Not one to be out of the spotlight, the ever self-serving Paul Babeu moved quickly to again command headlines. This time, teaming up with extremist State Senator Sylvia Allen, from Navajo County, the consummate Mexican-baiting duo announced formation of a Pinal County border posse made up of armed volunteers.
Coming on the heels of the fatal Border Patrol friendly fire tragedy, Babeu’s venture is arrogant and fraught with danger. Overlooked or ignored by media coverage is an extensive history replete with examples of border-related incidents that lead to international crises.
The Sheriff’s own record suggests he is willing to stage armed confrontations in pursuit of his twisted sense of protecting a public from the fear-induced environment created by his Mexican-obsessed rhetoric.
This latest Babeu gambit, however, crosses the line. Will he next deploy his private army to take operational control of the border and engage in hot pursuit across the international border, leading to a fabricated international incident with Mexico?
It is time for the Board of Supervisors to provide a complete public airing of this private army concocted behind closed doors for the increasingly irrational Babeu.
Three minutes of time during call to the public is not a venue for serious discussion of this latest bizarre development cooked up by a desperate Sheriff and a lame duck State Senator best known for her extremist views, including her unique belief that our Earth is only 6,000 years old.
The Board of Supervisors is the ultimate representative of the public at the county level. The Board is responsible not only for managing the county’s limited resources but for consequences flowing from county actions.
Numerous questions of concern to taxpayers come to mind.
- Who pays for processing the so-called volunteers, who pays for uniforms, for training, vehicles, fuel, weapons and other materials?
- Most importantly who pays when the liability lawsuits start confronting the Board of Supervisors?
- All these unexpected and unbudgeted expenses will surely fall on Pinal County taxpayers.
The public deserves no less than an open and transparent hearing, where concerned county residents can get answers and where Sheriff Babeu can present information on funding, responsibilities, control and management of this extraordinary expansion of the Sheriff’s role in the county.
My studied plea to the Board is that it place this critical issue on the Board’s agenda. Authoritative outside sources should be invited to evaluate Babeu’s outrageous and alarming proposal. Arizona’s Legislature, even as presently constituted, refused to create Babeu’s army. Pinal County’s Board of Supervisors must do no less. The Board must not allow its members to become enablers of an unbridled abuser of power.
It is not enough for the Board to simply listen to one voice during an inconsequential call to the public.
If right-of-way and rezoning issues are worthy of a public hearing, and I agree that they are, then surely creation of a county army deserves no less of a public airing.
Place discussion of Babeu’s private army on the Board’s agenda.