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Having failed to disrupt the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors recent meetings, political operative Randy Parraz, a self-described “organizer,” and a small group of activists operating under the cover of Parraz’s newly formed organization are intensifying their efforts to force Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to resign.
WND has reported that Parraz has not been able to bring out more than a handful of protesters in recent demonstrations organized by Citizens for a Better Arizona against the Board of Supervisors, the governmental body that oversees the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
Parraz’s latest attacks against Arpaio include a television commercial and the promotion of a young female associate — who according to records lives with Parraz — to run for a seat on the Board of Supervisors.
WND previously reported that Parraz appears to be coordinating efforts with the Department of Justice to discredit Arpaio ahead of the sheriff’s March 1 press conference in which he plans to release the preliminary results of his office’s Cold Case Posse investigation of Barack Obama’s birth certificate and his eligibility to be president.
The WND TV live-streaming event is also made possible through the support of the Western Center for Journalism.
WND examined a timeline in which steps taken by Parraz against Arpaio appeared to be working in conjunction with steps taken by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, head of the civil rights division at the U.S. Department of Justice, a former board member for Casa de Maryland, a Hispanic advocacy group affiliated with the radical national organization La Raza.
Perez and the DOJ have brought a complaint against Arpaio, charging that the MCSO under Arpaio’s direction has implemented a systematic policy of discrimination against the federal civil rights of Hispanics.
To date, Perez has refused to make public the evidence the DOJ claims to have assembled to support the civil rights complaint.
New one-two punch
This week Parraz orchestrated a new one-two punch against Arpaio.
On Wednesday, Parraz and Citizens for a Better Arizona paid $6,000 to run a 30-second commercial against Arpaio for viewers in Arizona watching CNN’s coverage of the Republican Party presidential debate.
On Feb. 13, Lilia Alverez, a co-founder of Citizens for a Better Arizona, filed to run for the Board of Supervisors in Maricopa County’s District 3 against incumbent Andy Kunasek, a strong Arpaio supporter.
According to public records, Parraz and Alvarez live together in Scottsdale. Informed sources believe they are married.
The Parraz-engineered TV commercial, seen below, charges without proof that Arpaio has “wasted over $50 million” in taxpayer money, while allowing violent crime,s including homicides, to rise in Maricopa County under his watch.
“Their television commercial is nothing but a repackaging of the same old lies and distortions that Parraz and his group have been throwing at me for months,” Arpaio told WND. “Where’s their statistics? I’d like to see Parraz prove those claims.”
Parraz did not introduce his anti-Arpaio television commercial in the Citizens for a Better Arizona press conference called in Phoenix for that purpose, but in an video interview taped in Washington, D.C., with senior national correspondent Andrea Stone in the left-leaning Huffington Post.
In the Huffington Post interview, Parraz identified himself as an “organizer on the ground,” admitting that being a community organizer has been his “skill set and profession for the past 16 years.”
Parraz also disclosed to the Huffington Post that his next target, after Arpaio, will be to run a recall election against Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, saying he was in Washington, D.C., “to hold all extreme politicians accountable in Arizona.”
Using techniques perfected by radical community organizer Saul Alinsky, Parraz demonized Arpaio. Rattling off a list of Arizona political figures, he branded embattled Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu as having drunk “the same kool-aid” as former Arizona Senate president Russell Pierce and Arpaio, “using anti-immigrant, close-the-border, crack-down mentality to build his own political career.”
Throughout the interview, Parraz made repeated Alinsky-like attempts to isolate and marginalize his political opponents, all the while asserting his values and the values of his organization were in accord with mainstream Arizonans. He dismissed supporters of Arpaio, on the other hand, as nothing more than “Tea Party extremists.”
Plan to stack oversight board
Kunasek, a Paradise Valley Republican, has served on the board since 1997, while Alvarez is a Scottsdale Democrat who is “a law student and an activist,” as the Arizona Republic reported.
Alverez’s Facebook page, “Lilia Alvarez for Supervisor,” has only 363 people “liking” it.
A YouTube video shows a statement Alvarez made in downtown Phoenix Jan. 31, with Parraz in the background at the beginning, in her capacity as a member of the Phoenix Human Relations Commission.
In the statement, Alvarez pressed for Arpaio to resign immediately, claiming, “People are dying under the sheriff’s watch.”
The Phoenix Human Relations Commission, according to the group’s website, is made up of 17 volunteer citizens appointed by the mayor and City Council to provide advice “in implementing the city’s policy against discrimination.”
On Jan. 31, the Phoenix Human Relations Commission voted 13-0 in favor of a non-binding resolution calling on Arpaio to resign.
In Parraz, Saul Alinsky comes to Phoenix
Parraz, born in California in 1967, has an elite education, having received his BA degree from the University of California Berkeley, a master’s degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and a juris doctor degree from the University of California Berkeley.
In 1994, while still a graduate student at the Kennedy School, Parraz was recruited to work as a community organizer in Dallas, Texas, by the Industrial Areas Foundation, the IAF, a Saul Alinsky-oriented organization based in Chicago.
According to the National Latino Congress website, it was in Dallas, working for the IAF, that “Parraz learned the fundamentals of the Saul Alinsky model of church-based community organizing.”
In 2002, the national AFL-CIO transplanted Parraz into Arizona to serve as the union’s Arizona state director, a position he held until 2004.
Parraz left the AFL-CIO to accept a two-year fellowship with Echoing Green, a global organization promoting “social entrepreneurs.”
During the two-year fellowship, Parraz and his associate, Scott Sherman, pursued their idea of establishing a “Transformative Action Institute” by presenting their model for progressive social change to what the National Latino Congress estimated was over 1,000 students. They offered classes at University of California Berkeley, Yale, Princeton, New York University, UCLA, University of California Irvine and California State University Fullerton.
In 2007, Parraz returned to Arizona to work as a “residential organizer” for the Laborer’s International union of North America, better known as LiUNA, where by 2009, he received total compensation in excess of $125,000 a year, according to the organization’s official records.
In the spring of 2008, Parraz created what was called the Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability, organizing a coalition of groups opposed to the strict enforcement of immigration laws by Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office.
Ousting Russell Pearce
After the Arizona Legislature passed SB 1070, widely regarded as the toughest state law at that time to oppose illegal immigration, Parraz founded the East Valley Patriots for American Values, the EVPAV, to focus on the recall of Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce, a long-time Republican state senator and the architect of SB 1070.
Parraz evolved the EVPAV into the Citizens for a Better Arizona, a 501(c)4 organization that dedicated its efforts to the Pearce recall, even though the tax-favored status of the organization required it to pursue a “nonpartisan” purpose.
In a recall election held Nov. 4, 2011, in which Democrats were allowed to vote, Pearce lost to his only remaining opponent, Republican challenger Jerry Lewis, a political moderate, but like Pearce a Mormon.
Anita Christy, the editor and publisher of the blog GilbertWatch.com, has identified Parraz as the chief architect of the campaign to recall Pearce.
“[Parraz] and other leftists joined together to shape public sentiment, demonizing Sen. Pearce and labeling him as extremist and inhumane,” Christy wrote. “They flooded YouTube with videos depicting [Pearce] as a bullying white supremacist Nazi, and they wrote letters to editors, blog posts, Facebook entries, and commentaries at the end of online news articles.”
Christy summarized Parraz’s role in the Pearce recall campaign as follows: “(N)ot only has Parraz masterminded a successful recall against one of the best conservative senators Arizona’s has ever known, but he also pitted Republican against Republican, and Mormon against Mormon.”
The strategy to run a politically moderate Mormon against Pearce was designed to split the LDS community, especially given the language of what is known as the LDS “Utah Compact” on illegal immigration and a statement issued by the Mormon church on June 10, 2011, that emphasized a policy of accommodation with illegal immigrants. The June statement appeared to be written specifically to disavow the law enforcement approach articulated by Pearce and the Arizona legislature when drafting SB 1070.
Increasingly, LDS leaders, wanting to proselytize among Latino communities in the United States, have become wary of taking a hard-line law enforcement position against illegal immigration.
Parraz has not been nearly as successful running for public office.
In 2010, he ran unsuccessfully as a Democratic Party candidate against Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.
With his radical views apparent even to Democrat voters, Parraz ended up losing in the party primary, in 2010 – running fourth in a field of four contenders, having garnered only 14.6 percent of the vote.