For Arizonans Addicted to Sheriff Joe, We Suggest an Arpaio Sin Tax

Maricopa County has a monkey on its back: Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The local media act as the delivery method, funneling the dope to Arpaio junkies.

At least twice a week — sometimes more — the eyes of this town's TV hacks glow like coke fiends' as they regale their audiences with the latest of Arpaio's shenanigans.

Obviously, they get high on their own supply.

Whether it's a story about Arpaio's wanting to feed unpatriotic jailbirds bread and water or has-been action star Steven Seagal's vague suggestion that he might consider Arpaio's idea that he run for governor, Sand Land's fourth estate regularly feeds the public this unfiltered gunk — usually without a smidgen of skepticism.

The public laps it up and howls for more.

As with a pack-a-day habit, addiction to Arpaio is dangerous to the health of the body politic — and expensive.

Over the past 20 years, New Times has played the role of nagging general practitioner, warning the electorate of the cost of Joe's regime.

In 2007, New Times estimated total legal bills, payouts, and settlements 'cause of deaths, sicknesses, and maiming in Arpaio's gulags to be $41 million.

Back then, much of the public was enamored of Arpaio's pursuit of illegal aliens via unconstitutional racial-profiling sweeps and worksite raids.

The electorate also went along for the ride when it came to Arpaio's targeting his enemies and critics with retaliation. This, with the assistance of Arpaio's pet prosecutor, now-disbarred and disgraced former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

County supervisors, judges, ordinary county staff, and newspaper executives (the founders of this paper) found themselves on Arpaio and Thomas' hit list.

Even non-Arpaio-haters should have realized that Joe's slapping his enemies with trumped-up criminal charges was wrong and would result in lawsuits galore.

Which is exactly what happened.

In December, the county agreed to settle with former New Times execs Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey for their wrongful Third World-style nighttime arrests in 2007, which came after this paper revealed details of how a special prosecutor was targeting New Times and its readers.

The cost: $3.75 million.

Also in December, former Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley scored a settlement of $3.5 million for getting perp-walked by MCSO deputies on bogus charges.

Thus far, lawsuits brought on by the excesses of the Thomas-Arpaio era have cost taxpayers about $17 million.

The steady financial hemorrhaging over the years never seems to bother the electorate's majority.

Arpaio is in his sixth term as sheriff — and arguably is the most successful politician in Arizona history.

At the ripe ol' age of 81, he dominates public discourse like no other local political figure here. Were he to run again in 2016, and win, it would surprise me nary a bit.

In 2008, voters essentially endorsed Arpaio and Thomas' extraconstitutional pursuit of their enemies (and the undocumented) by returning both men to power.

Thomas almost became Arizona's Attorney General in 2010, losing a nail-biter of a primary to fellow Republican and current AG Tom Horne.

It was not the voters who brought Thomas low, but the State Bar of Arizona and the Arizona Supreme Court.

A three-member disciplinary panel appointed by the Supremes disbarred Thomas in 2012 for the same police-state activities and abuses of power in which Arpaio engaged.

The voters of this county could not be counted on to end the mischief of Thomas or Arpaio, you see.

A year before Thomas was emasculated legally, it was revealed that the MCSO had raided two protected jail funds to the tune of more than $100 million.

Arpaio and his henchmen used the ill-gotten dough to finance pet projects — such as the immigration sweeps.

In April 2011, I wondered in a column whether the swiped $100 million would matter to the voters in 2012.

It did not. In November 2012, a bare 50-plus percent of the general electorate voted for Joe over his two rivals.

Not long after Arpaio was re-elected, Maricopa County settled a lawsuit by the family of former county jail inmate Deborah Braillard for $3.25 million.

Braillard, a diabetic, was neglected by her jailers and denied medication, ultimately leading to her death.

Less than a year earlier, in December 2011, mentally ill Army vet Marty Atencio was beaten and Tased to death in what his family's lawyer Mike Manning called a "jailer's riot."

The attack was captured on tape and widely broadcast, with detention officers shown dancing and laughing following Atencio's death.

How much that bit of cruelty will cost the county has yet to be seen.

Yet 50-plus percent of the voters did not care. By voting for Joe in 2012, they might as well have been laughing and dancing right along with the guards.

To some degree, the lawsuit settlements always have been "funny money" to the electorate.

Generally, these settlements and legal expenses come out of the county's risk-management budget, a financial pool to which each county department contributes.

The current cash balance of the risk-management fund is $35,355,184.

The county has legal insurance, which kicks in after a $5 million deductible, per case.

The deductible has increased over the years, but as it stands, the incentive is to settle any claims under $5 million with risk-management moolah.

This affects the county's bottom line, sure, but not in the more direct way that the ACLU's big-racial profiling case, Melendres v. Arpaio, will.

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87 comments
llgeorges
llgeorges

Say what you will about Joe, but if you are going to start on term limits perhaps we should change the way federal judges are appointed "for life"!  Bad mistake, particularly where Snow is concerned.

car_del99
car_del99

It should be called  a " Stupid Tax "

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

If Arpaio cared about the people, instead of himself, he would resign. 


Arpaio needs to do the taxpayers a favor, after years of abuse of power -- RESIGN. Follow LA County Sheriff Baca to the pasture.


L.A. needs a better way to pick and keep tabs on its sheriff - latimes.com

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-sheriff-baca-commission-20140106,0,4746203.story


"On Monday, a Los Angeles County employee got approval to begin circulating a petition for a statewide ballot initiative that would take another tack: imposing term limits on sheriffs (as well as district attorneys and assessors). As The Times’ editorial noted, Los Angeles County voters overwhelmingly adopted an initiative in 2002 to do just that, but Baca went to court and had it thrown out as unconstitutional. The new proposal would change the state Constitution instead of the county charter.

Term limits, just like supermajority requirements, are anti-democratic in that they allow one generation of voters to limit the power and choices of future generations. But with Los Angeles County sheriff elections, we’re already dealing with a system in which traditional checks and balances don’t apply and the substance of democracy is compromised while the form lulls citizens, voters and taxpayers into believing all is working as it should. We can do better than term limits. But maybe we’re already doing worse."

Bubba8989
Bubba8989

I would invite you illegals, as well as those of you who pander to the illegals, to read the excerpts below:

The newly released data showed that in 2013 close to 35,000 people were deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s operations in the state, Arizona Republic reports.

... ICE officials emphasized that 98 percent of the 368,644 people deported last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, fit into the agency’s priorities of removing criminals, recent border crossers and repeat immigration violators.

Since you illegals will not do the right thing and self-deport, ICE agents must be relied upon to get the job done.

Bubba8989
Bubba8989

Some of you U.S. citizens are guilty of aiding and abetting and providing comfort to the illegals.  Don't worry, Sheriff Joe knows who you are.

Wouldn't it be just awful if the ICE agents come knocking at your door and get you mixed up with the illegals and put you on the bus rolling south?

Bubba8989
Bubba8989

For you illegals addicted to defying U.S. immigration laws, we suggest a one way bus ticket rolling south.

Don Collins
Don Collins

I really don't think Arpaio gives a shit what you negative people think as long as he has the majority of voters behind him, "YOU GO JOE"

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Arpaio needs to do the taxpayers a favor, after years of abuse of power -- RESIGN. Follow LA County Sheriff Baca to the pasture.


L.A. needs a better way to pick and keep tabs on its sheriff - latimes.com

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-sheriff-baca-commission-20140106,0,4746203.story


"On Monday, a Los Angeles County employee got approval to begin circulating a petition for a statewide ballot initiative that would take another tack: imposing term limits on sheriffs (as well as district attorneys and assessors). As The Times’ editorial noted, Los Angeles County voters overwhelmingly adopted an initiative in 2002 to do just that, but Baca went to court and had it thrown out as unconstitutional. The new proposal would change the state Constitution instead of the county charter.

Term limits, just like supermajority requirements, are anti-democratic in that they allow one generation of voters to limit the power and choices of future generations. But with Los Angeles County sheriff elections, we’re already dealing with a system in which traditional checks and balances don’t apply and the substance of democracy is compromised while the form lulls citizens, voters and taxpayers into believing all is working as it should. We can do better than term limits. But maybe we’re already doing worse."

ExpertShot
ExpertShot topcommenter

I live in South Phoenix.I am involved in numerous organizations and come into contact with a lot of people in that diverse community because of my job.What I have noticed is the leaders of the Black population in South Phoenix supporting Arpaio.

I have heard it again and again, practically everywhere I go, when the subject of Maricopa County Sheriff comes up –the refrain I hear from my Black brothers and sisters, “Arpaio is doing a pretty good job with the illegal immigration problem”.

I know that they know that Arpaio’s policies have resulted in a lot of legal citizens getting their rights violated but they don’t seem to care – they like his policy of targeting the Hispanic community for unconstitutional investigation of legal residency.

The Black community knows that Arpaio has been found to be discriminating against the Hispanic community here and has been convicted of prejudiced policing.They don’t care, cause they ain’t Hispanic.This is a fundamental mistake on their part and has resulted in them losing support for their leaders among the Hispanic and White community here.That is probably why Rev. Stewart was defeated recently and why Leah Landrum will probably not be elected in 2014.

I am reminded of a statement by a certain priest:Martin Niemöller

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

Give them hell Joe!  I wish California would follow in the footsteps of Arizona.  


Cost per inmate in California is $47,421 compared to Arizona at $24,805.  Be careful what you wish for. 



MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

I say only Joe-obsessed fools like JAFfy pay higher taxes to support this mentally ill fool.

I also support term limits for all elected leaders at all levels of government.

oscaroscaroscar
oscaroscaroscar

Joe has got to go!  Sick of paying for this hideous old fool and his thug tactics.  Joe knows he has to be in the job until he passes away, because once he is out of power, his ability to blackmail his critics will be gone.  All the sycophantic morons that love him never ever look at the effect of his bad actions.  If greed, corruption and mistreatment of people isn't enough, maybe the bottom line of money lost because of him will be enough.  Sheriff Baca finally quit, it is Joe's turn now.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

When will The Joker set up traffic jams on all major roads in the valley?  We know he'll pick up on Christie's idea to punish the public....

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

Sounds like Bozo Joe has cost the Maricopa County tax payers 150 million + and still growing.

You bet, let the idiots that vote for this POS foot the bill.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Mr. Lemons, Outstanding and courageous journalism. Filled with facts and data. Great public service. You deserve a Pulitzer Prize for your years long documentation of what can only be described as pure corruption enabled by the voters, who don't seem to be laughing any longer. 

Jukes
Jukes

@Bubba8989And yet you will say Obama does nothing but pander to Latinos.  Those are HIS administration's ICE agents doing this work you are so proud of.  The Obama Administration deported more people in its first term than George Bush deported in eight years.  So I guess you're going to re-register as a Democrat, right?

azlefti
azlefti

@Bubba8989 Ah Bubba Joe is not going to go after good conservative Republicans.   Remember it was  the  Feds who had to take out Joe's Friends and supporters at Denny's Car Wash, for their aiding and abetting.


Seems if they are going to start arresting for aiding and abetting there will be a lot of GOP businessmen on that bus there, since 80% of illegal immigration is based on  the  ability to be employed!

allanbartlett
allanbartlett

hey bubba, come take or whatever bumper sticker 'deep' thought you have today. Nothing but a arpaio ball licker, did you start in the 70's or 80 's?

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

@Bubba8989 

come on Jaffy, has the odor of Joe's balls made you even dumber that you were to begin with?

azlefti
azlefti

@Bubba8989 Illegals are a force thanks to the  GOP who enables the  Criminal businessman to willfully hire them thus creating the  migration across the  border, you should actually learn  the  facts of what you are talking about instead of blathering what you read on Stormfront

azweasel
azweasel

What's this we shit. Are you pregnant or do you have a turd in your pocket.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@Bubba8989 In the latest case the Joker LOST. EVERY person except one was a US citizen (like you), and the last one had a VALID VISA.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

That thumbnail of you looks like it could have been taken in WWII. You must be one of the geezers who keep re-electing the bastard.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

I don't think you're now allowed to cut your own food, and have Depends delivered directly to your trailer.

NWEng
NWEng

What that would indicate is that the "majority" of voters have no clue about the Constitution, the rights it guarantees, and to whom.  By your "YOU GO JOE", you clearly demonstrate that you are a part of that clueless, hypocritical group.  Arpaio has violated the rights of Maricopa county citizens since his initial election, and those like you have encouraged him on again and again, and we've paid, again and again.  I'm assuming that none of your tax dollars have gone towards the dozens of lawsuit settlements county residents have had to pay over the years, otherwise it might be a different situation.

Cozz
Cozz topcommenter

@ConcernedCitizenAZ 

Term limits are needed across the board everywhere. Self serving politicians that make a career out of stuffing their pockets with tax payer money, benefits and retirement is all we have everywhere, they need to go and be limited to the damage they cause.

dcdiggs525
dcdiggs525

How could this Black population be so heartless and short sighted? If Arpaio and his thugs were rounding up black males in the same way, the Black community would be outraged. If what you say is true, than I am very pleased that Rev, Stewart was defeated. Phoenix doesn't need another elected official who thinks Arpaio is "doing a pretty good job".

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@whateveryousay For three boxtops, we will SEND you the Clown Sheriff, but there is no hope for you to return the Clown when he costs you 1/4 of a BILLION due to his unethical methods, as he's done here!  You have to get the crazy SOB to go somewhere else all on your own!

NWEng
NWEng

@whateveryousay "Be careful what you wish for."  Nobody wished for a county sheriff who violates the constitutional rights of American citizens, and yet, that's what we have now.  He'd be a good replacement for Baca though, and you can have him and and the $50M+ lawsuit settlements baggage that comes with him; I'm tired of my tax dollars paying for his constant fuck-ups.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

@whateveryousay A California bungalow costs $800,000 plus, which would sell for $150,000 in Arizona. Study real estate prices.

66rock
66rock topcommenter

@MaskedMagician1967   I have mixed feelings on the term limit issue as we have built in term limits called elections.  The real problem is uneducated voters.  

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Cozz, I think we're pushing close to $500M with ALL of the narcissistic old man's bullshit.

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Time for TERM LIMITS for County Sheriffs, County Attorneys and County Assessors, while ending absolute immunity for prosecutors.

Bubba8989
Bubba8989

@azweasel Go ahead, weasel.  You illegals can curse me all you want. 

But it won't be anything like the cursing you'll be doing when the ICE agents come knocking at your door and haul your beaner ass away.

marcy
marcy

@Cozz @ConcernedCitizenAZ 


Unfortunately what terms limits have led to is career politicians like Tom Horney just jumping from one elected position to another.


It's the only job they know how to do, bamboozling voters.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@ConcernedCitizenAZ @whateveryousay What does the cost of housing have to do with it?  In my neighborhood, yes, housing hits the million mark quickly.  However, 30 minutes away you can buy nice homes for $250k.  The majority of California is far more affordable than people think.

WhoKnows
WhoKnows topcommenter

@MaskedMagician1967 If you include the costs to the county for their own lawyers for Arpaio screw ups, it's EASILY over 1/2 of a billion.

fishingblues_mama
fishingblues_mama

@allanbartlett You take that back about my baby Fishy! He never took it up the pooper at an NBA gang bang! 


He just did hand and mouth stuff. 


dennis20
dennis20 topcommenter

@Bubba8989 @azweasel  If there are any "illegals" out there- am one of them.  Come and get me. I dare you.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Bubba, ICE can't haul anyone away without violating anyone's Constitutional rights.

Do you have evidence weasel is undocumented? No?

You need to gather facts before you spout bullshit. You sound exactly like JAFfy.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

I think maybe we'll hit the billion dollar mark by the time the remaining 10,000 lawsuits against the corrupt old man are resolved WhoKnows.

 
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