Sheriff Joke Arpaio's crack PR staff can't get the Crime Avenger out of the publicity tailspin of the past few months. After years of doing his cheerleading, the mainstream media have begun to portray him accurately, as a blowhard whose jail innovations are more effective at getting him press than cutting down crime.
And now the Joke is the subject of a blistering attack from his betters in the local law enforcement scene. Terry Sills, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association--the Phoenix police officers' union--recently went on the record with the kind of criticisms of Arpaio that the Flash has been hearing from real cops for years.
"I am finding out that numerous people dislike his egotistical attitude but are fearful of reprisal," Sills writes in the April issue of The Monthly Recap, a PLEA newsletter. "Last time I checked, his name was not on my paycheck. Chief Garrett is still my boss and the City of Phoenix is my employer."
Sills slams the Joke for not releasing internal affairs records to the press because the sheriff claims it would make his employees likely to lie in investigations.
"As if that weren't enough, February 26 sheriff's officials came out in a story in the Arizona Republic defaming the good name of seven Phoenix police officers recognized [nationally] as Top Cops. Enough is enough."
Sills points out that following the November 1996 Tent City riots, Arpaio had thanked Chief Garrett "for assistance in the recent inmate riot." But once Phoenix PD got national recognition for its actions, Arpaio's office claimed that the awards were unjustified.
Worse yet, Sills suggests that the Sheriff's Office used its criticism of Phoenix PD in an attempt to quash his opposition to a bill that would have given Arpaio's posse members full law enforcement authority.
Sills says he was thunderstruck to discover that state Senator Scott "Jolly Good Felon" Bundgaard had introduced a bill in January that would have allowed posse members to act as peace officers on their own. When he complained about it--imagine Joke's hefty gun-toting cop-wanna-bes pulling you over for a traffic stop, and you can imagine Sills' terror--Sills heard back from one of the Sher's lackeys who said in answer to his criticism, "Terry, you need to know that your Top Cops didn't do what they said they did to receive that award."
The attempt at intimidation didn't stop Sills, and the bill was pulled before it could he heard.
"Although I will admit that we made a mistake by contributing $100 to Sheriff Arpaio's reelection campaign, the decision was made without the knowledge that he would allow his officials to stoop so low as calling our Top Cops liars. . . . In every speech he makes he praises himself. . . . Don't blame the good, hardworking employees at Maricopa County, especially the deputies. Look at the guy who claims he's the toughest sheriff in the country."
Making the Grades
Rob Evans, Arizona State University's new men's basketball coach, has strong incentive to make sure players hit the books as hard as they hit the boards. Evans' five-year, $450,000-a-year contract provides several bonus categories, including an academic compensation package.
The former University of Mississippi coach can boost his annual salary by 10 percent, or $45,000, if the team maintains a grade-point average of at least a 2.8 for the fall and spring semesters. The sliding scale bottoms out at a 4 percent bonus if players achieve at least a 2.6 GPA.
The academic compensation package also provides for bonuses if players graduate. Evans can collect a 10 percent bonus if 75 percent of his players graduate during the next four years. Evans will pick up an extra 4 percent if 55 percent graduate.
Evans may find other contract goals far easier to accomplish, such as winning an NCAA championship, which guarantees an automatic 10 percent salary hike plus a 40 percent bonus. The contract also contains a season-ticket incentive clause calling for Evans to receive $5 for every season ticket sold. Boosting season-ticket sales could be as tough as boosting grade-point averages. ASU has sold only 3,000 of the 9,000 seats it makes available for season-ticket purchasers.
ASU basketball spokesman Doug Tammaro says the university included an academic incentive clause in football coach Bruce Snyder's contract that was last renewed in December 1996.
"It's something new that you will see in a lot more coaching contracts," Tammaro says.
Evans' $450,000 base salary includes $125,000 from Nike.
The liberaleastcoastmediaelite grows more smitten with John McCain with each passing day.
The new Esquire contains yet another fawning portrait of McCain. The Flash recommends that our senior senator drop the Humble John charade and actually resolve to preface every sentence he utters with, "Aw, shucks."
For example, these quotes from the May issue of Esquire.
"[Aw, shucks.] Nowadays, when somebody introduces me like, 'Here is our great war hero,' I don't like it."
"[Aw, shucks.] I want to be known as the guy who's trying to reform the telecommunications business, who's trying to see the cable rates deregulated. I mean, Jesus, it can make your skin crawl."
As many Arizonans will attest, so can you, Johnny. Especially when you take the Lord's name in vain, you heathen naval flyboy!
As for his fellow senators, McCain is quoted by the magazine as saying, "[Aw, shucks.] Some of these guys, have they even had lives? What have they done?"
According to Esquire, McCain laughs at his own remark and says, "Aw, jeez, [that one really was his] this is exactly the kind of thing that gets me in trouble."
McCain, mentioned by political pundits as a possible presidential candidate, told Esquire, "[Aw, shucks. I'm] still in denial about being a politician."
If that wasn't enough. Squire mag, a periodical for Capitol Hill insiders, named Humble John "Babe of the Week." (The Flash is not making this up.)
And let's not forget the TV extravaganza of Thursday, April 9. McCain was seen by millions of Americans when three cable TV channels broadcast him simultaneously--all in the role of "hero."
CNN and one of the C-SPAN channels carried McCain "live" while he was delivering the keynote speech at the dedication of a new national prisoner-of-war memorial in Andersonville, Georgia.
And at the same time, C-SPAN's other channel was broadcasting a videotape of McCain's April 8 press conference, wherein he reacted to the withdrawal of major tobacco companies from the proposed settlement with Congress.
But wait. There's more. Word has it that McCain has a book about to hit the press. The senator's office would neither confirm nor deny rumors that its working title is Aw, Shucks.
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