Posted on March 3, 2005

They Come Armed With Border Concerns — And A .38

Mark Kimble, Tucson Citizen, Mar. 3

SIERRA VISTA — What was supposed to have been a two-hour meeting finally ended after running over by more than 20 minutes.

Yet people were not ready to leave.

A crowd surrounded Jim Kolbe, jabbing fingers toward him. Several told him they were not one bit happy with what he has been doing.

“I’ve got to wear a .38 to take my son to the bus stop,” Cindy Kolb said. “I am pissed,” she added, although that was pretty clear.

“Tell the Mexican government they can haul the bodies out themselves,” a man shouted at Kolbe.

And numerous heated side arguments were going on all around the large seminar room at Buena High School.

Welcome to a discussion about the border — Cochise County-style.

For the two decades he’s been in the U.S. House, Kolbe has gone around his district twice a year, giving the people he represents a chance to speak to him about whatever is on their minds.


Later, Kolb told me what it’s like living where she does, in the community of Hereford just eight miles from the border.

“This is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it’s horrible,” she said. “I wouldn’t leave my gate without my .38.

“You can’t walk out there in these fields without running into a group of illegals — any day, any hour,” she added. “Mr. Kolbe doesn’t have the picture. I’ve seen groups of 50, and not one of them speak Spanish. Who are these people?”

In addition to the constant presence of trespassers, Kolb is deeply troubled by the mountains of trash — clothing, food containers, pornographic magazines, condoms and “every medication you can imagine.”

She has a Web page — — with pictures of the trash-scarred landscape. And she, along with dozens of other residents, takes credit for dumping bags of trash they collected at the front door of Kolbe’s Sierra Vista office.