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Spy Cameras in Downtown Chandler Chase Off Employers of Day Laborers

 

The robot-like device standing in a gravel lot at the corner of Arizona Avenue and Buffalo is more than just a couple of surveillance cameras. The spindly contraption is really an anti-Mexican Machine, designed to discourage day laborers from hanging out in downtown Chandler.

Despite the cameras' gaze, three Hispanic men stood waiting for work yesterday on the east side of Buffalo. We asked them if they knew who put the cameras up.

"Joe Arpaio?" guessed Apolonio, one of the men.

Wrong answer. They were set out with the blessing of the city-funded Downtown Chandler Community Partnership. Local developer Niels Kriepke paid $1,400 to rent the camera mount for three months. Several business representatives in the area said they did not want to discuss it.

Apolonio (we didn't ask for his last name) said the cameras have made it tougher to earn money in downtown Chandler. It's not that he minds being filmed -- he posed for the picture at right -- but prospective employers do.

"The cars don't stop -- they keep going," he said. "It's no good."

Still, he manages to find work one or two days a week, and that's enough to make ends meet, he said.

We asked why he doesn't just move down Arizona Avenue to another location?

"There's lots of other guys down there," he says.

He means these guys:

 

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.