The Justice Department says it is canceling negotiations with Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office over civil rights allegations against him — claiming the sheriff refuses to include a court-appointed monitor in the process.

An agency spokeswoman said the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office knew the monitor was “a non-negotiable requirement of a settlement” and that the refusal has led to the cancellation of talks.

The move was expected, with the Justice Department saying Tuesday evening that Arpaio had initially agreed to the monitor, then failed to negotiate “in good faith” by changing his mind that morning.

“We believe that you are wasting time,” the agency said in a letter to Arpaio’s lawyer. “Your tactics have required DOJ to squander valuable time and resources.”

Arpaio, the self-proclaimed America’s toughest sheriff, has said he never agreed to the monitor because that would mean every policy decision would have to be cleared through an observer and would nullify his authority as the elected sheriff.

“I am the constitutionally and legitimately elected sheriff, and I absolutely refuse to surrender my responsibility to the federal government,” Arpaio said, accusing the Obama administration of trying to “strong arm” him.

The Justice Department said both sides met at least once in February and that the letter marks the second time negotiations were called off, which means the agency will go forward with a lawsuit.

Photo: Flickr user barb.howe.

The agency has accused Arpaio’s office of racially profiling Latinos, basing immigration patrols on racially-charged citizen complaints that did not allege crimes and punishing Hispanic jail inmates for speaking Spanish. It also accused the sheriff of having a culture of disregard for basic constitutional rights.

The sheriff’s office has denied allegations of systematic discriminatory policing and told news reporters that it will insist the Justice Department provide facts to prove its allegations.

The agency said a 22-page letter that it sent Arpaio’s office in December provides the facts of the allegations and that giving further information would delay the settlement.

The federal agency said an Arpaio lawyer acknowledged in earlier settlement talks that negotiations would go forward without the Justice Department providing additional information since that information would be necessary only as part of a lawsuit.

The agency also said in Tuesday’s letter that it has found additional information to support its allegation that Arpaio’s office failed to adequately investigate a large number of sex-crimes cases. The Justice Department is seeking an agreement that would require the sheriff’s office to train officers in how to make constitutional traffic stops, collect data on people arrested in traffic stops and reach out to Latinos to ensure them that the department is there to also protect them.

Earlier in the three-year investigation, the agency filed a 2010 lawsuit against the sheriff, alleging that his office refused to fully cooperate with a request for records and access to jails and employees. The case was settled last summer after the sheriff’s office handed over records and gave access to employees and jails.

Read more: FOX NEWS

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Credit AP photo above by Julie Jacobson

Mr. Manuel Ramírez Chávez was born in Michoacán, Mexico, but arrived in the United States when he was eight years old. Fifty-six years later, at the age of 64, he’s finally becoming a citizen. He didn’t do it earlier, he said, “because I’d never seen as much discrimination as (I see) now, so much racism, so much persecution against Hispanics.”

He wants to vote “to make changes here in the state of Arizona.” “If we don’t vote, nothing will change,” Manuel told me at a citizenship drive organized by Mi Familia Vota this past Saturday in Guadalupe, Arizona.

Meanwhile, in Phoenix, the ONE Arizona coalition, made up of eleven nonpartisan organizations dedicated to voter registration, education and mobilization, was training young Latino citizens who aspire to hold public office. The attendees are motivated in large part by the anti-immigrant and generally anti-Hispanic atmosphere seen in Arizona in the wake of the state law SB 1070, attacks on ethnic studies, and the abuses of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Norma Alicia Meléndez Arámbula, born in San Francisco, came to Phoenix when she was eight. Now 22, she hopes to become an immigration lawyer, and eventually climb the ladder of public office — with an eye toward an eventual seat in the U.S. Senate.

One of her strongest motivators has been the anti-immigrant climate in Arizona and other parts of the country.
“I’m motivated because many of my relatives are undocumented, many of my friends. I see how they live with the fear of not being able to leave the house, how some people take advantage of their fear. I want to show them that I can represent them, in one way or another, that even though they don’t have papers, there’s a way to resolve things without them having to skulk around like criminals,” Meléndez said.

The New America Leaders Project was founded to be a workshop in leadership for these young people. The project’s founding director, Sayu Bhojwani, told me that there’s a need not just to have immigrants in public office, but immigrants “who reflect the needs and interests of our communities” and who come from the same communities they hope to represent. Since 2010, she said, immigrants are not viewed just as voters who should be mobilized to vote for others, “but as direct participants with a seat at the decision-making table.”

As the Republican primary campaign continues and the candidates continue their march to the far right on immigration, here in Arizona numerous organizations are focusing their efforts on making sure that eligible Hispanics become citizens; that those who are already citizens sign up to vote; and that, in general, Hispanics get involved in the political process at all levels, including as candidates.

Take, for example, the Mi Familia Vota citizenship drive held last Saturday in the town of Guadalupe. (Guadalupe is located between Tempe and Phoenix, and is one of the towns under the jurisdiction of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.)
Abigail Duarte, state coordinator for Mi Familia Vota, explained that since 2010, amidst the clamor over SB 1070, she’s certainly seen interest in naturalization spike. Mi Familia Vota has had to conduct more citizenship drives than they’d originally scheduled.

“There’s always been a lot of interest in these events, but we’ve definitely seen that this year it’s gone up, since January, and people have started to call us more often.”

The anti-immigrant climate has been a factor. “Many people disagree with what they’re seeing, they feel personally attacked, and they want to make it clear that they’re part of this country, and they’re taking the final step of becoming citizens and voting,” Duarte added.

Osvaldo Ulises Sierra was naturalized last January 27th, and said that his decision had “a lot to do with anti-immigrant politics, because as a citizen you can demand more of your representatives in government, and it gives more security to you and your family.”

He said he won’t be able to vote for any Republican in November because the current frontrunner for the presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, “says one thing one day and another the next.” While President Barack Obama hasn’t kept his promise to promote immigration reform, he’s planning to vote for him “because at least there was a promise, and you hope that he can come around to keeping it. On the other (Republican) side, there’s nothing.”


Since 2010, in the wake of SB 1070’s passage, ONE Arizona (whose members include Mi Familia Vota, Voto Latino, NALEO, and Promise Arizona) has led efforts to ensure that as many Latinos who are eligible to vote as possible get registered-and that once registered, they turn out to vote, especially “low-propensity” sectors of the Latino voter pool. They succeeded in mobilizing these “low-propensity” Latino voters in the midterm elections in 2010 and in Phoenix’s municipal elections in 2011, which resulted in the election of a Democratic mayor and a second Hispanic, Daniel Valenzuela, on the city council.

“And we’ll keep it up this year. It’s a sustainable process. Phoenix has been a microcosm of what we can achieve and we hope to expand it (to the rest of the state),” said Leticia de la Vara, director of ONE Arizona.

Manuel, for his part, said that all around Arizona people are talking about the need to vote. “They’ve heard the attacks that (Republicans) are making against Hispanics, about putting an electric fence (on the border) and that Romney wants to let the police round everybody up and kick them out.”

He said of Obama that even though he hasn’t kept his promise of reform, “we have to give him another chance because the others (the Republicans) are just attacking us too much.”


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MIAMI (AP)Univision and Disney are in talks to create a 24-hour news channel for Latinos in English, two sources close to the negotiations said Monday.

Both sources declined to go on the record because they were not authorized to speak.

The goal would be to begin broadcasting before the November presidential election. That would give the network plenty of time to provide political coverage geared toward Hispanics, who are considered influential swing voters in states like Florida, New Mexico and Colorado.

Univision is the nation’s largest Spanish-language media company, and it has long prided itself on its Spanish-language content. In recent years, officials have quietly acknowledged that in order to maintain and expand viewership, they need to provide content to second- and third-generation Latinos who speak English as their first language.

Univision officials and ABC News spokesman Jeff Schneider declined to comment on Monday.

The move comes in response to the 2010 census, which showed U.S. born Latinos made up nearly 60 percent of the growth in the nation’s Hispanic population over the last decade.

The proposed deal also reflects the stepped up efforts of mainstream media companies to target Latinos. Fox News added its Fox News Latino website in 2010 and Huffington Post now has an online Huffpost LatinoVoices site. Meanwhile, NBC Universal has increased the cross-pollination between its NBC News division and that of its Spanish language network, Telemundo.

Top Telemundo news anchor Jose Diaz-Balart has anchored NBC News and MSNBC programs. NBC also recently unveiled its NBC Latino tumblr website in English. Univision News also has a tumblr English site, and a small but growing social media presence.

Jorge Plasencia, vice chair of the National Council of La Raza and CEO of the Hispanic marketing firm Republica, which includes Univision among its clients, said he believes that a news channel in English would fulfill a niche.

“There’s nearly 50 million Latinos in the U.S. They do want to know what’s going on in Mexico, Puerto Rico and all over Latin America. The major networks don’t cover that news,” he said. “It’s hard for those networks to go into those issues in depth because they’re trying reach all of America.”

Univision and other Spanish-language networks have provided significant coverage of Latin America for their viewers. Plasencia believes second- and third-generation Latinos are still interested in that coverage, but they want it in English.

For Latinos who live in cities like Los Angeles, New York and Miami that have large Hispanic populations, local broadcasts often have Latino anchors and cover stories that are particularly relevant to the Hispanic community. But the national broadcasts are lagging in that type of coverage, he added.

“That’s why I think this and Huffpost LatinoVoices exist, because there’s an appetite,” Plasencia said.

Last month, SiriusXM’s Cristina Radio channel launched a new all-English political show, hosted by top Democratic and Republican Latina analysts, as well as a bilingual foreign affairs program out of Washington. Other online news sites are continuing to pop up.

Voxxi, a new Hispanic online news magazine, was throwing its launch party Tuesday at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Plasencia noted that the controversy over Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, over his aggressive efforts to seek out illegal immigrants, has received significant coverage on Spanish-language networks but not so much in English.

“This network will take our issues and make them mainstream because many other people besides Latinos may be watching,” he said.

Roberto Suro, a professor of journalism and public policy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, says finding the right audience may be tricky.

“There are several assumptions here. Is there room for another all-news channel? And within the Hispanic market, is there enough demand for an all-news channel?” Suro said.

Already CNN, Fox and MSNB compete in English. CNN en Espanol provides 24 hour coverage in Spanish.

The new channel would reflect the growing trend toward more niche audiences, but he added that the English-speaking Latino market is much more diverse than the Spanish-language market, Suro said.

“There’s a longstanding effort to try and create content for English speaking Latinos,” Suro said. “This is a very broad population segment, and the question is, “what is the identity? Is it heavily Hispanic, all about news about Latinos? Or is it who delivers the news? It’s an elusive brand.”

***Please note this is me simply sharing the story but if you want more info on the story from the Associated Press, then simply click here, thanks http://tampa.cbslocal.com/2012/02/06/univision-disney-look-at-english-news-channel/


AP Television Writer Lynn Elber and AP Business Writer Ryan Nakashima in Los Angeles contributed to this report. Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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