Mesa Morning Live, the Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s late-night-style talk show — albeit taped in front of a live audience one Friday morning each month — hosted its largest audience in the last two years last week, according to Chamber officials.
That’s no doubt a result of the presence of the February taping’s featured guest Friday — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio himself, who quickly revised host Mark Cordes’ introduction of him as “America’s Toughest Sheriff” to “World’s Toughest.”
Arpaio kept the conversation mostly light and often comical, poking fun at or touching upon some of his trademark issues like illegal immigration, violent crime, President Barack Obama’s birth record and animal welfare.
“Mahatma Gandhi said you judge a morality of a country by the way (they) treat their animals,” Arpaio said, touting a task force he created to help abused animals and arrest offenders.
Arpaio also used the illegal immigration issue and identity theft as ways to illustrate his crime suppression sweeps and raids on businesses, laughing at the public interest his own recent bout with a stolen credit card number caused.
He took questions from the crowd, and told the audience — mostly members of the Mesa chamber — that he sympathized with the plights of business owners during the still-frail economy, stating that he, too, had experience building his own businesses in the past, alongside his wife.
“Keep working hard, make that money,” Arpaio said. “I feel sorry for you ... because the way the economy is now, you’re all hurting. But you’ll get back there.”
Arpaio also said he will continue to build the posse which he called “free” law enforcement officials, and highlighted his idea to utilize posse members for school security.
The 20-minute segment ended with Cordes handing Arpaio a pair of boxer shorts Cordes claimed were his own - but they were black ones, not pink.
Other guests on the show included Stuart MacLay of Mesa-based East Valley Disaster Services, the episode sponsors. City of Mesa planning director John Wesley and East Valley Tribune managing editor Brett Fera also sat in with Cordes for segments.
Beginning next week, “Mesa Morning Live” will play on the City of Mesa’s local Channel 11 throughout the month of February and into early March. The new episode, as well as previous editions, can also be viewed online via streaming video at www.mesamorninglive.com.
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