be distributed. The Court felt that the First Amendment was not limited to periodicals and newspapers, that it necessarily included the publication of leaflets and pamphlets as well.

Not to forget Blue or Pat Crowley, who made comments on the busses in the far West Valley, but he spoke of the travesty of justice that has occurred at the Board of Supervisors meetings.

In the end, Mary Rose Wilcox commented to the issues, making a personal apology, and Max Wilson said that he would try to live up to the Constitution and said that what he knew, he needed an occassional reminder. Supervisors Fulton Brock and Don Stapley had no further comment. Andrew Kunasek was absent. County Manager David Smith responded to the MCSO and Detention Officers that their concerns may be further addressed in the afternoon during a County Buget meeting.

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