Jarrett and Goliath
"With the people's David in the race, we're going to slay the Phil-istine giant," the Reverend Jarrett Maupin II informed this cynical sandgrouse, referring to his just-announced campaign against Phoenix Mayor Phil "Goober" Gordon, the cash-bloated Goliath to Maupin's slingshot-bearin' David.
"Who're the Philistines?" continued the 19-year-old Rev, while getting his famous hair permed at Shante's, a black-owned barbershop in south Phoenix. "They're the developers, the big-money men, the people with the deep pockets. David? Nobody wanted David. But God wanted David. Justice wanted David. Equality wanted David. The level playing field was calling David's name."
The Bird recently winged its way down to Shante's and took a load off its talons while discussing with the boy-wonder Bible-thumper his promise to "kick Phil's butt" in the race for P-town's top spot. Ever since former New Times staffer Jimmy Magahern's profile of the teen civil rights advocate ("Kid Sharpton") came out on February 3, 2005, it's been obvious that the precocious pastor has a future brighter than the bling on Kanye Wests wrists. But becoming Phoenix's first black mayor, and the youngest man ever to lead a major American city over the political corpse of a glad-handin' incumbent who's stacked $655K-plus in campaign contributions may require divine intervention.
Maupin's secret weapon (the stone in his slingshot, if you will) is the sheer force of his personality, something of which Gordon has zip. Let's be real, Gordon's about as electrifying as a wet pair of stanky socks. How this nebbishy schlub became the mayor of the nation's fifth-largest metropolis is truly beyond this acerbic avian.
Phil's record in office is uninspiring to all but PHX real estate moguls and developers. Loads of public funds are getting pumped into downtown, but with ho-hum results, so far. Crime stats remain alarming, with Phoenix named 59th-most dangerous city in the nation, worse in violent crime per 100,000 people than NYC. Goober's reaction? Twiddling his thumbs and tut-tutting the numbers.
Last month, Morgan Quitno Press labeled Arizona the third most dangerous state in the union, up from fourth last year. What's the mayor of the Zona's most populous city been doing? Handing out benches and playing Mayor Scissorhands, cutting ribbons at every frickin' photo op.
Yet, no one of any stature or name recognition other than Maupin has huevos enough to enter the race. AZ's Republican Party has effectively ceded the election to Phil and his soon-to-be million-dollar war chest. True, the Phoenix mayoral contest is nominally nonpartisan. But Goober's a Dem (really a DiNO, a Democrat in Name Only), and he receives AZ Democratic Party backing, without having a face-off in a partisan primary against fellow Dem Maupin. That's why this outraged ostrich was flabbergasted to hear Zona Republican chair Randy Pullen confess, "At this point, we're not going to go out and recruit a candidate to run in this race."
Pullen, who challenged Phil in 2003 and lost big, cited what must seem like a stacked deck: low caps on donations, $370 per person before this February, and $390 since, thus making fundraising a time-consuming enterprise; elections held on off-years to ensure low voter turnout; and general voter apathy (in '03, only 21 percent of the electorate bothered casting ballots).
Still, The Bird faults Pullen's apathy. In the '80s, under the reigns of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. , the constant refrain of pundits was the "lock" Republicans had on the electoral college, thus denying Dems the White House. But along came a Southerner named Bill Clinton, and that lock got picked.
Point is, you've got to be in it to win it, Randy. Why, Pullen was unaware there's a registered GOPer in the race until this feathered Fourth Estater informed him. Admittedly, businessman/lawyer Steve Lory's a longshot, but you'd think his own party'd know he's running. (It was in the daily paper, Randy. Geez!)
Which brings us back to the people's champ, Jarrett Maupin, who at his tender age has already earned notoriety as the charismatic Prez of the Arizona chapter of the Reverend Al Sharptons National Action Network. In 2005, he challenged District 8 Councilman Mike Johnson and lost, only to rebound in '06 and win a seat on the Phoenix Union School Board.
What was Phil doing when he was a teenager, collecting bottle caps?
If Maupin could speak to every voter in P-town, his verbal skills might just win them over, and if there's a televised debate with Gordon and the Rev going toe-to-toe, Maupin'd mop up, at least in the debate.
"You talk about leadership and experience," replies Maupin when asked about his competency to lead. "I'm well-versed enough to know cities don't thrive off of big business and giving in to developers. They survive off of empowering small businesses, which employ most of the people of this city. Businesses like the barber shop up the street, hip-hop shops and record stores. These are absent from downtown."
Maupin holds that if downtown were hot, big business would be fighting to get into that market: "The shameful thing is: You're going to give [millions] for the CityScape project in tax rebates and different things, and you're dealing with a downtown that doesn't even have a McDonald's."
In contrast, fast-money Phil's practically a wholly-owned subsidiary of Phoenix's business elite. His doorstop-sized campaign-finance report reads like a roster of Sand Land movers-and-shakers, boasting names like Jerry Colangelo; PHX Art Museum Director Jim Ballinger; Valley Metro Rail CEO Richard Simonetta; Arizona Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill; ambulance-service hawker Pat Cantelme; hubby of Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, restaurateur Earl Wilcox; Harkins Theatres owner Daniel Harkins; our senior U.S. senator's wife, Cindy McCain; and Phoenix council members Thomas Simplot and Peggy Bilstein.
Big law and development entities are represented in force, their employees often giving the per-person limit. Notably, the execs of RED Development and its sister companies have collectively poured $7,150 into the Phil for Phoenix Campaign Committee. This is the same RED Development that's partnering with the city on the $900 million CityScape initiative, soon to flatten Patriots Square for condos and a P.F. Chang's.
In other words, the fix is in. The high-muck-a-mucks have got Goober on a short leash, and as long as nearly nobody votes, the Gordon gravy train will keep choo-chooin'. Maupin'll be lucky to make double digits.
But then, there's a tiny part of this buzzard's black heart that wants to believe the Rev when he preaches that, like David, he'll slay the giant. Hell, even if Maupin doesn't stand a snow cone's chance in Yuma, the race will be a hell of a lot more interesting with him in it.
After New Times' profile of butch-lesbo nativist Laine Lawless ("Burn, Baby, Burn!," February 15), the word's been out about redneck posterboy Rusty Childress anti-immigrant bashes at his Kia dealership at 23rd Avenue and Camelback Road. On Thursday nights, Childress and his pals do everything but burn crosses at what the dealership's Web site dubs "the friendliest place in town."
Featured speakers at Childress' United for a Sovereign America's "Town Hall" meetings have included Don "The Fruit Falls Way Away from the Tree" Goldwater and state legislator Russell "White Pride" Pearce, among assorted other racist wackjobs. Dying to know what goes on at these kooky coffee klatches, this daffy duck did its Donnie Brasco bit and went undercover.
First off, The Bird's gotta say it's ironic that the America-lovin' Childress peddles Korean Kias. How can he and his cronies justify having their patriotic fiestas at a biz that's helpin' make Asian businessmen rich? When this pesky parrot squawked this query to Childress, he declined comment. Naturally, this was after The Bird revealed it had been attending Childress' meetings sub rosa, so perhaps Rusty was pissed.
Childress' anti-immigrant fetes happen inside the dealership's showroom, where, beside photos of smiling customers with their brand new Kias, there are snapshots of gaps in border fencing and posters of cops busting Hispanics, with captions like "Future guest worker of America" and "These are the jobs Americans refuse to do." The latter is beneath a picture of Latina prostitutes getting collared by the cops.
Hey, speak for yourself, Rusty. Most of the workin' girls this garrulous goose knows are whiter than a Zero bar.
Basically, on the evenings this pro-immigration ibis attended, a bunch of forty- and fiftysomethings and grizzled biker types gnawed their gums as they listened to Childress prattle on about how Mexico's invading America and how he wishes the "leaf blowers" would stay put in Sonora.
Attendees then burst into extended bitch sessions that made Rosie ODonnell and those other biddies on The View seem like Face the Nation. They whined about pols they don't like, including Governor Janet Napolitano, or "Crappy Nappy" as they call her; Senator John McCain, Congressman Jeff Flake and State Representative Kyrsten Sinema, whom they renamed "Kyrsten Enema." They also heaped praise on fellow Mex-haters Darrell AnKKKarlo of KTAR and Bruce Jacobs of KFYI.
At one session, foulmouthed Mesa City Council candidate J.T. Ready lambasted the "Anti-Defecation League" for denouncing groups like United for Sovereign America. Buffalo Rick Galeener, a Cave Creek musician and disabled vet, yammered on about how he protests at Bank of America locations because BofA offers credit cards to the undocumented in California. And Sandra Miller, an online columnist, blasted Mesa police detective Matt Browning for stating at a legislative conference in March that the immigration debate is stoking the fires of extremist groups. Miller requested that those in attendance file citizen complaints about Browning's speaking out to the Mesa department. Miller told The Bird after one meeting, "I'm a fighter. I take no prisoners. He's gonna pay with his blood."
Nice. And they say the anti-immigration movement isn't fueled by a bunch of trailer trash.
Handouts included fliers and DVDs talking about all the diseases Mexicans bring with them from the home country, how Latinos are parasites on the system, how they increase crime, yadda yadda yadda. On special nights, they show films about globalism and the one-world government takin' over. Could that be the same globalism that lets Childress sell Korean cars in P-town? Hmmm.
Childress looks like one of these goofball Jimmy Buffett-types who should be sipping a piña colada down in Cabo. But beneath his good ol' boy exterior beats the heart of an A-1 asshole. For instance, he co-founded the American Freedom Riders, a motorcycle group that gets its jollies harassing day laborers up in Cave Creek. Mr. Macho wanna-be, that Rusty.
Groups have tried boycotting the boob's auto mall. But what's the point? Childress' hate-Mexican circle-jerk would probably just find itself another place to party. At least this way, we know where all the hate kooks are at one time.
Since everybody from the Arizona Repugnant and the Reverend Jarrett Maupin to Al Roker and Oprah Winfrey are piling on shock jock Don Imus for calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos," this freedom-of-speech-lovin' fowl's gonna do some Monday-mornin' quarterbackin':
That crusty ol' cracker Imus should've taken a page from Republican Party doll Ann Coulter's playbook and not apologized.
Remember when Coulter called Dem John Edwards a "faggot"? She offered no excuses and flipped her critics the extended middle digit. Even this liberal lapwing admired her moxie, though it was disgusted by what she spat. The I-man's crack was far less offensive, he prostrated himself before the Reverend Al Sharpton and others, and he still got the boot!
Coulter weighed in on the Imus situation, suggesting that he "apologize to the Rutgers women and those women alone send them flowers, and stop kissing Al Sharpton's ring." Good advice. His open apology only made a bad situation worse.
Now The Bird hasn't ever been able to stomach the dyspeptic Imus (who many think is a radio legend). But his firing sets a dangerous precedent. It's already having a chilling effect on entertainers, comedians and talk-radio hosts. Evidence of that bubbled up when this beak-bearer phoned John Holmberg of 98KUPD's "Holmberg's Morning Sickness," the closest thing the Valley has to Howard Stern.
Holmberg wouldn't comment on the record, telling this foul flapper that the station was layin' low, waiting for the current mood to blow over. Okay, Johnny, but every time someone like Imus puckers up to Al Sharpton's fanny or an on-air "badass" like you refuses to take a stand, PC thought police win.
This tweeter's learned the hard way that lefties can be even more restrictive of free speech than their rightist counterparts. We're entering an era where libs want to give us all the A Clockwork Orange treatment. Unless we tell 'em to go eff themselves, they'll ram their namby-pamby speech codes right down our friggin' gullets.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.