Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb donned his ever-present ballistic vest and cowboy hat to deliver a message this week that has earned him more cherished publicity.
"With the increase in private business and even government organizations talking about mandating the vaccine, I wanted to let you know that here at the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, we do not mandate the vaccine, and as long as I’m your sheriff, we will never mandate the vaccine.
"We believe that your health choices are yours and yours alone, so whether you get the vaccine or don’t get the vaccine, that’s your private information. Here we believe in America and Freedom and we’re going to continue on with that."
This, of course, earned Lamb publicity on Fox News, where he scored an interview Thursday morning on Fox & Friends. Fox is familiar territory for Lamb, who has appeared on the network around a dozen times this year, according to a Fox News archive search.
Lamb, a Republican, has also been building his name with two other initiatives announced this year. He started a streaming service called American Sheriff, which features reality-TV style programming from sheriffs' departments. Lamb has said that's a personal project not involving Pinal County.
He has also started an organization, with a group of other sheriffs from around the country, called Protect America Now. The group describes itself as a private nonprofit, and has priorities that align with the right wing of the Republican Party.
On its web page, the group says, "Protect America Now is committed to breaking through the 'Fake News' and educating Americans about how our Sheriffs and the law enforcement community are standing for our Constitution and law and order."
The group has targeted Biden appointees for rejection in the Senate, including Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus, whom Biden appointed to head Customs and Border Protection. They point to Magnus opposing the border wall and Operation Stonegarden.
When Lamb announced the establishment of Protect America Now, of course, that won him an interview on Fox News.
Business supported Padrés
Before Juan Padrés lost in the Democratic primary for Tucson City Council, he missed deadlines for filing campaign-finance forms with the city.
Now they're in, and they show Padrés, a former economic-development official, had strong financial support from a series of well-known Tucson-area business people and organizations.
The Southern Arizona Home Builders Association donated $1,000. Among those who donated the maximum $500 per individual:
• Garry Brav, BFL Construction
• Jim and Vicki Click, Jim Click auto dealerships
• Randi Dorman, R + R Develop
• David Goldstein, Diamond Ventures
• William Kelley, Diamond Ventures
• Helaine Levy, Diamond Ventures
• Humberto Lopez, HSL Properties
• Iliana and Iovana Lopez (Humberto Lopez's daughters)
• Omar and Amy Mireles, HSL Properties
• Priscilla Storm, Diamond Ventures
• Glenn Toyoshima, HSL Properties
Padrés reported receiving a total of $13,704 in contributions. That compares to $41,027 raised by his opponent, the eventual primary winner Kevin Dahl.
A handful of less-known business people also contributed the maximum to Dahl, among them:
• Ronald Wong, BKW Farms
• Jennifer Diamond, Diamond Ventures
• Frank Reichenbacher Jr., Bio-Concepts Inc.
Dahl, a longtime Tucson environmentalist, will face independent Lucy LiBosha and Republican Alan Harwell Jr. in the Nov. 2 general election.
GOP requests arrests
The Pima County Republican Party called this week for the arrest of public officials who impose mask or vaccine mandates after Sept. 29.
In a Monday press release, headed "ARREST LAWLESS PIMA COUNTY OFFICIALS," party chair Shelley Kais said, "Republicans are very concerned about the masking up of our K-12 children and university students, vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, and discrimination in schools based on who is or isn't vaccinated."
"On September 29, any school board member, city councilman, or supervisor who requires masks or vaccine mandates and passports should be arrested."
Gov. Doug Ducey has said that the new laws banning mask and vaccine mandates make it a class 3 misdemeanor for any public official to violate the law. However, the laws he cites do not say that.
Tucson City Attorney Mike Rankin said there is no apparent criminal penalty attached to the laws Ducey cites, and the penalty statute only applies to the Arizona Department of Health Services and county health boards.
Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos said his department will not be arresting anyone over violations of this law when it takes effect.
Pima County Attorney Laura Conover said that if Pima County GOP officials are still concerned about this after Sept. 29, she will invite them to a brainstorming session, after which “we will all agree as to my use of limited resources to keep our County as healthy and safe as possible.”
Contact columnist Tim Steller at email@example.com or 520-807-7789. On Twitter: @senyorreporter