Mitchell Letter On Arredondo by huffpostpol


									            Case 2:12-cr-01055-FJM Document 48-4 Filed 01/16/13 Page 5 of 14

1222 E. Verlea Drive Tempe, Arizona                              85282

November 28,2012

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter relates to United States v. Paul Ben Arredondo, No. CR-12-1055 PHX FJM.

     I am writing this letter of support for Ben Arredondo, a former student of mine at Tempe High in
1965. I have been friends of the entire Arredondo family for close to 60 years.

     Ben and Ruthann Arredondo live about two blocks from my house and they own a rental house next
door to mine. I have known Ben as a teacher, friend, and neighbor since 1965. In addition Ben has a
brother, sister-in-law and several nieces who live in my neighborhood. Two years ago Ruthann
accompanied my wife, who has Alzheimer's, to our sister city in Ecuador. This trip would not have been
successful without Ruthann's help, care and concern. My son, Mark, shared an office with Ben while
both served on the Tempe City CounciL. Therefore, I have a unique perspective on his character.

     Ben has a lifetime of commitment to public service both as a teacher, coach and elected officiaL. Ben
was a successful teacher, football and wrestling coach for nearly 20 years. He served over 10 years on
the Tempe Elementary School governing board, fulfilled an unexpired term on the Maricopa County
Board of Supervisors, served 16 years on the Tempe City Council (two years as Vice-Mayor), and served
one term in the Arizona House of Representatives. I believe that he received the most votes of all
candidates in all of his elections.

     Ben's public service commitment has been recognized by both former students and also a number of
community        organizations. Arizona State University College of Education awarded him the Distinguished
Achievement award in 1993; Valle del Sol presented him with their Hispanic Leadership Award; Los
Abogados Hispanic Bar Association awarded him their Community Service Award; the Associated
Minority Contractors of America placed him in their Hall of Fame; and the City of Tempe named a park
after Ben for his service to youth, education, and sports.

    The Arredondo family has a long and distinguished history in Tempe. Ben is a third generation
                                                                            living in Tempe. Arredondo
resident of Tempe with eight siblings and six generations of Arredondo's still

Elementary School in Tempe is named after Ben's parents, Alejandro and Josefa. All six of Alejandro and
Josefa's sons have worked in education. Other Arredondo's, (brother, sister-in-law, and nieces) have
served in elected positions.

     Ben's record of achievement has been recognized by many groups and individuals. As a teacher and
former elected official, however, I can attest that the true measure of one's success is the impact one
makes on the students taught and constituents served. Ben was beloved as both a teacher and athletic
coach. He instilled pride and a winning attitude in those he coached and the many students he took
under his wing. As an elected official he was best known for his interest and legislation for those who
            Case 2:12-cr-01055-FJM Document 48-4 Filed 01/16/13 Page 6 of 14

were most needy and underrepresented in the community. He was a relentless advocate for the
homeless, youth, poor and minorities. His public service has literally benefited tens of thousands of
people, city and school facilities were built and programs enacted that otherwise would not have been
considered. For example, I can think of a city park and multi-use athletic facility that would not have
existed except for Ben's advocacy. The salute of Tempe's diversity is celebrated because of Ben's work
to bring the "Tardeada" as an annual event. It just celebrated its 14th year. Ben worked with the Tempe
History Museum to put together "The Barrios" exhibit, a history of Hispanics and their neighborhoods in
Tempe. Tempe may be unique among cities in the Valley that reduced speeds at all times on major
arterial streets in front of high schools because as Ben put it, students are constantly using the facilities-
not just during school hours. In addition, Ben ensured that Tempe's human service organizations and
Victory Acres social service center received proper funding for their programs.

   Ben recognizes his actions resulting in criminal charges were illegal and his friends know that he
accepts full responsibility. The shame he feels is real; he very rarely leaves his home, answers his phone
or is seen in public. He regrets that his actions have tarnished the Arredondo name and that he has let
down people who had believed and depended on him. He has real remorse in the disappointment that
he has caused with his former students and athletes. Ben wants very much to restore his good name
and reestablish his credibility.

    In the recent movie "Lincoln" one is struck by the number of actions taken by President Lincoln that
were of questionable legality but justified because they resulted in the 13th amendment of the U.S.
Constitution that ended slavery. I do believe that many of Ben's actions were more to further his
legislative agenda of helping those in need than for helping himself. While his actions did result in
relatively small illegitimate personal gains they also resulted in larger legitimate gains for those who
needed assistance. This does not justify the actions but helps explain why a person of such standing
stooped to such means.

    I have always known Ben to have a reputation for honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity. Therefore I
have no reservations about writing this letter of support and feel that he wil not disappoint those of us
who have put our trust in him.


Tempe High School Teacher (1965-1992)

Tempe City Council (1970-1978)

Tempe Mayor (1978-1994)

Arizona State Senator (1998-2006)

u.s. Congressman (2006-2010)

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