Here's one place you can be certain not to run into Sheriff Joe Arpaio this Thursday night: At a forum on his multifarious abuses of power, sponsored by Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group responsible for making the recall of disgraced, ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce a reality.
The last CBA forum in April, moderated by the classy Julie Erfle of Politics Uncuffed, featured former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton, and former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon.
Thursday's forum will again be moderated by Erfle, and boasts a star lineup of those who've fought Arpaio in one way or another.
These include: Former Mesa Police Chief and current District Attorney of San Francisco George Gascon, former Mayor of Guadalupe Rebecca Jimenez, Sergeant Thomas Lovejoy of the Chandler Police Department, and Susan Schuerman, Deputy Administrator for Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley.
Gascon, who was Mesa's top cop from 2006 to 2009, has been a persistent critic of Arpaio's anti-immigrant sweeps, and Arpaio was obsessed with him at the time (and may still be), largely because he's more intelligent, better experienced, better educated, tougher and more photogenic than our almost-octogenarian lawman.
Gascon left Mesa to become San Fran's police chief, was appointed to fill the vacant District Attorney's slot for the city at the beginning of 2011, and went on to win election later that year with 62 percent of the vote, becoming the first Latino DA of the City by the Bay.
Jimenez was the mayor of the square-mile Town of Guadalupe during one of Arpaio's infamous anti-immigrant sweeps in 2008. The town, which contracts with the MCSO for law enforcement services, is half Yaqui Indian and half Mexican-American. The residents' families have lived there for generations. So it was the wrong place for Joe to go hunting for undocumented folks, in more ways than one.
Arpaio lied about the anti-immigrant sweep to the town's city council, telling them is was a routine crime patrol. As a result, the residents rebelled, with their courageous Mayor Rebecca Jimenez leading the way. Jimenez faced off against Arpaio in a Televised confrontation that left the sheriff sputtering mad, and Jimenez looking like the class act that she is.
Chandler cop Thomas Lovejoy and county employee Susan Schuerman are both dedicated public servants whose lives were turned upside down when Arpaio targeted them for criminal investigation: Schuerman because she happened to work for Arpaio foe Don Stapley, and Lovejoy because Arpaio wanted to trump up the 2007 death of Lovejoy's K-9 dog Bandit in order garner media for the MCSO.
Both Lovejoy and Schuerman ultimately prevailed, suing the sheriff's office and winning six-figure settlements, each. Though, I'm sure those settlements are cold comfort for the abuse and harassment they each endured at the hands of Arpaio's boys-in-beige.
Tickets for the event, which includes a reception beforehand to begin at 4:30 p.m., are only $10, but they must be purchases in advance. Last night, CBA co-founder Randy Parraz told me the event was nearly sold out. Still, all the info is listed below, in case you're able to score one.
Either that, or I reckon you can hope for scalpers.
Here's the press release for the event:
2012 FORUM SERIES CONTINUES THURSDAY, JUNE 7TH
Reception: 4:30PM-5:30PM Forum: 5:30PM-7:00PM
SHERIFF ARPAIO AND ABUSE OF POWER:
The Impact of Sheriff Arpaio's Abusive Policies and Practices on Local Police, Cities and Victims
GEORGE GASCON, Former Chief of Police, City of Mesa, AZ, REBECCA JIMENEZ, Former Mayor, Town of Guadalupe, TOM LOVEJOY, Sergeant, Chandler Police Department, SUSAN SCHUERMAN, Deputy Administrator, Office of Supervisor Don Stapley, Moderator: Julie Erfle, Creator of Politics Uncuffed
The forum will expose the degree to which Sheriff Arpaio and MCSO used their power and authority to intimidate and harass political opponents as well as self promote the public image of Sheriff Arpaio. From uncoordinated and unwanted raids in Mesa and Guadalupe, to illegally and unjustly arresting a police officer to score political points with animal lovers, to interfering in the lives of Maricopa County workers and the Board of Supervisors - Sheriff Arpaio has ushered in an era of unprecedented abuse and corruption. Come hear first hand accounts of Sheriff Arpaio and MCSO's abuse of power.
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4:30PM-5:30PM Pre-Forum Special Reception, Arizona Jewish Historical Society (AZJHS), 122 E Culver Street, Phoenix; 5:30PM-7:00PM, Forum (same location as reception), Arizona Jewish Historical Society, 122 E Culver Street, Phoenix
Tickets: $10 Must purchase/reserve tickets in advance; Each ticket is good for both the reception and forum. Limited seating. Auditorium seats 220 people.
Free Parking: Parking available at the AZJHS or the Burton Barr Library right next door.
To reserve your ticket(s) please email our Event Coordinator, Molly Duran, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once your ticket(s) have been reserved please mail your check to: Citizens for a Better Arizona, 1615 N 36th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85008. All ticket holders names will be on a list and participants will check in at the registration table prior to entering the event. Please arrive early.