George Gascon: police chief of Mesa and now San Francisco
George Gascon is the police chief of Mesa, Arizona. As of late July 2009, he'll be moving to San Francisco to be that city's new chief. Opponent of Joe Arpaio and supporter of illegal immigration, going as far as testifying to Congress against the 287g program and doing so on the dime of a far-left loose borders group. After it hit the papers, he paid for the trip out of his own pocket.
Outgoing Mesa (Arizona) police Chief George Gascon confirmed Tuesday that he was on the verge of being fired after his April trip to Washington, D.C., where he testified that illegal immigration enforcement should not be left to resource-strapped local police departments.
Ending weeks of speculation by police union members and his own allies that he was forced out, Gascon told the Tribune he was informed following his return from the nation's capital that he was about to be terminated. Gascón declined to identify that person.
"I was not pressured to resign," Gascón said. "I was told I would get terminated."
Just weeks later, Gascón accepted the chief of police position in San Francisco. Police chiefs in Mesa report to the city manager.
The city manager claims that, while they discussed the negative feedback Gascon had received, he never said he was going to fire him. In any case, he's Frisco's problem now.
Mesa Police chief George Gascon to pay for DC trip out of own funds, refunds "immigration reform" group - 04/12/09
Earlier this month, Mesa, Arizona police chief George Gascon testified before Congress about his opposition to the 287g program. His testimony was sought by Rep. John Conyers and arranged through the agency of county supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox. Hiis trip to DC was paid for by what he called at the time a "group of nonprofit organizations that are seeking immigration reform". This caused a firestorm of protest, and now Gascon has decided to return the money, pay for the trip out of his own pocket, and count the time he spent in DC against his vacation time (link).
Now, here's something curious:
[In his statement, Gascon] said initially he was told a group of nonprofits "concerned with immigration reform and civil rights" were paying for his trip.
"Subsequently, I was informed that the cost was covered by Respect Respeto, a local non-profit," Gascon states. The Phoenix-based Respect Respeto describes itself as a human rights group.
If they didn't give him the money directly, who did? Was it sent to him in a plain envelope with no return address or something? Or - just wildly speculating here - was Wilcox the baglady?
Lydia Guzman serves as Outreach Director for the Clean Elections Institute, Inc. in Phoenix, Arizona. Ms. Guzman has more than 15 years experience with voter registration, education and Get Out The Vote campaigns. She was Arizona State Director for the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project and prior to that was the Director of Voter Outreach for the Arizona Secretary of State. Ms. Guzman was a Clean Elections candidate for Senate in 2004.
Per a .doc file at azclean.org, she's been a member of MALDEF, League of United Latin American Citizens, and NALEO. In 2000, she was a state president of the Mexican American Political Association (englishfirst.org/be/arizona/az203anti.htm). She was named SVREP's Arizona director in 2004: svrep.org/press_room/press_releases/04/az/lydia_012704.html
George Gascon DC trip paid for by "a group of nonprofit organizations that are seeking immigration reform" - 04/04/09
"Who paid your way to get here today?" Poe asked. Gascon replied by repeating the question.Some of the top contenders who could have paid Gascon's way would include the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Council of La Raza, and MALDEF. However, there are plenty of local illegal immigration-supporting groups, including business groups such as those mentioned here.
"You heard me," Poe said. "Who paid your way?"
"A group of nonprofit organizations that are seeking immigration reform," Gascon answered.
"Would you agree with the statement that we dance with the one who brung us?" Poe said, suggesting that Gascon was essentially paid for his testimony.
The police chief bristled at Poe's comment, reciting his military service and long law enforcement career.
"I don't dance with anyone," Gascon replied.
If anyone's in that area, see if you can file a records request so we can find out who it was.
Two House subcommittees will be holding a joint hearing tomorrow (judiciary.house.gov/hearings/hear_090402.html) in an attempt to block the 287g program that allows local police to cooperate with the Department of Homeland Security to locate illegal aliens. The most famous use of 287(g) involves Sheriff Joe Arpaio; he isn't scheduled to testify, but two of those who are will be opposing his efforts specifically.
In advance of the hearing, today the American Civil Liberties Union - a group that's directly collaborating with the Mexican government - called on the Obama administration to end the program (aclu.org/immigrants/gen/39244prs20090401.html, link):
The ACLU is calling for an end to all partnerships under the 287(g) program, which trains and allows local and county police forces to enforce immigration statutes. The group also is pushing for a federal law that would require police to document all contacts with the public to better track racial and ethnic profiling.
There's a press release and some information on those testifying at . The co-chairs are Zoe Lofgren and Jerrold Nadler. One person testifying against it is Mesa police chief George Gascon (link). Another appeared at a Casa de Maryland rally, but whether he's linked to that group isn't known (link). Another is Deborah Weissman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law; she collaborated with the ACLU of NC to produce an anti-287g report (link). From the American side, one of those testifying for the program is described here.