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Vick-timization

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Let this quacker ask you something: Have you ever buried a dead dog in your backyard? Maybe after it'd been attacked by another animal or hit by a car? If you live out in the desert, you might have even given the pooch a funeral pyre. So what?!

More and more, it's looking like Arpaio's full of pit bullcrap, beating these dead dogs for all they're worth. The Bird wondered to DMX attorney Richman whether racism could be a factor in the sheriff's attempt to link DMX and Vick.

"If it occurred to you, don't you think it's occurred to other persons as well?" Richman responded rhetorically.

Irony is, DMX digs Arizona. His enchantment with the Grand Canyon State was obvious in his BET reality show DMX: Soul of a Man, which followed DMX as he rode dirt bikes, played pool in cowboy bars, and befriended his mostly white neighbors. For the time being, attorney Richman has warned his client not to return to the Zona (DMX also keeps houses in New York and Florida). At least until the questionable claims of our Chief Dogcatcher are quashed.

DMX's no squeaky-clean Wayne Brady. He's been in trouble with the law before. In 2004, he allegedly posed as a federal agent and tried to carjack a vehicle at JFK Airport. There have been problems with drugs, and he's been cited for keeping underfed canines previously. But even if DMX's houseboy wasn't taking care of the dogs the way he should, that hardly makes DMX the Michael Vick of Sand Land. And it doesn't absolve Arpaio of bigotry for puffing this case up into something it's not.

DAN TANNED

Buckeye Chief of Police Dan Saban can't catch a bleedin' break. As related in New Times reporter Paul Rubin's cover piece, "Below the Belt" (September 20, 2007), Saban's been the whippin' boy for pugnacious PHX lawyer Dennis Wilenchik, the Doberman-attorney who does the bidding of County Attorney Candy Thomas and Saban's political rival, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Wilenchik tanned Dan's hide recently in the lawsuit Saban brought against the sheriff. The complaint had to do with a 2004 smear over ludicrous, 30-year-old allegations of rape by Ruby Norman, Saban's adoptive Mommie Dearest. Though the accusation was penguin poop, Sheriff Joe's rotund chief deputy, David Hendershott, leaked the tall tale to since-then fired Channel 15 reporter Rob Koebel, who dished the dubious dirt on-air. Nothing ever came of the rape claim, 'cept the tarnishing of Saban's rep. Saban was running against Arpaio for sheriff in the Republican primary at the time, and though Joe beat Saban by more than 10 points, it was still Arpaio's closest contest in years.

Wilenchik persuaded the jury not to vote for Saban's side. And the wily attorney did his damnedest to wound Saban out of court, too, sending "virulent anti-Saban letters to several authorities," according to Rubin's article, including Saban's current bosses, Buckeye Town Council members. Rubin writes, "Wilenchik's admitted goal has been to try to get Saban fired as police chief and to cost him his certification as a peace officer."

Now, this nighthawk discovers that the Buckeye Town Council will be considering an ordinance when it convenes on October 2 that would forbid any employee of the city from being "a candidate for nomination or election to any paid public office." That means Dan would have to turn in his Buckeye badge to run against Arpaio again. Saban's already announced his candidacy for '08, and even has his Web site up, sabanforsheriff.com.

Could it be that Wilenchik's dastardly letters have had their intended effect, especially upon fellow Republicans on the Town Council, like Mayor Bobby Bryant, sponsor of the ordinance? (Saban, you see, has switched sides and is now a Democrat.) Bryant says no, though he admits receiving Wilenchik's correspondence.

"I read it, and to me, there's nothing substantial there," Bryant asserted. "It was almost like name-calling."

But why this ordinance, and why now?

"My response to that is, why not?" clucked Hizzoner. "We've got 400 employees, approximately. They need to be dedicated to the town. Otherwise, it would be like going out and getting a second job they can't get out of."

Bryant and Saban have locked horns over various issues, like a proposed domestic violence advocacy center meant to serve Buckeye, Avondale, and Goodyear. Saban campaigned for the center. Bryant and others on the council were ticked that the center's site was planned for Goodyear instead of Buckeye. Bryant publicly lambasted Saban over the issue. But he insists that the new ordinance, which would prevent Saban from running against Arpaio next year if Saban stays on as chief, isn't political payback.

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