Washington state Rules of Judicial Conduct, Canon 7, states that judges shall refrain from political activity inappropriate to their judicial office. Section (A)(1)(B) states that judges shall not make speeches for a nonjudicial candidate or publicly endorse a nonjudicial candidate for public office. This local, prevalent "above-the-law" attitude, so outwardly expressed in Judge Jerry Votendahl's recent letter to the editor, is exactly why we need to elect John Turner as sheriff of Walla Walla County.
Every elected sheriff of our state and our country does not always "come up through the ranks" of the agency in which they work. Many are from larger, more advanced agencies. They bring fresh perspectives, new ideas and up-to-date training and procedures. As retired sheriff of Walla Walla County, I can tell you that this is not only desirable, but exactly what we need.
Votendahl's letter states that the great majority of deputies and police are supporting Bill White. While many are, many are not. For example, sheriff's Capt. Jim Romine with 34 years of service, Sgt. Barry Blackman with 27 years of service along with many other deputies and reserve deputies are endorsing Turner. John is also endorsed by many Walla Walla and College Place police officers as well as Washington State Penitentiary officers and employees. Because of the need in today's fast-moving gang-and-drug-activity world it is necessary to have a personal relationship with other law enforcement agencies, to exchange information. John has this contact throughout Washington state and nationally. He has been endorsed by the Benton, Yakima and Whatcom county sheriffs along with many other police chiefs and sheriffs.
As a judge, Votendahl should know that anything is debatable. So what?
Turner did win over 54 percent of the primary vote. The third candidate, Romine, who has been there 34 years and had 14 percent of the vote, now endorses Turner.
Votendahl wrote, "Walla Walla which has always been ... one which awards its own?" John Turner is an American, a local citizen and a fourth-generation farm owner here, but what does that have to do with qualifications and who is best to lead us forward?
John Turner is the only candidate with a college education, world-class experiences to draw upon and the much needed qualifications for the office of sheriff.
I know Bill White, I hired him. But I do not feel he is qualified or has the vision to lead our sheriff's department with the ever-changing demands on our law enforcement agencies and that is why I am voting John Turner for sheriff.
Ronald E. Kespohl