Pima County Attorney rules board of supervisors can't censure Al - Tucson News Now

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Pima County Attorney rules board of supervisors can't censure Ally Miller

Ally Miller (Source: Pima County Board of Supervisors) Ally Miller (Source: Pima County Board of Supervisors)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Pima County's Chief Civil Deputy has ruled the county's board of supervisors cannot censure District 1 supervisor Ally Miller over a controversial Facebook comment.

Andrew Flagg also said Miller did not violate any rules when she sent an email to him and others requesting all correspondence concerning the censure question. He said it was a request and not a demand which would have broken conduct rules.

The board was set to vote at a meeting Tuesday, Sept. 5, to censure Miller. Even if they were able to censure Miller, it would have been merely a public statement of disapproval and would not have affected Miller's ability to do her job.

The meeting came weeks after Miller created controversy when she commented on a Facebook post in the wake of race-fueled violence in Virginia.

On Saturday, Aug. 12, Heather Heyer died when she was struck by a car that plowed into a crowd of people protesting the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

That day, Miller took to social media and proclaimed that she's "white and proud of it." The comment was in response to President Trump's comments in reaction to the tragedy and appeared to come from her personal Facebook account.

Miller's complete comment read:

"I'm sick and tired of being hit for being white....It is all about making us feel like we need to apologize. I am WHITE-and proud of it! No apologies necessary."

She provided no follow-up comment, no clarification and no separate post to her own Facebook page.

Miller then failed to show up for a board meeting on Monday, Aug. 21, and ignored calls for an apology from the community and board members.

She has also failed to respond to Tucson New Now's multiple requests for comment however immediately following the meeting she told us "I think our First Amendment rights and First Amendment rights to free speech are alive and well."

However this afternoon Miller issued a statement calling it a "witch hunt" by the Democratic members of the board and the media because of her support for President Donald Trump.

Her full statement is below:

The Pima County Board of Supervisors attempted to limit free speech for conservative District 1 board member Supervisor Ally Miller. 

Supervisor Miller posted from her personal page on a Saturday night and Democrat Board members, Sharon Bronson, Richard Elias and Ramon Valadez decided to have Miller investigated and attempted to censure Miller for exercising her First Amendment rights from her personal face book account.

The comment was in response to the Charlottesville violence. Miller posted from her personal facebook account, in response to a personal friend’s post related to the immediate attacks on President Donald Trump and his white supporters for the violence that occurred.  Her post was as follows:

“I’m sick and tired of being hit for being white….It is all about making us feel like we need to apologize. I am WHITE-and proud of it! No apologies necessary.”

The local media ran wild with the allegations that Miller was a white supremacist, racist and Nazi. Vile and profanity filled facebook posts and emails were directed at Miller. 

Board Chair Sharon Bronson ordered an investigation into Miller’s conduct and there were demands calling for Miller to resign.  Bronson also directed Democrat County Attorney Barbara LaWall’s office to explore legal remedies against Miller.

Miller stated, “This was nothing more than a political witch hunt from the Democrat Board majority and the local media because I am a supporter of President Donald Trump.”  Miller went on to say, “It is not surprising that this board and a majority of local media supporting the Democratic board wish to silence my rights to free speech or any opinions they disagree with.”  

Miller insisted the County Attorney’s legal opinions be released to the public today.  Content from those opinions clearly indicates that Miller has been completely vindicated for any wrongdoing after two weeks of nonstop coverage from local newspapers, television stations and bloggers.   Miller was elected in 2012 as an outsider to the GOP establishment and is well known for her efforts to expose corruption and crony deals in Pima County.

The memos from the county attorney's office, which were made public today, can be read HERE and HERE.

Dozens of people have showed up at the past two board meetings to express their displeasure and outrage at Miller's statements, some of them calling on her to resign. There was also a request for a recall.

Some constituents, although a minority, showed up to support, if not what she said, at least her right to say it.

"Hate speech has to be protected or no speech is protected," said Chris Cole, in opposition to a censure or discipline.

Board Chair Sharon Bronson, who called for the opinion, said she did it to respond to the many questions from constituents about what action it will take.

"She exercised her First Amendment rights and appears to have done it legally," said Bronson. "So we needed to get that information out that if we were not taking action, why we were not."

The door does not appear to be completely closed. Flagg left open the possibility the county can pass a resolution condemning the speech.

Bronson said those conversations are being held.

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