March 27th – Virginia City Highlands
Tonight the Storey County Republican Committee met to discuss a resolution concerning the Recall of Sheriff Antinoro. In attendance were officers and members of the Storey County Republican Party Committee and dozens of guests including Sheriff Antinoro and Laura DeSimone (the future Mrs. Antinoro), former Commissioners Bill Sjovangen and Greg “Bum” Hess, current Commissioner Lance Gilman and Kris Thompson, president of the Committee to Recall Gerald Antinoro.
The Resolution reads:
“Whereas the Bylaws of the Storey County Republican Central Committee state that the purpose of the Party is to “promote sound, honest, and progressive government;”
Whereas sound government is achieved through the separation of powers, with checks and balances between offices;
Whereas honest government is achieved through the election of individuals by the people, because the elected office holder is then accountable to, and therefore respectful of, the people;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Storey County Republican Central Committee opposes the recall of the Sheriff as constituted because it compromises the principles of sound, honest, and progressive government by:
Not honoring the right of voters to directly choose the person to fill the Office of Sheriff;
Eliminating the Sheriff’s direct accountability to, and consequent respect for, the people by forcing a County Board of Commissioners’ appointment;
Be it further resolved that the Storey County Republican Central Committee shall communicate and distribute this resolution as appropriate.”
Before the resolution was opened up for comment and subsequent vote, several questions were raised about the process of selecting a replacement Sheriff.
The first question was asking if a replacement had already been selected. Committee Chair Jim Hindle directed the question to Commissioner Gilman.
“Following the election, if there is a replacement, there will be someone named for about four weeks to continue the operation the office. Then there will be a selection committee formed that will be of the public. Everyone who is interested (in being selected Sheriff) will submit an application within all of the county. That committee will perform a selection process and the final appointment will be done by the Commissioners. The county manager and the District Attorney are formulating the process that will be handling the process. It will be an ongoing process and a community process.”, explained Commissioner Gilman
Additional questions asked if all of the Commissioners signed the Recall Petition (Jim Hindle confirmed that two of the three Commissioners signed). Further questions asked if the election it was to be conducted as normal election and this was confirmed.
After the questions were answered, the topic was opened up to statements first in opposition (there were none) and then in favor of the resolution.
Those in favor of the resolution included Andrew Poe who commented, “We have very few branches of government within the county and the Sheriff’s office is one of those important branches. We think we need to maintain all the separation of power that we have available to us and keep the selection of the Sheriff in the hands of the people and with the votes of the People.”
The statements of the committee members were finished sooner than expected and Clay Mitchell put forth a motion (seconded and approved) to open the discussion to non-committee members. The guests opposing the resolution were invited to speak first and Kris Thompson suggested that if the recall was unsuccessful the Republican Party could potentially suffer defections due to blowback by the approval of the pending resolution: “I ask you to consider this. This is not a Republican verses Democrat issue. The people that are pushing the recall, the most involved folks supporting the recall, the people resourcing it and the vast majority of the nearly 600 people who signed the petition are Republicans. They are in our party. They are Republicans. A vote for this resolution would disenfranchise them.”
Several guests spoke in favor of the resolution including this reporter who, representing the Libertarian Party of Storey County, advised the audience the Nevada State Libertarian Party has drafted and approved a nearly identical resolution. “It isn’t often that the Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians see eye to eye on things. The Declaration of Independence makes reference to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness; the very next sentence refers to the consent of the governed: a just government given it’s authorization from the consent of the governed. This man (pointing to Sheriff Antinoro) has been given the consent of the governed twice. We consider it questionable the timing of this recall election, as being concerned with taxpayer dollars, it will end up costing the Taxpayers of Storey County perhaps $25-30,000. We (the Nevada Libertarian Party) have a similar resolution and we concur with the notion that you pass your resolution”
In closing, Secretary Clay Mitchell spoke to the issue of why the committee is addressing this matter at in the first place: “As a local Republican Party, we have bylaws and we have a platform. We have things that we stand for. That’s what we are. We aren’t a party like we get together and drink together, we are are a party because we have similar views and ideals. When something relates to those ideals, something that is in our platform and in our bylaws. For us not to say something about it means we are not engaged in our community. There is one line particularly in out platform that stands out to me; “the most effective government is government closest to the people. I truly believe that. I believe strongly that, as Andy mentioned, in the checks and balances and it’s for those reasons that I recommend we approve this resolution.
Once the comments were over the matter was put to a vote of the committee members and was overwhelmingly approved by a vote of 24-3.
If this is any indication of things to come, the effort to recall the Sheriff will be defeated and it’s unseemly polarization of the community will come to a welcome conclusion.