Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson is once again calling into question the “wisdom” of accepting Operation Stonegarden funds. The federal government has provided Operation Stonegarden funds to the County for the past 16 years.
Operation Stonegarden funds are intended to compensate the Sheriff’s Office for costs associated with human and drug smuggling interdiction. Bronson’s objections are all but moot given the fact that the Board of Supervisors voted on February 20, 2018 to accept the grants on the condition that all conditions set forth by the Board of Supervisors be met. Both County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry and Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier have claimed that all of the conditions have been met.
In her Sunday opinion piece for the Arizona Daily Star, Bronson argues that the County should vote to reject the funds. “If the Board of Supervisors decides to renew the Stonegarden grant, I hope we continue and expand the Community Law Enforcement Partnership Commission (LECPC) already established by this board. Some of the commission’s objectives must be the creation of clear and specific metrics that tell us: 1) How the Pima County Sheriff’s Department continues to improve community safety; 2) How Stonegarden funds are spent, separately and in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Department; and 3) How the expansion of local law enforcement is tied to our community’s needs, not the needs of Border Patrol or the federal government.”
Bronson’s demand requires a closer look at the Community Law Enforcement Partnership Committee. The Committee was “created on February 20, 2018 as one of five conditions to accept Operation Stonegarden funds for Federal Fiscal Year 2017.”
The Commission is supposed to be made up of “ten (10) voting members (two (2) appointed by each Supervisor) and one (1) ex-officio non-voting from Sheriff’s Department (appointed by the Sheriff).
Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier is currently listed as the Sheriff’s Department appointee.
The Commission’s Program Manager, Terrance Cheung, the life-partner of Tucson Chief of Police Chris Magnus, also serves as the County’s Director of Justice Reform Initiatives. Before relocating to southern Arizona with Magnus, Cheung served as the Chief of Staff for Richmond, California Mayor Tom Butt. Before that, Cheung served as Chief of Staff for Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia. Cheug has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from San Francisco University. According to Cheung’s LinkedIn profile, there is no apparent work experience in the area of criminal justice reform.
On June 11, 2018, Commission members, in a 6-1 vote, elected Kristen Landrum as vice-chair, Zaira Livier Serrato as chair.
In June 2017, Landrum formed Indivisible Arizona, LLC. According to the organization’s website: “We are a group of citizens inspired by the Indivisible Guide, who take action against the extremist Trump Agenda. We organize to take on Trump and his ideas at the local, state and federal level. Our Members of Congress need reminded they represent ALL of their constituents, not just the ones they agree with politically. #Indivisible Against Hatred #Indivisible For Health Care #Indivisible For Reproductive Rights #Indivisible for LGBT Equality.”
Zaira Livier Serrato, formerly of Latinas for Bernie, is a force to be reckoned with. She was instrumental in the effort to force a small Tucson restaurant, Cup It Up, to close its doors after one of the owners made comments in support of President Trump in a Facebook post.
Just last month, in no time at all, Livier Serrato, was able to raise over $14,000 to bring the body of her brother to the U.S. from Mexico.
Nothing but love and power to Zaira and her family. Anger and rage at the immigration system of our country– a country that engages in the systemic separation and murder of people’s loved ones. Said Serrato, we will not stop saying your name.
From Zaira Emiliana Livier: “Normally I wouldn’t be open to sharing such personal grief, I think this time an exception has to be made. I woke up to a call from my wailing mother with news that my brother had been killed. My brother was shot and killed in the streets of our hometown Queretaro early this morning.
He was assassinated. He was deported some years back by the Obama administration. His name was Said Serrato. He was just 12 months younger than I. Please share his name. Say his name loudly on Thursday. Please take my rage, my loss, and my grief directly to the streets in my stead.”
According to Mexican authorities, Said Guillermo Serrato was killed by his partner in crime outside a pharmacy the two had robbed two days in a row.
Serrato and his partner entered the local pharmacy, located at the cross-streets of Santiago de Querétaro and Santiago de Atenas, to rob it. The duo used a gun to intimidate the employees, and were able to steal a thousand pesos (approximately $80) in cash, then both left the premises.
According to witnesses, the thieves argued before Serrato was shot in the head. Serrato, fell to the ground and was lying in the middle of the street, while his killer fled.
Authorities report that Serrato was sought in connection with another robbery in Cerro del Sombrerete.
Check back later as we look at the rest of the Committee members.