A charity event meant to raise money to help families of fallen law enforcement officers was canceled due to political agendas. We are in a tragic state indeed when politics become so involved that they damage something as important and nonpolitical as fundraising for heroes dying on the job. Families who have already lost their loved ones and who are struggling to make ends meet in the process become victims of the political arena. The Blue Bowl was canceled because, apparently, some Democrats did not want Republicans to attend. Now, how sad is that?
This year’s event was in honor of Ventura County Sgt. Ron Helus who was killed in the Borderline mass shooting in 2018. Everything was ready. The Los Angeles Rams donated jerseys with Sgt. Helus’ name on it and footballs with his image signed by the players. Helus’ wife had already met with the organizers to support the event. Actor Scott Baio was among the Trump supporters on the list – he had attended the same church as the deputy – as was CA Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat. Singer Joy Villa, a Trump supporter, was scheduled to sing the National Anthem. But then the names of the guest speakers were released, and even though the list was bipartisan, some took exception to having Republicans attend.
The vice president of the Fallen Officers Foundation, which organizes the Blue Bowl, Mike Randall, said he received a text from Thousand Oaks Police Chief Tim Hagle that said there were serious issues with the event. The text allegedly said that the speakers would cause local political issues. When, via a phone call, the chief was asked why having Republican speakers would be such an issue, Randall said:
“He basically said over and over in the conversation this is not Trump country, that slogan ‘Make America Great’ is not favorable, popular, within 1,200 square miles, that we don’t want Republicans here, I could not believe it … We were totally floored by this comment. ‘The only thing,’ and I quote, ‘the only thing you coulda made this worse, Mike, was to invite Dick Cheney and Sarah Huckabee Sanders’, and I went … wow are you kidding me?”
Randall also said Hagel informed him that Democrat Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwan contacted him, upset that one of the people on the list was her former running mate, Republican attorney Ronda Kennedy. Apparently, the chief then told the organizer that they had to get rid of the Republican speakers, or else he would tell Ventura’s County Sheriff’s Department as well as other local politicians to pull out of the charity event. Randall refused and said he received a text from Hagle saying the Sheriff’s Department would not be helping with the event after all.
Sheriff Bill Ayub, however, said the problem was that the event became too political. “I initially gave my approval for support of the event organized by this out-of-state group,” he said. “As we drew closer to the actual event, they seemed to become more focused on political agendas, and less and less so on the victims and their families. I felt it was in the best interest of the department, the victims, and our community to not directly participate in the event, which the organizers have since canceled.”
Singer Villa was dismayed at what happened:
“I was gonna come up from Hollywood to support this. This is not okay. This is prejudice, hello? You’re shutting down an event because of the way conservatives think, because I support the president? This is disgusting. I’m appalled, and in all my years being an out conservative, I’ve never seen something so despicable like this.”
Although the Blue Bowl has been canceled indefinitely, Randall said this isn’t over. He plans to continue fighting for the right to have Republicans be able to speak at the event.