Felicia Chew on Stonegarden Money

When residents are afraid of reporting crime because they are afraid of retaliation

Many Pima residents attended Board meetings to speak out against receiving Stonegarden Money.  There were many reasons for refusing the money.  This article shares a perspective for the refusal:  The desire for less law enforcement in Arivaca, due to past exchanges between Arivaca residents and Deputies.

The concern from other County residents is a result of fear.  Fear of undocumented people crossing the border, a fear that has been grossly misrepresented to community members.

Unfortunately, the money was refused by the Board of Supervisors.  My concern is that the refusal of monies has limited the ability of the Sheriff’s Department to provide effective services.

The following is a transcript (edited to provide anonymity) of a Facebook conversation regarding concerns about accepting Stonegarden money.


Vote Felicia Chew:

Felicia engages in conversations and discussions with everyone. Here is a re-post of Felicia’s comments on a Facebook thread (with minor edits for clarity in this context), regarding Stonegarden funding:

“Governing Boards do not operate programs. However when governing boards “control the purse strings”, it can be difficult to adequately fund programs under their purview.

Being clever and creative with resources is admirable, but can also be exhausting.

I think it is important to recognize that the Sheriff’s Department had previously received Stonegarden funds. They were expecting it for the next years, but it was declined.

Imagine planning a party with a budget, and then being told you don’t get the money.

In this case, it is not just balloons and party favors that are being cut out of the party… it is deputies who were going to be paid out of a part of that budget (see the Sheriff’s presentation — available by asking the Clerk’s Office or the Sheriff for the date, and find the video — for more specifics).

With the heightened activity at the border, it is necessary to have funding to cover training expenses and patrols. Training is necessary to ensure that our deputies understand the law, and can provide resources to those they come in contact with. Too often, people do not understand the law, and the process.

For complaints regarding individual law enforcement officers, a chain of command is followed, which can lead to the termination of a law enforcement officer.

Unfortunately, when it gets to that point, emotions are heightened, people are in crisis, they are unable to think as they enter survival mode, and they “want justice”.

This is another area where additional funding and support services are needed — in mental health. We hear more often about the trauma as a result of Adverse Childhood Experiences; we hear about the number of suicides; we hear about the effects of bullying and domestic violence on the brain — and yet we continue to stigmatize mental health.

What can we do?

1. We can educate ourselves on trauma, crises, and emotional and mental health.

How? Through the County Health Department

2. We can ensure that community members feel safe, and understand personal and community responsibility regarding safety.

How? Through the Sheriff’s Department, Superintendent’s Office and Library Programs (many excellent programs already exist!)

3. We can educate ourselves on the law.

How? Courts System (including Teen Court), Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office.

4. We can provide security and wellness.

How? Roads, Transportation, Parks/Rec/Environmental Services

As you know, I am campaigning for the Pima County Supervisor District 3 seat (2020). Learn more about the Campaign at http://www.feliciachew.com/go2020 and Follow the Campaign at http://www.facebook.com/chewfortucson”

You can support the Campaign by sharing this post and donating at http://www.feliciachew.com/support2

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(Photo from article by: ADI NEWS SERVICES JULY 13, 2014)


Arivaca Resident #1:

Shared, to everyone in Arivaca who has ever been stopped on a pretextual stop by a Sheriff’s deputy on Stonegarden.


Vote Felicia Chew:

Pretextual?


Arivaca Resident #2

The law already allowed police to make stops on pretext — that is, to pull someone over for some minor infraction in order to investigate more serious wrongdoing. The law already set conditions under which police, in making stops, could be wrong about the facts.

I have been pulled over in Tucson by a Pima County Sheriff. I had a tail light out so I was using a pair of magnetic trailer lights to supplement my lights. He thought this was insufficient. When he took my license, that has my Arivaca address, he put his hand on his gun and started asking where all the drugs, money, and weapons are hidden because “everyone in Arivaca are wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

My friends, family, and I have had more pretextual stops than I could count. One of them, I was assaulted and detained until identified by an “eyewitness” as “not the suspect.”

And I’m a White Male. I can’t even imagine what people with a darker skin tone go through.

FUCK YOUR STONE GARDEN MONEY.


Vote Felicia Chew:

I am so sorry to hear this story. Did you file a complaint with the Sheriff’s Department?


Arivaca resident #2:

Vote Felicia Chew, I’m much too afraid of retaliation. I already suffer enough abuse at the hands of law enforcement officers purely because of where I live. I have reported other incidents, with Border Patrol, and the harassment just gets worse.

I can’t help but wondering if that question is a form of victim blaming.

Have you ever been the victim of abuse? A lot of people are afraid to report a lot of different types of abuse.


Felicia Chew:

I understand that a lot of people are afraid to report a lot of different types of abuse. It is an unfortunate reality.

I am unfamiliar with what has happened in Arivaca. I would like to learn more about what has happened, and what is happening. No one should be harassed for doing the right thing.

I understand that my question can be construed as victim blaming. Let me assure you that it is not intended as victim blaming, and I apologize for not choosing a better way to preface my response.

You asked if I have ever been a victim of abuse. Yes, I have been a victim of abuse, specifically domestic violence (physical, emotional, sexual, psychological, emotional, religious) and sexual abuse (non domestic violence).

It took me a long time to be able to see how deeply entrenched I was as a victim. In fact, being a victim of domestic violence is one of the reasons I applied to be a part of the City of Tucson’s Citizen Police Advisory Review Board in 2011. I wanted to be sure that the police in the City would serve and protect myself and my family.

Being a survivor of domestic violence is the reason I became a volunteer Victim Advocate for Pima County, trained in Active Listening, Crisis Response, and Victimology.

Being a survivor of domestic violence is the reason I stepped out of my full-time position as a classroom teacher to run for Tucson City Council, in hopes of being able to affect change in the City to make things better for each of us and all of us.

Being a survivor of domestic violence is the reason I started my small business working to end systemic domestic violence, by sharing stories, wisdom, art, and perspectives.

Being a survivor of domestic violence is one of the reasons why I am running for Pima County Supervisor (2020), to be able to update outdated policies, and influence a budget that allows Departments to operate effectively, and recognize (and bridge) gaps and loopholes.

I moved to Tucson in 2011. I became more aware that I was a victim of domestic violence in 2011 when my perpetrator was arrested and charged with Domestic Violence.

Then, the retaliation began. The problem was that no one could see it, because there was little physical evidence. What evidence there was, I had an extremely difficult time sharing, because I felt so guilty and ashamed — I felt guilty and ashamed that I had not done more; I felt guilty and ashamed because of the stigma against domestic violence; I felt guilty and ashamed because I had obviously been the one to blame since the Courts were not ruling in my favor.

I participated in programs at Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse — groups, individual sessions, family sessions — all while filing for Court, facing by abuser, being chastised and feeling embarrassed by the comments of Judges and witnesses — So skilled was my perpetrator at gaslighting and manipulation that I found myself cycling in and out of blaming myself, being angry, crying in frustration, feeling hopeless, feeling determined…

So unaware of deeper issues were lawyers, Judges, and Court Security personnel that the situation became worse.

I finally recognized that I had PTSD. Today, my work continues for self-care through therapy and mindfulness. It is exhausting at times.

As a woman who has worked in the school systems for over 25 years in three states (six communities) and who talks to everyone, I recognize the problems and challenges with being a human in a society that has forgotten how to honor one another. Our communities have begun to lose their sense of creativity, humanity, empathy, and wisdom.

This is why I fight to keep Golden Pin Lanes open.

This is why I speak up against shaming and blaming.

This is why I do the work that I do.

I hope this helps to understand more of where I am coming from. I know my story is not the same as your story.

I also know that I do not want anyone to be belittled or shamed to a point of such hopelessness that lives are taken by their own hands.

I prefer writing over all forms of communication. It stems from my years of abuse when I was told “That’s not what you said.” Written communication allows all parties to identify where the misunderstandings occur. Oftentimes, it is due to a misspoken word, or a different interpretation of a word or idea (due to personal experiences, culture, etc).

I have been engaged in a recent conversations on Messenger where I have been writing my messages, and my friends have sent voice clips. It works.

This was a long response. I appreciate you taking the time to read it, and I look forward to your response, learning more, and hearing more so that I can help heal our community.

Thank you for being courageous,
Felicia

“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life. Without each of us, our picture is incomplete.”

http://www.feliciachew.com


Arivaca Resident #2

Vote Felicia, Are you sure you should be running for district 3? It sounds like you don’t know much (or anything) about the rural communities you would be representing. Have you spent much time in Ajo? Lukeville? Three Points? Ever been to Arivaca? There is a lot more to Pima County than just Tucson. District 3 needs representation that cares about us as much or more than just what’s happening in Tucson. And you seem very focused on Tucson.

So, why District 3? And why do you support the Stone Garden funds when there is such a limited scope of what they can be used for and so many of us are screaming that those funds were being used to profile and harass Mexican Americans (and to a lesser degree, all of us living in rural border region communities)?

Arivaca Resident #1

Vote Felicia Chew you need to listen to what people have been telling you, about what exactly is wrong with these Stonegarden funds, and believing them. “Talking with everyone” isn’t effective when you consider the word of the Sheriff’s Dept as equally important/correct as the words and experiences of folks who have to live under their oppression.

Vote Felicia Chew

Thank you for continuing this conversation. We have a lot to unpack, so I hope you are okay with me using the following format, so nothing is missed. <Q/A = Question/Answer. C/R = Comment/Response.>

Q. Are you sure you should be running for District 3?

A. Yes.

Q. It sounds like you don’t know much (or anything) about the rural communities you would be representing. Have you spent much time in Ajo? Lukeville? Three Points? Ever been to Arivaca?

A. I have spent time in rural communities in New Mexico. I lived in the middle of the Cibola National Forest. I helped build a home that was 100% sustainable. We did not have paved roads. We did not have running water. We did not have City or County services. I also lived in Ramah, New Mexico and on the Zuni Indian Reservation.

I have friends living in the rural parts of Oracle, Benson, Vail.

I have not yet been to Arivaca, Ajo, or Lukeville. I have passed through Three Points and have some friends/acquaintances who work in/are from TO. I am planning on visiting… transportation costs are a barrier (I have just begun raising funds for my campaign, and will ask intentionally for funds so I can visit communities, like Arivaca, in District 3).

I was not familiar with the problems between the deputies and residents of Arivaca. This Page is one of the ways I am able to connect with residents to learn more about what is working, what isn’t working, and possible solutions.

C. District 3 needs representation that cares about us as much or more than just what’s happening in Tucson. And you seem very focused on Tucson.

R. I believe in making things better for #EachOfUs and #AllOfUs in our community.

You are correct, my work has primarily been focusing on Tucson, because it is where I live, and I am limited on funds, time, tools, and resources.

These limitations are the reason I am seeking the seat of Supervisor — to have thefunds, time, tools, and resources to be able to not only advocate for and amplify the voices of those in my community, but to actually have the ability to update outdated policies and provide a budget that allows for effective (not just efficient) sustainable implementation.

Q. Why District 3?

A. I live in District 3 🙂

Q. And why do you support the Stone Garden funds when there is such a limited scope of what they can be used for and so many of us are screaming that those funds were being used to profile and harass Mexican Americans (and to a lesser degree, all of us living in rural border region communities)?

A. You are correct, the Stonegarden funds are limited in scope, since they are grant funding. It is my understanding that this allocation was to provide funding for technology to provide more effective communication between agencies. This is where we need to extend our thinking. A radio is a radio. With more radios and better infrastructure, the Department can more easily communicate with other agencies (not just the Border Patrol).

From my personal experience, I have seen the need for more effective communication between agencies — between Tucson Police, Sahuarita Police, Sheriffs, Marana, Oro Valley, U of A, Tribal Police. The roads connect (well, sometimes folks can’t get to TO or Three Points during inclement weather, and that is another issue that must be addressed), but the communication between LEAs (law enforcement agencies) has been a challenge. Additional funding (Stonegarden funding) would help bridge those gaps.

Supervisor Bronson wrote: “The Stonegarden grant is managed by the U.S. Border Patrol. One of Stonegarden’s stated goals is to “enforce immigration laws.” This runs counter to Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier’s statement that his department should not be a proactive arm of immigration enforcement.” (https://tucson.com/opinion/local/sharon-bronson-don-t-saddle-our-deputies-with-stonegarden-baggage/article_87d66efe-0d16-52eb-991a-b09bcd5805f7.amp.html)

I disagree with Supervisor Bronson’s assessment of the situation. She states that Sheriff Napier has stated his “department should not be a proactive arm of immigration enforcement.” He does not appear to not be a person of his word. The challenge here, for the Supervisors, is to release their need for control to the Department. The Supervisors may hold the Department Heads accountable for their actions, and develop policies and processes for suchaccountability. We have the Board of Supervisors, not the Board of Controllers.

Again, I am sorry for the profiling and harassment that you mentioned. I think there are a few processes that would help resolve this conflict.

One is to address your concerns, and the concerns of those who you shared stories about. You connected it to the Stonegarden funds. I mean no disrespect when I ask if the profiling and harassment existed prior to Stonegarden funding?

I have a few hypotheses (again, no disrespect intended):
1. The harassment is generational;
2. The harassment is unintentional;
3. The harassment is due to inadequate training.

Another is to address the existing policies and processes for handling complaints about deputies (or any County employee).

1. How are complaints reported?
2. Who handles the complaints?
3. How are the complaints handled? (conversation, letter, documentation, restorative sessions, etc)?
4. How is the information given back to the one who filed the complaint?

C. …you need to listen to what people have been telling you, about what exactly is wrong with these Stonegarden funds, and believing them.

R. Yes, let us continue the conversation. I mean no offense when I say that we each have implicit biases which affect how we perceive the actions of others. I believe individuals sharing their stories are sharing their experiences.

C. “Talking with everyone” isn’t effective when you consider the word of the Sheriff’s Dept as equally important/correct as the words and experiences of folks who have to live under their oppression.

R. I respectfully disagree. I believe that it is necessary to hear all voices, so that we may be able to see where the disconnect lies.


“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life.  Without each of us, our picture is incomplete.”

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