Bird Alert

Sheriff Nickel Bag Joe Arpaio's a regular investigatin' fool these days, pokin' his bulbous, veiny snout into light rail, Maricopa County community colleges, Attorney General Terry Goddard's bidness, and now, Phoenix city government's travel reimbursements. At the beginning of this month, the Sheriff put in a public records request to PHX City Manager Frank Fairbanks for junket expenditures, and that got this tweeter to thinkin':

Who's investigatin' the investigator about his freakin' travel expenses and the travel expenses of his top goons?

So, by the time you read the latest Bird droppings, this mighty meadowlark will have submitted a public records request both to Sheriff Arpaio and to his partner in these so-called public corruption cases, County Attorney Candy Thomas, asking for all of the travel reports, reimbursement requests, receipts and whatnot for Thomas, Arpaio, and their top flunkies. Since Arpaio's been in office longer, this fair-minded finch has begun asking for all such docs going back to the beginning of 2005, when Candy took office. Once this request is fulfilled, the Bird will ask for more, going back to the start of Arpaio's reign.

The sheriff's office regularly violates the First Amendment rights of this parakeet's paper by refusing such requests, not allowing New Times scribes at his press conferences, even refusing to return the phone calls of NT reporters. But as we say in Birdland, what's good for the goose, goes double for the gander. The public has a right to know if Arpaio, and stooges like Paul Chagolla, Lisa Allen MacPherson, and Joe's Jabba the Hutt-sized chief aide, David Hendershott, have been padding expenses or taking unnecessary trips.

Ditto for Candy kiss-butts like Barnett Lotstein and new PR tool (and this blackbird does mean tool) Mike Anthony Scerbo, the former KTAR news director who recently turned coat, drank the Kool-Aid, and became Candy's toady. Of course, Scerbo prolly hasn't done much travelin' yet, so this beak-bearer asked for all the details on his hire and pay scale, just to make sure the public's moolah's being spent right.

Consider this Week One of the Taloned One's public records request. Candy and Sheriff Joke are legally obligated to comply under Arizona's public records law, and surely they have nothing to hide. So this dodo will be holding its breath 'til those boxes of docs are delivered to his nest's front door. Any day now . . .


Why is this beetle-cruncher's fave Beer Hall Putz, white supremacist J.T. Ready, under investigation by the Mesa PD? Public information officer Diana Tapia tells this thorn bird that Turd Reicher Ready is the subject of an ongoing investigation after an April 23 traffic stop in which Ready's vehicle was impounded and later returned to him.

According to Sergeant Tim Mason, DPS pulled over the beefy brownshirt for allegedly displaying a fictitious plate on his 2005 Chevy Impala. Ready also supposedly had a preemption emitter in the back seat. You know, one of those traffic-light-changer thingies that allow firemen to fly through intersections. Thing is, if you're not a fireman or a cop, you're not supposed to have it.

Ready was arrested and booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail. His car was towed to the Mesa PD, which is when that department got involved, according to Tapia. The car was eventually returned, but an investigation into Ready continues by Mesa cops. What was it in Ready's vehicle that piqued the interest of Mesa detectives? Tapia says she can't comment while the probe continues.

A call to Ready's HQ, which his phone mail message refers to as "the Eagle's Nest," after Adolf Hitler's wartime mountain retreat, was not returned. But the Ernst Roehm of the East Valley mentioned the arrest in a May 4 press release announcing that he planned to storm a meeting of the Mesa City Council and denounce Detective Matt Browning, the Mesa PD's point man on right-wing extremists and skinheads. In his media statement, Ready whines about "the government unlawfully seizing my personal property and interrogating me."

At the May 7 meeting, with extra security present, Ready disrupted the tail end of the council session, yelling at Mesa Mayor Keno Hawker about Browning and the tight security that evening. Two days later,'s message board was filled with speculation from posters, including one some believed to be Ready himself, stating that "his lawful firearm was unlawfully seized" and that "other personal property was never returned to Mr. Ready without cause."

You'd think Ready's head-butting with law enforcement, checkered military career, and ties to white supremacists and neo-Nazis would make him persona non grata in the anti-immigration movement. Yet, there he was, in all his flabby fatuousness, at the June 16 nativist rally at the AZ Capitol, garnering whoops and hollers from the assembled.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons