Sheriff Nickel Bag Joe Arpaio's a regular investigatin' fool these days, pokin' his bulbous, veiny snout into light rail, Maricopa County community colleges, Attorney General Terry Goddard's bidness, and now, Phoenix city government's travel reimbursements. At the beginning of this month, the Sheriff put in a public records request to PHX City Manager Frank Fairbanks for junket expenditures, and that got this tweeter to thinkin':
Who's investigatin' the investigator about his freakin' travel expenses and the travel expenses of his top goons?
So, by the time you read the latest Bird droppings, this mighty meadowlark will have submitted a public records request both to Sheriff Arpaio and to his partner in these so-called public corruption cases, County Attorney Candy Thomas, asking for all of the travel reports, reimbursement requests, receipts and whatnot for Thomas, Arpaio, and their top flunkies. Since Arpaio's been in office longer, this fair-minded finch has begun asking for all such docs going back to the beginning of 2005, when Candy took office. Once this request is fulfilled, the Bird will ask for more, going back to the start of Arpaio's reign.
The sheriff's office regularly violates the First Amendment rights of this parakeet's paper by refusing such requests, not allowing New Times scribes at his press conferences, even refusing to return the phone calls of NT reporters. But as we say in Birdland, what's good for the goose, goes double for the gander. The public has a right to know if Arpaio, and stooges like Paul Chagolla, Lisa Allen MacPherson, and Joe's Jabba the Hutt-sized chief aide, David Hendershott, have been padding expenses or taking unnecessary trips.
Ditto for Candy kiss-butts like Barnett Lotstein and new PR tool (and this blackbird does mean tool) Mike Anthony Scerbo, the former KTAR news director who recently turned coat, drank the Kool-Aid, and became Candy's toady. Of course, Scerbo prolly hasn't done much travelin' yet, so this beak-bearer asked for all the details on his hire and pay scale, just to make sure the public's moolah's being spent right.
Consider this Week One of the Taloned One's public records request. Candy and Sheriff Joke are legally obligated to comply under Arizona's public records law, and surely they have nothing to hide. So this dodo will be holding its breath 'til those boxes of docs are delivered to his nest's front door. Any day now . . .
Why is this beetle-cruncher's fave Beer Hall Putz, white supremacist J.T. Ready, under investigation by the Mesa PD? Public information officer Diana Tapia tells this thorn bird that Turd Reicher Ready is the subject of an ongoing investigation after an April 23 traffic stop in which Ready's vehicle was impounded and later returned to him.
According to Sergeant Tim Mason, DPS pulled over the beefy brownshirt for allegedly displaying a fictitious plate on his 2005 Chevy Impala. Ready also supposedly had a preemption emitter in the back seat. You know, one of those traffic-light-changer thingies that allow firemen to fly through intersections. Thing is, if you're not a fireman or a cop, you're not supposed to have it.
Ready was arrested and booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail. His car was towed to the Mesa PD, which is when that department got involved, according to Tapia. The car was eventually returned, but an investigation into Ready continues by Mesa cops. What was it in Ready's vehicle that piqued the interest of Mesa detectives? Tapia says she can't comment while the probe continues.
A call to Ready's HQ, which his phone mail message refers to as "the Eagle's Nest," after Adolf Hitler's wartime mountain retreat, was not returned. But the Ernst Roehm of the East Valley mentioned the arrest in a May 4 press release announcing that he planned to storm a meeting of the Mesa City Council and denounce Detective Matt Browning, the Mesa PD's point man on right-wing extremists and skinheads. In his media statement, Ready whines about "the government unlawfully seizing my personal property and interrogating me."
At the May 7 meeting, with extra security present, Ready disrupted the tail end of the council session, yelling at Mesa Mayor Keno Hawker about Browning and the tight security that evening. Two days later, azcentral.com's message board was filled with speculation from posters, including one some believed to be Ready himself, stating that "his lawful firearm was unlawfully seized" and that "other personal property was never returned to Mr. Ready without cause."
You'd think Ready's head-butting with law enforcement, checkered military career, and ties to white supremacists and neo-Nazis would make him persona non grata in the anti-immigration movement. Yet, there he was, in all his flabby fatuousness, at the June 16 nativist rally at the AZ Capitol, garnering whoops and hollers from the assembled.
The Bird's bloggin' buddy Feathered Bastard posted an item about J.T.'s tirade at the anti-immigration clambake. The blog's comments section was subsequently inundated with prejudiced puddin' heads defending J.T., his views, and his speech at the bigoted blowout. Some called Ready's white supremacist associations irrelevant, while others went on to argue: Ready is a patriot, white pride is cool, and, by the way, the Holocaust never happened.
Way to lean into the fist sandwich, people! As long as nativists protect Ready, let him speak at their events, and embrace his wack worldview, they've earned all the invective this American eagle can throw at 'em, and then some.
Kudos to Candy Thomas for inadvertently making the best case yet against Prop 100, the new law denying bail to illegal immigrants suspected of committing certain felonies. The other day, Thomas announced that Turkish national Haluk "Midnight Express" Kandas had been indicted on four counts of negligent homicide in a 2006 traffic accident that killed a family of four on Loop 101 in Scottsdale.
Believing Kandas was in the country illegally, Candy had his legal beagles demand that Kandas be held without bond, citing Prop 100, which was voted into law last November by 78 percent of the electorate. Seems Kandas confessed to being in the country illegally when he was arrested recently. The judge set bail anyway at $180K because the court requires more than just a confession. About a day later, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) said Kandas was, despite his statement, in the country legally.
In this owl's opinion, Candy's demonstrated why the prop's an effed-up law, one specifically designed to punish those who aren't white and don't speak English well.
See, the prop states bond can be denied "for serious felony offenses as prescribed by the Legislature if the person charged has entered or remained in the U.S. illegally and if the proof is evident or the presumption great as to the present charge." Though the law does not mention race, in practice the assumption is that if your skin tone's light enough and your English is pretty swell, you won't be bothered by the statute.
Know what probable cause is for this law? DWB: Driving while brown.
"Right now, every brown-skinned person who speaks Spanish is being roped into these things," explained Robert McWhirter of the AZ Attorneys for Criminal Justice, who defends cases involving the new law. "The standard seems to be, 'Is he wet enough?'"
McWhirter's the dood who wrote the book on immigration law literally: The Criminal Lawyer's Guide to Immigration Law, 2nd ed. He broke down the dilemma with making a snap decision on someone's status to this pesky pelican:
"How many people carry their passport with them, if they have it? Okay, let's say you don't have a passport because you're one of the millions of Americans who've never traveled abroad. Well, how many keep their birth certificate about them? So, if you're put in a Proposition 100 hearing by the County Attorney, how are you going to prove that you are a U.S. citizen? Call your mother in and have her say, 'Oh, yes, I gave birth to him in Detroit?'"
McWhirter says hundreds are being hauled dragnet-style into Prop 100 hearings by Candy's attack dogs, who then try to get the judge to refuse bail based on the Prop 100 law. Candy's bow-wows usually don't have the proof, so the judge sets bail, and Candy denounces the judiciary in press conferences for denying "the will of the people."
Uh, no, the judges are just trying to get it right! People confess to stuff they didn't do all the time, like in the case of Kandas. That's why Candy's lawyers have to present other evidence that shows that the accused (and presumed innocent) may have entered the country, or remained, illegally. It ain't all that easy, though.
For instance, there are people who entered the country illegally and have since become citizens. Do they count under this law? Also, there are a lot of citizens whose English sucks or is nonexistent. Heck, if you've been here long enough, you don't even have to take your freakin' citizenship test in English. So language proficiency is no proof of citizenship.
Indeed, determining someone's legal status is so difficult that it requires a whole system of immigration courts to ensure that no one is denied equal protection under the law and due process. Sorry to all you xenophobes out there, but the U.S. Supreme Court's already found that aliens get due process. So don't even bother opening your redneck pieholes on that one.
What's the big deal about denying bail in instances where bail's normally available? Well, if you or a loved one ever gets popped, rightly or wrongly, for something like forgery or shoplifting, you may find out the hard way, 'specially if you're not Anglo.
The Legislature, under the leadership of Representative Russell "Beaner Basher" Pearce, has just passed a new law meant to cram Prop 100 down the throats of a wary judiciary, to Candy's delight. And it seems as if every other week, the AZ Repugnant's most repugnant columnist, Laurie Roberts, squeals about how Prop 100 isn't getting enforced. But this salty sandpiper's hoping a higher court eventually scraps the ill-conceived law altogether, no matter how many dopes out there voted for it.
If 100 percent of the electorate voted for the repeal of the Bill of Rights, would Roberts, Candy, and Pearce be okay with that, too? Uh, don't answer that.
This brew-poundin' budgie recently spent a Friday evening bar-hoppin' with the wacky Hobart Epstein and a crew of madcap artistes as part of Epstein's impromptu Coyote Art Swap Meet, with coyote-themed art from about a dozen or so local daubers and other creative cats.
Art-scene oddity Epstein had been pestering this peacock the week before with cryptic calls and annoying e-mails regarding the art prank, slated to go down at The Roosevelt, Matt Pool's downtown saloon. Just one fly in Epstein's ointment: He hadn't earned Pool's blessing for the festivities.
No wonder Epstein, looking like a cowpoke version of Harpo Marx in a Marilyn Monroe wig and tweed porkpie hat, and his compadre El Santo, in a three-piece suit and long, black wig, were 86'd by Pool's wife, Erenia, not long after trying to take over the spot with their kooky conclave.
Chomping an unlighted cigarillo, Epstein declared The Roosevelt to be "a no-fun zone" in his shrill, affected Southern drawl, then led his regrouped band of merry pranksters, coyote art and all, down to Shady's on Indian School Road and 27th Street, where their screwy shenanigans were tolerated. This freaky finch followed, of course.
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Libations flowed, and the art show commenced, featuring absurdly awful coyote-themed work by painter Erin Sotak, ceramicist Diane Fisher, and Alpha Monster impresario Baron Gordon. Mixed media artist Allison King took home first prize with her Fucking Diaspora (Revenge of the Biltmore Coyote Bitch), made from crushed quartz and brushed stainless gold portraying a coyote that's been attacking dogs in the Biltmore area.
Hobart and El Santo eventually dropped their shtick and revealed themselves as painter Shawn Carney and photog Aaron Abbott, respectively. The pair informed this winged wordsmith they wanted to stage the exhibition as a "major league prank and performance art piece" meant to poke fun at snooty scenesters who take themselves too seriously.
"We were almost anticipating getting kicked out," Carney claimed of The Roosevelt fiasco. "We freely admit we're retarded for doing this. We're just being annoying little shits."
As are many in The PHX's art scene. But unlike them, at least these art-geek meshuggenehs massaged this funky flamingo's funny bone.