Jack Landon recently got The Press to publish his letter to the editor. We know for a fact that The Press is sitting on letters that are the complete opposite of Jack's, so kudos to him for winning the editorial lottery.
Reading Mr. Landon's letter, most of which is untruthful speculation, we thought we'd start with one of his only assertions with which we agree. He states, "...is embarrassing to many of us old-time Republicans." Yes, Mr. Landon is an old-time Republican. You know, the party of George HW Bush, the ultimate gentleman. The party of Paul Ryan, who single-handedly helped torpedo any change that President Trump could have made in the first half of his term. The party of Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Liz Cheney. Those Republicans, the ones that always cave to the Liberals because it is "the polite thing to do." The spineless wonders, the portion of the Republican Party that sold out your freedoms, raised your taxes, promoted endless wars, and grew government into the unmanageable and ever encroaching Leviathan it is today. Mr. Landon did his fair share of this when he was in the state legislature.
But let's address Mr. Landon's other more disingenuous assertions. He said he attended the party meeting on July 29th where we addressed the rules for the election at the special meeting to select commissioner candidates. Apparently he either did not pay attention or conveniently forgot that we asked people to submit questions to ask the candidates. We did not receive any from Mr. Landon. We also discussed the reality that there were nine candidates and each were given time to introduce themselves and tell the group why they should be a commissioner. All were then asked the same questions and given time to make a summary speech. With nine candidates, that takes a lot of time. Ninety minutes to be exact. The questions were limited to three pre-selected ones in the interest of time. Of course Mr. Landon admits to not attending the special selection meeting, so he wasn't there to either hear the questions or the commentary from each candidate.
Let's talk about the questions. Mr. Landon states that "Those questions, one I was told was more of a statement, came solely from Party leadership." That is a lie. 100% untruth. All questions were submitted by precinct people and members of the community. None came from party leadership.
Yes, it would have been wonderful to open the floor to questions from the attendees, but there are several problems with that. The first is that the candidates, who were interviewed individually, would not all have had to answer the same questions. The second is the time problem. I suppose if one is old and retired they have six hours available to spend at a meeting, but most of the precinct committee people have jobs, animals, and children they need to attend to.
Mr. Landon then goes on to chastise the voting method. In the world of blue-dots, they love plurality voting. We don't need no stinking majority! The grassroots beg to differ. Three candidates had to be selected and it was determined that only candidates who got a majority would move forward. You may not like all three candidates, but three are required by state statute to be selected. The voting method was intended to elect candidates by a majority. Hence, on the first ballot, the voter was required to select three candidates. On the first ballot, Holly Jennings and Michael Arzy received more than 50% of the votes. The other seven candidates received under 50%. On the second ballot, where the voter was required to vote for only one candidate (the remaining slot), no candidate received a majority. On the third ballot, Bryan Helferich received a majority and the remaining candidates received less than 50%. Mr. Landon complains because he didn't like the candidates who received majority support. Blue-dots can only get elected when plurality is involved.
In the 2022 primary, there were 10,997 Republican voters. Christi Haswell, current chair of the BOCC, received 4,199 votes, or 38%. She might, if she was honest, say that she was rejected by a majority of the voters (62%). Yet this is the system Mr. Landon favors, one where candidates not supported by a majority of the voters are elected. The grassroots don't think that is fair. We believe only candidates favored by a majority of voters deserve office.
Mr. Landon also insinuates that this was a "rigged election." There were 91 voters at the special meeting. Votes were counted by a team of four who were not part of the voting body, hence impartial. It took three secret ballots to determine the final candidates. By the way, those were paper ballots that were hand counted. How is that a rigged election?
Here's something else. The BOCC doesn't get to choose its members, the voters do. This is how a representative republic works. Interestingly, vacancies on a BOCC are the only ones in state statute where the "coworkers" get a choice. All others are chosen by the boss, the person or body that the vacancy reports to. Yet in all cases, the people's representatives select a slate of candidates from which to choose. The Establishment Old Guard doesn't think the people should have a say because they may not select someone "polished" or "acceptable" as a member of their elite club. So they, as in this case, ignore state statute.
We find it interesting that someone who did not even attend the special meeting to select commissioner candidates finds so much to criticize. He must have found the candidates chosen by a majority not to his personal liking. Furthermore, he supports the BOCC in violating state statute. Breaking the law must be okay when your friends do it. Breaking the law, in Mr. Landon's words, shows "good judgment." We are happy for him that violating state statute, not only in the commissioner selection but in refusing to return statutory duties to our County Clerk, earns his "trust." Rules for me and my friends but not for thee, eh?
Mr. Landon's final editorial sentence proclaims, "It is an exercise in silliness that needs to stop." We agree. It is silly to claim that elected officials who violate state statute show good judgement and should be trusted. It is silly to criticize candidates who receive majority votes while supporting candidates who receive less than a majority. It is silly to fabricate accusations out of thin air. It is so silly, it should be funny, but it's not.
The silliness that needs to stop is not the electorate holding the government to account, but rather the government officials choosing to flout the law, and assuming powers they do not have. And the final silliness is we the people putting up with rogue government as “normal.”
If you are fed up and want this to stop, please consider donating to our Government Accountability Legal Action Fund. Click here.