August 27, at the Kendall County Fairgrounds the Kendall County Republicans are
holding their annual family picnic. And they are pleased and proud to present
as their keynote speaker Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona,
who they bill as “America’s
Toughest Sheriff.” One could also add America’s most corrupt and racist
sheriff. U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren will also be in attendance at the picnic,
along with Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, and State Representative
Tom Cross, and their families. They will also have autographed pink boxer
shorts for sale, $15, a souvenir for the kids to take home, I guess. The pink
boxers are in honor of the fact that Sheriff Joe forces his inmates to wear
pink underwear; claiming pink is a calming color. He also uses pink handcuffs
on the prisoners.
Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff has been called an extreme human-rights
violator. The stern law-and-order advocate has declared war on illegal
immigration in his large jurisdiction, which takes in Phoenix. Arpaio, caught the nation’s
attention when he chose to house his inmates in tents when jails reached
capacity, the tent prisons have become known as “Tent City”.
Though Arpaio's severe tactics are popular among Arizonans, his deputies have
attracted widespread criticism in their pursuit of illegal immigrants for
harassment and the racial profiling of Latinos. Just a small fraction of the
33,000 arrests he has overseen have been based on documentation checks in the
field, but Arpaio says the program to allow field checks is symbolically
important: "This is a crime-deterrent program, too."
“We are ecstatic
that Sheriff Joe Arpaio is coming out to Kendall
County to support the Republicans in Kendall County. I have always been a huge fan
and supporter of his, and I always have said we need more law enforcement
officials like him.” said Ken Toftoy, Chairmanof the KCRCC and
Kendall County Coroner since 1992. "This guy is
doing the right things," Toftoy said. "Staying in jail shouldn't be
like staying at the Conrad Hilton. And people who do cross the border illegally
are breaking the law. They should be arrested. I don't think the sheriff is
doing anything wrong. I absolutely believe in what he is doing."
“I like the guy. I
follow him,” Toftoy said. “I think more and more sheriffs, it’d be nice if they
followed his lead. Of course, not everyone in the Midwest
can do that because of the winter time. I just think in the United States, we’re too nice to
these people. They screwed up and broke the law.”
The sheriff Mr.
Toftoy thinks should be held up as a model to all sheriffs is the first sheriff
to start female and juvenile chain gangs. His office has been the subject of
thousands of lawsuits since he has been in office, leading to $43 million in
settlements and expenses. Some role model! Still Kendall county’s Coroner Toftoy said Arpaio can come off
as tough, but he’s a “straight-up guy” when you get to know him.
It has been
reported that on July 2 of this year, when the temperature in Phoenix
hit 118 degrees, Arpaio measured the temperature inside Tent City
at 145 degrees. Some inmates complained that the fans near their beds were not
working and that their shoes were melting from the heat. However an analysis by
the Maricopa County Office of Management and Budget, completed September 2010,
found Arpaio has mishandled almost $100 million in taxpayer dollars over the
previous five years. The analysis showed that some of the money was inappropriately
spent on investigations of political rivals. Also misspent paying for deputies
to travel to Disneyland and included a trip for the deputies to a fishing
resort in Alaska.
But at least he is a “straight-up guy.”
All of this
expense is maybe why Sheriff Joe has also started using cheaper meals,
sometimes serving up food that is spoiled, and he has even cut salt and pepper
to save money.
Arpaio also uses chain gangs, wearing striped
1940s-style uniforms, to paint over graffiti and to bury indigent people in a
Sheriff Arpaio’s recent
abuse of power involved marching detained immigrants in black and white striped
prison clothes through the streets of Phoenix
to the “tent city” on the edge of town where immigrants are segregated. His
targeting of the Latino community in Maricopa
County is destroying Arizona’s rich multicultural heritage. The sheriff’s
tactics include intentionally targeting the Latino community with raids of
Latino neighborhoods and workplaces; detaining people who cannot prove their
citizenship during routine traffic violations.
Locally you can count
union leader Corey Johnson, business representative of Laborers
Local 149 Aurora
, as one of the Arpaio critics.
Johnson said the
Republican committee has made a mistake in inviting Arpaio to talk during the
picnic. The local laborers union boasts several Hispanic members. He said these
members have asked Johnson and the union leadership to speak out against the
choice of speaker whom these members say has long discriminated against
Hispanic residents in Arizona.
members are the same ones who go to our churches. They are same ones whose kids
go to our schools. They are the same ones who pay taxes in our community,"
Johnson said. "Yet the local Republicans bring in a guy who is truly
offensive to them....This guy is
like the super villain of the Hispanic community. He is the Lex Luthor of the
Hispanic nation. And still, the party brings him here to speak. I don't think
that's a good move."
As a means of
showing support to those union members who oppose Arpaio's policies, Johnson
said, the laborers union will consider whether to donate money to the political
campaigns of any politicians who attend the Republicans' family picnic. "We try to
give support to the candidates in both parties, as long as they are for working
people," Johnson said. "We try not to lean either left or right. But
when you have a party bringing in a guy like this, it's a non-starter."
Sheriff Joe Arpaio
has misused his authority to create an environment of fear and intimidation all
over Maricopa County. The sheriff’s tactics destroy
families and the larger fabric of community in the Phoenix area. In the name of justice, he and
the Sheriff's department rely on the worst acts of profiling, discrimination
and civil rights abuses. His actions also fail to address the criminal problems
that result from the human and drug trafficking across the border because they
only victimize the powerless.
In 2009, Phoenix New
Times columnist wrote, “Every time I watch Sheriff Joe unleash his ‘posse’ on
another neighborhood with a high Hispanic population, arresting people with
brown skin for the most stupid of offenses such as honking their horn, having a
taillight out, not signaling when they change lanes, I have to wonder how
anyone could not see this as an assault on an entire race of people.”
And I have to
wonder how inviting this law breaking and human rights violator to our
neighborhood is not seen as an assault on our Hispanic neighbors, co-workers,
and friends. If as a people we believe in justice and security for all
citizens, and if we believe in standing up to tyrants, then we will not let
this bully walk onto our block with out protesting.
Join others who
are outraged on Saturday August 27, 2011, at the Kendall County Fairgrounds,
located at 10826 Illinois Route
71 in Yorkville. It is time to stand with all of those who are against the
politics of racism.
==============================Thanks to Dan Kenney for permission to reprint this article here.
The Republicons' dinner will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Kendall County Fairgrounds, 10826 Route 71, Yorkville. Critics of Arpaio and the Republicons' invitation to him to speak will be protesting there. For a $100 donation, participants can get their picture taken with Arpaio. The committee will also sell autographed pink shorts for $15. For more information, go to www.kendallgop.com.