by Jim Nintzel
Brian Miller, the former chairman of the Pima County Republican Party, explains why he is supporting Green Party candidate Dave Croteau in the race for Pima County Sheriff:
The 2012 race for Pima County Sheriff has not garnered the interest it deserves. Elected directly by the people, the Sheriff answers not to the county supervisors, the Governor, nor even the President, but only to citizens of the county. It is the county sheriff who can, often does - and should - require outside (state and federal) agencies to keep him apprised of their official activity within the county. The county sheriff is the citizens’ last line of elected defense from state and federal governments, and he must honor this obligation. Yes, the county sheriff can arrest federal agents.
Incumbent Clarence Dupnik (D), is running “one last time.” His campaign is basically, “you’ve heard my name for 30 years, vote for me again” (so I can step down in a year or so and hand-pick my replacement). Mark Napier (R) is on the red ticket. Mr. Napier’s campaign slogan is “It’s time for a new sheriff.”
Seriously, that’s his campaign slogan.
If any doubt remains as to why so little interest, it will surely disappear if you read Mr. Napier’s platform. More luncheons and improved paper pushing seems to be the major points which in turn argue for the more accurate slogan, “It’s time for a new bureaucrat.”
There are 31,000 more Democrats than Republicans in Pima County. So, if the voters go more or less by party line, Dupnik wins without breaking a sweat. Why is Napier even wasting his time and his donors’ money? Pathetically enough, that’s the way the system works: keep it simplistic: red team vs. blue team.
The differences between Dupnik and Napier are limited to their respective ages and political parties. At the end of the day, will one push paper better than the other? And if there is better paper-pushing among internal offices, does it really matter given the level of property crime in Pima County?
There are 3 fundamental issues that should inform Pima County voters when electing a sheriff.
First, at what rate will the people of Pima County be arrested and incarcerated? With 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners, the U.S. owns the despicable title of “world’s leading jailer.” Will we continue to fall in line here in Pima County by caging people at a rate higher than Russia or China? Will we continue to prosecute the federal government’s unconstitutional and Orwellian titled War on Drugs that decimates millions of American families? Consider how much damage it does to the economy when so many people are behind bars, in court, on probation, or otherwise fettered by the criminal (in)justice system.
Second, how much property will be confiscated from the people of Pima County by the PCSO through tickets, fines, citations, asset forfeiture, etc? That law enforcement agencies are the revenue enhancement arm of the state is no secret. That a sheriff’s policy directs how many tickets are issued and how much property is confiscated is also no secret. America’s asset forfeiture laws are draconian. Do you want your sheriff in an unholy alliance with the feds that allows him to confiscate your property and ask questions later all the while leaving the burden of proof on you? Or do you want a sheriff who will focus PCSO resources on crimes committed against persons and property instead of victimless vices? Unfortunately, this is language Dupnik and Napier don’t even speak.
Finally, voters should ask how the aforementioned reforms can be brought to the PCSO? Dupnik eagerly chooses the most violent methods of enforcement. Search warrants executed by SWAT breaking and entering — by his own admission - on a weekly basis. Gun owners and veterans are given heightened attention. Hispanics, particularly, are at a greater risk of being raided. If you’re a Hispanic, gun-owning veteran targeted by Pima SWAT, you may as well shoot yourself in the head. At least you’d have a clean, quick death; Dupnik’s shock troops aren’t renowned for their marksmanship.
And then there’s Napier. He has never criticized Dupnik where he is most vulnerable: use of force, civil rights, and gun rights. Either Napier has no problem with Dupnik in these regards or he lacks the spine to say it. Then again, the Pima County Republican Party endorsed all the actions of Democrat Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, so why wouldn’t Napier? Napier is also willing to enforce mass gun confiscation given the right circumstances or should the “authorities” request he do so. Funny that the local right-wing echo chamber would be so willing to overlook the propensity for gun-grabbing by the man they are all rallying behind. (Then again, Republicans do tend to go for that type…)
There is, however, a candidate on the ballot for Pima County Sheriff who deserves your consideration. His name is Dave Croteau. If you listen to the noise from local Republican radio or the deafening silence from the Democrats, you don’t know Dave.
Dave Croteau’s platform is meaningful, straightforward, and important: “As Pima County’s Sheriff, I will emphasize peacekeeping to build strong, well-connected communities that can serve as fertile ground for employers seeking workers who are secure in their homes. I will instruct law-enforcement staff to focus attention and resources on crimes against person and property which will immediately and tangibly improve the quality of life for residents. I will also enact a moratorium on evictions until original deeds and documents are reviewed by the sheriff's office.”
So, when Dave called and told me he was running for Pima County Sheriff, he didn’t even get to ask me for an endorsement — I offered it before he could ask.
Vote for the only guy with guts and a moral compass. Vote Dave Croteau for Sheriff: real reforms targeted at real crime - not just a better filing system.
Brian Miller is a husband, father, Major in the USAF Reserve at Davis-Monthan AFB, senior A-10 instructor pilot, and former chairman of the Pima County Republican Party.