In 1970, with Michael Lacey reporting and Jim Larkin handling the business side, the two kicked off a small campus weekly called the Phoenix New Times. Started as an alternative to the area media’s decidedly right-wing reporting on social issues, they gave the paper a solid reputation for investigative reporting and extensive in-depth features about social and political issues, including the Vietnam conflict.
In 2005, at a rural Arizona rest stop on Interstate 8, a U.S. Army Reserve Sergeant named Patrick Haab saw seven men he believed to be illegal immigrants climb into an SUV. Haab blocked the SUV with his car to prevent the men from leaving and then ordered them at gunpoint to exit the vehicle and get on the ground before calling the sheriff’s office.
After Haab was arrested, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio characterized his actions as “dangerous and illegal” and warned against citizens against acting in place of law enforcement. Arpaio further condemned Haab’s behavior and declared that Haab was wrong, legally and morally, and publicly urged citizens to use restraint and not to involve themselves in similar situations. Read more: Michael Lacey | LinkedIn and Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia
After carefully gauging public reaction in favor of Haab, Arpaio adopted illegal immigration as his cause célèbre. From that day forward, he became staunchly supportive of any and all efforts to repel immigrants, especially Hispanics.
During his entire 24-year tenure as Sheriff, journalists Lacey and Larkin were, in Lacey’s words: “a constant thorn in his side.” They exposed his buying of almost $700,000 worth of property on a $78,000 salary.
They exposed the appalling conditions in Arpaio’s jail, including the tent city that Arpaio fondly called his concentration camp — the green bologna, the rotten fruit, the brutal beatings, and the pregnant inmates chained to the bed as they gave birth.
The conflict between the Phoenix New Times escalated. Arpaio banned New Times’ reporters from the Sheriff’s Office. He ignored Freedom of Information requests for county records. He even warned reporters that they could be arrested for interference with law enforcement.
Arpaio finally took action on October 18, 2007. In the dead of night, plainclothes detectives from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office handcuffed the pair, placed them under arrest, and forcibly removed them from their homes. In the backlash that followed, Lacey and Larkin were released without charge. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/ and http://james-larkin.com/press/
They subsequently filed suit over what they called “the trumped-up charges.” Maricopa County settled out of court with the pair for $3.7 million dollars, which they used to continue the fight for the rights of immigrants in Arizona.
Larkin and Lacey, Journalists, Create The Frontera Fund
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey created The Frontera Fund for one main reason: to help the victims of Joe Arpaio. For years – 24 to be precise, Joe Arpaio, while serving as Maricopa County’s sheriff, terrorized the Hispanic community. His past is littered with cases of illegal arrests, police brutality, and constitutional violations.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey are actually victims of one of Joe Arpaio’s illegal arrests. Joe Arpaio wasn’t too fond of the content Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were producing in their paper so he had them arrested. Even for someone who didn’t go to law school, this is an obvious first amendment violation.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, together, owned the Phoenix New Times at the time of their arrest. They have since sold the paper in favor of better opportunities like The Frontera Fund.
The Fund works with dozens of other charitable entities to bring support and improvement of life to the residents of Arizona. Larkin and Lacey have donated to causes such as the ACLU of Arizona.
However, without a paper to write for they wouldn’t be journalists. The created Front Page Confidential as a replacement for the Phoenix New Times. In their new paper they have picked up right where they left off: exposing Joe Arpaio for his corrupt actions.
With Arpaio campaigning for a United States Senate seat, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey have been working as hard as ever to make sure everyone knows about the horrible past of Joe Arpaio. Recently, Front Page Confidential covered the fact that Arpaio is campaigning on radio programs ran by known-racists.