Know what Phoenix's mayoral contest conjures up? That South Park episode titled "Douche and Turd," a send-up of the 2004 presidential election in which South Park Elementary School has to give up its original bovine mascot after ponytailed PETA protesters invade the campus. The replacement choices students get to vote on: A giant douche versus a big ol' turd sandwich.
Similarly, with the Reverend Jarrett Maupin kicked off the ballot over disputed signatures, we're left with a turd sammy, a.k.a. Mayor "Phony" Phil Gordon, and a giant douche, a.k.a. Steve Lory. Everyone knows why Goober Gordon's a dingleberry dagwood. The guy's done next to nada about rising crime, the mess light rail's created, security at Sky Harbor, yadda yadda yadda. Yet, he's raised close to $1 million for himself, much of it from big developers, law firms, etc. who have business before the city.
RED Development, the firm that'll be tearing up Patriots Square Park to create the $900 million CityScape project, gave Fast Money Phil more than $7K through donations from execs. As New Times scribe Sarah Fenske reported in her column, French transit firm Veolia just received a retroactive fee increase from the city worth a whopping $1.5 million a year ("Taken For a (Bus) Ride," August 9). And Veolia execs gave Philly Cheesesteak a total of $3,200. Score!
Phoenix mayoral election
Why does phony Phil need to raise $1 million? Maybe he wants to give back to the community. Donate his largesse to the poor. Screw that! He wants to be The Guv, baby! (Despite his recent denials.) And that's a tall order for a man with no charisma and a piss-poor record as Phoenix mayor. So he needs all the scrilla he can scrape up. Moolah he raises now, he can use later.
His competition is lawyer Lory, who got into the race after his Blaze nightclub was closed down by city inspectors for various violations. Lory's a soft-spoken cat who sounds like he's got marbles rolling around in his pie-hole. His presence onstage practically makes Goober Gordon sound like Winston Effin Churchill. But he had one thing going for him in the beginning: He seemed honest, and he wasn't Phil. No one really took him seriously, though. Maybe that's why he felt as if he had to sell his soul to the Satans of anti-immigration politics.
Lory's DJ gal pal, Liz Jordan, is shilling for Lory's newfound knee-jerk politics on ads running on KTAR, just as she once radio-shilled for Lory's Blaze nightclub. The irony? Blaze was a hip-hop club that catered to a mostly Hispanic and black crowd. Jordan's voice once reeled in clientele with the offer of penny drinks. Now it agonizes over the horror of Phoenix's "overloaded lifeboat" of illegals.
Lory sees no contradiction. He asserts that those who partied at and worked at his club were second- and third-generation Americans. More than that, "People who're minorities, they're against all immigration," he recently told this incredulous ibis.
"I talk to these people," the mush-mouth intoned. "I'm just as friendly with them as talking to you. I feel very comfortable to go down to [Phoenix City Council] District 7 or 8 and walk up to anybody at a bus stop and talk to them about any of this stuff, and I have."
According to Lory, most minorities are fed up with other minorities who're here illegally. Indeed, Lory stated that up to 60 percent of Hispanics voted for restrictive propositions such as Prop 300 in 2006. When challenged as to where he obtained such a stat in light of us still having a secret ballot in this country, Lory would only say, "I have heard it from sources I believe are correct."
Lory also spat the oft-repeated anti-immigrant rhetoric that Phoenix is a "sanctuary city," which is a steaming pile so high it could dwarf the old Dial Building on Central.
Lory referenced Phoenix police Operations Order 1.4, which basically states that the local gendarmes won't round up illegals in paddy wagons. But the PD does work closely with both the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Indeed, when this Toucan Sam spoke with ICE flack Vinnie Picard, he stated that ICE has officers embedded with Phoenix police, and that ICE and the cops enjoy a "good working relationship." The PD has a detailed protocol outlining how it alerts ICE when necessary. The phrase "sanctuary city" implies a policy openly implemented by a municipality. That would include a direct order protecting aliens from arrest and deportation, a situation that doesn't exist here.
This "sanctuary city" crap is the rhetoric of extremists, the "black helicopter" crowd, who believe a North American Union with a currency called the Amero is in the works for America, Mexico, and Canada. The fact that Lory's adopted it shows just how much wing-nut ass he's kissing, and how much Kool-Aid he's drunk. Last June, he spoke at an anti-illegal demonstration that featured Mexican-maligner Russell Pearce, the Mesa state rep, and white supremacist J.T. Ready. Lory's also listed as an attendee at an upcoming September 8 event for brown-basher Rusty Childress' motorcycle club the American Freedom Riders, who normally get off on spouting abuse at day-laborers up in Cave Creek. (Real tough guys!) Lory claims not to have made a final decision on whether he'll make that scene.
What's the point of all this? Lory's going to lose, big time, and if people remember him, they'll recall his desperate swing to the radical right in the hope of scoring a pitiful few more votes.
As the mayoral race draws to a close, all this Goober-phobic goose can say is that douche Lory is beginning to make that merde sandwich look edible by comparison.
Sanctuary city, this sweet skylark's caboose! Tell it to 18-year-old Virginia Gutierrez, an honors graduate from North High School who was pulled over by Phoenix po-po August 11 for a routine traffic stop and found herself deported to Nogales, Mexico in less than a week.
Gutierrez matriculated this May with a couple of small scholarships under her belt to help her attend ASU, her friends and former teachers told this wild turkey. Pals say she was stopped for a busted taillight. Whatever the reason for the stop, police spokeswoman Stacie Derge says Gutierrez's vehicle was impounded because she didn't have a driver's license. Gutierrez later requested a hearing to get the car back, went to police HQ downtown, and was popped for presenting a fake Mexican license from Chihuahua, Mexico. Specifically, she was arrested for forgery and booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail later that day.
Because of Prop 100, which was passed in '06 and seeks to deny bail to illegal aliens for serious offenses, Phoenix PD has to answer two questions regarding someone it's booking: whether the alleged offense is a Class 4 felony or above; and whether the person has entered or remained in the United States illegally. According to ICE flack Vinnie Picard, Gutierrez was ID'd as an illegal while being booked into jail by Phoenix police.
Now does that sound like Steve Lory's so-called sanctuary city to you?!
In any case, ICE was notified of Gutierrez. They prevailed upon her to sign voluntary deportation paperwork, even though, according to Picard, she could've fought deportation and not gone voluntarily. Picard claimed that agreeing to a voluntary deportation is common because if you take the one-way bus trek to the border, you retain the right to apply to return. But if you contest deportation, and face an official order of removal, you may not be able to return to the United States for a decade.
Despite the fact that, according to her friends, she'd been in this country since she was a toddler, Gutierrez signed off on voluntary deportation and was on a bus to Nogales on August 16.
"She was afraid to be in that jail," one friend who wished to remain anonymous told this tweeter. "She just wanted to get out of there."
Seems her 'rents weren't able to see her 'cause of the fact that they're undocumented. See, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a policy of barring (and possibly arresting) illegals who stop by his jails for visits, even if they are parents wanting to see their children.
It's unclear if she had legal representation. Local immigrants-rights activist Lydia Hernandez was attempting to advise her. She believes Gutierrez made a mistake in signing the voluntary deportation.
Folks like Lory, Russell Pearce, and Rusty Childress would likely say, "Don't let the knob hit you on the way out, Ginny." They insist kids like Virginia have to "obey the law" even if the law is fucked, even if such promising teens have lived in the AZ almost all their lives, and even if they might have made a significant contribution to American society particularly if they'd been offered a path to residency or citizenship, through a proposed piece of legislation like the DREAM Act.
No, Virginia, you can't stay. But redneck peckerwoods like Pearce, Childress, et al.? We're stuck with 'em for life! All 'cause the dillweeds just happen to have been born here.
This beak-bearer's blogging brother-in-wings, Feathered Bastard, loves riffin' on graffiti and often posts images of this urban art form, hoping to see more and better street art in a city where most public art bites javelina 'nads. See, this cuckoo canary's from L.A. (most recently), and writing on walls, stencils, murals, and colorful "pieces" (large, stylized works; not just tags) make him hanker after his old digs in Hollyweird.
Plus, let's be honest. In P-town, where there's this vast, sprawling sameness, graffiti livens up the joint, even when it's illegal. Folks squawk about vandalism and urban blight, but as any finch can see while flying around downtown, most of this burg's blight's caused by this city's need to mindlessly tear down, rebuild, and tear down again. Look at all the crap being done downtown for light rail. Maybe it'll all be good in the end but, in the meantime, much of downtown looks like one, big, gnarly bunghole.
Along comes KTAR's Darrell Ankarlo who wanted to tear this thrush a new one on the issue. His argument? It's illegal, dodo! (Hmmm, where's this warbler heard that one before?) Ankarlo invited this hummingbird on to respond. KTAR's wanna-be Bill OReilly cited recent vandalism of school buses in Scottsdale. The Bird rightly pointed out those perp-twerps weren't exactly graffiti artists. Mainly what they did was bang in some windows.
This mockingbird, rather, was championing PHX street artists such as El Mac, whose work recalls at times Andy Warhol, Hans Holbein, Raphael, and Rubens. His work in town is all legal these days and, thus, likely to last longer. He travels the world, has had art shows all over, and was recently honored by New Times' sister rag LA Weekly with a cover shot of one of his collaborations with another artist.
There are other great artists in town, like the poster artist Resist, or the whole crew of writers who've laid down some freakin' amazing work on a long legal wall that encircles Mirandas Custom Cars, at Central and Grant.
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Even Ankarlo seemed to agree that the city needs more legal walls. But he and callers croaked that the illegal stuff was a no-go. This worm-wrangler disagreed. Take the S.O.S. crew, which has hit up abandoned buildings that've since been torn down, or those ugly fuchsia Dumpsters that are parked all over central Phoenix. This hurts people how?
"I remember you did a piece on the cameras that Scottsdale was using on the freeway, and you admitted that you speed," this cockatoo reminded Ankarlo. "Now I would gather that more people die from speeding than creating graffiti. So you can argue about the legality of it, but I'd say what you were talking about can create a fatality, whereas graffiti cannot."
KTAR has a link to the verbal karate match here: www.ktar.com/?nid=355. Ankarlo and some callers got in a lick or two, but this lapwing held his own. So what if the city has to buff some spots to rid itself of unwanted tags? If out of all the dross emerges one great street artist, like a Basquiat, a Keith Haring, or a Banksy, it's worth it.