Nativists' recall effort against Phil Gordon fails, not one signature submitted. (W/Update.)
Recall leader and crazy Hobbit lady Anna Gaines: Her effort against Mayor Phil failed today.
As no doubt some of you are hearing on the radio and elsewhere, the recall effort by the nativist group American Citizens United of Mayor Phil Gordon has failed.
Phoenix City Clerk Mario Paniagua told me that as of 5 p.m. today no one had shown up from the recall effort to submit their signatures. Today was the deadline for the effort that began in May.
"They could try to submit signatures tomorrow," said Paniagua."But we would not accept them."
The effort was troubled from the start, with ACU's president Bob Haran stepping down from the effort almost immediately and predicting failure.
The reports I got were that the petition gatherers were not even asking signers where they were from. For a signature to be valid, the person would have to be a registered voter in Phoenix, a "qualified elector," in the parlance of the Arizona state constitution.
Not one signature was submitted. The group never had the money to pay for signature-gathering, as some big-money initiatives can do.
And in an event not reported by the Phoenix media other than New Times, ACU's leader Anna Gaines, aka "the anti-Hispanic Hispanic," was arrested on a misdemeanor trespassing charge at a Borders Books while soliciting signatures for the recall petition. This was during a Sheriff Joe book signing there.
While she was being handcuffed and hauled away, a witness saw her drop her petition sheet. Someone picked it up for her. It was completely empty.
I actually had a bet with a pal that ACU would submit sigs, even though most would prove invalid. They never had a chance against a popular mayor like Gordon. But I thought they would at least submit their signatures and get a little press before being blown out of the water by Gordon's bean-counters. Reckon I was wrong on that count. (It may well be that the number of sigs they had was so low, it would have been a colossal embarrassment for them to submit them.)
This is what Gordon had to say in a statement released by his staff:
“I am proud of the work we’ve done together over the past five years and am focused on the agenda we’ve set for the city of Phoenix for the future. The voters of Phoenix elected me to do a job and that’s where I put my energy and attention."
The racists have been beaten back. Considering the amount of time put into this, and all the trash talking ACU and the recall's supporters over at United for a Sovereign America have done, it's a major defeat for the local forces of bigotry and prejudice. The only ones who wanted to recall Gordon were those brown-bashers on the far right. That's why they got Anna Gaines to front the effort.
The Phoenix City Prosecutor's office tells me they conflicted the Gaines trespass case out the the County Attorney's office. Not holding my breath on that prosecution, though hope springs eternal.
Update: Bob Haran e-mailed me this press release on the failed recall effort, and I think it's worth reproducing in its entirety.
First President and Co-Founder of American Citizens United
NEWS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 29, 2008
Subject: Failed Gordon Recall Effort.
CONTACT: Bob Haran, email@example.com, www.Bob-Haran.info
A group of what can only be described as, loose cannons of the immigration enforcement movement, had four month to turn in 23,751 good signatures from registered Phoenix voters. The deadline came at 5 p.m. Thursday and the deadline went with no one from the group, American Citizens United, showing up to turn in the required signatures or to take responsibility for not having them.
Before Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon declares victory and claims that this proves that the public agrees with his immigration policies of non-enforcement, he should consider who was behind this failed effort.
As the co-founder and first president of American Citizens United, I cautioned the groups other co-founder, Anna Gaines, not to attempt such a project because it had almost no chance of success and it was not part of our mission, in addition we were still in the process of organizing and didn't even have a set of by-laws. A few days later Anna Gaines and friends held a press conference announcing their recall effort of Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon under the name American Citizens United, without my knowledge. As the president of the organization, the first I knew about re-calling the mayor was from a TV newscast. Anna Gaines and a few others, unknown to me, decided to go behind my back and try to re-call the mayor of Phoenix without any research, plan, preparation and, without even notifying the president of the organization whose name they were using, of what they were doing. The project was destined to fail from the onset and should have never been attempted in the first place.
Our mission was to unite American citizens of every race, color, ancestry and, religious belief who supports securing our border and enforcement of all our immigrations laws. I was very disturbed by those opposed to immigration control labeling us as racist. The truth is that the vast majority of those demanding enforcement of our immigration laws are not and never were racist. I wanted an organization free of the few racist parasites attempting to hitch-hike on the immigration issue to advance their own agenda, and to bring into the organization the many American citizens of Hispanic ancestry who support control of illegal immigration. I was and still am concerned about the divide on the immigration issue between Anglos and Hispanics in Arizona. The American Citizens United mission was to bridge the divide between Anglos and Hispanics, instead this ill advised re-call effort did the opposite and only helped to further divide the Phoenix community.
What Anna Gaines and her associates hoped to gain by waging a battle they couldn't win, other then getting on TV and their 15 seconds of fame, Ms. Gaines will have to answer. I'm just very upset that an organization with a mission of uniting people was stolen and used as a vehicle of division when unity of the community and understanding of the issue is what's called for.
BOB HARAN, Phoenix
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.