A couple of months ago I attended in San Bernardino what I thought was to be a debate among our three candidates for the San Bernardino County Sheriff. I was hoping to get some insight into this very important position. I was very let down. The candidates are incumbent John McMahon, Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputy Paul Schrader, and a past sheriff deputy Clifton Harris. McMahon was handpicked by past Sheriff Rod Hoops who resigned the position the day after the last elections to take a cushy job in Washington DC arranged under a cloud of suspicion by one of the winners in that election. McMahon’s selection was completed by the County Board of Supervisors who promised all the candidates that they would be interviewed for the position, but those interviews never happened. Paul Schrader whom is a San Bernardino Co resident has worked with the L.A. Sheriff Department for about 30 years and was the second highest vote getter when he ran against Rod Hoops. McMahon did not want the job and did not run at that time. Clifton Harris is a nice man and business owner, yet seemed to be way out of his league and terrified in front of an audience.
The “debate” turned out to be nothing more than a cheer leading practice for the public San Bernarndino Co Sheriffs Union. I was expecting tough questions to be asked of the candidates such as why a deputy sheriff was recently awarded $885,000.00 of tax payer money when he was wrongfully terminated while serving under John McMahon’s watch. McMahon denied any knowledge of the conspiracy to terminate the deputy, but after 4500 emails materialized that implicated McMahon in the conspiracy, even McMahon could not deny those. So our county accepted a settlement that let McMahon keep his job and put the taxpayers out almost $1 million. There are currently other lawsuits going on and to date over $20 million has been paid out. But no questions about these lawsuits were asked. Instead, questions like “Do you think the Sheriff should like the union?” and “Do you think the department is underfunded?” were asked. I later found out all questions were written by the Sheriffs Union! It mattered not what McMahon said, his “McMahonette” cheer leaders from the union would “hoot, hoot, hoot” his every answer much like a very young cheer leading squad would.
Most troubling was the recollection of my brother being crushed to death at work in Orange Co back in 1982. When nothing was done about the wrongful death of my brother, my remaining family approached the Orange County Employees Association and asked for their help. We were told that they did not want to “rock the boat” and destroy the great relationship between the union and the management! My advice to you cheer leading deputies, the next termination could be you, the next death could be you, will your union not want to “rock the boat” and turn its back on you too as they did the terminated deputy or as the OCEA did on my brother? Will the good ol’ boy politics continue to run our corrupt Sheriff Department for another four decades? For me, my vote will go to Paul Schrader. Schrader is not for sale.
Nick Benson Sr
Barstow – 760.447.4004
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