As long as a public official is deporting illegal immigrants everything else they do, whether legal, upstanding, or not seems to be ok with everyone in the anti-immigrant movement. Though I cannot attest to whether or not the allegations against Sheriff Arpaio are true the story is interesting.
Here in Phoenix we have a sheriff named Joe Arpaio. Sheriff Joe, as sensitive to building his media image as he is to fighting crime, has built himself a reputation among the majority of voters that he is a tough-on-crime code-of-the-west kind of guy. As the Phoenix New Times describes his image:
While voters lapped up the sheriff’s harsh approach to inmates in his jails — from forcing them to wear pink underwear, to feeding them oxidized, green bologna, to working them in chain gangs, to housing inmates in tents — New Times writers pointed out that the cruelty and violence in Arpaio’s lockups prompted Amnesty International’s first investigation in America.
I, however, see Sheriff Joe as a shameless self-promoter, uncaring about basic civil rights, and a serial abuser of government power. A number of Phoenix New Times (our free alt-weekly) reporters have been on Arpaio’s ass for years, dogging him in the best tradition of American media trying to hold public officials accountable.
In 2004, during an election cycle, reporter John Dougherty found that Arpaio had over a million dollars of investments in commercial real estate parcels. Dougherty asked the question, how does a lifetime public official making $78,000 a year have so much real estate? Arpaio could have replied that his family was independently wealthy or that he had parlayed his real estate investment from rags to riches. Instead, Arpaio used an obscure law aimed at protecting the home addresses of government officials to remove access to any public records of his commercial real estate transactions at the same time he removed his home address from these data bases. Instead of explaining where the money came from, he used his power to cover his tracks.