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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.



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Tuesday, December 11, 2007
 
Dazed and Confused

I have passed the M.D. Pruitt's furniture store, current ground zero of the illegal immigration debate here in Arizona, many times on the way to the nearby Home Depot and such I have passing degree of familiarity with the neighborhood and the issues involved.

I have some questions that I just cannot seem to get answers on, whether from reading media accounts, or from the Mayor.

1) Roger Sensing, owner of Pruitt's, claims that he was once able to hire off-duty Phoenix police officers to patrol his property but that last year, right before an immigration protest, the Police Department pulled such officers. Why?

On Phoenix Mayor Gordon's Web site, there is an FAQ on the Pruitt's affair where the question is posted.... Why Cannot Pruitt's Hire Off-Duty Officers? To which we are informed by the Mayor's Office, that of course Pruitt's can, they hire Maricopa County Sheriff deputies. Nice evasion.

2) Have off-duty Phoenix officers been pulled by the Department from other places on Thomas Road? How unusual is it for the City to not allow off-duty officers to work at certain locations? What were those circumstances?

For a long time, it was hard to drive into the parking lot of the Home Depot down the street from Pruitt's without being accosted by day laborers. About a year or 2 ago, somebody(whether the businesses or the property owner) started hiring off-duty Phoenix police officers to keep such laborers off of private property. Why was the courtesy awarded to one business but later denied to another?

3) The City of Chandler faced a similar problem with day laborers congregating along Arizona Avenue in the downtown area. Chandler established a day labor center and began to crack down on contractors that stopped to solicit potential workers. Has Phoenix tried any such day labor centers or enforcement with on-duty police, if not why not?

Gordon in his FAQ has stated that state law "prohibits direct City support or involvement in any day labor center." What circumstances have prohibited Phoenix from following the path that Chandler took or is Chandler breaking state law?

4) Gordon in both his FAQ and comments have put Pruitt's and the pro-day laborer protesters on a similar footing. In fact he has called the dispute a purely private matter. In fact yesterday, Mayor Gordon invited both Sensing and the man leading the protests, Salvador Reza, to his office to resolve the dispute. Mr. Reza is a coordinator at Tonatierra which ascribes to the notion of Aztlan which views the area of the American southwest as stolen land. A section of Tontierra's Web site states:

The present systems of the United States and other governments states of the hemisphere which derive their justifications for jurisdiction over the land on the Divine Right of Kings to Dominion over the Earth and its Peoples, is pure myth. Or better said, it is false myth -- a dead story with no teaching to teach but only a power grab to justify.
.......

To claim ownership by land title today in view of the above is the equivalent of proclaiming that the world is flat. It is the position of a lost world, and a false reality. It is an empire with no clothes.

It is fair to infer that Mr. Reza is at least comfortable enough with the notion that both private property rights and that the concept of a legitimate American nation state are myths to continue his association with Tontatierra. Has the situation deteriorated to the point where the Mayor would give his good offices to mediating a dispute involving a man associated with such views? What sort of views would you need to hold before the Mayor of America's 5th largest city would refuse to meet with you?

Once again, these questions aren't of earth shattering importance but I think their answers would provide a critical context to the seemingly minor protests involving a furniture store in east Phoenix.