Jim Larkin & Michael Lacey vs. the Injustice of Joe Arpaio

The night of October 18th, 2007 two reporters, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, were arrested on charges of revealing details of a Grand Jury investigation. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/5-smart-ways-people-and-places-are-resisting-trumps-immigration-policies/ and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/jim-larkin/

The two put a story in the paper Phoenix New Times, owned by their media company Village Voice, about a secret Grand Jury called by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. What they didn’t know was that the Grand Jury they were revealing to the public was investigating them, Larkin and Lacey.

The reporters had been running stories critical of Arpaio’s policies and actions as Sheriff for some time. Arpaio had apparently had enough and formed a secret Grand Jury to look into the men with the aim of silencing their reporting.

They accused Arpaio of mistreating minorities and women while in custody, profiling anyone who looked Hispanic and various other violations of the law, including revealing some unsavory details about mistreatment and death in Arpaio’s tent city detention facility, which stored inmates and even simple detainees in tents in the Arizona desert. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase

These complaints were addressed behind closed doors for years to keep them from the public eye, but Lacey and Larkin’s reporting helped bring them to light. Arpaio nonetheless continued his policies of discrimination, even when told to cease by a Federal judge in court in 2011.

Though they were detained, separately, for 24 days, the charges against Lacey and Larkin were dropped and Arpaio’s abuses of power were made international news during their stay. The charges were dropped and Arpaio, after losing re-election in 2016 and facing charges himself, found himself on the other side of the law.

He was found guilty, but was pardoned by President Donald Trump. Arpaio was one of the first to endorse Trump’s ear;y campaign and many feel he was attempting to curry favor in advance of a conviction. Arpaio is currently running for one of Arizona’s Senate seats.

Lacey and Larkin continue to keep their eye on Arpaio and report on his activities since his pardon. Arpaio has become a hero figure among Trump supporters and continues to need reporting.

After receiving a settlement from the County after their 24 days in custody the two reporters began the Frontera Fund with the money. Frontera works to help protect the first amendment rights of everyone, particularly Latinos in Arizona where Arpaio’s policies and officers did a great deal of harm to the Latino community.

Betsy DeVos Is On A Mission To Save For-Profit Colleges

According to some insider accounts, the Trump administration is a chaotic group of inexperienced appointees that can’t seem to get in the groove of serving the public without serving themselves first. Cabinet members seem to take advantage of their positions by spending too much, or by using public funds to make their traveling missions luxury excursions. But Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the cabinet member who needed Mike Pence to break the tie in Congress in order to get the job, is not one of those Trump officials. DeVos gets high marks from some Republicans for the work she is doing to reform the education system in the United States. After more than a year in office, Mrs. DeVos has gone above and beyond to prove she worthy to be the Education Secretary. Betsy hasn’t always expressed her views in a manner that pleases the press or the voting public, but she hasn’t changed her position on expanding the charter school program. And according to people who know her, she is still quietly trying to bring state and church together in schools.

 

 

Betsy DeVos, the Holland Michigan billionaire, has a history of donating money to improve the education system not only in Michigan, but across the United States, according to a Mother Jones report. Betsy and husband Dick, the son of the co-founder of Amway, are big Republican supporters. But the couple also give money religious schools, conservation Christian groups and Betsy’s voucher program. According to a New York Times article, DeVos is polite in public, but behind closed doors she’s a fierce competitor and fighter. She believes in charter schools, and she also believes the public school system is broken and beyond repair. That’s why funding for public schools is down, and the voucher program is in full gear.

 

 

But DeVos has another mission that she didn’t discuss during her 60 Minutes interview. Some people say that interview didn’t do much to promote Betsy’s knowledge or commitment as Education Secretary. But she strongly disagrees with that synopsis of her national TV performance. The mission she didn’t talk about while the CBS cameras were rolling was her attempt to save the for-profit college industry. That industry shot itself in the foot by allowing some of those colleges to put making money in front of educating the students who thought they could get a decent education.

 

 

Betsy DeVos has taken away some Obama-era regulations that increased protection for students, and she reduced loan forgiveness relief for some former students, so the industry doesn’t completely collapse. Plus, she is trying to find the right balance between money-making schools and for-profit college students. But the days of for-profit colleges are in the past, according to an ABC News article. Regular colleges and universities are competing with the for-profit college industry, and it appears regular colleges are winning.

 

 

Students are afraid to go to for-profit schools for an obvious reason. There’s too much corruption in the for-profit history to ignore. But DeVos will still push her agenda regardless of the challenges she faces from her own party as well as from the public. The fact that she is still part of the Trump administration speaks volumes for her tenacity, and her mission to change the education playing field, so all students get a chance to shine.

 

Follow Betsy DeVos on Facebook for updates.

 

Betsy DeVos Leads A Bipartisan Call for Congressional Hearings on School Shootings

In the wake of the most recent mass shooting at a Florida high school, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, with bipartisan support from Congressional Democrats, is calling for hearings.

 

The Education Secretary had a contentious confirmation hearing a year ago. Betsy DeVos is a high profile Republican taking on the Democratic stronghold that is the educational establishment and government schools. She is the leading advocate for school vouchers and charter schools. Both of which Democrats criticize for taking away resources from public education. Her nomination was so divisive that she was confirmed by the Senate in a historic 51-50 vote with Republican Vice President Pence breaking the tie.

 

With the tragedy of the latest school shooting in Florida, partisanship has been put aside for the moment and Betsy DeVos is making the call to explore solutions to stopping these devastating shootings.

 

Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, located in Parkland Florida, was the scene of the deadliest high school shooting event in US history last week. Reports indicate seventeen people died and over forty were injured from the massacre. The accused shooter is a former student who had been expelled from the school. He had been observed and reported to authorities numerous times by fellow students and others for exhibiting disturbing behavior prior to the events on February 14th.

 

Secretary DeVos reacted to the latest shooting in a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt emphasizing that the country should have a “much more robust conversation around tracking and tackling mental health issues.” While not taking a particular policy stance, she went further “We need to have a conversation at the level where lawmakers can actually impact the future.”

 

That conversation should start in Congress according to Secretary DeVos. Democratic Senator Patty Murray from the state of Washington said, “Families across the country are tired of waiting for Congress to step up, have the tough conversations, and adopt common sense gun safety and other policies to end this scourge in our schools and communities, so I am very glad that Secretary DeVos has requested congressional hearings on this issue.”

 

At the same time in the House of Representatives, Democrats Bobby Scott and Suzanne Bonamici cosigned a letter urging the head of the Committee on Education and the Workforce to schedule hearings as well. Representative Virginia Fox is the Republican head of the committee. In the letter, Scott and Bonamici wrote “Despite the sobering reality, our committee has not had a hearing to address this public health epidemic since February of 2013.”

 

Articles referenced in recap

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2018/02/16/betsy-devos-and-democrats-call-for-congressional-hearings-in-wake-of-florida-school-shooting/?utm_term=.8d7b3464fd99