The recent cancellation of a charity flag football event in honor of fallen Ventura County Sgt. Ron Helus has caused an uproar like I've not seen before in my 31-years as publisher of the Gazette. Sgt. Helus was killed in 2018 during the mass killings at the Borderline bar in Thousand Oaks.

The event, called Blue Bowl, was organized to provide financial assistance to the Helus family. The LA Rams donated jerseys with Sgt. Hellus' name and footballs were ready to be signed by Rams players with Sgt. Helus' picture on them. The event was almost completely ready, with donors having contributed thousands of dollars, and Sgt. Helus' wife had met with organizer Mike Randall, Vice President of the Florida based Fallen Officers Foundation, when politics intervened.

Randall told the Gazette, during a lengthy conversation from his Florida home, that Democratic Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin complained that Republican attorney Ronda Kennedy, a previous election opponent, had also been invited, along with Trump supporters Scott Baio and singer Joy Villa. Baio went to the same church as Sgt. Helus. At that point Randall alleges that Ventura County Sheriff's Commander Tim Hagel told him to cancel the Republican speakers. Hagel is alleged to have also told Randall that "We don't want Republicans here". Hagel allegedly questioned why Republicans were invited, although Hagel is also quoted by Randall to have said "the only thing you coulda made this worse, Mike, was to invite Dick Cheney and Sarah Huckabee Sanders". Randall verified statements attributed to have come from Hagel in other publications.

When Randall refused to comply with the Sheriff's Department to disinvite the scheduled Republican speakers, he claims to have received a text from Hagel stating that, following consultation with Sheriff Ayb, the Department was pulling out of the event. The scheduled presence of the honor guard was also cancelled and sponsors with other supporters dropped out as well. All money is being returned to sponsors and the event is now cancelled.

There is no doubt that the Blue Bowl tag football event was torpedoed by California State Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin. She called to demand that all conservative speakers be removed. Randall claims the Blue Bowl speaker list was bipartisan. It included Gov. Gavin Newsom's public safety liaison, and others. The event was advertised as "No politics". This is a prime example of the corrupting influence of politics in civil affairs. Irwin is just doing what Democrats always do - disrupting and delaying all functions they disagree with. Here, the kneejerk obedience of the Sheriff's Department to the financial detriment of the family of a fallen hero, Sgt. Ron Helus, is simply disgusting. Jacqui Irwin perfumed the event with the stench of her officious liberalism. The Department should at least be embarrassed for caving so quickly - conservatives have rights as well.

I only wish I had more time to comment on this event.

Jacqui - I wear the red hat - am a lifelong, life member of the NRA, am a staunch conservative Roman Catholic - and a Republican! Here's a feast for any bigot.

Come and stop me before I organize a Blue Bowl of my own.