Note: Please see update below.
Think Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's been doin' a bang-up job lately, and not just on that broken arm of his?
I mean, we hardly see "America's toughest sheriff" these days after his slip and fall earlier this year. Maybe he's holed up in Fountain Hills driving Ava crazy or maybe MCSO flack Lisa Allen is doing some kind of weird Weekend at Bernie's thing with his corpse. (See note below.)
Either way, you reckon he deserves an additional $1.5 million he can do pretty much any dang thing he pleases with?
Well, seems GOP state Senator Don Shooter, the guy known for allegedly bum rushing school receptionists, does.
Today (Wednesday) the Appropriations Chair offered an amendment to a budget reconciliation bill in committee that would hand over $1.5 million in funds from the state's Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission "to a county sheriff of a county with a population of more than three million persons."
Um, which would be Arpaio, as Maricopa County is the only one that fits that bill.
Ostensibly, the loot would be for "safety equipment worn or used by peace officers employed by the county sheriff."
Thing is, Arpaio doesn't have a great track record of spending public money according to its intended purpose.
Or the manpower that was supposed to go to investigating sex-crimes cases in El Mirage and elsewhere that was diverted to Arpaio's pet projects, everything from training Honduran cops to chasing Arpaio's political enemies?
According to the state's GIITEM statute, the MCSO already gets $1.6 million right off the bat, so this amendment would ensure they get even more.
Oh, and screw all you little counties, BTW.
The other Republicans on Appropriations went along with Shooter on this one. Only the Dems voted no, and the measure passed out of committee on a 6-3 vote.
Democratic state Senator Steve Gallardo is hoping to neuter Shooter's amendment when Senate Bill 1490 goes to the floor tomorrow.
"We believe we have the votes to strip it off," Gallardo told me this afternoon. "Dems need to stand firm on this one."
Gallardo pointed out that Governor Jan Brewer needs the Democrats to move her Medicaid expansion package, which is seen as a done deal at this point.
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So unlike in past years, the Dems actually have the leverage to remove stupid stuff like Don Shooter's bend-over gift for Joe.
As long as they don't wussy out. We are talkin' about the Dems, here.
Note: On Channel 3 Wednesday night, I actually caught a fleeting glimpse of Arpaio next to that former D-backs dude Mark Grace. Some sort of bs about the guy getting a DUI. (Who cares?) Anyway, apparently Arpaio lives, though I could have sworn that was Lisa Allen propping him up from behind.
UPDATE May 16, 2013 1:30: Don Shooter's "We Love Joe Arpaio, Let's Give Him $1.5 Million" amendment to Senate Bill 1490, went down to defeat in the Committee of the Whole today, 15 nays to 14 yeas. Congrats to Democratic state Senator Steve Gallardo for rallying the troops on this one, and kudos to a couple of key Rs for doing the right thing. Gallardo says it's dead in the Senate, unless some Joe-worshipper in the state House tries to tack it on in the near future. Which is possible.