"Food-stamp fraud in Arizona will be fought, and it will be defeated," she told reporters and the assembled representatives of various law enforcement agencies, who were baffled by her flub.

A more polished politician would have realized that the speech in his or her hand had little to nothing to do with what everyone was talking about. But thinking on her feet doesn't come easy for Wrong Way Brewer, so she took the ball and ran down the opposite side of the field.

No wonder Attorney General Terry Goddard, running for governor on the Democratic side, is licking his lips at the possibility that Brewer will be the GOP's nominee after the Republican primary in August.

Paul Chagolla's cold shoulder
Paul Chagolla's cold shoulder

Brewer leads a crowded Republican field, according to the latest Rasmussen poll, with an unimpressive 26 percent support from her fellow Tuskers. Goddard will easily clobber her, should she make it through the primary. A performance like the one she gave at the marshal's office only underscores how inept she and her handlers are.

The other off note at the press conference was the oafishness of MCSO Deputy Chief Paul Chagolla, Arpaio's representative.

"The Maricopa County Sheriff's office has a long history of serving warrants in the community," he claimed in his remarks, adding, "Serving warrants in the community is an important benefit to the citizens we serve."

I nearly guffawed, considering the MCSO would rather chase brown folk in costly anti-immigrant dragnets than do the hard, unglamorous work of law enforcement.

During a Q&A session, I asked Chagolla, Arpaio's erstwhile principal public information officer, about the 40,000 warrants outstanding in Maricopa County and what the MCSO was doing to cut that number down.

Chagolla demonstrated why he was one of the worst PIOs in the history of media relations. He embarrassed himself in front of the other law enforcement officials in the room by stonewalling a simple inquiry.

"Thank you, we'll talk later, Mr. Lemons," he said with a hurried wave of his hand.

After the press conference, Chagolla refused to talk with me, even turning his back on me as I attempted to take his picture.

"You and I won't speak," he told me angrily.

I couldn't help asking him whether he'd received a subpoena to testify before the federal grand jury probing his boss' abuse of power. I needled him by wondering whether he planned to plead the Fifth Amendment, if called. I was met with silence.

Incredibly, when Chagolla was kicked upstairs from his flak post in 2008, some actually touted the goober as a fill-in for Arpaio, should the jefe be forced to resign.

Ironically, Gonzales, a Republican, also is mentioned as a replacement for Arpaio, should Joe be indicted and made to step down or should he run for governor, as he's threatened to do. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors would replace Joe, a GOPer, with another Republican — who damn sure wouldn't be Chagolla.

He'd be one of the first a new sheriff would kick to the curb. After that, the jerk would be lucky to score a gig doing mall security at Arizona Mills.

BOXED IN

When I ran into Attorney General Goddard at a recent function for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the first question out of my mouth was whether the genial Dem thought he could beat Joe Arpaio, if Arpaio were to jump ship at the MCSO and seek the governorship.

Goddard wouldn't comment on his chances against our septuagenarian sheriff, but he invited Arpaio to make the leap.

"If the sheriff feels the urge, I hope he'll exercise it," said Goddard, Cheshire-grinning. "I would welcome him to the contest."

Arpaio has vowed to make a decision by May 1, but already he's been raising money hand over paw and has $2 million in the bank, which he could convert to a gubernatorial effort. Goddard, on the other hand, is running as a publicly funded Clean Elections candidate.

So why was Goddard smiling?

Because Arpaio is boxed in. The appointment by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors of Arpaio's longtime foe and outspoken critic Rick Romley as County Attorney means that Arpaio will no longer be able to do as he pleases, waging war with his political enemies with impunity.

With the resignation of Arpaio's former fellow Sith lord Andrew Thomas, who is running for state attorney general, Arpaio can no longer count on a lickspittle ideologue to rubberstamp all his shenanigans. Even the results of future MCSO sweeps of the Hispanic community are in doubt.

During Romley's previous terms as county attorney, he acted as a check on Arpaio's authority, nixing Joe's idea to put drug checkpoints on the county's border and famously refusing to prosecute those caught up in an MCSO prostitution sting, in which deputies and posse members scored free hand jobs.

Arpaio was so enraged at Romley's selection that his office immediately announced a lawsuit to challenge possible interference by Romley in Joe's political investigations.

But in his first few days in office, Romley sacked Thomas' slithery top toady, Barnett Lotstein, and put Thomas' political hitwoman, Lisa Aubuchon, on administrative leave. My colleague Ray Stern broke the news on New Times' Valley Fever blog that Romley is now investigating Aubuchon for wrongdoing.

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4 comments
Steve Tracy
Steve Tracy

Rick Romley and all of you need to bear in mind that the freak of nature that passes for our county constable is simply a spokesman for the pervasive attitude of Hatred that makes up the construct of this State's pitiable legislature. Arpaio is no more the exclusive architect of regional ethnic intolerance than Adolph Hitler can be blamed solely for the destruction of Europe and the deaths of nearly 45,000,000 human beings. Consummate hate is the by-product of lives lived in the darkest regions of loss, sadness, self doubt, want, and confusion. It can be found easily in places like Sunnyslope, where the Aryans, the Angels and the like minded knuckledraggers vomit up their sad prejudices to those too inexperienced to challenge their stupity...

Shirley
Shirley

I am a Mexican American, I support SB 1070.I do not live in fear of the police. Rose Wilcoxand the other "Hispanics" do not speak for me.

goodstein
goodstein

I hope Romley puts r pie hole on administrative leave like lisa achabon. both deserve it. (should be UN paid)

Roger Morris
Roger Morris

Heardee! Heardee! Heardee! Post Bush/Cheney "Suspension of Disbelif." By striking, United States Attorney General, while in the consultation of the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization by inserting, "The Description." It's Profiling! It's "Breathtaking Abuse of the Constitution." Crime Suppression Sweeps! No Advertised "Crime Suppression Sweeps." What's the AZPOST "Description" of a man, woman or child. But by continuing to strike the United States Attorney General, while in the consultation of the Secretary of Agriculture, while in consultation with the Secretary of Interior, while in consultation with every Native American Reservation, while in the the consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, while in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, by inserting SB 1070! 38,000 detained, rendered, forced to ATTEST unto .............Of course it was always about civil rights! Of course it's still about that "Economic Opportunity at the Border." We need "Z" People! Attested Felons unto me! Stop! Stop! You're all just illegal! Sure you are african american born before 1964! Prove it! No REAL ID! No proof for you! You come with me! Sure are a mexican american born man, woman, child. Get out of here! Sure you are! 38,000 and just a few! 38,000 and just a few! Birth Certificate for you! Ahhhh! Get out of here! You come with me! Because by striking, U.S. Attorney General....It's YOU LIE! YOU LIE! Hey that bill didn't pass! SB 1639 Border Security Economic Opportunity Immigration Act of George Bush/Dick Cheney "forced ATTESTAMENTS" unto them! Go "Z" people!

 
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