With the kind of spirited cheering and clapping you might hear at a high school basketball game, about 100 mostly Hispanic students from the Adios Arpaio movement declared their endorsement of former Phoenix Police sergeant Paul Penzone for Maricopa County sheriff.
See also: -Joe Arpaio's Doom: "Adios Arpaio" Claims 20,000 Anti-Joe Voters Added to the Rolls (w/Update) -Joe Arpaio-Foe Paul Penzone Blasts Sheriff's Hypocritical New Ad -Arpaio Snuggles Up to an Ex-Inmate in His Cynical Bid for a Sixth Term -Joe Arpaio on the Run from Paul Penzone -Joe Arpaio-Stooge Mike Stauffer Is "Olivia Cortes on Steroids," Says Randy Parraz
The teen and twenty-something volunteers and organizers, who since April have registered more than 20,000 individuals to vote, gathered this afternoon at a pedestrian overpass crossing the I-10 freeway, near downtown Phoenix to make their announcement.
Afterward, they walked to the middle of the overpass and posted yellow and black banners with the silhouette of a fat sheriff galloping away on a horse, and the message that there are just two weeks left to register to vote in this year's general election.
"As you all know, last night we had a very important selection," volunteer Kristen Bernal announced via a portable PA system. "We're all here...to say that we are endorsing Paul Penzone."
After the whoops died down, Bernal continued, telling her fellow canvassers that, "Now we have 14 days to register people to vote...and tell them who to vote for."
Indeed, registration closes October 9, at midnight, after which Adios Arpaio will pivot from registration to a serious get-out-the-vote effort, one that will stress there is only one true alternative to Arpaio in the race.
"As we're registering people and helping get out the vote, we'll be educating voters on what the race is about," Adios Arpaio spokeswoman Daria Ovide explained."And that a vote for [Republican-turned-Independent Mike] Stauffer is a vote for Arpaio."
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, Adios Arpaio is funded by the Campaign for Arizona's Future PAC and the Promise Arizona in Action PAC, both of which are funded by the unions UNITE HERE and the AFL-CIO.
The anti-Arpaio push is fueled by 400 volunteers, 20 paid staff members and more than $1 million in contributions. Those volunteers are a source of boundless energy, as they spend much of their free time working to remove Arpaio from power.
Videographer Dennis Gilman and I went out with a team of 17 year-olds from Alhambra High School yesterday as they hit the west side hard, signing up Latinos at laundromats, gas stations, parks, supermarkets, you name it.
These young men and women are literally fighting for survival, as many of them have family members or friends who have been deported. Arpaio has terrorized their community, and they are fighting back with the greatest weapon democracy can bestow: the ballot.
At Glendale's Harry Bonsall Jr. Park, an Adios Arpaio volunteer named Julian signed up a new voter after telling the man about Arpaio's sex crimes debacle, with more than 400 botched cases in El Mirage and elsewhere.
Julian told me that his dad had been deported once, when he was 11, and that after the passage of Senate Bill 1070, his parents had considered leaving the state, but decided not to, so that they would not disrupt the education of Julian and his sister.
"It's really because of us that they stayed here," Julian said. "I want to help them back, by getting rid of Sheriff Joe."
Like Julian, Stephanie is a member of an Adios Arpaio team that's dubbed itself "the Chunky Lions." On Sunday, she was canvassing the park as well, looking to register more voters to help take down Arpaio.
Stephanie said her commitment to removing Arpaio from office comes from her family. Her sister, who has three kids, saw her husband deported twice, both times while pregnant.
"I don't have a dad," she stated. "And I know how hard it is to be by yourself, because I've seen my mom being a single parent. I don't want families to be separated, so that's why I do this campaign every day, to get Sheriff Joe out."
Evicting Arpaio from his tony, 19th-floor digs at the Wells Fargo Building downtown remains an uphill battle. But if the 80 year-old tyrant is denied a sixth term in office, it will be in large part because of high-school kids like Stephanie and Julian, who don't know the meaning of the word "quit."
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