Questions Sheriff's performance

As summer winds down and fall approaches, the onset of election season has begun. Locally, we have only a few contested races.

 The highest profile and arguably the most important local race this year is for San Juan County Sheriff.

The incumbent Sheriff has demonstrated a notable absence, lack of enthusiasm, and behaviors and actions (or lack thereof) that contributed to a severe decline in department morale. This, combined with numerous community incidents, has lead to an ever increasing public dissatisfaction and distrust of the Sheriff.

Taking a look at how this came to pass, rewind to election year 2010. SJC saw the retirement of long time incumbent Cummings, rendering the candidate field wide open. We were given a great opportunity to select a candidate with a 5 person primary followed by the 2 person general election.

A review of the campaign finance disclosure records (filter by year 2010; San Juan Co) raises some very interesting questions.

Candidates running for county offices have reporting requirements based on anticipated campaign contributions. If you "do not expect to receive" contributions totaling more than $5,000 then you only file 2 forms within 2 weeks of candidacy.

Reporting is only required if you exceed the $5k limit, or receive a $1k contribution just prior to the elections.

Looking at the 2010 election, we see Incumbent Nou chose "mini-reporting", expecting less than $5k in contributions. While this is admirable, running a campaign (or anything) on such a nice tight budget, we see that his opponents all chose to "fully report", expecting $5k or more in contributions and required to report all contributions on a prescribed schedule.

Nou's opponents raised a combined $19,899.19, including $8,108 by his eventual general election opponent, Johnson.

What is remarkable is that Nou was able to achieve a 65-35 margin of victory after an exhaustive primary, while being outspent $8,108 to his "less than $5,000".

Remarkable. Stunning really. I would ask that Mr. Nou voluntarily disclose his contribution records from 2010 to satisfy curiosity.

Flash forward to 2014. Nou, this time around, has opted for "full reporting", shown in his C1 filing document with the PDC. Reporting is required to be done on a regular, prescribed basis, detailed at the PDC website.

To date, Nou has not filed a single report. While this could possibly be explained away by receiving absolutely zero dollars in donations, it simply doesn't fit with reality.

The C3 contribution declaration form includes a line for "Candidate's personal funds deposited in the bank". How did candidate Nou pay for the booth at the SJC Fair and advertising materials with no reported contributions, as required by campaign finance law?

Whether this behavior is a result of laziness or just apathy, the end result and take away are the same. Behavior like this is found in numerous examples during Nou's administration and he is not serving in the best interest of our community. Do we really need someone charged with enforcing our laws who ignores campaign finance laws?


Harold Wilson

San Juan Island

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