Attorney truly acts in interest of public
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 20, 2005
Republicans' dislike for public interest attorney Tim Hogan reminds me of former students who complained of having to stay late after class to redo an assignment. If you had done it right the first time, we wouldn't have to waste time on the second try.

Thou "doth protest too much, methinks" certainly fits as a description of the Arizona Legislature's hostile history with Tim. I wouldn't be exaggerating to say that the collective blood pressure of a majority of legislative Republicans shoots through the roof at the mere thought of this man and the wonderful things he has done for Arizona.

And to that, all I can say is if you followed the law in the first place, you wouldn't have put Arizona in the position to be sued. What boggles the mind is why these folks can't figure that out.

Instead of admitting fault, they turn their angst on someone whose only interest consists of making sure those without the resources to hire a high-powered attorney are not left without a voice.

Tim Hogan is a man of incredible integrity, with a heart big enough to fit the Grand Canyon. A graduate of Notre Dame Law School, he put aside the need to make astronomical amounts of money in favor of one to do good things for the people of Arizona.

He's spent his entire career helping make Arizona a better place to live. And unlike the politicians who find pleasure in disparaging his name, he has made an impact that will last generations.

After beating the state in court several times, leaders are now pondering the question of whether or not Tim has become too powerful. To that I answer, did David become too powerful after felling Goliath? No. He was celebrated for his deeds and became a model to others who fear going up against someone bigger and more powerful.

Tired of watching students languish in substandard schools while others excelled in top-of-the-line learning facilities, Tim agreed to represent students from impoverished neighborhoods in a suit against how Arizona funds its need to build and maintain school buildings.

These kids are no longer sitting in crumbling schools. Instead, they now have luxuries like air-conditioning, library books and science-lab equipment that were once found only in school districts with high property wealth.

Fed up with the state's refusal to ensure our non-English-speaking students learn their ABCs and 123s, Tim took on a case begun by another public-interest attorney who passed away.

The Legislature still hasn't closed the chapter on this lawsuit. But because of Tim, there have been more resources available for teachers who struggle to teach students English at the same time they teach the multiplication tables.

Hoping to save a little of the pristine vistas that Arizona is known for, Tim helped win a settlement that broke up the ranching monopoly by allowing preservationists to bid for grazing leases on our state trust lands.

As you can see from his successful track record, it's not hard to imagine why Tim isn't invited to lunch very often at a conservative-minded state Capitol. It's almost comical to see their faces contort with rage each time they see this gentle giant walk past their offices.

What it all boils down to, really, is a lack of understanding on their part. You see, they don't understand how one person can give up so much for people he's never met.

They don't understand why Tim works so hard for such little monetary return. It's a rare day he collects any attorney's fees for the work he does. But that doesn't matter to him because that's not why he does it.

He doesn't pick high-profile cases to make a name for himself. He picks cases that he knows won't get done if he doesn't do it himself. Not many attorneys will slave for years over an issue, continually butting heads with state leaders, knowing there's no share of a settlement at the end.

He's happy to spend his career working for those who need his help most and, in his spare time, soliciting donations and applying for grants so he can keep his doors open and lights on.

I, for one, will be eternally grateful for Tim's uncommonly unselfish behavior. He will be one of the rare few who will leave this world with the knowledge that he's truly made a difference.

State Sen. Linda Aguirre represents District 16, which encompasses parts of south and west Phoenix. She is leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus.