New Pima BOS Chair Claims Amnesia, Insults County Clerk

Albert Lannon Demands Answer to Complaint During the Call to the Audience

During the lengthy Call to the Public portion of the Pima County Board of Supervisors February 6, newly-elected Chair Richard Elias seemed flummoxed by the refusal of Picture Rocks activist Albert Lannon to leave the podium after demanding a response to the complaint he filed with the BOS on January 2.  Lannon had charged, pursuant to the Pima County Regulatory Bill of Rights, that the BOS Chair investigate and rebuke County Administrator Charles Huckelberry and his staff for “adversely affecting” he and other residents by championing an Avra Valley route for Interstate 11 in violation of BOS own policy, Resolution 2007-343.  He said he was there to insist on a response.

Elias claimed to have no knowledge of the complaint, which was originally addressed to then-chair of the Board Sharon Bronson with copies given to the Clerk of the BOS, Julie Casteñada, at Bronson’s direction for distribution to Board members as Lannon addressed them on January 2.  Lannon asked if Elias was accusing the Clerk of not doing her job, adding, “I don’t believe that.”  He then handed each Supervisor a second copy of the original complaint.

Although he had submitted his request to speak early, Lannon’s three-minute slot was shuffled to the bottom of a long list of speakers, perhaps in an effort to force the 80-year-old to take a bathroom break and miss his turn.  “I’m glad I didn’t have that second cup of coffee this morning,” Lannon told ADI, “and it looks like their bladders gave out before mine.”  He was called to speak just prior to the BOS taking a break with just a handful of speakers left.

When the BOS returned, Lannon was standing at the podium, joined by Pima County Libertarian Party Chair Christopher Cole, and Elias said he would have to ask him to leave the room.  Lannon said he was there to get an overdue response.  The Regulatory Bill of Rights allows 15 business days for a response.  Giving Elias the benefit of the doubt, Lannon said, his 15 days expired on February 2 and Bronson’s long before that.  “I was taught,” the activist told the Board, “that a rule, to be a rule, has to apply to everyone equally.  If this Board can flout and ignore its own rules and policies, it cannot then impose them on me or anyone else.”

Pima County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Chuck Lopiccolo then moved in and asked Lannon and Cole to take seats or leave the room.  Lannon made it clear that his dispute was not with the Sheriff’s Department and a brief negotiation allowed the two peaceful protesters to stand at the end of the first row of seats just three feet from the podium.

At one point during the break Deputy County Attorney Andrew Flagg approached Lannon to ask if he had not received the same response from Flagg that dozens of similar complaint filers had.  Lannon assured him that the only response he had received was Flagg’s email from the previous night.  A request for information for a media story had been requested of County Attorney media contact Isabel Burruel-Smutzer on January 30 and had apparently been passed along to Flagg.

The Board’s attorney said in his February 5 email only “I have not been authorized to provide any substantive response to your questions….”  Lannon told the BOS, “I guess he is the designated black hole my questions have been consigned to.”  Those questions, based on earlier Flagg letters to dozens of other complainants written “on behalf of the County Administrator,” included:

“Since the Pima County Administrator and his office are the subject of the complaints, why is Flagg writing on his behalf?  The County Administrator acts at the direction of, and reports to, the Board of Supervisors.  It would seem inappropriate to address the complaint to the person who is the subject of the complaint, instead of the Chair of the BOS who is the reasonable equivalent of his ‘department director.’”

Flagg’s communication declared that “In any event, the allegations in your complaint do not involve any County ordinance, rule, regulation, substantive policy statement, or county practice.”  The question to the media contact noted that “the record is replete with maps, written communications, and justifications from the County Administrator’s office for an Avra Valley I-11 route.  Can you tell us how these are not a ‘substantive policy statement or county practice?’”

Lannon did get a chuckle from Chairman Elias at the conclusion of his remarks, saying,“I am 80 years old.  I have incurable cancer with brittle bones, along with COPD, heart and kidney disease, a bad back, and hemorrhoids.”  Elias’s smile faded as the activist continued: “I have better things to do with my time than stand here and insist on your overdue response, but that is what I am here to do today.”

“No one is above the law,” Lannon told ADI, “and that includes this Board and the County Administrator.   I’ll be back.”  The Avra Valley I-11 route is one of two being considered by the Arizona Dept. of Transportation’s three-year, $15 million, Tier One Environmental Impact Study.  The other is the existing I-10 corridor.  BOS Resolution 2007-343, over Supervisor Elias’s signature, opposes any new highway in Pima County and specifically calls for protecting the Avra Valley.

The protest was peaceful and civil save for Lannon’s red hat.  That was a Nino the Clown hat from the Zoppé Family Circus, in Tucson last month.  “Appropriate, I think,” the veteran activist told us.


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  1. What Again – The thought of topping Gates Pass and looking west only to see a noisy scar slicing through pristine, serene Avra Valley makes me sick. And I deeply resent What Again’s incessant accusation and name calling that we who oppose I-11 are anti-growth and Communists. There are many other ways to promote growth which I support. KEEP THE FREEWAY OUT OF AVRA VALLEY!

  2. It’s time to run the Pima County Board of Supervisors out of town on a rail and to call an emergency election to install board members who give a Tinker’s Damn about Pima County and who will obey the law!

  3. What and exciting display of how to demand your rights and demonstrate that the citizen are in control if they choose to be in control.

    Chuck needs to show a little respect for the citizens of Pima County, although I am not sure he [chuck] even knows how to spell respect.

    You GO Albert!!!

  4. ”There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!” — Mario Savio

    • This is so exciting. Pima County can be the center of resistance, just like the revolution Savio ran at Berkeley. Yeehaawww Tucson, you can be just like Berkeley in the 60’s!!!!! Stop all this greedy commerce and capitalism! Just imagine, Albert can rally all the old hippies and storm the BOS meetings. Burn the bras, let ’em hang, show Pima County what hallucinants are all about!

      • I think I may have mentioned it once – I landed on a Southwest flight to Tucson from somewhere… it was mid hot afternoon – the pilot announced, welcome to Tucson and the time is “1978” which is pretty much where Tucson has been stuck since 1978..

  5. Maybe I will wear my shirt with “I am the Libertarian that your Dictator warned you against” (front and back) next time I stand with him.

    We Libertarians stand for the Rule of Law. Especially when the Government (at any level) abuses power.

    Christopher Cole
    Pima County Libertarian Partry

      • What again why don’t you pull your head out of the orific you sit on and smell what you’retrying To shovel to the rest of us. I doubt you’d know a communist if they came up and slapped you in the face with a wet fish!. You’re no better than McCarthy who saw communists coming out of the walls of the Congress.

        And while we’re on it, just who the hell do you think this I-11 corridor is going to benefit? It sure as hell isn’t the people of Tucson since it’s not. Going to be anywhere near the city. The only ones it wil benefit are the supporters like Diamond & the Huckster. The people that work on that road are primarily going to be here on work visas and take that money back to wherever they come from and in fact the corridor is going to hurt Tucson more than it wil ever help. Get a life!

        • Hey Howard – the corridor will benefit the thousands and thousands that use it every day. If it was left up to you and your logic, we would still have stage coaches running through here. Face it, I-10 running through Tucson is probably one of the ugliest and least efficient stretches of interstate in the entire country.

          All it takes is Google and you will find your this character is truly a radical communist, saying no to prosperity and spreading the misery of communism at every opportunity.

        • “It sure as hell isn’t the people of Tucson”

          This is such an ignorant position I must respond.

          It’s NOT about benefitting Tucson. In fact, it’s about AVOIDING Tucson and supporting interstate commerce. it’s a Federal Interstate – not a local road. But no, no, no, it’s not enough for the No-Growther, Anti-Prosperity radicals of Tucson and Pima County to make us the 5th poorest in the country, now you want to inflict that misery to anyone in the country that might dare to cross Arizona!

          Liberals – spreading the misery of communism at every opportunity.

  6. What a hoot. A transplant from San Francisco, a bona fide No Growth, Anti Prosperity Communist NIMBY takes on the No Growth, Anti Prosperity Socialist NIMBY BOS.

    Go Tucson, Go! 5th poorest in the country, and Damn It – you can be number one!

  7. GO GET’EM LANNON!!!! There’s another windmill over the hill – should have left them with the thought that they would think of you each and every day, every morning, ever afternoon at lunch, every day at 1700 hours when they punch their time card.. “LANNON WAS HERE AND HE WANT’S THE ANSWER DUE HIM” – CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW!!!!!

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