Tom Crosby, if elected, will be an excellent Mayor of Sierra Vista, Arizona. Alesia Ash might do…or maybe not. Larry Hampton shouldn’t even be on the ballot.
But the fix is in, and sure enough, it looks like voters will see Hampton’s name on the printed form.
What? Why do I care? After all, I don’t even live within the city limits of Sierra Vista (think off grid, down on the Mexican border) and have never taken the slightest interest in city politics until this very moment, right?
Right. But see, political incompetence, arrogance, greed, and stupidity have a way of reaching out to touch non-city residents with filthy fingers. We Cochise County dwellers, at least in the Palominas area (my stomping grounds) tend to “go to town” quite often for groceries and supplies if nothing else. And this year the Tainted Ones went too far when they authorized the installation of privately owned Redflex cameras to ticket unwary travelers. Not only that, but the yellow lights where Redflex cameras are installed seem to have become remarkably quick, staying on for no more than two seconds or so (by my count) between green lights and red lights.
It’s a GOTCHA! irritation. It’s a cocklebur under the saddle blanket of a normally docile saddle horse. It’s irritating as all get-out, and irritating things tend to draw attention to those who authorized them.
Thus came my attention to the Mayor’s race in Sierra Vista in 2014…and what a typically smelly swamp it seems to be at that.
All right, so I’m just now beginning to study the government side of Sierra Vista. Online research and calling a few of my usual contacts turned up Hampton, Ash, Crosby, and presumably the incumbent, Rick Mueller. (If I missed one or more, feel free to let me know in the comments.)
One at a time then, starting with Larry Hampton. The most remarkable thing about this candidate appears to be the political protection he’s being given by the local powers that be, so let’s discuss this Chicago style campaigner first. I could write on this from several angles, including the need for a City Charter, but one specific–and grimly remarkable–detail caught my eye, outlined as follows:
1. As every political candidate must do, Larry Hampton turned in the required number of petition signatures to get him onto the ballot.
2. However, Tom Crosby strongly suspected there were enough invalid signatures on a couple of his opponents’ petition forms to make it worth a challenge…and in one case, he was right.
3. Now, here comes the Bad and the Ugly: When Crosby attempted to prove this in court, the judge dismissed the case out of hand. As one of my sources (who knows Tom Crosby well) stated,
The verification reports from the County Recorder [which she would have presented to the court, had the judge not dismissed the cases before hearing evidence] show that of the 120 signatures challenged on Alesia Ash’s petitions, 94 signers were declared to be invalid. Of the 156 challenged signatures on Larry Hampton’s petitions, the County Recorder found 125 signers o be invalid. The documents were obtained by Tom Crosby via a Public Records Request to both the City Clerk and the County Recorder. If these documents had been presented in court, it appeared that (presuming the judge ruled according to the evidence) Alesia Ash would have been declared to have sufficient signatures to be on the ballot, but Larry Hampton would not.
I don’t get it. Throwing a signature challenge out, dismissing the case without hearing evidence? If you exclude things like corruption, senility, or a developmentally disabled jurist, that makes no sense…but there it is. Things like that stir up questions.
Still, this first post on Sierra Vista politics should at least touch on what each candidate has to offer. On the other hand, Tom Crosby is the only Mayoral candidate I’m positive voted against Redflex cameras when the overall City Council voted those George Orwell suckers into being along our Highway 92 route into Sierra Vista. If our readers know of others (especially others who are currently running for Mayor), enlightenment would be welcome.
I do have one photo of a candidate available. Okay, so it’s looking at the back of his head, but the setting was cool. Tom Crosby presented a gift to then-Sheriff Larry Dever in July of 2011. Larry’s mischief bone fired up; he dramatically refused to open the box, “believing” it might have a bomb (or maybe a coiled Mojave green rattlesnake) inside. “You open it!”
Going along with the improv sketch, Tom upped the drama by opening the box at arm’s length, “certain” he was going to be blown to smithereens when his “terrorist attack” backfired.
The personalized leather belt inside was indeed coiled, as it turned out, but it neither struck like a rattler nor exploded like a Boston Marathon pressure cooker. That was the first time I’d ever seen Tom Crosby in action, and the former Border Patrol agent got my attention. He understood life and death and he had a sense of humor. That’s an awesome combination. I figured right then that I’d like this guy if I got to know him better, and I’ve had no reason to change that opinion since.
As for Alesia Ash, it’s hard to say…okay, I’ll say it anyway. Alesia and I met last year when she was working as a constituent representative in Sierra Vista for Congressman Ron Barber (Democrat). I had a problem with the Bureau of Indian Affairs relating to my Mandan grandmother’s estate. The estate filing needed to be amended, and the Bureau (which has to process these things for Native Americans) had been stonewalling both my attorney and me for months, refusing to answer either telephone calls or letters. Barber’s office boasted its willingness to help deal with recalcitrant federal agencies, so….
Alesia was young (early 20’s) but also very courteous and pleasant. She didn’t know a thing about the issue at hand, which was no problem; I educated her as to how that part of the system worked. She seemed committed to helping as soon as she could figure out who to contact within the federal government to start making the BIA talk to us.
But then…four months later, I got a call from a male constituent rep at Barber’s office. He was mortified; no action whatsoever had been taken on my case. He promised to get right on it–and I cut him off.
“No problem. My attorney and I have got it handled. I found the way to threaten the BIA office that was giving us headaches, and they’re actually getting something done.”
Alesia Ash, I learned, was no longer with Barber’s office…but she’d had my case in her files for more than three months before she left. How many other case files, one wonders, did she leave unattended in her desk drawer? Maybe none. Maybe it was only me. And maybe President Obama is right after all, the war on terror is really over, America’s southern border is totally secure, and Benghazi is a phony scandal.
To sum up, then, it looks like four candidates for Mayor of Sierra Vista present as follows:
1. Incumbent Mayor Rick Mueller is…well, incumbent. I’m a big believer in term limits.
2. Larry Hampton did not legitimately qualify to be on the ballot but got some inexplicable help from a judge who declined to even hear the evidence.
3. Alesia Ash is young, attractive, and–if my experience with her is any indication–willing to slide on promises to constituents like butter on a summer-hot doorknob.
4. Tom Crosby has the chops, cares about good limited government, and opposes the Redflex cameras.
Guess that makes it clear who I’d be voting for in the Mayor’s race–if I could vote in the Mayor’s race, which of course I cannot. But a lot of our regular readers can, and it will be interesting to see how Sierra Vista goes in 2014.
Ah! Almost forgot! I also searched YouTube for Mayoral campaign videos. One showed up with a case for recalling incumbent Mayor Rick Mueller, but Tom Crosby had the only campaign video I could find.
Update: June 30, 2014. A number of Republican activists got together for a sign waving session on Fry Boulevard in Sierra Vista, the majority of them supporting Tom Crosby for Mayor or working to outlaw the evil Redflex cameras.