Feathered Bastard

Sheriff Joe Offers Hispanics an Olive Branch, Kinda-Sorta, on Barriozona.com.

Sheriff Joe celebrates his "10th win" in office, telling reporter Yolie Hernandez he wants to help "resolve" the immigration problem.

Could ol' Joe be getting soft? Or maybe he was just tired and needed to go beddy-bye as he spoke to Barriozona.com reporter Yolie Hernandez about his reelection win November 4 at the Phoenix Convention Center. In that interview, Arpaio made a series of somewhat conciliatory statements (for Joe, at least) on the subject of immigration.

"I just hope this illegal immigration problem can be resolved," he told Hernandez, who runs the Barriozona Web site with her husband Eduardo Barraza. "It's a national problem. I'm just enforcing the local laws, but I do have a lot of experience -- 12 years workin' the border, 16 as a sheriff...Maybe I could get together with certain people and see if we can get this resolved."

Get together with whom, Joe? Lou Dobbs? Michelle Malkin? Your buddy Chris Simcox?

Arpaio later added, "I'm not going to change our policies. I hope maybe there could be some new policies one day to resolve this problem."

Hernandez asked him what solution he would suggest.

"I think what we have to do is legally allow more people to come into our country and work," Arpaio opined. "That's number one. We have to continue to enforce the laws. Those that are here illegally have to be sent back...I don't believe in amnesty."

So, Arpaio is for a guest-worker program. Nutty. Why, Arpaio was also passing the peace-pipe in a roundabout way to Sal Reza, whose group PUENTE has been protesting outside the Wells Fargo bank building in downtown Phoenix, where Arpaio keeps his posh HQ. (The protesters want Wells Fargo to evict Joe because of his anti-brown policies.) Hernandez asked Joe what he thought about Reza's merry band of pranksters. Arpaio advised them to "save their gas" and "get a life." Plus they should "stop protesting and start trying to negotiate."

When Hernandez wondered how the protesters would go about negotiating with him, Arpaio said his door was always open.

"They can call me any time," he said. "Of course, when I used to go among 200 demonstrators, they wouldn't even listen to me. I couldn't get a word in, so I don't do that anymore."

Even more bizarre was Arpaio's claim that this was his "10th win for sheriff."

It's actually Joe's fifth win, but, hey, who's counting? (Joe's probably adding in his primary wins as well.) Plus, Joe's basically sheriff for life in this county. Elections for county sheriff are perfunctory at this point. You know, kinda like in Cuba or Communist Russia.

Joe also had a weird, Archie Bunker quip about his grandkids, which only makes sense if you know his daughter has adopted children of other ethnicities.

"I lived in Mexico City for four years," crowed Joe when asked about his conflicts with the Hispanic community."I dealt with the president, the attorney general. I'm not going to get into my personal problem of my grandkids, what ethnic background they are."

So what's the problem, exactly? That they're off-white, brown or whatever? Jeez, Joe, not everyone can be born Italian, you know.

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