By Ray Stern
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio wants to know what you think about his approach to illegal immigration. Well, only if you agree with him.
But we encourage those who disagree with him--or outright hate what he's doing--to flood a special hotline he's set up for his supporters and give him a piece of your mind. And don't stop at just criticizing him over illegal immigration; there are a host of other problems within his administration that deserve your rapt attention.
Here's Arpaio's number: 602-876-1350.
Arpaio announced his "hotline" last month, after finding out that Governor Janet Napolitano had taken away more than a million dollars in state funds from his anti-illegal-immigration program. (Arpaio admitted he first learned of the governor's action by reading this blog. You can also read my follow-up article here.).
Joe claims a dedicated phone line is necessary to help people who want to donate to the Sheriff's Office in the wake of Napolitano's decision. Arpaio's office put out this press release with the phone number. But local news publications, perhaps believing Arpaio gets enough coverage, didn't reprint it.
Arpaio's not embarrassed at all to be asking for your hard-earned dollars in a time of economic uncertainty. Or after he's wasted millions upon millions of dollars on lawsuits that wouldn't have been filed had he been runing a professional jail system. Or after using public RICO money to finance what amounts to paid vacations for his deputies (including highly compensated Chief Deputy David Hendershott) in Honduras--under the lie that he's somehow preventing gang members from flooding into Maricopa County. From Honduras?!
Oh, your tax dollars are also financing the hotline.
If you want to part with your gasoline money to pay the Sheriff's Office to round up hard-working mamacitas in minivans with cracked windshields, that's your business. But the neat part about the hotline is that anyone can leave a message after hearing a short (and stilted) speech by Joe.
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Now, as we suggested above, don't feel restricted to just commenting about how the Sheriff's Office treats Mexicans--there are plenty of other good topics to scream about. Let him know how you feel about:
- Inmates who die or become injured under suspicious circumstances in county jails.
- Third World jail conditions.
- The $41 million-plus paid by taxpayers for Sheriff's Office lawsuit judgments and settlements.
- Targeting political enemies with abusive and questionable police investigations.
- Throwing newspaper owners he doesn't like in jail.
- Withholding public records and trying to intimidate news media that don't do his bidding.
- Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars working with Honduran police on a program that has no apparent merit to county taxpayers.
Really, any criticism is fair game--the self-described "toughest sheriff in America" should be able to take it (though we all know how sensitive he is; see fourth bullet item).
Now all the hotline needs is a title: We haven't given it much thought, but "The Great New Times Memorial Sheriff Arpaio Blast Line" has a ring to it.