Best Phoenician to Follow on Instagram 2014 | Helen Yung | People & Places | Phoenix

Best Phoenician to Follow on Instagram

Helen Yung

If you've been to Sweet Republic for ice cream (and who hasn't?) you know that ice cream maker Helen Yung has great taste — from the Toffee Banofi sundae to every sweet detail in the new Central Phoenix outpost of the tiny ice cream empire she and business partner Jan Wichayanuparp run. From time to time, Yung does post ice cream-related images on Instagram, but more often than not, she's sharing amazing shots of the Asian food she seeks out around town. If you want to know where to find Yung's favorite dim sum or her latest veggie discovery, follow her on Instagram. And if you ever meet her or catch a glimpse of her on IG, you'll wonder where on earth the diminutive Yung puts all that food.

He's charming and funny, and if you aren't lucky enough to know Robbie Sherwood personally, you can follow the political consultant on social media. His posts are newsy, smart, and entertaining — and he never takes himself too seriously. Hey, Robbie, maybe you should run for public office!

It turns out that it's completely possible to be a member of Congress without being desperate for attention, and it's not actually a requirement to make constant appearances on Fox News or MSNBC to blame all of society's ills on President Obama or Republicans in Congress. Democratic Congressman Ed Pastor is proof of this, retiring this year to end a 23-year run in Congress. Pastor is what a congressman is supposed to be — someone who gets things done instead of someone pretending to be working by constantly complaining in the media. In other words, the opposite of Senator John McCain. Pastor's credited with securing federal funding for things like light-rail and airport improvements, as well as expanding health insurance for children of low-income families in Arizona after the state's program suffered massive budget cuts at the hands of the Republican-controlled state Legislature. Congress could use quite a few more people like Ed Pastor.

In a state where Democrats are an endangered species, Ruben Gallego is a liberal's dream candidate. He's a Harvard graduate and Iraq War veteran who's fought hard for every progressive cause as a state representative, from marijuana legalization to supporting a recall of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. After just four years as a state representative, Gallego ran to represent the Phoenix area in Congress — and won his primary handily, beating longtime political operative Mary Rose Wilcox in August. His wife, Kate, is no slouch, either — and certainly not a typical politician's wife. She's also a graduate of Harvard (that's where the two met) and won a hotly contested seat on the Phoenix City Council in 2013. They're such dedicated Democrats that Ruben actually proposed to Kate at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Even in a Republican hotbed, these Gallegos are going to be around a while.

One of the best features of many blogs is the ability to comment anonymously — unless someone figures out the identity of the person behind the comments. That happened this year to state schools Superintendent John Huppenthal, who commented on a progressive blog as Falcon9, Thucydides, and Socrates. It turns out that Huppenthal, the guy elected to run the state's public schools system, made comments referencing that President Obama was born in Kenya, that FDR was responsible for the Great Depression and the rise of Adolf Hitler, called food stamps recipients "lazy pigs," and suggested a ban on anything in Spanish, like radio stations, billboards, or Mexican food menus. When caught, he cried about it. Gee, ever wondered why metrics on education always rank Arizona's public schools system near the bottom? Arizona voters wised up and voted him out in August's primary — sending Huppenthal to cry on someone else's shoulder.

Why did Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne stay alive so long — politically speaking? Hey, don't blame us. New Times was the first to tell the public that Horne had hired his mistress to a top post at the AG's Office for a six-figure salary. Horne then ordered an internal investigation to cover this up. His investigator found evidence of lawbreaking. This led to an FBI investigation and a finding by two county attorneys that Horne violated campaign finance laws and must pay back $400,000 to contributors. Since then, Horne's been accused of illegally running his re-election campaign out of his public office, and he is the subject of investigations by four entities, that we know of. In any other state, Horne would have resigned by now. But still, he staggered forth, zombie-like — even refusing to concede when Republican voters finally killed him off in the state's primary.

What is wrong with Arizona that a scummy politico like Attorney General Tom Horne is the state's top law enforcement official, while the most ethical prosecutor in the state will probably never occupy that position. The latter, of course, is Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, a staunch Republican who does not let party or ideology get in the way of doing what's right. In 2009, during the darkest days of the sinister partnership between Sheriff Joe Arpaio and then-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, she took a stand against the pair, referring to their antics as "totalitarianism . . . spreading before my eyes." Thomas was disbarred in 2012, in part because of the actions Polk decried. More recently, the campaign finance case against Horne landed in her lap, and she's ordered Horne and his henchwoman Kathleen Winn to pay back $400K in campaign contributions, despite Horne's winning an administrative hearing in the matter. Horne, Arpaio, and Thomas are all Republicans, but Polk's all about integrity, not party loyalty. We hope she runs for AG one day. But then, in Arizona, you almost have to be ethically challenged to win a political campaign, it seems. Sigh.

Far-right Republican state Representative John Kavanagh, who is looking to ease on over to the state Senate this year, has a couple of things going for him, from a journalist's point of view. First, he always calls us back, though he knows that New Times is likely to rip him a new one. Second, he has a sense of humor, which is more than we can say for a lot of Democrats, who are so damn politically correct that they tend to be real killjoys. Not so, Kavanagh, who took it on the chin from the liberal press for a few jokes he told at a roast of Sheriff Joe Arpaio in February. The jokes may have been offensive, but they also happened to be funny. Actually, most targeted Arpaio, like the one about Arpaio being a real "fixture" in this state: "Unfortunately, for many people, that's a urinal," said the Kav-ster. Ba-dum-pah. Our advice: Go pro on the comic stand-up circuit, K-man, and leave the politicking to the less funny.

A clash between the judge who ruled against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Arpaio himself was inevitable. Federal Judge G. Murray Snow decided against Arpaio and his office in 2013, essentially finding the MCSO to be guilty of racial profiling. Later, Snow enumerated a long list of requirements for the Sheriff's Office to meet, and in early 2014, Snow appointed a monitor to oversee the MCSO's compliance. But Arpaio and his command staff were caught telling lies about the judge's decision to their underlings and the public, with Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan infamously calling Snow's ruling "crap." Snow ordered that Arpaio disseminate a "corrective statement" and have the MCSO brass read his decision and attest that they had done so. But the MCSO continued to drag its heels, and only when it seemed that Arpaio might be found in contempt, did the MCSO comply. Forget the carrot, only the stick works with Joe, and Snow was right to use it. Our question is, how long will it take before Joe gets birched again?

Let's be honest, no one really likes U.S. Senator John McCain all that much. (Self-love aside.) So is it any wonder that far-rightists in the Arizona Republican Party would hate the guy, too? GOP hard-liners regard McCain as a RiNO (Republican in Name Only), particularly for his support of comprehensive immigration reform, despite his having taken an anti-immigrant stance when he was running for re-election in 2010. Still, Arizona's senior senator is regarded as a rock-ribbed conservative outside the bubble of state GOP politics. So the successful resolution to censor him, which passed a voice vote of the AZ GOP's mandatory January meeting, showed the nation just how insanely far-far-right Sand Land's ruling party really is. No Reagan-like Big Tent here, just intolerance, hate, and spite, which was on full display, and harmed the Republicans' outreach to younger, less nutty voters. Take gun, aim at foot, pull trigger was the order of the day.

Best Of Phoenix®

Best Of