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Faithful Flash fans know that Fife and Ann Symington have completed their first week of study at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute--and undoubtedly are already freaked about their prospects for future employment.
The Flash suggests they apply to run the chuck wagon at Nixon's, a restaurant/bar slated to open next month at one of Fife's old "haunts," the Camelback Esplanade.
Political consultant Jason Rose has been ruminating on the Nixon's concept--he calls it a "free-speech den"--for more than a year. Along with meat and potatoes and booze, patrons will be treated to copious helpings of political stew--much of it local. That shouldn't be difficult, considering Arizona's rich and recent history of boneheaded pols--the Fifester, Ev Mecham and Charlie Keating all will be featured.
The walls will be decorated with murals, including one of Richard Nixon as George Washington crossing the Delaware, accompanied by the likes of Janis Joplin and Gloria Steinem. Another tasteful mural will feature a giant bus, with Rosa Parks and Oprah Winfrey in the front seat.
Other diversions will come in the form of Rose's politicized version of MTV. He's matched footage from famous speeches with rock music. Some examples:
Ronald Reagan's farewell address set to Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days."
Nixon's resignation speech recited over Eurythmics' "Would I Lie to You?"
And one from a politicized trial: O.J. Simpson matched with Guns 'n Roses' "I Used to Love Her But I Had to Kill Her."
Even the toilet bowls will tug at your First Amendment tendencies by featuring cartoons of Charles Manson, Ted Kaczynski and Tim McVeigh.
Sadly for Fife and Ann, the job of head chef is already taken by co-owner Phil Miglino, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York; the other co-owner is Rob Hess, a senior vice president at Rural Metro Corp. Investors include Scottsdale Mayor Sam Campana and Phoenix attorney Pat McGroeder.
Perhaps the Symingtons could break in waiting and busing tables.
Last week, the Society of Professional Journalists put on a silly "reverse news conference." Reporters and government types switched roles--the pols and bureaucrats fired probing questions and the scribes did their best to talk without actually saying anything--so that each might experience the other's pain.
The exercise reminded the Flash of "backwards day" in junior high, when everyone went to their first class last and their last class first. Like the SPJ's confab, it was utterly pointless.
The journalists' team consisted of Julie Staley-Rodriguez of KSAZ Channel 10 (recently named the country's most violent local news broadcast by Rocky Mountain Media Watch); Andy Friedman, news director of KTAR-AM 620; Katy Bornhofen of the indispensable Surprise Independent; and Republic reporter Richard Ruelas.
On the government side, SPJ recruited Mesa uber-Republican Representative Karen Johnson; Billie Orr, the state's associate superintendent of schools; Scottsdale Mayor Sam Campana; and, to make certain the stunt itself got press coverage, Sheriff Joke Arpaio.
Arpaio didn't seem to understand the concept. There was a microphone in front of him and reporters sitting around, and he naturally assumed he should be talking about himself. When Arpaio bragged that he has an open-door policy and will talk to any reporter, Ruelas got the Buffoonish One to admit that there was a certain weekly publication that gets no access.
Ruelas also deflated Arpaio when the Jokester complained that the Republic no longer covers his publicity stunts the way it used to.
"Is there some kind of conspiracy at the Republic against me?" the Jokenheimer inquired.
"No, there's no conspiracy," Ruelas answered. "We just stopped covering you because Jerry Colangelo told us to."
The joke was lost on the Joke.
Arpaio and his deputy chief, David Hendershott, put on a command performance in the wake of their assault at the hands of Scottsdale hairdresser Sean Huskisson.
On July 9, reporters were tipped by the sheriff's office that a guy who had assaulted the sheriff could be photographed as he was taken to have his bail set. After snapping the shots, the journalists were whisked to a press conference so Arpaio could speak of the bravery he and Hendershott had displayed. Arpaio got what he wanted: Press reports played up the angle that, because of his reputation as a crime-fighter, the sheriff is a marked man.
Now, a Scottsdale police report tells in greater detail what happened that night.
"It was just, it was like watching Barney Fife," witness Douglas Freeman told investigators.
All accounts agree that Huskisson was loaded, having downed about four chocolate martinis before heading to the restaurant Such Is Life on Shea Boulevard. The bartender there could see that Huskisson was fried and eighty-sixed him. When Huskisson sat down in the driver's seat of his Ford Probe, his wife objected, telling him to move to the passenger side and let her drive.
Arpaio, his wife, Ava, and Hendershott were standing nearby, having just left the restaurant Maria's When in Naples.
Hendershott flashed his badge at the Huskissons, telling them that he'd have Sean arrested if he tried to drive away. Hendershott called 911 on a cell phone and asked Scottsdale PD to send a squad car. Huskisson moved around the car and sat in the passenger seat.
Then, just as things seemed settled, Huskisson's friend Freeman came out of Such Is Life and spotted Arpaio. According to the police report, Freeman had spent some time in Tent City on a DUI, and is not fond of the Jokester.
Various accounts have Freeman shouting something like: "Hey, Sean, look. It's fucking Sheriff Arpaio."
What happened next is less clear. Freeman claims that his comments set Hendershott off, and the deputy began yelling that Huskisson was going to jail. Hendershott and Arpaio claim that Huskisson came out of the Probe on his own and a scrum ensued.
That night, Huskisson himself told officers that he saw Hendershott make a move toward his wife, considered it a threat and began swinging. Huskisson's friends say they tried to hold him back, but his swinging arms flailed wildly. Arpaio strayed into the fray, and the punch he took to his neck was just a lucky accident by Huskisson, his friends told investigators. (By the time of his press conference, however, Arpaio had survived a death blow.)
Hendershott, meanwhile, called Scottsdale PD again. The investigative report discloses the dialogue.
Hendershott: "I got a 239 in progress, I'm . . ."
Dispatcher: "What is that, sir?"
Hendershott: ". . . with the sheriff."
Dispatcher: "Sir, what's a 239?"
Hendershott: "It's a fight. It's a fight."
Dispatcher: "Okay. . . . Sir, are there any weapons?"
Unidentified: "I got him, I got him."
Unidentified: "Fuck you."
Hendershott: "They're en route . . ."
Dispatcher: "Are there any weapons?"
Hendershott: "No weapons, just roll 'em, goddammit!"
Dispatcher: "Calm down, we'll get someone there as quickly as we can."
Hendershott subdued Huskisson by sitting on him. That's when a Such Is Life manager came out to see what all the commotion was about. Freeman told investigators the manager asked what was going on and Arpaio replied that he was the sheriff.
"'I know who you are, but who's this fat guy laying on Sean?'" Freeman says the manager complained.
"It should be noted," wrote a Scottsdale investigator, "that victim #1, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, is about 5-11 and about 225 lbs and is approximately 50 years old [actually, he's 64]. Victim #2 David Hendershott is about 5-9 and about 400 lbs, and is approximately 45 years old [he's 41]." Huskisson, meanwhile, is 5-9 and 120 pounds.
Huskisson told jailers that his ribs were sore the next day. He also claimed he couldn't remember anything after arriving at Such Is Life. The hairdresser was booked for aggravated assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and aggravated hair-teasing. Scottsdale PD's initial case was kicked back by county attorney Rick Romley, however, because Arpaio himself hadn't been interviewed by police.
When Joke was questioned July 24, he stuck close to the written account his office had already released, but he couldn't help but add, "I know Sam Levine, of course, uh, mentioned in the paper, uh, you know, Dave and I should be considered heroes, uh, for keeping this guy from driving." (Levine, an Arpaio pal, witnessed the event, but was not interviewed by police.)
Huskisson's friends all complained that Hendershott overreacted. The Flash hears, however, that Romley plans to file assault charges against Huskisson. Guess he'll be wearin' the hair shirt.
Feed the Flash: voice, 229-8486; fax, 340-8806; online, firstname.lastname@example.org
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