The birth of the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund is a tremendous story. It starts with Michael Lacey moving from Newark, NJ to Phoenix, Arizona. Lacey was supposed to be attending Arizona State University, which he was for a while. He dropped out when he discovered his true destiny.
The second half of Lacey’s story starts when Jim Larkin, another Arizona State dropout, joined him. In the early 70s, Lacey started Phoenix New Times, a local response to the ultra-conservative media that corrupted the minds of Arizona natives. Before long, Phoenix New Times was one of the most respected newspapers in the region.
While Lacey and Larkin’s careers continued to flourish, their battle with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio made them famous. These days, when reporters go against law enforcement, it gets a lot of attention. Back then, the enforcers had to be doing something truly horrible to get any attention from the nation.
Unfortunately, Lacey and Larkin were in Arizona going up against a conservative sheriff. No one in Arizona thought Joe Arpaio was a threat of any kind. In fact, most news stations and papers referred to Arpaio as just a man doing his job the best he could.
New Times recognized Sheriff Arpaio for what he really was. They spent the next few months reporting on all the horrible things that Arpaio did on a regular basis. The most obvious thing that should’ve made people suspicious was all the financial irregularities in his records.
They also noted his horrible management skills. Anything that Arpaio was in charge of overseeing had mismanagement all over it. He couldn’t even properly manage his own sheriff’s office. In some instances, it seemed like he completely abandoned his responsibility to manage local jails. Some of the inmates died due to his substandard health conditions.
After exposing him to the public without end, Sheriff Arpaio decided to stop Lacey and Larkin. He used fake subpoenas to have them arrested and jailed in two of the jails he managed. Nothing about their arrests was legitimate or legal.
Even after they arrived at the jails, they were subjected to abuse and harassment. Sheriff Arpaio wanted them to hand over any and all information they had on him and his operation. He also wanted them to surrender the names of their editors and readers.
Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: