By Jonathan McNamara
The Arizona Republic published a lead editorial today called "Paranoia-ville" that sternly criticizes Sheriff Joe Arpaio's campaign to peruse more than 10,000 e-mails (as reported by New Times on May 15) received by Mayor Phil Gordon and his staff.
The editorial also rebukes Arpaio for using multiple deputies to either scan in the records, or protect the deputies doing the scanning, from perceived interference by the press, specifically New Times writer Ray Stern.
When Stern got wind that the MCSO was scanning in the records last week, he went to the city records desk and asked to view the same documents the deputies were scanning--which is his right under state law. This prompted the two sheriff's deputies then on hand to call for assistance, and a verbal confrontation resulted between Stern and the MCSO, specifically Captain James Miller, who angrily threatened Stern with arrest if he dared to touch any of the documents.
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Stern wound up looking at the documents after city attorneys told the deputies he had the right under the law.
Stern wrote about the incident here in Valley Fever last Wednesday.
Also mentioned by the Republic was a memo written by Captain Miller complaining that Phoenix police didn't side with the MCSO against Stern's insistence that he be allowed to view the public records, which New Times columnist Sarah Fenske reported on last Friday in this blog.
The Republic chided the sheriff for wasting taxpayer money with his public-records campaign against Gordon, and called his deputies' unsuccessful attempts to keep Stern from looking at the documents "childish petulance and bullying."