The big protest against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio–in town because OC sheriff's candidate Bill Hunt has a massive man-crush on America's Most-Corrupt Sheriff–is supposed to be happening outside Sutra as I write this, and we might have a special dispatch later in the day from there. The one I went to last night, though, was the better one: Nickel Bag Joe visiting Original Mike's in Santa Ana for a law enforcement-only soiree.
Weekly contributor Gabriel San Roman described the strange location for a Hunt fundraiser best at his blog, describing it as a “spot for a cholo to take his hyna out for a 'nice
date' when he's fucking up in the relationship.” There were no cholos spotted inside with Hunt, or any other non-gabachos other than the Mexican servers. Outside the restaurant, though, was a different story: a multiracial but mostly Mexi group of more than 50 protesters, organized within an hour and hounding Arpayaso for hours.
Highlights after the jump, including a YouTube clip of Arpayaso evading my shouted questions!
Arpayaso and Hunt arrived together in a chauffered gold Cadillac Escalade, a bit after 7 p.m. A crowd of about 20 protesters were already outside the restaurant at the corner of First and Main streets, but a smaller group swarmed around Arpayaso and Hunt the moment they got out of the SUV. As you can tell by the tape below, Arpayaso is used to these accosts, but his mood turned sour once I started yelling at him:
I was across the hedge because when Hunt and Arpayaso arrived, I was busy observing the hilarious waste of taxpayer money that was the Main Street Santa Ana Police Department DUI/license checkpoint just one street south from Original Mike's on Pine Street. Instead of nabbing anyone, every single car going south on Main, one of Santa Ana's busiest streets, made a left or a right on Walnut Street and into residential neighborhoods. Funny ballet, it was!
As you can tell by the video, Arpaio was trying to joke his way away from the protesters when he heard my question. Notice how fast he turned! The Stephen Lemons in question, of course, is the fearless reporter from our sister paper, the Phoenix New Times, who is barred from any Arpayaso press conferences in Phoenix because Arpayaso demands a lackey press (the Orange County Register's sycophantic coverage of Arpayaso would be a natural in the desert…). Mike Lacey is one of the two perpetually drunk micks behind Village Voice Media (the Weekly's parent company; the other paddy is Jim Larkin) whom Arpayaso arrested in an act so blatantly illegal that Arpayaso not only had to let them go, but that led to the firing of some lawyer or other.
You can't see Arpayaso's face in this video, but his face scrunched throughout my hectoring. Not only did he not answer any of my questions, but he then waved me off and walked into Original Mike's. Throughout the evening, he'd wave at protesters screaming at him from outside–but when I typed the same questions I yelled at Arpayaso on my cell phone, and held it up to the window so he could read them, America's So-Called Toughest Sheriff turned away.
And Bill Hunt considers this coward his hero?