Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Time for a John Sydney McCain Memorial Crappie Award

Yesterday, as part of a 'funds sweep' (a move to help balance the state's budget by finding allocated but unused funds in state accounts and returning them to the state's treasury), an unused million dollar grant to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office to help fund Arpaio's personal (but taxpayer-funded war against undocumented immigrants. (Phoenix New Times coverage here)

The swept funds will be reallocated to a new, multiple agency, felony warrants task force.

Unsurpisingly, Arpaio was apoplectic. In his hastily organized press conference with fellow nativists Jim Weiers, Speaker of the Arizona House, state Rep. Russell Pearce (R-National Alliance) and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, he responded with quasi-paranoid rantings of "dirty politics" and a "conspiracy" between Governor Napolitano, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and unnamed "activists" were out to stop him from performing his "sworn duty" to fight illegal immigration.

ABC15 coverage here; NBC12 coverage here; CBS5 coverage here; all three stories contain links to video of Arpaio's verbal antics at the press conference. (As for the coverage by the other two major stations in Phoenix, one is a Fox affiliate, and I won't link to Fox unless it is the *only* source for a piece of news, and there is something about the website of the other station, KTVK Channel 3, that jacks up my browser window. Too much effort to do a link to their coverage, though the New Times article contains a link to their raw video of the presser.)

In addition to the "conspiracy" rantings, there were very frequent, and very telling, references by Arpaio to "my money" and "me." Also telling was his dehumanization of undocumented immigrants. For example, when referring to the outcome of his war on immigrants, he could only bring himself to say that his deputies have arrested 950 "human smugglers and co-conspirators."

Nope, our Joe definitely doesn't believe that immigrants are human beings.

Anyway, back to our post and to the part press conference that has earned Arpaio the first awarding of the newly-rechristened John Sydney McCain Memorial Crappie Award...

At one point during the press conference, when Arpaio was giving free rein to the most personal part of his umbrage at the state's fiscal responsibility move, he issued a choice quote, claiming that the Governor, Mayor and Supervisor weren't going to stop him from doing what he "took an oath of office to do, and that's to enforce every law in this county."

Apparently, that zeal for enforcement only applies to taillight violations against immigrants, not to the service of felony warrants upon those born here.

Otherwise, why would the state need to form a task force of DPS, municipal, and (if they want in on it) county law enforcement agencies to handle the service of such felony warrants?

And why would our sheriff (or any sheriff) object so strenuously to the service of those warrants?

For his shameless flip-flop, for claiming to enforce "every" law in the county while conspicuously ignoring the laws (and criminals) that don't appeal to his nativist sensibilities, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the first winner of the John Sydney McCain Memorial Crappie Award.

Oh, and to sort of bring home the point about how Arpaio's enforcement of the laws in Maricopa County is based on his personal predjudices, we have exhibit A in the case -

Later in the evening yesterday, one of Arpaio's deputies pulled over the Mayor of Guadalupe, Rebecca Jimenez, the same mayor who last month criticized the sheriff for engaging in racial profiling in her town.

The MCSO deputy cited her for a broken headlight and for failure to have a registration and proof of insurance in the vehicle.

I suppose that's more creative than Arpaio's usual M.O. of going after Mexicans for broken taillights. :)

Edit on 5/16 - Now Sarah Fenske of The New Times has a piece documenting Arpaio's latest harassing tactic targeted at another mayor and another one of his critics, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon.

From the article -
On April 24, four weeks after Gordon's widely publicized denunciation of the sheriff at a César Chávez luncheon, sheriff's deputies fired off a public-records request seeking the mayor's e-mails, cell phone records, and meeting calendar.

The letter also demands e-mail correspondence for Police Chief Jack Harris, City Manager Frank Fairbanks, and all of Gordon's administrative staff. In all, the sheriff's investigators are seeking every single e-mail written by more than a dozen Phoenix staffers, from November to the date of the sheriff's demand.

The flip-flop here is that while Arpaio is try to swamp the City of Phoenix with public records requests (and the City has said they are complying with the requests), Arpaio habitually delays compliance or completely ignores such requests.

In the light Arpaio's continuing unprofessionalism and petty vindictiveness, is it any wonder that more and more people are supporting Dan Saban for sheriff?

It's time for voters to expect some professional and personal integrity on the part of then Maricopa County Sheriff.

End edit.


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