Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Goldwater Institute takes on Sheriff Joe

Clint Bolick, formerly the primary litigator for the Institute for Justice, is taking on some good causes as a litigator for the Goldwater Institute's new Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation. He's currently fighting against the City of Phoenix's unconscionable and unconstitutional multimillion-dollar subsidy to the developers of the CityNorth project, and now he's taking on popular Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

In an article posted today called "Who's in Charge?", Bolick points out two cases of apparent misuse of funds by Arpaio--using RICO funds to send staff to Honduras, and sending out nearly 200 deputies and "posse" members on "saturation patrols" that appear to be trespassing the jurisdiction of the Phoenix Police Department. Meanwhile, Bolick notes:
Whatever the rationale the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office had for those actions, both diverted scarce resources away from vital law enforcement duties that fall within the Sheriff’s Office’s core duties:

• Unserved warrants, including those for violent offenders, number an estimated 70,000.
• Dozens of criminal defendants have missed court appearances because deputies in charge of moving inmates were told to skip shifts due to excessive overtime.
• The Sheriff’s Office closed three regional booking facilities in Surprise, Avondale, and Mesa, forcing police officers in all 26 Maricopa County jurisdictions to book criminal suspects at the Fourth Avenue jail in downtown Phoenix. The greatly increased transportation time removes officers from the streets and induces them to simply cite and release criminals.
Arpaio has a long history of showy but useless or even counterproductive law enforcement activities, as well as costing the taxpayers millions by getting the MCSO sued repeatedly for wrongful death and injury cases as a result of abuse of inmates. But Maricopa County residents keep voting him back in, because he claims to be tough on crime and is often a good self-promoter. I hope that events like last October's arrests of the owners of New Times and now Clint Bolick going after him will finally lead to his non-reelection for County Sheriff this year.

Dan Saban, who's running against Arpaio, is saying all the right things about integrity, civil rights, and combating waste, though he also seems to take a hard line on illegal immigration (which is another area where Arpaio has taken a hard line and engaged in some theatrical activities). He looks like a marked improvement to Arpaio.

UPDATE (April 2, 2008): Looks like Goldwater lost round one today on CityNorth, a project where the city is giving $97.4 million in taxpayer subsidies to the developers of a shopping mall over the next 11 years, and claiming that it is for the 3,180 parking spaces in the parking garage the project is building, 200 of which are reserved for carpoolers using park and ride city bus services for the next 45 years. If the subsidy is considered to be for those 200 spaces, that comes out to $487,000 per space over the 45-year period, or $10,822.22 per space per year. The average parking space annual lease price in Phoenix is $684, and ASU recently estimated that a parking garage would cost $14,000 per space to build. In other words, if instead of paying nearly $100 million to CityNorth, the city instead had purchased land and built its own parking garage, the construction would have cost less than what the city is paying for the first two years worth of the 45-year lease on the 200 spaces. And that doesn't count the additional $10,000/week of taxpayer funds that has been spent on lawyers fighting for this subsidy.

The Goldwater Institute has announced that it will appeal.

UPDATE (April 9, 2008): The New York Times has editorialized that Arpaio should be subpoenaed about his anti-illegal-immigrant sweeps:
For months now, Sheriff Joe has been sending squads of officers through Latino neighborhoods, pulling cars over for broken taillights or turn-signal violations, checking drivers' and passengers' papers and arresting illegal immigrants by the dozen.

Because he sends out press releases beforehand, the sweeps are accompanied by TV crews and protesters — deport-'em-all hard-liners facing off against immigrant advocates. Being Arizona, many of those shouting and jeering are also packing guns. Sheriff Joe, seemingly addicted to the buzz, has been filmed marching down the street shaking hands with adoring Minutemen.

If this doesn't look to you like a carefully regulated, federally supervised effort to catch dangerous criminals, that's because it isn't. It is a series of stunts focused mostly on day laborers, as Sheriff Joe bulldozes his way toward re-election.

The sheriff says he is keeping the peace, but it seems as if he is doing just the opposite — a useless, reckless churning of fear and unrest.

4 comments:

tom said...

Hi Jim; sorry for the off-topic post, but I couldn't find an email address for you.
I live in Scottsdale, near Redfield (about 96th st) & Frank Lloyd Wright. My wife and I have been caring for a stray cat in this area, trying to gradually domesticate her. Recently I found her with an injury to a front paw that left her unable to move around much on her own. I was hoping it was a sprain (rather than a fracture) that would mend within a few days, but she doesn't seem to be improving.

I know from reading your blog that you and your wife have a lot of experience with dog rescue. My question is this: would you be able to recommend a place for me to take this cat so she can get examined and patched up? I can, of course, find a vet in the yellow pages, but if you are able to refer me to a place that specializes in strays (or would, for some other reason, be a less expensive option) that would help us out a lot. We're about 30 min. NE of the downtown Phx area, but I'm happy to travel a bit if there's someone you would recommend.

Many thanks,
Tom

Jim Lippard said...

Tom:

Try checking out Cat Nip and Tuck and the Arizona Cat Assistance Team, both of which are based in Scottsdale. If they can't help you directly, I'm sure they can provide a good nearby clinic referral for spay/neuter as well as treatment of the injury.

The organization we volunteer for, RESCUE, usually sends its animals to Blue Cross at 36th St. and Indian School. The Arizona Humane Society also has low-cost clinics that provide high-quality care, but those are in central and south Phoenix.

Jim Lippard said...

Tom: I also meant to add: both of those organizations specialize in trap/neuter/release programs for feral cats. It sounds like you're already able to handle this cat, but if not, they can provide you with help on trapping her so that she can be taken in for treatment.

tom said...

Jim-

Thanks very much for your recommendations; I'll give both of these places a call.

best,
tom