Candidly, the story is getting old. Yet again Tuesday night, a uniformed representative of the Sheriff's office has accosted one of the opponents of Issue 27, and verbally abused him.
Previously Sheriff Simon Leis, in uniform, has threatened petition leader Ed Rothenberg, and threatened to sue WeDemandABetterPlan.Com volunteer Jeff Capell. Several months ago, Sheriff Leis had an odd, tense and inappropriate confrontation with Commissioner Pat DeWine at an open Commission meeting on this topic.
Tuesday night, Sheriff Leis' Chief Deputy Sean Donovan approached WeDemandABetterPlan.Com Chairman Jason Gloyd after Tuesday night's Price Hill Civic Club debate, in uniform, and in a boisterous fashion called him a "Fucking Idiot."
Of course, all of this happens in the context of the legal challenges confronting the Sheriff's office for its illegal and unethical use of public monies to campaign in favor of Issue 27.
The tactics of our uniformed opponents make us wonder:
* Do they think this abusive behavior will win them votes or quell the opposition?
* Do they think we are intimidated by their tactics while in uniform as if we lived in some third world banana republic?
* Or, are they simply unable to control their emotions in a debate that is obviously important to them?
In any event, this latest confrontation again provides ample reason for campaigners to worry that the Sheriff's office has lost touch with a sense of perspective about this important debate facing our community, and his role in it.
First and foremost, Simon Leis is a public servant, and as such should be acceding to the will of the people about the super-sized tax increase on November's ballot. Second, perhaps the Sheriff should be letting civilians take the laboring oar in this campaign, instead of placing the Office of Sheriff itself so prominently in the forefront of the campaign. Third, the actions of the Sheriff's office reasonably give pause to sales tax opponents that perhaps they, or members of their families, would not be treated fairly or appropriately by the Sheriff's office were their any future encounters with law enforcement.
"Our Sheriff's office should be above reproach in their behavior, particularly when in uniform," said WeDemandABetterPlan.Com Chairman Jason Gloyd. "Otherwise, the concern becomes not just lack of confidence in Simon Leis, but in the integrity and objectivity of the Sheriff's office in executing its statutory duties of law enforcement. We will not be cowed in our campaign activities because of these threats and intimidation and we believe the voters will not be swayed by the Sheriff's overt bullying on this topic."