Mike Stauffer, looking to retire Arpaio this fall
Recently, Phoenix videographer Dennis Gilman and I interviewed the two men who want to put Sheriff Joe Arpaio out to pasture come November: Democratic candidate and former Phoenix Police Department Sergeant Paul Penzone, and Scottsdale Police Department Lieutenant Mike Stauffer, who's running as an Independent.
Last week, I posted the video of our Penzone interview. This week, Stauffer's up to bat. I think you'll notice a stark contrast in styles between the two men.
As I mentioned in the Penzone post, one of these candidates will have to bow out of the race. That's because in a three-man contest, with the anti-Joe vote split, Arpaio emerges the victor.
Even one rival will have enormous obstacles to overcome. Arpaio has $3.4 million in his campaign kitty, and he enjoys immediate name recognition in this county, regardless of what you think of him.
Both Stauffer and Penzone are to be commended for taking on Arpaio, in spite of these factors. But the ultimate question is: Who has a better shot of unseating Sheriff Joe? Too bad there's not an open primary, where the electorate could decide that question conclusively.
In any case, here are some highlights from the Stauffer interview. Enjoy.
On the killing of Marty Atencio and the treatment of prisoners:
"If they're in the jail, they are our responsibility. A lot of them are not even adjudicated yet. A lot of them have not even been seen by the judge. Mr. Atencio hadn't even completed the booking process yet. So in this country, we're innocent until proven guilty. And he didn't...get the chance to even [have] his initial appearance, before those detention officers and those officers that were involved in that essentially carried out a sentence."
On accountability and reducing the command staff:
"The buck stops with me. I will never not recall. I will never not know what's going on because I'm off, running around in New Hampshire, endorsing people [for president]. I will not do that. I will know what's going on in my office."
On Arpaio's Tent City:
"From my observations, there is no legitimate law enforcement purpose to Tent City. It's just a lawsuit magnet and a circus sideshow for Joe Arpaio...Tent City as you know it today is done. When I take office, it's done."
His idea for an MCSO farm:
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"I will have a work farm, an agricultural center, that would provide the food for the rest of the jail system. We'll grow food -- I don't know if we'll get into the cattle...What I'd like to see is a partnership between the business communities, the agricultural communities in Maricopa County with the county jail system."
Regarding immigration raids:
"If we have to go and hit a business, we're going to take the business owners, because they're the ones violating the law. There's an employer sanctions law here in Arizona that's been enforced two or three times, maybe...But I'm going to work with the business community and tell them that I'm serious about employer sanctions laws. And they're going to have to abide by the laws of this state."
(Note: Though most people are familiar with the possible loss or suspension of a business license as a result of hiring illegal immigrants in Arizona, an employer also could be subject to criminal prosecution if he or she "knowingly" accepts false identifying info from an employee. Under the correct circumstances, that could be considered a class 4 felony under the statute.)