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Arizona Daily Star from Tucson, Arizona • Page 4
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Arizona Daily Star from Tucson, Arizona • Page 4

Tucson, Arizona
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Section A (EJjf Arizona Uailij Star Tucson, Wednesday, April 5, 1989 Questions raised about vote to let Mecham seek office again By Susan R. Carson and Jonathan Bass The Arizona Daily Star PHOENIX Sen. John Hays blames the votes of "three gutless, spineless" senators for the current debate over whether ousted Gov. Evan Mecham can seek the office again. The Yarnell Republican, who was the target of attacks by Mecham during his own re-election campaign, said the debate and the former governor's possible resurgence have been brought about because of the "three gutless, spineless people that would not support the 17 of us" who voted a year ago yesterday to ban Mecham from seeking office again in what has come to be known as the "Dracula" clause.

The Senate, sitting in a Court of Impeachment, voted 17-13 in support of the clause falling three votes short of the 20 votes believed to be needed to pass the clause. Now, questions are being raised about whether the clause actually passed by a simple majority of 16 votes; It is one of the arguments being used by attorney William French, who, along with Paul Eckstein, prosecuted Mecham in the Senate trial. "It has always been a majority," French said. It might be unconstitutional to insist a two-thirds vote was needed, French said. But some legislators believe the Senate made its intentions clearly known.

"The Senate made a conscience deci sion by not enacting that," said Senate Minority Leader Alan Stephens, D-Phoenix, who voted against the clause. "We all knew what could have been on the horizon, and sure enough is a possibility," said Sen. Jaime Gutierrez, D-Tuc-son, who voted for the clause. He said he believes that some of the 90 members of the Legislature will say before the Mecham era is over they wished "there would have been three more votes somewhere." Rep. Peter Goudinoff, D-Tucson, said he believes the argument about the Dracula clause "should have been made a year and a week ago." "It was very clear what the senators thought they were voting on," Goudinoff said.

It would "demean the process" to argue that Mecham could be prevented from running. Some of those who voted against the clause said this week that they stand by their votes. Sen. James Sossaman, R-Higley, said he believes Mecham's political future rests in the hands of the voters, where he feels it belongs. "I feel confident tbat their judgment will be appropriate," he said.

Stephens also stood by his vote, saying there was no evidence that Mecham committed a felony, and therefore, he should not have been prevented from seeking office again. University of Arizona law Professor Robert Glennon also believes Mecham can run "at the moment" because "the Senate refused to impose the Dracula clause." Glennon also said the possibility of a court challenge exists, in which it could be debated whether the Arizona Constitution automatically imposes the Dracula clause where it states the punishment "shall extend only to removal from office and disqualification" from holding any other elected office. Attorney General Bob Corbin, at the request of Rep. Lela Steffey, a Mesa Republican and Mecham supporter, is reviewing the entire question. He said he hopes to issue a legal opinion as early as next week.

Page Four Guns Mecham "I want to send word out to everyone In Arizona that I think we can have a kinder and gentler Arizona. I think the 19 months between now and the general election of 1990 can be a time of spirited debate on the issues but not name-calling and not accusations without basis." Evan Mecham On the comeback trail 1987 Star photo Attorney Donald W. MacPherson claimed that many members of the Senate routinely violated legislative rules by failing to be present for parts of the impeachment testimony, and sneered at former Sen. Hal Runyan, a Litchfield Park Republican, who suffered a stroke at the beginning of the session, by complaining about a "comatose" senator. MacPherson drew cheers, however, as he vowed to take an appeal of Mecham's impeachment to the state Supreme Court, "and if need be, to the Supreme Court of the United States." In Washington, meanwhile, national GOP Chairman Lee Atwater asked top Republican political consultant Roger Stone to investigate the impact of Mecham's candidacy on the party's chances of winning back the governor's office in Arizona.

As Mecham's rally got under way, about 250 supporters of a paid state Martin Luther King holiday gathered for a candlelight prayer vigil at the state Capitol in connection with the 21st anniversary of the civil rights leader's assassination. The holiday was one of the first major controversies that plagued Mecham's administration when he canceled the holiday shortly after taking office, saying both that King did not deserve a holiday and that former Democratic Gov. Bruce Babbitt did not have the authority to create one. Mofford, in Washington for hearings on Central Arizona Project funding, said Mecham's announcement "was predictable because he's been running for 20 years." Mofford said the 1990 gubernatorial race is "an open field, and anybody can get in it I will match my record with his any time, or anybody else's for that matter. "I will not stand by and let him or anybody else turn the clock back Continued from Page One arm's reach for people who might be very angry," Dupnik said.

Two of the committee's five Republicans joined the panel's four Democrats to kill the bill. Sens. Leo Corbet and Jacque Steiner, both Phoenix Republicans, each said they were swayed by law enforcement officers, who predicted the bill's passage would result in thousands more weapons on the street and armed confrontations between citizens and police officers. "How can we ignore their position on this?" asked Steiner. "Frankly, I would feel much less safe with the passage of this bill." Corbet, one of 59 of the state's 90 lawmakers to co-sponsor the bill with Carson, said it was the "unanimity" of law enforcement's objections that persuaded him to change his mind.

He also faulted the bill's training requirements and criminal background check provisions as too "minimal." Several weeks ago, the Judiciary Committee killed a similar weapons measure, chiefly because it lacked the training provisions of Carson's bill. Voting against Carson's bill were Corbet, Steiner, and Democratic Sens. Lela Alston of Phoenix, David Bartlett of Tucson, Jones Osborn of Yuma and Peter Rios of Hayden. Supporting the measure were Republican Sens. Jeff Hill of Tucson, Bob Denny of Litchfield Park and Pete Corpstein of Paradise Valley.

Unlike the bill's two committee hearings in the House, which were filled with lengthy, cantankerous debates over gun control, the Senate hearing was comparatively calm. Continued from Page One well as Gov. Rose Mofford, the Democrat who moved from secretary of state into the governor's ninth-floor office when Mecham was impeached. Andy Constentino of Phoenix stood among the reporters lining the large ballroom brandishing a shovel that read "Mecham's media spreader," and urged reporters to "tell the truth." Mecham, however, urged his supporters to forgive their enemies and ran a campaign that will be "based on the principles and on the issues." While he described himself as "the object and recipient of more venomous and hateful criticism than anyone in the state of Arizona maybe the entire United States," he also said that "I don't know of a soul in the world I've got to get even with." He urged his backers to be kind to the reporters. The crowd responded in kind.

As Mecham wrapped up his speech and was joined on the podium by his wife, Florence, Constentino turned to a reporter and said: "I love you, and urge you to let Jesus into your hearts I just want you to do your job right." Invoking the words of President Bush, Mecham called for a "kinder, gentler Arizona." However, Mecham had a few ill words for his enemies. He chided Mofford for supporting tax increases "instead of keeping spending within our means." He mentioned state GOP Chairman Burton Kruglick, and complained that a "private letter" urging him not to run was quickly leaked to the press. Others who spoke, however, had plenty of harsh words for Mecham's adversaries. achieving the office of governor, and retains a sizable support in the Republican Party." Another Tucson Democrat, Rep. Peter Goudinoff, had a different view, saying: "It's hard to see how it could be anything but good news for Democrats.

"I think it's very clear the Republicans are terrorized by him," Goudinoff said. Also yesterday, senators were critical of Mecham's decision to file 11 motions in the Senate, asking its court of impeachment to either dismiss or retry him on the charges that led to his ouster. Senate Republican leaders asked their legal counsel to review the papers, but doubted they would do much with the request. "It's just going to go in the waste-basket," Mawhinney said. Mawhinney said the court no longer exists, and questioned whether former senators, some of whom were voted out of office in 1988 because of their trial vote, would have to be called back into action.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank X. Gordon, who presided over the court of impeachment, said the matter is in the Senate's hands. Gordon, who said he had only glanced at the papers, said, "I will do whatever the Senate decides." He reiterated, however, that "I know of no appellate review of a Senate impeachment conviction." The Court of Impeachment ended its 25-day trial on April 4, 1988, by voting 21-9 to convict Mecham of obstructing justice and 26-4 of misusing public money, making Mecham the first governor in nearly 60 years nationwide to be removed from office through impeachment. A third charge brought by the House of Representatives the alleged intentional concealment of a $350,000 campaign loan was referred to a Superior Court jury, which acquitted Mecham last summer. Arizona Daily Star reporter Jonathan Bass contributed to this story.

socially, culturally, economically or any other way," said Mofford, who proudly says she has restored stability to state government. Republicans contacted last night were not surprised by the announcement, either, but feared it would destroy the Republican Party. Lane, a Republican who lost his Southern Arizona legislative seat mostly because of his role in beginning the impeachment against Mecham, said "it's terrible. This is probably the most destructive thing that's happened to the Republican Party since Evan Mecham was elected the first time. "Mecham's thinking about himself and nobody else.

He's not thinking about the Republican Party. I think he just thinks he's the man of the hour I think the Republican Party's in deep trouble." Kruglick, who had urged Mecham not to run, said last night that he would support Mecham if he won the GOP primary, but said he hoped the former governor will face as few primary challengers as possible. If a large number of Republicans challenge Mecham, Kruglick pre dicted, Mecham has a better chance of winning the nomination. "There's no question we have a difficult and divisive problem here," Kruglick said. Kruglick said he feared that if Mecham wins the nominiation, the 1990 gubernatorial race would be a referendum on whether Mecham should have been impeached, rather than a choice between Republican and Democratic ideologies.

Legislators also were disappointed with Mecham's announcement. Rep. Jack B. Jewett, R-Tucson, called it a "black day in Arizona," while Sen. John Hays, R-Yarnell, said, "It's absurd and it's sad." Senate Majority Leader John Ma-whinney, R-Tucson, called it "a tragedy a serious mistake for the people of Arizona," for whom Ma-whinney said Mecham "doesn't give one fig." Democratic Sen.

David C. Bartlett of Tucson said: "It's clear the shadow of Evan Mecham will remain over Arizona politics until after the 1990 election. "Evan Mecham is fixated on Corbet, Judiciary Committee chairman, refused to let the hearing exceed 45 minutes, and many of the people who testified for and against the measure were seldom questioned by committee members. 737 S. Ft.

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Pillow Cases 16x20 Framed Art 7 Of $50 or More on Regularly Priced Merchandise Expires April 30, 1989 $-999 Choose from West Pt. Giant Shipment just arrived Pepperell More BANDANAS Bed Pillows "We've all been lobbied on it nine different ways from Sunday," Corbet said as he opened the committee hearing. However, last night's hearing was characterized by more testimony from private citizens than were those in the House, which generally featured appearances by police chiefs. "Do we want the Sun Belt to become the gun belt?" asked Sally Van Slyke, a Tucson woman who said she and her husband were accosted in January bjr a man carrying a concealed weapon who shot her dog. "Who's going to be the next victim?" Van Slyke added.

Charles Hancock, a Tempe gun-shop owner, told the senators the bill is needed "by people like me who can't handle somebody who'll come up and jump on me for five or six times." Susan Sherwin, a bill advocate who identified herself as "a law abiding citizen," asked the committee to pass the bill to "give us the same advantage criminals now enjoy." But Lee Rappleyea, a Phoenix police detective and president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said "thugs" would more likely refrain from attacking citizens who carry weapons openly, as currently provided by law, than those carrying a weapon the criminal cannot see. In other legislative action yesterday the bill to prohibit the sale of sexual devices was killed by its sponsor, Rep. Leslie Whiting Johnson, R-Mesa, who disagreed with how the bill was amended. She promised to bring it back next year. The House amended the bill to replace the word "dildo" with "child molestation device." Johnson had insisted that dildos were used only to molest children.

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