Pima County rejects Stonegarden grant money

For the first time in more than a decade, the Pima County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday rejected a federal Operation Stonegarden grant, with one supervisor saying it was in response to President Trump’s immigration policies.

District 4 Supervisor Steve Christy, who represents Green Valley and part of Sahuarita, was the lone no in the 3-1 vote to reject the $1.4 million grant. District 1 Supervisor Ally Miller did not attend the meeting.

The federal grant program promotes cooperation among Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol and local law enforcement agencies. The money also finances overtime and mileage costs and equipment for joint operations among agencies tasked with securing the country’s international borders.

Over the last 12 years, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department has accepted 44 Stonegarden grants totaling $16.4 million.

The call to the public at Tuesday’s meeting was dramatic, lasting almost four hours, with more than 50 people signing up to speak, most about the grant.

Christy, a Republican, said the grant provides vital funding to the county sheriff. He said those who spoke against the grant don’t represent all of Pima County. He added that insults lobbed at the Sheriff’s Department were regrettable.

“It’s deplorable, and political grandstanding at the worst, and sheer melodrama at best,” Christy said.

Read the entire Green Valley News and Sun article here. Originally published Sept. 4, 2018.