Neither Howard nor Dunn inspires much confidence

Former Yankee catcher and manager Yogi Berra once said, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” He could well have been referring to this year’s Democratic nomination for Erie County sheriff. Recently, Chairman Jeremy Zellner announced that he would endorse Bert Dunn, a current sheriff’s employee who is also the president of Bert’s Bikes & Fitness and nephew of the founder of Dunn Tire. Dunn has indicated that he will bring as much as $500,000 to the table.

In 1997, the Democratic Party canvassed for candidates for sheriff and chose a Buffalo police officer, Rocco Diina, who happened to be a self-made millionaire. He likewise offered to self-finance his campaign. Well, that didn’t work out too well when Diina came up against Republican Patrick Gallivan, a respected captain from the State Police, who had little or no political funds and no political experience. What Gallivan did have was professionalism and the desire to commit himself completely to the job of sheriff.

Unfortunately, this year, voters won’t get that same, clear choice. Dunn will oppose Sheriff Timothy Howard, whose tenure has been marred with lawsuits, mismanagement, numerous suicides among inmates, allegations of prisoner abuse, high-profile escapes and the extended loss of the State Accreditation for the Police Services Division, not to mention the questionable use of funds.

Erie County voters may have to choose between the president of a bicycle company who is also a deputy and a mediocre incumbent with a poor track record. One of these two men could fill the top law enforcement position in Erie County. Yeah, Yogi, “it’s like déjà vu all over again” but worse. Shame on the Democratic Party and Zellner for their “show me the money” mentality.

William A. Julicher

Retired Technical Sergeant

Erie County Sheriff’s Office