Sunday, July 27, 2008

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio wants to know what you think about
his approach to illegal immigration. Well, only if you agree with him.

But we encourage those who disagree with him--or outright

hate what he's doing--to flood a special hotline he's set up for his
supporters and give him a piece of your mind. And don't stop at just
criticizing him over illegal immigration; there are a host of other
problems within his administration that deserve your rapt attention.

Here's Arpaio's number: 602-876-1350.

Arpaio announced his "hotline" last month, after finding out that
Governor Janet Napolitano had taken away more than a million dollars
in state funds from his anti-illegal-immigration program. (Arpaio
admitted he first learned of the governor's action by reading this
blog. You can also read my follow-up article here.).

Joe claims a dedicated phone line is necessary to help people who want
to donate to the Sheriff's Office in the wake of Napolitano's
decision. Arpaio's office put out this press release with the phone
number. But local news publications, perhaps believing Arpaio gets
enough coverage, didn't reprint it.

Arpaio's not embarrassed at all to be asking for your hard-earned
dollars in a time of economic uncertainty. Or after he's wasted
millions upon millions of dollars on lawsuits that wouldn't have been
filed had he been runing a professional jail system. Or after using
public RICO money to finance what amounts to paid vacations for his
deputies (including highly compensated Chief Deputy David Hendershott)
in Honduras--under the lie that he's somehow preventing gang members
from flooding into Maricopa County. From Honduras?!

Oh, your tax dollars are also financing the hotline.

If you want to part with your gasoline money to pay the Sheriff's
Office to round up hard-working mamacitas in minivans with cracked
windshields, that's your business. But the neat part about the hotline
is that anyone can leave a message after hearing a short (and stilted)
speech by Joe.

Now, as we suggested above, don't feel restricted to just commenting
about how the Sheriff's Office treats Mexicans--there are plenty of
other good topics to scream about. Let him know how you feel about:

* Inmates who die or become injured under suspicious circumstances
in county jails.
* Third World jail conditions.
* The $41 million-plus paid by taxpayers for Sheriff's Office
lawsuit judgments and settlements.
* Targeting political enemies with abusive and questionable police
* Throwing newspaper owners he doesn't like in jail.
* Withholding public records and trying to intimidate news media
that don't do his bidding.
* Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars working with Honduran
police on a program that has no apparent merit to county taxpayers.

Really, any criticism is fair game--the self-described "toughest
sheriff in America" should be able to take it (though we all know how
sensitive he is; see fourth bullet item).

Now all the hotline needs is a title: We haven't given it much
thought, but "The Great New Times Memorial Sheriff Arpaio Blast Line"
has a ring to it.

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