Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What do these legislators have in common?

An editorial in today's Arizona Republic suggests that some leaders in the Arizona Legislature seem to be reluctant to allow ordinary citizens to speak before this august body. Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Mesa, Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, and Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise seem to regard citizen input as a nuisance and would prefer to listen to their own voices. Can anyone tell me what these three legislators have in common (other than arrogance)?
... Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Mesa, who was sensationally confronted last week by a lobbyist for the Arizona Interfaith Network. After having been refused a chance to speak in Gray's committee on a host of immigration bills, lobbyist Tom Donovan attempted to grab the microphone and read a protest letter. Gray called in security.

"I was a police officer for 10 years, and I know mob rule, which was what we had here," Gray said.

Although Donovan's gambit was a bit over the top, it doesn't change the fact that in the face of "mob rule," Gray is playing mob boss. Even the state Chamber of Commerce has gotten short shrift from Gray, who has allowed chamber reps just a few short speaking moments regarding those immigration issues.

Of course, Gray doesn't cut off everybody. Gray recently allotted 30 minutes of his committee's busy calendar to hearing testimony on an immigration bill sponsored by Gray's East Valley compadre, Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa. Gray gave up 25 of those 30 minutes to testimony from . . . yes, Russell Pearce.

The anecdotal evidence of tub-thumping committee tyranny at the Legislature is too widespread to ignore.

In January, Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, cut off Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas in midsentence. He then gaveled the meeting closed and walked away, leaving an entire hearing room slack-jawed and speechless at his appalling cheek.

I know you have the priesthood power and all guys, but representative democracy requires that citizens have input into the legislative process. Don't make me have to raise my arm to the square.


Anonymous Other Sarah said...

You've alluded to it but never really said it. They're LDS and fairly high up in that little boys club.

11:25 AM  

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