Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Russell Pearce Receives Law Degree

It's true! Jim Ninzel at The Skinny reports on December 21, 2006:
... over the weekend, Pearce was awarded an honorary degree by the Alexander Hamilton Evening Law School, run by none other than perennial candidate Joe Sweeney, another big supporter of Operation Wetback.

Certainly this can't hurt the reputation of Sweeney's diploma mill.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Groscost Dies of Heart Attack

By Mary K. Reinhart, East Valley Tribune
November 3, 2006

Former Arizona House Speaker and Republican Party activist Jeff Groscost died Friday at his Mesa home, according to family friends and lawmakers.

State Sen. Karen Johnson, a close friend of Groscost, said he had recently undergone gallbladder surgery but had come home from the hospital and told family and friends that he felt fine. He died Friday morning of a heart attack.

Mesa police and fire personnel responded at 11:42 a.m. Friday to the 2400 block of East Florian Avenue after receiving a 911 call about a person in the home not breathing, Mesa fire spokesman Mark Freeman said.

The 45-year-old former Arizona speaker of the house was found unresponsive. After life saving measures were attempted he was transported to Banner Baywood Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, Mesa police spokesman Sgt. Chuck Trapani said.

Groscost is perhaps best known for being the architect of a bill offering generous financial incentives for people who bought vehicles converted to use alternative fuels, ostensibly to reduce air pollution.

But motorists jumped on the tax credits, in some cases buying new luxury SUVs at half the cost, and the program threatened to drain nearly $1 billion from the state budget. Legislators fixed the bill in a special session, but not before $140 million had gone out in tax credits and Groscost’s political career was tarnished.

Groscost represented Mesa in the state House from 1993 to 2001, serving as speaker of the House from 1997 to 2001. In 2001, scarred by the altenative fuels fiasco, he lost his bid for the Senate to Democrat Jay Blanchard of Gilbert, an Arizona State University professor who capitalized on voters’ anger.

Groscost later went to work for a company that manufactures alternative-fuel conversion kits.

Even after leaving office, Groscost remained active in politics behind the scenes. When he died, he was Republican Party chairman for Legislative District 18 in Mesa.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

State Treasurer David Petersen Resigns

"Labwiroro" Petersen assured us that this would never happen. He was wrong.

Paul Davenport
Associated Press
Oct. 25, 2006 03:23 PM

State Treasurer David Petersen will resign under an agreement with prosecutors that calls for him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failing to report $4,200 in commissions he received for selling character-education materials to schools, Attorney General Terry Goddard said Wednesday.

Petersen was scheduled to appear Wednesday in Maricopa County Superior Court to be arraigned on the single misdemeanor count that culminated a months-long criminal investigation that originally centered on allegations of theft, fraud and conflict of interest.

IMHO, Petersen got off pretty light considering.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Slap on the Wrist for Young Bennett

Clifton Bennett, son of Arizona Senate President, Ken Bennett will serve no jail time for sodomizing 18 boys at a summer camp with flashlights and broomsticks if Yavapai County prosecutors have their way. Today's Arizona Republic informs us:

The son of Arizona's Senate president confessed that he and another counselor shoved broomsticks and flashlights into the rectums of 18 boys in at least 40 incidents at a youth camp in June.

Now Yavapai County prosecutors say they will drop all but one assault charge and likely recommend little or no jail time if 18-year-old Clifton Bennett agrees to plead guilty.

But what did you expect? Did you really think that the son of a prominent Republican politican would go to jail in Arizona? Dream on.

Nope, young Bennett will instead be going on a mission for his church.

... in a letter to the Yavapai County attorney, Bennett's lawyers said he immediately "took responsibility for his role, showed remorse and admitted that this 'hazing' was inappropriate."

They described Bennett as an honor student and active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, planning to go on a mission in September. "A felony conviction for assault will make his desire to complete his mission impossible," they wrote.

Under the plea agreements Bennett and Wheeler could face a maximum two years in prison. But the court could reduce the charges to a misdemeanor and no jail time.

Needless to say, the parents of the victims will not be pleased with this outcome.
The pleas, which describe the assault charge as "a non-dangerous, non-repetitive offense," have outraged parents who say their sons were victims of violent sexual attacks. The boys, who were 11 to 14 years old at the time, have had trouble going to the bathroom, sleep with clothes on, are afraid at night, and have undergone sexual-assault counseling.

The parents want Bennett and Wheeler to face sexual-assault charges, undergo psychosexual evaluations and spend several days in jail per victim.

"Our biggest concern is that these kids are going to do it again," said the mother of an 11-year-old Tucson boy. "My son had something shoved up his butt seven or eight times. If that's not sexual assault, what is?"

Friday, March 03, 2006

Petersen Won't Resign

It appears that Tedski was wrong and Paul D. "Labwiroro" Petersen was correct, according to a recent article in the Arizona Capitol Times. State Treasurer David Petersen has no plans to resign, despite the recent scandal in his office involving misuse of state resources and pressure from those in his own party to do so. Petersen will, however, not seek re-election.
... Malaj (Pedersen’s chief of staff) denied rumors that Mr. Petersen, 55, might resign in the wake of the investigation. The treasurer, never a favorite in his own party, received pressure to resign, said a Republican source, who spoke on background about the investigation.

“I’m the person he confides in, as well as the Chief Deputy Blaine Vance . . .” Mr. Malaj said Feb. 21. He said he had discussed an announcement of his boss’s plans with Mr. Petersen the week of Feb. 13, “and the word ‘resign’ was not in it.”

Mr. Malaj said his challenge since the investigation began is to keep employees from being distracted by it.

“There are some solid people in there, some with 30 years’ experience,” a former treasury official said.

Mr. Petersen has spent most of his time away from the Capitol since the investigation began.


Mr. Petersen was asked ... were he to engage in another profession, what would it be?

"Probably a minister," he said. "That’s crazy — politician to minister."

It IS crazy. The Mormon Church, to which Petersen belongs, has no full-time professional clergy.

Unless ... Bill Gothard, founder of the Christian Fundamentalist Character First program, which Petersen has been abusing state resources on behalf of, has convinced him to change religions! Has Petersen been brainwashed by a bizarre religious cult?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Assume the Position

It looks like Ken Bennett's son may cut a deal.

How did I know this case would never go to trial?

'Brooming' suspects may get plea deal

Tucson boy was among 17 police say were assaulted

By Stephanie Innes
Arizona Daily Star

Police reports say he was assaulted with a broomstick, a flashlight and a cane — and now a 12-year-old Tucson boy may see the camp counselors accused of attacking him receive a plea deal that could allow them to avoid prison.

The boy is one of 17 middle school students, ages 11 through 15, who police reports say were assaulted by three teenage counselors at a camp for school leaders in Prescott last summer. One of the counselors was Clifton Roy Bennett, the 18-year-old son of Arizona Senate President Ken Bennett.

The Yavapai County Attorney's Office, which is prosecuting the case, is saying only that Bennett and his co-defendants are scheduled for an early disposition hearing in Yavapai County Superior Court today.

Office spokeswoman Penny Cramer said she did not know anything else about the case. Two calls from the Arizona Daily Star to prosecutor James Landis on Friday and Monday were not returned. A Monday call to Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk also was not returned.

Clifton Bennett and Kyle Wheeler, 19, each had been originally charged with 18 counts of aggravated assault and 18 counts of kidnapping. They were arrested last month, after an official at one of the students' schools reported the incident to authorities. A third suspect also was expected to face charges.

Lawyers for Bennett and Wheeler did not return phone calls Monday.

Bennett and Wheeler described the activity with the boys as hazing and roughhousing, in interviews with the Prescott Police Department.

Wheeler said he had endured the same thing as a camper. Bennett told detectives he had participated in "brooming," but he thought it was all in fun.

According to police reports, the assaults took place at Chapel Rock Camp during a weeklong camp for school leaders in June. The reports say some campers clogged a toilet and, when no one would confess, witnesses told police the junior counselors lined up the youngsters, told them to bend over and "broomsticked" them.

The boys told police that "broomsticking" was done alternately with a broom, a cane, a mop handle and a heavy-duty flashlight while they were clothed. The exact definition of broomsticking varied, according to witness reports, from touching brooms to the boys' rectal areas to one description of how a boy was held down and the witness said the broomstick was "shoved" into his bottom.

Other witnesses say Wheeler choked several of the boys until they passed out.

At least two of the victims are from Tucson, according to local attorney Lynne M. Cadigan, who is acting as an advocate for one of them, a 12-year-old boy who attends Catholic school.

The father of that boy says he did not know about the assaults until a detective called the family's home in December. The father said his son spoke directly with the detective and has been reluctant to discuss the incidents with his family.

Cadigan says the assaults were clearly sexual, and both boys suffered physical trauma. She says both Wheeler and Bennett should have been charged with sexual assault and that they both deserve prison time.

The father said he spoke to the victim advocate in the County Attorney's Office, who told them Clifton Bennett was going to be offered a plea bargain to one count of aggravated assault.

Cadigan also said she was told by a representative from the office that Bennett is being offered a plea bargain to one count of aggravated assault and Wheeler will be offered two counts. They'll both face probation rather than jail or prison time, a possibility.

"Come on. I told her that was unacceptable. This was not roughhousing. These are 12- and 13-year-old kids. Anyone else would go to prison for six to 10 years," said the father, whom the Star is not naming because it would identify his son.

"I do remember when we picked him up from camp he complained that his butt hurt. But we didn't pursue it. We had no idea what had been going on," he said. "He's a pretty accomplished kid and he's in counseling now, so hopefully he'll get over it. He's a strong kid."

According to police reports, the Tucson boy was a particular target of Wheeler. Witnesses told police that Wheeler did not like the child because he talked a lot and so he "broomed" him more than any other camper. The boy told detectives that he was "broomed" seven to 10 times, and that all three of the suspects participated.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

He Will Always Be Thayer

Just when I was beginning to worry that the usual suspects weren't going to introduce any really batshit crazy legislation during this session of the Arizona State Legislature, along comes Thayer Vershoor, R-Gilbert with SB1331 just under the deadline.

SB 1331

Introduced by

Senators Verschoor, Blendu, Harper, Jarrett, Johnson; Representatives Barnes, Biggs, Burges, Groe, Smith, Yarbrough: Senators Bee, Burns, Flake, Gould, Gray, Huppenthal, Martin; Representatives Allen J, Anderson, Gorman, Mason, Pearce, Pierce, Quelland, Rosati


amending Title 15, chapter 14, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding article 8; relating to UNIVERSITIES and community colleges.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1. Title 15, chapter 14, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding article 8, to read:


START_STATUTE15-1881. Alternative coursework or materials

Each university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents and each community college under the jurisdiction of a community college district shall adopt procedures by which students who object to any course, coursework, learning material or activity on the basis that it is personally offensive shall be provided without financial or academic penalty an alternative course, alternative coursework, alternative learning materials or alternative activity. Objection to a course, coursework, learning material or activity on the basis that it is personally offensive includes objections that the course, coursework, learning material or activity conflicts with the student's beliefs or practices in sex, morality or religion.

Sheesh, this could have really helped my grades in Calculus. All I would have had to do was tell my professor that integration offended my religious sensibilities and he would have had to give me an alternative assignment. SWEET!

Not surprisingly, those buzzkill college teachers oppose Vershoor's most excellent bill which has already made it out of the Higher Education Committee.

"This legislation would impoverish the higher-education system for students," said Barbara Fahey, a professor of English at Scottsdale Community College.

"(The bill) would create chaos in the classroom," said Bill Mullaney. It's "appalling," and it would undermine his ability to teach students, Mullaney said.

Brittney Patten, a sophomore at the Scottsdale campus, has a different opinion: "(Teachers) are supposed to cater to student needs," she said.

Well said, Brittney, and Jesus' General has some great ideas on just how to do this.

And remember, when it's wacko legislation you want, "he will always be Thayer for you". (actual campaign slogan)