July 29th, 2010
11:23 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Russell Pearce

The Arizona state senator and co-author of SB 1070 says he'll appeal a U.S. District Court decision blocking parts of the controversial immigration law and, if necessary, will appeal decisions all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

A profile published Wednesday by The Arizona Republic indicates that Pearce’s persistence has been built by his years as a survivor. He endured a childhood of poverty in Mesa, Arizona. As a sheriff’s deputy, he survived a 1977 fight with three Latino teenagers that resulted in his losing a finger and being shot in the chest. Decades later, an illegal immigrant nearly killed his son, who was also in law enforcement. (Pearce told the paper neither event shaped his views on immigration.) In 2001, Pearce survived a heart attack and stroke that left him with slurred speech and impaired walking. He campaigned for state senator even though he struggled to walk with a cane.

The piece describes Pearce’s political development. A prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Pearce is described as a follower of Mormon theorist W. Cleon Skousen. Skousen often quoted by Fox News host and fellow Mormon Glenn Beck taught that the Founding Fathers were inspired by God when they wrote the Constitution. "I believe [the Constitution] was inspired by God by our Founders to put together the freedom-loving constitutional republic that we have,” Pearce said. "I believe in recognizing certain God-given rights. I've believed that from a young age."

Critics describe Pearce as a stubborn negotiator and fierce opponent. Some go so far as to suggest that he is untruthful. Pearce remains undaunted. He told The Republic he is a man who helped create "a better place for folks who live in America, that love freedom, appreciate the founding principles of this country.” “"The candle of liberty," he said, "has always been kept lit by a vigilant few."

AZ Central.com: Pearce thrusts state into political storm

KGUN.com: Elected officials react to ruling on immigration law

Paul Chagolla

The deputy chief of Arizona’s Maricopa County sheriff’s office will oversee the unit’s training programs for enforcing the parts of SB 1070 that go into effect on Thursday. Chagolla is a former spokesman for controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He is the first Hispanic in the history of the sheriff’s office to have achieved the rank of deputy chief. He oversees all of the county’s training programs.

A sergeant who rose to the rank of captain, Chagolla was known for his abrupt manner during his six years as Arpaio’s spokesman. The liberal newspaper The New Times of Phoenix called Chagolla “Sheriff Roadblock” and criticized the lack of information flow through the department. “He did the best that could do under very difficult circumstances,” said Maricopa County media relations director Lisa Allen in 2008 when Chagolla was promoted to deputy chief. “But I think there are a lot of people in the media that are glad to see him go.”

AZ Central.com: How would immigration scenarios play out in real life?

Phoenix New Times: Chagolla transferred out of media work

Susan Bolton

The U.S. district judge has placed a partial injunction on the portion of SB 1070 that requires law enforcement to inquire about a person’s immigration status if there is reason to believe the person is in the country illegally. Bolton was recommended by Republican Sen. Jon Kyl before she was nominated as a judge by President Clinton, according to a profile by Phoenix's Fox 10 News.

Described as tough but impartial, Bolton was tasked with assessing six lawsuits filed against Arizona over the bill including the federal government’s challenge. Opponents of her decision will now appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of the United States. Bolton's decision left standing sections of SB 1070 that allow Arizona authorities to stop day workers from lining up on city streets; provide for sanctions for employers who hire illegal immigrants; and forbid so-called sanctuary cities from providing haven to illegal immigrants within the state of Arizona. Still, some supporters of the law say the damage is done. “She has stopped the heart of this bill,” Republican attorney general candidate Andrew Thomas told CNN. Thomas advised Russell Pearce as he drafted SB 1070.

My foxphoenix.com: Profile: Who is U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton?

Matthew Adams

The grandson of famed photographer Ansel Adams does not believe that a cache of glass negatives was taken by his grandfather. Adams, who runs the Ansel Adams Gallery, said the evidence supporting the claims of a team of experts is purely circumstantial. “I don’t think that they’ve proven that they are (authentic),” he said. “… And I don’t know that you could ever prove that they are."

Last year, Adams was shown the data collected by commercial painter Rick Norsigian. Norsigian purchased the 60 glass negatives in 2000 for $45 at a garage sale. Adams immediately skeptical said he wanted more evidence, including carbon dating, to prove the glass negatives were real. He also doubted that notations on the folders containing the negatives and attributed to his grandmother were really in her handwriting. “I just looked at them myself,” Adams said. “I did not hire experts."

CNN: Controversy over 'lost' Ansel Adams photos turns negative

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. socialsaint

    Russell Pearce does not represent the views of all Mormons. Some of us think the Arizona law goes way too far and doesn't show sufficient compassion for individuals facing economic problems in their countries of origin.

    July 29, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Gvii

      Doesn't matter if he doesn't represent most mormons. What he puts forth represents the sentiments of the majority of this country in the matters of illegal immigration.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Adam

    The guy is Mormon, why am I not surprised.

    July 29, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • socialsaint

      The Mormon Church is officially neutral on the issue of immigration, but has released a statement saying that lawmakers should show compassion and that they should keep in mind all of God's children. As a Mormon, I can tell you that I don't think the Arizona law does either of those things and that the law should never have been proposed.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rara

    "neither event shaped his views on immigration"......yeah right the only thing he didn't blame on illegals is his heat attack.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ivan

    Russell Pearce is one of those people, you know, the angry old WASP racists, who will be remembered by history for all the wrong reasons. He is on the wrong side of both history and demographics and if the GOP keeps harboring and supporting KKK members like him, they are doomed for generations to come. See California, learn your lesson, Billy Bob.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gvii

      Wow, the race card again. Maybe one day you can grow up and find a real argument to stand on, but I doubt it.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kansas Yahoo

      Just by saying "race card" does not invalidate Ivan's point. If I say you are playing the race card-card, do I win the argument?

      July 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • jehop

      Well let's just take a look.
      Frst at Russel Pearce: 1. He is not a member of KKK and you need to contact your lawyer re making statements like that. 2.He professes to be a Mormon, thus can not be characterized as WhiteAnglo-Saxon Protestant. 3. Russel Pearce is one of 2 people elected to the State Senate, and thus has quite substantial support, notwithstanding some of his personal characteristics.
      Now let's take a look at California: declining universities (once the pride of the Nation); swamped with illegal and other kinds of immigration, suffocated by social welfare costs. suffering from the impacts (water, air pollution, income inequality etc.) of excess population.
      Ivan, settle down, wash out the racial and religious colorations, and do really, seriously look at California. Lots to be learned there. Facts, Ivan, facts. This is the future staring you in the face and it is not what most people were anticipating, is it?

      July 29, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. idiot savant az

    What a sad old man. He's really angry over these things. His legacy will be that of hatred towards Hispanics.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    The only way, that the citizens of the US will get their country back, is to fight for it. Thanks for taking the fight in the courts, as far as necessary.

    It is pathetic, that we allow a foreign power to take over our country, with illegal immigration.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      Huuummm.... I wonder how your ancestors got here did they grow out of a tree??? Or came here illegally as well????? Makes me wonder.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SilverHair

    Looks like most employers in Arizona don't use the INS e-verify prior to hiring anyone. I suggest that Arizona residents and employers are active participants in creating the illegal problem. Seems like you want labor at slave rates and just ignore the consequences.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cris

    sorry bud its time to move on..maybe his neo nazi pals could have a rally and help him out!

    July 29, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |

    The Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857 shows us that Mormons are not a peaceful/nuetral people. They murdered 120 people, mostly women and children who were just looking for a better life (sound familiar).
    And, they wear magical underware!

    July 29, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • socialsaint

      The LDS Church is nuetral on immigration and the Church itself didn't carry out the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Some bad Mormons don't make all Mormons bad.

      July 29, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Love Arizona

    Go Russel! We support you all the way to Supreme Court. We will win by 5-4. There are already 18 more states will follow Arizona lead. Make America a lawful country where law is above everything.

    Those illegals are using our Christianity compassion so that we can forgive them. But no, we shouldn't. Because law is law. Whoever breaks the law, must be punished.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • kuate

      Yeah.. reminds me of law in middle east where stoning people is normal...the law is the law right? no need for compassion there either?

      July 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      Love Arizona We do not need your forgiveness because you are not God. But what else can be expected from someone that cannot refer to others with respect. I am sure you dont mind THOSE people cleaning your garden or cooking your food when you go eat out or have them clean your house. I see so much complaining that illiigal immigrants take away your jobs but are you willing to do the jobs they do? Didn't think so. THOSE people came here to give their families a better life in what way can that affect you. They pay taxes just like anyone else. And no offense but you do not sound like a christian to me. Maybe you should go back and read the bible my dear friend.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa E.

      Some people should really review all of the things that Jesus said about people who were quoting the law to him. He wasn't very impressed. I don't think Jesus cares very much for our laws.

      July 29, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. TampaMan

    As usual, a CNN writer here makes clever use of the method of redirection and character assassination in an attempt to deflect readers from the REAL issue.
    The issue here being the LAW duly reviewed and passed by the elected representative of the legislature of the Great State of Arizona.
    The issue here being Federal neglect of the rights and property of American citizens and Federal failure to do anything about it except to conduct a bickering contest.
    The issue here being Federal interference in the efforts of a State to correct an unfortunate and difficult situation WITHIN ITS OWN BORDERS.
    The issue is a microcosm of Federal intent to benefit every group on the planet EXCEPT taxpaying law abiding American citizens.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • jehop

      Well done. Although we must give CNN high marks for the breadth and depth of their general reportage, CNN is in this instance, guilty of that journalistic crime of attempting to manage the news. CNN could have done a better job of backgrounding Russel Pearce and restricted the commentary to his contribution to the legislation. I would have been more interested in that, and could have done my own homework on his background and its influence on the writing of the legislation. Naive, eh? But you are right. The message has been lost in a vitriolic fog.

      July 29, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Michelle

    CNN – How do you just ignore Russell Pearce's ties to white supremacists? This used to disqualify people from any place of importance. Now they write laws and no one brings it up.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. guest

    I guarantee you that if there was a way for people to become legal residents they will do it. Its not that they dont want to its that they cant. Tell me how much I have to pay to get my residency and I will pay it. Sad to say but most of the people I see in the corners asking for money are not hispanic. This nations was form by immigrants but i guess people forgot that because we are so focused on hatred. Most of the western states belonged to Mexico to begin with, so technically they did not cross the border, the border crossed them. But lets not forget that everyone will have there judgement day. And if you think that living with all that hatred inside you makes you a better person, than more power to you. God bless you.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Another Fisherman's Perspective

    Sometimes we readilly jump to the aid of trade-offs. Helping – and showing kindness to our neighbors can be done via legal means. We do not have to support illegality.fishing trip

    July 31, 2010 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. zan

    " ... the Church itself didn't carry out the Mountain Meadows Massacre."

    True. But Russell Pearce's great-grandfather (James Pearce) & great-great grandfather (Capt. Harrison Pearce) did. Harrison was one of the Massacre's leaders & most fanatical instigators. He exhorted the other killers to "see all the Gentyles naked and lashed on their backs and have the Sun scorch them to death by inches." When James finally hesitated before butchering one of the last little girls, Harrison, his father, shot him in the face. He survived, disfigured, and went to Arizona to take Navajo land.

    Now, just as Charles Manson's spawn wouldn't be responsible for the Manson killings, Russell Pearce isn't responsible for the mass murders of his criminal antecedents. But he is proud of them. His own character defects are having destructive social consequences, & we need to know the roots of his fanaticism.

    August 6, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
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