Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce's Supporters' Signs, Olivia Cortes Hides Out (w/Update)

Though I try to avoid watching the PBS Horizon clown table for fear that I'll pull an Elvis on my TV set, folks tip me off whenever smarmy local hack Howie Fischer says something dumb, which is nearly every week. 

So, sometimes I am forced to watch it online. (Sigh.)

What kills me about Fischer is that he likes to act like a know-it-all, when he very clearly does not know it all. Like his assumption on the show, asserted by other panelists as well, that the illegal signs posted in Mesa by Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall, had all come down as of Friday night.

Not all of them. Roving around Mesa this weekend with my partner-in-Pearce-loathing Dennis Gilman, I spotted some still up. One, amusingly, had been posted at the corner of Birchwood Avenue and Alma School Road, a few yards from where an Olivia Cortes "Si, se Puede" sign had been posted. (Please see update below.)

Saw another CWOPR sign at McKellips Road and Pasadena Drive. These signs were still in place as of late Sunday afternoon. Though, to be fair, maybe the CWOPR people just missed them.

There were several Cortes signs up in Mesa, despite the fact that they are up too soon and do not contain any contact info.

I dropped by Cortes' apartment home three times this weekend, trying to catch her for a face-to-face interview, which she has so far been successfully avoiding. 

On Saturday, her sister came to the door, but Cortes was not in, she claimed. On Sunday, I rang her bell several times on two different occasions, but no one answered.

Cortes is retired and did not meet the deadline to submit her $5 slips to score Clean Elections money. Her signs don't look cheap, so the question is, who paid for them and who is putting them up?

Sources close to Cortes have indicated to me that she was recruited to run by a pro-Pearce individual who attends the same Mormon church as she does. Cortes has been advised not to answer her door or answer the phone, unless it's someone she knows.

For the record, Cortes has denied that she's a Pearce plant meant to dilute the recall election vote, scheduled for November 8. She did this in an e-mail Q&A we did earlier this month.

Another item fumbled by Fischer: the fact that the CWOPR signs contain falsehoods, one being that Randy Parraz, co-founder of Citizens for a Better Arizona, supported the boycott of Arizona over Pearce's Senate Bill 1070.

Parraz did not support the boycott, and Parraz has threatened legal action as a result of this falsehood and others.

Fischer pooh-poohed the whole thing, just as he once pooh-poohed the recall itself.

"Well, OK," Mr. Smug told his fellow clown-tablers. "By the time we actually litigate that, we'll be talking about the 2012 election."

Interesting that Fischer holds the facts in such contempt. Perhaps that's why he gets it wrong so dang often.

Note: One last point about political signs: most lawn signs are OK, as they are not covered by the state statute in question, according to Mesa officials. There are a number of Jerry Lewis signs in people's yards around Mesa. 

As long as it's in your yard, it's legit, according to the city. But if it's in the right of way more than 60 days before the election, it's not.

UPDATE, 4:31PM: Just learned that Cortes's signs have also been ordered down by the city of Mesa. Deadline, today at 5 PM. (CWOPR have the same deadline.) Read the letter Cortes was sent, here.

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