LAWLESS TERRITORYLaine Lawless is not shy about crusading against illegal immigrants. As a leader of Border Guardians--an organization which has recently been grabbing headlines with members' festive burning of the Mexican flag--she's been inviting people down to her ranch to stand against the invading hordes.
Last week, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported Lawless also been corresponding with a leader of the National Socialist Movement--which is essentially an organization of American Nazis--to go after illegal immigrants in some very creative, not to mention nauseating, ways.
Southern Poverty Law Center investigators David Holthouse and Suzy Buchanan--both former reporters for the Phoenix New Times--reported that Laine sent an e-mail to Mark Martin, "SS commander" of the Western Ohio unit of the National Socialist Movement, with the subject header "How to GET RID OF THEM!"
Among the suggestions in the missive uncovered by Holthouse and Buchanan:
· "Steal the money from any illegal walking into a bank or check cashing place."
· "Make every illegal alien feel the heat of being a person without status. ... I hear the rednecks in the South are beating up illegals as the textile mills have closed. Use your imagination."
· "Discourage Spanish-speaking children from going to school. Be creative."
· "Create an anonymous propaganda campaign warning that any further illegal immigrants will be shot, maimed or seriously messed-up upon crossing the border. This should be fairly easy to do, considering the hysteria of the Spanish language press, and how they view the Minutemen as 'racists & vigilantes.'"
The report notes that Lawless added: "Maybe some of your warriors for the race would be the kind of people willing to implement some of these ideas. I'm not ready to come out on this. ... Please don't use my name. THANKS."
Lawless, who disputed various details in the report, dismissed it as a "hit piece" in an e-mail to the Tucson Weekly. "I have never been a part of white power, white supremacism, or white separatism, etc.," she wrote.
Regarding the e-mail to Martin, Lawless added: "Anyone can take an e-mail, rearrange it and add some damning sentences to it. SPLC is obviously desperate to hook any Nativist up with one of their 'hate groups.'"
Lawless did not respond, as of press time, to a subsequent e-mail asking if she had had any correspondence with Martin or any other member of the National Socialist Movement.
The full report can be found at www.splcenter.org/intel/news/item.jsp?aid=54.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORKCity Manager Mike Hein has gone way beyond biennial budgeting in the first spending plan he's delivered to the City Council. He's looking at a 10-year spending plan.
Over the next decade, Hein wants to repair all arterial and residential streets; increase the police force by 560 officers; add 354 paramedics and firefighters; and increase spending on parks programs and facilities.
It's an optimistic budget that assumes the economy remains stable and that inflationary pressures can be handled through eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in city spending.
Oh, and passage of the regional transportation plan on May 16 would sure help with road and transit spending.
Hein's detailed proposal covers the next two years. For the 2007 budget year, which begins July 1, Hein wants to spend $1.072 billion, which is an increase of $64.4 million over this year's spending. In the general fund--which is the portion of the budget that council members control--the budget increases from $424.7 million this year to $459.9 million in 2007. That includes an extra $5 million for cops, firefighters and parks, and $2.7 million for employee benefits.
If the budget is approved, it looks like the new council is gonna be just as comfortable as the last one in spending those trash-fee dollars.
EARLY WARNINGOut of Pima County's 461,542 voters, only 26,347 had requested early ballots as of Monday, April 24, for the May 16 special election that will decide the fate of the Regional Transportation Plan, as well as two bond issues related to mental-health funding. C'mon, people! Don't you want to have your say?
To request your early ballot, call the Pima County Recorder's Office at 740-4330 before Friday, May 5.
CUTTING EDGEAs the budget talks continue--and continue and continue--at the Capitol, some GOP lawmakers are floating a plan for a $800 million tax-cut plan that would be stretched out over three years. The bulk of that will come in a flat 20 percent cut in income taxes across the board.
As the Weekly reported several weeks back ("Break Point," April 6), that kind of income-tax cut would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest Arizonans, because Arizona's tax system is extremely progressive.
Howie Fischer of the Capitol Media Services helpfully shared a chart showing the average cut in taxes under the GOP plan: For filers whose federal adjusted gross income was between $10,000 and $20,000, the average break was $21. For filers whose average federal adjusted gross income was $200,000 to a half-million, the cut comes out to $1,988. But hey: It's the principal of the thing, right?
IN THE MONEYNoah Kroloff, a spokesman for Gov. Janet Napolitano's re-election effort, announced last week that the Napster had collected more than the required 4,200 $5 contributions to qualify for Clean Elections funding. She received a check for $453,849 on April 21.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARDA few weeks back, the Weekly reported on an initiative effort to ask voters to freeze the property values used to determine how much is paid in property taxes. Marc Goldstone, the Bullhead City man behind the campaign, said it would stop the sharp increases that lead to higher property taxes; critics said it would lead to serious inequities in property taxes, making a bad system even worse.
We suggested that Goldstone probably wouldn't make the ballot, because he had to collect a minimum of 183,917 valid signatures before July 6--and since he'd need a cushion for bad sigs, probably more like 230,000, which is a tall order for a volunteer effort that only got started in March.
It just became even more unlikely, since Goldstone had to refile the entire initiative earlier this month, because the original language may have run afoul of the Arizona Constitution's single-subject rule, which states that proposed constitutional amendments can only address one subject.
So if you signed the initiative, you may have to sign again. And if you're putting a lot of volunteer time into the effort, you're probably wasting it.
FAMILY VALUESKudos to Capitol Media Services' Howie Fischer, who pretty much sank Phoenix businessman Mike Harris' gubernatorial hopes last week with the news that Harris, a political unknown seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, was putting $100,000 into his campaign just months after telling a judge he needed to reduce his child-support payments because he was on the edge of bankruptcy.
Harris was paying $2,000 a month to support his 7-year-old son, but managed to trim that down to $1,000, even though he describes himself as a "proud and loving father" on his campaign Web site.
It's not like the self-described "physical conservative" was going to win anyway. But now he might as well pack it in before he wastes any more of his money. Perhaps he could even use the savings to help out his kid.