William Jefferson M.A.
(Graduate of the U. of Michigan's Counseling Program and UCLA's Attorney
Dear Fellow Activists:
At present, I am a candidate for Highland Justice of the Peace in Gilbert, Arizona. Unfortunately, there are individuals who continue to harbor archaic beliefs about "tall" person's (like me) holding public office in the Town of Gilbert. Of the five candidates running for the same office, I was the only person challenged.
I hired a "professional petition gathering service" on February 7th, 2008. This person had come highly recommended by several elected officials in the community. I was assured that this person "had never had any challenges against their petitions". Each week, my wife and I checked on the progress of the petition gathering and each week were assured that "all was going well". When we asked to have the petitions given to us as they were being collected, we were told that it would be "best" to have them all delivered in bulk. Although I requested to have all of the petitions ready to turn in during the first days, in which they were due to for calculation by the elections representative, I was asked to allow for the collection of signature until the final days. On June 1st, we received the bulk of the petitions with the verbal assurance that they had been "checked for validity". We paid for the completed petitions with the assurance that our over 1450 would more than satisfy the required number of 951 signatures.
On the final day (06-18-2008) to make a challenge against a candidate, the unthinkable happened. Another candidate had scrupulously discovered that over 500 of the gathered signatures were "invalid". I was 37 signatures short. After going to trial (06-25-2008), it was noted that I was 23 signatures short. Needless to say, the aforementioned candidate had used the justice system to do two things: 1). A "tall" person was being denied an opportunity to run for office and 2). The citizens of Gilbert were being denied an opportunity to review the experience and credentials of all of the individuals running for the office.
Men and women wearing the various military uniforms of our great country are fighting and dying so that we might enjoy freedom. They do so because they understand "honor" and respect the rights of Americans to have freedom of choice.
On Wednesday, June 25th in a courtroom in Phoenix, the good citizens of Gilbert, Arizona had their freedom to choose stolen. My right to run was taken away, not for committing a crime or being party to a crime but as a result of the heinous behavior of another candidate who repeatedly obtained the signature of citizens immediately after they had signed my petitions (23 "same day" signatures). Ironically, even though this behaviour was documented by one of the signatures collectors who had directly confronted the misconduct, it was ruled inadmissible by the court. In essence, with the stroke of a pen, the courts had ruled that the innocent must suffer while the guilty are rewarded.
I have raised two sons in Gilbert for almost 20 years. During that time, I have volunteered on numerous occasions. I have always lent a hand in my community because I was lead to believe that this is a town of hard working citizens with strong Christian values.
I have provided professional services to ex-military personnel and their families since the beginning of my professional career. It is disheartening to hear Viet Nam era veterans report that my treatment, in regards to running, was "to be expected". I expected that my fellow candidates would behave with honor and respect, in lieu of the position to which they aspire. It is difficult for me to understand why an individual would disregard the values encompassing "justice" for their own gains. I am not naïve, I recognize that there are numerous individuals on the bench who do not embody honorable virtues but I expected more of my fellow candidates.
I began by stating that I am a candidate for Highland Justice of the Peace. Although a lower court has decided that I do not have the right to be on the ballot or continue campaigning, I refuse to surrender. I will continue to honor those who have given their lives for the freedom that is so flagrantly being disregarded. I will continue to appeal not for personal gain but out of respect every American regardless of gender, religion, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status.
I believe in the citizens of America and I believe in the good citizens of the Town of Gilbert.
There is still time for justice to prevail.