Letters to the Editor

Madera attorney’s advice: Look who’s behind sheriff’s association endorsement in DA race

Madera County district attorney candidates Sally Moreno, left, and Paul Hornick. Voters will choose between them in November.
Madera County district attorney candidates Sally Moreno, left, and Paul Hornick. Voters will choose between them in November. Sierra Star archive

Check who’s behind endorsements

When is an association endorsement not an endorsement of the association? In the present race for Madera County district attorney, Paul Hornick and Sally Moreno have garnered various law enforcement endorsements. Paul is endorsed by the Madera Police Officers’ Association, the Madera County Correctional Officers’ Association, the Chowchilla City Police Officers’ Association and the Madera County Prosecutors’ Association which is comprised of the deputy district attorneys who have worked with both Paul and Sally. It is reported that Sally is endorsed by the Madera County Sheriff’s Association.

Up front let me disclose that I know each of the candidates and after reviewing their credentials and history I will be voting for Paul Hornick. This is not to say that I am opposed to Sally Moreno but rather in making a choice as to who receives my vote, I as well as most of the attorneys based in Madera County, whether working for the government or in private practice, are supporting Paul Hornick.

Paul Hornick’s law enforcement endorsements came from a vote of the particular association’s members where all of the candidates were represented. Sally Moreno’s endorsement by the Madera County Sheriff’s Association came before Paul Hornick was a candidate for the office and more importantly the endorsement was not voted on by the members of the association. The Madera County Sheriff’s Association endorsement was decided solely by the association’s board of directors. No vote ever went to the association’s members. However, how the members of the association would have voted is not the issue. The issue is giving the impression to the voting public that the men and women comprising the Madera County Sheriff’s Association have voted among themselves and decided who the association would endorse for the new district attorney for Madera County. While the association’s bylaws may permit the endorsement to be decided by five or fewer board members rather than by a vote of the 70 or more deputy sheriff officers, a full disclosure of such should accompany any such important endorsement. The endorsement should honestly inform the public that it is unknown who the full association supports and rather that the board of the association is supporting a particular person.

Thus, the answer to “when is an association endorsement not an endorsement of the association?” is when the endorsement is not actually decided by the men and women of the association but only by the board without input from the ranks.

Steve Geringer, Madera

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