By Rich Vitiello
I’m passionate. I’m passionate for my family, my friends and my community. I’m passionate about issues we face in this county. It’s because I care. I care about the people around me, whether they are folks I know or neighbors I have yet to meet. I want the best for people. That’s why I’m running for Supervisor in District 4.
The residents in Pinal County need a representative who is truly in touch with them. I’ve been speaking with people for months — not just the people around me, but with people all around the district — Saddlebrooke, Red Rock, Arizona City, Stanfield, Maricopa and the other unincorporated areas in and around District 4. I’ve been listening to their concerns and learning — and aside from their public safety concerns, the single biggest issue they have is that government is not responsive. It means their supervisor – the incumbent – is not responsive. People are tired of it. They want change.
The incumbent said in our debate the other day, “His one great plan for moving forward is already being done.” If it was, then people would see results. I’m tired of political talk that goes nowhere. Residents in the county are tired of political talk. For so long, residents have been told, “we’re working on the problem” or “it’s being discussed,” or more likely from what I’ve heard about the incumbent, nothing at all. So, what gets done? Very little or nothing. I want to move things forward, not have them at a standstill. Political talk does nothing to help residents — it only entrenches the politicians and bureaucrats. People need results and they need to see what their government is doing. Taxpayers deserve better than the Smith Experience.
In the debate, the incumbent advocated using funds from seized assets for public safety equipment and personnel. As the incumbent has been told on several occasions, and should know by now, the use of RICO funds for law enforcement purposes is limited. Again, he tried to pull the wool over voters’ eyes. The incumbent should already know that under Arizona statutes (ARS 13-2314.01(E)) RICO funds may only be used for the following:
1. The funding of gang prevention programs, substance abuse prevention programs, substance abuse education programs, programs that provide assistance to victims…and witness protection…or for any purpose permitted by federal law relating to the disposition of any property that is transferred to a law enforcement agency.
2. The investigation and prosecution of (RICO cases)…including civil enforcement.
3. The payment of the relocation expenses of any law enforcement officer and the officer’s immediate family if the law enforcement officer is the victim of a bona fide threat that occurred because of the law enforcement officer’s duties.
RICO funds may NOT be used to supplant the funding of personnel or equipment used in law enforcement in place of the county’s budget. RICO funds cannot be used to purchase equipment or hire personnel. So, once again, the incumbent’s statement that RICO funds should be used to fight the drug cartels and combat crime is wrong. Arizona law attests to it. The incumbent knows or should have known it. He shouldn’t combine fact with his own fiction. He can’t claim the RICO money can be used for shortfalls in the Sheriff’s budget. He’s already been told this.
I said in the debate that I am my own man. The incumbent accused me of not being my own man — of being someone’s puppet. He’s wrong — just plain wrong. I decided to run for Maricopa City Council two years ago, and it wasn’t until AFTER I put in my papers for election that I sought out the endorsement of Sheriff Paul Babeu. Maricopa Mayor Christian Price and Councilman Kimball were present at the lunch meeting in April 2014 when the Sheriff’s endorsement was sought. After meeting me and discussing issues, he chose to endorse me. He endorsed me then, and endorses me now. I’m proud to have his endorsement. He’s a man I trust.
I make my own decisions. And unlike the incumbent and his minions, the things I’ve written and discussed are based on fact, not rumor or falsehoods.
I’m not beholden to out of county campaign donors and interests as the incumbent apparently is. I’ve put my own money into my campaign because I truly care about this county. Because of that, I don’t owe anyone any favors – political or otherwise. I can’t say the same about the incumbent.
So while a candidate may get political endorsements, I believe the most important endorsement is from the voter. Each voter who signs a petition to put a candidate on the ballot, puts a sign in their yard or talks to their friends about a candidate is making an important endorsement. It’s a statement. In the end, the most critical endorsement is made at the voting booth or by an early ballot — it’s made by the person who looks at the candidates and decides what change is needed. That’s the telling truth.
I’m in this race to win so the right things can be done for Pinal County. For my family and my community. For you. It’s time for a change.
Rich Vitiello is a Maricopa resident. He is running for District 4 supervisor.