Under the guise of standing against the recall being waged against newly reelected Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio by a pack of radical ethnic activists, East Valley Tribune columnist Bill Richardson takes a sharp left turn, veering into political La-la land.
He concludes his opinion piece venturing into the hazy territory of Home Rule. Slogging through his commentary guarantees you’ll come away even hazier.
Richardson, not keen on our current sheriff, but opposed to the recall, appears to think there is a better system. He’d like to cajole us to give up our right to vote. The so-called Home Rule he advocates does just that. Maricopa County citizens, all of whom come equipped with voting rights granted us by our founding documents, would willingly cede their votes over to the Board of Supervisors, who would then select our sheriff for us. Neat and clean. Not even a stubby pencil or pesky ballot need touch our hands.
As the term is currently used, Home Rule, which must be re-approved by voters every four years, is an administrative item granting cities flexibility in setting their own budgets, apart from rules specified by the state What Richardson doesn’t reveal is that the county-wide Home Rule scheme he advocates would remove our right to vote for all county offices. The argument for this bitter pill invariably begins with a discussion of the county recorder. Who is the recorder? What does that individual do? Why is the post elective?
Of great significance is the fact that the U.S. Constitution singles out the right to vote more often than any other rights — five times.
To make his case, Richardson’s not averse to tweaking the facts, as he ticks off a list of sheriffs dating back to 1968. Among those he considers unqualified for the post are candidates with a vast array of law enforcement experience — including Joe Arpaio whose impressive résumé is a standout, by any standards.
Richardson contends “Home Rule would allow the Board of Supervisors to function like a city council and the sheriff would be hired and fired based on experience, education and a successful professional track record instead of winning a popularity contest.”
Fortunately, it’s the voting citizens, exercising their judgment, who are entrusted with the decision making as they cast their ballots — in effect hiring and firing. The same argument could be made for every office where candidates stand for election. If we are ready to turn over our votes for county officers to the Board of Supervisors, will city, state and federal offices be next on this arrogant agenda’s chopping block? It’s a sure bet most citizens would opt to keep this most basic freedom — their right to vote. And few would agree to turn their rights over to unsavory Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.