Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
On Sunday, to no surprise, the Arizona Republic endorsed Paul Penzone for Maricopa County Sheriff. Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio's gotta go!
Arpaio's Records Says: Elect Penzone
The early theme of the Joe Arpaio re-election effort is heartwarming.
In the campaign's television ads we see Joe as family man, as a young public servant in uniform. Joe as defender of the kids. And in a particularly whimsical shot, we see the Maricopa County sheriff plinking away at an ancient typewriter.
These images remind us of the public servant we supported in the 1990s and the 2000 election.
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But that sheriff is as much an artifact as a manual typewriter. Arpaio, who in 1992 vowed to serve a single term, has evolved into a career politician devoted to burnishing his national brand. Arpaio's self-interest always trumps the public interest.
We and Arpaio once valued the same characteristics in a Maricopa County sheriff. Our values have not changed. His have.
Consider the record his ads skip over:
The years-long reign of terror waged by Arpaio against his political enemies.
The vendetta against Maricopa County judges and the Board of Supervisors is top of mind, but Arpaio's record of targeting political enemies goes back more than a decade. The campaign against the judges and supervisors took this abuse of power to its zenith.
Under Arpaio's leadership, the sheriff's department misappropriated nearly $100 million in salaries over eight years.
A 2010 investigation revealed high-ranking sheriff's deputies charged pricey meals and stays at luxury hotels to county-issued credit cards. The Board of Supervisors cut up the cards.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars earmarked to improve jails was instead spent on out-of-state training and hotels in Las Vegas, New Orleans and other resort destinations; eight weeks at a Coronado, Calif., apartment; and rental fees for awards banquets and staff parties. At the same time, boiler improvements at the Lower Buckeye Jail were postponed.
Tens of millions squandered in judgments for mistreatment of prisoners and violations of civil rights.
The failure to investigate hundreds of sexual-abuse cases.
Arpaio's ads boast about going after easy-to-find deadbeat dads. Like Arpaio, the ads ignore hundreds of sexual-abuse victims whose cases were set aside so the sheriff could train Honduran police.
The stigmatizing of an entire community for no greater purpose than furthering Arpaio's national political profile. The sheriff raised millions in campaign cash from across the country, capitalizing on the broken tail lights of American citizens who dared to Drive While Hispanic during one of Arpaio's "crime sweeps."
Former Chief Deputy David Hendershott.
Arpaio handed control of his department to a man who, along with other top aides, engaged in abuse of power, nepotism, intimidation and self-serving violations of policy. When they ultimately lost their jobs, no one was surprised. The signs were there for all to see.
Yet Arpaio claims ignorance. He has consistently testified he had no idea what Hendershott and his other deputies were doing. "America's Toughest Sheriff"? No, its most oblivious. Why re-elect a man who doesn't know what's going on in his own department?
So there's a lot that Arpaio's ads omit. But the campaign's free-spending, media-saturating urgency tells us something: That after all the abuse and excess, Arpaio is vulnerable at the ballot box.
This is so for two reasons.
One: See above.
Two: Paul Penzone.
A 21-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department, Penzone represents the kind of lawman Arpaio once promised to be.
Tired of the constant self-promotion at the expense of fundamental crime-fighting? Penzone is committed to realigning the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office to serve its primary purpose: patrolling the streets of communities that rely on the county sheriff for protection.
For the "Toughest Sheriff," that job was too boring. For Penzone, it is Job One.
Penzone recognizes that repairing the damage caused by Arpaio's ham-handed ways will take time. Among Hispanics, obviously. But also among those numerous communities that have been so poorly served in recent years.
The Democratic candidate cites a need to repair the relationship between the Sheriff's Office and the Valley's other police agencies, a vital and often overlooked part of the public-safety mission.
Penzone calls Arpaio's lack of willingness to work with his peers "one of the biggest cancers" afflicting the Sheriff's Office. That would be fixed under the administration of the professional-minded Penzone.
Also in the race is independent Mike Stauffer, a retired lieutenant with the Scottsdale Police Department. Stauffer's presence in the race is a mystery. He offers a confused, often contradictory message. A vote for Stauffer might as well be a vote for Arpaio.
The Arizona Republic strongly recommends Paul Penzone for Maricopa County sheriff.
Penzone is not perfect. He went through an ugly divorce, which the Arpaio campaign is likely to exploit.
On all else Penzone appears to provide what Maricopa County needs in a sheriff right now: a professional, serious-minded cop whose default attitude won't be defiance.
Voters tired of the drama and mismanagement of recent years, who want a sheriff devoted to keeping them safe, as opposed to raising his national profile, will choose Penzone.