I’d like to share with you my experience with Sheriff Antinoro. My name is Laura DeSimone and I have lived in the Highlands since 1978. With the exception of a few years in Reno, I’ve been here pretty much my whole life. I went to all three schools in Virginia City, my parents were active members of this community including the volunteer fire department, the women’s auxiliary, and my dad’s two terms as President of the VCHPOA.
I had no intention of getting involved in the politics of Storey County until I began to see some of the manipulative tactics that were being used against my neighbors – for me, that started with the “town hall” meeting last April. And even then, it wasn’t about politics for me, it was about doing the right thing. This was the first time I had ever spoken to the Sheriff.
Since that time, I’ve gotten to know Sheriff Antinoro personally and I’ve closely observed him professionally. I can tell you with certainty that he loves the people of this county. He is a committed law enforcement officer who has admittedly made mistakes in his past and will make mistakes in his future – just like the rest of us. He has felt the judgment and condemnation of the influences outside of this community and of the few in this county who seem to view him as some sort of threat. And yet he still loves his job and wants to serve his friends and neighbors here.
Sheriff Antinoro is a controversial person, there’s no doubt about that, but I believe it’s not for the reasons that have been suggested. He’s controversial because he challenges the order of things in this county. He’s controversial because he doesn’t play along to get along. He is controversial because his main objective is to uphold the law irrespective of who you are, what you do, how much you have, or how long you’ve been here. He applies it equally to all which is why he is so often targeted.
There is an obvious effort to drum up fear of and anger toward the Sheriff. It appears the strategy is to nitpick every possible error, turn it into a crime or some other unforgivable offense, and then solicit an emotional response, superseding any reasoning or rationale that one might apply to the facts of the matter. The desperation to pull people into one corner or the other is palpable. Phrases like “scared to death of retaliation,” “brave and helpless citizens,” and “mistreatment of women,” are uttered loudly and frequently, perhaps hoping that we will have knee-jerk reactions and form an angry mob, rushing to the nearest voting booth. I give a lot more credit to my friends and neighbors than to think that they’d be taken in by this rhetoric.
Now, time for full disclosure. Gerald Antinoro and I are engaged to be married. Our wedding will take place this coming April. I am well aware of all the dirt that has been dished on this man, all the rumors and speculation, all the gossip and the misperception. I’ve read the investigative reports and all the documentation on the Recall Antinoro website with an open mind and a healthy dose of skepticism. I then asked honest and direct questions and I got straight answers. I used my brain to separate the facts from the fiction which has been added to create the narrative that’s being forcefully presented to us as absolute, unquestionable truth.
In these candid and, at times, difficult conversations with Sheriff Antinoro, it became clear to me that while he isn’t perfect, he’s a good man whose character is being maligned for the sake of power. You might not come to the same conclusion that I have, but I suspect that if you consider all the facts, you’ll see through the dramatic embellishments and exaggerations that have been used to hurt and disrupt
our friendly community. At least then you might be closer to finding the truth. I urge you to read those documents for yourself if you haven’t already. I encourage you to ask lots of questions and get answers from the appropriate source. Seek understanding. It takes time and effort, but it’s worth it.
The bottom line is, this is my home and I love this place, and all the people in it, with all my heart. What I don’t love, in fact, what I absolutely hate, is the division and strife that I see among the members of this county. I hate the increasing negativity that has intensified and exploded out of proportion – all for the sake of control, not community. We are worth so much more than this.
So, I have a petition.
Let’s rise above the politics-as-usual that has drawn us away from each other and remember that we are ALL human beings worthy of respect. We are ALL flawed. And I believe, we ALL love being members of Storey. Let’s keep in mind that not one of us has a right to judge another person. Let’s communicate with each other, keep open minds and listen. Let’s have courage to stand up and speak when we see the promotion of an “us vs. them” mentality. Let’s open our eyes and recognize any attempts to manipulate our perspective in order to further an agenda. Let’s honestly and objectively evaluate the facts – all of them, not just those that are selectively fed to us or those that are convenient for one side or the other – and do our due diligence to come to our own conclusions.
And most importantly, let’s forgive each other’s offenses and shortcomings, because we can and because it’ll go a long way toward the healing that our county needs after such division.
This is who we truly are as a community. Let’s live like it.
Soon-to-be Mrs. Antinoro