By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
By New Times
Former Phoenix police sergeant and onetime Silent Witness frontman Paul Penzone rarely shows any doubt that he will be successful in his bid to deny Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio an unprecedented sixth term in office.
He sometimes begins sentences with the phrase, "After I'm elected," and Penzone, 45, has some reason to be confident, with early voting set to begin October 11 and about a month left before Election Day.
A recent poll commissioned by his campaign shows him within six points of overcoming Arpaio. And the octogenarian lawman is beset with frequent reminders of his failures in office, the most serious being the MCSO's neglecting to properly investigate more than 400 sex crimes in El Mirage and elsewhere, a scandal that, despite its age, continues to be fodder for local journalists.
The Penzone campaign also has raised more money than any of Arpaio's previous challengers, more than $400,000 to date, enough to afford a smattering of ad buys for commercials attacking Arpaio on the MCSO's El Mirage sex-crimes debacle.
Penzone's garnered a long list of high-profile endorsements from Democrats and Republicans, the latter including such GOPers as former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods and ex-U.S. Attorney for Arizona Paul Charlton. Rich donors, some of them Republicans, have committed to his next big fundraiser on October 9.
Independent expenditure committees, such as Citizens for Professional Law Enforcement and Citizens for a Better Arizona, are operating on his behalf. And the union-funded youth movement Adios Arpaio recently registered more than 20,000 new voters, whom the movement's volunteers will encourage to vote for Penzone.
Add to this a surge in the polls for Richard Carmona, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senator from Arizona, as well as for President Barack Obama, who is trailing Republican Mitt Romney in Arizona by just three points.
Even here in our redder-than-red state, there is deep disenchantment with divisive, hateful Tea Party politics. The 2011 recall of former state Senate President and Tea Party poster boy Russell Pearce, and GOP voters' rejection of him in a Republican primary for state Senate this August, offers the most prominent local example.
Still, the odds are stacked against Penzone. Arpaio has millions in his re-election war chest, and, consequently, has been able to afford a barrage of misleading, feel-good ads about himself, some filled with outright lies — like the ridiculous contention that he was kidnapped while an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
One recent poll shows Arpaio's favorability rating to be under 50 percent. But there's an Olivia Cortes-like spoiler in the mix: Republican-turned-Independent Mike Stauffer, who lent himself $40,000 to pay for help in collecting the signatures necessary to get on the general election ballot.
Perhaps that's why Penzone's absolute certainty about victory occasionally wanes, as it did recently after he appeared before a group of voters at Scottsdale Community College.
I had parked in a different lot, and Penzone offered me a lift back to my car in his black SUV. On the floor were a pair of boxing gloves that he uses during regular workouts with a trainer.
Unlike the roly-poly Arpaio, Penzone is a lean 6-foot-1 and very active. He regularly hikes North Mountain or Piestewa Peak with a friend from the DEA, and he likes to ride bikes with his wife, Veronica, a statuesque brunette who owns one of the most successful high-end beauty salons in the Valley.
She's the one who challenged Penzone to run for sheriff after she overheard him complaining about Joe's antics, a story that's part of his standard stump speech.
I mention to Penzone my annoyance with the U.S. Attorney's Office's recently dropping its criminal investigation against Arpaio. In doing so, the feds not only delivered an election-season gift to the sheriff, they gave him a green light to resume his illegal shenanigans, possibly to perp-walk his enemies on bogus charges in the future, as he's done so often in the past
Which is but one reason the sheriff's race is so important.
In response, Penzone explained how, the other night, he opened a Bible, haphazardly, to 1 Samuel, Chapter 17, the story of David and Goliath and their death battle in the Valley of Elah.
It's an obvious analogy. One that inspires Penzone. He recently posted a black-and-white illustration of the Israelite shepherd, sling in hand, facing off against the giant, battle-hardened Philistine warrior, next to a message board in his campaign office with the reminder "Don't eff it up," written in blue ink.
"I've just got to aim that stone right for Goliath's forehead," he said metaphorically.
In the Bible, Goliath demands a mano a mano contest to determine whether the Philistines become slaves of the Israelites, or vice versa. David, a shepherd boy, presents himself to King Saul, asking to take on the Philistine.
Saul observes that David probably will get killed, but he offers the kid armor nonetheless. David eschews the heavy metal, takes his sling, and chooses five smooth stones from a nearby brook.
The point being that Penzone is the best shot we have of ridding ourselves of an egotistical tyrant whose office is mired in waste, fraud, abuse of power, and outright laziness.
The problem is that the people who hate Arpaio so much are generally too stoned or in jail to actually vote in the election. It is the same story year-in-and-year-out. Can't you guys report on something else for once?
Yeah! The Penzone campaigners stopped by our home, gave us hand-outs for our large upscale neighborhood and also planted a yard sign! Way to go! That's more then we ever got from a sheriff who lives in his "ivory tower" in the penthouse suite of offices in the luxury Wells Fargo Bank building.
get used to it, tumphrey-dump. Arpaio's gonna lose. and you'll have to get used to readin bout the new sheriff...
Good Lord, you've been running this propaganda piece for days. You comsoclibprogs are on the side of the criminals. Sheriff Joe is against criminals. So am I. So stuff it!
Bravo Mr. Lemons! Hadn't heard of Penzone before but my first impression of the guy is- wow. He doesn't sound like the typical candidate running for office and he doesn't sound like a cop either- both are good. Will check into this guy further and post this article on facebook. It's hardly a campaign with one candidate being a household name and the others just a name printed on the ballot. A race should at the very least, be interesting. Win or lose this his bid for Sheriff, I hope to hear more from him in the future and from any like-minded family members or friends he may have as well. Sensing a change in the wind here.
This article is so old. Take it out today along with several other that have been there for a long time.
If you want to help turn up the heat, VOLUNTEER WITH THE MARICOPA COUNTY DEMOCRATS! You can be part of a huge historic win, or you can wish you had.
Had enough of a County Sheriff being the anointed defacto-Governor of Arizona.
Time for term limits for County Sheriffs and DA's/County Attorneys! Folks, contact your legislators and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and demand revised laws. We are hearing people are at risk for arrest attending the MCBOS meetings. Tyranny?
Where's the debate between Sheriff Arpaio and his opponent Paul Penzone? The public has questions that demand answers. The arpaio ads are deceptive and outright lies.
is there any recent (as in the last two weeks) polling data on this race? and if not, why not? also, is there going to be any kind of public debate between candidates? other than signs on corners (and not many of those), I don't see anyone in this race doing much to try to actually win.
As a retired law enforcement professional I would encourage all voters of Maricopa County to place their votes this year for PAUL PENZONE.
Paul is the person who will be the voice of reason and will be able direct the MCSO staff to create and carry out solutions to the problems existing within the agency, most of which have developed due to a lack of professional leadership from the current sheriff.
Paul knows the task will be daunting, yet he is eager to start working on it, knowing it will take every bit of the first four year term to transition MCSO into a professional law enforcement agency.
We, the voters and taxpayers, deserve such an agency.
Paul Penzone, the New Sheriff.
I have read lots of comments on AOL, and Yahoo, on different subjects, but a lot of these comments that are posted here uses some of the filthiest language. Can't you comment without using filthy language to get your point across? The ones using this language should be ashamed of yourselves, grow up.
Yes of course, this makes complete strategic sense. Let's vote someone in who is younger than Arpaio and has the same policies therefore ensuring they live on for decades to come. Lemons, I get it, you are totally desperate, the last thing to do while desperate is make bad decisions.
Yes, Mr. Stephen Lemons, I am a member of the "divisive hateful" Tea Party. Don't tell me the Democrats are not divisive. And you write as though you are as hateful as I am. The difference between you and me is that I am anti-criminal and you are pro-criminal, as are all of you comsoclibprogs. So, my vote goes to Sheriff Joe!
Pinhead Penzone dont have a chance to soft on illegals ....................... Joe needs to finish his job and fry Obama
Yeah, because the snowbird dodos who vote for him are all residents of AZ and registered voters. Based on your response, you probably also think Obama's really working hard............
to improve things like his golf handicap.
If any voter would just look at what you useless turds did to your own states before you decided you couldn't live in the shitholes you created and move here, they would vote Sheriff Joe for life. As nursemomski1 so eloquently stated, Go back to where you came from and take the illegals and homos with you.
Arpaio | Wells Fargo = turning Arizona into a prison state. The mass incarceration of Arizona's people is shameful. Time for the legislators to be held accountable with their relationship to a County Sheriff!
@tomphrey1 I hope you realize that Arpaio isn't as tough on crime as he claims to be. There are currently 40,000 outstanding felony warrants in Maricopa county as well as those 430+ uninvestigated sex crimes. Penzone deserves a chance he will spend money on prosecuting crime and not his own political gains.
Mr. Humphrey, you have the choice to not open the New Times site so you don't have to see this "propaganda piece". But you choose not to. Because I personally see the need for a new sheriff and I post my opinion here you say that I am on the side of criminals. Yet I am a decorated military veteran and a retired police officer. You seem to be suffering mental myopia.
@jhafford I might be getting old but haven’t lost my sanity yet!
@jhafford I'm volunteering!
Arpaio, debate someone? ROFL!!!!
Pass whatever it is your smokin there truth :)
We will VOTE FOR PAUL PENZONE for Maricopa County Sheriff 2012 and if anyone cares about a better Arizona, they need to vote for PAUL PENZONE!
@karmavsdogma_42The old man will NOT debate. He doesn't get involved in two way conversations. He only talks TO people.
Paul Penzone meets daily with groups throughout the county, including 'debates' where the three candidates are all invited, but only two might show up.
@Tommy_Collins As a retired law enforcement professional, and registered Republican, I second your motion! There is no need to allow the Shurff to continue costing the taxpayers millions of dollars because he is an egotist, not a law enforcement manager.
@cliff fuck off, you sniveling little cunt.
@tomphrey1 From 2002 to 2011 the number of violent crimes in areas served by the Maricopa County Sher-iff’s Office increased by an incredible 41%, from 628 to 884 violent crimes. That’s 256 MORE murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults than 9 years ago.
For the parts of Maricopa not served by the Sheriff, there was a 19% drop in violent crime for the same period. That’s 3,428 FEWER murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults than 9 years ago.
If the whole County had been run the way Sheriff Arpaio runs his part, there would have been nearly 8,000 more dead, raped, robed or assaulted Maricopans. What words are there for that dismal performance on the part of Sheriff Arpaio?
Utter dangerous incompetence.
@novastarz47 focus on Arizona, your own backyard where there is enough corruption from top to the bottom for you to attack. Those who are part of the corruption and created the mess in Arizona are the ones who mention Obama -- to deflect the peoples' attention. Sick transparent game you all play.
@novastarz47 If there really is a God, both Arpaio and Obama will both be gone in November...end of problem!
@novastarz47Seriously? A local county sheriff in Arizona (one of fifteen) is going to 'fry' Obama? Explain, please, how that might happen.
@goGayGreenHornet And how are your top leaders / law makers and enforcers doing in Arizona? What a hell-hole you all live in.
ElephantintheRoom The only thing I see here that's useless is your ranting and raving about how you are so fucking good and everyone else that disagrees with you is shit !Hey fuck head You are the one that needs to leave (if you even live here) and go somewhere else and find your WHITE utopea . Arizona is my home and has been for over 63 years .....I can tell you Jo the JOKE sucks buttermilk and so does anyone that is sheepishly blind and follows him !
@ElephantintheRoom go back to where you came from? like Arpaio? he's not from here. nor are the snowbird dodos who vote for him
@nursemomski1 If you're voting for neo-republicans then yes you have. A bunch of right wing extremists trying to knock back all the progress we've made in the last 100 years.
@Flyer9753 sorry, I'm a non-smoker.
@Tommy_Collins @karmavsdogma_42 Any polling data? I've got a local news filter set up on Google news, but I don't see any mention of Penzone (unless it's from the New Times) or Stauffer (unless it's from DeeDee and the Tucson Citizen) or Joe (ever). I think the majority of people who live in Maricopa county year-round are pretty fed up with Joe's shenanigans, but I don't see much happening from the other candidates to encourage voters to vote FOR them. They seem to be relying on the "anyone but Joe" vote, and that may not be enough, especially when Penzone and Stauffer (or, at least, their supporters) seem to spend more time fighting against each other than Joe.
@GreenHornet GH, the MCSO shurf is from Springfield, MA. According to my confidential sources, he is not well-liked or well received.
@karmavsdogma_42 @Tommy_CollinsKarma, the Penzone campaign ran a full page ad yesterday (Sunday) in the Az Republic http://www.penzone2012.com/images/uploads/PenzoneRepublicAd.pdf
I don't know about polling data at this point, however. It's very important that we use all resources to help get the word out.