'America's Sheriff,' Joe Arpaio, Fights Unions And Outsiders in Recall
Only three weeks after re-election in 2012, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was hit with a recall effort. Now, with anti-Arpaio petitions in circulation in Maricopa County, Arizona, "America's Sheriff" is organizing his forces to oppose a recall backed by the deep pockets of the unions, millions of dollars in outside money, and a flood of non-Arizonans arriving to act as the left-wingers' ground troops.
Arpaio's team is being ramrodded by the Conservative Business League--and unlike the opposition's recall efforts, the CBL is an Arizona-based organization. The duo taking the helm of the "save Joe" campaign is the CBL's Ron Ludders and Bob Thomas.
Ludders and Thomas say that the left's effort to destroy Sheriff Joe Arpaio is no less than an effort to use the Colorado model (the campaign that turned Colorado from red to blue) to give Arizona to the Democrats. It is also a mirror of what the left tried to do to Republican Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin and, if successful, would be a model for Democrats to regain power in Texas.
Strangely, Arizona's recall law is incredibly loose. An elected official in The Grand Canyon State can be recalled for any reason at all and, with one exception, at any time. Unlike such laws in most states, the Arizona law does not require a recall for cause such as criminal activity, fraud, or other real reasons. The only rule seems to be that the elected official has to be in office for six months into his first term before a recall can be mounted. This rule did not apply to the six-term Sheriff. To start a recall, petitioners must gather the signatures of 25 percent of the number of votes cast in the last election.
Involved in the recall effort is one Randy Parraz, a long-time, left-wing Arizona agitator, a failed candidate for office himself, a Huffington Post contributor, a man that has several arrests under his belt and one who was involved in instigating the Seattle World Trade Organization riots back in 1999 when he was a field operative for the AFL-CIO. Today Parraz is the head of Citizens for a Better Arizona. Ludders and Thomas also say he is known as an Obama associate and has visited the President in the White House.
Parraz has spent some effort to hide his association with the anti-Arpaio effort, though. At one point he told the Phoenix New Times that he wasn't involved in any of it. What Parraz seemed to forget to mention to the alternative newser is that his wife, Lilia Alvarez, is the head of Respect Arizona, the group heading up the recall effort. To claim he isn't also involved is only a tad disingenuous.
Who ever is running it, this recall campaign is little else but a harassment campaign. But it is one that is of a piece with that organized by Barack Obama's Administration in an attempt to remove Joe Arpaio from office.
It can't be denied that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched salvo after salvo against the Sheriff, a barrage of nuisance lawsuits, none of which the DOJ has won. This campaign of harassment is intended to keep the Maricopa Sheriff's Department always on the defensive, unable to do their normal job of law enforcement, and is aimed at setting up a situation where the Sheriff is constantly on the brink of making the wrong move. The DOJ clearly hopes that the Sheriff will make a mistake that will give them an avenue to finally get him.
A similar campaign of lawfare (warfare using courts) was launched against Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in 2008, an effort that eventually drove her from office.
But it isn't just Obama's Justice Dept. trying to destroy Sheriff Arpaio. Local left-wingers and their out-of-state allies have also been launching campaigns of harassment against Arpaio and this recall is but one example of that.
Take for instance the left's claims that Arpaio's offices have failed to investigate sex crimes in El Mirage, a town in the Sheriff's county. Some years ago the town lost funding for its own police department and Arpaio took over policing the area. When Arpaio's office got there they found that some 400 cases of sexual assaults had gone un-investigated. A few years after Arpaio took over, the Maricopa Board of Supervisors announced that only 7 cases had still been un-investigated. Regardless of this fact, the left has continued to claim that 400 sex crimes have gone un-investigated in El Mirage and they blame Arpaio.
As an example of the lies promulgated about this incident, Ron Ludders related a little story to Breitbart in a phone interview.
"To give you an idea of how sinister the attacks on Sheriff Joe have been, we have a community that had to close its police Dept., of course the sheriff has to take over and police it. There were over 400 plus reports of sex crimes in that town over a number of years that had not been investigated. The left comes in and uses this statistic as if it is Sheriff Joe's fault.
"Well, the sheriff did investigate them. During a meeting with the Board of Supervisors a member of the county attorney's office said that out of the 400 plus incidents, there was only seven of them that didn't have a final disposition on them. Now, at the time there was a political reporter from Channel Three named Frank Camacho who was in that meeting. He heard very clearly that there were only seven of these cases that were still open. That night on Channel Three Frank Camacho said there were over 400 cases still open. It wasn't long before Frank Camacho, whether at the insistence of the station of on his own, became the communications director of the Arizona Democrat Party."
One of the biggest problems with the recall campaign is the millions it will coast Maricopa taxpayers.
Once the petitions are turned in, half a million signatures will have to be verified one-by-one by Maricopa County recorder Helen Purcell. Thomas and Ludders estimate that it will cost taxpayers up to $1.5 million to verify the signatures. Then the county will have to pay for the recall election itself. This will cost another estimated $4 million. Finally, after the recall election is done, another possible $1.5 million will be spent on lawyers for recall result lawsuits. The final tab could cost taxpayers up to $8 million.
Speaking of money, it is coming in heavily for the recall effort. "They have over 120 paid petitioners from outside of Arizona many of whom worked for the effort against Russell Pearce, plus they have a plethora of volunteers," Breitbart was told.
When Breitbart asked Thomas and Ludders if they felt unions were heavily invested in the recall effort, both said an emphatic yes.
"We believe the AFL-CIO is deeply involved," said Ron Ludders. "The fact that they are having their meetings in union halls kind of tells the story."
Ludders notes that the recall petitions are being funded by outside money from the AFL-CIO as well as other unions and are being circulated by the same people that the left paid to circulate the petitions in the successful recall of State Senator Russell Pearce who was ousted in 2011.
Unfortunately, due to Arizona's reporting laws, the total donations and donor lists aren't due to be filed until the middle of May, too late to be of much use to Arpaio's supporters as recall petitions are due the end of May.
To buttress the claim that unions are a chief backer of the recall, a recent story in the the Phoenix New Times shows that one anti-Arpaio rally was held at the Painter's Union Hall in Phoenix.
Ludders also pointed out that on the very night of our interview, a mass meeting of recall operatives was going to be held at the Bakers and Confectionary Union Hall in Maricopa County.
The recall isn't the only goal that Respect Arizona is pursuing. "They are obtaining voter registrations. They are just not going after Joe, here. But the master plan is to turn Arizona blue," Ludders said.
Ludders said that the recall campaign was just another part of the drive to bring Democrats to power in Arizona.
"I want to reference the book The Blueprint: How The Democrats Won Colorado," Ludders said. "On page 184 it says 'The strategy is not build up Democrats as much as it is to tear down Republicans using opposition research and other hardball tactics...in a way that draws emotion.'"
"In sheriff Joe's case, that emotion is that he's a racist, that he's a bigot. That is simply not the truth. As you all recall Eric Holder sent a number of people out to get Sheriff Joe, actually dropped the case for a lack of evidence. This essentially America's Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, against the entire organized left who is leveraging unions inside the state and sending a flood of millions of dollars in outside, left-wing money to fund the attack on Arpaio."
As to this foolishly loose recall law, Arizona Republicans are trying to get a revision of the wide-open rules (HB2282) passed but say that legislators are being "held hostage" by their own Governor, Jan Brewer. The Governor is holding many bills up, not just 2282, because she wants to force the legislature to pass her healthcare laws and has maintained that she won't sign or consider anything until her healthcare measures are passed and signed.
Regardless, changes to the recall laws are at least a year off, since even once new laws are passed state Republicans expect the DOJ to attack the changes and take the state to court to block them. So, even if these changes do get made, it won't be in time to help save Sheriff Joe from the recall effort.
Ludders and Thomas have a warning for those that might want to help Sheriff Joe beat this recall election. Beware of the fake groups out there trying to separate you from your money, the pair said. The Conservative Business League is one of the only groups that is putting boots on the ground in Maricopa County itself to help Joe fight the recall.
Unfortunately, there are several other groups out there with "Help Sheriff Joe" efforts but they are not, Ludders and Thomas say, giving Joe any of the money they are claiming to raise in his name, or are fundraising for efforts launched from a distance rather than on the ground.