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Letter to the Public

It seems I have inadvertently been making the local news lately and would like to clarify what is true and what isn’t. I’ve been called a bigot, a racist and have been accused of promoting violence. None of this is true. I believe another claim was something about me making $75,000 a year. On an average year, I make around $15,000 or so from the Sheriff’s Office. The public may not understand that most of the money in the contract is earmarked for emergencies, if the Emergency Operations Center opens, it’s not a steady monthly stream of income. If I don’t get called in, that contract money stays in the Sheriff’s budget and eventually goes back the County’s General Fund. Again, it’s unfortunate this type of misinformation comes from people who don’t research the subject matter.

All of this focus on me appears to stem from a recent request for proposal to continue as the Sheriff’s Office Social Media Manager which is a contract position.

Most of the confusion about who I am relates to a new Parler account I opened to explore and learn this new social media platform. I’d like to begin with the posts by Stef Ani who is https://www.facebook.com/stef.chenwelch.9 on Facebook. That account has very little information, so it’s unclear to me whether she is a resident of Mendocino or a fake profile. Regardless, it is obvious that her political views are vastly different than my own. And that is completely ok with me.

I’m sure our backgrounds are very different. Please allow me to give you some insight into mine which should shed some light on where I get the concerns I now have related to the need for more transparency in our government and election process. I was born in Egypt and came here with my parents and siblings many years ago after a very violent political regime change in Egypt. In 1956, 99.95% of Egyptian voters cast their ballots for Nassar, (to read more please go to history.com/.amp/this-da-in-history/Nasser-elected-president) who toppled the previous government in a military coup (while leading under 100 people). In that election his was the only name on the ballot. He immediately created a new constitution creating a single party socialist state. As a result of this coup, my parents witnessed much violence in the streets and worried for the safety of themselves and their children. Their property was confiscated and we were only allowed to leave the country with the equivalent of $50 US dollars.

My parents made the decision to come to the United States with four children on a refugee status. My father spoke four languages and not one of them was English. Both my parents went to night school and attended a class designed for Spanish speakers to learn English. I’d like to mention neither of my parents spoke Spanish either, but somehow with the help of the Italian they knew, learned enough English to not only assimilate, but thrive. Through a lot of hard work, they purchased a small restaurant in Ukiah and left that legacy to their children. In essence, our family’s version of the American Dream.

When I was growing up I heard that America was “The Melting Pot” of the world. People outside of our country were amazed at how so many different religions, cultures, races could come together and live in harmony. Did we have differences of opinion? Of course we did. But there were many times in my lifetime that you could engage in a debate with someone and end up sharing a meal with them at the end of the day. Sharing opposing viewpoints was seen as a way to expand everyone’s perspective and learn more about each other.

My Parler account is new and I’m still fumbling with it a bit. For those individuals that have never been on that platform, there is a mechanism called an “echo” which is like a retweet or share. The functionality is not yet equal to Facebook or Twitter so options to interact with the poster is limited. I follow many accounts that I don’t totally agree with, but they do share information that is difficult to find on other platforms. It’s also important to note that as a social media manager who acts as manager for other businesses, I need to stay current on new platforms. I’ve shared videos and online newspaper posts that I think more people should be exposed to. I don’t believe that there is such a thing as too much information. I believe the more information anyone has, the better decisions they can make. When I share a post it does not mean I agree with every one of their points but it might be interesting and beneficial to look at different perspectives.

When I shared the post about Rep. Rashida Tlaib, it was not because of the Mossad line that someone else had written above it (and incorrectly attributed to me), but to share the article she was in. I think it’s important for all Americans to know where all their representatives stand on issues. In the article in question, she was advocating for violence against Israel. To be clear, I’m against violence of all kinds.

My tenure with the Sheriff’s Office as an employee and later as a contractor has given me the opportunity to work with several Sheriffs. While certainly each was their own man, a commonality that each in their own way instilled in me was the importance of our Constitution. They reinforced my belief to respect and protect the Constitution and all the rights we too often take for granted.

Being a social media manager for so many years, I am very cognizant of everyone having the Freedom of Speech. Which is why this attack on my personal views really surprised me. It did bother me to a great degree that there are allegations floating around the internet that are completely unfounded. What you will not hear me saying is these posters have no right to speak in this manner even though I disagree with them.

I’m being called a racist, a bigot and worse. I’m a half Arab, half Greek woman, married to a Native American man. I have a son that converted to Islam about 15 years ago and married a Muslim woman and they have given us two beautiful grandsons. I also have two other children that are Greek Orthodox, one which will be baptizing their first born in a Christian Church as soon as that becomes possible again. My husband and I also have a beautiful granddaughter who is part Native American and part African American, two more that are part Native American. In our family everyone is equal and loved so I am not sure how I got labeled a racist? This is only possible through mass assumption with no personal knowledge of me or my family.

Yes, I worry about the lack of transparency in government because of my background I outlined above. I’m also troubled by so many people who jump to conclusions without many, or any, facts.

When I started handling the social media for the Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Allman gave me a lot latitude and trusted that I would post in a way that represented his way of thinking. Since around 2009, every post about every fire, every flood, every emergency was me behind the keyboard when most people thought it was Sheriff Allman.

Since Sheriff Kendall and I have not yet had the opportunity to spend years working together, I appreciate the time he’s provided for me to assist with the department’s community Public Service Announcements and the fact that, because I’m not in the Office but working remotely most of the time, I have Captain Greg Van Patten and Undersheriff Darren Brewster to work with me with department messaging.

I think it’s important to know that I’ve had a good relationship with CEO Angelo for quite some time. I was honored that CEO Angelo introduced me at a meeting in early 2020 in front of about 100 people as “the closest thing we have to a County PIO”. She also met with me prior to March of 2020 on a couple of occasions to discuss the possibility of her and I working together on a personal website for her and her personal social media. Because of her extremely time consuming (and continuing) role in the Covid epidemic, we’ve put off those talks, but I look forward to working with her in the future. She also approved a contract for me when the Covid pandemic hit us in early March so that I could train others on government agency social media tactics and strategy in the Mendocino County Department of Public Health and one of her Deputy CEOs. I worked with these two women for about two months and the three of us were focused on communicating public health messaging based on best practices known at the time. We also worked together to create and produce video and radio Public Safety Messages. None of us had a political agenda to push, so to be honest, for people to say they can’t trust me because of my political views is insulting.

To address masking concerns, I have never advocated that anyone not follow or comply with public health guidelines, including masking and social distancing. I do personally wear a mask in public and adhere to the social distancing guidelines. I have followed people on other platforms who do question the guidelines but just because you follow someone does not mean you agree with everything they say. There are times when someone posts something lengthy and perhaps I only agree with a portion of it, or they have a link attached that I think is something more people should see. If that link is worth sharing, I’ll share it. This is on my personal account of course.

At one time I managed the Facebook pages for the Mendocino Sheriff’s Office, the County of Mendocino and the Mendocino County Department of Public Health. I’d like to invite anyone to view these pages and let me know if I ever pushed any political agenda. In fact, there have been many years of me reading posts on government agency pages that are quite political in nature and I see part of my job to be getting people to separate politics from the emergency/incident at hand.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this and apologize that it was much longer than I had anticipated sending you, but it’s important to me that you know and understand who I am. I would also suggest you might reach out to the many people I have worked with over the years and I am sure they would verify I am not a racist or bigot, nor do I advocate violence against anyone. It’s also a sad time for me personally because in America everyone should be able to speak freely and not be afraid of being bullied into silence.

Respectfully submitted, Liz Barney

17 Comments

  1. Jonah Raskin December 14, 2020

    Liz Barney’s description of Egypt is sorely lacking. She neglects to say that the British invaded and occupied Egypt and made it a colony for the benefit of the Empire and not the Egyptian people. The Suez Canal didn’t belong to the Brits though they tried to control. It’s not surprising than the Egyptians wanted their canal back, much as the 13 original colonies wanted independence from King George. Has Barney forgotten the “Suez Crisis” when soldiers from Israel, France and Britain invaded Egypt? She goes on and on about violence, violence in the streets and violent political regime change. There was also violence in Virginia, Massachusetts and New York when the American revolutionaries battled the Brits and their hired troops. I think it was kind of the Egyptians to allow the Barney family to leave the country. Hurrah for her family’s ability to live the American Dream. Too bad it’s not available to the millions who have been forced to leave their homes in Guatamela, El Salvador, Mexico and elsewhere because of civil war. If Barney is against violence of all kinds what is she doing about the use of drones by the Trump administration, and American troops who are stationed around the world to protect American economic and political interests and not the interests of the people in those countries.

    • Marmon December 14, 2020

      I’d like to know her feelings about the “Black Lives Matter” movement and Antifa, not that it’s anyone’s business.

      Marmon

  2. Helen Sizemore December 13, 2020

    Sharing messages on social media implies agreement, UNLESS there is a qualifier which identifies the reason for sharing, ie: I agree or disagree or someone thinks this – what a surprise.

    Identifying the ethnicity of your family members and grandchildren is not a statement of open mindedness. Everyone loves their offspring and usually support their life choices.

    I think that transparency is valid and necessary, but when I read something which is racist, bigoted or socially unjust, I do NOT keep it moving around the internet.. it must die on my watch.

    • Marmon December 14, 2020

      RE: IMPLICATIONS

      Your implication is unfair.

      So what does being a Trump supporter imply? Does supporting Joe Biden imply that a person is a communist and therefore a Chinese operative out to destroy our Nation’s independence?

      Marmon

  3. Guy Pacurar December 13, 2020

    Liz, Wonderfully written. The feelings and thoughts you summarized here can be broadly applied to the general discourse that has been occuring across our country. I am sorry you have had to deal with this and appreciate your service to our county over the years.

    • Liz Evangelatos December 13, 2020

      Thank you Mr. Pacurar. I think if people across our country talked with others with different views and listened to what others have to say with an open mind, our society would be in a much better place.

      As far as serving in my capacity in local emergencies, I consider it an honor and privilege. Thank you.

  4. Mark Laszlo December 13, 2020

    I have second thoughts about a few things i said, Liz Barney.

    Based on your letter above here, my impression of you has not changed. I can’t believe you are a racist or a bigot, however i think a point or two on how not to be misconstrued need be made.

    While affirming all i’ve said, i think some of it is not relevant to your letter and should be posted separately.

    Yet i think, when sharing mat- erial we do not entirely agree with, if we strongly disagree with some of it, we should not fail to say what we do not agree with, or at least use partial quotes with 3 periods to show the quote is abridged and maybe also noting partial, unspecified disagreement with the source.

    If we do not do these things we can hardly blame others for thinking we agree with things we don’t.

    If we do not do these things we may be associated with people who bear views we may find abhorrent and people with views abhorrent to us may speak up for us, doubling bad though false associations.

    While i rake muck for some of the truth, the more of a source is abhorrent or of dubious veracity, the less likely i am to rake there and the more likely i am to watch and wait for a more credible source of the same information, with good evidence and reason to present it as truth, remember- ing my teacher Jay Peartree’s Maxim: “Don’t look for chewing gum in a chickenyard.”

    Parler exceeds my curiosity, since i read there is child porn there. Since you have an account and work for law enforcement, please see if that is true and tell us whether or not it is. If Parler allows child porn it should be shut down.

    Also, the point need be made that Israel is first and essentially not a state but a people, who yet in living memory, suffered a most ruthless, methodical, attempt to wipe out every one of them, good or bad, and that many make essential contribu- tions to knowledge and culture for all of humanity without pre- djudice is an incontrovertible fact.

    I am for BDS against the state of Israel because of it’s genocide of Palestinians and selfish inter- ference with American politics, but do not condemn Israel, be- cause that is to condemn every Jew, some of whom support Pal- estinian rights and do not inter- fere with the USA’s government.

    But the moment when someone condemns Israel, w/o making the distinction between people and state, is when bigotry begins, as abhorrent as it is against any people, as it is abhorrent to bear against Jews for being Jewish, from whose religion the maxims come “Do to others as you would have them do to you” and “What does God want, but for men to walk before Him humbly and love mercy.” No matter how entrenched and many are contradictions to those principles, or even valid exceptions for self defense, they remain true, however said. And you can’t condemn a whole people with so much essential wisdom, knowledge and kindness for humanity as Jews contribute to the human race.

    Please don’t share condemnations of Israel that do not distinguish between the People and the State because, awarely or not, such condemnations are inherently bigoted.

    • Liz Evangelatos December 13, 2020

      Mr. Laszlo,

      Thank you for not only reading my letter, which in this world of the fast scroll is no small feat. I also appreciate your suggestions on how to make my writing more clear.

  5. Mark Laszlo December 12, 2020

    I just read about Parler today at Raw Story, that says it’s ridden with right-wing extremists and porn, but maybe there’s some truth at. Parler.

    I have not been there, but i read a wide range of sources, including some i disagree with, sometimes strongly, to understand why people think differently than i do. Reading and viewing a wide range of sources is also the only way to get marginal- ized true news other channels exclude.

    For instance, i would not know the man in charge of the DP’s campaign network in 2015, Seth Rich, who was murdered, was the main source of the Clinton, Podesta et al emails and instagrams, via KimDotCom to Wikileaks, before Donald Trump asked Russia to hack the democrats; if i did not read at some right-wing sources.

    Julian Assange, the bravest and best of journalists, is now psychologically tortured and in poor health, awaiting illegal extradition to the USA in January, unless there is enough public support to free him, in Belmarsh Prison, London now, because he exposed war crimes of the USA.

    We should know our military does not respect the Geneva Conventions or freedom of the Press abroad. We should know there is a hellish club of jaded sata- nists in the core of the democrat party.

    “Pizzagate a primer” is still at youtube. brace yourselves and view it with an open mind. Judge for yourself if the material is authentic. The American security establish- ment cannot dismiss those emails and instagrams, so they sow disinfo that Wik- ileaks got it from Russia hackers, to make us suspect it’s laced with Russian disinfo. But Assange insisted “They did not come from Russia. They came from America.”

    I think the QANON cult is right about Pizzagate, but are fools to believe Trump’s gestures he learned from Benito Mussolini and Paul Manafort to mystify the gullible, are coded messages only one secret per- sonage can interpret.

    Only from including foreign press sources can you learn some things our supposedly free press always excludes. You can only sift the wheat from the chaff and fit pieces of the puzzle correctly, to understand what’s really going on. by absorbing and processing a vast amount of information, from sources with different views, whet- her you like them or not.

    Critical thinking is a rare skill since Fox News and followers used the nazi prop- aganda method, also used by Donald Trump, who read Hitlers speeches before he became too demented to read, to teach a generation that logical fallacies are acceptable, stealing innate common sense from the People.

    Now tens of millions do not know how to find objective truth with the best evidence and reasons they can understand, like Socrates and his friends in The Republic. Instead, they seek truth by how ideas make them feel and comfort in bonding with others who feel the same way about the same ideas, passed down by their pundits and between peers w/o full examination.

    Also, the American educational system has failed to teach how to find truth by best evidence and reasons because of poor funding and corruption by religion.

    Too many use the same kind of logic as for religions that require faith in things that can’t be objectively proved, to get common sense, science and politics, that require everything to be proved by evidence and reasons to find truth.

    Police science requires every step in a conspiracy theory to be proved, taking nothing on faith, unlike most religions that have myths to tell non-literal, int- uitive truths. But by neglect and med- dling of some religious people, Amer- ican education has failed to teach many how to find objective truth, that exists by itself, outside of minds, whether any- one knows it, one knows it, or many.

    So America is ripe for a fascist coup or civil war. You can’t reason with fascists because they would lose their comforting faith and friends by reading disproofs of their shared assumptions and changing their minds. But not all are stupid or cyn- ical and most are right about some things, like the satanic cult in the core of the dem- ocrat party.

    Veiw “pizzagate a primer” at youtube and make up your own mind. Also the facsists realize the American political and economic system is screwing the People to death. Our government is mostly subverted by powers in the military-intel-industrial complex. And ultrarich cabals.

    Our government has escaped control of the people most ways, but the fascists fall for a cure worse than the disease. Their “cure” is a disease, spread by paid Russian agents in the WH and Congress, determined to restore white supremacy at all costs.

    I knew confederates in Georgia. We have confederates in Mendo, a Klansman in Boonville, a retired logger in Compotche who wants to hang liberals from all the trees and a nazi HQ in Colusa. It is dan- gerous to disbelieve them. When they say “civil war” they really mean it, but they must be confronted and the few who can reason argued with, to save lives before more mass killing starts.

    If you don’t push back on fascism it grows. Embarrassment by reason, evidence and volume can be used if they refuse to look at proofs.

    But 1st it’s necessary to respect the fascists and read their views to understand and try to change a few minds.

    If we can’t reason with them, we may show some vulnerable to their influence how bad their ideas are.

    I agree there’s no such thing as too much information, as much as one can bear w/o losing health, if you want to know the truth of things like almost nothing else matters, since the vaster the amount of information you can absorb and process properly, the more of the Big Picture you can get.

    My main subject is dangers to the public hidden by big media and government. Since after 9/11/2001, i found smoking nuke proof WWIII started by 2003 in Baghdad with miniaturized H-bombs and i firmly believe total, global war with WMDs is coming home immanently. Everyone needs a Geiger counter and a fallout shelter now to save children or there will be no future, except for govt. and the rich who already have them, prepared to save themselves while humbler classes die. Ultrarich cabals and govt are fleecing, dispossessing and depopulating most of the world with deadly products and pollutants, etc. to save themselves from the People.

    I can share links to prove these things if requested.

    Thanks for your patience if you read though this.

    I see no reason to doubt you. Your account is written in a straitforward and sensible manner, Liz Barney.

  6. Todd L December 12, 2020

    Frankly, I don’t buy your excuse. As you point out, you have been working in social media for a long time. You weren’t just sharing information. You really expect us to buy that? Just because your parents left Egypt doesn’t mean you are not anti-Semitic or not want Israel completely wiped out. Just because you are half Greek, you have a grandchild that is half black or a child that is Greek Orthodox, doesn’t mean you aren’t anti-Semitic or promoting violence against Israel. You are well aware that if you forward or retweet a message without commenting on it, you are condoning it. If I forward a message from some racist to all my followers, I am supporting what they said. It would be different if I forward the message and point out that this person the person is a scumbag and then forward what they said. If there is something in an article you are forwarding, you specifically say that I don’t agree with their position but I find….interesting. Do you really want people to believe that someone just forwards a message that promotes violence to just inform that about what other people are saying? I just don’t believe you are that naive. If you are anti-Israel or you think they should be wiped out, it is time for you to put your big girl panties on and just come out and say it. One final note, unlike your parents who chose to leave Egypt the Jews were given no choice. No matter how many generations they have lived in Egypt, they were considered Zionists and enemies of the state. All their assets were confiscated and they were expelled from the country.

    • Bruce Anderson December 12, 2020

      A violent, hysterically unfounded denunciation like this and you don’t sign your full name to it? Oughta man up, dude.

    • Liz Evangelatos December 13, 2020

      Mr. L.,

      Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough in my letter so please allow me to try again. I was not advocating violence against Isreal, I was pointing out that a Congressional Representative was. Let me say again I am against all violence, including but not limited to against other countries, people, and property.

      As far as what you assume I know and assume how I use social media, that is nothing more than that – an assumption on your part, obviously. I could be wrong but I believe it was Frank Zappa who many years ago said, “The computer can’t tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact mathematical design, but what’s missing is the eyebrows.” I think that’s a very true statement and the basis for a lot of online miscommunication.

  7. Marmon December 12, 2020

    I love Parler free speech, and they will be upgrading their platform in January to be more like facebook. I also have switched to Rumble from YouTube. I’m done with censorship, with the exception of the AVA of course. good luck ms. barney.

    Marmon

    P.S. I changed my privacy setting on Parler today after reading about what Bales did to you.

    • Liz Evangelatos December 13, 2020

      Thanks for the wishes of good luck, Marmon. I don’t blame you for changing your privacy settings, it’s just sad that anyone has to.

      • Marmon December 13, 2020

        I agree, I wish I could leave my page open for all to see. Unfortunately, the Bolshevik Thought Police (BTP) will use it as a tool to harm me.

        However, if you have nothing to lose, you have nothing to lose.

        Marmon

  8. Chris Philbrick December 12, 2020

    Beautifully written, Liz, and although I don’t know you personally, you sound nothing like the person these people have been apparently demeaning. Hang in there. Your transparency is your best weapon against ignorant people who like to spread lies, distortions, and personal attacks.
    Chris Philbrick
    Ukiah

    • Liz Evangelatos Barney December 12, 2020

      Thank you Chris. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. The last few days have been very difficult with so many terrible and untrue allegations coming at me from people who don’t know me.

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