Over the course of the last several months, Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias has been playing along with pro-illegal immigrant activists, and the ACLU in their fight to stop the County from accepting Operation Stonegarden grant monies. The Kabuki-style theater has had southern Arizonans choosing sides, hurling accusations and epithets.
On Wednesday the game came to an abrupt end when documents were uncovered that prove the dog-and-pony show was just a show. According to Stonegarden federal grant documents, Elias, as chairman of the Board, approved the two Stonegarden grant contracts in question months ago.
Elias, during the last meeting of the Board of Supervisors on August 7, made a motion to delay a vote on accepting the funds. Board members Sharon Bronson and Ramon Valadez voted with Elias. The two supervisors appeared to willingly keep to the script.
Since that time, Sheriff Mark Napier, County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry and others, suffering from the backlash of the citizenry, scrambled to do damage control.
What the public did not know at the time, was that the monies were approved by Elias on February 20, 2018, just days after the Stonegarden melodrama was launched at the February 6, Board of Supervisors meeting. The acceptance documents were also signed and sealed by Pima County’s Clerk of the Board, a deputy County Attorney, and signed by Gilbert Orrantia, director of Arizona Department of Homeland Security, on March 6, 2018.
The two HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) grants still require Board approval. According to sources, the Board majority will be voting to accept the over $1 million federal grant funds provided through HIDTA at the September 4 Board of Supervisors’ meeting.