Recall Joe!

That's what a group led by the well-connected family of one of Arpaio's own injured deputies is working to see happen

Fact is, Arpaio is not concerned that another inmate has died because of deplorable neglect. He told me soon after he was first elected in 1992 that his job is to lock people up and take away their rights. Period.

Including, apparently, their right to live.


View from outside the Tent City jail near 29th Avenue 
and Durango Street.
Peter Scanlon
View from outside the Tent City jail near 29th Avenue and Durango Street.
Linda Saville vowed to work to get Arpaio removed after deputies framed her brother James and locked him up for four years.
Jackie Mercandetti
Linda Saville vowed to work to get Arpaio removed after deputies framed her brother James and locked him up for four years.

Joe Arpaio thinks it's good publicity for the public to hear about the atrocious conditions inside his jails. He says he's deterring crime.

The truth is, despite his jails being considered among the worst in the world by Amnesty International, their harsh reality has done nothing to reduce the sky-high property-crime rate in Maricopa County -- which is among the highest in the nation.

Meanwhile, Arpaio has botched his chief responsibilities as sheriff. He's wasted so much time with idiotic ideas that it makes me wonder if rumors circulating in Republican party circles that the 72-year-old's suffering from dementia are true.

What legitimate purpose did it serve for Arpaio to have John Walsh, a television crime show host, fly to Phoenix along with Walsh's eight-member support staff to conduct a meaningless swearing-in ceremony?

All the other county elected officials were content to be quietly sworn into office in late December. But not Arpaio.

He needed to have his ego stroked by diverting deputies, support staff and God knows how much money for the pomp and circumstance that featured the America's Most Wanted personality.

I wanted to attend this foolish event in late January to see what morons would set aside time from their day to kiss Arpaio's ass. But I was turned away at the parking lot of the sheriff's training center, as toothless local broadcast and daily newspaper reporters were welcomed inside.

"This is a secure event, and you're not on the list," a smartly dressed deputy told me after I provided my business card. "You'll have to turn around and exit."

I complied with the orders, knowing that I'm already considered a "threat" to the sheriff's safety. See, I've dared to ask him such questions as why he hides his personal finances from the public and why he treats celebrity prisoners -- such as crooner Glen Campbell and pro sports mogul Jerry Colangelo's daughter -- royally while those without connections get the patented tough-guy treatment.

After last fall's primary election, I was immediately accosted by members of Arpaio's Threat Assessment Squad and escorted out of the county's elections department headquarters inside the Phoenix Civic Plaza under the threat of arrest because I asked the sheriff when he would release information I had sought under the Arizona Public Records law.

These are bullying tactics you would expect from what President Bush calls "axis of evil" nations -- not from the head of the fourth largest sheriff's department in the country.

For too long, political leaders in the state have been intimidated by Arpaio's swagger. They have been cowered into silence by his proven willingness to abuse his police authority and investigate political opponents, like Dan Saban, as if he were some two-bit Sudanese dictator ("In the Crosshairs," June 24, 2004).

He's scared nearly every political leader in the state, except U.S. Senator John McCain, who would love to have Arpaio's scalp attached to his belt.

McCain could play a pivotal role in a recall campaign. The Republican senior senator's endorsement of Dan Saban came late in the primary campaign last summer, and didn't have time to resonate with voters. If McCain backs the fledgling recall movement, it would give the effort immediate credibility.

Ironically, it's GOP members, not Democrats, who will likely lead the charge to send fellow Republican Arpaio packing.

It's very unlikely that Governor Janet Napolitano will take on Arpaio, although she has a golden opportunity at this moment to drive a stake through the sheriff's most high-profile idea ever -- the Tent City jail.

Nothing has generated more publicity and political support for Arpaio than his infamous tent complex, despite the fact that courts have called it an extremely dangerous facility.

Tent City has been in violation of the Arizona State Fire Code since the day it was first erected in 1993. The only reason it has been allowed to operate for the past 12 years is that the state fire marshal grants MCSO a variance every six months.

Another request for a variance is now on the desk of acting state fire marshal Bob Barger, who was appointed by Napolitano to succeed Duane Pell, who retired on December 31.

Pell tells me that the Fire Marshal's Office never expected Tent City to be permanent.

He says the variance was first approved in 1993 because the jails were overcrowded and because voters had turned down a bond issue to build new ones. But voters have since approved the 1/5th-cent jail tax, and two new jails have been built. More facilities are to be constructed in the future.

Pell says he would expect the Fire Marshal's Office to reexamine its policy to issue the variances as permanent jails are completed. The Fire Marshal's Office did not respond to my questions concerning such future variances.

But Pell made it clear that if Janet Napolitano asked the office to take any action concerning the tents, it would happen.

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10 comments
hophead
hophead

What is the old saying? A snowballs chance in hell? Arpaio is saving your sorry asses from criminals and illegals and you want him gone. That positively shows me and millions that you want him gone to further your control of the area government.

Sonia
Sonia

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is nothing but a CLOWN, YES A CLOWN!!!! All he wants is publicity whether is good or bad FREE publicity is just that Free publicity. He doesn't do his job the way it should be done. DRUGS, GANGS, MURDERS and more crimes are at it's high. WHY? because he's more worried about TV ratings than fighting crime. And all the people that support him are nothing but IGNORANT RACISTS! That cannot difference between a Hispanic US citizen and an Illegal alien. They're soooooo STUPID, that think that ALL people with brown skin and dark hair are illegals. I say put Joe Arpaio to the TEST.!!!!!!

jaded
jaded

Sign me up too...Umm WAIT!... I will stand in the sweltering heat with you. This guy has got to go! Women dying,blind guys beaten,OMG did we move ten thousand years back in time?What a blatant disgrace to the human race... ok some people did drugs,got a dui,came to a country for a better life ...someone order a psychiatric EVAL for HIM!

Linda Bates
Linda Bates

Sign me up. Where can I find a petition to sign. I've been waiting for this for a long time. The man is a egomaniac and dangerous.

Ginger Mattox
Ginger Mattox

I am not fond of volunteering for anything but I will stand on a street corner with clip board in hand for hours to gather signatures for a recall to our infamous sheriff if it would help to get this pompous blow-hard out of our lives. The old geezer should have retired a decade ago instead of considering running for another term. What respectable old western town would ever have had a 79 year old sheriff (which will be his age at the end of another term)? What a joke! He is a disgrace to our commuity.

fran denatale
fran denatale

As a parent & law abiding citizen, who votes, i want to see arpio out, he is nothing more then a blow hart, e-go driven nut case. No one is saying that people who brake the law , should get away with it , but he has no right to treat inmates like animals(no, he treats animals better)there is desease, starvation , ransit food that makes them sick, if inmates don't have family to put money in their accounts, they would starve, arpio sticks it to the family members every time.there is alot of staff infections, not letting them see sunlight weeks at a time, we are talking inmates with dui's or drug problems , i'm not talking violent or murder, treat accordingly . all arpio gets repeat offenders, by their treatment , they are made bitter, not better, how do i know all this , my son has had a drug problem that lasted 1& 1half year at 24 ,didn't have one till we moved here, iv'e lived in many places, this place is the worst, my son 's treatment has been horriable at his jails.He was sentenced to department of corrections & at that time was examined & evaluated to be bi-polar & has since been on medication. he has since been brought back to the county jail to face another charge in which it took the county 45 days to acknowledge & administer the meds the state had already prescribed for him & was in his paper work , he kept asking & 3times in written form.he went from 800 mils. to nothing ,(jail creates the problems) give a small mind a little power , it goes to their heads, that's arpio.i am a hair dresser with a big mouth& i see alot of people , vote for dan saban, a good man , i voted for arpio, before we got involved in the system & saw how he runs things , i am one angry italian mom, i will tell everyone not vote for him.

Red
Red

I would lay odds,(that is if I wasn't a Christian) that these poor mistreated prisoners would not want to trade places with our "honest, law abiding" men and women who have to serve time in a heat far worse that they could ever stand up to. Not only do they have to take the heat, (and the women have to wear covers over their face when out on a stroll)on top of all the battle gear. They also have to dodge bullets and mines. They do this , not because they want to be there, but because they want to defend the greatest country in the world. Even if that means some get to live off the country free,(this also needs to stop) or the drug infested "holly wood" type keep putting them dowm. (What happened to the Jimmy Stewart bred of men), or if some nuckle-headed punk wants to brake the law.

Red
Red

I have not seen all of the info. on the subject, however what I have seen and read, I fully agree with the Sheriff. If we made it "not so nice" maybe they would not want to go to jail in the first place. I know, I know, no one wants to go to jail. Well then, and I quote, "don't do the crime if you don't want to do the time. I may get rid of the "pink" though.

lele woodcook
lele woodcook

WE THINK THAT THE LAW THERE MUST BE A LOT BETTER THAN IT IS HEREYOU NEED TO COME HERE AND TEACH THEM A THING OR TO.WE ALSO THINK YOU NEED TO RUN FOR PRESDENT.IT MAKES ME THINK THAT WHEN THE PRISONS TREAT THERE BAD PEOPLE BETTER THEN OUR PEOPLE IN THE WAR THERE IS A PROBLEM.THE PRISNERS ARE NOT LEARNING ANYTHING EXCEPT THAT ALL THEY WILL GET IS A SLAPON THE WRIST. WE THE TAX PAYERS SHOULDNT BE RESPONSABLE FOR PAYING FOR THERE STAY AT THE BIG HOUSE.THERE NOT THERE TO BABYED THEY ARE THERE TO BE PUNISHED.

Mary
Mary

I have jusr received an e-mail which set out some facts about the tent city, pink gear and other methods of humiliation of prisoners. My reaction was disbelief that not only is the man getting re-elected but that the inhumanity is being allowed in the country which purports to have a modern top-class legal system????

Yeah!

David Hicks!

Inhumanity is alive and well in the US of A

 
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