The press tends to only cover the ‘big story’ but there are many other political battles being waged. Few of them get any coverage, yet they all deserve it.

The battles are often fought in small areas. The term ‘small’ is a misnomer, if you live in the ‘small’ area, you probably don’t view the issue as small. Sometimes the issues cross party lines, it matters nothing about being attached to the label Republican or Democrat, it is just about doing the right thing.

As the saying goes “I have no dog in the fight”, but I am watching one battle with some interest. Up for grabs is the position of Sheriff of Leon County in Florida. For those of you not familiar, it is named after the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León. The 2010 Census claims the population was 275,487. The county seat of Leon County is Tallahassee which also serves as the state capital. This makes Tallahassee a pretty important place!

The battle being waged is for the position of Sheriff. A position that incumbent Larry Campbell has held for almost 15 years (this time, he was also the ‘Man’ back in the 80’s).  Boy, he looks in great shape!

But I am not so sure that the picture is recent. I was born in 1955, he was born in 1942, I guess he just aged better than me?

Larry The Police Guy is 74 years old. And from the audio bits I have been able to hear, it is high time that he took (his likely large) retirement and went fishing. Of course audio files can be messed with, but you need to be a true master of the art to change it in a way that will not get caught.

His challenger is Lisa Sprague, I have no idea how old she is, but I am pretty certain that she is not qualifying for a pension anytime soon.

The battle being waged in Leon County is a curious one. Can the guy that has been in power for many years get dumped?

In the Obama v Romney battle there is a great deal of negativity. In this battle for Tallahassee I see something similar, if one sided. Lisa seems to be playing a fair game, Larry the cable guy Campbell may well be playing a different game. I have heard some audio that bothers me a great deal.

I decided to ask Lisa Sprague a couple of pointed questions. I have not edited the questions nor the answers:

Q: Do you feel that Larry Cambell is playing fair, or is he demeaning the worth of women?

It’s even bigger than just demeaning to me or women –Any use of racial or sexist epithets by police officers( or  the Sheriff of a county) have no place in  Law Enforcement . When used it gives the community a sense of unfair policing. When the Sheriff uses his disparaging comments to me it shows that he is biased , has no respect for women (which is 50 % plus of the population here). This further breaks down the trust that the community should have with the citizens it serves and leads to poor community relations. This can make women feel degraded, isolated, powerless and suspicious. Professional officers such as the Sheriff should take this kind of talk out of their vocabulary , set the example for the community and the officers that he or she leads.

Q: Getting rid of incumbents is always difficult, voters tend to go with the devil they know. What kind of ground roots support are you getting on this quest?

There is much support in the community for change. The incumbent has been in office since 1980. Since then we have been named the 8th most dangerous city in the United States by Forbes Magazine, highest crime rate in the state and the third highest in traffic accidents and fatalities.  His experience has sure given us a lot.
Who can win this battle? Only the voter.

Simon Barrett

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