Former state, local politicians speak out against Arpaio

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- The group Citizens for a Better Arizona continues to actively work against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Wednesday night at the downtown Phoenix Public Library they tried a new tactic -- bringing in former high-ranking officials from the state and local level to share their experiences with the sheriff.

Former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton, former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley and former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon all discussed Arpaio and the recent report critical of him prepared by the Department of Justice.

The DOJ accuses Arpaio of civil rights violations within MSCO.

The men say their goal was to remove the politics and talk facts. They see those facts as years of the sheriff's abuse of power that have caused the state and city of Phoenix time and money and hurt its reputation.

Arpaio and his supporters say that is not true and they demand to see proof of the DOJ's allegations.

"They're trying to stop Sheriff Arpaio's fight against illegal immigration and they deserve nothing because they've proven nothing and are just trying to interfere for political purposes," said State Rep. John Kavanaugh, an Arpaio supporter.

But Wednesday night, the men on the panel said the sheriff's actions must have consequences.

"We've already spent about $300 million because of the sheriff's policies and lawsuits and attorney's fees ... we're becoming a laughing stock and certainly he is," Gordon said. "It hurts me to have grown up here."

Citizens for a Better Arizona says there will be several more forums to educate the public on Arpaio ahead of the November elections.