Though most of us are residents of El Paso County, few are likely aware of a nasty little "secret" among us, in full daylight, involving one of this county's most prominent political figures.
The best way to describe it is simple: We have two sheriffs. Both are named Terry Maketa. Yet their personalities are so completely different, you wonder if the guy who has served in office since 2002 might have an identical twin brother.
Yes, Maketa is the calm, take-charge leader who stepped in from the start of the Black Forest Fire, did all he could to jump-start the firefighting effort, showed compassion for the victims and gratitude for everyone who volunteered to help, and made it clear that he would continue battling for faster responses in the future, especially mobilizing air support.
Maketa also had made positive impressions during and after the Waldo Canyon Fire, admitting some mistakes had been made and agreeing that a third-party review would help in applying the lessons from that catastrophe.
In fact, he came away from the Waldo fire with enough of a boost in public support that he deftly pushed through his own $17 million ballot issue last November, solely to produce more money for his department.
Now, in the Black Forest aftermath, Maketa has found himself mentioned as the Republicans' best hope for governor in 2014. (He's term-limited as sheriff.) And even though the Gazette recently quoted him as saying he would not run for higher office next year, Maketa quickly responded with a rebuttal in the Independent and a post on his Facebook site (facebook.com/maketaforsheriff). Here's part of the post, which you don't have to be a "friend" to view:
The gazette mis spoke and mis represented my words. ... I clearly told him I may change my mind at some point but that I didn't see that happening. ... Shame on the Gazette for their misrepresentation and sensationalism.
It came as no big surprise that Maketa would want to keep his options open. But some other comments on Maketa's Facebook page left a different taste. In regard to being on the cover of the National Rifle Association magazine's August issue with other sheriffs, he wrote: What an honor to stand with those that are often viewed as America's last hope.
And then there were these excerpts (not edited except for ellipses between segments) about a president and state senator:
First Bengahzi, then the IRS scandal, the DOJ scandal and now the Feds under the leadership of President Obama, want to trump up a case against George Zimmerman. ... This incident was a tradgety but the fact remains there was no evidence of racism, there was no "hate crime evidence". Yet our tax payer dollars will be used to pursue a head hunting mission. ... The president should show some unbiased leadership for a change. He should also be impeached.
Our president is an embarrassment to our free society and so are his puppets.
It's no surprise some members of the media and especially the liberals including Senator [John] Morse, are attempting to portray me as playing to the "extremist" of conservatives. This was obviously very predictable and expected.
After watching this [YouTube] video, I'm even more disappointed in the media and their bias with the Zimmerman case but more frustrated and disappointed is the behavior by [Attorney General Eric] Holder and Obama who showed no leadership and fueled their agenda and contributed to misleading facts. Both should be investigated for hate crimes and their racial bias, misuse of power, the IRS and DOJ scandal and the death of Americans in Benghazi.
President Obama should be so proud, as his efforts are destroying this nation. We must never forget that evil prospers when good people do nothing. Doing nothing is the greatest threat to our future and that of our children.
Those statements, and more, have made their way around the social media landscape, in some cases having been "liked" by more than 1,000 people. By advocating for impeachment of our president and clearly equating Obama to evil, Maketa looks ready to incite the masses.
In fact, it makes you wonder if we're about to have a recall vote for the wrong elected official.