Return of Roorda

30 Jul

After he was defeated 54%-46% by Paul Wieland in the 2014 state senate race, one might have thought that former Democrat representative Jeff Roorda would go away from politics. After all, as business manager of the St. Louis police union, he has carved out a niche as the go-to guy when the cable news networks want someone to come on and defend police, no matter how egregious their conduct.

But no, he is back. He has announced he will be running for County Council district 4 in 2016. That is the seat currently held by Republican George Engelbach. Here is Roorda’s press release. Let’s break it down.

First of all, his official announcement will be at Detours Restaurant in Imperial on August 18 if anyone (including Ferguson-related protestors) want to attend.

As you can see, he is going to lean heavily on his public safety record in his campaign, with his work as a cop and his stints on local fire and ambulance boards and on a related House committee. He also calls himself a “nationally recognized police spokesman” who “sets the record straight” on issues like Ferguson and Baltimore. Of course, his police-related record can be used against him, jujitsu-style. Recall that he was fired from the Arnold PD. Note also that he was replaced as lead spokesperson against a St. Louis civilian review board proposal due to his incendiary conduct. He also had to delete his Twitter account after gaining national notoriety for his ‘police are never wrong’ stances on the news shows.

He then rips on the current council:

“I strongly supported the county charter and the creation of the county council, but by-and-large, the folks that have served on the council have been overly concerned with petty squabbles and advancing the narrow self interests of a small handful of supporters,” he said. “They’ve done nothing to bring jobs to Jefferson County or to improve our local schools or to make Jefferson County a safer place to live. In fact, they’ve taken the county in the opposite direction on these critical issues.”

First of all, what does the county council have to do with schools? Learn the duties of the job you are seeking, Jeff. Second, the main impediment to job development in JeffCo, I would say, is overly onerous planning, zoning, and permitting. We have seen several potential businesses shot down because they could not get clearance from the council (due to Democrats, wishy-washy councilman Jim Terry, and absences of potential ‘yes’ votes from meetings). Will Roorda help alleviate that? I am skeptical.

Let’s talk about safety in JeffCo. We currently have a sheriff, Glenn Boyer, who thinks he is beyond reproach and oversight. He will be retiring in 2016, but if he gets his way, his #2 man, Steve Meinberg, will take his place. This presents an opportunity to deflate the department’s balloon. A civilian review board with teeth would be nice. But a councilman Roorda would only push to give the sheriff’s office more money, more power (to do things like non-DWI compliance checkpoints), and less oversight.

Of course, no Roorda statement can be complete without an attack. He says that Engelbach, who has not said if he’s running again or not, is from Hillsboro, which is “at the southern tip of the district far removed from the population centers of the district in Barnhart and Imperial.” Do we really think the issues in Hillsboro are so different from those in Barnhart? It’s not like this is Chicago vs. downstate Illinois here. Plus, Hillsboro (which is smaller) grew 68% from 2000 to 2010, while Barnhart shrank and Imperial only grew slightly.

Roorda goes on to say that “Engelbach became the subject of national attention when he defended then Congressman Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments in 2012.” You may recall that Roorda ridiculously tried to tie Wieland to Akin as well. The “national attention” Roorda speaks of was limited to far-left sites, as opposed to Roorda’s own brand of national attention, which was much more widespread. Also, here’s a quote from Engelbach:

[Akin] had a statement that he made, and I’m not defending that. I’m saying I forgive him.

So that’s not quite in line with what Roorda claims. But that is typical of Roorda’s attacks.

Recall that Engelbach has already defeated one former legislator. In 2012, he beat Democratic Rep. Tim Meadows 51%-49% to win his current seat.

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