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  1. #1
    Senior Member FedUpinFarmersBranch's Avatar
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    May 2008

    Protestors demand crackdown on Sheriff Arpaio

    Protestors demand crackdown on Sheriff Arpaio
    25 commentsby Yvonne Wingett - Jun. 19, 2008 07:11 PM
    The Arizona Republic
    Critics of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio staged a raucous show Thursday in hopes of pressuring the Board of Supervisors to monitor more closely his enforcement of immigration laws and the amount of public money spent on lawsuits that involve his office,

    The protestors, hundreds strong, were unsuccessful in holding the five elected officials to any promises. The Supervisors unanimously approved a $2.4 billion budget, up slightly from this year, with cuts in nearly all departments and programs, and about 428 eliminated vacant positions and layoffs.

    But the it was more of a rowdy bash-session and less of a budget hearing.The session in downtown Phoenix was standing room only filled with protestors and sheriff's officials. The meeting went on for three hours, interrupted with bursts of applause and name-calling.

    At one point, Supervisor Andrew Kunasek stood and banged his gavel as protective services officers moved toward an Arpaio critic who talked past the three-minute time limit. Dozens responded by walking out, screaming, "Your sheriff is a disgrace to the nation."

    Arpaio vowed he will continue to enforce "all of the laws of this land" despite the criticism. He blamed the protest and ongoing political controversies over his immigration sweeps and on a "conspiracy" among Democrats Gov. Janet Napolitano, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.

    Arpaio thanked the four Republican supervisors - who stood at one point to indicate their support - for backing him.

    "I'm the sheriff and I decide on the policies of this office and I'll continue to do so," he said.

    Limited oversight

    The supervisors must approve the sheriff's budget, but because he is an elected official, they cannot tell him how to spend it.

    The budget plan for fiscal 2009, which begins July 1, increases spending by 0.4 percent as the county deals with rising health-care costs and increases in mandated spending - particularly in criminal justice.

    Overall, the budget reflects $42.2 million in cuts for county departments, accomplished through tightened spending, efficiencies, cuts in programs, layoffs, and allowing positions to remain vacant. The Sheriff's Office took a 5.3 percent cut, about $4.1 million, to his general budget, which primarily pays for law-enforcement patrol. About 3 percent, or $4.8 million, was cut from his detention fund, which helps pay for jail operations.

    Another $56 million in cuts was made to non-departmental budgets and reductions to infrastructure projects and reserve funds.

    County officials restored some Human Services programs, which were going to be eliminated. Those include a transportation program for the elderly and disabled, a meal delivery program and a program to provide shelter to the homeless.

    "This budget was very, very difficult to balance," said Sandi Wilson, deputy county manager. "We had to make a lot of difficult choices because the revenues are so down. This is a very frugal budget."

    The county's sales-tax collections and vehicle-license tax and jail tax fell far below officials' worst expectations, short $34.9 million combined.

    Meanwhile, the state's efforts to fill a $2.2 billion hole in its budget could trickle down to the county, cutting tens of millions of dollars from county coffers and force officials to modify the budget.

    Meanwhile, the state's efforts to fill a $2.2 billion hole in its budget could roll down to the county, cost tens of millions of dollars from county coffers, and force budget officials to modify the budget. Napolitano proposed a plan to shift some inmates from state prisons to county jails and a plan to expand highway photo radar to bring money into the state.

    "We got a fair deal for the taxpayers, I believe, and we're going to provide the services to the public that we have to provide," said Kunasek.

    New group

    About 200 of the protestors were from a new group, the Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability. They helped pack the room to capacity, and many were sent across the plaza to watch the hearing on TV.

    Many wore red T-shirts, with a message to the supervisors on the back: Stop Wasting OUR money. No more lawsuits. No more media circus. No more money for Arpaio.

    In the hearing, several said they were concerned with the treatment of undocumented immigrants by Arpaio's office and said his policies have created a climate of fear that makes immigrants too scared to call police for help, or to report crimes. Others took issue with the number of lawsuits Arpaio's office has been involved in over the years and challenged the supervisors to make Arpaio report to the board each month to account for his spending. It already is monitored closely, along with spending in all other departments.

    "While county boards across the state of Arizona govern and maintain their budgets quietly and with dignity, they set the tone for how every person within the boundaries of their county are treated," said Rev. Liana Rowe, of Interfaith Worker Justice of Arizona. "They are not allowing their sheriff or their county attorney or anyone else whose budget they control to dictate how people are to be treated within their boundaries."

    The group walked out shortly after, shouting at the Supervisors and gathering in the plaza with megaphones and signs.

    Chants of "No justice, no peace" gave way to "We will be back" and then to "Si se puede" the rallying cry of farmworker leader Cesar Chavez.

    Adrian Vidal, 34, wanted the supervisors to consider his thoughts when they approved their budget: "They are using this money, our money, my money, in the wrong places. Stop giving my money to Joe Arpaio."

    A small group of Arpaio supporters spoke in his favor and Anna Gaines was among them: "I support . . . the sheriff 100 percent," she said.

    Republic reporter John Faherty contributed to this report. Reach Wingett at (602) 444-4712 or

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  2. #2
    Senior Member tencz57's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    My God is this STILL America ? Why do we NOT support this Sheriff with EVERYTHING we Got . ALAMO Time IMO !!!
    I'm a good troop not a General . We have some politically brite people on this board . Lets get with it . I Fed-up with (mod edit) Illegals running my life ! Enough
    Nam vet 1967/1970 Skull & Bones can KMA .Bless our Brothers that gave their all ..It also gives me the right to Vote for Chuck Baldwin 2008 POTUS . NOW or never*

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