Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio a Liability in Orange County Sheriff's Race, and His Photo-Op with Hispanic Hater Barbara Coe

I've blogged previously about Sheriff Joe's stumping for right-wing candidates for sheriff in Southern California, specifically for Jay LeSuer in San Diego County, and for Bill Hunt in Orange County. Now at least one of Hunt's fellow candidates regards Arpaio's endorsement as a liability in the OC race.

According to a report from the Orange County Register's Martin Wisckol, Arpaio's name came up in a candidates' forum last week, and not in a good way, when Craig Hunter, deputy chief of the Anaheim police department, used it to fire one off at Hunt.

Wisckol writes:

"Hunt touts the endorsement of controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, famous for his efforts to round up illegal immigrants and who is being investigated by the FBI for abuse of authority.

"Hunter, Anaheim's deputy police chief, noted at the forum last night that Arpaio's November visit on behalf of Hunt cost taxpayers because extra police were called out - at overtime pay - to handle any disturbances that might have broken out. 

"Hunt, the most aggressive candidate speaking before the Tustin Area Republican Assembly last night, responded that Arpaio's support meant more to him than Hunter's criticism."

Currently, Hunt lists Arpaio's nod at the top of his Web site's endorsement page, which may change if Arpaio is indicted by a federal grand jury in Phoenix currently investigating his department. 

Sources I've spoken with recently who are in a position to know tell me that the U.S. Attorney's office is looking to indict Arpaio as well as top honchos such as Chief Deputy David Hendershott and Deputy Chief Brian Sands. If this true and the grand jury is successful, Hunt could end up dropping that Arpaio endorsement like a hot rock.

Or maybe not. Anyone who proudly lists wacko militia-pimp Richard Mack as an endorser, as Hunt does, must be desperate. Perhaps Hunt could seek out the endorsement of imprisoned ex-Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, too. On the other hand, since Noriega's Hispanic, and Hunt's pandering to the nativist extremist in crowd in OC, that might not fly.

Otherwise, there's about as much shame in Hunt's game as there is in Arpaio's. At the November fundraiser mentioned above, both men stood for a photo op with notorious, bigoted, wing-nutty Orange County freak Barbara Coe.

Coe, the queen bee of the nativist extremist group California Coalition for Immigration Reform, has referred to the undocumented as "illegal barbarians," allied herself to the birther-movement, called Barack Obama "worse, much worse" than Adolf Hitler, campaigned against the 14th Amendment rights of U.S. Citizens, made anti-gay statements, and on and on. You'd think anyone with half a lick of sense would avoid her with the same ferocity that most sane politicos avoid hooded Klan members.

But both Hunt and Arpaio had no problem posing with Coe, just as Arpaio has had no problem in the past rubbing shoulders with right wing wackos and posing for pics with all sorts of prejudiced puddin'heads. This latest example (above) was posted by Matt Coker of the OC Weekly, New Times' sister paper behind the orange curtain.

Coker also scored a number of classic lines from Arpaio's address at the Hunt fundraiser, including this one, referring to anti-Joe demonstrators at the event:

"I apologize for the protesters outside. They go wherever I go, If you know a good Mexican restaurant, go and tell them where it is. I know in Phoenix I can't go to a Mexican restaurant. When I walk in, most of the workers run out the back door or spit in my food."

I've got some bad news for Joe. There are loads of Anglo establishments where the workers likely do ditto. Let's face it, the sheriff's swallowed a lot of nasty gunk in his time. Ever see that movie Waiting...?

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