Feathered Bastard

Buckeye punts, for the moment, on ordinance aimed at Arpaio foe Chief Dan Saban.

One step ahead of the Sheriff: Chief Dan Saban in his CHiPs getup.

Buckeye Police Chief Dan Saban, Sheriff Joe Arpaio's once and future foe, may be able to breathe a tad easier this weekend. Seems a draft ordinance preventing Buckeye town employees from running for elective office will not be on the October 2 City Council agenda, which was recently posted to the Buckeye city Web site.

Though Buckeye Mayor Bobby Bryant, the man behind the proposed city law, claimed that the draft ordinance was not aimed at Saban in this week's Bird column, suspicions persist that this is nonetheless the case. After all, Saban is the one Buckeye town employee everyone knows is going to run for public office in 2008. He already has a Web site up at www.sabanforsheriff.com, and reportedly he informed the City of Buckeye of his intentions when he was hired two years ago. Under the proposed ordinance, Saban would have to resign his Chiefdom to run for Sheriff against Arpaio.

As reported in the Paul Rubin cover story "Below the Belt" (September 20, 2007), Joe Arpaio's attorney Dennis Wilenchik has sent out "virulent anti-Saban letters to several authorities," including the Buckeye Town Council. In The Bird, Mayor Bryant acknowledged receipt of the Wilenchik communique, but said it had no bearing on the ordinance. Still, Bryant and Saban ain't exactly the best of buds, having butted heads before for different reasons. Could it be that since news of the anti-Saban ordinance is out, Mayor Bryant and his fellow Republicans on the council are having second thoughts? Perhaps they realize that the passing of this ordinance would be perceived by the public as a blatant case of political payback and bias.

As a Democrat in the '08 general election, Saban may at last attain the victory against Arpaio that he was unable to clinch as a Republican in the '04 primary. Still, there are powerful forces at work intent on keeping Saban from running and on damaging him in any way possible. If the Sheriff's office was willing to slime him as they did in '04, and as is recounted in the Paul Rubin cover piece "Boob's Tube" (January 25, 2007), you can pretty much expect the worst in mudslinging and dirty trickery as '08 approaches.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons