Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio Flunky John Kavanagh Defends Retroactive, Unconstitutional Recall Bill

Republican state Representative John Kavanagh and a pig's intestine share one significant characteristic, and, no, it's not elasticity.

Rather, they're both full of it.

See also: -Joe Arpaio Recall Scores 120K Valid Signatures: 85 Days Left, a Little Over 215K More to Go -Joe Arpaio's Chad Willems Talks to the Shadow Army about the "Blocking Campaign" and the End of GOP Rule in Maricopa County -Steve Smith's "Save Joe Arpaio's Ass Bill" Passes State House, and, Oh, It's Unconstitutional

Kavanagh knows he's full of it and doesn't care. Take, for instance, his lame, dissembling rationale for adding an amendment making retroactive to the beginning of this year, an already-unconstitutional bill run by his pal, Representative Steve Smith.

Smith's House Bill 2282, one the Pinal County GOPer pimped unsuccessfully in the last session, would create a "recall primary," for any pending recall election.

Thing is, the recall is part of the Arizona Constitution, so any such change would have to be referred to the ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment, on which we the people could vote up or down.

But neither Smith nor Kavanagh give a fat tick about the rights of the people in this state.

Their intent is to save Sheriff Joe Arpaio's fanny, and Kavanagh made this more obvious with the retroactivity amendment, signalling that, if this bill becomes law, it will apply to the current recall effort underway against Arpaio.

The bill has passed the state House, and has yet to be heard in committee in the state Senate.

Recently, members of the Arpaio-recall committee Respect Arizona met up with Kavanagh in the House lobby, in order to present him with their "Let Them Eat Cake Award," which they say is for Kavanagh's "willingness to undermine and obstruct the right of citizens to recall their elected officials."

As you can see in the video from Respect Arizona above, Kavanagh patiently listens to what they have to say. Then he offers in response, this steaming pile of ordure:

"The Arizona Constitution calls for a recall, but the voters of Arizona by a 2-to-1 margin last November said that they reject the idea that partisan elections should be nonpartisan. They want a partisan election to be partisan.

"And this bill says that if the person being recalled was elected by a partisan election, then the recall must be partisan also. This is respecting the will of the voters...And with respect to the retroactivity, as far as I'm concerned as of November, on election day, the message was loud and clear. A partisan election should be a partisan recall. I'm just trying to respond to the will of the voters."

What a massive pant-load. Prop 121, the so-called Open Elections/Open Government Act, said nothing about the recall process, which is covered in Article 8 of the Arizona Constitution, dealing with "removal from office.".

Instead, Prop 121, which made it to the ballot via petition, sought to amend part of Article 7 of the constitution, which covers "suffrage and elections." The measure would have done away with partisan primaries altogether and instead would have established an open primary, with the top two vote-getters going on to a general election.

Kavanagh gets one thing right: Prop 121 failed by a more than 2-to-1 margin, but it did not seek to amend Section 8 and alter the recall process, which calls for a "special election" to be held, one that adheres to the "general election laws."

The framers did not envision a partisan recall election, so by Kavanagh's own yardstick, he fails. A recall is a "special election," not a partisan one.

Moreover, Kavanagh seeks, by legislative fiat, to deny the voters their right to decide the issue. He and Smith could have sought to refer the matter to the ballot in 2014, but they did not do so. Why? Well, by then, it would be way too late to save Arpaio's hide.

At least when Kavanagh wanted to undo the will of the electorate regarding the voter-approved medical marijuana law, he sought to send the matter back to the ballot in 2014.

That bill, House Concurrent Resolution 2003, never got a committee hearing.

If the Smith-Kavanagh recall bill makes it through the Senate (so far it has not been heard in committee there), the recall-Joe folks will undoubtedly challenge the legislation in court, and the elections law people I've spoken to in the past see it as a slam dunk for the pro-recall side.

I suspect Smith and Kavanagh know this, but they also likely know that such legislation would cause the recall people grief and force them to expend time and resources. It's a tactic, one doomed to failure.

Better to give Kavanagh a mud pie than a cake, I think. Because, as with the successful 2011 recall of his bud, ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce, he'll be wearing the former when this desperate gambit is shot down.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons