The Spike was glad to see Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio take a break from busting chops last week to get his own chops roasted, albeit by a cast of political B-listers: state House Majority Whip Robert Blendu, House Speaker Jim Weiers and Phoenix Coyotes owner Steve Ellman.
The purported occasion was Arpaio's 70th birthday, but the party was really a fund-raiser for state Senator Scott "Scooter" Bundgaard's congressional campaign. Bundgaard is one of about a million people running in the GOP primary in District 2, for the seat being vacated by Representative Bob Stump.
Jason Rose, the Scottsdale public affairs consultant known for his shaggy 'do and deep-pocket clients, was one of more than 80 people who forked over the ticket price of $1,000. Of course, he had to go. He's working for Bundgaard and Ellman and probably half the people who were there. (Jason's ex, GOP fund-raiser extraordinaire Stacey Pawlowski, is supporting Lisa Atkins, Stump's chief of staff who hopes to succeed her boss.)
"Ellman killed," says Rose, who, after five years of the guy, was surprised at how witty Ellman could be. "Ellman is a sleeper funny man."
The Spike would have to agree, based on reports that Ellman told the crowd that Sheriff Joe and Mrs. Sheriff Joe (Ava) obviously fell in love with the same man. Ha ha.
Ellman also presented Arpaio with a hockey stick signed by Brad May, the Coyotes player arrested in April for decking someone at the Cat Eye Lounge in Scottsdale.
Bundgaard didn't roast Arpaio but circulated at the soiree, held at Chuck and Leslie McCarver's home in Finisterre, the tony Paradise Valley development where Dan Quayle lives. (Apparently the McCarvers throw a better dinner party than they do a newspaper. They recently took over Trends that trashy gossip/fashion rag no self-respecting socialite or wannabe would be without and The Spike can barely get through an issue these days. Dullsville!)
Dinner was catered by Lon's, but Rose insists it was nothing special, just "a nice, kinda cool chicken thing going on."
Dessert was birthday cake, of course, with 70 candles. It took Arpaio four puffs to blow them out.
Wow. Guess Arpaio isn't such a blowhard after all.
The Spike is happy to report that Eddie the Hot Dogger has been granted a stay of execution by county bureaucrats who wanted to terminate the lease on his hot dog business near the downtown courthouse.
Earlier this year, Eddie and a couple of other vendors who worked the corners near the courthouse found out the county planned to cancel their contracts, even though they had six months to go on the agreements. It seems the county thought it could collect hundreds of dollars more in rent than Eddie and the others had been paying, simply by offering the spots to (presumably) higher bidders.
But justice isn't always blind, especially when, like Eddie Haramina, you have friends in high places.
Soon after Eddie's plight was made known (through a March 7 New Times story), Phoenix City Councilman Phil Gordon dashed off a note to City Manager Frank Fairbanks, asking him to find space outside City Hall.
"Eddie is a downtown icon, a small businessman and provides a great customer friendly service to his patrons," Gordon said in the memo. "As a lot of our visitors and employees have used Eddie, I'd like to keep him downtown. In my opinion, the county's loss is our gain."
For now, though, it looks like the Hot Dogger is staying put, thanks in large part to the numerous letters from supporters that Eddie presented when he recently pleaded his case directly to the county Board of Supervisors.
Paul Rhodes, a vice president of Trustee Services of America, wrote that he'd lived in other big cities, and "all have the classic 'hot dog vendor.' They come in the guise of taco stands, soda carts, pretzel stands, ice cream carts, newspaper stands . . . These stands elicit some of the flavor of a city."
Businessman Scott Oakley informed the board: "I have found [Haramina] to be so polite, professional and sympathetic to those less fortunate than himself. I have personally seen him provide something cool to drink free of charge and pick up trash on the sidewalk. This does not seem the type of human being that the county would wish to run off."
Haramina tells The Spike he is elated by the success of his counter-offensive against the bureaucrats. Still, he may end up having to move in November, when his contract runs out.
And speaking of sidewalk acts, The Spike should have recognized the saxophone player wailing outside the new Dodge Theatre before the Bonnie Raitt concert the other night as an omen. Quintessential Phoenix at first really cool, but ultimately disappointing.
Sure, The Spike had read the reviews of the Dodge, including the digs about the cement floor and too-casual atmosphere. But as The Spike discovered, it's even worse.
First, The Spike was surprised to find so many competing refreshment stands in the lobby. Bratwurst or cotton candy, cappuccino or cocktails. Not to mention the decadent dessert cart. Upscale arts venue? Or the midway at the state fair? Next time, The Spike will forgo the black evening wear for jeans and a T-shirt.
But the real hoodwink turns out to be the balcony seats, which, at least for the Bonnie Raitt show, sold for the same price as lower-level seats.
It seems the theater's design includes a steep incline for the balcony level, and the seats there even the ones close to the front are much more like the nosebleed seats in a stadium than the theater balcony of, say, the Orpheum or the Gammage.
The acoustics were great, but seeing the talent? Forget it. Opera glasses or binoculars are required equipment.
Downstairs, broad aisles and wide rows mean little distraction when some (rude) patrons just have to get another latte or hit the head during the show.
Upstairs, long rows with little leg space mean everyone has to stand up when one bozo has to get out and then get back in.
The Spike can only assume that Raitt never visited the upper levels. She devoted a good bit of her concert patter to raving about how lucky Phoenix is to have such a wonderful theater.
And no wonder. The dressing room includes a washer and dryer. So she did some laundry before the show.
"I feel so much better," she said.
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