Give the Board a boot

Aug 27th, 2012 | By | Category: elections, Featured Articles, Main Article, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

Joe Arpaio is not an island. His ability to waste more than $150 million in taxpayer monies didn’t happen in a vacuum.

We know that the now disbarred and disgraced former County Attorney Andy Thomas helped Arpaio abuse his power by charging and prosecuting numerous cases without any legal merit. We know he looked the other way when Arpaio rounded up brown people for the purpose of publicity.

But the County Board of Supervisors played a role, too. For the past decade, the majority of the five-member board has refused to listen to citizen concerns about Arpaio’s budgeting priorities. If it were not for citizen groups such as the Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability demanding more attention be paid to Arpaio’s budget, it’s likely we never would have found out about the MCSO’s $99 million misallocation of funds.

While it’s important for the Board to try and maintain good working relationships with the departments they oversee, including the MCSO, it’s also vital that they maintain the necessary checks and balances demanded by our Constitution. It is the Board’s job to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and that the Sheriff uses the funds allocated for his department for the purposes outlined in the budget.

That clearly has not happened and is part of the reason MCSO’s sex crimes detectives didn’t investigate 432 sex crimes. Instead of using money allocated for SVU – the department that’s supposed to focus on rapists and child molesters — Arpaio misspent the money, using it for things like trips to Honduras and baseless investigations of elected officials and mortgage fraud.

And what does the County Board of Supervisors have to say about all of this? Well, that depends on whom you ask.

Some supervisors have put up a fight and demanded more accountability, but those supervisors are almost always in the minority. And sadly, those same supervisors who have had the courage to challenge Arpaio have been harassed and targeted by him. Though I believe Arpaio should be punished for his retaliatory actions against the supervisors, I do not believe elected officials should take money from the people they serve in the form of lawsuits.

On the other side of this, however, are supervisors like Chairman Max Wilson who has a cozy relationship with Arpaio and actually promotes the fact that Arpaio endorses his candidacy (as shown here on his website). Considering what Mr. Wilson knows about Arpaio’s abuse of taxpayer dollars, I find it incredible that he would align himself with someone so fiscally irresponsible.

There are no Democrats running against Wilson, but he does have two Republican challengers in the primary, Dick Hensley and Jean McGrath. We will find out tomorrow if either of them can unseat this decade-long incumbent.

Two supervisors, Fulton Brock and Don Stapley, are not running for reelection. Voters in those districts will have a much needed opportunity for change, particularly in District 2 where Steve Chucri is looking to defeat Lester Pearce, brother of recalled State Senator Russell Pearce and close ally of Arpaio’s.

But perhaps the biggest opportunity for change is in District 3 where a 14-year incumbent, Andy Kunasek, could lose to a newcomer named Lilia Alvarez. Kunasek is infamous for turning the other way when citizens were arrested at a Board of Supervisors meeting after applauding for an anti-Arpaio comment. Supervisor Kunasek, during his term as Board Chair, refused to meet with the group or address their concerns.

Alvarez, on the other hand, sees citizen involvement in government as a plus and wants more participation from residents in the budget process. She objected to Arpaio’s use of taxpayer dollars to fund his birther investigation and believes it’s the Board’s responsibility to provide oversight of the Sheriff’s budget.

Kunasek did not object to funding Arpaio’s birther investigation and has said the $28 million the county just recently lost in lawsuits is but a small percentage of its annual budget.

I have a hard time swallowing that line of thinking. $28 million may be a small percentage of the budget, but considering the county currently has a shortage of medical examiners and restaurant inspectors, I believe there were much better uses for those funds.

No, Arpaio is not an island. He has wasted money and abused his power with the blessings of other elected officials. If we want to clean up county government, we must give him and the Board the boot. We’re the only ones who can.

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9 Comments to “Give the Board a boot”

  1. Truth08 says:

    Just to add to the the Arpaio “debacle”..

    His responce times are now an average of just over 2 hours for an emergency.. Maricopa County is now a “sanctuary county” for felons.. The worst of the worst get a free pass…

    Meanwhile his resources get “redirected and devoted” to arresting car-washers, corn vendors, and house cleaners..

    Residents and especially “victims” of crimes should be outraged that he remains Sheriff.. His incompetence is never ending.. (2hrs to get a deputy to respond….Really..??)

    His fleecing of our county coffers to the tune of 100s of millions, and millions in more lawsuits pending, should have even his most staunch conservative supporters outraged…but they “look the other way” like Kunasek and Wilson..(when it fits there agenda).

    Regards,
    Truth

    P/S One thing good that has come out of this… They all turn on each other when they can’t handle the “heat”.. Just ask Thomas, how well that alliance with Arpaio worked out during his “disbarment” procedings….??
    Arpaio’s day will come soon–he must know it, as he scrambles to try remain relevent–with anyone who pays him any mind….lol

  2. mike slater says:

    Julie, Sheriff will be reelected easily. Get used to it.

    • Julie Erfle says:

      Mike, you obviously agree with the points in the article if this is the only thing you have to say. Sorry, but I refuse to get used to people ignoring the facts. I will continue to talk about Arpaio’s abuse of power, corruption, waste of taxpayer dollars, and complete neglect of duty in ignoring more than 400 sex crimes cases. I don’t ever intend to “get used to” a politician like that. I find it sad that so many people in this state do just that… they give up, become apathetic, vote solely on the letter behind a person’s name instead of on their record. You may be fine living with Arpaio’s crimes, but I’m not and will continue to write about it. I guess you’ll have to get used to that.

  3. Truth08 says:

    Sorry about not providing link.. Though the “2 hour” response time, is from personal experiences.. (before my subdivision got annexed to Gilbert) also from the current surrounding nighborhoods still within MCSO jurisdiction.

    Meth addicts roam freely and break into homes and cars regularly, they victimize innocent residents, tag walls, steal copper from empty buildings as well as occupied ones.. Deputies have been called out numerous times, and these calls never appear to be a priority…? Gilbert PD responds to these calls when “called by a resident of Gilbert” and they do so in a profesional and timely fashion. Sadly, the MCSO eventually shows up to the call but as mentioned sometimes (and more so regularly) 2hrs to late..

    Here are the links, to what I have already confirmed first hand..

    “…Under Arpaio, 911 Response Time Increased, Arrest Rates Decreased…”
    http://americasvoiceonline.org/research/the_notorious_record_of_maricopa_county_azs_sheriff_joe_arpaio/

    “…MCSO response times to emergency calls increased;….MCSO arrest rates for non-immigration crimes dropped;…”
    http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/high-price-being-america%E2%80%99s-toughest-sheriff-crime-and-spending-soar-maricopa-county

    “…Response times, arrest rates, investigations and other routine police work throughout Maricopa County have suffered over the past two years as Sheriff Joe Arpaio turned his already short-handed and cash-strapped department into an immigration enforcement agency, a Tribune investigation found….”

    …..and….

    “…Mar said deputies arrived 45 minutes after the MCSO received the emergency call…”
    http://www.pulitzer.org/archives/8377

    “…Yet another measure of law enforcement is response times to 911 calls…..Judged by its own standards and statistics, MCSO appears to be falling seriously short of fulfi lling its core law-enforcement duties. The surge in violent crime rates since 2004 coincides with MCSO’s diversion of substantial resources to other priorities….”
    http://goldwaterinstitute.org/sites/default/files/Mission%20Unaccomplished.pdf

    Regards,
    Truth

  4. Also not included in the tally was county officials’ investigation into Sheriff’s Office budgeting, which found $103.7 million in taxpayer money was misspent since 2004. The board froze some of the sheriff’s funds in an effort to compel him to turn over financial records for review, becoming a central point in one of the legal battles between the supervisors and Arpaio.

  5. [...] organize in conservative districts. She knows exactly how many voters she must win over to defeat Andy Kunasek and has put in place the ground forces needed to win, knocking on over 20,000 doors and targeting [...]

  6. [...] organize in conservative districts. She knows exactly how many voters she must win over to defeat Andy Kunasek and has put in place the ground forces needed to win, knocking on over 20,000 doors and targeting [...]

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