Republicans serving on the Maricopa Board of Supervisors have appreciated one thing about the lack of public awareness about their existence and purpose.
Take District Two Board Supervisor Steve Churci.
What better place to sit on a part-time basis for the full-time Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Restaurant Association than the county board that presides over and sets policy guidelines and regulations for the departments that develop Environmental Health Restaurant Rating criteria.
Most voters, not knowing that the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors exists, would be surprised that one of its members has a conflict of interest as a full-time corporate lobbyist who does not like the minimum wage and fought against the 2016 proposition that increased it (which is rich considering restaurant servers do not make $12.00 an hour.)
Attorney Deedra Abboud, the 2020 District Two Democratic Nominee, wants to bring the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors into the sunshine of transparency, accountability, and accessibility where its members actually interact with their constituents, the people.
A former 2018 Senate candidate, Ms. Abboud wants to serve the people in District Two (an area which oversees the cities and towns of Apache Junction, Carefree, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Scottsdale) and improve the lives of all Maricopa County residents.
Ms. Abboud graciously took the time and talked again about her candidacy.
The questions and her responses are below.
- Please tell the voters three reasons they should pick you over Mr.Chucri?
- “Transparency. I do not work in or have any ties to any industry influenced by county policy.”
- “Accountability: as an attorney, I can recognize concerns from community and staff and recommend solutions that will save the county money and liability.”
- “Accessibility: I believe that attending community events, listening to people of any and all backgrounds, speaking in plain language, having uncomfortable conversations, deescalating conversations, and finding common ground should be the cornerstone of any elected official.”
- Please tell the voters at least three ways your opponent has failed District Two.
- “The renter’s assistance and homelessness program. The Board of Supervisors allocated 30 million dollars to renter’s assistance with 10 million of that meant for homelessness. As of August 14, they have only approved 320 of 2400 renter applications. With that, they have only disbursed one million of the 30 million dollars.”
- “Small business loans. Maricopa County put aside 23 million dollars for small business loans, the application process was less than 30 days. They excluded Mesa and Phoenix; However, Mesa’s program does not include Homebased businesses whereas Maricopa County provided for them. So, people running businesses out of their homes in Mesa are left out. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisor excluded any business that received any federal assistance, including PPE or Disaster Relief. The majority of businesses, with the cumbersome application process, were left out of the application process. THE 23 million “program” appears to be a way to “save” money instead of spending it on what is meant for, Having the cutoff when they did in August showed they did not have to report any information with their July filing date.”
- “My opponent is a lobbyist with the Arizona Restaurants Association. If you look them up, they are not Mom and Pops. They are all vendors like Shamrock Foods. As a lobbyist who is definitely in an industry that is influenced by the county policies, he receives two full-time salaries from the industry and the board which presents a conflict of interest. He proposed legislation that would ban cities from requiring to allow large venues (of 300 people capacity) not to have fire sprinklers.”
- Please tell the voters at least three issues you feel are important to pursue if you are elected to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors?
- “Infrastructure: The Maricopa Association of Governments estimates a seven-billion-dollar gap in Maricopa County over the next 30 years if freeway maintenance remains at current funding levels. Infrastructure includes more than roads. It also includes flooding prevention, technology, transportation, and parks. It also includes the health care department by contact tracing and morgue capacity. All of which are underfunded by the Board of Supervisors.”
- “Animal Care and Control: Maricopa County expects animal care and control to be self-funding from fees and donations The fees that they receive are from adoptions and vaccinations. Before the pandemic, there was a shortfall. Since the pandemic, the shortfall has grown because fewer people are adopting animals and fewer are taking their animals in to get vaccinated. As a result, the buildings and resources are falling apart. They did not have the money to replace the swamp coolers with a/c units during the monsoon season. They were getting around the care of other animals by sending them to other facilities to have them euthanized.”
- “Unnecessary legal expenses: Because the board, when they have become aware of the legal violations by any of the almost 500 agencies under their control, they are refusing to mitigate and create corrective policies to avoid litigation. When the County Assessor was indicted in three states on 61 counts of human trafficking and Medicaid Fraud, the Board of Supervisors planned to reinstate him until an internal audit showed Peterson has used county resources, specifically his county phone and computer to threaten the victims. When the Assistant County Attorney, who had almost three decades of sexual harassment complaints and ethics violations, the County Board of Supervisors continued to pay millions of dollars for his own defense without reprimand. The Board of Supervisors in 2020 approved paying 178 million dollars in defense fees and court fines for former Sheriff Arapio’s legal violations, with lawsuits still pending. His second in command, the current Republican nominee, was also indicted found guilty on two counts of civil contempt. The Correctional Health Department, which is also under the Board of Supervisors and separate from the Sheriff’s department, has been fined a total of 300,000 dollars by the courts for failure to correct health procedures for inmates twice.”
- Is there anything you would like the voter to know about you or your candidacy that has not been asked in the first three questions.
“With the Maricopa County having over almost 500 authorities, boards, commissions, departments, and special taxing districts, with each of those entities having monthly or quarterly meetings, that is a lot of minutes to read and that is what we should expect from our supervisors. For example, the Maricopa County Workforce Board, according to the minutes, was audited by the Department of Labor in 2019. The Department of Labor found ten violations, including conflicts of interest. Failure to correct the ten violations could result in the Department of Labor decertifying the workforce board which would cause its primary funding to be withheld. The Board of Supervisors’ response, according to the minutes, was to remove and replace two chairs of the Workforce Board and make an argument that Maricopa County is not subject to Department of Labor federal law.”
“The Maricopa County Workforce Board is tasked and funded to help Maricopa County residents enter and reenter the workforce. During the pandemic is the worst time to abandon Maricopa Residents getting back in the workforce in order to fund a lawsuit against the Department of Labor. They have had a year to solve this and they have been fighting the whole time because they do not want to correct the violations.”
“This powerful government entity that is geographically, budgetary, and population-wise larger than some states, should not be a hidden entity. Our Supervisor should be visible, and people should know what the county government does. The District two supervisor should be attending events in District Two, so the people know what the board is and what it does.”
“We are in all this together. We need to work on all this together. We have got to uplift everybody so we can work on the same things to improve the lives of Maricopa County residents.”
For more information on Deedra Abboud and her candidacy, please click on her website here, her Facebook Page here, her interview with Maricopa County School Superintendent Candidate Jeanne Casteen here, and her previous interview with the Blog for Arizona here.
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