La Paz County gears up for unusual election

An incumbent who changed his mind and will be running for his own seat despite not being on the ballot; a Sheriff’s race with a prominent independent candidate after the incumbent lost re-election; and a County Attorney seat left unopposed because of a court challenge. This year’s general election on Tuesday has some oddities to talk about in La Paz County!

Let’s take a look at each one.

(1) Changes of mind

In the race for District 1 Supervisor, incumbent DL Wilson had decided not to run for re-election. Local realtor David Plunkett decided to run, and was unopposed in the Republican primary for the seat, getting 96 percent of the vote. Since there is also no Democrat challenger, the seat would almost certainly go to Plunkett in Tuesday’s general election, especially with the recent endorsement of District 2 Supervisor Duce Minor. But in August, Wilson announced that he had changed his mind and planned to pursue his current seat as a write-in candidate, something Parker Live has never observed in a local election, and believes to be rare in general. “Things have really changed since June when I initially decided not to seek re-election,” Wilson said, citing new federal opportunities for solar development and the changes wrought by the global pandemic. His change of mind makes the race effectively a contested one, despite Wilson’s name not appearing on the ballots that will be counted next Tuesday. And it will be an experiment for Wilson, on whether it is possible to gain re-election while counting only on write-in votes to do it. (The situation also means a rare case of two Republicans with sights on the same office in a general election.)

(2) A prominent independent

One name that will be on the ballot, but not in the typical two-party category, is Mike Roth. Running as an Independent candidate for Sheriff, Roth is a vocal activist in local politics from the Quartzsite area who is known to have a libertarian bent. It’s not Roth’s first time on the ballot for various offices, but usually, politics has a way of favoring Republican and Democrat candidates. Earlier this year, incumbent Bill Risen lost his re-election bid in the Republican primary to challenger William Ponce, a law enforcement leader who also did his time in the town of Quartzsite (and whose path crossed with Roth many times). So it is now a three-way race to replace Risen: Ponce as Republican, Felipe Rodriguez as Democrat, and Roth as an Independent. Side note: It isn’t rare for sheriffs in La Paz County to lose their re-election bids. Hal Collett lost to challenger Don Lowery in 2008 and John Drum lost to challenger Risen in 2016. Perhaps there’s something about the job – or the La Paz County electorate – that tends to favor change.

(3) Unopposed by misstep

After a run-in with her boss County Attorney Tony Rogers, former prosecutor Karen Hobbs decided to run against him as a Republican days after she was fired. She submitted well over double the number of signatures necessary to formalize her candidacy, but a court challenge resulted in the signatures being ruled invalid. She was disqualified as a candidate, leaving Rogers on Tuesday’s general election ballot unopposed. The odd series of events had changed the race in an unexpected way.

Parker Live will endeavor to have La Paz County’s general election results available as soon as they are known, beginning with unofficial results on Tuesday night.

7 comments

  1. hoLLy mackkeral

  2. #Truthtalker #LaPazCounty #Quartzsite #USA🇺🇸

  3. La paz County, nothing changes, probably only county anywhere with only 21,000 residents. No tax dollars. Broke , cant afford bottle water for employees, lol. Can’t drink the tap water. Deputies drive police cars home to Havasu. Ugh.

  4. Hygeia Halfmoon

    “William Ponce says, “In law enforcement, conduct unbecoming an officer is considered a low level offense.”

    La Paz County Sheriff candidate William Ponce said in a recent interview with the Parker Pioneer, “In law enforcement, conduct unbecoming an officer is considered a low level offense.”

    Ponce said this after Sheriff candidate Mike Roth brought to light an internal investigation conducted in 2017 by the Bureau of Indian Affairs where they concluded the following against Ponce.

    “An additional finding of conduct unbecoming of an officer is sustained. The investigation revealed sufficient evidence to justify a reasonable conclusion that former Chief of Police Ponce committed the misconduct alleged.”

    https://rothforsheriff.files.wordpress.com/…/fed-bia-invest…

    The report (Case No. KOL120-15-275) states the following:
    Additional Findings:

    Sustained during IAD’s investigation it was discovered that Chief Ponce and (witness redacted) engaged in sexual activity while he was on duty, which would find the allegation of Conduct Unbecoming of an Officer to be SUSTAINED.

    Although Chief Ponce denies that there was any actual sex, he does disclose that he and (witness redacted) masturbated each other while he was on his “break” and such behavior is deemed Conduct Unbecoming of an Officer. Further Chief Ponce admitted in hindsight, he should have recused himself from (witness redacted) investigation because of his past relationship with (witness redacted) girlfriend to avoid any allegations of conflict of interest.”

    In reading the report in its entirety, the witness states that their encounters occurred on more than one occasion. In fact, one should read the entire report to fully understand why Ponce was found to have committed “Conduct Unbecoming of an Officer” and how serious his behavior as a police officer is.
    Ponce sums it up at the conclusion of the report when he refers to the witness calling her a “Badge Bunny”.

    Remember, Ponce said that this is a “low level offense.

    Let’s now read what The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZ POST) has to say about “Sex on Duty”.

    AZ POST QUARTERLY INTEGRITY BULLETIN: Volume No. 65

    https://post.az.gov/…/docu…/files/IntegrityBulletinVol65.pdf

    (In part)
    PROFESSIONALISM ALERT:

    A simple Google search produces thousands of examples of headlines similar to the following: “Officer Faces Decertification for Lying about Sex on Duty;” “Married Police Officer Jailed for Having Sex with Vulnerable Women” and, “Tsk, Tsk, Tsk, Someone’s Been Caught with His Pants Down.”

    Over the past three years, POST has had 50 reports of sexual misconduct from agencies under the required reporting statute. Twenty-five of these former officers had their certifications revoked or they permanently relinquished due to sexual misconduct. Those revocation-worthy cases include the following: sex (on or off duty) and lying about it in the IA; sex with minors, informants, or suspects; sex that has some relationship to duty other than simply being on duty; and, criminal sexual conduct.

    Sixteen of the reported sexual misconduct cases did not end in sanction by POST because they consisted of private, off duty conduct, not involving malfeasance in office. An agency might very well have good cause to terminate an officer under these conditions. That is an employment matter. POST does not get involved unless there is some nexus with peace officer duties.

    Nine of those officers engaged in some form of sexual conduct on duty and when the internal affairs
    investigation followed, the officer was truthful. In those cases, the POST Board suspended their certifications. Those suspensions ranged in duration from six to 12 months, depending on the circumstances.

    For example, an officer who had sexual interludes several times might get a year suspension and an officer who had one sexual encounter on duty might get a six-month suspension. Another fact the Board considers is the location of the conduct. Did the officer go to a residence for a bit or was it in the patrol car? Was the car parked in a secluded location or could a member of the public have stumbled upon them? The Board also looks at the duration away from duty, whether calls were delayed or missed, and every other factor that impacts on public trust in the law enforcement profession.

    Every officer knows that it is wrong to have sex on duty. Why, then, do they do it? What can they do to
    avoid it? What can you do to help them avoid it and save them the self-inflicted hardship and embarrassment, and save the profession from the damage to its reputation?

    Peace officers should avoid any personal contact with colleagues or others that might be perceived as, or might lead to, any form of inappropriate relationship. Colleagues and coworkers usually know or have reason to know when trouble is brewing. For example, does the officer take the same person on ride-alongs too often? Are two officers disappearing at the same time repeatedly? You know the signs, and if the signs are there, be a real friend and call them on it. Tell a supervisor what you have observed.

    Often there is the notion that it is none of our business, but that is wrong. The public trust takes a hit every time there is a headline like, “Police Officer Caught on Camera Having Sex on Duty.” Help protect the profession’s reputation and do not turn a blind eye to budding misconduct.

    It is very clear that a charge of “Conduct Unbecoming of an Officer for “having sex on duty” is much more serious than a “low level offense”.

    The AZPOST Integrity report states that “officers engaged in some form of sexual conduct on duty and when the internal affairs investigation followed, and the officer was truthful, these cases resulted in suspensions ranged in duration from six to 12 months, depending on the circumstances.”

    This posting is not intended to support candidate Roth, nor candidate Rodriguez, but it certainly proves that William Ponce cannot honor an oath to himself, much less the people of La Paz County. Is this the kind of behavior a “leader” will instill in his officers? At the very least, Ponce would most likely have received a suspension of his AZPOST Peace Officer certification if this would have been investigated at the time by AZPOST.

    As Sergeant Joe Friday would say. The facts, Ma’am. Just the facts.”

    #mikerothforsheriff #LaPazCounty #LawEnforcement #Quartzsite #Arizona #AZPOST #America #SaveOurChildren #TruthTalker #FuckMeth #WeDoRecover #MMIW #NoMoreStolenSisters #Navajo #native #untilwerise #nodapl #WrathofVajra #DaretoRise
    #PoliceAcademy #FBIAcademy

    https://rothforsheriff.files.wordpress.com/2020/10/fed-bia-investigation-ponce-conduct-unbecoming-an-officer.pdf

  5. You forgot to add a candidate that places “experience counts” on their signs but yet has ZERO experience!

  6. Melissa Diaz

    https://youtu.be/f_kEHnkcGYE Listen to this video at 0:51 you’ll hear Roth make threatening suggestions of what could happen to any of the officers such as what happened to JC that he mentions. Those of you who don’t know JC is a former QPD officer who was shot several times and thankfully he surivied and has continued his path in law enforcement. Now, who would want even a constinutionalists like this to be our Sheriff? In

  7. Janelle Wickizer Noble

    So if not Ponce or Roth, who else is there?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *