Once a Libertarian candidate for legislature, CAMERON told me on November 20, 2013 that he thought Michelle O'Connell's death was a suicide (four days before The New York Times article) and said he had read all of the "evidence" in Sheriff SHOAR's boxes. CAMERON's hick hack Machiaveillian dirty tricks were exposed in a perceptive 2004 article by reporter Michael Reed in The St. Augustine Record!
Read all about it!
When I spoke to JERRY CAMERON last year, he claimed that he did not remember running for state legislature in 2004 as a Libertarian.
Yes, he did.
CAMERON also claimed that the controversial St. Johns County Charter was only on the ballot once in 2008 -- it was on TWICE, once on the Primary ballot (it failed) and once on the General election ballot (it failed).
I reckon Jerry Cameron at 71 lacks the mental acuity and ability to remember, recall and relate needed for serve as a County Commissioner. He's an opportunist without much of a moral compass.
And the dirty tricks revealed in this article -- closing the County Commission race -- shows his Machiavellian streak. CAMERON helped to create a closed 2004 Republican primary resulting in the election of developer-driven candidate BRUCE MAGUIRE, thereby disenfranchising tens of thousands of Demcorats and Independents (because he did not like Mary Kohnke, whom he called "too Democratic," whatever that is supposed to mean)(.
So does his order for the execution of a little dog, Cyrus, in 2010.
Color JERRY CAMERON a phony, a hick hack, a mean old man, funded by developers, and one who is not to be trusted.
Former police chief Jerry Cameron has always done things his own way
Published Monday, March 01, 2004
JERRY CAMERON, former police chief of Fernandina Beach and local political mover, is currently running for state Rep. Doug Wiles' seat in District 20. 'Books are my passion,' said Cameron, a self-proclaimed 'student of moral and political philosophy.'
Jerry Cameron has always taken his own path.
In Fernandina Beach as police chief, he used western-style "wanted" posters to catch criminals. In St. Johns County, he supported a Democrat even though he was a Republican to spoil County Commissioner Mary Kohnke's re-election in 2002.
Disenchanted, he recently left the Republican Party to become a Libertarian because he said his former party is shifting from its principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism. The Republican establishment thinks he's a renegade, he said.
So far, Cameron will face Republican Wiley Deck, U.S. Rep. John Mica's district representative, for state Rep. Doug Wiles' seat in the Florida House. Other candidates may still file. Wiles can't seek re-election because of term limits.
Cameron said he looks forward to the challenge, and his campaign will be aggressive.
"What is missing in government is common sense," Cameron said.
Cameron said he has a philosophical approach to politics. He quotes Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine. His living room is filled with books he uses to make quick references to enforce points.
America is founded on a principle that "man is sovereign," he said. And man, he said, can only reach his full potential when he's free.
"To every extent that we infringe on that concept, we diminish the effect of that principle," Cameron said.
Government is an organization that will execute you over a parking ticket, he said.
You get a ticket and refuse to pay. A policeman tells you you're going to jail, but you refuse to move. You fight your hardest to resist, and police have to use deadly force.
"Every single thing that government does is done with coercive force," Cameron said. "People say that's not true, but it is true."
He resigned from the St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee in October because, he said, he was exposed to the inner workings of local party officials. He said he mentioned his potential bid for the Florida Legislature and didn't like the response.
"They are only interested in my ability to get elected, and not what I would do if I am elected," Cameron said.
But Marty Robinson, chairwoman of the Executive Committee, said Cameron got a fair shake.
She and Cameron discussed issues, such as legalizing drugs, which are not supported by the Republican Party, she said. Robinson suggested that Cameron's political views had shifted from the traditional Republican platform but said the party has not shifted from its traditional values.
Cameron, Fernandina Beach police chief for seven years, said he developed his political beliefs in the late 1980s during an ethics course offered by the FBI.
Hoyt Johns, who went from patrolman to sergeant to captain under Cameron's tenure, said Cameron was always a cop's cop.
Johns said he thought Cameron was reckless at times because he would put himself on the "front lines" of law enforcement. Chiefs don't usually do that, Johns said.
"He never asked us to do anything he wouldn't do," Johns said, adding that Cameron led by example.
"He had the respect of the police department and the citizens, and that's hard to do," Johns said.
Green Cove Springs Police Chief Gail Russell also worked with Cameron in Fernandina. He said Cameron is brilliant.
"He was my mentor. Great visionary," Russell said.
Cameron was known for the unorthodox programs he used to fight crime. He would place "wanted" posters in neighborhoods if the police department had a warrant for a suspect.
Cameron said he believes that told the community the police were aggressively fighting drug activity.
Russell said Cameron's tactics and methods worked, and he was always coming up with new ideas. "He's on the cutting edge," Russell said.
But Cameron worried that all he did was displace the criminals. He said they simply moved out of Fernandina Beach, but that didn't bother him too much.
"I didn't have any difficulty seeing where my paycheck was coming from," Cameron said.
He said he attacked the drug problem by arresting dealers as well as buyers, who were often white people driving into minority communities from other neighborhoods.
But nationally, the war on drugs has been a failure, he said. No matter how many dealers are arrested, someone is ready to take their place, he said. It's a principle of economics that should have been learned during Prohibition, he said. The country needs an entirely different strategy, he said.
"This is decades of failed policy," Cameron said.
Instead of an emphasis on general prohibition, lawmakers could really make it tough for someone selling drugs to minors, he said. And through regulation, the government can raise money for treatment programs and education, he said.
"I say that as someone that was actively on the front line in the war on drugs," Cameron said.
Cameron's "common-sense government" perspective of the War on Drugs is part of the principles he developed as a student of moral and political philosophy. When issues are based in principle, the outcomes are generally positive, he said.
Cameron sells himself as someone who worked inside government for 17 years. Other than police chief, he served as an interim city manager and a public works director.
He said he has seen what works and what doesn't. Government fails when it tries to do too much, he said.
In St. Johns County, Cameron influenced a County Commission election because he felt the incumbent Republican candidate, Mary Kohnke, was too Democratic. He supported his friend Doug Laidlaw by raising money and encouraging him to run.
Laidlaw, running as a Democrat, closed the primaries by entering the race. Kohnke faced Republicans Judy Ham and Bruce Maguire. Maguire ultimately won.
"I didn't feel like this country needed another four years of her (Mary Kohnke)," Cameron said.
Kohke said Cameron disenfranchised Democratic voters because Laidlaw was not a viable candidate. She said it was a dirty trick and Democrats should remember that on Election Day.
"I think it was a terrible disservice to the Democrats in St. Johns County," Kohnke said.
Laidlaw is now a Libertarian, too, and says Cameron's integrity goes unmatched.
"I just think Jerry would be a great elected official," Laidlaw said.
Cameron originally thought about running for the St. Johns Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Marc Jacalone had been contemplating a run for Wiles' District 20 House seat.
Jacalone, a Republican, said he looked at the job requirements of a state representative and decided he couldn't be as effective as he wanted. He's running for re-election to his county seat.
He said Cameron would be a great representative, but is disappointed he switched parties.
"He's disenchanted for some reason with the Republican Party," Jacalone said.
Cameron characterizes Jacalone as a good friend who has done his best to control the growth of government.
They also have business dealings: Cameron traded four lots on State Road A1A for a service station Jacalone owned. Cameron said it allowed him to defer capital gains taxes until the station is sold, and he said he'll probably sell it to one of the employees and get out of the business.
He's busy as the new chairman of the Libertarian Party of St. Johns County and as the at-large district representative of the party's state executive committee. He said he may be asked to speak at the party's national convention in Atlanta in May.
St. Johns County has 220 registered Libertarians. Cameron said the goal is 400 by the end of the summer and believes he'll bring more people to the party.
"The candidacy is definitely energizing people, particularly disaffected Republicans," Cameron said.
Historically, the Libertarian Party has struggled in elections -- always battling uphill and winning only a fraction of the votes.
They ran a candidate in every state House race in 2002, but none were elected. Cameron knows this but said the party's chances are better now.
Deck has never run for office. But he has worked for Mica for 10 years, and has experience with organizing a multi-county campaign.
Cameron knows this and said he will enjoy the contest. Deck called Cameron a friend.
Cameron said he will present the truth in his campaign -- an effort that he said will be energetic and aggressive. He said he wants to move power away from Tallahassee and closer to residents.
Ultimately, he said his objective is to leave the world a little better than he found it.
"I am determined to make a difference, be it elected or in the capacity of a citizen, which in our country is the highest office," Cameron said.