When Joe Arpaio received a pardon from President Donald Trump, destroying any possibility of America’s most polarizing law figure spending any time behind bars, the citizens of Maricopa County responded with an outcry, as he has long made a trend of escaping punishment for his crimes. Susan R. Bolton, United States District Judge, signed off on President Trump’s decision, making the action official.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, longtime foes of Joe Arpaio and the policies that were enacted during his reign, took to the media to express their disdain. This seems to be just another chapter in the longstanding saga between the former New Times Media executives, and “Sheriff Joe.”
Prior to his failure to garner reelection, Joe Arpaio spent 24 years as the Sheriff of Maricopa County, during which, he implemented a number of policies that consistently violated the constitutional rights of his citizens, and on many occasions, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey’s publication, Phoenix New Times reported on his actions.
About ten years ago, Sheriff Joe Arpaio sent his deputies to arrest Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, accusing them of disclosing information concerning an ongoing grand jury investigation. The grand jury was actually investigating Larkin and Lacey, as well as their subscribers – a fact that they chose to publish in Phoenix New Times.
The arrest was almost immediately deemed to have been executed under false, and possibly illegal pretenses and the newspapermen were let go. After the false arrest, Larkin and Lacey took Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department to court, eventually winning an award of $3.75 million, which they used to create the Frontera Fund.
The Frontera Fund is dedicated to protecting the rights of Latino Americans living in Arizona, as they were systemically violated under the orders of Joe Arpaio.
In 1970, after witnessing the aftermath of the Kent State shootings, Michael Lacey decided that it was time for him to get involved in the fight against conservative representations of news in America.
Joined by Karen Lofgren, Frank Fiore, and Hal Smith, the group of anti-war supporters launched the inaugural issue of Phoenix New Times to noteworthy acclaim.
Throughout the decade, the complexion of the magazine would remain true to the social and political issues that motivated its inception, but there were also a number of new innovations, such as the implementation of satirical cartoons, as well as personals ads, and “best of” issues.
After a series of peaks and valleys throughout the 1970’s, including a period where Larkin and Lacey lost control of Phoenix New Times, they achieved a new level of prominence in 1983, when they acquired Patricia Calhoun’s news-and-arts free weekly, Westword.
The acquisition of Westword would mark the beginning of a new era for New Times Media, as they would go on to acquire 17 like-minded newspapers, including LA Weekly, OC Weekly, Miami New Times, Nashville Scene, and Village Voice.
The publications under the New Times Media imprint would go on to achieve a myriad of reputable awards and accolades, including winning a Pulitzer Prize in 2007.
Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: