Sunday, April 25, 2010

Joe Arpaio, Retiree-Wannabe

You probably know Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio even if you aren´t from Arizona. He´s been on national TV many times, from 60 Minutes to all points left and right. Sometimes he has appeared as a guest, but more often he is the subject of an expose´. He has dubbed himself the Toughest Sheriff in America. He brags about feeding prisoners on 50 cents a day, houses many of them in Tent City (in Phoenix where the summer temperatures are hot, hot, hot), and makes the men wear pink underwear. In other words, he´s a showboat of the worst sort. The kind of man who feeds his ego at the expense of others. And now he´s thinking of doing it again.

Now he is considering running as Governor of Arizona. Not because he has any experience or background that qualifies him. Not because he has a platform that he thinks will improve Arizona. He is thinking about running because, he says, he loves challeges and he knows he can win.

Sadly, he may be right about that. In many circles he is very popular, in spite of costing Maricopa County millions of dollars in lawsuits, ruining lives, and creating an atmosphere that fosters fear and disrespect for the law.

For the last couple of years the sheriff has directed his officers to go after ordinary workers--gardeners, cooks, domestics--instead of going after criminals wanted on felony warrants. Arpaio has consistently, and with the backing of former County Attorney Andrew Thomas, engaged in racial profiling in order to round up thousands of hard working men and women whose only crime was being non-white and non-English speaking.

Some of the people may not have had documentation that allowed them to be here in the United States under federal immigration law. However, contrary to Arpaio and Thomas´publicity blurbs, being undocumented is NOT a crime. It subjects the person to removal from the country, but it is not a criminal offense.

But that kind of factual information doesn´t make for a splashy headline or a glib 60 second sound bite.

Even worse, the two of them together have targeted political adversaries and used the criminal justice system to arrest and prosecute people who disagreed with them. The latest targets even included judges! The suits have all been dismissed, but not until many of the people were physically arrested and all of them were required to defend themselves against fabricated and flimsy charges.

And now Joe Arpaio wants to be in a position where he can wreck even more havoc on Arizona. Just so he can enjoy a challenge.

Please, Joe--don´t do it. Arizona has enough problems.

Read this blog. Look at all the pretty pictures of Arizona´s flora and fauna. Retirement would be great! I want to be a retiree! You should want to be one, too. Arizona deserves it.

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