This is the story of how a binder with thirty sections of letters ended up with only twenty-nine tabs.

My beloved judge, Cecil Ash, retired early, at the end of August 2019. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors were tasked with appointing a new JP to finish his term in office, which ends this December 31st, 2020.

I spent months preparing to apply for the position. I had run for JP in 1992 and was planning to run again in 2020. In the end, I came in a close second! My appointment was problematic, however. If I had been appointed JP, the supervisors would have had to turn around and start another appointment process for constable.

I decided I would ask people I’ve interacted with, over my twenty years of service, if they would write letters on my behalf. In total, I received about 185 letters! I lost track, in the end, because they were coming in so quickly via email, I couldn’t keep up with them! I organized all the letters into a three-ring binder, with thirty different sections. I’m looking at one of the binders right now, but it only has 29 tabs.

The Last Tab of Letters

The tabs are organized by the occupations of those I’d interacted with over the years. It includes people from all walks of life, from judges to locksmiths, and maintenance people. I even included two letters from janitors who’d worked in our building. I asked them to write that they often saw me working late at night.

There even was a letter from a sight-disadvantaged homeless fellow I’ve befriended over the years. I would run into him early in the morning when McDonald’s would open. It was quiet, and I used to do my court paperwork there. Because he was living on the street, I started to give him old backpacking equipment I had. He’s now sporting the smallish backpack my son used when he first started backpacking with me. He dictated his letter over the phone, and I printed it out oversize so he could proofread it before signing. I met him, so he could sign it, at the Mesa Library, where he would often spend his days.

The biggest surprise in these letters were the ones written by locksmiths. There are six letters written by locksmiths in total. What I didn’t realize until I received their letters is how much they’d observed over the years doing evictions with them. They are often with me at the door when locks need to be picked open. Many of them had a front-row seat to some of the craziest evictions I’ve ever done. My experience with locksmiths could be a blog post on its own!

I’m grateful for all those who wrote letters on my behalf. Some of those letters were VERY poignant. I even teared up when a letter would make me think of a sad situation I’d encountered. The letters of support were terrifically flattering. I’d never asked people to support me that way before. It was actually hard to ask for people’s help.

Afterward, I shared these letters with the Hon. Lester N. Pearce, my first JP. He told me he’d never seen such political support!

Do you know what one of the surprises was during this whole process? I soon discovered that many people were uncomfortable with their writing skills. With a number of people, where English was a second language, they could speak English fluently, but not write it well. A few letters were done with managers, where I sat next to the typing, while they dictated.

Out Of Tabs

What I want to tell you about is the LAST LETTER, the one that has no tab. It was emailed to me by John Giles, the Mayor of Mesa. John is an attorney, along with his son-in-law, Spencer Dickson. I once did an eviction for them which lasted fourteen straight hours (I’ve blogged about that eviction). The Mayor’s letter came in minutes before I was to leave to take the binders downtown, to the clerk of the board. There was no time to make tabs. I just put it at the very front of the binder, where it belonged!

It was VERY exciting to get a letter written on my behalf, by the Mayor of Mesa. I texted him, saying “I felt like I’d just been asked to the prom!” Here’s part of what John said in his letter:

“I am very pleased to present this letter of recommendation for Ed Malles. As an attorney, I’ve worked with Constable Malles for many years. He has a great work ethic, and his people skills coupled with his compassion have made him very effective in difficult situations, like evictions.”

“The North Mesa Justice Court would be well served with Ed Malles as Justice of the Peace.”

That’s what the mayor said about me in 2019. Unfortunately, my competitor was appointed and gained the advantage of incumbency. But, back in 2019, when we were on a “level playing field” where neither of us was the incumbent, the mayor endorsed me for JP, and I’m rather proud of that!

— Ed Malles