Pima County leaders seem determined to weaken border security and attack anything and anyone associated with the Trump administration these days. At least that is what many residents are sensing after the majority of the Board of Supervisors voted last week to reject funds intended to thwart international human and drug smuggling.
Now, two memos from County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry have heightened that sense and raised questions about the County’s priorities. In the memo, dated September 10, Huckelberry implies that the County can shut down Border Patrol’s Arivaca checkpoint through the County’s regulatory requirements.
Activists have long sought the elimination of the checkpoint through which humans and drugs are smuggled on a regular basis.
KFYI’s talk radio host, James T. Harris first brought Huckelberry’s bizarre memo to the public’s attention on Tuesday. Harris stated that the rejection of Operation Stonegarden funds and the suggestion that the County can shut down the checkpoint are a “true case of Pima County suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome.” [Listen to Harris discuss the latest memo here]
Huckelberry writes of the checkpoint: “I have instructed our staff to annually review the permit (right-of-way permit) for its appropriateness and to determine if there have been any adverse impacts, liabilities, or claims made against the County due to the checkpoint permitted in County public right-of-way.
Huckelberry concludes that if the Border Patrol’s checkpoint is “not in compliance with the approved permit on file, Pima County will notify the permitee and require that the necessary actions are taken to mitigate or correct any deficiencies within a specified timeframe. If this corrective action cannot be achieved by the permitee within the specified time, Pima County reserves the right to revoke this permit.
Harris argued that Huckelberry’s memo is just one more move in a long series of moves to weaken border security while taking a swipe at the Trump administration and its “build the wall” effort.
In fact, another memo dated September 5, reveals the apparent witch hunt going on in the County. In that memo, Huckelberry asked the already beleaguered Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier on behalf of Board of Supervisors’ chair Richard Elias if “in fact, Border Patrol agents receiving training at the Corrections Officer Academy?”
According to sources, Border Patrol agents have never received training at the Academy.
Elias and his fellow Board members Sharon Bronson and Ramon Valadez are behind the political attacks on Border Patrol and the Trump administration. Supervisor Ally Miller has been a staunch defender of the Border Patrol agents, Napier, and his deputies. Supervisor Steve Christy offered passive support, joining Miller in voting to accept the Stonegarden funds.
In her August 7, newsletter to constituents, Miller wrote:
“In what can only be described as a blatant display of careless disregard for community, Pima County Democrat Board of Supervisors Bronson, Valadez and Elias refused, once again, to accept the Stonegarden Grant ($1.2 mil) and two HIDTA grants ($1 mil).
Sheriff Napier explained layoffs would occur within weeks if funds were not accepted. In response, Supervisor Elias shrugged his shoulders and the vote proceeded.
The supervisors have accepted more than $16 mil in Stonegarden and HIDTA grant funds over the past 10 years. These same grants were accepted throughout the entire Obama administration.
The County has accepted the funds for years including this year. In fact, in February the supervisors, in a 3-2 vote, had agreed to accept the money. Supervisor Ramon Valadez, who had voted in favor of the grant, demanded a reconsideration of the issue due to pressure from progressive special interests groups.
Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, in an appearance on the James T. Harris radio show last week, said the attack on the Trump administration leaves “soft zone” for drug and human traffickers. [Listen to Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb]
After the Stonegarden vote, Napier blasted the supervisors and their vote that was cast “despite clear evidence of the public safety value of the program and letters of support from every law enforcement agency head in the county. This was a politically motivated vote that will adversely impact public safety in our county.”
Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller asks Sheriff Napier to respond to allegations of deputies sitting at checkpoints and targeting people.