Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
A quick take on the Pima County Board of Supervisors Democratic candidate forum at the Democratic Nucleus Club last night:
Sharon Bronson paraphrased Dick the Butcher’s line in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, "The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers," in blaming lawyers for the Board of Supervisors’ decision to resist the Democratic Party’s public records request for election data by forcing the Democratic Party to file a lawsuit to obtain the public records. Bronson’s inflammatory remark drew a loud rebuke from the audience who booed her lustily.
It was not clear whether Bronson’s remark was intended as a personal insult to Bill Risner, the Democratic Party’s attorney who was in attendance and moments before had asked the candidates a question regarding the lawsuit, or intended as a broad-brush insult to include the Pima County Attorney’s Office and the four county attorneys who represented Pima County in the lawsuit.
In any event, insulting lawyers in a room which contained a substantial number of lawyers – lawyers who generously contribute to the Democratic Party – demonstrated a lack of judgment and, I dare say, blaming others for your own actions demonstrates a lack of character. And by the way, the "I was just following orders" defense was rejected at Nuremberg.
Bronson insisted that she "had to follow" the legal advice of the County Attorney’s Office and Secretary of State Jan Brewer who advised the Board that the election data was not a public record. Other attorneys with the Democratic Party had advised the Board otherwise.
Bronson used this same excuse to justify her vote in favor of purchasing the Diebold TSX touch-screen voting machines in 2006 – the very same machines that County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry has now proposed to scrap. Again, other attorneys with the Democratic Party had advised the Board otherwise.
In other words, the Board had received conflicting legal (and technical) advice. It was not one-sided as Bronson stated.
Sharon Bronson apparently is confused by the nature of the attorney-client relationship. The Board is the client; the County Attorney is its attorney. The client (the Board) directs decisions regarding litigation. The County Attorney does not direct the client, but only provides legal advice and counsel. If the Board decided to defy the Secretary of State, the County Attorney would do as the Board instructs.
There is a reason for Bronson choosing the path of least resistance, however. There is a state statute which immunizes county supervisors from personal liability in a lawsuit against the county if they are acting upon the legal advice of the County Attorney. She played it safe.
County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry was recently quoted disingenuously stating that “We could have saved $250,000, $300,000 in attorney’s fees and all the aggravation we’ve gone through over the last two years [if] we would have been just allowed to recount the ballots.” Tucson Weekly Blog: Huckelberry: No Plan To Destroy RTA Ballots (trial testimony established that it was Huckelberry who made the decision to force the Democratic Party to file a lawsuit).
If the Board of Supervisors had shown leadership on this issue from the very beginning by deciding to defy the Secretary of State, as it now claims it is prepared to do over the issue of scanning ballots, the Board would have been joined in their effort by the Democratic Party in any lawsuit which followed. The Democratic supervisors could have worked in partnership with their Democratic Party in challenging the evil tyrant Jan Brewer. And we would still be one big happy family.
But instead, Sharon Bronson and Ramon Valadez chose to reject policy resolutions adopted unanimously by the elected leadership of their own party, and to reject first the Democratic Party’s objection to the Diebold TSX touch-screen machines, and to later reject the public records request of the Democratic Party. When one openly defies the elected leadership of their own party on matters of substantive policy, there is a price to be paid. They brought this upon themselves, and that is why there is a Democratic primary this year.
Sharon Bronson should not be heard to complain now "first, kill all the lawyers" for her own lack of leadership on this issue.
One final take. Bronson repeated the line several times about the "adversarial" nature of comments made by the challengers, opting to be the Rodney King candidate – "can’t we all just get along?" – when she was not going out of her way to offend members of the audience. She does know this is an election, right? Bronson needs to learn to distinguish between the zealous "advocacy" for a position, versus being "adversarial."