An anonymous local political blog has been getting some right-wing attention this morning with its claim that the conservative Goldwater Institute has "gone way off the deep end" with their critical report on Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Liberty's Apothecary has many problems with the Institute's report, but a big one is that it relied in part on reporting by New Times, which the cowardly blogger says prints "lies." Of course, nothing in the blog post specifies which elements of any New Times article is a lie.
It doesn't appear the Apothecary read the Institute's report very closely. For instance, he or she complains the report unfairly paints Arpaio's office as one that stifles public records requests:
The report attacks the Sheriff for failing to turn over public records requests - but never bothers to acknowledge that the reason the requests went to litigation was because it wasn't clear under state law whether or not the Sheriff had the legal right to withhold them. The Sheriff has won some of those battles, which the report also leaves out. When it comes to victims, the Sheriff would rather be safe than sorry releasing potentially harmful information to defendants who are demanding it.
What a complete crock. This passage is all the proof you need to know this Apothecary gets high on his own supply.
Two litigated public records cases are mentioned on page 15 of the report, under the heading "Transparency."
The first concerns the case in which the West Valley View newspaper had to sue to obtain timely press releases from Arpaio's office, like Arpaio's favored news media were getting. Despite Apothecary's claim, the sheriff's office in fact never disputed the releases were public record.
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In the other case, the Tucson Citizen sued to get correspondence between Arpaio's attack-dog lawyer, Dennis Wilenchik, and the Pima County Attorney's Office. Whether the sheriff's office truly believed it had any right to withhold those letters can't be known, but read the Arizona Republic story linked here (the first article at the top) to get a sense of why Arpaio and Wilenchik wanted the letters to stay hidden from public view.
Neither litigated case had anything to do with "potentially harmful information," as the Apothecary writes. This is called the straw-man technique of arguing a point, and it's just a way to dodge the real facts.
Anonymous Internet writing is part of the problem here -- an issue we've taken up with the mostly namelss bloggers at the biased, but news-rich Sonoran Alliance site. Without accountability, the faceless bloggers and commenters out there in cyberspace don't have to worry about repercussions for their work, so they aren't as careful about it as a named writer.
In this case, though, it's easy to understand why the Apothecary wouldn't feel comfortable signing his name below his embarrassing screed. -- Ray Stern