The Frontera Fund: About Lacey and Larkin

The history of the Frontera Fund starts with two media executives named Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. Lacey was one of the original members who co-wrote a paper about the ultra-conservative views of campus antiwar protests. When the paper gained some notoriety, he decided to create an entire newspaper company.

That’s when he teamed up with Jim Larkin. Together, they co-founded Phoenix New Times, which became one of the respected papers in Arizona. After putting some years under their belts, their company began expanding. They acquired 17 other like-minded papers, creating Village Voice Media, a multimillion-dollar media conglomerate.

It’s amazing to think how far Lacey and Larkin came since their college days. Their first newspaper was just a response to the ultra-conservative local media’s actions. It was never meant to become a symbol against hate and ignorance. Then again, maybe it was.

Who knows what was going through Michael Lacey’s head when he moved to Arizona to attend college? Maybe he wanted to do something big with his life the entire time. Maybe that’s why he teamed up with Jim Larkin. Who knows where those two would be if they hadn’t stood up to the ultra-conservative media.

Nearly one decade ago, Lacey and Larkin stood up to a local sheriff renowned for abusing his power. Most of the local media secretly agreed with Sheriff Arpaio’s behavior, so they didn’t report on him a lot. Phoenix New Times did not respect Arpaio enough to let his activities slide.

They reported on everything he did wrong. They pointed out his many financial irregularities. They had personally experienced his abuse of power when it came to destroying his critics. They revealed his patriarchal role in the anti-Mexican fear-mongering.

On countless occasions, Sheriff Arpaio systematically mistreated, profiled, and wrongfully detained Latinos.

Fighting against Arpaio earned Lacey and Larkin a night in jail, but not like people would hope.

They weren’t arrested for crossing any legal line. They pissed off a corrupt sheriff, and he went after them with everything he had. Their arrest didn’t even sound like an arrest.

On October 18, 2007, the “Selective Enforcement Unit” barged into Lacey and Larkin’s homes and dragged them outside. There were no official law enforcement vehicles, but there were SUVs with Mexican license plates and tinted windows.