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Sheriff candidate should run on own merits


Having been in law enforcement in California for 26 years and after retirement moving by choice to Polson for the last 17 years, I recognize and appreciate the difference between the two. In our political arena I have seen leaders from both sides work to improve Montana life. Unfortunately, like nationally, I have seen this difference change and now it seems to serve the party first, Montana second.

Running for sheriff this year is a recent California transplant. I wish him no ill will but would like him to be more honest with us about what he reports. In recent letters to the editor he has submitted what I view as attempts to denounce the work of our current sheriff so he can improve his own election odds. I hope it is just his using the new political norm, distort and demean and not his lack of understanding of our local problems.

Out of the 80 or so pages in the report from the National Institute of Corrections, requested by Sheriff Bell to clarify and address deficiency areas, the California newbie hand picked sections implying the blame lays with our current sheriff ’s performance. If you read the document, which is unlikely, pay particular attention to the mid-30s pages. They praise the work Sheriff Bell is doing with the resources at hand.

The leadership fault mentioned in the document refers to 20 years of failed action by the legislature and County Commissioners to fulfill their promises to the legislature or to follow Judge Mc- Neil’s orders related to the jail. I see an example of the waste of resources for political reasons in our recent costly election method that Greg Hertz championed. He also opposed an increased tax on cigarettes; an unhealthy item his stores sell. Leadership does not come from a position but from character.

So my suggestion to those running for office would be to not create fake news, name call or lay blame where it is not due. Try running on your own merits and maybe include specific creative solution ideas.

Rich Bell (no relation)


Lo 19°

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