Ok. Don’t kill the messenger.
I want to state on the onset that I believe that Cory Rink is no doubt an admirable person for stepping up and wanting to lead his county. In fact, I salute Cory for his complete dedication to public service. He is currently the Chief of Police in Covington AND the Fire Chief of the volunteer fire department in Covington. All of this on top of farming. How does he find the time? Should he win, he will no doubt have to surrender those positions in Covington per Oklahoma law, however. At least the Chief of Police position. I also have no doubt that Cory has good intentions for our county. He wants to see it get better no doubt. We all share that goal.
However, he’s been in law enforcement for 8 years. Is that enough time to have learned everything he needs to learn to lead the County? Certainly if he was on the Enid Police Department, he could not have risen to the rank of Chief, Captain, or even Lieutenant. In 8 years, he would be hard pressed to make Sergeant. But it could probably be done.
When I go back over the “Q&A With Sheriff’s Candidates (click for article)” a couple of things stand out. First are the candidates answers to the question about an openly bigoted business (click for article about Gary’s Chicaro Club) sporting Rink’s campaign signs. I asked a few questions regarding that.
“4. Knowing that everyone can support whomever they want, how do you feel about an openly bigoted business supporting you? Did you supply them with campaign materials? And will you here and now condemn their business practices, which have been openly documented by local and Oklahoma City media?
“Yes everyone can support whomever that you would like to support. That is their first amendment right and is the job of the sheriff to protect their First Amendment rights. I don’t know all the facts about being racist and so on so forth. I don’t know if it’s true or not. But I do know that gentlemen went out on his own and bought some of the campaign material to pass out. It was not paid for by this campaign. Over 1000 Blue signs were bought and passed out by many people who are Cory S Rink supporters.”
The problem with his answer is that he didn’t answer all of the question directly. He did NOT condemn the practice. It HAS been openly documented. Further, they HAVE one of his blue Cory S. Rink signs at the business! You can see it in the picture above. He mentions that his blue signs were bought and passed out by people who were supporters. I would assume the campaign hands out the signs. You go to their Facebook page and request one and they get you one. Same for their website or whatever. You can claim a supporter took it to Gary’s and that’s fine. But either way, you have campaign signs (one of which WAS provided by your campaign) all over at the ole’ “Bigot Barn.” It doesn’t just look bad. In fact, it unfortunately looks as if you support him as much as he supports you, whether that’s the case or not. Perception is an ugly thing.
Contrast that with how Sheriff Niles answered his version of the question:
“Knowing that everyone can support whomever they want, how do you feel about an openly bigoted business supporting your opponent? And will you here and now condemn their business practices, which have been openly documented by local and Oklahoma City media? Do you ask your deputies not to frequent the establishment while on duty?
“I am a constitutional person and believe in the freedom of speech. That individual has a right to support whomever he desires. I cannot support nor have I ever supported that business, which has poor business practices, charging meals based upon appearance, attitude or the owner’s disposition. Based upon his attitude towards law enforcement, my staff has not conducted business there.”
He acknowledges the first amendment (as did Rink, by the way). He acknowledges the business practices of the Gary’s. And he answers the last question about going there. Quick and to the point.
Again, I want to state that I like Rink. He was classy in his response about Jerry Niles. I’m just not sure that he is quite ready for the office of Sheriff. I did like the fact that he offered me a junior deputy undersheriff role. I’ll take what I can get. If he wins, I’m going to hold him to that, although we have to work on the title. Junior just sounds odd me pushing 40 years old. And should he win, we really should all rally around him as the leader of our county law enforcement department. I’m sure that he would be able to implement some good things into the department.
But in the end, you want the guy with experience. You want the guy who knows how things work. You want Sheriff Jerry Niles. Niles is not perfect and he will be the first to tell you that. Our system is not perfect either. Niles needs to make some improvements at the detention center. But I trust that improvements can be made.