If you’re a regular reader of West Michigan Politics (and given my infrequent postings of late, there’s still a surprising number of you), there’s a good chance you’ve read one of the many messages from a certain Seeker of Truth in the comments. This “truthseeker” often leaves off-topic comments in various posts that repeatedly charge Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf or his staff members of various charges ranging from the silly to the somewhat serious.
As many regular readers also know, “truthseeker” has always been a vocal defender (if not the actual person, something that many people who know him have suggested- I will leave that to readers to decide) of the former County 911 Director, Charlie Nystrom, who was recently forced to retire prematurely after being caught handing out “bonus” payments for overtime to select employees despite there being no evidence that was made public that those payments were authorized or deserved. Nystrom was first charged in a very high profile way by the Barry County Prosecutor, Tom Evans. The charges then went to the Sheriff’s Department where they disappeared for an overly-long period of time, then were sent back to the prosecutor who hasn’t been heard from on the topic since. Since then, truthseeker has spammed local political blogs with endless counter charges that at least deserve to be dealt with, since merely deleting the comments or even continuing to ignore them would only increase the chance of less-informed people thinking there’s validity to them.
Recently, I directly asked 2 members of the Barry County Board of Commissioners about the charges made in this blog and Dave Young’s Compulsory News blog regarding supposed corruption or malfeasance in the Sheriff’s Department. Neither of the commissioners I spoke with was even aware of the allegations. So, I will ask you this simple question: How are we supposed to take these charges seriously when the people making them have not even brought them up to those charged with oversight of the county government? Why have these charges been made repeatedly and local bloggers bullied, when the charges aren't credible enough to merit someone getting them on the public record?
I STILL have yet to see ONE letter to the editor of the local paper or hear of any ONE person standing up at a public meeting to air these grievances. I'd even settle for a yard sign or some kook with a billboard strapped to his car in a parade, but yet we have nothing. How can we take these charges seriously when the people pushing them refuse to do so on the record? From what I can see, this is nothing but another attempt to confuse the issues, spread the blame, or otherwise change the subject from the corruption that was entrenched in the County 911 system and is hopefully in the process of being remedied.
While I’ve stated publicly that I am greatly bothered by the Prosecutor’s silence (especially considering how vocal he was when making the original allegations) in the matter of former County 911 Director Charlie Nystrom’s alleged “embezzelment,” (once again, I’ll repeat that when a prosecutor goes public with a charge, he should damn well have the evidence to make the case and he should also most certinaly know the definition of the charges he’s making) but it doesn’t mean that Nystrom and his sock puppets will guilt me into joining their crusade to take down the Sheriff in their plot for revenge. In fact, I think Sheriff Leaf has done a decent job, considering my original reservations about his candidacy, and I think this campaign against him is part of a vendetta which is revenge for his part in helping to end the inglorious reign of Nystrom, which might be helped out by certain elements also harboring animosity over his ousting of the previous Sheriff in a bitter campaign. It is also convenient that these charges arise as we near a political season in which Leaf will again be on the ballot. In the past that I did not support the election of the County Prosecutor and Sheriff, yet somehow those with an ax to grind like to try to lump me into being a supporter or defender of them. It's a nice guilt-by-association tactic which truthseeker has become known for.
I’ll also add this last little bit of obviousness for anyone who still doesn’t get it: I started this blog because I had opinions about news and politics that I felt weren’t being aired. I am not a journalist or a news organization. I’m one person with a point of view. The beauty of the internet is that blogs are free. If you don't like what I write, feel free to start your own. You're still free to air your opinion here, but if you continue to spam the comments with the same old stuff we've heard before or outrageous allegations that you wouldn't make at a public meeting or in a letter to the editor, then I will feel free to delete the comments.
I'm sure we've now now all talked, read and thought a lot more about this than is necessary or warranted. Frankly, it's a personal vendetta and most people are DONE with it, those that aren't seem to have an obvious horse in the race and their comments should be taken with a huge boulder of salt. So, we hope to return to more pressing issues soon. It's not like there hasn't been anything in the news to talk about...