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Senator Scott Bundgaard Plays Patty-Cake with Jason Rose, and Russell Pearce Goes KGB on Pro-Immigration Activists

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The Rose-Bundgaard bromance also is probably reinforced by Bundgaard's own slithery ways, explored at length over the years by New Times scribes.

Managing editor Amy Silverman wrote up Bundgaard's criminal record in a 1994 story ("Pols to the Wall," October 27).

As Bundgaard slouched toward a state House seat in Legislative District 19, Silverman pointed out that Bundgaard had caught two years' probation "for his part in a scheme to steal [car stereos] from a Smitty's he worked at in 1986."

His record since has been expunged and his voting rights restored. Bundgaard was reportedly 18 at the time. He ended up scoring endorsements from Arpaio, then-Senate Majority Whip Jan Brewer, and Governor Fife Symington III, who would later be indicted on several counts of corruption and ultimately forced from office.

In 1999, former New Times reporter Terry Greene Sterling dug into Bundgaard's machinations on behalf of one of the Valley's biggest polluters, Walter Lorimor. Bundgaard helped Lorimor with state regulators, getting his fines reduced, finding a buyer for one of Lorimor's dumps ("Scott Free," March 11, and "Keep on Truckin'," July 8).

Hey, anything for a constituent.

Bundgaard presents himself as a big Christian-family-values kind of guy, but as the Good Book says, "By their fruits, ye shall know them." And Bundgaard and Rose's fruit is rancid, and straight from the pail.

PEARCE'S NEMESIS

When I got a call telling me that Phoenix human rights activist Sal Reza had been arrested at the state Senate building as he tried to meet with Senator Steve Gallardo, my first thought was, Jeez, if he has to spend any more time getting booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail, Sheriff Joe should name a wing of the MCSO's vast incarceration complex after him.

Reza still is fighting a charge from his arrest in an act of civil disobedience on July 29, when he and scores of others were collared in an explosion of anti-Senate Bill 1070 sentiment that rocked Phoenix.

That arrest, of course, Reza wanted. It was in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, César Chávez, and other exponents of non-violent civil disobedience.

Of course, as I joked recently with Reza, he has some catching up to do if he wants to be in the King-Gandhi-Chávez league.

But like his heroes, he's not only been arrested for civil disobedience, he's been pinched in retaliation for being a leader in the civil rights struggle here in Phoenix.

Shortly after his July 29 arrest, Reza was collared again — this time wrongly — by a pack of Arpaio's thugs.

The sheriff's underlings claimed Reza had defied a court order. The charge was bogus — so bogus that both the judge and the prosecutor in the case agreed there was no probable cause for the arrest.

Then-Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley dropped the charge.

As I've been covering closely in my Feathered Bastard blog, Reza was arrested on February 24, along with another activist, Anayense Garza, from his group Puente.

Unbeknownst to Reza, state Senate President Russell Pearce had banned him from the Senate. The ban was retribution for Reza's presence on February 22, as he and hundreds of other activists watched a marathon Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on TV in an overflow room.

The activists were not allowed into the smaller room where the hearing actually was held. Only the press and those signed up to speak against the catalog of anti-immigrant bills on tap were allowed in.

Apparently, Pearce was ticked that there were so many demonstrators and activists in his building. Both Pearce and security also were miffed that the folks in the overflow room were applauding whenever one of the senators or the speakers said something they liked.

At one point, Reza was asked to order the observers to be silent. Reza told security that it wasn't his place to tell folks whether to clap or not.

People say the applause was audible in the hearing room, which was down the hall. I was there, covering the proceedings. I didn't hear any of the clapping.

According to the incomplete report issued by the Capitol Police on the arrests, Pearce gave explicit instructions to the officers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety concerning the activists.

DPS Sergeant Jeff Trapp wrote the following in a supplement to the report:

"At approximately 2230hrs, Senate President Russell Pearce approached me and requested that the offenders from the overflow seating be identified, photographed, and that the information be posted at the Senate guard desks and that these offenders be denied further entrance into the Senate."

Trapp did this, using photos plucked from the Internet.

So, when Reza and Garza showed up, Reza was told of the ban. He wanted to see something in writing. Sounds reasonable. I mean, who do you know who's ever been banned from a public building? But Reza was given nothing of the kind.

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