ELECTION 2018: Will Democrats regain legislative seats lost during 2014 in St Mary’s to Republicans? Can anyone unseat Sheriff Tim Cameron?
Part One – St. Mary’s Sheriff
Politics and Commentary
By Ken Rossignol
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
LEXINGTON PARK, MD. – Take a look at the online presence of the St. Mary’s Democratic Club and Democrat Central Committee. The two groups dedicated to the advancement and election of Democrats no longer hide their backward ways behind closed doors. Instead, they display their leftist-ideology oriented dogma right out on their webpage and Facebook page to remind voters why they keep losing elections.
The old ways of the Democrat Party in St. Mary’s were to broker peace treaties and alliances between the five or six major factions to decide who would win the spoils every four years and for plum appointments made by the State Senator, the Governor, and the St. Mary’s County Commissioners. In those days, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 5 to 1, now the numbers have evened up with a boatload of unaffiliated voters on the voter rolls as well.
Now the reasons why the Democrats are losing just about every election in the Mother County of Maryland is broadcast by themselves on their Facebook page and memorialized on their website. The issues being remarked upon and promoted are the blueprint to failure, stressing such remarkable news as why Martin Luther King Day was named for the slain civil rights leader, and promoting a candidates night at St. Mary’s College of Maryland – a heck of a venue for local politics – with only two of the seven dwarfs running for the Democratic nomination to oppose the popular Republican Governor Larry Hogan.
One of the candidates at the St. Mary’s College “debate” is an obscure State Senator from Montgomery County – which hasn’t produced a Governor in nearly a hundred years – and the policy director for former First Lady Michelle Obama.
That must have been a tough job, for “Krish” to decide between depriving kids of French fries in school lunches or which Hollywood celebrity to come in for a big free bash at the White House. At least this candidate is a real Indian, unlike Sen. Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren. Her campaign is centered around giving away more free stuff, the fallback position for Democrats, as can be viewed on her website. Krish only promotes the use of her first name as a consultant likely told her that voters would never understand her last name or how to pronounce it as, gee, they are just too dumb. That is the default position of elite Democrats towards the voters that they are just clinging to their bibles and their guns.
Thus, the dumbed down campaign of Krish can be seen here. After June, it will likely vanish. Her campaign is simple. Vote for her because she is smart and a woman. With all the dumb guys in office, maybe she’s on to something; but more than a third of Democrats support Gov. Hogan, according to the Goucher Poll, and Krish seems to be headed for rewriting her resume. To be sure, the rest of the Democrat candidates for Governor couldn’t organize a one-car funeral.
While the Democrats hosted a training session for precinct captains at the Lexington Park Library and held another session for training volunteers to register voters just in case, not enough voters show up from the Immaculate Heart of Mary Cemetery or get off the caravan coming from Mexico.
The Democrats website also promoted a pancake breakfast for Ted Belleavoine who is the only Democrat in the primary race for Sheriff and a tea for House of Delegates Candidate Julia Nichols in May. Nichols is running against Del. Jerry Clark of Lusby for the seat held for 25 years by Del. Tony O’Donnell.
For Belleavoine to have the distinction of being the only Democrat running for Sheriff shows a couple of the changes over the last forty years in St. Mary’s politics. In almost every election, every four years, there were at least two, and many times more than four Democratic Primary candidates and the election was always decided in the primary election. The idea of a Republican bothering to part with the filing fee
would have brought laughs at every tavern and bar in the county.
Finally, in 1994, a Republican, Dick Voorhaar, serving as a lieutenant under three-term Democrat Sheriff Wayne Pettit, won the office of Sheriff and did it again in 1998. When the infamous Loot Scandal involving his Assistant Sheriff, Steven Doolan, became the topic of an investigation by Maryland State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli, Voorhaar canceled his plans to run for a third term in 2002, demoted Doolan and assigned his former Captain and Sgt. Mike Merican to working as desk jockeys in the duty office on the midnight shift.
David Zylak beat the GOP candidate in 2002, a deputy best known for being the D.A.R.E. deputy in elementary schools, Mickey Bailey, and became Sheriff. Zylak didn’t set any records for much of anything except for once when a gas leak was detected in the California area he ordered a reverse 911 call instructing residents that they were in extreme danger and not to use telephones. Of course, they had to answer the phone to get the message. That day rated Zylak the headline of Dumb and Dangerous Dave in ST. MARY’S TODAY.
To his credit, Zylak began the process to bring about the national accreditation for the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department from the national group known as CALEA which holds the agency to higher standards than the old political club and Keystone Cops passed down over the years.
The Loot Scandal continued to unfold and revealed that a tractor-trailer load of building supplies seized in a search warrant raid from drug dealer Wendell Ford disappeared while in police custody. Yes. Seized from a drug dealer and then divvied up by the cops as if they were a den of pirates.
In fact, Assistant Sheriff Doolan had doled the goodies out to his buddy and his stepson. While Voorhaar headed for the hills of West Virginia, Zylak was stuck with sorting out the details.
In the strange land of Maryland corruption and politics, the State Prosecutor Investigation still remains secret in 2018.
St. Mary’s Sheriff Tim Cameron, who had nothing to do with the $80,000 worth of seized property being absconded from the police property storage fueling the scandal; he promised to release the Prosecutor’s report to THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY.
On April 27, 2018, Sheriff Cameron explained for the first time why he has never released the report in spite of numerous promises to do so.
“I asked the Prosecutor’s Office for the report and to be able to release it, and they said that I had to obtain the consent of those named in the report,” said Sheriff Cameron. “Those named in the report refused to consent.”
When Montanarelli released the report in 2003, he said the report could be released by either the States Attorney or the Sheriff.
Since the Republican States Attorney Richard Fritz’s campaign treasurer was Doolan’s wife, it would be expecting a lot for Fritz to expose facts contained in the report. Besides, Fritz is just too busy cleaning up those drug dealers.
In any event, the report, paid for by the taxpayers of Maryland who fund the office of the State Prosecutor, detailing the theft of property by police and held by police in a storage compound next to the Leonardtown Library made for great news stories.
ST. MARY’S TODAY learned that deputies were bringing back windows and other building supplies that were stolen by the deputies and still had evidence stickers on them when observed by a witness at the home of least one deputy.
While the thieving from the police property held compound took place under Republican Dick Voorhaar, Democrat Dave Zylak was left holding the bag. A police trial board ruled that Doolan, who had been demoted from Captain to Lieutenant, should be fined and busted to Sergeant. Zylak threatened to fire Doolan so Doolan retired and every month draws a retirement check from the taxpayers of Maryland when he should have gone to jail and forfeited his pension.
Sheriff Zylak never charged Doolan or any other deputy with theft, a fate not often allowed for shoplifters in Walmart when cuffed and stuffed by Deputies.
Richard Fritz, who wants to spend another four years cleaning up drug dealers in St. Mary’s County, found indicting his campaign treasurer’s husband for felony theft to be a task he wasn’t quite up to undertaking. For the record, District Court Judge John Slade had ordered the property returned to Ford, who then filed litigation against St. Mary’s County which resulted in the county paying him a sum of money as compensation for his stolen property.
Ironically, the property seized from Ford was alleged to have been stolen by him from a construction site of a building owned by Eagan-McAlister. Doolan’s wife and his buddy to whom he released property, both worked for the Defense contractor, who, if the property came from their construction site, never saw any of it again.
For Ford, he didn’t want any news coverage of his stolen loot as he was quietly working through his attorney, Shane Mattingly, to retrieve it or be compensated. But Ford’s wishes and the goal of the newspaper to inform readers of shenanigans in Leonardtown were at odds, so THE LOOT scandal unfolded for more than a year. By 2006, any idea by voters that Zylak should be reelected was dashed by the filing for the post by the popular Tim Cameron.
Since 2006, Cameron has won two additional terms and is a good bet to win again. In the GOP primary, he faces a retired Navy Captain, Tom Phelan, who seems to be bent on revenge for Cameron terminating his son Mike as a Deputy in 2014. Mike Phelan served as a deputy for two years.
Tom Phelan’s impressive background as a Naval Officer qualifies him in a multitude of arenas, none of which includes law enforcement. With Phelan as his only opponent in the GOP primary, the incumbent Sheriff will undoubtedly send his opponent to the dustbin of retired Navy Captains who couldn’t win as dogcatcher in St. Mary’s County elections. Well, if the post of dogcatcher existed, he would have a chance as long as the popular Eddie Boswell didn’t run for it too.
Ted Belleavoine has another six months to find ways to communicate to voters why he should replace Cameron. Belleavoine has an uphill battle to convince voters that it’s time throw out Cameron.
Thus far, Belleavoine’s website has about as much sophistication and information for voters as a sandwich shop that’s only open in Leap Year.
Both Phelan and Belleavoine express that they want to be the next Sheriff, both provide long lists of their respective experience and neither identifies exactly what they will do as Sheriff differently from Cameron.
Cameron’s Achilles heel has been retention of the old fat white guys club as his top commanders with the notable departure of Captain Dan Alioto who was noted in official documents as resigning as commander of the narcotics division while under administrative investigation for truthfulness, improper instructions to subordinates. Alioto had been working as the Hatchetman to dump on Belleavoine, not necessarily at the direction of Sheriff Cameron.
Two newer commanders, Eric Sweeney, and David Yingling, who have come up through the ranks as professionals instead of politicians, now hold top spots as some of the Good Old Boy Club have retired, or in the case of Alioto, was shown the door.
Alioto was the chief investigator of Richard Fritz’s failed attempt to jail his 2010 election opponent, Democrat John A. Mattingly Jr. When an investigation of the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Internal Affairs Unit revealed Alioto was allegedly preparing to have detectives give false testimony in an investigation of drug dealers pending trial, the discovery process reportedly revealed the incriminating tapes.
Alioto was told to resign, as he didn’t have enough time on the job to retire or be fired. He was relieved of his gun, badge and police vehicle. He had to catch a ride home with another deputy. Alioto has never returned emails or calls for comment. Sheriff Cameron always refuses to comment on personnel matters. And all that happened just after returning from a vacation in the Caribbean with the Sheriff and their wives.
Alioto left with a dozen drug cases pending trial and his being under investigation for truthfulness taints dozens of investigations underway as well as those convicted and serving time in prison. When a police officer is shown to be lying in criminal cases, his testimony can be impeached in court by defense attorneys, rendering the prosecution unable to go forward and guilty criminals being turned loose.
There is still time for Capt. Phelan to make a case for his replacement of Cameron, but the clock is ticking. Belleavoine shows little sign of any Democrat like U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D. Md. 5th) showing any interest in his campaign.
Hoyer could offer a lot of assistance in Belleavoine’s campaign presentation. After his best efforts at promoting Democratic officeholders in his home county resulted in an all-Republican Board of Commissioners in 1994 and GOP majorities ever since 2002, he’ll likely stick to trying to find a way for Democrats to come out of the wilderness in the House of Representatives.
At the age of eighty, Hoyer is one of the most senior Members of Congress still in office and still alive – has been there since 1981.
Cameron has succeeded in organizing key parts of the Sheriff’s Department as a defacto-part of his campaign, an art in itself, and one accomplished by many Sheriff’s across the nation. With an increasingly professional media relations unit, honed on the recent murder at Great Mills High School, Cameron’s effective use of social media and providing metro area news outlets with intelligent messaging, makes Cameron even more difficult to defeat.