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The Daily Agenda: Just stop with the patches and coins
Blood In Blood Out is not a good model for corrections officers ... Arizona is onboarding more new politicians ... And a little Spanish guitar to start your morning.
Neo-Nazi symbols and a gang mentality rule in Arizona prisons — and we don’t mean with the prisoners.
Not to be outdone by the Phoenix PD, the Arizona Department of Corrections designed a bunch of patches and challenge coins with white supremacist and gang imagery.
The Republic’s Jimmy Jenkins dug up leaked* copies of the patches and coins, not to mention some wild training videos, which the department then refused to comment on.
But it’s never a good look when the correction officers’ union’s lawyer says the patches are “replete with white power symbols that are consistent with racist inmate groups/gangs.”
The designs were made for the Special Operations and Tactics units, which handle everything from riots and escaped inmates to hostage situations, and which prisoners allege are some of the meanest, most abusive crews in Arizona prisons.
Experts told Jenkins that the symbology used not only mirrors gang and white supremacist insignia, but “reflects an us-against-them mentality of units whose members seem to see themselves as acting out militaristic fantasies, rather than rehabilitating prisoners.”
Patches and challenge coins that don’t contain gang and white supremacist imagery can boost morale and create a sense of comradery, a former deputy warden explained, but these patches and coins are in direct opposition to the department’s goals of “reentry and rehabilitation.”
“‘Death before honor?’ That’s like ‘Blood in, blood out,’” the former deputy warden told Jenkins. “Again, it seems gang related."
This could be you someday: If you want to be the next Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri — without all the resigning in shame after being caught on tape trashing your colleagues and claiming the election was stolen, obviously — now’s your chance! The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is accepting applications for his replacement after his resignation became official yesterday. You must be a registered Republican and live in his East Valley District 2.
Another new lawmaker coming soon: When accused child molestor and former Arizona Democratic Sen. Tony Navarrete resigned, the board of supervisors appointed Rep. Raquel Terán to take his place. Now the board is filling her House seat. There’s a short list of seven candidates for the board to choose from.
Just what everyone wants — more rankings: U.S. News & World Report has expanded its annual rankings to include K-8 schools for the first time ever. Parents already can access the state’s letter grades for schools (which run into controversy pretty much every year). Education experts caution that such rankings don’t tell you much about a school beyond the wealth of its students’ families, reports the Republic’s Yana Kunichoff.
Everything now is either a supply chain issue or a labor shortage issue: Meanwhile, some schools have struggled to get food because of supply chain issues, meaning your kid’s favorite meal could get the boot, reports KJZZ’s Rocío Hernandez. Some schools have delicious orange chicken these days; Rachel’s school growing up specialized in mystery foods like “turkey tidbits.”
We can’t wait to get down to La Roca: After 18 months of severely restricting the flow of tourists through the U.S.-Mexico border ports — crippling the economies of Arizona’s border cities — the U.S. is preparing to reopen non-essential travel between the two countries for the fully vaccinated. The reopening will start sometime in November.
Boosters boost: Demand for COVID-19 shots has increased because of third dose booster shots, KJZZ’s Katherine Davis-Young reports. First-time shots have slowed. Arizona still lags the national vaccination rate. By the end of this thing, some people will have gotten three shots and others, zero. What a world.
Score one for the cities: Flagstaff doesn’t have to pay more than $1 million to the state because of its higher city minimum wage, a judge ruled. But the judge didn’t weigh in on the issue of whether the state could charge such a fee, instead saying the state missed a deadline. The cost to state government for Flagstaff’s higher wage includes paying workers who provide services for the developmentally disabled, reports Capitol Media Services’ Howie Fischer.
We make zero millions over here: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters makes more than $1 million per year on the Peter Thiel payroll, according to his much delayed financial disclosure statement, but he plans to quit his job by the primary next year, according to 12 News’ Brahm Resnik.
As long as we’re on the topic of money: We need yours. We’re not accepting ThielBucks so keep us in business by subscribing now for just $7 per month.
Maybe by 2023 the public will finally see all the public records they’re owed: The Arizona Senate got slapped down in court again yesterday when a judge ordered it to turn over more records despite the Senate’s attempt to keep secret under “legislative privilege” the records, which include texts between Senate President Karen Fann and conspiracist Phil Waldon, as well as texts between Cyber Ninja Doug Logan and Randy Pullen and emails between Republican lawmakers. The judge will review the records and decide whether to release them, reports AZ Law.
We’re making today’s tidbit a musical interlude. Arizona Rep. Domingo DeGrazia, a Democrat from Tucson, plays Spanish and classical guitar. His band plays concerts around the area. If you want a soundtrack to today’s newsletter, just listen to some of his stuff. It’ll get your morning popping!
MyPillow guy Mike Lindell is still claiming Donald Trump won Arizona by a jaw-dropping quarter-million votes, but now he agrees with Democrats that the Senate’s audit of the Maricopa County election was a “fraudit.” Of course, his rationale is different from those of us who don’t live in a Trump fantasyland but still, it’s surprising to hear him say other states shouldn’t go down Arizona’s path. He may be a total nut, but Hank swears by the guy’s pillows.
The Arrowhead Republican Women will hear from U.S. Senate candidates Mick McGuire and Jim Lamon today at 10:30 a.m. at the Arizona Broadway Theater in Peoria.
Julián Castro, former HUD Secretary and presidential candidate, will speak at the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Hispanic Market Outlook and Expo today at the Tucson Convention Center.
Common Defense, a liberal veterans group, is teaming up with Common Cause and End Citizens United for a $1 million ad buy urging U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to support Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act. They’ll host a press conference today at 9 am at the American Legion on 715 S. 2nd Ave., Phoenix.
*CORRECTION: A previous version of this piece stated the documents came from a public records request. Jenkins tells us the documents were leaked from a source within the department.