Guess from whom Sheriff Joe Arpaio recently received his marching orders? Hmmm, Satan, maybe? Close, but no cancer stick, chickadees. It's the Valley's meanest anti-immigrant hate group, United for a Sovereign America, which has allowed such far-right wing-nuts as Mesa neo-Nazi J.T. Ready, skinhead Damon Ashenfelter, and Mexican-flag burner Laine Lawless into its fold.
Yep, the brown-bashing U.S.A., led by bigoted ex-Kia peddler Rusty Childress, has an inside track to Nickel Bag Joe. This racist gaggle of knuckledraggers has prevailed upon the county's top constable to temporarily relocate his posse-enhanced persecution of immigrants from its recent stompin' grounds at 32nd Street and Thomas Road, where the MCSO just held an Easter bout of ethnic cleansing.
Next stop, 25th Street and Bell Road, near Salvador Reza's Macehualli Work Center, which caters to mostly Mexican day laborers. There, U.S.A.'s armed brigade of gap-toothed nativists has manned a semi-permanent encampment since January 1. Its members have harassed jornaleros nonstop at the site, terrorizing the neighborhood in the process. Starting this week, Sheriff Joe's gonna do U.S.A.'s bidding by having his boys in beige patrol the area.
During such sweeps, the MCSO will hunt for the undocumented under the guise of routine traffic stops. Anyone the color of a brown paper bag gets the criminal treatment. The publicity stunts are staged to help Joe convince Maricopa County's Hispanic-hating honkies he's the meanest when it comes to migrants, thereby earning their votes.
Joe formally announced his intent to move on up to Macehualli during a Good Friday press conference at 32nd and Thomas. But less than 24 hours earlier, Joe was tipping off his prejudiced fans during one of U.S.A.'s regular Thursday-night white-pride clambakes, currently held at Sunnyslope's Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 9400.
Joe's speech at the VFW post was met with hoots and hollers from U.S.A.'s rabid rabble. Like the egomaniac he is, he ate it up.
"I appreciate your support," he gushed. "You're on the right track. You're doing what you should be doing."
Joe wondered aloud whether there were spies present in the crowd from New Times. Not really spies, Joe, just friends of this wacky warbler who keep him well-informed.
Arpaio rambled on for an hour, denying he's a racist, offering as proof his assistance to the people of Central America via Chief Deputy David Hendershott's notorious Honduran police-training scam. Sure, Joe. The Bird will buy that one when he observes Jabba the Hendershott break down and join Jenny Craig.
Joe crowed that he was investigating Attorney General Terry Goddard and that he'd just come from a going-away party for recently replaced ICE honcho Alonzo Pena.
Joe then pumped up the audience with bigoted comments.
"The good news is, all these people are leaving," he said, speaking of Mexicans in Sand Land. "They're going to other states, or back to Mexico."
The U.S.A. crew went wild. Joe followed up with another callous remark.
"We've got 900 Class 4 felonies we put in jail," he asserted, referring to immigrants arrested for such Class 4 felonies as forgery and held by ICE. "They can't work and send money back to their loved ones if they're behind bars."
U.S.A.'s idgits responded with a sarcastic, "Awwww." See, many of these trailer-park denizens don't hold jobs. They're too busy protestin' them Messcans to work. Smell the irony? Or is that the odor of these unwashed a-holes?
When Joe exited stage left, Childress took over, declaring it was alleged public urinator Buffalo Rick Galeener who'd petitioned a smattering of business owners to pen letters begging Joe to bring his dragnet to 25th and Bell. Galeener, who was cited by Phoenix cops on March 8 for allegedly showing his pee-pee to a mom and her 2-year-old kid, mimicked a foreign gas station proprietor who'd turned him down on writing a letter, mocking the man's accent to the delight of his fellow rednecks.
Galeener said he's retained a lawyer to help him with his indecent exposure "case," so he can "go after the city, Sal Reza, the one who filed the charges, and anyone else who's involved up there."
So this Gabby Hayes lookalike allegedly breaks the law, then sets out to sue those who caught him dead to rights. This is the class of people Arpaio's in cahoots with.
Galeener read a letter to his fellow tools from the VFW Post's Commander Tom Kaifesh, thanking them for a $100 donation "in the name of Elton Hall." Hall, 74, was injured near Macehualli by a two-car crash on February 9 while toting a sign for U.S.A. According to scholarly tomes on white supremacy, the goose-steppin' geezer once organized for George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party.
Hall was present that evening. When Childress introduced him, he received an enthusiastic ovation.
The next day, at Arpaio's Good Friday press conference, Childress was an honored guest.
After the media confab, this beaker buttonholed Joe, inquiring about his ties to Childress, and why he spoke before an organization that accepts neo-Nazis.
"He's a good guy," Arpaio said of Childress, adding, "I have no problem [with him accepting neo-Nazis]. You know what? I talk to everybody. I even talk to the demonstrators."
"Would you talk to the Klan?" asked this avian.
"I talk to the inmates; I talk to everybody. I'm the sheriff for everybody," he boasted.
That is, unless your skin's a tad too tan. Right, Joe?
This balmy bill-bearer's been through the looking glass and back with oddball gadfly Israel Correa. Bird-watchers will recall that this tweeter wrote about Correa being stopped by the sheriff's initial anti-illegal sweep at 32nd and Thomas ("No Holds Barred," January 31). Correa was pulled over for not having his headlights on and arrested for failure to show ID, though the MCSO's own report admitted Correa'd offered up a valid AZ driver's license.
The MCSO obtained Correa's Social Security number. But the MCSO still placed an ICE hold on Correa, without informing ICE. Vinnie Picard, ICE's PIO, didn't know a hold had been placed until informed by this egret. Picard later said the MCSO told him it was some internal notation, rather than an actual hold. The incident has never been explained fully.
On March 19, all three charges against Correa from that January stop (the alleged failure to present ID, lack of insurance, and not having his vehicle's registration) were dismissed by a justice court — evidence the collar was bogus from jump.
Correa wasn't celebrating, though. He'd been arrested by the MCSO on March 17, for allegedly threatening the arresting officer from the January stop, C.A. Rangel. In his report, Rangel wrote, "At one point, [Correa] spoke near my left ear and stated that he was going to find out where I live and I was going to get it."
Vague stuff, but enough to draw the misdemeanor charge, albeit two months late. Correa was also facing a Class 5 felony of aggravated harassment for allegedly violating a court mandate that he steer clear of Judge Carlos Mendoza's courtroom. Correa was released on a $500 bond, and ordered to wear an ankle bracelet, which monitored his curfew.
Mendoza and Correa have a legal blood feud spanning several years, and both men have had injunctions against harassment on each other, according to the Phoenix Police Department. Correa's suing Mendoza to recover $3,800 Correa says he paid Mendoza to represent him in a divorce proceeding. As part of the original complaint, Correa alleged the two men had some sort of sexual encounter, a weird thing to put in a $3,800 contract claim. Mendoza has denied all Correa's claims to The Bird, as well as the sexual allegation.
Correa's representing himself in the suit. Mendoza's being represented by — get this — disgraced former special prosecutor Dennis Wilenchik. Wilenchik asked that Correa's orginal complaint be stricken because of the scandalous, immaterial, baseless, heinous, and bizarre statements therein. The court agreed, and Correa was forced to file an amended complaint that deleted the sexual allegation.
What is this, a freakin' episode of HBO's The Wire? And if so, who's wearing one?
Correa's also involved in one of the charges brought by the Arizona Commission on Judicial Misconduct against Mendoza. The thing's too tangled for The Bird to tackle fully, but basically, the commission alleges Mendoza had Correa thrown out of a downtown courtroom, that Mendoza challenged another judge to fisticuffs, and that Mendoza failed to report certain financial information. Mendoza's attorney, Rick Strohm, maintained his client's innocence to this perplexed penguin.
Then, some deep weirdness took place on the evening of Wednesday, March 19. According to Stacie Derge, the Phoenix PD's PIO, Correa reported a home invasion by two armed, masked men, looking for files on Judge Mendoza. At Correa's house, the po-po found him and gal pal Gabby Espinoza partially bound.
Police say Correa led them to believe Mendoza was behind it all. So Five-O raided Mendoza's home, slapped cuffs on da Judge, and did a sweep of the house before releasing him. Correa and his girlfriend later confessed it was a hoax. Correa was again arrested, charged with one count of filing a false police report and another felony count of aggravated harassment against Mendoza.
Remember those two charges on which Correa was arrested on March 17? Those were dropped. And before going to press, this peacock learned from the Phoenix Municipal Court that the charge against Correa for filing a false report also had been dropped. That last felony for aggravated harassment Correa caught after the March 19 incident? Scratched, according to Superior Court PIO J.W. Brown.
For the record, Correa maintains the home invasion happened, and that he and Espinoza were coerced by the bulls to confess. He speculated the matter may now be before a grand jury. He said he would not be surprised if he's charged with something else in the near future.
"I want this to go to court," Correa cooed to this cockatiel. "I don't even want a plea deal."
When The Bird related to Judge Mendoza that the false reporting charge against Correa had been dropped, he seemed shocked.
"Outrageous is an understatement," Mendoza sputtered. "My head's spinning right now. I don't know anything about a grand jury."
The Bird knows more than he has room to write. Suffice it to say, it could be a freakin' novel. Keep 'em peeled for an update in the near future.
Also on Good Friday, Sheriff Joe, County Attorney Candy Thomas, and Mayor Phil "Goober" Gordon followed a hooded, undocumented Jesus Christ through the streets of Phoenix. They whipped his heavenly backside and taunted him all the way to Phoenix police headquarters, where the Son of God was strung up on a cross.
It was a dramatization. The real local officials were likely busy dreaming up new ways to bash real illegal immigrants. Heh, the procession reminds The Bird of New Times' comic feature "The Passion of El Cristo" (September 14, 2006), which imagined what would happen if Jesus came back as an illegal alien named Jesus (you know the pronunciation).
The pageant was the brainchild of Jorge Mendez, a local lawyer and activist whose intent was to draw the obvious parallels between New Testament times and now. The march, made up of 50 or so people, started in the parking lot of Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox's El Portal restaurant. You can watch a video of the procession, titled Via Crucis, at the local bilingual journalism site barriozona.com.
One fly in the holy ointment: Governor Janet Napolitano was supposed to be depicted as Judas Iscariot, appropriate considering that the pseudo-progressive Dem signed the employer-sanctions law last year, a bill engineered to drive Mexicans from the Zona.
Seems Mendez reluctantly axed Nappy's appearance at the request of Wilcox, a political ally of the Guv's.
"'It's not really what you think, Jorge,'" Mendez remembered Wilcox saying. "'She's doing many things [for the Latino community] that nobody can know.'"
Indeed, this taloned tallywhacker figures whatever Manet's doing to help Hispanics persecuted by AZ authorities is being kept a really big secret. You know, like Manet's sexual orientation.
Mendez caved out of respect for Wilcox, replacing Manet as Judas with Goober Gordon. But since the Napster back-stabbed the Hispanic community in 2007, this Foghorn Leghorn figures she really deserves to be Judas, even if it means Janet would have to kiss a man for a change (as Judas did to Christ back in the day).
One thing Mendez did get right: Joe's participation as a whip-wielding Roman guard. See, after the aforementioned Good Friday press conference, The Bird asked our sadistic sheriff, "If Jesus Christ came back as an illegal alien, Joe, would you arrest him?"
Joe immediately turned to Paul Chagolla, one of his legion of overpaid flacks, and demanded, "What should I say, Paul?"
Ultimately, Arpaio declined to respond. But that's okay. We already know the answer to that one.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.