See also: Victims Wonder Why Arpaio Let Sex-Abuse Cases Languish See also: Ex-Police Chief's Book Details Arpaio's Negligence in El Mirage Cases See also: Joe Arpaio Foe Paul Penzone Adds Greg Stanton's Endorsement to a Ton of Others
I'm a pessimist at heart, but Democratic candidate for Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone is beginning to convince me that he will be Sheriff Joe Arpaio's replacement come November.
Every time I see Penzone on the stump, he's more appealing as a candidate, more confident, more focused on the goal at hand.
His signs are up everywhere, and they look a helluva lot better than the cheap, crappy red ones Arpaio's mooks have posted.
Penzone's endorsement list adds names of prominent Republicans and Democrats almost daily. His volunteers are young and enthusiastic, and so far he's raised more cash than any Joe-challenger in recent memory.
But what I really like about the guy is that he knows how to land a punch. Just take a look at this new ad above, which according to Penzone spokeswoman Stacy Pearson, will begin running by week's end on local TV.
In it, Penzone calls our decrepit sheriff out on the hundreds of botched sex crime investigations in El Mirage, a scandal that would have forced the resignation of any other elected official.
Pearson says the creepy account of child abuse in the piece, read by a little girl, is torn from the pages of If There Were Any Victims..., the expose by former Phoenix cop and ex-Assistant Chief of the El Mirage Police Department Bill Louis.
Her narrative continues, and from the lingering shot of a gently swaying swing, a photo of an angry Arpaio emerges, and the little girl scores a zinger.
"Mommy told me there are a lot of kids like me that Sheriff Joe didn't help," the girl, always off camera, informs viewers.
Shortly thereafter comes Penzone, "the New Sheriff," with the following message:
"Children are our most precious assets. This will never be tolerated under my watch."
Boom. Joe's backside kisses the mat.
Pearson tells me that details of the ad buy are still being worked out, but that the campaign anticipates criticism from camp Joe, and is armed with rebuttals.
"There are hundreds of victims out there awaiting justice," said Pearson. "That's far more offensive than a 30 second ad."
The campaign also previewed the ad to anti-child abuse advocacy groups. The feedback?
If anything, the ad is "not tough enough" on Arpaio, they told Pearson. Also, the segment "gives a voice to victims" who were not protected by law enforcement.
Folks should be furious about the MCSO's bungling these investigations. Ticked off citizens should be ringing Wells Fargo Tower, demanding Joe's badge.
But, strangely, that anger seems absent in Arpaio's case. As if the residents of Marikafka County are ready to give this vain, power-mad egomaniac 400-plus mulligans.
People need to be reminded of just how massive Arpaio's malfeasance in office has been. The subject of victimized children, distasteful as it may be, must be shoved right into the faces of likely voters.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Otherwise, who's to say it could not happen again, if Arpaio wins four more years this fall?
The next kid victimized could be your daughter, son, grand-kid, nephew or niece.
Think about that, and then tell me if you still think Arpaio's "America's toughest sheriff."
And if you'll be voting for him this fall.