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pink slip saying you're fired coming out of envelope
Dear Joe ...
A few weeks ago I noted that a bunch of toadies for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio planned to recruit a "shadow army" to patrol the locations where petitioners are gathering signatures for the Arpaio recall.

The group's instructional handout [PDF] says their "warriors" shouldn't get thuggy with people (they had to mention that). Instead, they should "educate" voters, letting them know that: a) Arpaio just won an election, b) he hasn't done anything that would cause him to be recalled (yeah, they say that), and c) a recall election will be expensive. Also. It's not like Arpaio's unconstitutional police state tactics haven't already cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

If the Arpaiobots can't educate intimidate enough petition signers, their next blocking tactic is the courts. It looks like they flunked Part A, because only 30 or so wingers showed up for the big shadow army recruitment, not enough to dent the petition drive. Their inability to slow signatures was borne out last week when the organization directing the recall, Respect Arizona, announced that they've already collected 120,000 signatures, of the necessary 335,000, with more than two and a half months remaining before the May 30 deadline.

Many think Arpaio is milquetoast if enough signatures are collected and an election is scheduled. Heck, the sheriff's supporters wouldn't be threatening lawsuits and inventing legislation to stop the recall if they thought he could waltz through another campaign. Yes, Arpaio just won an election in November, but Republicans here were energized to turn out, if not for Romney then for a tight Flake-Carmona senate race. Sitting downticket with an R beside his familiar name, Arpaio benefited from coattails that won't be there in a one-on-one contest, forcing the sheriff to defend his indefensible Bull Connor record. Arpaio also blew most of his $8 million war chest last fall defeating Paul Penzone, who spent just $520,000, and the sheriff only received 51 percent of the vote. Oh, yes, he's vulnerable.

That's why, if Respect Arizona gets enough signatures, Arpaio's lackeys promised to sue, citing a provision in the Arizona Constitution that prohibits a recall drive to begin until an official has been in office six months. If applied to the sheriff's election in November 2012, that means Respect Arizona cannot begin soliciting signatures until early May 2013, and thus everything they've done to date would be nullified. However, here's the section of the constitution the wingers are hanging their sorry hopes on:

8.1.5. No recall petition shall be circulated against any officer until he shall have held his office for a period of six months ...
The clause, says ASU law professor David Gartner, is intended for new officials, so they have a sporting chance to prove themselves. The section does not apply to someone like Joe Arpaio, who's been in office more than two decades! We know he's a terrible lawman—no need to wait a few months to verify that! Should Arpaio's lawyers argue that Section 8.1.5 is vague enough to include new and incumbent officeholders, they first might want to check the Secretary of State's 2011 recall handbook [PDF]:
"The commencement of a subsequent term in the same office does not renew the six month period delaying the circulation of petitions." p. 20
Oops.

To sum up: Arpaio's flunkies couldn't recruit a shadow army large enough to pull KP, Respect Arizona's petitioners are collecting thousands of names daily, and the plan to challenge the recall in court is a dead end. What's left?

The diary's title is a clue—over the hump we go.

Last Thursday the Arizona House passed HB 2282, which adds a primary election to all recalls. Here's the new language:

SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 19-212, ON CALLING A RECALL ELECTION, THE OFFICER CALLING THE ELECTION SHALL CALL FOR A RECALL PRIMARY ELECTION AND, IF NECESSARY, A RECALL GENERAL ELECTION FOR THE OFFICE THAT IS SUBJECT TO THE RECALL, AND IF THE OFFICE IS REGULARLY SUBJECT TO A PARTISAN PRIMARY ELECTION, THE RECALL PRIMARY ELECTION SHALL ALSO BE HELD AS A PARTISAN PRIMARY ELECTION.  IF THERE IS ONLY ONE CANDIDATE REMAINING FOR THE OFFICE THAT IS SUBJECT TO THE RECALL AFTER THE RECALL PRIMARY ELECTION, THE RECALL GENERAL ELECTION SHALL NOT BE HELD AND THE WINNER OF THE RECALL PRIMARY ELECTION SHALL BE DECLARED ELECTED.
Arizonans, a "throw the bums out" bunch, have historically valued the recall, one of the people-centered elements of the state's progressive constitution, which included the women's vote eight years before the 19th Amendment. In fact, when the Territory submitted its constitution for statehood, President Taft refused to okay Arizona's admission to the union until a provision allowing for the recall of judges was removed. Arizona officials promptly dropped the language, Taft approved statehood on Feb. 14, 1912, and nine months later the new Arizona legislature reinserted the recall language in the constitution.

Bottom line: don't mess with Arizona's recall provision, which says very clearly, once enough signatures are collected:

"a special election shall be ordered to be held as provided by law, to determine whether such officer shall be recalled."
No primaries, no additional campaigns, no mention of political parties. Not only does a primary add expenses, but in Arizona you can only vote in your party's primary—no crossover. That's one reason Jerry Lewis defeated SB 1070 author Sen. Russell Pearce in the 2011 recall, because many Democrats voted for the Republican Lewis. If Lewis and Pearce had been forced into a primary, only Republicans would have been eligible, and Pearce likely would have won, only to face no one or a weak Democratic candidate in a district that's heavily GOP.

Craziest Mofo in the Legislature
HB 2282 was introduced by Rep. Steve Smith, who's campaigning hard to be anointed Craziest Mofo in the Legislature. An Arpaio-Pearce crony, Smith even introduce a bill this year to reimburse Sen. Pearce $260,000 for his failed recall election! Among many nuggets of nincompoopery, Smith sponsored the 2011 bill that permitted Arizona to collect donations to build a 200-mile border fence. Smith said he'd raise $50 million from nativists worldwide, but in almost two years he's only collected $193,000—enough for about 370 feet of fence. If a bill is anti-immigrant, pro-gun, or anti-choice, you'll likely find Rep. Smith's name on it. And let's not forget loyalty oaths and Jesus!

If Smith's recall bill isn't transparent enough, Rep. John Kavanaugh, another Arpaio water-carrier, added a one-line amendment:

This act applies retroactively to any application for a recall petition that is submitted on or after January 1, 2013.
I see what you did there. HB 2282 now goes to the Senate, where it will likely pass, and then it lands on the desk of Gov. Jan Brewer, who will probably sign it. Here's the deal, though: the legislature cannot do what this bill does: change the Arizona Constitution! That's an act reserved for citizens. Rep. Smith's POS is obviously way out of legal bounds, something the House, Senate and Brewer all know.
"I diagnose a bad case of rectal blindness," quipped elections law expert Tom Ryan. "That is, I don't see it getting its ass past the Arizona Supreme Court. ... It's clearly unconstitutional. They are adding requirements to the constitution that are going to be rejected by the Arizona Supreme Court. I can say that with the highest degree of confidence... New Times
Stephen Lemons at New Times talked to Randy Parraz, one of the leaders of the campaign that removed Sen. Russell Pearce from office in 2011. When asked why the legislature and Arpaio's groupies would pursue a course that will obviously get shot down in the courts, Parazz said:
"This is really a reflection of how far they are willing to go. They want to change the constitution to save Arpaio. It shows they're scared."
In other words, these tea party pointy-hatted patriots, who blabber nonstop about defending the constitution, ain't got nothin' left except insider tactics that take the constitution out of the people's hands. Now Brewer and her merry band of nitwits will head to court, where once again the state will spend gobs of money to lose another case. They're getting good at that.

Originally posted to Maggie's Farm on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 01:33 PM PDT.

Also republished by Phoenix Kossacks, Baja Arizona Kossacks, and Daily Kos.

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