The Pima County Board of Supervisors was informed last week via an attorney’s opinion that it could not censure District 1 Supervisor Ally Miller after she posted a now-controversial comment on Facebook regarding race relations.
“I think our First Amendment rights are alive and well, and I’m very pleased with the county attorney’s opinion,” Miller said following the meeting.
Supervisor Miller didn’t violate county policy with her inflammatory Facebook comment, and county board has no recourse to discipline or censure her, advised the Chief Civil Deputy County Attorney Andrew Flagg.
County policy states that “County employees are expected to be professional, respectful, fair, unbiased, honest, civic-minded, service-oriented and fiscally responsible,” but only when engaged in county duties. Miller made the comment on a Saturday evening, and therefore is entitled express her opinion.
Many showed up to last Tuesday’s board meeting to both condemn and support Miller.
Najima Rainey with Black Lives Matter Tucson spoke directly to Ally Miller, saying Miller can have German pride or Irish pride because those are cultures, but if Miller doesn’t realize that saying “white and proud” would be synonymous with the white supremacist movement, she’s not fit for her job.
“When you say, ‘I am white and proud,’ you are saying you embrace a designation of superiority,” Rainey said.
Some familiar faces showed up to support Miller, touting a common theme: Why are we concerned about the wellbeing of people of color when it’s so hard for us white people?
One woman called on Supervisor Richard Elías to apologize for “his racist comments” of saying he’s been stopped while going through Border Patrol checkpoints, and another regular said the board is part of the “abortion industry.”
Another disgruntled woman said Miller shouldn’t “apologize for being white,” adding that her own daughter graduated from the UA and is an American, so “why doesn’t she get DACA?”
Board chair Sharon Bronson said the board may chose to create a resolution to support the victims of the Charlottesville incident and to denounce white supremacy. Either way, she said Miller should have at least apologized.
“There were people in our community who were affected and hurt by these remarks,” she said. “We need to move forward and start healing.”
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