Hello Cory, fellow Patriots and members of the Calaveras Tea Party:
Cory we appreciate the opportunity you have provided to
us all to post our respective endorsements of conservative candidates for
local, state and federal offices to your Calaveras Tea Party website
and related e-mail address
As many of you know Sandy and I endorse Ed Ballard and consider him by
far to be the best choice for Calaveras Sheriff. We initially made our
choice solely on Ed's record as an officer with the Calaveras Sheriff's
Office and that Ed as a person of integrity, honesty and of good
moral character and principals. However, our choice was
further confirmed after reviewing and listening to the debates between
Ed and Gary Kuntz as presented by the Pine Tree and Calaveras
I, Harleigh, have only endorsed and contributed financially
to a few candidates for public office in the past. Those who know me know
full well that I would never endorse anyone, not even a member of my family
or a best friend, if I didn't not believe he or she would be the best
person for the office. That he or she would be sufficiently qualified and
would serve to the best of his or her ability and with the interest of the
county, state and/or nation above all else.
Cory is aware that Ed was going to ask us to submit the following
on his behalf and we are both privileged and honored that Ed has asked
us to do this for him. So, I will not make this any longer other then to
ask that each of you take time to review the non-biased question
and answer debates presented by the Pine Tree as well as the two (2) part
video debate conducted by Joel Metzger for the Calaveras Enterprise at
(Type in "debate" in the search area and it will come up
with a two part debate for Calaveras County Sheriff, or you can scroll down
near the bottom of the page on this site and find the debate videos as
well.) Our time doing so was well spent and we believe you
will find your time will be well spent as well. We believe it our responsibility
to learn as much factual information about a candidate for a public office as
possible, putting the typical political in fighting and all to often
misleading information aside. We feel your personal review will make it
very easy for you to choose which one of these candidates will best
serve as Calaveras County Sheriff.
Harleigh and Sandy Winkler
The following is Ed Ballard's rebuttal to Cory Burnell's endorsement of
Gary Kuntz. Ed also provides some very pertinent and insightful information
concerning his personal background, the operation of the Sheriff's Department,
the new jail facility and more.
To: Calaveras Tea Party
From: Ed Ballard, Candidate for Calaveras County
Today I read the endorsement for Gary Kuntz that was
written by Mr. Burnell. I had spoken with him when I heard that he had prepared
it. He informed me that it was his personnel endorsement based on a long
friendship between his wife and Gary. I support an endorsement made on
friendship, but feel I should provide some input based on the issues he spoke
about in the endorsement. I will keep it short, however if anyone would like to
speak with me in person, please contact me at[masked] or [address removed] and we can make arrangements.
It should be noted that Mr. Burnell stated that he had
talked to me a couple of times. This is true however we never spoke about the
issues of the campaign in any specific detail.
It is my understanding that the Tea Party was not
established as an individual forum for endorsement, however I feel the need and
right to respond.
I am a native of Calaveras County and have served in the
military. I deeply believe in the United States Constitution and will always
defend the 2nd amendment, as well the other nine of the original 10.
I have in the past and will continue to oppose all bills that infringe on our
2nd amendment right. I will honor all current CCW permits and issue
new ones to all legally and policy qualified citizens.
I have attended the Tea Party meetings prior to running
for the office of Sheriff.
I have worked for Sheriff Downum for the last 15 years
and I made the choice to run for Sheriff based on my own reasons. If you were to
talk with Mr. Kuntz, I am sure that he would tell you that I am the only
administrator that ever disagreed with Sheriff Downum on issues associated with
operations that I felt were not in the best interest of this community, or of
the Sheriff's Office. It should be noted that most policy is based on law or
best practices and I have a different operational philosophy than that of the
I would agree that Deputy morale is very low at the
department, but it has little to do with the current regime, Mr. Kuntz was
also part of the regime. The office has faced severe budget cuts over the last
several years. Last year the deputies had to face a 5.6% pay cut and reduction
of patrol staffing which caused approximately a 25% higher work load. On top of
this, any sense of security in their employment walked out the door when the
Deputy Sheriff's Union board voted not to except Mr. Kuntz back into their unit
as a Sgt. after 24 years of service.
Mr. Kuntz was part of the planning for the new jail and
administration building. At one time, he put the project over budget by several
million dollars and added nearly 14,000 additional square feet. It should be
important to note that this is a county capitol improvement project not a
Sheriff's project; the Sheriff's Office only assisted in obtaining funding and
planning. Any reduction to the size of the project would bring it out of scope
and end state funding. The
remaining funding would not fix the broken system. No funding for the project
will cause the loss of a single job at the county. The project will be staffed
at a level the county can afford, but most importantly as the economy recovers
the county will be able to grow into the buildings vs. having to again build at
a much greater cost. The project will help our local economy and preference will
be giving to our contractors, building supply or other local resource
When Mr. Kuntz states that he will build a jail that we
can afford, the public should understand that any jail not built as planned is
the jail we cannot afford to build and that the Sheriff will not have the
authority to stop or change the project. The dynamics associated to a change
belongs to the policy decision of the Board of Supervisors.
The current jail is 15,000 square feet, out of compliance
with law, and unsafe. Since 2007, 100 years of sentences have gone un-served due
to early releases. 54% of those criminals that should have been in jail
committed new crimes. I would like to know how you put a price tag on an
unnecessary new victim, which could be you or someone you know. What is the cost
(tax payers) associated to new criminal proceedings?
None of the programs the county has for rehabilitation
are being used or being used effectively because there are not repercussions for
failing or not participating in them, yet we continue to spend tax payer money
The project also includes an administration building with
a new, up to date 911 dispatch center, Emergency Operations Center, and offices
to bring all our employees back under one roof.
I would be more than willing to show anyone the plans and
programming elements of these essential service buildings and explain how they
will make the citizens safer. I would also be honored to conduct tours of our
jail and offices to show you first hand the deplorable conditions your public
safety employees work in.
A resident deputy program is a great philosophy and we
have tried it on several occasions, however it never lasted long. To attempt to
once again implement the creation of a new program during these economic times
would only result in failure. I can explain why it has failed in much greater
detail when you contact me. This program if properly thought out could be
initiated correctly when the economy rebounds.
I feel it is important that everyone know that I did not
ask for the Deputy Sheriff's Union endorsement. I had asked them to remain
I would encourage all to view the debates between Mr.
Kuntz and myself on the Pine Tree and Calaveras Enterprise, also Calaveras
Public TV has been playing interviews concerning the issues between Mr. Kuntz
and myself. If they are not currently running I have copies that I can provide.
Part of the mission of the Tea Party is to educate on all
issues. I humbly request that if I can provide any additional information that
you please contact me.