If you live in Nye County, Nevada, particularly in Pahrump, the name Shirley Matson is probably familiar to you. Ms. Matson is the Nye County Tax Assessor. She was elected Assessor of Nye County last November for a four-year term.
According to Doug McMurdo of the Las Vegas Review-Journal Matson on March 11, 2011 e-mailed Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo requesting he investigate the citizenship or work visa status of workers building a new county jail near the Assessor’s office. She wrote her staff and the public
“can plainly see that the construction employees are all Mexican/Latino non-English speaking and I’m getting complaints.”
DeMeo responded telling Matson her comments were blatantly racist and her request unconstitutional.
The Nye County Commissioners called a special meeting on March 25 to address the issue.
Commissioner Joni Eastley said:
“Your racially charged and insensitive comments were wholly inappropriate and volatile and they were sent under the seal of Nye County,” said the longtime commissioner from Tonopah. “Your subsequent statements have served to distract citizens from the real problems of illegal immigration because the focus has shifted. We don’t tolerate racists.”
Commissioner Dan Schinhofen asked Matson whether she could see how her statements might be construed as racially insensitive.
Matson answered it never dawned on her they could have.
Schinhofen replied “Its bigoted to me.”
Former Assessor, Sandy Musselman, is quoted as saying:
“We had Hispanic workers working near us for the 12 years I was assessor, and for the 26 years I worked in the assessor’s office and we never had a complaint in all that time,” said Musselman. “She’s delusional.”
But Matson named Ben Gully, a retired volunteer with the Sheriff’s Office, as a complainant to her. Called to testify at the special hearing Gully denied he complained to Matson or questioned the citizenship of the construction workers.
“I made no complaint at all,” said Gully, explaining that he spoke with Matson on March 11 after ”Mrs. Matson flagged me down (and asked) why were all the Mexicans working over there. She said she was a Tea Party Minuteman. She was excited.”
Matson ran for election partially based on her views of illegal immigrants. She outlined her experiences in San Diego in other emails broadly circulated in Nye County before last fall’s election. In those messages, which resurfaced last week adding fuel to the fire, she calls illegal immigrants locusts that devour the nation’s resources, says pregnant Latinas are the nation’s “greatest enemies” and says “other things the dirty filthy Mexican/Latino illegals do is steal Social Security numbers.”
Another e-mail from Matson said, “These young girls will spread their legs to anyone to get an anchor baby growing in their bellies so they can illegally cross the border and suck up the U.S. citizen tax base resource everywhere they go in the U.S.” [Free Arizona]
I was trying to protect Nye County, explained Matson. “She recounted once working for a San Diego construction company that was fined “millions of dollars” for hiring illegal immigrants,” reported McMurdo, “I wanted to save the county embarrassment,” she said.
The Nye County Commissioners formally reprimanded Matson on a 5-0 vote following the hearing. [Nye County Website]
Matson’s daughter, Brooke Matson, formerly married to an Hispanic man, told the Pahrump Valley Times “In my opinion she is a racist.”
Recall Matson papers were filed July 6, 2011 with the Nye County Clerk by Pahrump resident, Stephanie Lopez. [Pahrump Valley Times] Signatures on the recall petition began July 9, 2011 in front of Romero’s Restaurant in Pahrump. Lopez, organizer of the recall movement, said 3,700 signatures were necessary for a successful recall, but 5,000 are being sought. 50-60 volunteers have expressed their willingness to help the recall. Organization for the recall is being primarily conducted by Lopez on her Facebook page, Positive Pahrump. In a press release Lopez announced:
“Around March 2011, Matson made communications containing racially charged and insensitive comments concerning the immigration status of workers at the County jail construction site, the nature of which were wholly inappropriate and volatile and caused public backlash,’ the press statement says. “She used the county email system under the county seal in her official capacity to make these communications. These communications and other statements to defend her actions have served to distract citizens from addressing the real problems with illegal immigration because the focus has shifted to outrageous generalizations such as those made by her.”
“She was formally reprimanded for negatively impacting the public’s perception of our county. Her actions make her unfit for public office and have eroded the public trust and confidence in her office. Her refusal to accept responsibility for her conduct make this recall necessary to remove her from public service in order to restore dignity to the office and county as a whole,” the statement says.
If any volunteers want to help Lopez and her cause, she can be reached at 775-727-8229 or through Facebook.Tweet