ELECTIONS, CONSEQUENCES, PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS AND THE DAILY COURIER
By Attorney Jack
November 17, 2014
Josephine County, Oregon —On the national level, the people chose to elect the high school valedictorian president and put him in charge of the free world. Rather predictably, he has made a complete hash of the job. However, there is one pearl of wisdom that we can credit to him. Upon election, he proudly proclaimed that elections have consequences. On that issue, he was profoundly correct. We see the gloomy prospects of that truism playing out before our eyes here in Josephine County.
Similar to the national experience, our local race for the office of Sheriff of Josephine County was determined by the efforts of the unholy alliance of the public sector employee unions and the media. The result does not portend well for the citizens of Josephine County.
The defeated incumbent Sheriff Gil Gilbertson stood as a bulwark against outside interference in the affairs of JoCo. He was a hero when it came to rejecting federal interference, jealously guarding our local jurisdiction against the endless federal encroachments. He stood as Horatio at the bridge, defending the principles of the Constitution and local self-determination. From the campaign, it isn’t clear that the darling of the unions and the media even has a clue that there is a threat.
For the unions and the media, this was all about control. In the budget crisis brought about by our out of control environmentalists, Sheriff Gil did not place the preservation of union jobs as his number one priority. And he thereby incurred their wrath. Their solution, as always with public sector service unions, is to increase taxes so that they and their members can remain comfortable. They are adamant. We need a tax levy to fund them and they are doggedly pursuing that objective. Thus we have their constant presence at the SOS meetings, pressing for yet another tax levy in May. This is perfectly understandable. Their interest is their perks and their comfort and they care not a fig for the needs of the public.
The public is simply expected to pay. Make no mistake about it, come May we will be confronted with yet another levy proposal.
The media action is another issue. It is, of course, a duty of the press to take a position on public issues. That is what the first amendment is all about. However, the freedom of the press, like the freedom of speech is subject to reasonable limitations. One is not allowed to arbitrarily shout “Fire” in a crowded theater. Likewise, there is potential for abuse in the freedom of the press. The smear piece offered as “news” in the not-so-Daily Courier just before the close of the election is an excellent example of the perversion possible.
At the ninth hour of the election returns, the Courier ran a news piece purporting to be a investigative report on the credentials of Sheriff Gilbertson. The conclusion they offered was that they had been unable to verify certain claims of experience and previous titles Gilbertson claimed. Of course, the obvious answer to that would deal with the Courier’s ability to successfully investigate anything. Of greater concern is the timing of the piece.
Gilbertson, and his experience claims, have been around for eight years. One has to wonder why, at this late date, the Courier suddenly had doubts about his bona fides? Also, in context, his opponent promised to use the same budget situation to provide 24-7 patrol services and place deputies at the schools. Did the Courier even inquire how he proposed to do that? The article was a political smear masquerading as news and a deliberate attempt to influence the results of the election. This is exactly the abuse of the media that is creating such controversy nationwide.
Again, it is an important first amendment function of the press to take a political position on issues of public concern. It is their duty to editorialize and offer their opinions. Ideally, this might include something of a balanced presented including both pros and cons but that is not required. The crucial requirement is that opining, balanced or otherwise, is for the editorial page. It is not an appropriate function to create false and misleading “news” to accomplish their political objective.
Unfortunately, in this case, the people in Josephine County are now stuck with a bureaucracy ruled by the same union that controls the City Police. The result will not be any upgraded level of service. The result will be upgraded and protected union perks and benefits, whether that requires a degradation of services or not. The unholy alliance of public sector unions and media, like the famous caisson, go marching along.
© 2014 Jack Swift - All Rights Reserved
Jack Swift is an retired attorney.
Actively involved in the Republican Party and local politics, Jack would
love to see honest Constitution following representatives in local Josephine
County government. Jack believes if we are to save America from the grip
of evil, people must get involved on the local level and expose wrongdoers
at every opportunity. He is putting that belief in practice.