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Enemy Within Strikes at Josephine County's Home Rule Charter

"Pancake Juries" Bow to Authority Figure







By Investigative Reporter
John Taft

November 17, 2014

Josephine County, Oregon —Has the Daily Courier's Editor, Kevin Widdison, reached a new low in publishing? On November 2nd, 2014 the front-page headline appeared to have been written to influence the reader to vote against Sheriff Gil Gilbertson. The article provided no proof of lying or supplying misleading information to the voters by Gilbertson. The headline and story were positioned as a front page top-center article. The headline entitled, “The Sheriff's Changing Resume,” ran in half-inch bold print. Which is unusual for a story written around wishful thinking. The paper used a printout from a 2006 and 2014 edition of the voter's pamphlet. A statement claimed Gilbertson didn't submit the same information for the two voter pamphlets regarding his work history and experience. The Courier also claimed these two issues have been “hot topics” during the campaign.

Is Editor Widdison a good fit for Grants Pass?

Now ask yourself, why would Kevin Widdison want to attempt to fix the Sheriff's horse race in favor of the horse he endorsed? And do so by manipulating the headlines on an investigative article by Melissa McRobbie? The article came up with absolutely no proof of wrongdoing by Sheriff Gilbertson. It appears that in desperation, Editor Widdison used suggestive headlines to create the impression of wrongdoing by Gilbertson. The only wrongdoing, however, was in Widdison's head! So now we have headlines that suggest something the article does not deliver. Whose policy is this? John Voorhies and Dennis Mac's? Or did Editor Widdison act on his own volition to carry out a personal agenda? Perhaps this is the agenda of a cabal within the Daily Courier? Maybe Widdison is a proverbial loose canon?

If Editor Widdison had proof of wrongdoing by Gilbertson the headline would have read, “Sheriff tells lies in Voters Pamphlet.” Now, there is a headline that deserves a front page position with big bold half-inch print. Lacking this, what does the Courier's editor do? In this case, he summons the dark specter of the underworld: The Shadow of Doubt.

Always a good thing to do to flesh out a story that lacks substance. The Courier appears to have done an intensive background check on Gilbertson in hopes of finding something of an incendiary nature. Unfortunately, from its point of view, the facts weren't there to allow the story to stand on its own merits.

Is Deputy Rarey, Dave Daniel's albatross?

I recently spoke to Editor Widdison about this article and he showed no remorse and defended the piece. He commented that they investigated and let the chips fall where they may. I then asked Widdison if he knew about the Sean Rarey photo published on He told me he hadn't seen the photo. The photo shows a questionable shot of Rarey with his hand on a woman’s leg while holding a brown bottle in his other hand. Sean Rarey is a deputy sheriff in Josephine County and head of the sheriff's employee's union. It appears that Deputy Rarey has close ties with newly elected Sheriff Dave Daniel. This is a relationship that must be “called in for questioning,” and the information made public. Should Rarey be fired? Has the sheriff's union protected Rarey in the past from termination? Will Daniel protect a union member from being fired for malfeasance? If the Courier was really a community newspaper they would look into such questions.

Is the Daily Courier devoid of ethics?

One of the tenants of the legal system in the United States is that a man is innocent until proven guilty. And then to be proven guilty it must be beyond a reasonable doubt. The article failed to prove Sheriff Gilbertson was guilty of any wrongdoing. To print an unfounded article that can destroy a man's reputation and credibility within the community is unethical. Apparently John Voorhies, Dennis Mack and Kevin Widdison just don't care about ethics. You think?

Editor and publisher ready to go to war with community?

Do the owner, publisher, and editor of the Daily Courier want to go to war with a segment of the community who are calling for a boycott and picketing of the paper? There are many good folks working for the paper who have families to support. These folks have no control over management's decisions. The paper is already struggling to survive. When The Daily Courier drops publication from 6 days to 5 days a week, and then decides the great American tradition that the Sunday comics have to go, and subscriptions fall like rain, you know there's trouble in River City. Yes, big trouble upstairs at 409 7th Street, Grants Pass, Oregon.

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Our community needs a good community newspaper, a paper that has the best interests of the community and it's employees at heart. Not one that carries out personal vendettas and character assassination that many readers feel is taking place now. While this article is being written it is rumored that picketing of the Daily Courier will begin this week. The Daily Courier needs to quickly address this issue to retain any sort of credibility within Josephine County.

[Breaking News: A group of retired veterans plan a demonstration in front of the Daily Courier's headquarters on 7th and I street. This will take place on Monday, the 17th of November, from Noon to 1 PM]

� 2014 John Taft - All Rights Reserved

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John Taft former president of Josephine County, OR. Taxpayers Association is presently an investigative reporter for the US-Observer and He has had many years of broadcasting, news writing and reporting experience. He also has written a popular conservative newsletter for a taxpayers organization to inform the public on taxing issues.




I recently spoke to Editor Widdison about this article and he showed no remorse and defended the article. He commented that they investigated and let the chips fall where they may. I then asked Widdison if he knew about the Sean Rarey photo published on He told me he hadn't seen the photo.