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Trump’s Vanity Wall Violates Tribal Rights, Federal Law

The following statement may be attributed to Alison Jones, Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party

It comes as no surprise that a lawless president would ignore a longstanding agreement to consult with the Tohono O’odham Nation before blasting lands held sacred for 10,000 years.

Nor should anyone be surprised that contractors are bulldozing cacti in Organ Pipe National Park, felling cottonwood trees on the San Pedro River or that the rush to build Trump’s monument to himself is threatening groundwater and disrupting migration patterns.  The Sierra Club counts 38 federal environmental protection laws suspended to build the wall.

No one was shocked when the president plundered funds from the military budget to build his wall – five times more than Congress authorized.

And it’s business-as-usual when Trump pressures the Army Corps of Engineers to award Fisher Sand and Gravel Company a $400 million contract after the North Dakota company lobbied for the job on Fox News. The contract for the steel was won by Zekelman Industries, which donated $1.7 million to a pro-Trump super PAC, the Star reported.  

Trump’s monument to fear is an example of the chaos and corruption that infests this administration. Instead of the comprehensive and humane immigration policy this nation so sorely needs, this “businessman” opts for a multi-billion-dollar wall that anyone with a homemade ladder can scale. This is one of many reasons why Arizonans are changing their party affiliation to Democrat and will turn Arizona blue in November.

Homeowners May Display Political Signs, Pima Dems Remind HOAs

Homeowners have a constitutional right to display political signs, the Pima County Democratic Party said today, regardless of homeowners association (HOA) rules that ban such signs.

“State law is crystal clear,” said Alison Jones, chair of the Pima County Democratic Party. “An association ‘shall not prohibit’ the display of a political sign within the time limits prescribed by state law. Signs cannot be posted earlier than 71 days before, and 3 days after, an election.”


Homeowners have asked the Party about HOA rules prohibiting political signs. “State law overrides HOA rules,” Jones said. “The purpose of the law is to ensure that free speech rights are not violated by private contracts.”
HOAs should consult with legal counsel before attempting to ban such signs, Jones suggested.

Text of the law can be found at here.

PIMA COUNTY DEMOCRATS CALL ON SINEMA TO WITHDRAW HER SUPPORT FOR “OPERATION SAFE RETURN” AND EMBRACE “DEMOCRATIC VALUES”

The Pima County Democratic Party has called on Senator Kyrsten Sinema to abandon a fast-track deportation proposal that jeopardizes the rights of immigrants and is inconsistent with the values of the Democratic Party. The Party’s opposition to the proposal was outlined in a resolution adopted on August 5, 2019 by the Party’s Executive Committee. A copy of the resolution was sent to Senator Sinema on August 7th .

The proposal, known as “Operation Safe Return,” would require undocumented immigrant families to submit to an interview with Border Patrol agents within one to three days of entry without legal counsel. Only the head of the household will be interviewed. Sinema, in a letter co-signed by eight other senators, describes the procedure as “detailed, fair and accurate interviews with the participants regarding their reasons for coming to the United States.” However, the proposed process could result in the family being immediately deported without due process. “Family member units that do not claim fear and therefore are not referred for a credible fear screening,” reads the letter that Sinema co-signed, “will be subject to immediate, expedited removal to their home country.” They will not be granted a “credible fear” interview to determine whether they are eligible to apply for asylum.

Currently, immigrants are allowed to apply for asylum if they articulate a credible fear of likely harm should they be returned to their home country. Credible fear interviews are conducted by asylum officers with U.S. Customs and Immigration Services. Sinema’s proposal would allow border patrol officers to cut off access to credible fear interviews, even though border patrol officers are trained to apprehend undocumented immigrants, not evaluate their eligibility for asylum. The policy would result in an erosion of immigrants’ rights, human rights abuses, and would do nothing to advance the causes of border safety and migration. As 65 organizations wrote the senators on July 17, 2019, “U.S. law requires that asylum-seeking families have a meaningful opportunity to request asylum, but this program would deny them of that.”

The Pima County Democratic Party calls on Senator Sinema to abandon the Operation Safe Return experiment and “work to help resolve the border detention crisis in a manner that comports with the Democratic values of solidarity, due process, and equal protection; and in a manner that comports with the obligations of the United States under Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1967.”

PIMA COUNTY DEMOCRATS DENOUNCE TARIFFS, CHALLENGE DUCEY

The Pima County Democratic Party has denounced President Donald Trump’s planned tariffs on Mexican imports as a move that penalizes Arizona residents and businesses for the President’s failure to articulate an effective immigration policy.

“Penalizing U.S. consumers and businesses by imposing a tariff will do nothing to address the humanitarian crisis at our border,” said Democratic Party Chair Alison Jones. “Coming from someone who claims to be pro-business and for low taxes, this proposal of a blanket tariff just doesn’t make much sense. But then, not much about this administration does.”

Trump, who has shown no ability to understand the humanitarian crisis at the border, much less effectively address it, maintains that the crisis can be solved if Mexico does more to reduce the flow of unauthorized immigrants across the southern border. The president prefers to use his executive authority, particularly the imposition of tariffs, to try to force other nations to bend to his will. His strong-arm tactics have been particularly hard on American businesses and consumers who have to pay for the tariffs through higher costs and higher prices passed on to customers.

Arizona is particularly dependent on a strong trade relationship with Mexico, which is the Grand Canyon State’s largest export market, purchasing an average of $8.3 billion dollars in exports annually. Any disruption in the trade relationship with Mexico will directly penalize Arizona businesses and residents.

While the State’s congressional delegation is nearly unanimous in opposing the tariffs, Governor Doug Ducey supports the president.

“Ducey is not the Governor of Trumplandia, he’s the Governor of Arizona,” said Jones. “He needs to start acting like it.”

The Trump tariffs will start at five percent effective June 10th and could increase to 25 percent if Mexico fails to curb immigration to Trump’s satisfaction.

HOW TO PAY FOR THE GREEN NEW DEAL: A COMMUNITY EVENT

The Green New Deal is a bold plan to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero while meeting the country’s energy needs through clean, renewable resources, by 2030. But critics and even some supporters want to know: “How are you going to pay for that?’’

That’s the title of a community discussion that the Pima County Democratic Party, with Real Progressives, University of Arizona Young Democrats, Citizens for Climate Lobby, The Arizona Ground Game, and Sunrise Movement are hosting at the U of A’s Institute of the Environment on May 22. Leading the discussion about how to pay for the Green New Deal: Dr. Fadhel Kaboub, a Denison University associate professor of economics and president of the Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity. Kaboub belongs to Economists for Full Employment, the Association for Evolutionary Economics, and the Union for Radical Political Economics.

The event, 6 pm – 9 pm at the Institute’s ENR2 building, 1064 E. Lowell St., room N120, is free and open to the public.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services recently reported that at least 1 million species face extinction due to human-caused habitat reduction, climate change and global warming. At least 97 percent of climate scientists agree that humans have caused the planet to heat up at a dangerous rate, putting millions of species at risk, including ourselves.

That’s where the Green New Deal comes in. It isn’t a legislative proposal, but an aspirational statement that recognizes the dangers of human-caused climate change and the need to reverse it.

“Dr. Kaboub dispels the lies and explains how we can pay for a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and College for All – today – without inflation,’’ said PCDP Chair Alison Jones. “Learn more about these progressive proposals and why we can’t afford to not implement them.’’

How Are You Going to Pay for That? Wednesday, May 22, 6 pm – 9 pm University of Arizona Institute of the Environment 1064 E. Lowell St., ENR2, rm. N120, Tucson, AZ 85719 Space is limited, so reserve a seat here: https://www.facebook.com/events/995192020871651/

PCDP SUPPORTS SANCTUARY INITIATIVE

The Pima County Democratic Party (PCDP) has gone on record supporting the Tucson Families Free and Together Initiative, which proposes amending the Tucson City Code to prevent city police officers and other city employees from detaining someone based solely on immigration status, and from helping federal officials deport people according to federal civil immigration laws.

The PCDP executive committee approved a resolution on March 4 to endorse the measure, which the grassroots group, Peoples’ Defense Initiative, hopes to place on the November ballot. PCDP Second Vice Chair Joel Feinman, who proposed the resolution, co-founded People’s Defense Initiative with Zaira Livier.

It reads as follows:

  • WHEREAS the sanctuary movement was born in the City of Tucson, and
  • WHEREAS the City of Tucson is an immigrant-welcoming city, and
  • WHEREAS the City of Tucson acknowledges that all people have civil rights, and
  • WHEREAS the City of Tucson is committed to protecting and defending those rights, and is committed to upholding the self-evident truth that all people are created equal, and
  • WHEREAS the Tucson Families Free and Together initiative will codify and strengthen the City of Tucson’s commitment to protecting and defending civil rights for all people in Tucson,
  • THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Pima County Democratic Party supports and endorses the Tucson Families Free and Together Initiative. The People’s Defense Initiative would amend City Code, Chapter 17, to:
  • (1) prohibit city police officers and other city employees from detaining persons on the basis of a person’s immigration status;
  • (2) prohibit city police officers and other city employees from assisting in the enforcement of civil federal immigration laws, except in circumstances expressly required under state and federal law;
  • (3) provide for certification of certain visas for immigrant crime victims;
  • (4) help ensure the effective prosecution of domestic violence and sex crimes by prioritizing criminal investigations over civil immigration investigations, and
  • (5) provide for minimum record keeping and protocols for certain communications between city employees and federal law-enforcement agencies.

The initiative needs 9,241 city of Tucson registered voters’ signatures, filed with the city by 5 p.m. on July 5, to get on the ballot. For more information about the initiative, please visit the Tucson Families Free and Together website https://www.familiesfreeandtogether.org/. For more information, please email PCDP Chair Alison Jones: alison@pimadems.org

PIMA COUNTY DEMOCRATS CHALLENGE SHERIFF MARK NAPIER ON IMMIGRATION

Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier must use his national media platform to tell the rest of the country that the only crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border is a humanitarian crisis, Pima County Democratic Party Executive Committee members told him during a contentious exchange on Monday night.

Napier, head law-enforcement officer of the county with the longest stretch of southern border, had solicited time to address the committee at its monthly meeting, and was offered 10 minutes. He touted his department’s higher salaries, Pima County’s lower crime statistics, and his personal ambition to serve one more term as sheriff. But several questioners said they weren’t interested in what he had to say if he wouldn’t condemn family separations at the border and work to reunite families.

“The only thing I care about right now is reuniting children with their parents,” one committee member said. “We know you collaborated with the people who removed thousands of children from their families.”

Another added: “If you have this national platform and you agree that there is a problem, you should be using that platform to say that there are children in my county who came here looking for asylum and were ripped away from their parents. and… something needs to be done about it. That’s all we’re asking you to do.”

PCDP Chair Alison H. Jones said that granting Napier’s request to speak was bound to be controversial, but that the board saw it as a chance to hold the sheriff accountable.

“While it is not usual business to allow a Republican elected official to the PCDP Executive Committee, this event provided an opportunity for committee members to be heard regarding the cruel and illegal immigration policies implemented under the current administration,” Jones said. “Committee members made it clear to Sheriff Napier that these policies are not acceptable, and that Democrats are making it a priority to elect those who will end these cruel policies.

“We listened to Napier, and then we made sure that he listened to us. It was an opportunity for us to make our stance clear. And we made it very clear that until children are reunited with their parents, his message rang hollow.”

Napier said he uses his access to the national stage to help those who are not as informed as he is about border issues. But he stopped short of saying that he would use those outlets to characterize the border situation solely as a humanitarian crisis.

Alison H. Jones, a Tucson hydrogeologist, is the new Pima County Democratic Party chair.

Elected to a two-year term at PCDP’s biennial organization meeting on Dec. 15, Jones, 60, defeated second-term incumbent Jo Holt in what many party regulars considered an upset. Jones, who campaigned with the slogan, “Expect More,’’ polled 156 votes to Holt’s 151.

“I am honored to serve the PCDP for the next wo years, during which we will be faced with pivotal elections and initiatives,’’ Jones said. “Building our party has never been more important.’’

Rounding out the slate of officers are First Vice Chair Luci Messing, Second Vice Chair Joel Feinman, Corresponding Secretary Connie DeLarge, Treasurer Mary Sally Matiella, and Recording Secretary Connor Welton.

Jones has been active in Legislative District 9, heading get-out-the-vote campaigns for the 2018 primaries and midterms in several LD9 territories. She ran on a platform of inclusiveness, building a bench of new-generation candidates, revamping operations at PCDP headquarters, “fearlessly” articulating the party’s values, and collaborating with groups that share those values.

“We need to stand for something,’’ Jones said. “Millennials don’t care if you have a ‘D,’ an ‘R,’ a ‘G’ or an ‘I’ after your name; they care about issues,’’ such as climate change, social justice, public education, health care, student debt, affordable housing, racism, immigration, and gun violence.

“Expect More’’ should apply to all of PCDP’s activities, from the leadership to the organization’s vision for a future beyond the next election cycle, to the way PCDP treats prospective volunteers, Jones believes.

“I’m asking people to have a broader view of community involvement. Our biggest opportunity is in bringing in the grassroots, because a lot of the credit for our successes in 2018 goes to groups operating outside the party. ith the 2020 election barreling toward us like a freight train,’’ the party must start recruiting and training volunteers, overhauling its voter-education, voter-registration and social-media operations, and organizing with allies now if it wants to elect Democrats up and down the ballot in two years, she said.

A senior hydrogeologist and project manager at Clear Creek Associates, the New Orleans-born Jones has worked in environmental consulting for 27 years. She holds geology degrees from Louisiana State University and the Colorado School of Mines.

After moving from Maine to Tucson in 2006 with husband Gerry Lemire, a retired construction manager, Jones served two years as an Environmental Manager for the City of Tucson’s Department of Environmental Services, investigating the impacts of old landfills on the city’s groundwater.

A past president, secretary and treasurer of the 450-member Arizona Geological Society, Jones serves on the Citizens Water Advisory Committee to Tucson Water. She’s an avid hiker, an animal lover and a musician.

Jones called her younger self a “one-issue voter:’’ reproductive rights, a cause about which she remains passionate.

“With age, my interests have broadened,’’ she said. “And what really spurred me to become engaged more recently was the increasing disparity between rich and poor, and the unprecedented concentration of wealth among the 1%. When the 99% don’t have money to buy what the 1% is selling, there will be pain.’’

That pain is glaringly apparent in Pima County, Jones said.

“PCDP can play a role in mitigating it by helping to elect Democrats who’ll advocate for strong public education and other policies that help to level the playing field.’’

Alison Jones can be reached at alison@pimadems.org, and at 520-270-2825.