Tuesday, March 22, 2011

While You Were Away

I was heartened to return from a long weekend trip to find that the legislature hadn't set the state on fire out of spite, but then realized this was merely a literal relief. The figurative situation is predictably stupid.

You may have heard that we have some border issues here in Arizona, and maybe have even heard the howling from many points that the feds need to step in and do something about immigration, illegal and otherwise. The Senate finally acquiesced and lobbed $1.6 million our way, and the state legislature promptly decided that the Arizona county with the longest stretch of actual border with Mexico should get exactly zero of those dollars.

Proximity to Mexico does not count.

In what passes for logic in Russell Pearce's reality, this makes perfect sense. The sheriff of Pima County is a Democrat named Clarence Dupnik, who you may remember as the guy who (accurately) noted in the aftermath of the Giffords shooting that Arizona has become a mecca for bigotry and all-around general fuckery. The only possible response to this for a state whose lawmakers have been complaining about border crime is to limit the disbursement of federal anti-border-crime money to two counties that may not actually be on the border, but that do happen to be headed by Russell Pearce's two favorite skinhead sheriffs, White Power Joe Arpaio and Paul "Just Forget I'm Actually From Massachusetts and Shoot More Video of Me, John McCain, and the Dang Fence" Babeu.

To be fair, Pearce didn't explicitly say only Maricopa and Pinal counties get the cash. He simply made sure the wording in the budget bills was very specific.

A provision buried in one of the 13 budget bills approved late Wednesday spells out that the first $1.6 million of available money go to the sheriff of a county with a population of more than 3 million. That applies only to Maricopa County.

The next $500,000 is earmarked for a sheriff in a county of between 300,000 and 500,000, with only Pinal County meeting that definition. And if there's anything left, it can be allocated to other counties or cities.

But not Pima County: SB 1621 spells out any county with a population between 500,00 and 2 million "shall not receive any monies from the Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement mission fund."

Oh, Pima County gets excluded by the =! 500K-2M clause? Who knew?

And the legislature yesterday predictably reintroduced some birther bills. Really, they can't go more than a week without it or they get the shakes bad.

Am I glad to be home? No. No, I am not.

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