Yegparian: Who’s Watchin’ the Sheriff?

Many of you may immediately think that I’m referring to Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Az. You know, the guy who’s appointed himself the grand protector of the American southwest by chasing after ghosts, i.e. hassling people in his crusade to “round up illegal aliens.” Fortunately, as the LA Times and CBS News have reported, he’s probably being investigated for abuse of power—the guy is going after elected officials who disagreed with his policies.

But Arpaio can serve as an example. Even watchers have to be watched. And, watching/oversight is very important, as evidenced by the economic mess the Wall Street casino-style bankers have put the whole world in.

Coincidentally though, this article was prompted by another sheriff. This is a man who enjoys wide respect and support. That extends to the Armenian community, and the feeling is mutual. He is present at Armenian community events with tremendous frequency. He was even married in an Armenian church, I understand. He is Sheriff Lee Baca of LA County.

It turns out Baca is visiting Azerbaijan. The context is a homeland security committee he serves on. In the same context, he has also visited Armenia and numerous other countries. But it is still unsettling to get the news from Azeri sources. It sounds bad. So, really, what he should have done is let our community leadership know he had to go. All it would have taken is for his secretary to make a phone call or three. But there’s also the possibility he’s not sufficiently sensitized to this. That means it’s our leadership’s failing to do so. And, this is a chronic problem in our political organizations’ relations with elected officials. The latter are supported in their campaigns for holding the right positions. Then, something is needed, and the elected doesn’t deliver. We start to complain. Then it turns out, we never did the “ask”! They can’t read minds. Let’s do things right.

And while we’re on the topic of watchers needing overseeing, how about that MMS (Minerals Management Service), an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior? MMS is charged with making sure the federal government collects royalties from the extractive industries availing themselves of the riches (oil, gas, and other mineral resources) underlying the U.S.’s outer continental shelf. It is also supposed to oversee the companies doing this work. That’s a tough pairing to accomplish, to start with. Factor in that its employees have been “caught in bed,” and not just figuratively speaking, with the people they’re supposed to be checking up on. They’ve also accepted gifts from those they’re supposedly keeping in line. Now it is proposed that the two functions be separated. I don’t hold out much hope of improvement until the mindset throughout the country changes and “regulation” is no longer a dirty word.

We all have to be vigilant, as citizens and residents of the country, states, and cities we inhabit. Otherwise, things are likely to occur that will make the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico look like syrup on pakhlava.

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Garen Yegparian

Asbarez Columnist
Garen Yegparian is a fat, bald guy who has too much to say and do for his own good. So, you know he loves mouthing off weekly about anything he damn well pleases to write about that he can remotely tie in to things Armenian. He's got a checkered past: principal of an Armenian school, project manager on a housing development, ANC-WR Executive Director, AYF Field worker (again on the left coast), Operations Director for a telecom startup, and a City of LA employee most recently (in three different departments so far). Plus, he's got delusions of breaking into electoral politics, meanwhile participating in other aspects of it and making sure to stay in trouble. His is a weekly column that appears originally in Asbarez, but has been republished to the Armenian Weekly for many years.
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1 Comment

  1. Dear Garen, I’m going to respectfully disagree with you. Let’s not demonize the good Sheriff Arpaio. Ranchers & homeowners in AZ have been absolutely overwhelmed by millions of illegals for years. Does the name Robert Krentz mean anything to you? (I thought not.) It’s easy to romanticize the problem when your home and land isn’t covered in feces, you’ve got illegals pounding on your doors and windows all day & night demanding food, water & money, and you’re being shot at. Taxpayers in AZ are fed up. They’ve got a right to say enough! Mexico treats it’s illegals a whole lot worse than we do, BTW. If you’ve got the money & the room to house these 13 million uninvited “visitors” and their large extended families, and pay for their education, social services, medical expenses, infrastructure, housing, etc. I say, you’re one hellova guy! Now, get out your checkbook, your credit cards and post your address on your website! The taxpayers of AZ will love you for it!

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