Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio Caves, Backs Off Dumbass Plan to Transport Inmates Via Light Rail

Has Sheriff Joe's well-oiled media machine finally blown up in his aged face? Will Lisa Allen have to revert to grooming dogs full instead of part time, and leave Arpaio's upkeep to another PR handler?

Below is the latest press release from the MCSO, backing off the Sheriff's ludicrous "Con Rail" plan. Although our corrupt top cop is not averse to negative publicity, usually there's a little positive pub mixed into the batch. Not on this one. Joe's been taking it on the snout from all comers on this buffoonish move to start transporting prisoners from Sky Harbor Airport to his jails via the new Metro Light Rail. Plus, the press has been peeling back Joe's prevarications like onion skins as the anti-Joe chorus has grown louder and louder.

First we learn that Joe never bothered to let Metro Light Rail know this stunt was in the works, a stunt that's been scaring the bejesus out of potential Light Rail customers. Then Sky Harbor informs reporters that it's been allowing MCSO goons to park for free when they're picking up jail birds, though Joe and his flacks were telling everyone they had to pay to park. And finally, the MCSO had to revise its own calculations of projected savings from the plan, down from $72K to around $15K.

Sure, the city gave Joe a few more parking passes to make him go away, but he could have scored that without a media event that made him look like a decrepit old fool ready to endanger the lives of Valley citizens. To cop a line from Bugs Bunny in those old Warner Brothers cartoons, "What a ma-roon!"

Even the dopes on the Valley's premier wing-nut, pro-Joe news radio channel, KTAR 92.3 FM lambasted Joe on this senile, idiotic plan of his. (That was the case, at least, when I was listening to post-noon lip-flappers Mac and Gaydos after the fact.) Callers to KTAR were like 6-to-1 against this retarded Joe Show scheme.

Bottom line: Joe crapped out on Con Rail. But don't expect the guy to be laying his head on the railroad tracks. Nah, that's not how they operate over at the MCSO. Rather, you can anticipate another stunt in short order, or a sweep, or the arrest of another member of the Board of Supervisors. Anything to get past this PR debacle.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office From Deputy Lindsey Smith, M.C.S.O. Spokeswoman CON RAIL DERAILED (Phoenix, AZ.) Two days after the first inmate was personally transported by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies on the valley's new light rail system, Sheriff Arpaio says Phoenix city officials have come up with a solution to cut short the controversy and satisfy the Sheriff's Office. The city has graciously given four free parking passes to enable the Sheriff's extradition unit to conduct business without incurring any more parking expenses.

"Utilizing the light rail would have been a viable and safe alternative for transporting inmates," Arpaio says. "Since the city has been kind enough to issue free parking, we will go back to transporting inmates the way we used to, for now."

Sheriff Arpaio began using the light rail on Tuesday as a means to save money during the county budget crisis. Arpaio says that he does not see a future need to use light rail for inmate transport. But, since it has been deemed workable and successful, he will keep it on the table as a transportation option.

Today will be the last time an inmate will be transported on light rail, Arpaio says, unless an unforeseen situation occurs in the future and light rail use becomes necessary again. The City of Phoenix took away the Sheriff's free airport parking for inmate extradition in July 2007, explaining that it was too costly to provide free parking.

"I appreciate the cooperation we have received by the city of Phoenix to alleviate this light rail controversy," Arpaio says.

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