Editor's Note: In honor of this week's edition of Best of Phoenix, we bring you the Worst of the Best — the political edition. Enjoy.
See this year's Best of Phoenix.
Best Head-in-Sand Politician
Tom Horne, Arizona Attorney General
When Tom Horne bested former Maricopa County Attorney Andy Thomas in a squeaker of a GOP primary for Arizona Attorney General, we were elated. Horne, a relative moderate, was a Republican we could live with. He was no power-mad, wild-eyed, right-wing fanatic like Thomas, who later was disbarred for his shenanigans.
But Horne has turned out to be corrupt in a whole different way, hiring his alleged mistress as an Assistant Attorney General to the tune of $108K per year and creating a mini-Watergate in order to cover up the affair. This led to an FBI investigation, allegations of flouting campaign-finance laws and obstruction of justice, and an embarrassing fender-bender outside his mistress' apartment, witnessed by FBI agents. But Horne is shameless and so is determined to run for re-election despite his laundry list of transgressions. Head in sand? Actually, head in different dark corner, one connected to Horne himself, seems more appropriate.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio and all his MCSO goons
Following the decision of federal Judge G. Murray Snow in Melendres v. Arpaio, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his lawyer, and his underlings all claimed that it was the fault of the training they received from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, when Joe's goons were signed up for the federal 287(g) program, which allows local law enforcement to act as immigration agents. There is a grain of truth there. ICE did tell the MCSO it was okay to use race along with other factors in determining reasonable suspicion or probable cause that someone was in the country illegally. But just because your big brother is beating people up doesn't mean you get to beat people up, too. And that parent logic applies to to Joe and the MCSO. Also, the MCSO's 287(g) street authority was jerked in 2009, and then Arpaio ran out and got nativist nut Kris Kobach to train all of his gendarmes in immigration law. Even after this ruling, with the MCSO playing nice and bowing to the judge's order, Arpaio is appealing, which indicates that he still wants to racially profile Latinos even after he's been caught red-handed doing it. All he and his deputies need are sheets and burning crosses. In a state full of bigots, they're the unapologetic top dogs.
Best Tormenter of the Undocumented
Former Homeland Security Secretary and soon-to-be University of California President Janet Napolitano
As far as gag-inducement goes, the University of California's announcement that it is hiring as its new jefe President Obama's now-former official Hispanic-hunter, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, beats an index finger to the back of the throat, any day. Why? Well, consider the fact that the UC system's undergrad population is more than 30 percent Latino and growing. Then, take a look at Nappy's record. As DHS honcho, Napolitano oversaw what is on track to become the largest mass deportation of the undocumented in this nation's history: 2 million mostly Latino immigrants by the end of this year. While at DHS, Nappy promulgated efforts to make local law enforcement officers double as immigration agents and militarized the border as never before. That, actually, was par for her course. As Arizona governor, she sent the state National Guard to the border, signed employer-sanction legislation, and brought the infamous 287(g) program to Sand Land, empowering Sheriff Joe Arpaio with federal immigration authority. By the time the feds stripped Arpaio of his 287(g) agreements, Arpaio was already a racial-profiling Frankenstein, one only a federal judge has been able to tame. The UC system's Hispanic students, who will be paying Napolitano's bloated salary, should take note and raise holy hell as Nappy brings her prejudiced, police state-tactics to their campuses.
Best "Vendido" Moment
Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski's powwow with Joe Arpaio and local evangelical preachers
Being that Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski is a Democrat, a Latino, and an executive Vice President of the Cesar Chavez Foundation, the last person you'd expect him to be cozying up to would be Maricopa County's racial-profiler-in-chief Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Nevertheless, following Arpaio's re-election to a sixth term in office, Nowakowski brokered a meeting between Latino pastors and Joe, a photo-op that showed Arpaio praying (to Satan, no doubt) along with the well-meaning, godly pastors. Nowakowski was there as well, his Cheshire-cat grin impossible to miss. Jeez, we know treachery knows no party, race or ethnicity — and Nowakowski is a bit of a slime — but we never figured he'd stab his own people in the back by huddling with their number one enemy. In the parlance of español, a sell-out or traitor is often called a "vendido." And while Nowakowski may not be a vendido all of the time, he scores the nod for the best vendido moment in recent memory.
Best Bigoted Remark by a Black Man
Cloves Campbell's "house negro" crack about Lawrence Robinson
If you've been under the misconception that politics among Phoenix's African-American community is free of the low-down dirt-slinging found in the population at large, the race for the District 8 Phoenix City Council seat should disabuse you of that notion. The race has featured two black candidates, Lawrence Robinson and Pastor Warren Stewart, among others, and it's been meaner than a hornet's nest. Stewart-supporter Cloves Campbell Jr. struck the lowest blow in his Arizona Informant newspaper by calling Robinson a "house negro," albeit without mentioning Robinson by name. Still, everyone knew whom he was talking about, and he's been completely unapologetic since using the epithet. "If the shoe fits," he told a KTAR radio personality when asked if he would use the insult again. Thing is, the shoe doesn't fit. Robinson is just part of the new guard challenging the old guard — and the old guard, which still uses outdated terms like "house negro," apparently — feels threatened. But that's no reason for Campbell to act like a pompous ass and use this bigoted slur. But Campbell seems to like being a pompous ass: With him, that shoe absolutely fits.
Best Kneepad Journalism
Phoenix Magazine's butt-kissing cover story on Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Talk about timing. Less than two months after federal Judge G. Murray Snow's found Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his beige-shirted deputies guilty of racially profiling Maricopa County Latinos, Phoenix Magazine decides to forgo its usual cover tripe of "Best Valley Doctors" and "Best Weekend Getaways" and hype Maricopa County's top bigot, trying and failing to make the octogenarian autocrat seem "cool" in the process.
Titled "Notorious J.O.E.," this revolting puff piece, which retold all of Arpaio's mossy tales of imagined glory, claimed an "exclusive interview" with a politician who's never met a camera he didn't like. Oh, and the author of this drivel also got to chat with Joe's wife Ava, take a tour of Tent City, and eat the nasty contents of a Ladmo bag, like nearly every scribe who's ever profiled Arpaio during his 20-plus years as sheriff.
It's bad enough that this lame, soulless periodical polluted Valley supermarket aisles with Joe's ancient mug for an entire month and fed his bloated ego with yet another boot-licking article. It also tortured shoppers with audio commercials played at local grocery and drug stores featuring Arpaio's voice plugging the July issue.
Then there's the last insult that the piece was penned by former New Times staffer Niki D'Andrea — who should know better, despite pop music and tattoos being her usual subjects — and you've got the sort of print "journalism" best fit for scooping up dog droppings. At least that's one way to put this piss-poor excuse for a magazine to use.