An Arizona Republican National Committeeman called a Tucson conservative talk radio program last week and advised an Arizona Democratic County Chairperson that if he wanted to learn about crime in Tucson he should "ask the brown people."
Bruce Ash called the Jon Justice show to discuss Proposition 200, an unfunded proposition on the Arizona ballot which would mandate a hiring ratio of 2.4 police officers per 1,000 residents. But for the first few minutes of his on-air time Ash was focused on belittling Jeff Rogers, Pima County Democratic Party Chair. Ash said Rogers "sits in his little house in midtown, with his kids who go to school, with his little job...in his little neighborhood," and then, in a startling assertion, accused Rogers of being "blind to all the crime" because Rogers didn't life in a Hispanic neighborhood: "It may not be happening in his neighborhood but you ask any of the brown people who live on the South side, or the West side, or the South Central side of Tucson." Statistics tracking crime and neighborhoods kept by the Tucson Police Department do not support Ash's suggestion that crime is higher in Hispanic neighborhoods.
The Arizona political blog Rum, Romanism and Rebellion posted a link to Ash's on-air comments. Blogger Ted Prezelski said that while he found Ash's comments "condescending and patronizing" he was willing to give Ash the benefit of the doubt: "I don't think Ash was trying to be racist. But I think he was clumsy and insensitive while he was making a point about who was affected by crime in our community." Prezelski added that by voicing these misleading statements, Ash has not only done an injustice to the targeted communities but to all of Tucson: "These sort of assumptions about crime are not only hurtful to South and West siders, but detrimental to our city as a whole."