What's more sickening, spoilt mayo or our own Sheriff Blowhard? After this recent stunt in which some 11 corn and snow-cone vendors were arrested by MCSO goons in a mini-Maryvale sweep, I'd say, Sheriff Joe. (See update on number in custody below.)
"But Sheriff Joke doesn't make you sick," I hear some nativist nimrod spouting. Actually, he does make me sick. Nauseated. Ready to puke. He uses the shibboleth of a public health concern for a little media stunt, the chance to arrest undocumented workers, and the opportunity for his boys in beige to harass brown people who are here legally, even when they have all the proper permits for their snow-cone carts.
If you didn't see it, check out the report from Channel 15's Christina Boomer, where this legal resident Roberto Lima is arrested and placed in handcuffs, even though he had the proper permit to operate his cart. When he proved that he was in-country legally, MCSO's anti-brown clowns had to let him go.
At least 11 persons were arrested for what's normally a ticketed violation -- a class 3 misdemeanor. Was this about the public health, about bringing these people into compliance, making sure they have the proper permits and are taking the proper precautions around food?
Hell, no. It was about nabbing illegals and delivering another round of the Joe Show for the cameras. How much money was wasted on this heron hockey? How many law enforcement officers were taken off the street to harass snow-cone vendors, for crying out loud?!
Even the "health official" Joe trotted out like a trained lap dog in her white lab coat, one Heather Hollister, told the journos present that she couldn't say if people had been made sick by these vendors, much less how many.
Guess what? Hollister doesn't currently work for Maricopa County Environmental Services. She works for Joe in some capacity as a health inspector. This, according to Johnny Dilone, the flack for MCES, who also told me that his department did not request this recent corn vendor dragnet.
"We have asked for their assistance and the assistance of other law enforcement in the past," Dilone told me. "But we did not request this specific operation."
Normally, Dilone said, someone caught peddling food without a license by one of MCES's vendors would get a citation and might have to go to court. The food itself might be confiscated, or "embargoed," in MCES-ese. But the individual would not be arrested, no matter what I.D. they did or didn't have. They would just get a citation.
Usually, when the MCSO or some other law enforcement agency is helping MCES, they're in the area or nearby, stated Dilone, but not accompanying inspectors, checking papers.
So there you have it. A cheap media stunt, save for the 11 or more families that will be impacted by their moms and dads being in Joe's jails. (Those arrested are likely being leaned on to sign voluntary deportation orders as I write.) Public health was never part of the equation.
At yesterday's media event, decrepit old Joe -- too cowardly to set foot in Mesa during his last anti-brown dragnet there -- mimicked a real lawman, talking tough about how the vendors weren't going to get their carts or food back. He also contradicted himself during the press conference, making it clear it was all about going after illegals, as he protested the contrary.
"We didn't know that they were illegal when we stopped to approach these people," spat Arpayaso. "It just so happened that 11 out of 11 are illegal."
Our corrupt top constable then tripped over his own denial, revealing the real deal behind this penny-ante operation.
"Our intelligence shows they get this corn from drophouses -- all of these illegals," he snorted.
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So Joe was targeting the vendors because he believes they're all illegal. Arpayaso's so brazen he can't even prevaricate well. And what "intelligence" he has is obviously subject to question.
How do we end this b.s., this misuse of county funds, this constant persecution of the undocumented while real criminals roam free? There's only one way, and we need to keep repeating it like a mantra: November, November, November...
(Update: According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement flack Laurie Haley, 13 people are in custody from Sheriff Joe's corn vendor dragnet. Initially, the number reported was 11.)