A candidate for the Ventura County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday accused two law enforcement unions of trying to "take the election away from the people" for endorsing a rival candidate without interviewing others first.
Kathy Long, who is running for a seat being vacated by Supervisor Maggie Kildee, criticized the leadership of the Deputy Sheriff's Assn. and the Deputy District Attorneys Assn. for endorsing Fillmore Councilman Roger Campbell.
"To issue an endorsement without any legitimate or fair process is wrong," said Long, who works as an assistant to Kildee. "I question the integrity of what essentially was a behind-closed-doors, rubber-stamp exercise designed to take this election away from the people."
Long pointed out that the official filing period to run for county supervisor opens Friday and closes in late December. She said that at the very least, the unions should have waited to see if other candidates were planning to enter the race.
"Abe Lincoln could file tomorrow, so they wouldn't support him?" she said.
Representatives for the two unions could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Campbell, however, shrugged off Long's comments as campaign rhetoric.
"I don't understand how the unions endorsing me is going to take the election away," he said. "The voters are still going to make their own decision in the March 26 election."
He said the unions endorsed him because of his long history of support for those agencies during his 10 years on the Fillmore City Council.
Other candidates in the race include Al Escoto--another Kildee aide and a former Santa Paula city councilman--and Camarillo Mayor Mike Morgan.
Kildee's district stretches from Fillmore to Camarillo. The supervisor announced earlier this year that she will retire at the end of her term in 1996.