Do I Look That Naive?

I’m wondering what the hell is going on over at NBC. Are they kidding? Skating over issues again and again in their reporting, minimizing important stories and now this? Who exactly did she get to go over there after Tony did that interview that embarrassed the sheriff so badly where she was caught lying as well as was shown to have failed to do a proper investigation? It seems the investigative unit has disappeared and they’ve been soft shoeing stories ever since.

So, as you say, the sheriff arrested 3 deputies and removed 2 others. Is that supposed to pass as some kind of vindication for the fact that perhaps with better policy and staffing procedures no one may have died? Of course she’s going to do the most public thing she can to keep anyone from looking deeper into other causes of Michael Tyree’s death — her negligence and absence. How about mentioning she has still failed to take any responsibility for the failures in administration that could have prevented both deaths? How about the fact she has failed to yet share the cause and manner of death for Mr. Walter Roches? Why has she still not provided with ABC with a requested interview or shared her policy and training plan for the FN 303?

Another interesting development is that she has spun a complete public 180 from forcing her Undersheriff to retired in December. Yes, people on the 4th floor have told us he did not want to retire but the sheriff wanted to make room at the top for her political favorites to promote.  Now instead he’s being put in the line of fire,the face of Corrections so she can step back on the hard questions — like making him speak to the policy and training of the FN 303 when he wasn’t even in charge of policy or training.  NBC knew about this, one of their reporters tweeted about it several days ago.

How about the fact that people are verifying that everything she says and does is going through her taxpayer funded spin doctors?

And David Cortese, please don’t treat me like I have an IQ of 12. It’s important that the sheriff sit on the committee so she can be held responsible and answer questions? No. Sitting on the committee gives her power to manipulate how things happen on the committee. By your own admittance she has some hard questions to answer and may need to be held responsible. Empowering her with a committee appointment screams the exact opposite. Actions speak louder than words, Mr. Cortese and your actions do not align with your words.

If she has to answer questions, if she needs to be held accountable make her an attendee, not an appointee.

It’s gotten so ridiculous that our elected officials are hiding from this story. They have a media outlet trying to minimize the conflict of interest posed by appointees. They’re ignoring the fact that this committee is not composed of a single person who is an expert in jails administration despite the fact that is exactly what is needed the most.

Cortese, Cindy Chavez and Laurie Smith are going to try to tie this solely to current events around the nation. They’re going to make this strictly about mental health and “oh look at us, we’re the first in the nation.” And they may manage to successfully spin that line. The problem is the first failures were failures to meet a minimum expected standard in jail administration, not necessarily in mental health care. Teams lacking experience, no supervision on a high risk floor, failure to properly train a deputy on use of equipment, a lieutenant who approved use of equipment he didn’t know policy and practice on himself. You can add all the icing to a cake you want, but if you refuse to bake the cake, the frosting is all but useless. I don’t mean to minimize the needs of better mental health practices, reducing and eliminating bias, improving upon the human side of the jails by calling those needs “icing”. They are an important part of today’s jails. I’m trying to say that without rebuilding what the sheriff has torn down — without baking the cake — it’s just a matter of time before something else happens because the lack of structure for all that frosting.

Boiled down to basics — without addressing the basic minimum standards needed to sustain a successful jail process by professionals who are independent of this office and this county, anything else is nothing more than a band-aid. A temporary solution that is just delaying the next failure by an opportunistic group of politicians who want to be known as the “first to fix” these things [assuming they mean mental health care issues] as a publicity stunt to avoid the acknowledgement they broke the engine upon which “these things” ride, in order to be successful in and of themselves.

Without ensuring the basics, the things the sheriff has failed in her responsibility to ensure, nothing else is assured.

The sheriff needs to be removed and at least one, if not more of the appointees need to be independent of the political gamesmanship of this county; experts in improving jails from the ground up need to be appointed.

Stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes using your expensive, taxpayer funded lobbyists to tell the story backwards. I’m almost becoming embarrassed for our elected officials at how blatant this bid to turn this disaster into a political success for them has become. Stop trying to play us for fools and do your jobs the way they should be done.

Again, please sign our petition to remove Sheriff Smith from this commission. Do not believe the ludicrous and illogical statement she has to be on the commission in order to respond to her actions and be held accountable.  Do not allow them to insult our intelligence like that.

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