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Neil Derry sending out a Smoke Screen

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Hardy L. Brown
All of us are familiar with ‘smoke screens’ or ‘diversion’ tactics we use when we want to remove the attention from something we’re doing or have done.  Last week Supervisor Neil Derry sent out a press release asking for an investigation into “allegation swirling around improper relationships with female subordinates and colleagues” by County District Attorney Mike Ramos.

It seems like Derry is trying to “divert” the DA’s attention even before he gets into his office. I believe the reason for this attempted diversion is because the DA has been pressing forward on a mission to root out corruption within the highest level of county government, and some of those levels include some of Mr.  Derry’s staff. Derry is taking his “smoke” from an article that was printed in a weekly tabloid and from the internet.  None of these rumors had evidence of coming from a credible source and if you are familiar with how some information is put on the internet, you won’t be surprised to learn that the information was posted anonymously.  I agree with County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gary Ovitt and Vice Chair Josie Gonzales who have stated in the past that the county “will conduct an independent investigation when there is credible evidence to suggest such an investigation is warranted.” In my opinion Derry has brought forward no credible evidence, simply allegations by unknown sources which he hopes will slow Ramos down.

One summer we were driving across country and in Oklahoma there was a grass fire on the side of the road. It was so bad we had to stop the car because it appeared the entire highway was on fire from the thickness of the smoke. After a little while the fire was extinguished and we were able to continue our journey. As we passed the burned area it was not as large as we thought based on the thickness of the smoke.

With the allegations thrown into the wind by Derry concerning Ramos, Derry’s thinking must be that if you allude to something sexual about an elected official everyone will stop and wonder what else he/she might be hiding.  Not this time Mr. Derry, the smoke is not thick enough for us to stop looking at you or your staff because the allegations about Ramos are without any evidence.


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