TUCSON – On Saturday, Tucson Back The Blue held their event supporting local law enforcement despite a dust-up, compliments of Tucson Mayor Regina Romero.
Romero, who took to social media last Thursday to denounce the organizations president, Tim Cesolini, as a white supremacist, effectively worked to have the “Back The Blue” permit revoked. The permit, advanced through Ward 4 Councilwoman Nikki Lee’s office, would have allowed a thin blue line to be painted on Stone Avenue, outside of TPD headquarters.
The event, which had approximately 150-200 participants, according to one report, was eventually staged at the TPD substation on 22nd Street and Alvernon Way on Saturday morning.
Romero, who has made no secret of her advocacy of the Black Lives Matter movement, has managed to make a divisive issue in Tucson, even more so. Her efforts to advance her partisan agenda via social media and with the help of what many describe as a compliant local media, turned what would have been a relatively small story into a click-generating bonanza over the 4th of July holiday.
Romero also managed to drag Councilwoman Lee into her partisan divide. Lee, who’s office simply provided Cesolini a pathway for a legal permit, was made to look like a sympathizer with a person Romero claims to be an “individual with known ties to white supremacy ideology.”
Lee released a statement countering Romero’s attack, arguing that one can support multiple causes:
“It is possible to support our Black community and support police officers at the same time. It is possible to acknowledge the racism that exists in so many of our American systems and institutions, while appreciating the willingness that women and men have to step into a career with no guarantee they will come home alive after their shift. It is possible to demand change while supporting the very people whom we demand the change from.”
As of late last week, Cesolini was considering what legal remedies he may take for what he believes were slanderous remarks made by Mayor Romero.
As expected, City attorney Mike Rankin also weighed-in on the matter in an interview with local CBS affiliate, KOLD. Rankin claimed that “approving a permit that would essentially allow the conveying of a message, would open up Tucson streets as a public forum.”
It is worth noting, the City of Tucson and Mayor Romero had no problem with a permit that allowed for Stone Avenue to be painted with the slogan “Black Lives Matter” or for a large banner saying the same to be flown from City Hall. Romero is quoted to say that “we put this banner up as a statement of solidarity and acknowledgment of the systemic racism that our Black community still faces. The funds that were used came out of my office’s budget and pale in comparison to the important message of solidarity we are sharing with our community.”