Arpaio's Running Scared

The powerful Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona and Senator John McCain want Sheriff Joke gone

Instead, Joe let his butt boy off easy, just like he does for other people who can later provide him favors.

Hey, Joe, here's a couple of questions your buddies in the press, like Robert Koebel -- the Channel 15 reporter fired last week for giving you a $100 campaign contribution and then doing a hit-piece on your principle political rival, Dan Saban -- didn't bother to ask.

Why did Campbell get to bring his guitar and other creature comforts like a mattress into the Mesa facility, when other inmates can't even bring in a toothbrush and a couple of books?

Banned from Tent City, New Times listened to Glen Campbell's show from outside the fence.
Jackie Mercandetti
Banned from Tent City, New Times listened to Glen Campbell's show from outside the fence.
In another blow to Sheriff Joe, Senator John McCain is expected to endorse Dan Saban in the September 7 Republican primary.
Joe Forkan
In another blow to Sheriff Joe, Senator John McCain is expected to endorse Dan Saban in the September 7 Republican primary.

I thought you were going to treat him like "anybody else."

Why did you give him a nice, clean, quiet cell in which to spend the night? Campbell was on work-release and only had to report to jail between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. during eight days of his 10-day sentence. He got out of jail early on his last day, slipping out the door at 6:16 a.m.

Campbell never came close to being forced to wear pink underwear and stripes.

You obviously gave Campbell an easy ride in exchange for the Rhine-stoned Cowboy's throwing a concert that would generate the free publicity that (if it proved necessary) you'd sell your wife into white slavery to get.

Yet, despite Campbell's helping you showboat -- and the embarrassingly dainty media coverage of your thuggery -- you're steadily losing political support, which is why you're running scared.

The Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona will endorse Saban, a retired Mesa police commander, in the September 7 Republican primary.

This is a mighty blow to Joe.

The 4,500 firefighters are the single most powerful political force in Maricopa County, and they are now joining forces with police unions and law enforcement fraternal groups that are unanimously opposing Arpaio's re-election to a fourth term. Not to mention Joe's own local Republican Party.

"This is a sign of our support for every police organization in the county in their choice of the top officer of their profession," says United Phoenix Fire Fighters Local 493 president Billy Shields.

Firefighters, Shields says, are disgusted with Arpaio's insatiable quest for publicity, which, in some cases, has resulted in creating dangerous conditions for the public.

Shields says firefighters are upset over the sheriff's handling of the May 8 arrest of two firefighters suspected of arson. Sheriff's deputies arrested the firefighters in the middle of their shift.

"No one wants to get in the way of the sheriff doing his job," Shields says. "But the theatrical and dramatic staging of the way he went into the fire station at 2 a.m. and made the arrests -- along with the presence of television cameras at the jail waiting for these folks -- was outrageous."

Shields says the arrests could have been made at the end of the shift, rather than reducing the number of firefighters available to respond to an emergency. "This was potentially life-threatening to the people in the area the fire truck served," Shields tells me.

Joe's show-biz bust of the firefighters -- just like the prostitution stings that blew up in his face when his Barney Fife deputies and posse members got naked and had sex with alleged hookers -- hasn't resulted in indictments.

More than two months after the firefighters were arrested, the sheriff's department has yet to file a police report with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, and the firefighters have been released from jail.

Not only is the firefighters' union, which is masterful at turning out the vote, dumping on Arpaio, but the storied leader of Arizona Republicans is expected to soon announce that he, too, is sick of Ancient Joe -- who's the dangerous combination of stupid and mean.

Senator John McCain is expected to throw his support to Saban. The endorsement is expected to come later this month, just before voting by mail begins in early August. Although officials in McCain's office declined to comment officially, sources say that McCain met with Saban over the July 4 weekend, and McCain said he would support Saban in the primary.

McCain, I understand, was particularly upset with Arpaio after reading my recent cover story on the sheriff's life of slime ("In the Crosshairs," June 24).

It's about time political leaders get on the soapbox and encourage voters to throw Arpaio out of office. He's long been a huge liability for the county. Tens of millions of dollars in lawsuits have piled up in Maricopa County Superior Court over his flagrant abuses inside the jail.

These lawsuits will cost us taxpayers dearly. Arpaio's already been held personally liable by the Arizona Court of Appeals for the cruel and dangerous conditions he's purposely created at Tent City. The deaths and serious injuries that have occurred after the court's 2002 ruling are likely to result in huge damage awards for plaintiffs and their survivors.

The county already has had to raise its insurance deduction from $1 million per case to $5 million per case. Arpaio's disregard for human rights -- his attitude that torture and abuse are acceptable forms of punishment -- are costing us all dearly.

As Arpaio's political support is rapidly eroding, he's becoming increasingly vulnerable over allegations that he improperly used his police powers to destroy Saban's political campaign.

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