Misrepresentation This Blatant Should Be A Crime

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We all get dozens, if not hundreds of “voter guides” mailed to us every election cycle.  Some are useful, some not, some honest and some are misleading, but I don’t know that I have ever seen one as blatantly dishonest as this one from Cops Voter Guide. It was originally brought to my attention by the Facebook page “Overturn Prop 47” when they shared a picture of the voter guide and mentioned that it was deceptive.  After doing some quick digging, I determined that deceptive is a huge understatement in my opinion.

Absolutely no one at Cops Voter Guide is a cop, or works with cops, or even with “public safety” as they stated.  The Cops Voter Guide website only lists the name of one person, Kelly Moran, the director.  According to Mr. Moran’s LinkedIn profile, he has never been a cop, and the closest he has come to “over 20 years of working with public safety” was during a three (3) year stint with Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) in the late 1990’s as a “Political Action Coordinator.”  He left there in 1997 and shortly thereafter opened his own political consulting firm, Moran & Associates, where he has worked ever since.  He has never worked in law enforcement or public safety, and as best as I can tell, his only work history consists of political consulting and marketing.

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Following the link on Moran’s LinkedIn profile to the business Cops Voter Guide reveals only one other employee, a woman named Holly Jones.  According to her LinkedIn profile, her primary employer is Barry Wyatt Associates, another political and marketing firm, where she is listed as Director of Operations.  She is also listed as the Marketing Director for Cops Voter Guide.  Her work history includes working for a property management company and as a marketing and political consultant, and she has a bachelor’s degree in journalism.  Absolutely nothing remotely law enforcement or public safety related.

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To the best of my knowledge, from what I was able to glean via the internet, those are the two people who make up Cops Voter Guide.  If you still have some lingering doubts about the legitimacy of Cops Voter Guide, please note their street address that is listed on their public website.  Next please note the address of Moran & Associates, as published on their public website.  Coincidentally, they are the same address, with only the suite number being different.

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So, just in case you still do not believe that these folks are not actually representing the views of cops, as the name of their organization very clearly wants you to believe, let us examine a few of the topics they are offering recommendations on, and we will see if actual members of law enforcement and public safety agree.  Since their website makes suggestions based on zip codes, I used the zip code for their office address as a sample (95630).  The following screen shot shows some of their recommendations for residents of that zip code.

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Prop 57 – The “California Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements Initiative”
Cops Voter Guide says you should vote yes on prop 57.

As a cop, I strongly disagree, and I am not alone.  Here is a partial list of the ACTUAL law enforcement organizations, district attorneys, police chiefs and sheriffs who oppose it (see attached photo). A complete list that includes other organizations opposed to Prop 57 can be found here.

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California’s 7th Congressional District
Cops Voter Guide recommends incumbent Ami Bera (D).  The Bera for Congress website lists no endorsements from law enforcement organizations, law enforcement officials or anyone remotely representing “public safety.”

Running against Bera is Sacramento County Sheriff, Scott Jones (R).  Jones has received endorsements from a very long list of actual law enforcement and public safety organizations, as well as many heads from various law enforcement and public safety agencies.

4th Supervisorial District – Sacramento
Cops Voter Guide recommends Sue Frost.  A check of Frost’s website lists endorsements from no police or sheriffs, no associations representing them or their employees, no district attorneys or DA organizations, but it does however show two probation organizations that are endorsing her.

Running against Frost, among several others, is Mike Kozlowski.  Kozlowski’s website lists endorsements from numerous sheriffs, police and sheriff’s associations and a district attorney.

Now, I realize that I am a jaded career cop, but it would seem odd to me that for an organization named Cops Voter Guide, they seem to be recommending many things that actual cops are completely opposed to.

One does not have to look back very far in history to find an era when it was not an easy feat to try and verify the legitimacy of organizations that sent out political fliers and voting guides.  For the average voter, it was a task that was next to impossible. Twenty years ago, it would involve multiple trips to libraries, phone calls and on-site visits to the actual entities, but folks, this is the information age.  Most of us have access to nearly infinite information all available at the tips of our fingers via our cell phones.  It took me all of three (3) minutes to figure out that Cops Voter Guide has absolutely nothing to do with cops, and not even to the much broader “public safety” umbrella that their name leads one to believe they represent.  As best as I can tell, Cops Voter Guide is nothing more than a political marketing company.

What I can say without a doubt is that some of their recommendations are most certainly not in agreement with actual cops and public safety organizations out there.  In fact, many of Cops Voter Guide’s recommendations are exactly the opposite of the group their name insinuates they represent.  I am not remotely trying to tell you how to vote, but what I am saying is be careful about where you get your information on which you base your votes.  Please, don’t be a lazy voter.  Your vote is important, make it an educated one.

My Wasted Vote

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I just spent the better part of an hour reading the voter guide on the few propositions I was not already educated on. I carefully blackened all the corresponding ovals on my absentee ballot, so that my selections would not accidentally be subject to a “calibration error” and be cast the opposite of how I voted, especially in the presidential race. I sealed the envelope, signed it, and as I laid the envelope on the outgoing mail pile, I resigned myself to having just completely wasted all that time and energy.
 
Who was I kidding? I have no doubt that this year, just like the last 4 elections that I can recall (possibly more), every proposition I voted on will go the exact opposite of how I voted, and other than some of my local political representatives, every other race will likely go to the other candidate.
 
Being a pro-gun, pro-law and order, anti-drug conservative living in California is seriously like living behind enemy lines. I feel like someone living in East Berlin during the cold war. I know what I want, I can see it just over the state line, but I am trapped here where my opinion counts for dick. My job is to protect the public, the same public who every single year votes for laws which not only make that job harder, but the public who also votes for laws, or politicians who push laws, that make it more difficult for that very same public to protect themselves.
 
I feel like the last sane Roman sitting on a hill watching Rome burn in the distance. I absolutely hate this feeling. 

Calling All Libertarians

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Calling all Libertarians.  I am a registered Republican, but I do not agree with everything that Republican leadership pushes.  I describe myself as a “Tea Party Republican with Libertarian leanings.”

As a conservative, you and I have much in common, at least according the principles laid out on the Libertarian Party’s website. We both want small government, believe in a free market, and strongly believe in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.  We agree on freedom of speech, on gun laws, on healthcare, and we are pretty close on immigration.  The biggest issue that we disagree on is our foreign policy.

As a Libertarian, at least in my best estimation, you and I share FAR more in common, that you do with the Democrats.  Please correct me if I am wrong.

Now, understanding those differences and similarities, one must then begin to examine some recent history, and the American electoral system.

There are a number of presidential elections that have occurred during my time in which the election was lost to the Democrats due to the Libertarian vote.  I do not mean that as an insult, but it is merely stating a fact.

The presidential election in 1992 was won by Bill Clinton who had 44.9 million votes.  Meanwhile, George Bush had 39.1 million and independent (essentially a Libertarian) Ross Perot received 19.7 million.  Had Perot not been in the running, it is can be easily argued that Clinton would have lost.

The election of 1996 had similar results, although much less clear cut as far as the final effect, thanks again to Ross Perot.  Since 1996, the Libertarian vote has had less of an impact on presidential elections than in those two years, but it still has had an effect.

With that in mind, I sincerely ask for your help.

In the primaries, please vote your heart; vote based on your principles.  Push for policies that you agree with, champion the causes you support.  In fact, you should do that all year long, as I’m sure you do, since by and large, Libertarians are far more involved and knowledgeable about what the government is doing that most Democrats or Republicans.  That said, when it comes to the actual election, please, Please, PLEASE vote for  the candidate who more closely shares your values, but also has an actual chance to win the election.  I am not saying which candidate that is, because only you know, but if history tells us anything based on empirical data, that winner is not remotely going to be the Libertarian candidate.  Sadly, it is just a matter of numbers.  Please realize that at this time, a vote for a Libertarian candidate is no different than 1) not voting at all or 2) a vote for the candidate that you dislike the most.

Please, vote with your head this election, not your heart.  There is a stark difference between the Democrat candidates in 2016 and the Republicans.  While the final nominees have yet to be chosen, the difference between flushing the country down the toilet and at minimum, treading water in the still full bowl, could not be more pronounced.