Editorial: Pull the plug on Tohono O'odham jail
"I spent about 90 minutes in the desert last week with three other journalists, San Xavier District Chairman Austin Nunez, Texas developers James M. Parkey and Chris Cuny (an engineer), and the SXD’s principal planner, Mark Pugh. They showed us the site of the proposed detention facility.

Nunez, who has been chairman of the District for 22 years, is a good leader, and a good leader watches out for his people first. This facility (let’s call it a prison) is his decision, not that of the Tohono O’odham Nation. He does not answer to them on this, he told us. The Nation was approached about a prison more than two years ago and its leaders sent the idea over to Austin because his district needed the revenue. If you’ve driven much on SXD land, you know this is true.

Nunez, however, does not appear to be calling all the shots. Several times during our interview the Texas businessmen answered questions that should have been answered by Nunez. They interrupted him, they talked over him, they tried to control him

At this point, Nunez needs to pull the plug and take the financial hit for what they’ve dumped into this. Then wait for the economy to bounce back and develop Pima Mine Road with the kind of retail we wish we had in Sahuarita. They could get it done a lot quicker and cleaner than the town’s been able to so far, I’d guess.

When Nunez says, “We’re too far down the road to stop this,” he doesn�t say it with conviction. I’ve heard him. He’s channeling Texas, and I think he’s getting a little tired of these guys."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Chairman Nunez needs to watch out for his own (The Sahuarita Sun 5/19)

Also Today:
Opponents ramp up fight against detention center (The Sahuarita Sun 5/20)

Related Stories:
Local officials concerned about Tohono O'odham jail (5/18)
Tohono O'odham Nation won't move jail facility site (5/12)
Opposition to Tohono O’odham Nation jail grows (5/6)
Town to discuss jail with Tohono O'odham Nation (5/1)
Residents oppose Tohono O'odham jail facility (4/28)