UPDATE NOVEMBER 29, 2017. MR. O’RILEY IS ACCUSED OF DOMESTIC ASSAULT SO WE’RE REVOKING ANY GOOD THINGS WE’VE EVER SAID ABOUT HIM.
YES THURSDAY. SEPTEMBER 8
So we’re on a bit of a hiatus as we try and get our respective lives in order here at your beloved Clam. But civic duty calls and when the eleventy-fifth person asked us, “Who in the name of blessed Varda Elentári in her Great Hall of Ilmarin should I vote for to become Essex County Sheriff?” (and the denizens of the Clamiverse do talk like this, by the way) we decided it was our responsibility to find out who the best candidate is.
This turns out to have been a huge fucking mistake. There are more people running for Essex County Sheriff than can fit comfortably in a CATA bus. The big, new one. And the whole race is a total shitshow. Trust us, dear readers, you don’t want to dive into this mess without a gallon of absinthe and that tin full of flaky remainders of those hallucinogenic toadskins the weird old Najavo dude sold us on that aborted trip to the proto Burning Man festival in 1991.
Here is just a sample of what we found:
- One of the candidates running as a Democrat does not seem to have been a Democrat since before May.
- One of the candidates will draw a pension from another government job while doing this government job, which we guess is cool since he earned it, but wow.
- Some of the candidates are already managers of the corrections system and some are taking thousand-dollar-plus donations from their employees, which is also wow.
- One of the candidates when asked about re-creating a similar effort to Gloucester’s Angel program in Lynn said something on the order of “addicts in Lynn don’t want to get clean,” and now his defenders say he was taken out of context which I can only believe if the statement before was, “A totally dipshit thing to say would be…”
- One of them is apparently driving around in a truck with NH plates, as one does here in MA.
- A bunch of the candidates want to privatize the corrections health care system, which is a mistake we’ll talk about in a second.
- And other stuff. Lots and lots of other stuff.
- Feel free to wade into this shallow pool of derp yourself and figure out who the best one is. Or do what I’m doing and vote for Ed O’Reilly on Thursday.
YES, ON THURSDAY
Did you know there was a primary on Thursday? There is. So go to your voting place and vote.
Ok, so Ed. I’ve seen him around the scene for a couple of decades now. First of all, he’s not an employee of the corrections system. He comes at this job from the other direction, from the people the system is set-up to serve.
Yes, serve. The corrections system is a service. It serves us, the public by carrying out the sentences handed out by juries and judges and it serves the people in the corrections system by offering them a safe and hopefully rehabilitory experience.
“Screw them, they committed crimes,” you might think. But you would be oh-so-wrong. Regardless of how you feel about what makes people commit crimes (and if the Gloucester Police Notes are any guide, the answer is: Being within 500′ of the Maplewood 7/11) folks caught up in the corrections system are not going away. Most of them are only going to be in jail for a short while, the average sentence is about 3.5 years. So if they go in and don’t get some kind of treatment, skills training, education, or something to prepare them for a normal life outside the walls, then they are going to be back in our towns and neighborhoods causing problems and costing the system more. So you’d better hope the system serves them and well.
Which brings us to the privatization issue. Private companies want to save money. The way they do this is by minimizing expenses. These companies make more profit if the people in their care for a few years don’t get diagnosed and treated for chronic issues. And then these folks get back outside where the public and private systems have to deal with them at much higher cost. Good call in opposing this Ed, because it’s dumbass.
As I said, Ed has been around for a bunch of years. I see him at all the right things, public service events, education events and so on. His angle at the Sheriff gig is coming from the right direction, and as we’ve learned with the Angel program- focusing on the people with the problem rather than the massive public edifice we’ve built to contain it and only ever winds up perpetuating it, is the right approach in my book.
But my last reason to vote for him is the most Clamtastic. I was cranking down a portion of my daily hogshead of coffee at Pleasant Street one day when Ed walked in. Being an obnoxious wag, I said, “Ed, if you’re running for sheriff, you should dress like one. You know, hat, chaps, the whole deal.”
He brushed by me toward the people he was meeting and without missing a beat and said, “I save that for the bedroom.”
Huzzah, good sir. You have my vote. UPDATE: AS OF NOVEMBER 29, 2017 NO HE DOES BLOODY NOT