Thursday, October 21, 2010

Roanoke County’s sheriff race has some mischief afoot

An e-mail pops in my “info” mailbox titled “Candidate Makes False Claims.” It was a claim against Mike Stovall. Someone don’t like him my brilliant journalistic instincts quickly surmised.

Mike Stovall is the Independent running against Democrat Mike Winston who is serving as the current Roanoke County Sheriff. Former Sheriff Gerald Holt left office to become a U.S. Marshall for the Western District of Virginia on June 02, 2010.

The e-mailer’s name was clearly visible. It was a cut and paste of the article in the Cave Spring Connection where both Winston and Stovall were featured.

The two main so-called “false claims” he made against Stovall included his position as “a forensic detective.” The other claim the “concerned citizen” had questioned was the Stovalls’ nomination for Small Business Owner of the Year by the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Of course the e-mailer did not want to be identified. They wanted me to investigate not only the above claims but also went on to question Stovall’s “integrity” and the motives of the “Fraternal Order of Police” who endorsed him.

Since the e-mail did not have the marks of coming from Winston’s campaign I gather this is someone who just doesn’t like him or has a grudge. Maybe even a disgruntled ex-employee.

Also I found it interesting that this person said that Dan Casey of The Roanoke Times would be interested in investigating his claims. Well, have at it Dan it’s all yours.

E-mailer:“What I really don’t want to see is voters who elect an unqualified sheriff just because he bragged about some things that nobody checked out. If Stovall gets elected, Roanoke County might have scandals just like other counties have had with their sheriffs, instead of an excellent reputation like we have now.”

Assertions intermingled in the Cave Spring Connection article:

A forensics detective? Really? I didn’t know the Vinton Police had such a position. Their website doesn’t show one. Google “how to become a forensics detective” and you’re sure to find that becoming a forensics detective requires at least a bachelor’s degree, with plenty of science courses and lab experience. A 2-week lab course does not qualify someone as a forensics detective. Stovall’s resume indicates no such qualifications. Did he just make this “forensics detective” background up out of thin air because he knows many people watch CSI and he thought they might be impressed by it?

Stovall has promised that no current employees will lose their jobs if he is elected. He has also promised that he would not increase the head count. How can he keep those promises and create additional positions for DARE officers in elementary schools?

Is this campaign just a big ego trip for Stovall?

Stovall has said that integrity is one of the planks of his campaign platform. Checking the facts behind many of his statements is revealing.

I checked the Chamber of Commerce website and found that they do not even have such an award! This appears to be as false as his “forensic detective” claim. If Stovall wins the position of sheriff, he will be forced to turn the day-to-day running of Alert Driver Training over to his wife, and will also resign from the Roanoke County School Board. And if Stovall wins, because it is a special election to replace a retired sheriff, he will only have one year in the position before the regular election next year.

Stovall’s statement that the Fraternal Order of Police is the organization for sheriffs throughout this country is just plain false. It’s not. The National Sheriffs’ Association is. Roanoke County’s current Sheriff is not a member of the FOP, the previous Sheriff was not a member of the FOP, and if you check I’m sure you’ll find that many other sheriffs around here are not members of the FOP either. You will probably find that nearly all of them are members of the National Sheriffs’ Association, but many of them steer clear of the local FOP. The local FOP has a history of making endorsements under highly questionable circumstances. Their endorsement of Stovall is no exception. It’s also misleading that this article says Stovall was endorsed by the local and state branches of the FOP. He was endorsed by a local branch, one of dozens of local FOP branches in Virginia. It doesn’t mean much. It’s not “huge” as Stovall claims. This was done by a few of his local friends for political reasons that had nothing to do with his qualifications for the job.

Then the e-mailers PS:“In regards to my previous email to you about false claims in the Cave Spring Connection article on Mike Stovall, I would appreciate a kind reply to tell me if you plan to investigate this story. I have also been told that this is the sort of story that would be covered by Mr. Dan Casey with the Roanoke Times.I chose to send it to you and will not send it to him unless you do not plan to investigate it. It is important that voters learn about Mr. Stovall’s tendency before November so please let me know as soon as you can.”

My suggestion to the e-mailer was to write a letter to the editor or op-ed or give it to Dan Casey.

Democrts had their say awhile back: 

Democratic nominee for sheriff made clear

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Elections, Politics, Roanoke County Politics

Tags: , , ,

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