The congressman vs. the sheriff: KGUN9 viewers draw battle lines
Notes by: Forrest Carr, KGUN9 News Director
Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio is reputed to be America's "toughest sheriff." Southern Arizona congressman Raúl Grijalva is generally regarded as one of the country's most liberal politicians. So as you might imagine, the two of them frequently clash, even though neither works in the other's jurisdiction. This week both of them went at it again, each demanding the other's resignation. At issue this time: allegations that Arpaio's office mishandled hundreds of sex crime complaints.
Arpaio is not "our" sheriff per se, but southern Arizonans follow him closely, and for that reason KGUN9 News often travels to Phoenix to cover him. Our exclusive coverage this week was one of the most-viewed and most-commented stories on KGUN9.com and on our Facebook page. In addition, we ran a "question of the day" web poll about the issue on KGUN9.com that turned out to be one of our most-clicked web polls in months. The vast majority of those responding to the poll (which is not scientifically accurate because those participating are "self-selecting" and not chosen at random) supported Arpaio.
Viewer comments also weighed mostly in favor of Arpaio, but Grijalva got quite a bit of support as well. Some viewers supported neither. Below is a sampling of the conversation.
"Lane1953": "Mr. Grijalva should pack his bag and leave the state of Arizona PERIOD He is nothing but a loud mouthed moron who should just get out before he is finally thrown out, go and boycott another state and take your arrogant stupidity someplace else."
"fjom2011": "It's way past time for Grijalva to resign. Any other elected person who would call for a boycott of his or her state would have been run out on a rail."
"tucsongal": "Grijalva needs to resign. He is indeed an angry man who does not care about Az. He causes more problems and unrest than should ever be. A boycott against his own state -- that shows what kind of person he is. Go Joe and go away Grijalva. Easy fix."
"BelJean": "Wow. Not one word for the victims in these comments. How cold hearted. My love and support goes out to the victims who saw no justice. Attacking Raúl Grijalva doesn't help them. It doesn't address the problems with Arpaio, and there are many."
"callady": "Too bad so many uniformed voters, or perhaps the votes are cast by names not on the registry, however it is, Raul Grijalva is a lost cause and should be ousted. The district he represents is totally unrepresented. Arpaio is the man!"
"Creeping Critter": "The problem is that these people when angered (and of course to advance their political agenda) don't know whom to point the fingers at. Granted I care for Arpaio and I really dislike Grijalva. Grijalva should be pointing fingers at Brewer instead."
Mary Helen Vasquez Luna via Facebook: "Arpaio Has got to go. He is a black eye to Arizona!!"
"TaitAZ:" "Grijalva is a racist. These victims deserve justice, but Grijalva attacking another non-Hispanic again is just wrong. He is only causing more harm then good to Arizonans."
Luis Calderón via Facebook: "Why do Joe and Raul have to behave this way? Joe should own up to his atrocity of a mistake, and Grijalva should try to restrain himself from engaging on rhetoric that will end in nothing. Is their no over site for a Sheriff? Are they really over the law?"
Sergio Mendez via Facebook: "It's like the like the corrupt kettle calling the pot corrupt. LOL."
Ann M. Gresham via Facebook: "Sheriff Joe is one wack job."
Mark Lawson via Facebook: "Time for Raul to go."
Cynthia Harrington via Facebook: "Be specific. What has Arpaio done that is wrong? Crickets? He's an effective sheriff who has kept his nose clean and NEVER spoke against Arizona. Grijalva is a 60's left-wing radical that has damaged my state with the public just because he could. I can't stand that overfed, abortion loving Obammunist."
Lon Lofgren via Facebook: "Sheriff Joe is a great Arizonan and a great American! Way to go, Arizona! You sent 'the Mustache' to Washington, and now he thinks he's important!"
Armando Muñoz via Facebook: "The Sheriff has made plenty of mistakes over the years and God knows I don't agree with him on a lot of issues, however if I had to choose between the Sheriff or Raul, I choose the Sheriff to stay. Raul is horrible, always making insane statements, dressing like a homeless man, I know that shouldn't matter but when you're a congressman it does. Raul needs to go, why wont they recall this fool like they did with Russel up in Mesa."
Chyna-Mae Rose Wilson via Facebook: "The people supporting Joe here seem to ignore the 400+ sex crimes (some against children) botched by Arpaio. Yeah, he's a winner people. Toughest sheriff my...."
Tucker Johnson via Facebook: "I think they both need to go!"
Jeff Steinkamp via Facebook: "Grijalva is an idiot and those who continue to vote for him are also idiots. For an elected official to call for a boycott of the state in which he represents a district of people is absolutely asinine. I really hope there is an alternative to this fool for CD 7 in 2012."
Chime in. You can post your comments here, on our Facebook page, or email them to email@example.com.