As with previous recalls in Lake County, we added to our knowledge of what has happened to certain members of our community. Persons we contacted expressed many of the same concerns as in the past especially the lack of trust in county law enforcement. Their concerns are not just old stories being shared again, but new incidents. For example: an individual’s critical paperwork never returned, the harassment of younger Lake County women by members of law enforcement, and the criminalization of our youth. The biggest and most universal concern was individuals and business owners’ fear of retaliation for signing the recall petitions. The petition asking for the Recall of County Sheriff Phil McDonald was most often cited.
Another problem we ran across is that many persons were unfamiliar with the County Commissioners and their official duties, not to mention their lack of awareness of the connection the Commissioners have with County law enforcement.
The May 20, issue of the Herald and News presented this article: “Lake County Recall Fails Against Officials – Petitioners Felt Threatened.” I chose to end the recall effort early.
We were experiencing an increased intensity of hostility towards the circulators. A particularly notable (allegedly) physical threat, on April 23, was directed towards both me and a passenger in my vehicle. As I stated to District Attorney Ulys Stapleton on April 24, this individual crossed the line between uncomfortable hostility and actual menacing. I did not feel that I was in a position to put other circulators in jeopardy.
Our fight is not over. I, and others will continue with efforts to educate the public and unseat Phil McDonald as County Sheriff in the November elections.