Political notebook: In instant, Flake goes Mr. Tough on border

2011-03-27T00:00:00Z 2011-03-27T00:31:23Z Political notebook: In instant, Flake goes Mr. Tough on borderAndrea Kelly and Rhonda Bodfield Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Is U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake trying to do his best impression of U.S. Sen. John McCain?

For years he's been the odd Republican holdout for comprehensive changes to the country's immigration system. But Flake changed his position this week, joining the mainstream of his party on the issue to say that kind of plan just won't work, and border security must come first.

"In the past I have supported a broad approach to immigration reform - increased border security coupled with a temporary worker program. I no longer do. I've been down that road, and it is a dead end. The political realities in Washington are such that a comprehensive solution is not possible, or even desirable, given the current leadership," Flake wrote in a statement.

Eager to offer its two cents, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee jumped on the revelation, calling him "John McFlake," referring to McCain's shift to the right during his 2010 Senate run.

There's nothing wrong with changing a position after acquiring more information, but what if the only reason for the change is candidacy for higher office?

Can you say... conflict?

Councilwoman Shirley Scott said she was persuaded to vote for a controversial land flip for a west side developer after getting a letter from the Gadsden Co.'s attorney, Larry Hecker.

The only catch? Hecker not only serves as Gadsden's attorney, he is also Scott's campaign chairman for her re-election campaign.

Scott forgot to mention this. Ever hear of conflict of interest? Hecker is known for serving several masters, but Scott should know better.

Truth in advertising: "My campaign chairman said this was one heck of a deal. A win-win for all."

Thanks, Shirley.

Watch the language

Democratic Senate Minority Leader David Schapira tried for bragging points with some quick wit for Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce last week. Schapira took to Twitter to recount an exchange between the two after they taped an interview at a Phoenix TV station.

According to Schapira, Pearce said, "See you mañana!" as they were leaving the station, and Schapira responded, "Mr. Pearce, this is an English-only state."

Of course, Schapira was referring to the state law that makes English the state's official language, but the law only applies to official government actions.

We'll give Schapira credit for his quip, but it seems like Pearce was just trying to say goodbye. That's not an official government action, unless of course it's saying sayonara to 280,000 people on AHCCCS, the state's Medicaid program.

Now, what to do about the end-of-session Latin phrase, sine die?

Heinz steps aside

One fewer Tucsonan holds a leadership position in the Legislature these days, after state Rep. Matt Heinz resigned from his post as House minority whip last week.

That leaves Rep. Steve Farley, the House assistant minority leader, and Sen. Paula Aboud, the Senate minority whip, the only Baja Arizonans in the 14 leadership positions between the two chambers.

Heinz said he needs to spend more time getting bills through the Legislature. Although leadership is working on the same goals, Heinz said the time he had to set aside for leadership meetings took away from fostering relationships with other legislators to actually get to work on those problems.

Given that leaders don't usually quit mid-session unless embroiled in a domestic violence scandal, rumors were that Heinz had friction in the caucus. Heinz quashed those rumors, and he hasn't needed to invoke his legislative immunity yet, either.

Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield at rbodfield@azstarnet.com or 573-4243. Contact reporter Andrea Kelly at akelly@azstarnet.com or 807-7790. Reporter Rob O'Dell contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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