The Shape of Things to Cam

My friend Cam Juárez is running for TUSD Governing Board. I guess I could go into a rant about what’s wrong with TUSD these days (and you can find something more substantive about Cam’s platform at his website), but I just want to tell you two stories about Cam.

Cam has a disability. He was born with arms that are shorter than most and his hands don’t work the way the rest of ours do. I tell you this not so you feel sorry for him, but it’s important for the story.

Anyway, the two of us were working at an event and when it was time to break the thing down, I had the job of getting the boxes with t-shirts and left over cositas into a truck outside. I loaded up some on a dolly, and Cam came over.

“Need any help, man?”

“Naw,” Cam gets along fine, but I still would have felt like a jackass making him move boxes around.

He sees the dolly and says, “No, I’ll get this.” Next thing I know, he’s racing to the outside door with four full boxes. I look around and only see one box, and it’s empty.

So, here I was with an empty box, following the “disabled” guy who was pushing a full load.

People gave me grief for weeks about that one. “This guy made Cam carry all his boxes, can you believe that?”

I told Cam about it later. He just laughed. “Yeah, I knew that would happen. Funny, eh?”

Sometimes other people seem to have more trouble with his disability than he does.

Many of you know that for years I worked at a GED program. Cam would make trips down to talk to the students. I never had the chance to watch one of Cam’s presentations, but I talked to students afterward. The crew of kids we got in the program tended to the cynical side, but what he said touched them. He talked about growing up as the child of farmworkers and what he made of himself with the help of the community. It made a difference to them.

Interestingly, it wasn’t Cam’s job to do this. He took time off work to come down. It was that important for him to do it.

These weren’t kids that were easy to get along with and easy for many of us to forget, but the fact that he took the time to talk to them tells you a lot about why Cam is running.

The Meeting Last Night

First, I want to apologize for the truncated live blog last night. The battery ran out on my phone.

Secondly, I’m angry with the atmosphere at the meeting last night.

Depending on what source you read, there were between 350 and 450 members of the public last night. That’s protesters, counter-protesters, audience members, press and other hangers-on. There were 100 policemen.

As if that isn’t bad enough, the police that were deployed in the meeting room were dressed in tactical gear. That means helmets and all. This led to the most ridiculous and offensive moment of the evening: officers in riot gear forcibly ejecting Lupe Castillo. Lupe is nearly seventy and her ongoing medical problems mean that she walks with two canes (when she can walk at all). To quote Miguel Ortega: ¡Que verguenza!

I know that a few of my conservative readers are thinking “Yeah, so what?” Well, think about if this was, say, a city council meeting and the local Tea Party was treated the same way.

One local journalist I talked to supposed that higher security was called for because of what happened in January. If I saw measures like that taken at a congressional town hall, it would be hard to imagine the press standing for it for even a moment. I wouldn’t expect any less.

This nature of the police presence was requested by John Pedicone, according to a source I talked to close to the board. Yep, Pedicone requested this show of force and all the while made claims of wanting more community dialogue.

So, when we have these community fora on the issue with a larger crowds and venues, does he up the security a notch? Maybe the Arizona National Guard? It’s too bad the 82nd Airborne isn’t available, right John?

What Was Weak Last Week

Usually, I provide a summary of bits that, for one reason or another, I didn’t write about over the previous week. Instead of that, I’ll just focus on one: morning talk radio “personality” Jon Justice apparently doesn’t know how local government actually works.

It would be excusable if this he was having trouble naming the Pima County reps on the CAWCD or the finer points of waste water IGAs, but this one is a biggie.

Both David Abie Morales over at Three Sonorans and Mari Herreras at the Weekly did a good job covering this, but it is fun to reiterate it. Justice called for Chuck Huckleberry to fire Richard Elías. For those who aren’t keeping track (such as Mr. Justice), Huckleberry is the County Administrator and Elías is a County Supervisor. Elías is responsible for hiring and firing Huckleberry, not the other way around.

In other words, demanding that Huckleberry fire Elías would be like demanding that TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone fire board members Judy Burns and Adelita Grijalva.

Oh wait, he did that too.

Like I said, if this were some obscurity or unique practice in Southern Arizona, I’d get it. But, you’d be hard pressed to find a jurisdiction in the country where a bureaucrat can fire an elected official, especially the elected official responsible for hiring the bureaucrat in the first place.

Huckleberry’s office fielded calls from Justice’s sycophants, who, like Justice, didn’t realize that the supervisors are elected officials. If they haven’t noticed they are casting votes for county supervisor, how much care are they taking with the rest of their votes?