Like a bad case of shingles, dealing with Rim Country crackpot and state Senator Sylvia Allen is both painful and seemingly without cure.
In 2012, in the wake of redistricting, Allen chickened out of a run in a newly-drawn Legislative District 6, following a poll's showing her with a 22 percent approval rating.
So the crazy cat lady-lookalike, best known for her unhinged pronouncements about the world being only 6,000 years old, trees causing drought, and "chemtrails" poisoning the atmosphere, decided to run instead for a seat on the Navajo County Board of Supervisors, which she did successfully.
I was hopeful Allen would fade into obscurity. But some nuts are hard to crack, and Allen's practically a fossilized macadamia.
Also, she evidently has made a deal with Old Scratch, which allows her to advance politically whenever a Rim Country politician falls off a horse and buys the farm
In 2008, it was legendary state Senator Jake Flake, uncle of U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, who took a fatal tumble off a neigh-er, leading to his death and Allen's becoming his replacement.
More recently, it was LD 6's state Senator Chester Crandell, who went out for a ride one day and never came back, at least not alive.
Like a henna-headed vulture, Allen swooped in to replace Crandell, and her fellow Rs dutifully put her on the general election ballot, where she beat former legislator Tom O'Halleran, a GOPer running as an Indie, by a slim margin of 51 to 49 percent.
In fact, you could say 1,638 votes is the line between sanity and insanity in Northern Arizona. Perhaps some folks had forgotten Allen's antics, her attempt to create a volunteer army of toothless rednecks on the border, or her wanting to put a nuclear waste dump in her district.
Back in the saddle, Allen's at it again, proposing legislation that would gut the state's open meetings law, allowing a quorum of a deliberative public body to discuss, in secret, subjects that they're going to vote on, as long as they have the vote itself in public.
The proposed law, Senate Bill 1435, has drawn fire from the left, right and center. Even the Payson Roundup, which has supported Allen over the years, recently slammed the bill in a tough editorial, accusing Allen of attempting to "destroy the village of the open meeting law in order to save public officials a little inconvenience."
In her op-ed in the Payson paper defending her position, Allen said the idea came to her while serving on the Navajo County BOS, where she claims she had to worry about violating the open meetings law while on the can.
"Do you realize that as a supervisor I could not be in the same room with two other supervisors, whether it was at a social gathering, the elevator or even the restroom, without being subject to potential open meeting violations?"
(One place you would never want to be is in a loo with Senator Allen. The hairspray fumes alone could prove deadly.)
However, the Payson Roundup's Pete Aleshire adequately put Allen's ridiculous assertion to rest, noting that "the law does not prohibit such accidental or incidental contact unless the elected officials discuss an upcoming vote."
Aleshire adds that, "Just to be safe, government agencies often post a public notice when they anticipate a quorum of elected officials will all attend a single event."
But don't look for Allen to back off. Why, she's even scored a few alleged Democrats as fellow sponsors of the bill, including state Senators Carlyle Begay of LD 7, Barbara McGuire of Kearny, and Lynne Pancrazi of Yuma.
More worrisome is the co-sponsorship of Mesa's moderate Republican state Senator Bob Worsley. With the Democratic support, and support of relative moderates on the R side, Allen may swing this one.
Unless, of course, there's massive pushback. Lately, local activist Len Clark has been leading the charge against SB 1435, and other attempts by the legislature to curtail the public's access to information about our government.
Time to call your state legislators if you haven't already.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
I'm doing my part by sticking Allen's mug right where it belongs, and encouraging her fellow pols to resist the inclination to become a horse's ass.
Got a tip for The Bastard? Send it to: Stephen Lemons.