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Letters to the Editor May 2, 2013

Sheriff elected to enforce laws, not interpret them

I would like to respond in support of the excellent letter Lois Munson wrote in the April 25 paper (“Sheriff lacks authority to cherry-pick laws enforced”) regarding Sheriff Wilson’s comments. In the April 18 Triplicate, the sheriff stated that he would prosecute only matters which he feels are not against our constitutional rights as stated by the Second Amendment. 

The key word here is “his” interpretation. This decision is not up to him. We have rules in our democracy for changing laws that are not appropriate or no longer meet the needs of society and following that process is how we make change. We can’t just pick and choose which laws we will follow.

It is not Sheriff Wilson’s job to decide which laws he will uphold once the legislators pass a law. This is not the job of a sheriff in a rural community in California. He was elected to enforce the laws made by our government whether he agrees with them or not.

We all have to abide by laws and rules even if we do not like them. That is part of living in a civilized society. Maybe it is time for a new sheriff if our present elected official does not appear to want to honor the office that he was elected to.

Diana Clark, Crescent City

Residency requirement for officials reasonable

Supervisor Roger Gitlin’s raising of the curtain of public scrutiny on the issue of the lack of requirement for the public health officer of Del Norte County to reside in this county at the April 23 supervisors meeting appears to be a tempest in a thimble rather than a teapot.

All other supervisors turned noses up and thumbs down on his proposed residency requirement of at least 180 
days per year. Currently it is, “whenever.” It does not seem like an unreasonable requirement to this citizen of Del Norte .

How many other county officers are living out of county? Supervisor Hemmingsen, according to the article, stated that “he had questioned Dr. Martinelli’s ability to do the job from Santa Barbara but was satisfied with the response he received.” It is not reported from whom he received that response or the nature of that response. One could reasonably assume it was from Dr. Martinelli but such assumptions are not always the case.

As to the amelioration of Supervisor Hemmingsen’s skepticism, it may be based on the litany of actions and activities as reported in the April 25 edition, “Health officer residency raises spat.” Among the actions and activities from afar Dr. Martinelli cites (for instance) being a consultant between Pelican Bay State Prison and Sutter Coast Hospital, and enforcement officer of various health codes and statutes as well as a number of others.

He claims a monthly week-long stint in Del Norte County. Now it seems that the need is intensifying whereby a deputy health officer is being sought on a voluntary basis.

Our public health officer receives just under $3,000 per month and the deputy (who will be here to do the work ) will be on a volunteer basis. Wherein lies the logic of this situation? Is Dr. Martinelli indispensable? And to cap it off, please consider, dear supervisors, that money paid by Del Norte County is going to be spent by and large in Santa Barbara County!

Would the supervisors be okay with Sheriff Wilson living out of county? After all the job description for the sheriff/coroner, which I picked up at the Personnel Department, does not specify a residency in Del Norte County.

And by the way, in response to the April 25 letter from Lois Munson (“Sheriff lacks authority to cherry-pick laws enforced”), one of his listed 
duties is to interpret federal code and statutes.

Dale L. Bohling, Crescent City


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