Politics Over Principle

Napolitano and Goddard exhibit cowardly conduct in the polygamy probe

Napolitano, more than Goddard, is worried that if it all came to an armed conflict and some children or innocent people were injured or killed, "she would lose out politically," the official said. She doesn't want to be compared to Janet Reno on a Waco front or on any other. "She's just hoping that [the Colorado City story] will all blow over. She's more interested in advancing [in politics] than helping some poor girls in a remote corner of the state."

Like her hero, Bill Clinton, she's the consummate politician above all else.

That powerful Mormon pols like Arizona House Speaker Jake Flake, Congressman Jeff Flake, State House Majority Leader Eddie Farnsworth, State Senate President Ken Bennett and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Russell Pearce abound doesn't make it any easier for Napolitano or Goddard.

Nobody wants to bite these hands, the source said. "If you ask people like the Flakes what they think of the polygamists, they will [condemn them]. But you don't see [the Flakes] making public statements against the polygamists for raping little girls. And you don't see LDS members renouncing [polygamy masterminds] Brigham Young and Joseph Smith. [The mainstream religion still holds that] a lot of wives is man's reward in the Celestial Kingdom."

When New Times published its third major story on abuses in the polygamist community, headlined "Eyes Wide Shut," Napolitano's staff was livid. The article outlined how the governor failed to push the polygamy probe while she was AG and has continued the posture as governor. (The cover illustration for that piece, a caricature of the governor hiding a fornicating polygamist under her skirt, accompanies this column.)

"Eyes Wide Shut" sparked the following e-mail exchange among Napolitano staff members -- including former press secretary Kris Mayes, whom Janet recently appointed to the Arizona Corporation Commission to replace Jim Irvin. Let's just pray it isn't evidence of that politics-over-principle philosophy in the governor's office alluded to above.

"Just wanted to make sure you both saw the New Times article about Colorado City and the picture on the front cover. . . . Do you think this renders a response of some sort? The picture on the front is really terrible," Kelly Ward, in charge of Special Projects for Women in the Governor's Office for Children, Youth and Families, wrote to Mayes and Paul Alvin, whom Napolitano promoted to the top media-relations spot when Mayes, a former Republic reporter, received her eyebrow-raising advance.

"Also, FYI -- the Mohave County attorney they criticize heavily in the article, Bill Ekstrom, is on the Governor's Commission to Prevent Violence Against Women."

Do tell, Kelly! And way to care about the rights of the women you serve. Never occurred to you, eh, to recommend to the governor that Ekstrom be freakin' removed? (In "Eyes Wide Shut," Dougherty demonstrated that Ekstrom is all but in the pockets of FLDS leaders, preferring to keep up friendly relations with his old Colorado City pals, including the Barlows, at the expense of hardball prosecutions of pedo-polygs.)

Based on Ward's e-mail, Alvin recommended to Mayes: "I vote for treating [New Times] with deafening silence. We knew the hit piece was coming, and we even gave them the governor for 15 minutes [for an interview] knowing that we just had to get it out of the way. I have asked [that] any public reaction to the story [be tracked], betting that it would be slim to none . . . I suggest we hold off. If we're inundated, then perhaps response is merited. Otherwise, I suggest we ignore [New Times]. Reacting will only egg them on."

Your devotion to the First Amendment -- much less to the public's right to know -- is always appreciated, Paul.

And the cherry on the sundae from Mayes to her two subordinates: "Paul's right -- let's leave it alone," she wrote about "Eyes Wide Shut" and its conclusions. "It doesn't deserve our attention."

E-mail rick.barrs@newtimes.com, or call 602-229-8447.

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