Kevin Robinson has 1 edge in Phoenix District 6 race – and it’s an important one

By |2023-03-07T15:28:48-05:00March 7th, 2023|Breonna Taylor, Election 2020|

In his pitch to Phoenix City Council District 6 voters for the March 14 runoff election, political newcomer Kevin Robinson plays up a) his longtime experience in law enforcement and b) that he’s a centrist who can bridge differences.The latter remains to be seen. There’s little history to assess his political leanings or beliefs.Robinson’s sometimes tentative and perfunctory answers in debates – “I can promise that voters will always get a call back from me” – reflect that lack of knowledge of city hall inner workings.What does give him a leg up against Sam Stone, a former chief of staff for term-limited City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, is his insight on police issues. Some of those issues are front and center for the Phoenix City Council and may just propel Robinson into office.Robinson is actually a police reformerCritics dismiss Robinson as a status quo or “pro-police” candidate – a similar descriptor is assigned to attorney Kesha Hodge Washington, who’s challenging incumbent Carlos Garcia, a community activist, in the District 8 runoff – because he’s backed by law enforcement groups.But that’s selling him short.In the law-enforcement arena, Robinson is really a centrist – perhaps even progressive – reformer. A couple of instances highlight his work for change.More from Kwok:Could Sam Stone beat the odds and win?Robinson was part of a task force commissioned by the Arizona Supreme Court to reevaluate unannounced search warrants, or so-called “no-knock” warrants, following the 2020 police killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., during a forced entry drug investigation.The task force recommended changes to the process, including a list of factors that a magistrate should weigh before granting “no-knock” and nighttime search warrants. That includes the presence of weapons or hostages or known violence from occupants at the location.The task force also recommended that a police supervisor’s approval of the search warrant be taken into consideration by the magistrate.Presiding judges and the Arizona Judicial Council, which have the authority to fashion the rules, went further and made the supervisor approval a requirement – which Robinson favored and said was a best practice during the time he oversaw the SWAT unit.He supported Phoenix's civilian review boardThe second occurred in spring 2020 when the mayor and council first tackled the idea of a civilian review board on police misconduct. Robinson backed Carlos Garcia’s proposal that, on a narrow 5-4 vote, created a civilian office with investigative powers.At the time, he called it a needed response to lost public confidence in law enforcement and said that police should welcome citizen oversight, not fear it.'180 degrees different':Robinson, Stone square off in debateThe Legislature has since enacted a law that prevents a civilian-led entity from investigating police misconduct. Phoenix's Office of Accountability and Transparency has, as a result, been relegated largely to a role of keeping watch on internal police investigations.Nevertheless, Robinson maintains that police officers “should not be afraid of accountability” from citizen oversight.By comparison, Stone derides the civilian office as “a jobs program for people who have made a living protesting cops” and bristles at the notion that the system for investigating and punishing bad police behavior needs reform.His public safety experience gives him an edgeThe issue of law enforcement looms large in Phoenix not just because of perennial concerns over crime and police staffing but also because of an ongoing Department of Justice investigation into Phoenix Police over claims of civil rights violation, including excessive use of force and discrimination.Phoenix Police are expected to initiate some reforms on their own even before the DOJ probe finishes, as it has begun to do with a proposed update to their Use of Force policy.Robinson could influence changes there, having chaired Phoenix Police’s disciplinary review board for more than a decade and headed the department’s use of force board for three years.He serves on AZPOST, which investigates law enforcement misconduct and disciplines officers, up to revocation of the officer's certification.Robinson stands to be a strong ally of the mayor to guide the city in the aftermath of the DOJ investigation.He also could act as a foil to police critic Carlos Garcia should Garcia win reelection. Who knows, the two might even find common ground to strike a compromise.On myriad issues, Stone’s experience as Sal DiCiccio’s right-hand person trumps Robinson. On public safety, Robinson has a clear edge.Reach Abe Kwok at [email protected]. On Twitter: @abekwok.


By |2023-03-03T20:25:00-05:00March 3rd, 2023|Breonna Taylor, Election 2020|

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus. When considering the concept of activism, I believe it is something that only works when activists have a platform for their voice. Therefore, it was such a powerful moment when Lizzo, at the People’s Choice awards back in December 2022, accepted her ‘People’s Champion’ award by bringing out 17 female activists to celebrate them, their voices, and their work. Lizzo wanted to use her platform to ‘amplify marginalised voices’, admitting that she didn’t believe she deserved a trophy for championing people. Instead, she believes, ‘these are all activists and people that deserve this spotlight’, before shouting ‘I’m gonna say all of their names!’: Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny– ‘better known as Little Miss Flint, she spent the past eight years fighting to ensure everyone in Flint and in communities across the nation has access to safe drinking water, she’s only 15 years old.’ Following the Flint water crisis of 2014 (in which the city’s drinking water was contaminated with lead and potentially deadly bacteria), Mari sent a letter to President Obama that prompted him to visit the city and ultimately approve $100 million dollars in relief. She made a significant impact on the dialogue around environmental racism, due to Flint being a predominantly Black area, and has since continued her activism through many projects such as: Raising over $600,000 for her Flint Kids projects that includes giving out school supplies and Christmas presents to children in the area. Becoming a national youth ambassador to the Woman’s March. Partnering with company Hydroviv to produce her own water filter that can be shipped all over the country to help those with toxic drinking water. Shirley Raines– ‘through her organisation Beauty 2 the Streetz, she makes the human connection with the unhoused people of Los Angeles, and makes them feel loved, and love what they see in the mirror.’ Beauty 2 the Streetz services Skid Row, Los Angeles (a neighbourhood containing roughly 9,200-15,000 homeless people, one of the largest populations in the US) by providing not only hot food but, makeup, showers, hair washes, colour, and wigs for homeless people. Shirley documents her work to her over 100k Twitter followers to bring awareness to the epidemic of homelessness, but most importantly to demonstrate the valuable human connection that can be made with everyone regardless of circumstance as, after all, Shirley reminds us that ‘the people of Skid Row are just like everyone else, they are people who have fallen on hard times who didn’t have that lifeline to pull them out’. Yasmine Aker– ‘she’s an Iranian-American grassroots activist, she is a voice for the voiceless and works with various organisations supporting the Iranian women, and people’s fight for freedom and democracy.’ Yasmine is an actress and alongside her activism for the Iranian people she has also spoke openly about her struggles with poverty, homelessness, childhood trauma and sexual assault and about struggling to find her ‘value’ as a result of this. She writes on her Instagram: “I need to find a way to be able to say that I am proud of who I am. I don’t want to have any more shame left to hide. I am a bisexual woman from the Middle East, and was born without a citizenship, but I am not unwanted. I am not landless. I am a citizen of this world. And I am going to find my worth and unearth my value”. Emiliana Guereca– ‘if you’ve been to a woman’s march, she’s probably behind it, as the founder of the Women’s March foundation, she helps amplify our voices.’ Emiliana devotes most of her time to women’s rights advocacy, Latino education and gender equality. She has also worked on the Feminist Street Initiative that endeavours to rename  streets across the US (a country in which 5,000 streets are named after George Washington alone) after women who have ‘paved the way and earned their place in history’. Esther Young Lim– ‘she’s the author of the booklet How to Report a Hate Crime, and seeks to eradicate barriers and empower the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community.’ Esther is a second-generation Korean American who witnessed ‘blatant Anti-Asian racism’ following the classification of Covid-19 as a pandemic along with microaggressions that ‘made [her] feel uneasy to be in [her] own skin’. She also noticed that the lack of resources in native Asian languages meant that it may be hard for some people of the Asian community to report hate crimes, so she created booklets in 13 languages (originally distributed to her local Los Angeles communities but now available as e-books across the country) that trained her community on how to recognize & report these crimes. Felicia “Fe” Montes– ‘she’s a Chicana indigenous artist and activist, co-founder of the groundbreaking women’s collective Mujeres de Maiz. She has created a safe platform for indigenous women of colour to express themselves.’ Mujeres de Maiz works with artists, performers, educators and organizers to create community spaces with the overall goal of bringing together and empowering diverse women and girls and promoting the importance and value of multicultural communities in society. Jayla Rose Sullivan– ‘a professionally trained dancer who is making sure there is space for transgender and non-binary performers in the dance community, watch out for that big girl!’ Jayla is a trans woman who competed on Lizzo’s Emmy-winning reality competition series Lizzo’s Watch Out For the Big Grrrls and advocates for more inclusivity in performing and dance- fields that are typically very body-image focused. Kara Roselle Smith– ‘a member of the Chappaquiddick Wampanoag Tribe, she works tirelessly to seek justice for Black and indigenous communities and is fighting for Land Back and reparations.’ Land Back is an organisation that aims to return ‘Indigenous Lands back into Indigenous Hands’. For example, places like Mount Rushmore, carved with the faces of four US presidents that is therefore ‘an international symbol of white supremacy and colonization’, is actually located in the heart of the Black Hills, a sacred place for Indigenous people. Maggie Mireles– ‘her sister Eva Mireles was a teacher and a hero who lost her life protecting her students during the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Maggie is continuing her fight against senseless and despicable gun violence that has become far too common.’ In a year where America had a record high 300 shootings on school grounds with over 6000 children killed by gun violence, the Ulvade school shooting on the 24th May 2022 killed 19 children and 2 adults, one of them Eva Mireles. Her sister Maggie Mireles has been campaigning since, for example by giving a talk at the March For Our Lives rally, to end gun violence in America. Amelia Bonow– ‘co-founder of Shout Your Abortion, who is working to normalise abortion and increase awareness of abortion pills and motivate people to work and support abortion access in their communities.’ Following the U.S. Congress’s 2015 efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, Amelia shared her unapologetic personal abortion story that led to a viral outpouring of other stories on social media via the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion. This hashtag was first developed into an organisation and then into a book of the same name made up of other people’s stories that aimed to present abortion in a more positive light. These were types of conversations that have never happened before on this scale and, according to the SYA website, following the overturning of Roe vs Wade are now ‘needed more urgently than ever before’. Odilia Romero– ‘an advocate and translator for the Indigenous peoples from Mexico and Central America who are now living in the United States. Her women led organisation CIELO brings daily relief to her community in Los Angeles.’ Odilia is the co-founder/ executive director of Comunidades Indigenas en Liderazgo (CIELO) and has over 10 years’ experience in organising and helping Indigenous migrant communities. Her work and knowledge have led to multiple academic publications, awards, and lectures in universities across the United States. Rabbi Tarlan Rabizadeh– ‘she is committed to building a bridge between Jewish people of all colours and backgrounds, and as an Iranian-American she is fighting to amplify to plight of the Iranian people.’ Rabbi Tarlan Rabizadeh is the director of student life at The University of California, Los Angeles and is the Vice President of Jewish Engagement who aims to ‘engage and educate a diverse group of students on a Jewish journey’. Sahar Pirzada– ‘who is working on behalf of Muslim women here in America to advance reproductive justice and protect the community from gendered violence and oppressive systems.’ Sahar passionately believes that Islam is a sex positive religion that supports healthy sexual relationships and therefore works with Heart To Grow where she ‘explores the intersections of homophobia and gender based violence and supports survivors of sexual assault in the Muslim community’. Chandi Moore– ‘who works as a community health educator at Children’s Health Hospital in Los Angeles, giving trans and gender non-conforming youth the tools they need to live their lives as their authentic selves.’ Chandi is a HIV and trans rights activist who works at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Center for Trans Youth and Development with years of counselling experience. She also advocates for those in her community to get tested for HIV and to know their status. Crystal Echo Hawk– ‘a member of the Pawnee nation of Oklahoma who seeks to amplify native voices through her organisation IllumiNative. She disrupts the invisibility of Native peoples here in America.’ Crystal founded IllumiNative, an organisation that investigates public opinion research on Native Americans. This data concluded ‘that pop culture, media and K-12 education drive and perpetuate the negative stereotypes and myths and has led to the erasure of Native peoples’. Therefore, theirmission is to tackle this erasure by amplifying Native voices through re-education in America which should ‘mobilise support for key native issues’. Reshma Saujani– ‘who is advocating for the moms as a founder of the Marshall Plan for Moms, she fights for paid family leave, affordable childcare and equal pay for all.’ Marshall Plan for Moms aims to support all moms by creating ‘sweeping cultural change to value women’s unseen and unpaid work and rebuild our broken system to make it possible for women to work and have kids’. Tamika Palmer– ‘she fights in honour of the memory of her daughter Breonna Taylor- say her name! – who was killed in an act of police violence. The Breonna Taylor Foundation has and will continue to focus on pursuing justice for Breonna.’ On the 13th March 2020, Breonna Taylor, who was an award-winning EMT and first responder in Louisville Kentucky working on the front lines of the pandemic, was killed by police who shot 20 rounds at her house, shooting her 8 times while she slept- despite the person they were actually looking for already being held in police custody. The Breonna Taylor Foundation therefore continues to fight for justice for Breonna from the Louisville Metro Police who have not taken any accountability for her murder. Lizzo concluded her speech with the powerful instruction ‘Give them their flowers!’, urging everyone to ‘follow and support’ these women, as well as reminding us all that any platform, big or small, can be used as an opportunity to support and amplify other valuable voices. See the full speech here: [embedded content]

Former Arizona AG Found No Evidence of 2020 Election Fraud. He Kept Quiet.

By |2023-03-01T19:20:44-05:00March 1st, 2023|Election 2020|

Former Republican Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich declined to publish investigative findings by his office that disproved 2020 election fraud claims, according to documents released February 22 by his Democratic successor, Attorney General Kris Mayes.  Mayes, who assumed office in January, released three documents: a previously unreleased "interim findings summary," a draft with staff comments of a published "interim report," and a September memo summarizing the investigation's conclusions. Brnovich's team did not draft a final report, a Mayes spokesperson told The Washington Post. According to the memo written by Reginald Grigsby, a senior agent in the Arizona attorney general's office, Brnovich's investigators assessed 638 complaints, opened 438 investigations, and as of September 2022, submitted 22 cases for prosecution. Though his team identified supposed structural and operational flaws in the state's election procedures (outlined in the interim report), its unpublished findings debunked each theory that alleged significant—let alone potentially outcome-shifting—election-fraud theories tied to the state's 2020 presidential election. "Agents and support staff have spent more than 10,000 hours investigating allegations of voting irregularities and reviewing alleged instances of illegal voting submitted to our office by private parties.…In each instance and in each matter, [Cyber Ninjas Incorporated, True the Vote (TTV), Verity Vote, and elected officials] did not provide any evidence to support their allegations," reads the memo. "The information that was provided was speculative in many instances and when investigated by our agents and support staff, was found to be inaccurate." State lawmakers who had publicly alleged fraud recanted when questioned by investigators. "In interviews with the various media outlets, Arizona State Senator Sonny Borrelli alleged there was a cover-up with regards to election irregularities," reads Grigsby's memo, which also adds that "In an interview with agents, he did not repeat that allegation." Similarly, the memo says, then State Representative Mark Finchem publicly alleged more than 30,000 fraudulent votes. Speaking to Brnovich's office, however, Finchem said "he did not have any evidence of fraud and he did not wish to take up our (investigators') time." The memo also targets supposed proofs of fraud supplied by private entities Cyber Ninjas and TTV (the latter's "evidence" was central to Dinesh D'Souza's debunked documentary, 2000 Mules). "Our comprehensive review of CNI's audit showed they did not provide any evidence to support their allegations of widespread fraud or ballot manipulation," the memo reports. "Based upon our review of CNI's audit, we identified 1 instance of deceased voting, which was not prosecuted as it was accidental. There were 2 instances of double voting that were submitted for prosecution." Instead, Cyber Ninjas' allegations relied on inaccurate databases, fabulist interpretations of routine events, and baseless accusations, Brnovich's office found. TTV simply declined repeatedly to provide to investigators its purportedly conclusive evidence of fraud—despite myriad promises to do so. Further, at various intervals, TTV asserted that it had already disclosed the evidence to Brnovich's team or to the FBI, claims Grigsby disputes. "TTV says they gave the information to the FBI's Phoenix office, while also saying they were informants for the FBI office," he wrote. Having never provided the information to us as promised, TTV said we should contact the FBI to obtain copies of the information they had provided to them. Checking with the Phoenix FBI office, they tell us they met with TTV but they never received any such information from TTV. TTV also reported giving the information to the San Antonio office of the FBI; we have not been able to verify this assertion. The Phoenix office says (TTV representatives) Ms. (Catherine) Engelbrecht and Mr. (Gregg) Phillips are not informants for the FBI; they also said they were told by both of them they had provided the information to our office. This is patently false. Here is Grigsby's account of investigators' attempts to obtain that evidence: Immediately after Election Day, 2020, Brnovich forcefully and publicly rejected allegations of election fraud. "It does appear that Joe Biden will win Arizona," he told Fox Business host Neil Cavuto in an interview on November 11, 2020. "There is no evidence, there are no facts that would lead anyone to believe that the election results will change."  Arizona Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbes has advocated an ethics investigation into Brnovich's conduct, The Post reported Saturday.

Virginia men get year in prison for carrying guns to 2020 election counting

By |2023-03-01T19:20:46-05:00March 1st, 2023|Election 2020|

Two Virginia men who were arrested carrying guns outside a 2020 presidential election counting location in Philadelphia were sentenced Wednesday to almost a year in prison.A Philadelphia judge sentenced Antonio Lamotta, 63, a resident of Chesapeake, to a minimum of 11 months and 15 days and no more than 23 months in prison. Joshua Macias, 44, a resident of Virginia Beach, received the same sentence. The two men were found guilty of carrying firearms without a license, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison. Macias FACEBOOK Antonio LaMotta (left) was seen at the state Capitol in 2020 alongside state Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield. 2020, BOB BROWN/TIMES-DISPATCH

Pricetag on Assembly Republicans’ investigation into the 2020 presidential election nears $2.5M

By |2023-03-01T20:23:13-05:00March 1st, 2023|Election 2020|

A court judgment against Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, has added another $135,000 to the cost of the Assembly Republicans’ investigation into the 2020 presidential election.The ruling brings the total price tag attached to that investigation to almost $2.5 million in taxpayer dollars, according to a review by WisPolitics. Dane County Circuit Court Judge Diane Schlipper ordered Vos to pay $135,574 in legal fees to American Oversight, a Washington, D.C.-based liberal group that filed lawsuits related to the handling of documents in the investigation by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman. Schlipper cited a state statute finding that the government is responsible for attorney fees when it loses a public records case. Vos had argued that the state should not be responsible for covering a nonprofit’s fees, citing laws in Illinois and Ohio. "Wisconsin’s public records law is not ambiguous and its interpretation requires no assistance from Illinois or Ohio courts," Schlipper wrote. "I award American Oversight its reasonable fees." Schlipper also found that the Legislature may owe an additional $7,637, but that Vos has seven days to file objections. Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Vos said he’d likely appeal this judgment and suggested that a "liberal Dane County judge" may have had political motivations.

Top Democrats push Fox News to stop promoting “propaganda” about 2020 election

By |2023-03-01T20:23:15-05:00March 1st, 2023|Election 2020|

Washington — The Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are urging top executives at Fox Corp. and Fox News to direct the network's hosts to stop pushing baseless claims and "grave propaganda" about the 2020 presidential election, warning that continuing to spread these narratives is harmful to the nation.The letter from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries comes after excerpts of a deposition from Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch were made public Monday as part of a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed against the cable news giant by Dominion Voting Systems.In the unsealed documents, which included excerpts from the deposition, Murdoch acknowledged that Fox News commentators endorsed false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, and he did not intervene to stop them from amplifying the allegations. "The leadership of your company was aware of the dangers of broadcasting these outlandish claims. By your own account, Donald Trump's election lies were 'damaging' and 'really crazy stuff.' Despite that shocking admission, Fox News hosts have continued to peddle election denialism to the American people," Schumer and Jeffries wrote.They continued: "This sets a dangerous precedent that ignores basic journalistic fact-checking principles and public accountability." The two Democrats said the actions of Fox News hosts are "even more alarming" given that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed to give primetime host Tucker Carlson access to a trove of 41,000 hours of Capitol and police surveillance video from the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol.GOP Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia told CBS News on Tuesday that Carlson's staff was allowed to view but not record portions of the footage from the attack, and the Fox team can request copies of clips they may need. "We demand that you direct Tucker Carlson and other hosts on your network to stop spreading false election narratives and admit on the air that they were wrong to engage in such negligent behavior," Schumer and Jeffries wrote.Spreading false information about the 2020 election, they said, "could not only embolden supporters of the Big Lie to engage in further acts of political violence, but also deeply and broadly weakens faith in our democracy and hurts our country in countless other ways." "Fox News executives and all other hosts on your network have a clear choice," Schumer and Jeffries wrote. "You can continue a pattern of lying to your viewers and risking democracy or move beyond this damaging chapter in your company's history by siding with the truth and reporting the facts."The letter was addressed to Murdoch; his son Lachlan Murdoch, the executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corp.; Suzanne Scott, CEO of Fox News Media; and Jay Wallace, president and executive editor of Fox News Media.Murdoch's deposition is the latest filing from Dominion that has pulled back the curtain on how Fox responded to Trump's loss and his unfounded allegations that the 2020 election was rigged against him.In text messages made public in an earlier document, some of Fox's top hosts, including Carlson, raised concerns about the claims of voter fraud being spread by Trump's allies on its airwaves, but were worried about its audience turning away from the network and tuning in to its competitors after Fox said Mr. Biden had won Arizona, a call that angered Trump and his backers. Delaware-based Dominion Voting Systems, which sells electronic voting hardware and software, was at the center of election lies spread by Trump and his allies, including false accusations that its machines switched votes from Trump to Mr. Biden during the election.In response to the filings, lawyers for Fox Corp. have accused Dominion of citing a "handful of selective quotes" that don't have anything to do with the alleged defamatory statements. "Dominion's lawsuit has always been more about what will generate headlines than what can withstand legal and factual scrutiny, as illustrated by them now being forced to slash their fanciful damages demand by more than half a billion dollars after their own expert debunked its implausible claims," Fox News said in a statement about the suit. "Their summary judgment motion took an extreme, unsupported view of defamation law that would prevent journalists from basic reporting and their efforts to publicly smear FOX for covering and commenting on allegations by a sitting President of the United States should be recognized for what it is: a blatant violation of the First Amendment."  Nikole Killion contributed to this report.

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