I first met Sheriff Gary Penrod in 1989, not long after the city of Hesperia incorporated. Penrod made his mark quickly while serving as captain of the Hesperia Police Station, and for good reason. Not only did he play an instrumental role in making Hesperia safer, but his calm, assured demeanor spoke volumes.


Penrod's success in Hesperia helped provide a springboard to bigger things, and in 1994 he was elected county sheriff. Like his predecessor Floyd Tidwell, Penrod has faced numerous challenges over his nearly 15 years of service, but Penrod has been able to dust himself off and move forward.


We thank Penrod for his 37 years of dedicated service to our community. Enjoy your retirement, Sheriff.


***


I believe that people with substance abuse issues should not be coddled or enabled. That merely covers the truth of their problem and prevents them from hitting bottom and getting help.


But I'm perplexed by the obsession with whether or not Bill Postmus, the current county assessor, has used drugs or gone to rehab. And I'm also surprised that some of his former allies have turned on him so thoroughly.


Certainly Postmus' work performance is important, and there's a lot to report about on that front. Is he qualified to serve as assessor? Some believe that perhaps he's not. But that's the primary issue that should be addressed, not whether he has gone to rehab. (And how did that seemingly private information surface? Was it obtained appropriately and ethically?)


Postmus says he'll stay in his assessor position through the remainder of his term, which is another two years. With the current economic situation, his office will need to work diligently to ensure property appraisals and taxes are fair and accurate. Let's continue to scrutinize that aspect of Postmus' life, not the private ones.


***


Speaking of area politics, it appears official that Victorville City Manager Jon Roberts is heading to Steamboat Springs in Colorado to work closer to his family's home.


Roberts last week told the Daily Press, "I think the city of Victorville pays me too much, and I've told them that over and over again for years." That very well may be true. Like any employer, it is the Victorville City Council that must approve the hiring, firing and pay raises of the city's upper management.


When you hear about CEO pay gone crazy, like the banking CEO who makes $10 million or $20 million a year, it's that institution's board of directors that's to blame for the obscene salary. It's the board of directors, and in this case the City Council, that enables such outrageous pay hikes.


***


Former Republican vice-president candidate Sarah Palin is correct when she asserts that the news media is going easier on Caroline Kennedy, who is pursuing the New York U.S. Senate seat. While Gov. Palin's credentials were a bit on the weak side when she was a vice-presidential candidate, her experience as the governor of Alaska completely outweighs that of Kennedy, who only has a storied name behind her.


I think the two should switch positions. Palin should move to New York and take the Senate position. Kennedy could learn about shooting moose and running a state government as Alaska's governor. But the big question is who is going to play Caroline Kennedy on "Saturday Night Live"?