By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
Pearce noted that he was "an appointed official" whom the governor could cut loose at any time. Then he added a new twist, one I hadn't heard before in previous versions of this tall tale.
"The person who was the head of ADOT at the time has apologized to me several times since then," he said. "So my legacy is good."
Mary Peters was the director of the Arizona Department of Transportation under Governor Hull. She eventually went on to serve as U.S. Secretary of Transportation in the George W. Bush administration.
It was Peters who sacked Pearce after he and two other MVD employees altered the driving record of a Tucson woman who'd caught two DUIs in 10 months.
According to press accounts from 1999, these changes would have allowed the woman to avoid a one-year mandatory suspension of her license. Allegedly, Pearce and his subordinates did this as a favor to a state legislator.
When Pearce's former assistant director claimed Pearce and his employees had been cleared, Peters shot back in the press: "There's a big difference between being cleared and choosing not to file criminal charges."
Currently, Peters runs her own Peoria-based consulting firm. I caught up with her by phone while she was in Washington, D.C. She denied ever apologizing to Pearce over his firing.
"I've talked with Russell, and I would say we've agreed to put the past in the past," she told me. "But I didn't apologize to him. That's just not an accurate statement."
Peters confirmed that she axed Pearce because of the scandal involving the Tucson woman's DUI conviction and the license-record change.
She said firing Pearce had nothing to do with the switch in administrations from Symington to Hull, both of whom are Republicans.
"I was deputy [ADOT director] when Fife stepped down, then Jane appointed me to be director," Peters said, noting that Symington had approved her appointment as deputy director.
On March 19, Pearce made the official announcement of his LD 25 run before a crowd of enthusiastic senior citizens at the Red Mountain Tea Party, which, interestingly, meets at a charter school in the new LD 16, not LD 25 in which Pearce is running.
The rally pretty much mimicked a pro-Pearce gathering that took place at Mesa's Hohokam Stadium during the recall. The same far-right politicos were present. The same elderly faces in the crowd.
As for Pearce, he regurgitated the same rhetoric and stale jokes that he's used over and over again during his career.
And at least one of the same lies.
"You know, it's interesting to me they would have you believe that 1070 was divisive," Pearce said of his anti-brown statute, without ever identifying who "they" are.
He continued, "Do you know, after it was passed, [a] Rasmussen poll said 60 percent of Hispanics voted for it? Of course, you don't see that [in] the Arizona Republic."
The reason why you won't see that factoid in the Republic (or any credible news source, for that matter) is that it's not true. The conservative Rasmussen Reports has not done a poll of Hispanic voters on 1070.
To my knowledge, there's never been a poll showing that a majority of Hispanics in Arizona, or the United States in general, support SB 1070.
Though I've caught Pearce in this lie before, I decided to check with Rasmussen again to see whether anything had changed since my initial debunking of it in 2010.
Rasmussen spokeswoman Beth Chunn told me that Rasmussen had not done a poll on 1070 restricted to Latino voters.
"It is difficult to get a sample of just Hispanic voters," she said.
The last time Rasmussen surveyed Americans on a 1070-style law, in January, 61 percent of respondents expressed support. But that was from a general pool of likely voters and was not confined to Latinos.
Those results are consistent with what Rasmussen found in 2010, when 1070 was passed. Then, 60 percent of Americans and 70 percent of Arizonans supported the new law.
In 2010, a Rasmussen representative told me the racial breakdown of that poll of Americans in general was: 77 percent white, 11 percent black, and 12 percent "other."
The 2010 poll showing 70 percent support from Arizonans was 81 percent white.
Rasmussen may not have surveyed Hispanics, but other firms have. A 2010 poll by Latino Decisions showed that 70 percent of Hispanics nationwide opposed 1070. A Rocky Mountain Poll from 2010 reported that 69 percent of Hispanics in Arizona were against the measure.
Perhaps Pearce is a student of Russian Communist Vladimir Lenin, who is reputed to have said: "A lie told often enough becomes the truth."
Or maybe Pearce simply is delusional and believes his own crusty falsehoods, no matter how often they're disproved.
Either way, a vote for Russell Pearce is a vote for a serial liar who repeatedly has been exposed to the public.
Which, among other reasons, is why Pearce is headed for defeat yet again at the hands of his brother and sister Mormons in Mesa.
To them, honesty is a revered quality that Pearce does not possess.