Thursday, March 27, 2008

MOCO Interview...

I'm going to try something new and a bit different. I'm going to try and interview some folks from time to time and share whatever insights they may have with the readers here.

My first victim... errr... interviewee is someone I consider to be a good friend. I've known him for less than a year, but in his time in the Kingman area he proved to be a solid citizen. He has recently decided to move on out of the area and pursue other interests in California. So this is sort of an 'exit interview' if you will.

Today's interviewee is none other than Brent Frazier. Now many of you don't know Brent and that is fine, he was the local public relations person for Rhodes Homes most recently while working for a firm out of the Phoenix area. Because of that relationship, Brent at times seemed to gain some notoriety -- good or bad depending on who was talking.

While in Kingman, Brent spent time helping the Boys & Girls Club raise money, helped form the organization formed to create more voter awareness and participation -- known as CIVIC, and was involved in other clubs such as Rotary.

Now Brent is a couple of years younger than me and we happen to share some of the same kinds of humor and other interests (mostly political and sports related). So some of the questions you will see asked are somewhat serious and others... well not very serious at all. You are free to interpret the questions and answers in any manner you wish to. This interview was just an idea to have some fun with... but not at anyone's expense other than for the interviewee and the interviewer.

So let's get to know Brent and hear his own words.

Here we go...

MOCO Real: Where were you born, raised, and schooled?? Tell us what you studied in college and share some of your experiences working for the Republican Party. Where do you see yourself and career in 5 years??

Brent: I was born in Lynwood, California. I lived in Southern Cal until the age of 15. We bounced around a couple of times, which was probably a prelude of things to come for me. When we moved to Arizona we moved to Bullhead City. My grandparents had been living there for several years. To this day I’m not quite clear on why the move was made. I went to high school (10-12th grades) at Mohave High School. My freshman year took place at Don Lugo High School in Chino, Ca. Culture shock would be an understatement when describing my initial reaction to school in BHC. I came from an extremely diverse student body of over 2,000 (that’s just my freshman class) to a very homogeneous student population of roughly 1,500 (for the entire school).

Shortly after turning 21 I had an opportunity to move to Tempe. Figuring it was time for a change I jumped on it. I moved into a three bedroom apartment with three other guys in our early 20’s. It was like living in a frat house without the crazy initiation rituals and hazing.

Fast forward to the last 90’s and I am now enrolled in Arizona State University. After changing my major twice after realizing that my academic pursuits weren’t quite in line with my abilities I ended up getting a Bachelors of Interdisciplinary Studies. The great thing about this program is that I got to study two different areas rather than the one that a traditional degree program offers. I studied political science and education.

It was around this time that I had begun getting interested in politics and government and the role that each plays in our daily lives. In high school I couldn’t even tell you the difference between a Democrat or Republican (there’s probably less difference nowadays). While completing my degree I had an opportunity to volunteer for Senator Jon Kyl’s 2000 campaign. I did typical volunteer/intern activities (stuffing envelopes for mailings, answering phones, etc.).

My last semester required me to complete an internship. Given my experience with the Senator’s campaign I was able to intern in his Phoenix office. This was a great experience that allowed me to get to know some great people. In addition to the kinds of duties I described above my primary project was putting together a program where the Senator would invite prospective Service Academy candidates to learn about the opportunities that each of our Service Academies offer and ask questions of representatives from each. We held the program in the auditorium at Dobson High School. It included a video presentation as well as comments from the Senator, and each Academy representative. It went very well and I was quite proud of it. The gentleman I was working under in the Senator’s office was quite pleased as well.

This experience allowed me to obtain a job working for Congressman John Shadegg. He represents Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District which encompasses parts of North Phoenix and Glendale. My worked the front desk and was essentially a glorified intern. However, I was able to get more involved in constituent issues and help them to get problems solved. I was responsible for dealing with issues pertaining to: education, military, veterans affairs and service academy nominations.

At the time I accepted the job working for the Congressman little did I know that just a few short months later one of the single most important events in history (and certainly the most important since I’ve been alive) would take place. I woke up the morning of September 11th as many others did not knowing that anything had, or was about to happen. Upon learning that a terrible and gravely historic event had taken place my thoughts turned to what the day would have in store at the office. It turns out that nothing overly dramatic took place. We spent the entire day in our Chief of Staff’s office watching the news coverage that pervaded every single outlet. We had a few phone calls from folks providing their theories for why this incident took place, but other than that it was not very busy as far as our office was concerned.

The excitement I anticipated on that day did end up coming about however. It was a few weeks later that the anthrax scare we all experienced began to sweep the nation. Several DC offices had scares and at least one U.S. Senator had anthrax exposure. I remember being on conference calls with all the other congressional offices from around the country getting instructions on how to open our mail.

I was one of those moments that you clearly pay attention to what’s being said, but in the back of your mind you know that these things only happen to “other people” and would never happen to “us”. We were told to be aware of suspicious packages that were wrapped in materials other than those typically used, were sent from a foreign nation, had foreign or indistinguishable writing on it as well as a few other clues to look for. The most important being a white powder inside.

Well, as it turns out one day we received such a package. Well, almost. It met all of the indicators we were to look for, accept for the white powder…at least from what I could tell. I handed it over to our office manager who promptly contacted the FBI. The man from the Bureau was there about ten minutes then left. About 20 minutes after he left I was sitting at the front desk when the door opened. In walks a fireman in full gear, oxygen mask…everything. He cleared out our office. I walked out to find 2 fire engines and 3 police cars and someone wrapping red tape that read “Bio-Hazard” around our office. Seeing the stunned and interested faces of the people in neighboring offices was something I’ll never for get.

It turned out that there was nothing in that envelope and the firemen didn’t find anything of concern, but they felt it was best to not take any chances. Needless to say it made for a memorable day.

A couple of months later I had accepted a position with the Arizona Association of Industries (AAI). AAI is a manufacturing trade association and has recently merged with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. When I started I was hired to be groomed to become their in-house lobbyist. Over time the true nature of the association and its financial condition became apparent and our staff began to wither. Over the 2 ½ years I worked there we went from a staff of 9 and 2 contract employees to just me. I was responsible for the day to day operations of the business as well as member recruitment and retention, staffing committee and board meetings, planning and executing events as well as working with our board to coordinate our lobbying efforts.

I left AAI to go back to school. Fast forward two years later and I had been offered and accepted a position with the Arizona Republican Party. I was responsible for working with our internal database and disseminate voter registration lists to candidates and issue campaigns. I also helped out with other projects going on around the office. While I was there I also became the Arizona contact for the RNC’s Voter Vault program.

While working for the Republican Party I met a guy by the name of Kyle Moyer. He owned a firm that ran political campaigns for candidates as well as issue campaigns for corporate clients. Kyle and I had developed a good rapport and discussed some other opportunities for working together prior to him finding out that I’m originally from Mohave County. Once he learned this he asked me how I’d feel about going back. At the time he was expecting some growth in the firm and needed to bring Tony Johnson back to the office in Scottsdale. He and I both figured that given my background in Mohave County it would be a good fit.

As for where I see myself in 5 years I would have to say that I will be married with children and hopefully being in business for myself. Whether or not I’ll still be living in San Diego is another story, but we’ll see.

MOCO Real: Okay, good... the boring stuff is out of the way. Onto more important things.

Next question...

MOCO Real: Many people know that you are a LA Dodgers fan, but if you were a Philadelphia Phillies fan… would you have booed Mike Schmidt during his heyday in Philly??

Brent: If I were a Philadelphia Phillies fan I’d hang myself. Hence, I would be unable to boo Mike Schmidt or anyone else.

MOCO Real: No... sorry... that was the wrong answer. We were looking for something along the lines of, "of course I'd boo Schmidty as it is a requirement for Philly fans to 'boo' the best players we ever had."

Next question...

MOCO Real: You’ve recently resigned from your position with a public relations firm out of Phoenix and have decided to relocate to another state. Why??

Brent: The short answer is that there were no opportunities for me at this time in Kingman. I had been in communication with people from the new hospital about a position similar to the one I held with Kyle Moyer; however, they are not going to be filling that position for a couple of months yet and I had to make a decision right away.

I could have stayed with my firm as I had an offer to go back to Phoenix, but decided that it was time for me to make a change. I had an opportunity to move in with a buddy of mine in San Diego and I took it. Simple as that.

Next question...

MOCO Real: The public relations firm that used to have you in their employ, used to have a fairly notorious client that made news in Mohave County from time to time. I heard the former client of your former employer is a master planned development developer. Is it true that part of your expected duties to the former client were; babysitting his children, making late night Taco Bell runs for him, and piloting his helicopter?? If those rumors were unfounded, would you please describe some of the duties you had??

Brent: Ahhh yes…you’re referring to Rhodes Homes. Yes I had quite an interesting relationship with that client. Actually, he preferred Buffalo Wild Wings to Taco Bell, which meant that I had to head to Bullhead City, as there is no Buffalo Wild Wings in Kingman. Furthermore, he enjoyed going to a good sports bar to watch his favorite teams and sadly, there wasn’t such a place in Kingman so we had to head to Havasu or Bullhead.

As for piloting his helicopter I was supposed to begin lessons to do so just prior to him cutting back on operations in Mohave County. Well, when those cuts got made, guess what else got cut? You guessed it…my helicopter pilot lessons. Darn the luck.

As for other duties…I’d tell you, but I’d have to kill you.

MOCO Real: Well as you know, killing is not allowed at MOCO... so we'll leave it at that.

Next question...

MOCO Real: Will Hawaiian styled shirts ever go out of style??

Brent: Absolutely not. Living out here near the beach has proven this to me. In fact I’ve started collecting cans so that I can save up for my Tommy Bahama wardrobe.

MOCO Real: Good news for my Don Ho section of my wardrobe.

Next question...

MOCO Real: You served on the Board of Directors for the CIVIC group that was formed to promote the benefits of voting and increase participation of voters. That sounds nice and all, but wasn’t it true that the real agenda of the CIVIC group was to pass out brochures to unsuspecting attendees that promoted the new proposed ‘Pravada’ development in Golden Valley??

Brent: In spite of popular belief CIVIC was not intended to promote voter education and participation in the coming elections. It was a secret ploy by Jim Rhodes to sucker the fine people of Kingman into coercing the city council and other elected officials into supporting his Pravada plot. Worked like a charm didn’t it? In the words of John “Hannibal” Smith, “I love it when a plan comes together”.

MOCO Real: Nice 'A' Team reference... takes me back all the way to the fifth grade.

Next question...

MOCO Real: Isn’t it a fact that the ‘brainchild’ behind the formation of CIVIC was Jim Rhodes himself and that he attended each CIVIC meeting and required attendees to learn the secret Jim Rhodes handshake before entering and being duped into the following 90 minute hard sales pitch to reserve lots in ‘Pravada’??

Brent: Actually, Jim didn’t attend the meetings himself, I had a small camera implanted in my eye and a tiny mic inserted in my nose that would allow him to watch the proceedings from the comfort of his limousine. He liked to cruise the Las Vegas strip counting his money and watching CIVIC meetings.

MOCO Real: Well the CIVIC meetings that I have attended were very good, so it does not surprise me that the former client of your former employer would want to stay abreast of the topics at those meetings. And I've heard that he has the kind of money to use at his discretion to pull something like that off.

Next question...

MOCO Real: For some reason you happen to be a Buffalo Bills fan, an embarrassment for you I’m sure. Who would you rather have playing defensive end in their hey-day… Bruce Smith or Reggie White??

Brent: Considering that Bruuuuce actually played for my beloved Bills I’m not going to dis him by saying I’d rather have Reggie. I loved watching Reggie and believe he’s one of the greatest players of all time, but I don’t think he would have done any better for the Bills than Bruuuuuce did. However, given some of Reggie’s public comments in front of government bodies I would have loved to have him speak up for my client at city council meetings.

MOCO Real: Mr. White is peacefully resting in the 'big stadium in the sky' so we won't ever know what he could have contributed at local government meetings.

Next question...

MOCO Real: In your honest assessment… on what exact day will I turn on my water faucet in Kingman only to see exactly zero water run from it because your former employers former client used up all the water??

Brent: I just consulted with my Magic 8-Ball and it has indicated to me that on December 8th 2073 (my 100th birthday) at approximately 5:39am. This is also the day that the final home in Pravada will be constructed and the 10,000,000th resident will have moved to Mohave county.

MOCO Real: Imagine the traffic on Stockton Hill... yeesh!!

Next question...

MOCO Real: In your time here in the Kingman area you proved to be a very popular person and many folks seemed to have known your every move. You became quite a ‘hit’ on the local political scene… some say due to your uncanny ability to ‘stir the stew’… others say due to your former employers former client’s penchant for allegedly enriching wannabe elected officials. An ‘unnamed’ source on a local Internet discussion forum had the following to say… “I do know for a fact that BF (Brent Frazier) has approached at least one candidate trying to give that candidate money.” Dude… how do you answer this allegation??

Brent: Lies…lies…lies. I approached at least 5 candidates and offered to contribute to their campaigns…yours just wasn’t one of them. Sorry dude.

MOCO Real: By the way Brent, you are a lousy 'rumored to be' campaign manager.

Next question...

MOCO Real: Also from the same ‘unnamed’ source came a perceived problem because it was alleged that you (a) attended every City candidate forum, (b) offered to give City candidates money, and (c) attended every City Council meeting. If the above is true then it is a problem in my eyes. You were just living in the Chaparal Mesa subdivision (which is outside of the Kingman city limits) and not eligible to vote in city elections. How dare you, as a citizen of this country, attend these functions and offer to give money to candidate(s)??

Brent: Again, lies…lies…lies. I missed at least one City candidate form. I missed a handful of city council meetings and as I previously stated I offered to contribute to no less than 5 council candidates campaigns.

As for my living in the county and outside of the city limits, guilty as charged.

Next question...

MOCO Real: Obama or Hillary… who are you voting for??

Brent: Isn’t Obama’s full name: Barak Hillarysinsane Obama?

Ok, you’ve pinned me down, and forced me to make a decision. That’s rough for a guy who’s by nature very indecisive. However, if I must make a choice I would say that I’ll be voting for:

Mickey Mouse.

MOCO Real: Well, I do suspect that Mr. Mouse will get some 'write in' votes with the limited choices we are facing in the upcoming elections this year at the national level.

Last question...

MOCO Real: Okay… you’ve moved on to what you think will be greener pastures for you. What conditions would have to change for consideration of ever living in the Kingman area again??

Brent: In all seriousness, had there been even one opportunity for me to earn a decent income with a company that had growth opportunities for me I might very well still be living in Kingman (to the dismay of several people…ok, person, who regularly reads your blog).

As I stated earlier, I tried to get a job that would keep me there, but nothing panned out. I mean, sure, I could get a job there. There are some jobs, but nothing that one could consider a career; nothing that would allow me to own a home, support a family, or enjoy the kinds of things that all of us would like.

Will I find that here in San Diego? Maybe, maybe not. I do believe that my chances are much greater here of finding the things I’m looking for at this point in my life. I’ve always said that if I were retiring or starting a family that I could see myself moving back up to Mohave County. Hopefully there’s some water left for me and my family when that time comes.

MOCO Real: Thanks Brent, you've been a good sport about all this. I wish you the best in your new endeavors and wherever life's journey takes you.

One thing I have noticed since Brent has moved out of the area a couple of weeks back... the weather sure has been better... coincidence??

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