From a barrage of e-mails coming into Liberty Dispatch, we can tell you both sides want to weigh in on the whereabouts of Sheriff Henry Patterson during his first three years in office.
His supporters, including what appears to be his son-in-law Chris Minx, are adamant as they try to assure the public that Henry Patterson is easy for any voters to find. Patterson’s supporters reject the notion that he is an absentee sheriff just because his spokesman, Rex Evans (and his former spokesman Steve Green), handle as close to 100% of communications with the public as any public official most have ever known.
They infer Patterson is handling the law enforcement while he has hired people to deal with the communications part of the sheriff’s department.
Those voters who would like to see Liberty County elect a new sheriff see it differently. They say it is fine for Patterson to have a spokesman, but that he has hidden from the public far too long by always sending his supporters or spokesmen out to explain his actions. They may have a point. Patterson could not be any less impressive than some of his key re-election/campaign people. One of Patterson supporters that acts like he has the most at stake in his re-election, Eddie Shauberger, bragged to LD a couple of weeks ago that the two recent drug busts all but insured four more years for Patterson. Shauberger was beside himself when the news that hunters had stumbled across a large marijuana field just a few weeks before time for people to sign up to run for office. But in the same conversation Shauberger was asked about the poor planning and incompetence that must have gone on for Patterson to have not arrested any of the growers. Shauberger replied, “Who says this was Henry’s bust?”
Patterson’s supporters ridicule anyone saying that Patterson is not very visible. We have not heard them defend the sheriff by pointing to various crime scenes where Patterson has recently been on hand, rather we always hear “the breakfast defense”. His supporters, one of which seems to be a very angry son-in-law, point to various places in Cleveland that Patterson eats breakfasts with a handful of his friends. They argue that he is available every morning to voters or reporters or anyone that has a question about anything the sheriff’s actions. They would tell our readers and the taxpayers of this county that any complaint they have about the sheriff’s communication with the public is ridiculous – ridiculous because he eats breakfast every morning… in public in Cleveland…
When the public wants to know what kind of money is coming into the sheriff’s department because of seizures, they don’t want to go to the Hot Biscuit in Cleveland and interrupt the sheriff’s visit with The Outsiders. When taxpayers want to hear an accounting of how that money has been spent, they don’t want to go to the breakfast buffet at The Plantation in Cleveland and ask their questions in front of a son-in-law with anger issues – a son-in-law that very well could be the recipient of some of that money. Taxpayers want a public accounting on a regular basis of large sums of money coming through politician’s hands. They don’t want to be dismissed by saying, “Meet me at I-HOP if you want to know.” They don’t want a short stack of pancakes with their answer. And Liberty Dispatch doesn’t want just a number from Patterson or any other public official handling this kind of off budget money. We want to follow the money – what came in, how the money was used, and then later, show me the paper trail.
Liberty Dispatch finds it ironic that The Outsiders are threatening to “make public personal ‘revelations’ “ about potential opponents and people supporting Bobby Rader for sheriff because we are asking the same questions of Henry Patterson that have been asked of other public officials. It might make people wonder -are they receiving any of this money? We are amazed at the change in perspective of Chris Minx, Robert Valdez and Eddie Shauberger- disappointed that they think ranting on the phone or demeaning comments on the computer about us would cause us to “get out of this race or support Henry.”
Chris Minx says he wants to “educate” us. If he is, I hope it is not more kooky stuff.