Thursday, June 18, 2009

A lot more on Gascon

A day after Gascon's announcement, there are a lot of takes on what his leaving means and how it will impact Mesa. First, he will be out by the end of July. So Mesa will have to work fast to find a replacement, or go with an interim chief for the time being.

It looks like the three Deputy chiefs will have their chance since Mayor Smith has said that whoever gets the job will be tasked to build on Gascon's foundation. The two Mesa police unions seem to have their eyes set on John Meza, who is currently in charge of operations. Meza in Mesa has a nice ring to it, but no one should blame Mesa if they choose to do a national search.

The other two interesting takes on Gascon leaving is the Republic's review of his legacy, and the concern from Latino leaders that his departure will be a setback. Both are done through the lense of race, which I think does more harm than good. First, Gascon did well by anyone's standards. His legacy review didn't need to be a who's who of hispanic surnames. Sort of smacks of lazy reporting.

Second, as for the concern from Latino leaders, it looks like the early front runner is a Latino, so I don't see their concern. The real problem is that the illegal immigration debate has become closely tied to ethnic backgrounds and stereotypes. It is hard to separate the two, but every time the media goes to a pro-hispanic organization to get opinions on illegal immigration, the rift is only going to get worse. Case in point, look at Gascon. Since Spanish was his first language, there were people out there that thought, no matter what, he won't be a strong advocate for enforcing immigration laws. The fact is, he did. Meanwhile, he also lowered crime 30% and homicides 50%.