Is the Griffith Campaign Being Harassed?


May 3, 2014

Most folks in Forsyth County have had been witness to the awesomeness of the Dave Griffith for Sheriff Traveling Light Show.  Spear-headed by volunteer David Carleton, the sign has been actively visiting Forsyth County locales since the Forsyth County GOP convention where it made it’s debut.  Carleton and his crew of dedicated volunteers can be seen as early as 5:00 AM in strategic spots, at local events, and at polling locations.

Yesterday, May 2, 2014, retired State Trooper, Sgt. Rodney Robles was assigned to spread the Griffith message and captain the Traveling Light Show.  Out at 5:00 AM, by mid morning Robles was parked and visible from I-40 Business and Main Street Winston Salem.   

Shortly thereafter, Winston Salem Police showed up.  Someone called
in the sign location and suggested that it was causing a traffic
problem.  Long story short, the mobile sign was not illegal, everything was
fine and the Dave Griffith Message continued flashing “Vote Griffith for Sheriff.”

After lunch, a Winston Salem Journal photographer approached the Traveling Light Show asking to take pictures for a possible article.  Later, Winston Salem Journal reporter John Hinton telephoned Robles and interviewed him over the phone.  Hinton started the interview in a tone that Robles perceived as aggressive.  Specifically, the first question out of Hinton’s mouth was whether Robles or the Griffith campaign had applied for “proper” permission to use the sign through DOT and the Winston Salem PD.  He went on to question Robles about how long he’d been at his current location, where else in Forsyth County had the sign been displayed, and where was the  next destination.  When asked why was he volunteering for Dave Griffith, Robles responded, “Hate to answer a question with a question, but why is any of this important.”

As a current sworn law enforcement officer with 30+ years experience, Robles thought the questions inappropriate, irrelevant to a substantive interview, and oddly “police” like coming from a newspaper reporter.  Not taken off guard, Retired Sgt. Robles, schooled the reporter on permitting requirements as they pertained to mobile signs.

Realizing quickly that the Journal Reporter was atttempting to intimidate and/or cause trouble for the Griffith campaign, Sgt. Robles asked the reporter if  his contact was related to the Winston Salem Journal endorsement of incumbent Bill Schatzman for Sheriff.  The reporter quickly backed off and stated that the Journal newsroom did not participate in the Schatzman endorsement.  (I know…that’s funny huh)   After a short speech from Robles on the 1st Amendment, Hinton quickly ended the conversation saying he had decided not to do the story.


Now, I don’t know about you, but this situation has got me to thinking.   For instance.  Why did the Winston Salem Journal approach a Griffith sign volunteer with these aggressive questions?  Why would they care whether we had permits or not?   Could this be a juvenile attempt at investigative reporting?  If so, besides being strange, wouldn’t it be rather silly and stupid to investigate an electronic political sign when there is so much REAL investigating that needs doing at FCSO?   Why would the newspaper be concerned about this particular sign considering the many electronic billboards along Business 40 including the flashy Winston Salem Dash Electronic billboard?  The Winston Salem Journal has shown little interest and run NO articles on other electronic signs that I know of,  yet Griffith’s average everyday mobile political electronic sign has piqued their interest?  We KNOW the Journal endorsed Schatz. The sign that has grabbed their attention is advertising Dave Griffith, the opponent to the Journal’s chosen candidate. 

Is it possible that Schatz is using the power of his office, his relationship with the Journal, to intimidate another candidate?  Did our Sheriff sic this reporter on a Griffith volunteer?  Clearly the reporter had no idea that the volunteer was going to be well informed, law abiding, SWORN law enforcement officer until after he put his foot in it.  

Who called the police?  Was it a seriously concerned citizen or is this connected to the Sheriff’s campaign operations?  
IF, the incumbent is using the power of his office to INTIMIDATE CITIZEN VOLUNTEERS on competing campaigns, he should be ashamed.  And for heavens sake, if he is going to intimidate citizens, he might try to avoid picking on a State Trooper whose wife will peck him to death on her political blog.    
Strangely enough, it appears the incumbent has procured his own mobile sign in the last few days.  It is reported that the Schatzman volunteers are driving around with his sign lit up and flashing as they are moving from location to location.  The Griffith Campaign sign doesn’t travel state roads with our lights flashing.  That behavior, dear Sheriff, is a misdemeanor.  Since we KNOW your team will not get a ticket for committing this infraction, maybe you can punish yourself for breaking the law with a few days off….
Copyright©Sandra Robles 

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