Will the real Jefferson County please stand up?

Posted 10/9/19

Jefferson County loves a little weirdness and good-humored parody.

If you and your club members want to wear masks, murmur over secret handshakes and carve coded mottos on your treehouse, go for …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Will the real Jefferson County please stand up?


Jefferson County loves a little weirdness and good-humored parody.

If you and your club members want to wear masks, murmur over secret handshakes and carve coded mottos on your treehouse, go for it. Call yourself Minister of Justice of the Rongovian Embassy for all we care.

But when you spread oil on the sidewalk and pour sand in the gears? Then it’s time for grown-ups to step in.

Regarding Joe D’Amico’s “Jefferson County Washington” Facebook spoof, the constitutionally elected government of Jefferson County has for too long taken the course of indulgent appeasement instead of stiffening its spine to deliver a little tough love.

With the official county Facebook page finally operating, it’s time to make clear there is just one Jefferson County government, and shut down D’Amico’s taunt that he’s in charge in these parts.

He’s not elected. He’s accountable to nobody, yet he opened the “Jefferson County Washington” Facebook page in 2012and made it look like any other county government page.

It was perfectly legal and was a funny prank...for about a day.

It got a lot less funny when the Jefferson County Commission hid behind the County Administrator, who in 2017 was sent out to murmur about D’Amico’s free speech rights. What about the concerns of the other 31,000 residents of this county?

What D’Amico is doing now amounts to a kind of “domain squatting,” the bad faith act of buying, registering and using internet addresses that take advantage of someone else’s trademark or name for your own purposes.

If a slip along the Cascadia Subduction Zone triggers the big quake emergency experts fret about, confusion between the real Jefferson County and the fake one is the last thing the other 31,000 of us need.

Residents seeking information about where to evacuate will want the right stuff and within seconds.

What they don’t need is to spend minutes scrolling through a fake Facebook page only to learn it’s someone trolling the county government. Ho. Ho.

Stand up, Jefferson County.

To your credit, when D’Amico sued in 2009 over an open records infraction, and won, you correctly internalized the ruling: he has property rights and first and second amendment rights. Even if the groupthink hereabouts dislikes his brand of survivalist entrepreneurship, he gets equal treatment under the law.

But Jefferson County has overreacted: The way to counter the blizzard of lawsuits and bluster from D’Amico’s Ministers of Justice isn’t to slam the county commission doors, take every conversation off the record and cave in to his demand for in-private “mediation” every time he issues a new communique about zoning rules.

No. The correct lesson is to carefully and respectfully work in plain view, protecting his rights no more or less carefully than those of the other 31,000 of us.

This has the added benefit of putting him and his ambassadors on the record. Will he accept neighborly restrictions on shooting hours and bullet-catching back-stops? Does the U.S. military, owner of 11.4 million acres, need to train there? Why might that be? How about septic? Is he a hepatitis denier or will he treat the waters upstream of his neighbors?

To be sure, there are risks to governing in the open with a serial litigator, but Jefferson County’s closeted diplomacy with the shadow county has not yielded much in the way of results for the many.

Step out from behind that locked county commission door and onto the bully pulpit.

Take the sophomoric senior staff at Facebook to task for lacking the simple good judgment to prevent D’Amico’s protracted interference with emergency communication. For heaven’s sake, they “verified” a page that was built to troll county government.

If D’Amico has the contracts he claims to have with the U.S. Government and high-end retailers, appeal directly to them to end this interference in the normal operations of the constitutional government of Jefferson County.

It’s time for the real Jefferson County to stand up.

And it’s time for D’Amico’s Ministry of Information to stand down, renaming its Facebook page something less deceptive, like “Jefferson County Rally Point.”

Keeping “Jefferson County Washington” open looks less prankish and more like the early chapters of a doomsday fantasy in which the system slowly crafted by geniuses like Madison, Jefferson and Franklin will in a moment of crisis be replaced by a shadow government slapped together by “Blake Matson” and “Joe Tantori,” the heroes of the prepper guidebooks cranked out by D’Amico’s Attorney-General-in-Waiting.

-Dean Miller

(The Leader’s Editorials are the opinion of the Editorial Board: Publisher Lloyd Mullen; co-owner Louis Mullen; Editor Dean Miller and Leader readers who lobby The Leader. Each editorial is signed by the person who writes that editorial on behalf of the Editorial Board.)


3 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • MargeS

    Joe D'Amico has been part of JC for quite some time. His business in Discovery Bay was not a welcome addition to the community. Too much noise for that particularly quiet area of our county. The county has had many altercations with Joe over the years. He and his family lived in PT for some time, a nice family.

    Now it's a different time & place but the disruptions caused by his business is still causing problems. After reading about the "hero" of the book about survivalists I can see where he is coming from. I live within twenty miles of Indian Island, if they are targeted I will not be a survivor nor most of populated Jefferson County. It seems we live in the "Make America Fear" again times. Thanks for the editorial, something all who live in Jefferson County should ponder.

    Wednesday, October 9, 2019 Report this

  • Micmul

    What I like about this story is that it’s author has signed his name to it. Taking responsibility for ones opinion, news story or website is a very American thing to do. It is honest and democratic. The founding fathers set an example for us by signing the Declaration of Independence. They did so at the risk of their fortunes and their lives. The least we can do as citizens of this country is to be honest about our identity when offering opinion, news or a website. Any website should be honest about its purpose and it’s sponsors. Anything else is trickery.

    Sunday, October 20, 2019 Report this

  • Justin Hale

    " not a welcome addition to the community."..... Marge, don't presume that your voice is the voice of the community, it's certainly not my voice.

    " Too much noise for that particularly quiet area of our county"...... There are restrictions for D'Amico's business in the cities of JC, there are restrictions in areas such as Cape George, Kala Pt., Ludlow and many others, now according to you areas that are "quiet" are also off limits??? Be honest Marge, if you had your way you would probably just prohibit businesses like D'Amico's.

    So far I've got you down as anti- second amendment, anti-immigration laws and now for prohibiting businesses you disagree with.

    ""Make America Fear" again ".....Yes, I do fear that Your voice WILL become the voice of America.

    Sunday, October 27, 2019 Report this