Who Are We? (write in Gary Pudup for Monroe County Sheriff)

Gary Pudup did not start the movement to write in his name tomorrow when you vote for Monroe County Sheriff. Nevertheless, he has accepted his “nomination” for this write in campaign. Here are his reasons.

Subject: Who Are We?
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2017 14:26:20 -0500
From: Gary Pudup <[email protected]>

Years ago in the police academy our class counselor told us, “If you want to be liked you shouldn’t have become cops, you should become firemen.”

As if that weren’t enough, after a career in law enforcement I went to work as a Constitutional Rights advocate for the ACLU.

My guess is that Freud would have something to say about this self-flagellation.

But, to the point, I go into this knowing full well this is not going to make me liked or popular.

I am sending this to you because I believe we have shared values.

While director of the Genesee Valley Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union I stood up for the rights of the LGBTQ community, immigrants, spoke out against mass incarceration and promoted the concept of the School to Prison Pipeline before the term became popular. I lobbied against Zero Tolerance and for Women’s Equality.

Recently I worked for Howard Eagle on his “Take It Down” committee to address racism in art, and have consulted with the Bail Reform Committee at Metro Justice.

I am an unabashed FDR New Deal Democrat who believes in Keynesian economics and that the General Welfare clause of the Constitution means something.

So why have I chosen to put myself out for criticism?

Because Todd Baxter as Sheriff scares me.
Because Todd Baxter as Sheriff should scare every Democrat.

Because Baxter has a reckless cowboy attitude toward policing that I have seen time and again lead to problems for those who we as Democrats should care about most, the disenfranchised, the disadvantaged and the least among us.

Because what we stand for matters.

As someone who has advocated for Constitutional and Civil Rights I find troubling is that Baxter intentionally abused his power while at the Veterans Outreach Center. This is not something I can in good conscience remain silent about.
In March 2016 Baxter asked former subordinates in the K9 Unit of the Rochester Police Department to conduct warrantless searches of veterans’ personal property and rooms.
This is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment protection of their Constitutional Rights.
He also put the officers who conducted these searches in professional jeopardy. Baxter put them in a position in which they were subjected to an investigation by the Professional Standards Section (the RPD’s version of Internal Affairs).
He used his influence and power to violate veteran’s rights.
And he wants to be our Sheriff…on the Democratic line.
I could remain silent, and I am sure I will lose friends, but if Baxter wins…we all lose.

I retired from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office as Commander of the Internal Affairs. The actions Baxter took were unacceptable. What is especially troubling is that Baxter did this with years of command experience.
So, just as I have always felt compelled to speak out when I believe our Constitutional and Civil Rights are in jeopardy, whether as Commander of Internal Affairs, as Chapter Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union or just as a citizen, I speak out now.

I ask my Democratic friends, including those who have invested time and resources into Baxter’s campaign, to stop and think this one through.

Months ago I raised concerns about Baxter’s affiliations and positions, I can longer remain silent after learning that Baxter had used his power to knowingly violate the Constitutional Rights of vets who thought they were in a safe environment at the VOC.

This now open secret has me worried not only as to what he might do as Sheriff, but as someone with the label of Democrat.

I am not pointing the finger at anyone in the party, Baxter duped people in the party. He intentionally misled them to use the party to get the job he couldn’t have as a Republican.

He duped you. The blame is his.

He told you he would be loyal, but to what? He continues to pander to Bob Lonsberry, a man who is openly contemptuous of Progressive Democrats. Baxter supports repeal of the SAFE Act. He fails to say he will respect the people of the City’s desire to be a Sanctuary city. He will not denounce the Oath Keepers, an alt-right organization. He supports Stop and Frisk, wants juveniles treated as adults in court, and fails to align himself with any number of issues that we, as a party, hold dear as core beliefs.

That’s not taking politics out of the Sheriff’s Office, it’s opposing our values and hoping no one notices.
We cannot afford a loose cannon as Sheriff, especially in the political climate we face. We need to be strong and remain committed to our principles…first and foremost..

We should decide what we stand for, if you agree that Democrats have a core set of shared values, are principled and want to be leaders in the progressive movement, then I ask you to write my name in for Sheriff. With enough votes, our voice will be heard.

We believe that tolerance of others is not enough, that we need to work toward acceptance, that all are welcome no matter where they come from, that hate gets us nowhere, that all people are deserving of respect and dignity, that education and health care are human rights, that the General Welfare clause is as important as any other clause, that it does no good to treat children in the criminal justice system as if they are adults, that government is not evil but a tool to improve our lives, that more guns is not the answer, that women are entitled to comprehensive health care, that the current president is antithetical to what we believe in…

…and that being a progressive Democrat means something.

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