Maricopa County Treasurer Charles "Hos" Hoskins has issued a response over the controversy surrounding his continued employment of recalled former state Senate President President Russell Pearce, who recently resigned his post as First Vice Chair of the Arizona Republican Party, following his controversial remarks on the forced sterilization of female Medicaid recipients.
Today, Hoskins, who is under pressure to fire Pearce from Pearce's $85,000-per-year job, replied to some questions I recently submitted via e-mail. Hoskins cc'd other members of the media as well.
Which, hopefully, will garner even more coverage for the story.
The full Q&A is at the end of this post.
Oddly, Hoskins redacted the names of his employees Dave Browning and Royce Flora, though he didn't do this when he satisfied my public records request for the e-mails to and from Pearce, the ones I was asking him about in the queries below.
I wrote about these e-mails in a recent blog post, publishing the names Hoskins is redacting.
The tone of the reply indicates that Hoskins is hunkering down and will not sack Pearce, though he has not said this explicitly.
Protesters from Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group that forced Pearce's recall in 2011, have been holding daily protests at the Treasurer's Office, which can't be fun for the employees there, as this is a pretty, um, taxing time for that office.
See, property tax notices went out to Maricopa County homeowners recently, and the first half of those taxes come due October 1, according to the treasurer's website.
Just before the story blew up, Hoskins related to me via e-mail how busy he and his staff have been.
"Calls and letters are coming in and we will be pretty much maxed out for the next few weeks," he wrote on September 13. "Just to give you an idea, our call center fielded over 900,000 calls last year and I, and my staff, responded to over 5,000 complex research request that require an average of about two hours each to complete. We also process about $5 million per hour requiring almost 1,700 collection and distribution transactions."
I feel for Hoskins. He naively did not see this controversy coming.
Given Pearce's past, he should have, but Hoskins has been ill-served by his chief deputy, fellow Republican Royce Flora, who was responsible for the germ of the idea to hire the most controversial man in Arizona politics to an $85K/year job with the treasurer's office.
I reviewed Flora's involvement in my column last week, the one that resulted in Pearce's resignation Sunday night.
In related news, the podcast of the September 6 radio show, where Pearce made his outrageous statements, has been removed from KKNT 960 AM's website.
Pretty silly, since the Raw Story has already published a YouTube clip of the offending segment.
Finally, Arizona Republican Party Chair Robert Graham has replaced Pearce with Parralee Schneider, the party's Second Vice Chair, and has appointed Republican activist Jeni White to replace Schneider.
Basically, according to the Arizona GOP's bylaws, these positions help the chair with whatever he needs done.
A press release from the Arizona Republican Party stated the following:
"The Executive Committee of the party must approve the appointments, and a meeting is scheduled for September 26th. The appointees will serve until the January 2015 meeting of the state committeemen, when an election will be held to fill the remainder of the two-year terms of the offices, both of which expire in January of 2016."
It seems very appropriate that a woman should replace Pearce after his disgusting anti-woman remarks.
Former governor hopeful and Christine Jones had been hinting that she was interested in replacing Pearce, and GOP Secretary of State candidate Michele Reagan actually suggested via a press release that Jones should get the spot, but Schneider seems a far less controversial pick and more suited to the post's role.
Hoskins' e-mail to me today:
From: Charles Hoskins - TREASX
Date: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 11:26 AM To: 'Stephen Lemons' Cc: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" , "'email@example.com'" , "'ApArizona@ap.org'" , "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" , "'DWelch28@gmail.com'" , Yvonne Wingett , "'Andrew.email@example.com'" , "'firstname.lastname@example.org'"
Subject: Response to your 9/15 email
Dear Mr. Lemons:
Due to the recent interest in the activities of my office I will be sharing all email correspondence with other members of the media that have asked for information.
Please understand that I will only respond to questions that are directly related to the duties of this office. You can get a list of those duties at: www.azleg.gov Select "Arizona Revised Statutes" from the drop down menu under the Legislative Council tab and enter "county treasurer shall" in the search box.
In your 9/15 email your had the following relevant questions. ----------------------------- A September 5 e-mail (see attached) titled "teaching math" is essentially a long ethnic joke, as you can see from the punchline at the bottom of it.
Your employee [Dave Browning] sent it to [Royce Flora], then [Flora] sent it to Pearce.
Is this sort of ethnic/racial humor welcome at your office?
Do you think the Hispanic employees of your office would find such "humor" amusing?
Do you plan to do anything about this?
There is nothing that needs to be done. We receive these emails periodically and they are to be forwarded to the Chief Deputy who will decide what action is appropriate. Such action may be to simply delete it or designate it as "Junk Mail" (spam). In this instance he forwarded it to the Technical Services Manager to be placed in the new employee orientation manual as an example of the type of emails we receive.
Next, do you agree with Mr. Pearce's comments regarding the "wealth gap" in a September 2 e-mail to you?
In that e-mail, he insults 47 percent of the American public, and all immigrants, legal and illegal.
I provided [Pearce] with a copy of [former Congressional Candidate and blogger Bob Lord's] article following a conversation we had regarding the Elderly Assistance Fund program. My point was that the number of low income elderly is likely to increase if Mr. Lord's analysis is correct.
Don't you find it a little ironic that he is insulting some of the very people the EAF is supposed to be helping? Poor people. People who may not "pay taxes."
There is no connection that I can see. Recipients of the Elderly Assistance Fund are homeowners and pay property taxes. They must also provide income tax filings to support their eligibility claim when making a request to the assessor. You can find the requirement at: http://mcassessor.maricopa.gov/wp-content/uploads/Senior-Valuation-Protection.pdf
[Author's note: Hoskins completely misses the point here. I agree that Pearce is wrong in his 47 percent claim. Pearce is the one asserting the 47 percent pay no taxes, not me. I made this clear in my recent blog item refuting this shibboleth.]
Finally, I would like some of the attachments for the various e-mails you have provided me.
If you require another public records request, I'm happy to send it, but I believe my first PRR covers attachments as well, since attachments are part of an e-mail and I asked for all e-mails to and from Pearce.
Specifically, I'd like the attachment for the "Wealth Gap" e-mail, and any e-mail or attachment that accompanied an e-mail Pearce forwarded to himself on 9/11. It also is attached.
Finally, there's an 8/27 e-mail from Karen Smith that had an attachment of minutes from a staff meeting. I'd like that attachment as well.
The email attachments you asked for are attached. There was no text in the 9/11 email.
Charles "Hos" Hoskins, Maricopa County Treasurer
Attachments from Hos:
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