Joe Arpaio Recall's Naysayers Laurie Roberts and Mario Diaz, and Why We Fight
Everyone has their own motivation, mine is summed up by Joel McCrea . . .
I like Arizona Republic scribe Laurie Roberts. She's a smart, classy lady. And I believe she means well.
As a columnist, she has the luxury of tut-tutting the hard work of others, as she did in her column today, where she wrote off the recall of Arpaio as "doomed" and fraught with political miscalculation.
This comes after what the recall may one day look back on as "Black Monday," when the anti-Arpaio group Respect Arizona announced that it was suspending the use of paid canvassers to collect signatures, and will be reverting to an all-volunteer army to score the remaining sigs to put Arpaio out to pasture.
The announcement was poorly handled. On Sunday, paid canvassers received an e-mail from their employer informing them that they should turn in their petitions. It stated the campaign was ending due to a lawsuit brought by Arpaio's birther buddies.
By Monday morning, Respect Arizona's campaign manager, Lilia Alvarez, was informing reporters that there was not enough cash in the kitty to continue a money-driven effort, one that had scored at least 120,000 valid signatures from qualified county electors.
In hindsight, RA should have held a press conference before the petition company reeled in its workers with an e-mail that was bound to be leaked.
RA could have informed the press that a strategic decision had been made to use the remaining resources for messaging, while relying on volunteers to obtain the rest of the signatures.
A call for funds and more volunteers could have been made then, too.
It's always better to radiate strength than concede weakness: both to keep your enemy at bay and for the morale of your people.
But what's past is past. Laurie says the recall effort is a bust. According to her, we might as well get used to Arpaio walking all over us and those we care about for the next four years.
Just after the recall started, Laurie called it "a slap in the face to voters."
About a month later, not long after Respect Arizona announced that it had gathered 120,000 valid signatures from qualified electors, she wrote that the recall was "off to an impressive start."
She went so far as to advise Arpaio: "I've heard a cruise is a nice way to ease into retirement."
Now, she claims, "[T]he chances of recalling the sheriff are about as good as the chances of Arpaio being named Sheriff of the Year by Chicanos Por La Causa."
She had Democratic consultant and lobbyist Mario Diaz chime in, calling Sheriff Joe and the recall "passe."
Admittedly, my head nearly exploded when I read that.
Every time Arpaio's goons raid a taco shop or a car wash or a warehouse for a retailer, they separate hardworking moms and dads from their children. Sometimes, indefinitely.
I can't think of those families as passe.
Nor can I think of those who've died in Joe's gulags, like Marty Atencio, as passe.
The child rape victims, who remain unavenged because the MCSO was more interested in rounding up brown people and ginning up charges on Joe's enemies? They, too, are not passe.
Then there's the corruption, the misspent $100 million, scores of millions in lawsuit payouts. The trampling of civil rights. The culture of cruelty. And on and on.
"The context of the comments came from a political strategy angle," Diaz told me when I called, asking for an explanation.
"It doesn't come from any policy decisions [Arpaio's] made, or any substantive issues. The answer came from a strictly political, operational, mechanical aspect of whether or not the recall happened two months or three months after the election."
Diaz believes a better use of time and resources would be to find a candidate now to start running against Arpaio in 2016.
Meanwhile, as people suffer under Arpaio's boot heel and Arizona injustice rolls on like the Colorado River, what would Diaz advise folks to do?
"On the watchdog side of it, on the allegations of abuse . . . absolutely, we have to have checks and balances on Sheriff Joe," he stated. "I'm not denying that. I'm not saying we shut the door on being watchdogs."
He also agreed that the "endgame" is removing Arpaio from power. He believes the recall came too soon after the election.
Thing is, even Roberts thinks Arpaio will be toppled if the recall gets the more than 335,000 valid signatures necessary by May 30.
Arpaio's campaign guru, Chad Willems, is on the same page, as was revealed in a secret recording videographer Dennis Gilman and I laid hands on.
Indeed, Arpaio's allies have been so frightened by the prospect that they've introduced unconstitutional legislation to end run the possibility of a recall. And there's the ill-conceived birther lawsuit, which really is "doomed" to fail.
My philosophy is that anything within the limits of the law that causes Arpaio and his flunkies heartache is worth doing. That includes the recall.
Roberts can afford to be dismissive of the recall, of ridiculing it, even. To be fair, that's the job of a columnist, to be critical. And sometimes, merciless.
As for Diaz, his firm appears to be a lucrative one.
It has represented clients such as the payday loan industry, Circle K, and a company that makes credit card-accepting parking meters.
Nothing wrong with that, of course. He also works for good guys like Phoenix City Council candidate, Pastor Warren Stewart. So I'll cut him a little slack.
I just wish he'd support Respect Arizona's efforts.
Many of us cannot look away from the injustice that results from the status quo here in Maricopa County.
We could not look the other way at now-recalled former state Senate President Russell Pearce's bigotry. So we ousted him.
We could not look the other way when Senate Bill 1070 was hatched at the state Legislature, though our attempts at thwarting that racist law have had uneven results.
And we cannot look away from Arpaio's mountain of misdeeds, which continues to grow.
Sure, winning is better than losing. But if the recall fails, at the very least, history will record that here were men and women who did something to try to stop Arpaio and protect the innocents his thugs crush without consequence.
As for my personal motivations regarding all things Arpaio, I'm reminded of a scene in one of my favorite Westerns, Sam Peckinpah'sRide the High Country, with Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea.
In one scene, the two cowboys are riding alongside each other, discussing the value of self-respect.
Scott's character scolds McCrea's, asking him, "You know what's on a poor man's back when he dies? The clothes of pride -- and they're not a bit warmer to him dead than they were when he was alive."
He wonders what McCrea's character wants from life.
After a pause, he borrows a bit from the Gospel according to Luke:
"All I want is to enter my house justified."
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