So you're the new Immigration and Customs Enforcement honcho in town, replacing a rico suave ICE chief by the name of Alonzo Pena, and first thing you do in public is deep-massage your tonsils with your toes.
That's the smooth move the newbie head of AZ ICE, Matthew Allen, pulled as Sheriff Joe Arpaio was terrorizing the little town of Guadalupe with one of his racial profiling dragnets, stopping every brown hombre and chica in sight for bogus reasons, so his deputy dawgs could check for immigration status.
The sheriff has 160 ICE-trained deputies, who operate under a 287g agreement with the feds allowing MCSO beige-shirts to enforce federal immigration law under specific circumstances. ICE's Web site states these 287g-men are empowered to pursue "violent crimes."
But recent events have demonstrated that Nickel Bag Joe's using his federal powers to go after such pettiness as cracked windshields and driving sans headlights, making these infractions the pretext to inquire as to whether somone's here illegally.
Naturally, Joe ain't pulling these shenanigans in Scottsdale or Sun City. Rather, Joe sets up his mobile command post where there are loads of people the shade of George Lopez. It's the brown he's after. He's not worrying about refugees from The Great White North, meaning Canada, a.k.a. "America's Hat."
Joe's targeting of Guadalupe was as blatant as a billy club to the cranium. While The Bird was monitoring the operation with an ad hoc group of citizens determined to track the MCSO's every move, this rascally raven witnessed countless vehicles stopped for next to nothing. This being Guadalupe, where almost everyone is either Yaqui Indian or of Mexican descent, the alleged scofflaws had one thing in common — how dark they looked versus the pale-faced deputies issuing them crap citations (like for a kaput license plate light, for instance).
Are these the violent crimes the 287g agreement was meant to cover? According to ICE-head Allen, yes.
"[The sheriff] has stayed within the bounds of the agreement," Allen recently told the press.
Worse than Allen was ICE official Jim Pendergraph, who claimed to have visited Arpaio's operation and opined, "I saw nothing that gave me heartburn."
Pendergraph must have a gullet made of rock. Or eye sockets sealed with lead.
On the first night of the Guadalupe operation, The Bird rode with MCSO-monitors Dennis Gilman and Melissa LePiane, who dogged Sheriff's Office vehicle stops by parking their car and easing up on deputies with a video camera to document what transpired. In one case, a Cuban-American named Addiel Pe-Arcia was halted right outside his home and cited for a barely noticeable cracked tail light.
Don't believe this dodo? Check the pic of Pe-Arcia in the slide show at phoenixnewtimes.com. You'll need a magnifying glass to see the crack.
Or take the case of the Family Salazar, halted because they honked their car horn in solidarity with the 200 or so protesters who had gathered outside the Family Dollar store on Calle Mexico, where the MCSO had established camp.
"Illegal horn honking" was a fave citation of the eve, netting such Guadalupe residents as Andrew Sanchez, with whom this nightingale conversed much later on.
However, Mama Salazar, who was doing the driving, ultimately was cited for not having proof of current registration. She had it at home and will surely beat the rap by showing it at the courthouse. Her daughter, Rosario Salazar, 24, summed up the situation:
"It's bullshit! They're not stopping Chinese people or African-Americans. They're not stopping anybody besides Mexicans."
Most of them Mexican-Americans, The Bird might note.
The most egregious example of the MCSO's abuses came not during The Bird's night run with MCSO-watchers, but from its encounter with Elena Osuna, who held an anti-Arpaio sign outside the wire fence encircling the Family Dollar parking lot. Osuna, a full-blood Yaqui Indian, said she was halted by two deputies as she made her way to the demo on foot.
"They asked for my ID and stuff," she explained. "For what? You know what I mean? I was minding my own business coming over here. What are they going to give me a ticket for? For walking?"
Maybe for Walking While Brown. Though deputies let Osuna off the hook that night.
Is this why ICE granted Arpaio's goons this 287g status? To stop Hispanics from WWB? Maybe ICE is okay with Arpaio's terrorizing whole communities. Arpaio's ethnic cleansing continued the next day into the early evening, as Bishop Thomas Olmstead presided over the confirmations of scores of local children at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.
Channel 12 reported that 10 percent of the children didn't show to the service. Deacon Santino Bernasconi informed 12 News reporter Veronica Sanchez that, "[The children] are fearful of coming here. They're fearful of being arrested and being deported."
So ICE-boy Allen waltzes into town and immediately sides with the most corrupt, sadistic law enforcement entity in Arizona, one that frightens little kids and harasses average Joses with impunity. What's next on the agenda, Matt? Got any puppies you wanna kick?
Ever see that Peter Sellers flick The Mouse That Roared, in which a tiny, imaginary country declares war on the United States and ends up winning? Something similar happened the other day when Guadalupe Mayor Rebecca Jimenez got in the angry, spitting face of mean ol' Joe Arpaio, and — amazingly — forced him into a tactical retreat.
According to many present outside the parking lot of the Family Dollar store during the demonstration, Guadalupe city officials asked citizens not to protest, but instead participate in prayer vigils. But as the night wore on, the scene outside grew into a loud crowd of about 200, with cars rolling by and drivers honking horns in support.
Jimenez showed up late in the eve, and The Bird asked her if the town had okayed the show of force by the MCSO, with its numerous vehicles, a bomb squad van, and deputies on horseback.
"Earlier this morning, [the MCSO] told us they were doing a sweep because of recent graffiti," explained the mayor. "I asked them straight out, 'Lieutenant Sheppard [the MCSO's Guadalupe pointman], you are not coming to do an illegal-alien search?' He said, 'I assure you, we are not coming to do that.' I got a media release from [sheriff's PR flacks], and it stated contrary to that, saying we requested [the sheriff's presence]. We never requested him."
Jimenez, the first-time mayor of the town of 5,500 residents, distributed her own press release, demanding that the MCSO cease its anti-illegal dragnet. Jimenez finally got up the gumption to present the statement in person to a snarling-mad Joe, who accused Jimenez of inciting the crowd and placing his deputies in harm's way.
Joe looked like a madman, his hair out of whack, jabbing his finger at Jimenez, bits of spit flying from his geriatric gob.
But the mayor held her ground, accusing Joe before media cameras of coming to Guadalupe "under false pretenses." She denied that city officials had ever welcomed him because of so-called "tensions" between residents and illegal aliens discussed in the MCSO's press release.
"Forget the press release," growled Joe, adding, "That doesn't matter, actions [are] what speak."
Maricopa County's Idi Amin then told Jimenez that the MCSO would be back the following day, and that if Guadalupe wanted to cancel its $1.2 million contract for police services with the MCSO, she had 90 days to do it.
The Bird calls that blackmail.
But Joe may have stepped in the dog poo there. The Guadalupe Town Council has vowed to review Joe's contract, citing the fact that the MCSO usually provides only two deputies for patrol, and often takes up to 45 minutes to respond to violent 911 calls.
This, in contrast to the estimated 20 to 50 deputies on duty during the sweep.
Joe's bluster aside, the sheriff opted for a tactical retreat the following day, cravenly setting up his mobile command post in the parking lot of the MCSO's Mesa substation, from where the Guadalupe patrols continued 'til about 8:30 p.m. Protesters did not follow Joe to Mesa, and Joe was seen that afternoon scowling and discontented, surrounded by flunkies.
The plucky citizens of Guadalupe and their mayor won a small but significant victory, forcing a tyrant to cede ground. Now, they need to finish the job and strip Joe of his lucrative Guadalupe contract — which would mean even more money he's squandered at taxpayer expense.
Thus, slowly, little by little, falls our decrepit top cop. Hopefully, Maricopa County voters will follow suit in November and cancel Joe's contract for good.
Allow this aggro avian to praise a rare moment of clarity provided by a caller to the show of KTAR 92.3 FM lip-flapper Darrell Ankarlo recently, as Darrell tried to climb aboard the Martin Luther King, Jr. express, some 40 years after the civil rights leader's assassination by James Earl Ray.
Ankarlowbrow pretended to revere the slain orator and activist, lauding a recent CNN special report by TV journalist Soledad O'Brien on King's murder, playing excerpts from King's famous 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech as well as (predictably) portions of U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)." The segment stumbled into a clichéd, hackneyed zone addressing the oft-asked question, "Have we achieved the dreams Martin Luther King represented?"
Darrell the Dissembler disagreed with an African-American woman who made the obvious parallel between the civil rights struggle and the current oppression of Mexican immigrants. Later he segued into a discussion of Guadalupe, bragging about how he'd roamed the mean streets of the little town, and had actually gone inside some of the shops there, where the main language spoken was (gasp!) Spanish.
Supposedly, shoppers gave Darrell the evil eye because he was the only ofay present. Puh-lease. More likely, if you earned some wicked looks, it was because you were acting like a self-conscious, redneck goofball who turns weird around brown folk. That, or it was all that Aqua Velva you splash on, homeboy.
The conservative blowhard then had Mayor Jimenez on, and insinuated she was coddling criminals by not backing Joe's patrols.
"If you're a drug dealer, move to Guadalupe," Ankarlo suggested. "If you want to open a whorehouse, move to Guadalupe. Because the mayor wants you there. Because the mayor doesn't want protection."
Jimenez shot back, "What I'm saying is, if you're coming in here to harass anybody with brown skin, stay the hell outta my town."
Eventually, Jimenez realized she was being played by the asinine radio jock and bid Darrell adieu. Like the pompous ass he is, Ankarlo declared, "I rest my case."
But a call shortly afterward from a guy named Jeff left the boneheaded bloviator speechless.
"Every time I hear you use Martin Luther King's name, it makes me throw up in the back of my throat," Jeff told him. "It was people like you, the closet racists that he was rallying against. And by the way, if the mayor pays $1.2 million [to the sheriff], they should be able to tell the sheriff what they want done in their town.
"I'm listening to you talking about . . . walking around Guadalupe," Jeff continued. "And you're talking about illegals. Do you understand that the Native Americans — you need to get this through your narrow skull [when] you're talking about illegals — the Native American Indians never gave permission for the white man to stay in this country?"
Jeff was on a roll.
"So when you keep talking about aliens, we all are aliens," he insisted, accusing Ankarlo of moving to Sand Land "to fan the flames of racism to enrich your pocket."
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The caller concluded, "I can't believe that the mayor of Guadalupe and the city councilman didn't know they were coming on the radio station to be interviewed by a closeted racist that was going to take their words and twist them around and manipulate them."
Jeff's comments nailed Ankarlo to the wall, exposing the toxic talk-show host's insincerity regarding race, revealing the Herman Munster-look-alike to be an opportunistic parasite, gorging himself on the hate he whips up daily against Hispanics.
Ankarlo didn't know what to say, so he remained silent 'til Jeff hung up, then lambasted the caller as "stupid," "dumb," and having a "lack of intellect."
Au contraire, Ankarlowbrow. Jeff had your number like no caller before. The only statement of Jeff's this winged wordsmith would take issue with would be the term "closet racist."