Can Arpaio Twitter via his ancient Smith Corona typewriter? That's what's been keeping me up late as I ponder the true author or authors of Joe's very active Twitter account.
In his recent deposition in the big Melendres vs. Arpaio racial-profiling lawsuit, Arpaio told plaintiffs' lawyer David Bodney that he eschews the use of computers, the Internet, e-mail, and text messaging. His typewriter and his big mouth are his only means of direct communication, he implied. That and, presumably, the occasional grunt.
So how does Arpaio come to Twitter that he sent Arizona Republic reporter E.J. Montini a pizza with anchovies on it?
MCSO flack Brian Lee offered an explanation via e-mail:
"The sheriff does not use a computer or e-mail. Usually, he will tell one of us directly or write down on paper to us exactly what he wants posted on his Twitter account."
Whew. Now I'll be able to sleep at night.
I called and e-mailed E.J. Montini to ask him if he'd received his Italian surprise package. (No horse head in the bed this time around.) Arpaio's reason for honoring the columnist was a somewhat critical article Montini recently wrote about the sheriff.
Montini e-mailed me back to let me know that he'd just blogged about his pizza, and his tradition of receiving them from Arpaio after he authors a mildly critical column on the sheriff, as he did recently.
"Tradition is a wonderful thing," Montini blogs. "The sheriff began sending me anchovy pizzas for critical columns years ago after he found out that I don't like anchovies. I threatened a Freedom of Information request to find out who's paying for the pies, but come on, it's all in fun."
In his January 5 column, Montini simply quoted heavily from a stinging letter from Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, published recently by the Rep. Montini said he missed out on it at first because he was on vacation.
"Let me just say this. In all my conversations with E.J., we banter back and forth. That's what he does. He is pretty good at it, and we have fun talking. It doesn't mean everything he or I say is 100 percent true."
Of course, everything Arpaio says should be taken with an iceberg of salt. Montini, a tad defensively, responded to my question about Arpaio's sworn testimony thus,
"Everything said to me by the sheriff and quoted in my columns is accurate. The truthfulness is entirely up to him."