Photo courtesy of Melissa Sharon
Luke Sharon is not your average 13-year-old.
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Luke this week. This young man knows more about Kootenai County politics than most adults. He is genuinely interested in our community. I hope you will encourage Luke in his effort to keep others informed. Please subscribe to his podcast and like his Facebook page.
From what Sara and I saw of Luke and his siblings, his parents are doing a lot of things right.
I’m truly honored to have the endorsement and support of Represenative Vito Barbieri. Vito and I go back over a decade when our children attended Cotillion together. I respect and appreciate him as a friend and legislator. Vito’s confidence in my ability to serve and protect the people of Kootenai County as Sheriff is greatly appreciated and gratifying.
I’m am humbled to have the endorsement and support of Representative Ron Mendive. Representative Mendive is recognized as one of Idaho’s most conservative legislators. Ron is a true Statesman, one whose concern lies with the next generation, not the next election. I am grateful for Representative Mendive and his confidence in my ability to serve and protect the people of Kootenai County.
Update on the CDA sign issue.
Please take a moment to watch the video below.
The City of Coeur d’Alene responded on Friday. Enforcement of the time limits for placement of political signs on private property is suspended pending further legal review and discussion with City Council.
The citizens of Coeur d’Alene should be proud of their mayor and city council. The response by the city is an example of how government should react to a petition for a redress of grievances.
One final note:
It has been suggested that I “should just follow the rules”.
Please ask yourself this: Do you want a sheriff that blindly follows the rules? Or, do you want to elect a man who, when he sees something wrong, questions it, makes a decision and takes action to change it.
There has been a lot of talk lately about defending our Constitutionally protected rights. A proactive Sheriff does more than talk.
Tonight I addressed the CDA City Council about portions of the city code that violate the first amendment rights of Coeur d’Alene residents.
This is the heart of the matter:
The City of Coeur d’Alene has a sign ordinance that places additional restrictions on political signs, such as limiting when they may be displayed. Restrictions on speech, based on sign content, are generally unconstitutional under Reed vs. Town of Gilbert (2015).
A few of my supporters have been ordered by CDA code enforcement officials to remove politicals signs from their private property.
I have consulted with counsel, and we do not feel the applicable city code will stand up to strict scrutiny under Reed v Gilbert.
I informed Mayor Widmyer and the City Council that I have thus far attempted to resolve this issue discreetly through the City Attorney. I also stated I would not merely ignore the ordinance as others have done; however, I can not stand by while the rights of citizens are violated. To that end, I am prepared to seek a declaratory judgment.
I was pleased with Mayor Widmyer’s responsiveness to this matter; he agreed to get back to me by Friday.
There is a building in the middle of the county that, by Idaho statute, must exist and must be staffed. Two groups of people come and go daily from within its windowless walls.
If you have lived here long enough, you may even know a member of the group released daily from the south end of the building, away from Dalton Gardens and the neighborhoods; this can beget great sadness.
There is another group of people who come and go daily. Both groups prefer you don’t know who they are. However, you need to know what the other group faces, day-to-day, willingly.
You and I don’t have to deal with these things at work.
I never took the time as a reserve deputy to learn more about the jail; I spent my time between the sally port and the booking cage.
Last Friday, I had the privilege of spending eight hours alongside B-team at the Kootenai County jail.
Out of respect for their privacy, I won’t go into great detail; here is a glimpse of what our Detention Deputies face.
Knowing that you will likely reach into a toilet today. Not being able to scratch your nose for fear of touching your face. Seeing a pregnant woman with needle marks on her arms. Maintaining your composure, and being so professional that you address the guy who just wanted to fight you, and had to be Tasered, by “Mr. _________”. Not having a decent bathroom where you can take off your body armor to spend 10 minutes in silence. Locking up one of your high school friends. Being a burden to others because there is simply no 24-hour daycare in the county. Knowing for sure an inmate, with whom you spend 12 hours a day, will recognize you and your family at dinner.
And finally, not wanting to share your day with your spouse because you don’t want them to know how difficult your job is.
The gravel ground of the small yard outside the breakroom is the only source of fresh air and sunshine our detention deputies have. At the center of its 18-foot walls sits a tree in a planter.
A young deputy, who moments earlier stood watch alone over a group of inmates, points out the dried seed pods on the tree. While feeling the seedpods of the leafless tree between his thumb and forefinger, he turns to me and says, “you know this tree is very pretty in the summertime”. Young enough to be my son, I see that he notices the slightest things that make his job more bearable. This is what they grasp onto.
At the end of the shift, they gave me a bracelet and said I was a member of their team. Whether or not I win this election, I am going to keep that bracelet.
Please take a moment and Google the phrase “County Jail staffing crisis” this problem is not unique to Kootenai County. We are doing it wrong nationwide because we keep doing the same thing, and we keep electing the same people.
I am going to be the Sheriff that figures this out and provides the solution.
My plan includes a smooth transistion
When a new president is sworn in, he has a transition team that has been working behind the scenes; they continue for some time to ensure that the transition is orderly. I have chosen to take that same route.
My team is already working diligently to establish an orderly process for this changeover.
Part of that plan includes the following:
I have asked current Undersheriff Dan Mattos, and he has agreed to stay on for one to three months to work alongside your new Undersheriff.
Although I am the one to establish policy and direction, Dan’s knowledge and experience with the department will be crucial to ensure an orderly transition.
I am grateful for his willingness to assist.
Photo courtesy of Lenco Armor
Change of course, well.. U-Turn
I should have done this post weeks ago.
I am not too proud or stubborn to admit when I am wrong. I am also a proponent of continued learning.
I’ve been contemplating the best way to articulate a change of opinion. During an election, I think the honest approach, when I receive new information that changes my belief, is to leave the original statement and explain why my opinion has changed.
I was approached by a deputy at the fair who was critical of my comment about possibly selling the Bearcat. I explained to the deputy that my concern with the equipment was that the initial expenditure might have been better spent elsewhere. He began to describe the usefulness of this vehicle and the number of times that it gets called out. I was previously unaware of the frequency with which this machine is used. He then told me something that completely changed my opinion. This is one of those things that you cannot accurately measure but is logical. He told me he has seen barricaded subjects surrender immediately when the Bearcat arrives.
We can not put a value on officer safety. One injury, one family devastated, or one child without a parent and that $320,000 is not even a consideration.
I’ve since spoken with a sergeant who provided me an actual example of where the Bearcat was used to extract two deputies from a dangerous situation. I am glad Sheriff Wolfinger acquired that machine, he faced considerable backlash from the community, including myself.
In closing, to that first deputy at the fair, you know who you are. I admire your determination, your logical arguments, and your willingness to confront me on this.
The Idaho department of corrections is planning to build a prison release facility here in Kootenai County.
A PRE-PAROLE PRISONER RELEASE CENTER IS BEING PROPOSED BY THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS FOR PLACEMENT IN KOOTENAI COUNTY.
The Idaho Department of Corrections has fallen strangely silent but still intends to place a Pre-Parole Prisoner Release Center in Kootenai County.
All indications are that the Department of Corrections still intends to spend 12.2 Million Dollars and place a 130 bed low security Pre-Parole Prisoner Release Center in our county. It is with this in mind, that the Mica Flats Grange has decided to present to the community at large a discussion of possible plans and the consequences. It is still unclear where in Kootenai County the Idaho Department of Corrections intends to build the facility.
If you are interested in more information, you are invited to come to an INFORMATIONAL MEETING at the MICA FLATS GRANGE HALL on WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 13 at 7:00 PM and listen to several informative speakers on the subject. Bring your family, friends, and neighbors.
The Mica Flats Grange is located at:
7465 W. Kidd Island Rd. https://www.google.com/maps/place/7465+W+Kidd+Island+Rd,+Coeur+d’Alene,+IDfirstname.lastname@example.org,-116.8728768,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x5361c544a0d506af:0x60d9673ce9f3caf9!8m2!3d47.621376!4d-116.870688
That is 7 miles south of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and just off US 95 at the intersection of US 95 and Kidd Island Road.
The hall will open at 6:30 PM for our 7:00 PM program.
I received an email that could be described as the rantings of an agitated individual.
Initially, I decided I wouldn’t reply because I understand that when someone makes up their mind, they are unlikely to change, even when presented with facts. However, just as I was going to hit delete, I noticed the “FW:”
Something Rick Whitehead needs to understand: I don’t make statements I can’t back up. When I joined this race, I told Richard Whitehead that if I ever had a problem with him, he would hear it directly from me. I don’t waste time with what’s going in his campaign.
Rick Whitehead, you need to read up on how the Internet and computers work. I suggest you start with RFC 5322. Here is the non-technical version: Email messages contain headers that are normally hidden. Among other things, these headers contain information about where an email message originated. In the above photo, the “references” field and the “in-reply-to” field show that there was a parent message. Rickwhitehead.com is the domain name associated with Richard Whitehead & Associates LLC.
Rick, if you’re going to write emails accusing others of dirty tactics and then ask people to forward them, you should instruct them to remove these headers.
Focus on your campaign and be less impetuous, that is not a desirable trait of a good sheriff.
As a side note, I hold no ill will against the sender of this email as many people have been knuckled under by Rick Whitehead’s high-pressure sales tactics. I have partially obscured the sender’s name; it appears they have also been directed to harass other candidates; this might afford them some insight.
Follow up: I replied to the person that sent the email and asked a few questions, the reply to my final question tells me all I need to know: