Evan Mecham


Evan Mecham

Infobox Governor
name= Evan Mecham


office= Governor of Arizona
order= 21st
term_start= January 6 1987
term_end= April 4 1988
predecessor= Bruce Babbitt
successor= Rose Perica Mofford
birth_date= birth date|1924|05|12
birth_place= Duchesne, Utah
death_date= death date and age|2008|02|21|1924|05|12
death_place=Phoenix, Arizonacite news |last=Sullivan |first=Patricia |title=Evan Mecham, 83; Was Removed as Arizona Governor |publisher=The Washington Post|date=February 23, 2008 |url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/22/AR2008022202925.html]
party= Republican
profession= Automotive dealer
spouse= Florence Lambert Mecham
religion= Mormon

Evan Mecham (IPAEng|ˈmiːkəm; May 12 1924February 21 2008) was the 21st Governor of Arizona. A decorated veteran of World War II, Mecham earned his living as an automotive dealership owner and occasional newspaper publisher. Periodic runs for political office earned him a reputation as a perennial candidate along with the nickname of "The Harold Stassen of Arizona" before he was elected governor, under the Republican banner.Johnson pg 38] As governor, Mecham was plagued by controversy and became the first U.S. governor to simultaneously face removal from office through impeachment, a scheduled recall election, and a felony indictment.Watkins pg 11] He was the first Arizona governor to be impeached.

Mecham served one term as a state senator before beginning a string of unsuccessful runs for public office. His victory during the 1986 election began with a surprise win of the Republican nomination, followed by a split of the Democratic party during the general election, resulting in a 3-way race. While governor, Mecham became known for statements and actions that were widely perceived as insensitive to minorities.Johnson pg 36] Among these actions were the cancellation of the state's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, attributing high divorce rates to working women, and his defense of the word "pickaninny." In reaction to these events, a boycott of Arizona was organized, damaging the state's tourism industry by the cancellation of multiple conventions. A rift between the governor and fellow Republicans in the Arizona Legislature developed after a series of questionable political appointments prompted accusations of cronyism against the governor.

Having served from January 6 1987 to April 4 1988, Mecham was removed from office following conviction in his impeachment trial of charges of the obstruction of justice and the misuse of government funds. A later criminal trial acquitted Mecham of related charges. Following his removal from office, Mecham remained active in politics for nearly a decade. During this time, he served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention and made his final runs for Governor and to the U.S. Senate.

Early life and business career

Evan Mecham was born to Mormon parents in Mountain Home, Utah, and raised on his family's farm. [cite news |last=Flannery |first=Pat |coauthors=Crawford, Amanda J. |title=Former Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham dies at 83 |publisher=The Arizona Republic |date=February 22, 2008 ] The youngest of five boys, with one younger sister, he graduated as salutatorian from Altamont High School in 1942 and enrolled in Utah State Agricultural College (now Utah State University) on an agricultural scholarship. Mecham left college and joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in January 1943. He was trained as a P-38 Lightning fighter pilot before being transferred to England, where he flew P-51 Mustangs. Mecham was shot down on March 7 1945 while flying escort on a photo reconnaissance mission and was held as a prisoner of war for 22 days.Watkins pg 25] Mecham returned to the United States after recovering from injuries sustained in the lead-up to his capture, and received an Air Medal and Purple Heart for his service. Mecham married Florence Lambert in May 1945 and was discharged in December of the same year. cite journal |title=The Lost Coattails |journal=Time |date=September 21 1962 |volume=80 |pages=24] Together, the couple raised seven children: Suzanne, Dennis, Christine, Eric, Teresa, Kyle, and Lance.Johnson pg 37]

As a result of his Mormon upbringing, Mecham developed and maintained a strong religious faith. He taught Sunday school and served as a lay bishop in the LDS church from 1957 to 1961. Part of his faith was that God would guide his actions and provide him the strength needed to endure. These beliefs were in part demonstrated during his time as Governor when one staff member reported hearing a conversation in Mecham's office before entering the room to find the Governor alone. Another staff member, Donna Carlson, reported that Mecham believed he had obtained office by divine right and was thus not overly concerned about the feelings of others. [Watkins pg 27-28]

Mecham enrolled at Arizona State College (now Arizona State University) in 1947 and majored in management and economics. In 1950, he left school 16 credit hours short of a degree to start Mecham Pontiac and Rambler in Ajo.Jennings pg 169] Mecham relocated to Glendale in 1954 where he acquired and operated a Pontiac dealership until he sold it in March 1988. As a dealer, he appeared regularly in local television commercials and adopted his trademark motto of "If you can't deal with Mecham, you just can't deal." The Glendale dealership served as a base for other family-owned businesses, including Mecham Racing, Hauahaupan Mining Company and several auto dealerships in other states.

In addition to his auto dealership, Mecham owned several short-lived newspapers. One of his papers, the "Evening American", was printed as a Phoenix daily with maximum circulation of 27,000 before being becoming a weekly journal. As a newspaper publisher trying to break into the Phoenix and Tucson markets, Mecham testified before the U.S. Senate Antitrust and Monopoly subcommittee on July 13 1967. This testimony was in response to a bill sponsored by U.S. Senator Carl Hayden that provided partial immunity from the Sherman Antitrust Act, allowing an economically healthy newspaper and one that was failing to form a joint venture combining advertising, printing, and distribution operations while maintaining separate reporting and editorial functions. While supporters of the bill claimed it would prevent newspaper failures, Mecham opposed the bill claiming "The major reason that this bill has been presented is because of the power of the press over the decisions of voters at the polls, and the desire of politicians to court the favor of those who control these monopolistic presses." He also added that "the tools of monopoly are in the common advertising and the common circulation department." [cite news |first=John |last=Herbers |title=Arizona Publisher Says Papers In His State Dictate to Politicians |publisher=The New York Times |page=41:2 |date=July 14 1967]

Political career

Mecham first sought elected office in 1952, while still living in Ajo, with an unsuccessful run for the Arizona House of Representatives. After moving to Glendale, Mecham used the recognition gained from his television appearances to be elected to the Arizona Senate during the 1960 election. After one term as a state senator, in 1962 Mecham attempted to capture the U.S. Senate seat held by Carl Hayden, running on a platform demanding the United States withdraw from the United Nations and critical of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling limiting school prayer. The campaign first saw Mecham win a victory in the Republican primary over Stephen Shadegg, a former campaign manager for Barry Goldwater, as Goldwater remained neutral. In the general election, Mecham received only tepid support from his party due to the value of Hayden's Senate seniority in passing legislation for the proposed Central Arizona Project. Mecham was defeated in the general election with 45% of the vote. [cite news |title=The Voting for United States Senate |publisher=The New York Times |date=November 11 1962]

Following his campaign against Hayden, Mecham made an unsuccessful run for state chairman of the Republican party in 1963 and unsuccessful runs for governor of Arizona in 1964, 1974, 1978, and 1982. [Jennings pg 169, 171] In these four runs, Mecham only gained the Republican nomination for the 1978 election. [Watkins pg 28-36] He developed a political doctrine supporting Jeffersonian democracy and advocating elimination of income taxes, return of federal lands to state control, removing federal involvement in education, and putting welfare under state control.cite news |first=John |last=Dougherty |title=None Dare Call it Reason: Arizona is a Hotbed of Constitutionalist Dissent, And Here are Four Who Fuel the Patriot Flame |publisher=Phoenix New Times |date=July 6 1995 |url=http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/issues/1995-07-06/news/feature.html] In 1982, Mecham wrote his first book, "Come Back America", in which he discusses his earlier life and political views.Johnson pg 39]

In his fifth try for governor, Mecham ran as a political outsider using his standard platform advocating political reform and tax relief. The candidate's core support came from fellow Mormons and the ultraconservative John Birch Society. A sizable portion of the state's retired population joined this core support with Mecham's promises of tax cuts. Because of Arizona's substantial transient population—only about half of the registered voters in 1986 were living in the state in 1980—Mecham's record of previous attempts to gain elected office was not widely known by the voters. cite news |first=Alan |last=Weisman |title=Up in Arms in Arizona |date=November 1 1987 |publisher=The New York Times |page=VI 50:4] The primary election also saw the lowest voter turnout in nearly forty years due to unusual rain. Mecham overcame a fifteen-point deficit in the polls to win the Republican nomination with 54% of the vote. [Watkins pg 48] Johnson pg 40]

The general election of 1986 saw a three-way race for governor. The Democratic Party had selected the state Superintendent of Public Education, Carolyn Warner, as its candidate. Dissatisfaction among the state's business and political leadership with both candidates allowed Bill Schultz, a real estate developer and Democrat who had withdrawn from the Democratic primary due to a family illness,Jennings pg 171] to obtain enough petition signatures to run as an independent candidate. During the campaign, the Arizona Automobile Dealers Association's ethics committee placed Mecham's dealership on probation for being chronically tardy in responding to complaints. [Watkins pg 56] The Democratic split caused by Schultz's reentry allowed his campaign to survive. [cite journal |title=Wild Cards |journal=Time |date=September 29 1986 |volume=128 |pages=35] Mecham won the election with a 40% plurality while Warner and Schultz received 34% and 26% respectively. [cite book |title=State of Arizona Official Canvass - General Election - November 4, 1986 |publisher=Arizona Secretary of State |url=http://www.azsos.gov/election/1986/General/Canvass1986GE.pdf]

Governorship

Mecham was inaugurated on January 6 1987. Among his successes were the opening of a trade office in Taiwan that allowed for a US$63 million cotton export contract and strengthening drug abuse prevention efforts through legislation allowing the governor to appoint pro tem judges to deal with drug-related issues. The governor also spearheaded an effort to raise the speed limit on rural highways from 55 mph (90 km/h) to 65 mph (105 km/h) and supported a legislative bill to prevent takeover of Arizona businesses. During Mecham's term of office, a US$157 million budget deficit was eliminated by reductions in state spending. cite journal |author=Ronald Grover & Mark Ivey |title=When Evan Mecham Talks, Arizona Shudders |journal=Business Week |date=September 28 1987 |pages=110,112–113] cite journal |author=Jon D. Hull |title=Evan Mecham, Please Go Home |journal=Time |date=November 9 1987 |volume=130 |pages=61]

Despite these accomplishments, Mecham faced difficulties during much of his term. Because he had run as a political outsider, other Republicans only had party loyalty as a reason to follow the new governor. This lack of strong loyalty made it easy for his support to fall as a series of political gaffes damaged Mecham's popularity.

Martin Luther King Day

Evan Mecham gained national attention several days after inauguration by fulfilling his campaign promise to cancel a paid MLK Day holiday for state employees. The holiday had been created in May 1986 by executive order from the previous governor, Bruce Babbitt, after the state legislature had voted not to create the holiday. Following the creation of the holiday, the state Attorney General's office issued an opinion that the paid holiday was illegal and threatened to sue the incoming governor over the cost of the paid holiday as it had not been approved by the legislature. Despite the issues of the legality of how the holiday was created, Mecham replied to comments from civil rights activists and the Black community after the cancellation by saying "King doesn't deserve a holiday." This was followed by him telling a group of black community leaders, "You folks don't need another holiday. What you folks need are jobs."cite journal |author=Hawkins, Steve L. |title=Inside the Wacky World of Evan Mecham |journal=U.S. News & World Report |date=February 22 1988 |volume=104 |pages=29–30] [Watkins pg 62-63,65]

In reaction to the cancellation, a protest march to the state capital was held on January 19 1987, the day the holiday would have occurred. Conventions scheduled to be held in Arizona were canceled, and performer Stevie Wonder announced a boycott of the state. After several months of criticism, Mecham declared a non-paid holiday on the third Sunday in January. Reaction in the state to the non-paid holiday was generally poor.

Relations with legislature

Despite both houses of the state legislature being controlled by fellow Republicans, Mecham was on poor terms with state lawmakers. An initial irritant for the lawmakers were some nominations to executive offices by Mecham that were considered low quality and were made without consulting legislative leaders. Among these nominations was Alberto Rodriguez as superintendent of the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control, while he was under investigation for murder. [Watkins pg 77] Other questionable nominations included the director of the Department of Revenue whose company was in arrears by US$25,000 on employment compensation payments, an appointee for head of prison construction who had served prison time for armed robbery, [Watkins pg 158-159] and a former Marine, nominated as a state investigator, who had been court-martialled twice. Other political appointees who caused Mecham embarrassment were an education adviser, James Cooper, who told a legislative committee "If a student wants to say the world is flat, the teacher doesn't have the right to prove otherwise,"cite news |last=Lindsey
first=Robert |title=A `Hot' Week For Governor of Arizona |date=March 9 1987 |publisher=The New York Times |page=I 12:4
] and Sam Steiger, the Governor's special assistant, who was charged with extortion.

Mecham's legislative initiatives suffered through his poor relations with the legislature. The governor's proposals to cut taxes were foiled when the legislature refused to cut the state's five per cent sales tax by one percentage point. Much of the opposition to this tax cut was due to the governor having no proposals for what programs were to be affected by the reduction in tax revenues when the legislation was introduced, thus preventing individual lawmakers from determining how their constituencies would be affected by the change. [Watkins pg 66-67] When Mecham later proposed a US$2.3 billion budget which attempted to reduce spending by cutting education funding and freezing state employee salaries, it was increased by US$200 million by the legislature. Mecham helped sour relations by vetoing some bills that had been passed by the legislature. After Senate Majority Leader Bob Usdane saw a bill he had sponsored vetoed, he stated "I'd say that the cooperation was not great...but it's his prerogative". House Majority Leader Jim Ratliff, who had previously been a Mecham supporter, responded to one of his bills being vetoed with "My only message to the governor is, if he thinks that people advising him to veto [my bill] can help him run the state of Arizona better than I can, then let them." [Watkins pg 120-121]

Other incidents

Besides the uproar caused by the MLK Day cancellation, Mecham committed other political faux pas. Claims of prejudice were made against Mecham after he defended the use of the word "pickaninny" to describe black children, claimed that high divorce rates were caused by working women, claimed America is a Christian nation to a Jewish audience, and said a group of visiting Japanese businessmen got "round eyes" after being told of the number of golf courses in Arizona. In response to claims that he was a racist, Mecham said, "I've got black friends. I employ black people. I don't employ them because they are black; I employ them because they are the best people who applied for the [http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/cotton_picking/ cotton-picking] job." These and other statements only strengthened the allegations of racism made against the governor following the MLK day cancellation.

Mecham made an issue of his relationship with the press. Claiming that many of his problems were caused by media enemies he had made during previous runs for political office, the governor stated, "The Phoenix newspaper monopoly has had my political destruction as its goal for many years." [Watkins pg 106] The governor also claimed, "Every daily newspaper in the state endorsed a different candidate besides me. It's taking them a little time to get used to the idea that I was the people's choice." In response to his perceived mistreatment by the press, Mecham attempted to ban a journalist from his press conferences. John Kolbe, a political columnist for the "Phoenix Gazette" and brother of Congressman Jim Kolbe, was declared a "non-person" after a February 25 1987 column critical of Mecham's performance at the National Governors Association. The Governor then refused to acknowledge the presence of the columnist or answer his questions at a press conference. Mecham left the conference after other reporters repeated Kolbe's questions. Another incident occurred during a televised event in which a reporter questioned the governor's integrity, prompting Mecham to reply, "Don't you ever ask me for a true statement again."

In September 1987, Mecham received further national attention when "Doonesbury" began a six strip series of comics lampooning the governor. The first strip depicted Mecham saying, "My! What a cute little pickaninny!" while patting the head of a black child. Other strips satirized Mecham's tolerance of others, political appointments, and the state's loss of tourism business. For a short time, Mecham considered suing the strip's creator, but later said he had decided to leave the dispute "where it belongs—the funny pages."

Throughout his administration, Mecham expressed concern about possible eavesdropping on his private communications. A senior member of Mecham's staff broke his leg after falling through a false ceiling he had been crawling over, looking for covert listening devices. A private investigator was hired to sweep the governor's offices looking for bugs. The Governor was quoted as saying, "Whenever I'm in my house or my office, I always have a radio on. It keeps the lasers out." After this was reported, a political cartoon in the "Arizona Republic" depicted the governor leaving his house outfitted for laser tag. When asked about this by reporters, Attorney General Bob Corbin replied in amusement, "We don't have any ray gun pointed at him."

Economic impact

Publicity over Mecham's faux pas led to the state experiencing adverse economic effects. Tourism suffered when groups and conventions transferred their meetings out of Arizona. In November 1987, a Phoenix-area convention bureau claimed that Mecham's policies on Martin Luther King Day had caused the cancellation of 45 conventions worth over US$25 million. One of these cancellations was a National Basketball Association convention in Phoenix. In response to the cancellation, Mecham was quoted to say "Well, the N.B.A.. I guess they forget how many white people they get coming to watch them play."Johnson pg 41]

Public perception of Mecham also slowed down economic development outside the tourism industry. Several corporations looking for locations to build new facilities, including US West and SEMATECH, expressed concern that the governor's statements might indicate problems in the local business climate. The executive director of the Phoenix Economic Growth Corp., Ioanna T. Morfessis, stated "When companies look at a state's environment they don't want anything that sounds to them like the state isn't working right." As the controversy surrounding the governor built even the business interests within the state abandoned support for him. As the chairman of the state chamber of commerce, William L. Raby, observed "We usually back Republicans, but he's a different kind of Republican."

Efforts to remove him

While criticism plagued Governor Mecham for most of his time in office, it was not until he had been in office for six months that his nominal allies began to break ranks with him. In July 1987, the same month the recall effort officially began, a group of thirteen rank-and-file Republican members of the state legislature met to discuss the governor's image problems. Eleven members of the group, dubbed the "Dirty Dozen" by the local press, issued a joint statement critical of many of the governor's efforts. [Watkins pg 135-137] Calls for the governor's resignation followed several months afterwards, with U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater leading the way on October 9 1987. As Mecham's problems continued to build, other Arizona political leaders, including Congressman Jon Kyl and Senator John McCain, made appeals for Mecham to step down, but the governor steadfastly refused to leave office. [Watkins pg 253]

Recall drive

The "Mecham Watchdog Committee" was organized in January 1987 and changed its name to the "Mecham Recall Committee" in May 1987. By Arizona law, recall petitions could not be circulated until an official had been in office 180 days. These petitions needed a number of signatures equal to 25% of votes cast during the official's last election to cause a recall election. On July 6 1987, the first day that petitions could be circulated, the recall committee began an effort to collect 350,000 signatures, significantly more than the 216,746 signatures required. The recall committee was led by Ed Buck, a registered Republican and gay businessman living in the Phoenix area. In response, Mecham claimed the recall supporters were "a band of homosexuals and dissident Democrats". Mecham supporters printed bumper stickers reading "Queer Ed Buck's Recall" after learning of the recall leader's sexual orientation. Mecham also mailed 25,000 letters during September to conservatives nationwide requesting that they move to Arizona and support him in case a recall election were held. [Watkins pg 127-130,159-160]

The recall tended to gather signatures in bursts, with most signatures occurring shortly after some action of the governor offended a segment of the state's voters. Anger toward the governor grew to the point that on August 15, Mecham's appearance at Sun Devil Stadium before an exhibition NFL game resulted in cries of "Recall! Recall!" combined with catcalls. By mid-September, signatures in excess of the minimum required had been collected at roadside locations despite the 115°F (46°C) afternoon heat of the Arizona summer. [Watkins pg 143-144] Signature collection continued for the full 120-day period allowed for by state law. On November 2, the recall committee turned in 32,401 petitions containing 388,988 signatures (more than the 343,913 votes Mecham had received during his election). After the Secretary of State's office received the petitions, Mecham refused to waive verification of the signatures, forcing the petitions to be sent to the counties for verification. On January 26 1988, Secretary of State Rose Mofford reported to Mecham that 301,032 signatures had been verified—a quantity sufficient to force a recall election. [Watkins pg 194-195,274] A recall election was scheduled for May 17 1988, and former Republican Congressman John Rhodes agreed to run against Mecham.Johnson pg 42]

Impeachment and criminal charges

On October 21 1987, the "Arizona Republic" ran a story claiming that Mecham had failed to report a US$350,000 loan from local real-estate developer Barry Wolfson to Mecham's election campaign as required by campaign financing laws. [Watkins pg 175] These claims were added to a grand jury investigation into allegations that Mecham had loaned US$80,000 in public funds to help his auto dealership.Jennings pg 173] Upon learning of the alleged Wolfson loan, the Speaker of Arizona's House of Representatives hired a special counsel to investigate the charges. [Watkins pg 179-182] The third and final impeachment charge involved an alleged death threat to a government official by Horace Lee Watkins, a Mecham appointee, in November 1987. When Mecham was informed of the threat, it was reported that he instructed the head of the Arizona Department of Public Safety not to provide information on the incident to the Attorney General. [Watkins pg 199-200]

On January 8 1988, the grand jury issued indictments against Evan Mecham and Willard Mecham, the Governor's brother and campaign finance manager, charging three counts of perjury, two counts of fraud, and one count of failing to report a campaign contribution. Mecham and his brother faced 22 years of prison if convicted on all charges.Watkins pg 238] [cite journal |title=Arizona:Indicting a Wild-Card Governor|journal=Newsweek |date=January 8 1988 |volume=111 |pages=31]

The special counsel appointed by the Speaker of the House delivered his report to the House on January 15. Based on this report, the House began hearings into possible impeachment proceedings on January 19. These resulted in the passing of House Resolution 2002 on February 8 by a vote of 46 to 14. cite journal |author=Jon D. Hull |title=An Impeachment Vote in Arizona |journal=Time |date=February 15 1988 |volume=131 |pages=22] Upon Mecham's impeachment by the House, his powers as governor were suspended and Secretary of State Mofford became acting governor. Arizona has no lieutenant governor, so the secretary of state stands first in the order of succession.

The Arizona State Senate convened as a court of impeachment on February 29. [Watkins pg 320] The charges against Mecham in the impeachment trial were obstruction of justice, filing a false statement, and misuse of government funds. The false filings charge was dropped by the Senate on a vote of 16 to 12. [Watkins pg 346-347] On April 4, the Senate convicted Mecham on obstruction of justice by a vote of 21 to 9, and on misusing government funds by a vote of 26 to 4. The senate then voted 17 to 12 to disqualify Mecham from holding state office again, but this was short of the two-thirds majority required for passage. [Watkins pg 354, 356-357] Upon conviction, Mecham was removed from office and Rose Mofford became Governor of Arizona. The recall election was canceled by the Arizona Supreme Court in a 4 to 1 ruling that the constitutionally mandated order of succession took precedence over the state's recall provisions. [cite news |title=Arizona's Supreme Court Blocks A Special Gubernatorial Election |pages=A20:1 |publisher=The New York Times |date=April 13 1988]

Mecham's criminal trial started on June 2, and he was acquitted on all six felony charges on June 10. [Watkins pg 367]

After office

Following his removal from office and acquittal in his criminal trial, Mecham remained active in politics for several years. Mecham served as an at-large delegate to the 1988 Republican National Convention [cite news |title=Mecham Wins Spot at G.O.P. Convention |publisher=The New York Times |date=May 15 1988 |pages=A22:5] and in 1990 he made an unsuccessful attempt to regain the Governor's office. In 1992, he made a run for the U.S. Senate as an independent against incumbent John McCain, receiving 145,361 votes (about 10%). In 1995, Mecham became chairman of the Constitutionalist Networking Center, a group attempting to create a grassroots organization called the Constitutionally Unified Republic for Everybody (CURE). CURE advocated political candidates supporting a strict interpretation of the United States Constitution.Mecham spent several years attempting to start a new newspaper, but was unable to secure sufficient financial backing. [cite news |first=David |last=Pasztor |title=Ev's Latest Inkling Mecham Still Longs to be a Newspaper Tycoon |publisher=Phoenix New Times |date=December 15 1993 |url=http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/issues/1993-12-15/news3.html] In 1999, Mecham wrote his third book, "Wrongful Impeachment". Health issues, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, first reported in 2004, forced Mecham's withdrawal from the public arena and his commitment to the dementia unit of the Arizona State Veteran Home.cite news
title=Ex-Arizona governor Evan Mecham shows symptoms of dementia
publisher=Associated Press
date=October 20 2004
url=http://www.kvoa.com/global/story.asp?s=2457101&ClientType=Print
] Evan Mecham died on February 21 2008.cite news
last=Flannery
first=Pat
title=Former Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham has died
publisher=The Arizona Republic
date=February 22 2008
]

The cancelled Martin Luther King Day served as a point of controversy for years following Mecham's removal from office. In 1989, an Arizona law making a MLK holiday by canceling the state's Columbus Day holiday was challenged by two different groups, one opposed to the King holiday due to King's alleged communist ties and the other composed of Italian-Americans opposed to the removal of the Columbus Day holiday, and the new holiday was forced to undergo voter approval. [cite news
title=Arizona Holiday for Dr. King May Face Ballot Test in 1990
publisher=The New York Times
page=A28
date=September 26 1989
] Neither of the two competing ballot initiatives during the 1990 election—one removing the Columbus Day holiday to make way for a new MLK day holiday, the other to add an extra paid holiday—managed to obtain a required majority even though 65% of voters supported at least one form of the holiday. In response to the voters' rejection of a King holiday, Arizona tourist officials estimated that concert and convention business worth US$190 million were canceled and Super Bowl XXVII, worth an estimated US$150 million to the state, was moved to Pasadena, California. Another initiative in 1992 succeeded in creation of a statewide MLK day holiday. [cite news
first=Jane
last=Gross
title=Arizona Hopes Holiday for King Will Mend Its Image; People are still embarrassed by a former governor.
publisher=The New York Times
page=16
date=January 17 1993
]

Arizona's election laws were affected by Mecham's legacy. In 1988, Arizona voters passed an initiative that amended the state constitution to require a runoff election when no candidate received a majority of the votes in a general election. [cite web
title=State of Arizona Official Canvass - General Election - November 8, 1988
publisher=Arizona Secretary of State
url=http://www.azsos.gov/election/1988/General/Canvass1988GE.pdf
others = Revised January 13 1989
format=PDF
] This runoff requirement came into play during the 1990 election of Fife Symington, [cite web
title=State of Arizona Official Canvass - General Election - November 6, 1990
publisher=Arizona Secretary of State
url=http://www.azsos.gov/election/1990/General/Canvass1990GE.pdf
] who defeated Democratic candidate Terry Goddard but fell just shy of the 50% + 1 requirement due to a minor independent candidate. The amendment requiring the runoff was repealed by the voters in 1992. [cite web
title=State of Arizona Official Canvass - General Election - November 3, 1992
publisher=Arizona Secretary of State
url=http://www.azsos.gov/election/1992/General/Canvass1992GE.pdf
]

Notes

References

*cite book |last=Jennings |first=Marianne M. |chapter=Evan Mecham |editor=Myers, John L. (ed.) |title=The Arizona governors, 1912-1990 |year=1989 |publisher=Heritage Publishers |location=Phoenix |isbn=0-929690-05-2 |pages=(pg 168-174)
*cite book |last=Johnson |first=James W. |others=illustrations by David `Fitz' Fitzsimmons |title=Arizona Politicians: The Noble and the Notorious |year=2002 |publisher=University of Arizona Press |isbn=0-8165-2203-0
*cite book |last=Watkins |first=Ronald J.|title=High Crimes and Misdemeanors : The Term and Trials of Former Governor Evan Mecham|publisher=William Morrow & Co |location=New York |year=1990 |isbn=0-688-09051-6

Further reading

* Ronald J. Bellus (1988), "Silence Cannot be Misquoted".
*cite journal |author= |title=‘Doonesbury’ in Arizona |journal=Newsweek |date=14 September 1987 |volume=110 |pages=41
* “Arizona rejects 'Marx Brothers' rule”, "The Times", October 22 1987.
*cite journal |author=Peter Goudinoff & Sheila Tobias |title=Arizona Airhead |journal=The New Republic |date=October 26 1987 |volume=197 |pages=15–16
*cite journal |author=James N. Baker, Randy Collier |title=Evan Mecham's Phoenix Follies |journal=Newsweek |date=March 14 1988 |volume=111 |pages=23
*cite journal |author=Alleen Pace Nilsen |title=What did Evan Mecham ask the Pope? - the jokes that impeached a governor |journal=Washington Monthly |month=May |year=1988 |volume=20 |pages=21 |url=http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1316/is_n4_v20/ai_6676339
*cite journal |author=Keneth V. Smith |title=The resurrection of Evan Mecham |journal=National Review |month=May |year=1989 |volume=41 |pages=42–43 |url=http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_n9_v41/ai_7600921
*cite news |last=Kiser |first=Jim |title=Mecham lesson: Beware of overconfident politicians |date=October 24 2004 |publisher=Arizona Daily Star |url=http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/kiser/44696.php
*cite news |last=Garcia |first=Joseph |title=Let me tell you why I've always been fond of Evan Mecham |date=October 25 2004 |publisher=Tucson Citizen |url=http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/news/local/102504a4_garcia

Bibliography

*cite book |author=Evan Mecham |title=Come Back America |publisher=M P Press|year=1982|id=
*cite book |author=Evan Mecham |title=Impeachment: The Arizona Conspiracy |publisher=M P Press|year=1988|id=
*cite book |author=Evan Mecham |title=Wrongful Impeachment |publisher=Prime News Press |year=1999 |isbn=978-1-929360-00-0

External links

* [http://jeff.scott.tripod.com/mecham.html Governor Evan Mecham] from Arizona History Reference Guides
* [http://www.lib.az.us/links/Kingholiday.cfm Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday] from [http://www.lib.az.us/index.cfm Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records] .

Persondata
NAME=Mecham, Evan
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Governor of Arizona (1987-1988)
DATE OF BIRTH=May 12 1924
PLACE OF BIRTH=Duchesne, Utah
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=


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  • Evan Mecham — (* 12. Mai 1924 in Duchesne, Utah; † 21. Februar 2008 in Phoenix, Arizona) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker (Republikanische Partei) und von 1987 bis 1988 Gouverneur des Bundesstaates Arizona. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Frühe Jahre und politischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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