GOP Lawmakers Taking Sides in Feud Between Cochise County and Pesky Publisher
The Cochise County Record website and its crotchety publisher have been buzzing around southern Arizona officials for a couple of years now like flies on an old burro.
One of several police pictures taken from the Larry Dever crash site in 2012.
One of those ticked-off officials, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, has managed to convince several Republican state lawmakers to take sides in the feud by making it more difficult for everyone in the state to obtain certain public records.
Publisher David Morgan, who just may enjoy public records even more than we do, launched his website in 2011 and promptly engaged in a pissing match with Cochise County officials over all sorts of government information he wants to see and/or publish.
But the officials, including the Cochise County Sheriff's Office, often don't want to turn over the goods.
As a way of retaliating against the information blockade and making waves in general, Morgan published photos of the dead body of former Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever, who died in a one-car crash on September 18 near Ash Fork.
The sheriff who replaced Dever, Mark Dannels, took the time to bend the ears of lawmakers about Arizona's shockingly permissive public records law while the legislators were on a tour to get information about problems at the international border. That's right -- the long list of border issues was put on hold for at least a little while as Dannels pushed his records-hiding agenda.
Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels
Most unfortunately, as far as we're concerned, Dannels seems to have found some willing proxies in the form of GOP lawmakers Carl Seel, Gail Griffin and Bob Thorpe, according to pay-walled November article in the Arizona Capitol Times. We left messages for Griffin, whose from Sierra Vista, and Bob Thorpe, and we'll let you know if they call back.