Letter to the Editor: Please Improve Coverage of the Sheriff’s Race


The Chronicle’s reporting on the race for Lewis County Sheriff has had some glaring gaps. Readers deserve better.

Since your reporting staff ran out of questions during your Chronicle News Dump podcast interviews with the candidates — and asked some truly irrelevant ones — I’ll suggest a few you still have time to ask.

For Sheriff Snaza:

1.  What does he have to say now to those Lewis County residents whom he called “sheep” for wearing masks during COVID-19? After those contemptuous, dehumanizing statements, why should any of the thousands of Lewis County residents who wore masks out of basic human decency and patriotic care for their fellow Americans feel safe, secure and respected under this Sheriff? How does this square with his campaign claims to be working to enhance community, safety and security?

2. How exactly does he see his ideology as an admitted “constitutional sheriff” as aligning with the true principles of our U.S. or state constitutions and the basic principles of law and order? As a note to readers, so-called “constitutional sheriffs” are actually quite the opposite. The core beliefs of this irrational ideology are that county sheriffs are the supreme law of the land, empowered to overrule and ignore state and federal laws, as well as to determine what is and is not “constitutional.” In a nutshell, “constitutional” sheriffs pick and choose the laws they enforce based on their own personal feelings and beliefs about what counts as “constitutional” and believe they are accountable to no one. How is this different from a monarchy or tyranny? This ideology is the opposite of our true constitutional system of law and order, which assures that one set of rules applies to everyone and contains checks and balances ensuring accountability of each and every individual.

3. Does Sheriff Snaza acknowledge the county commissioners as his bosses? Has he or does he plan to apologize to them for his inappropriate rage and aggression to their quite reasonable questions about his budget? Is this an example of a belief that he is not accountable to anyone? To whom does he believe he’s accountable? It chills me to think that Sheriff Snaza would lose control and behave in such an explosive way to his bosses — his bosses! Let’s not forget, as sheriff, he literally has the power of life and death over others. Do we really expect someone who would behave so abusively toward those with power over him to behave any better toward those with less power than he? This question needs an answer.

I urge the Chronicle to up its game in reporting on this race. You have an obligation to your  readers to educate and inform. You still have time before the election to improve your reporting on the many important issues involved in the race for sheriff that you have neglected to address for months. No more questions about jet skis please. Please report on this race with the seriousness it deserves.


LL Hauer


Editor’s Note: The Chronicle News Dump podcast can be found at www.chronline.com/podcasts.