Bernie Giusto gets a challenger: Don DuPay wants the sheriff's job.
The underdog challenging Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto is a pot-smoking grandfather and social worker who co-hosts a cable-access television show called Cannabis Common Sense.
Before you say Don DuPay, 69, is unqualified, know that he at least meets the job's law-enforcement requirement because he served as a Portland police officer from 1961 to 1978.
DuPay has a long, gray ponytail and blue eyes. He is tall and slim, with a large Roman nose that holds up a large pair of glasses. He wears no undershirt beneath his oxford shirt, which makes it easy to show off the blurry blue Navy tattoo on his left pectoral.
DuPay treats the symptoms of his hepatitis C, which he contracted in the late 1970s by injecting cocaine, with marijuana joints he rolls from the leaves of several plants growing in the spare bedroom of the Gateway apartment where he lives with his partner, Ramona Corcovelos.
In addition to his state-issued medical-marijuana card, DuPay's Velcro wallet holds a Multnomah County concealed-weapons permit. He keeps a snub-nosed .38 Smith & Wesson in his 1991 Cadillac DeVille.
"The police are not your bodyguards," he says. "Nobody can protect you but you."
The central plank of his campaign platform is making marijuana a lower priority for law enforcement. DuPay also wants to put citizen observers in jails and patrol cars, and use the mothballed Wapato Jail as a homeless shelter. He would revoke the sheriff's participation in the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Recent headlines about Giusto's overspending on overtime and disgruntlement among some of his deputies offer potential ammunition for DuPay's nascent campaign. But he's got the challenge of taking on an entrenched incumbent who has the backing of the union representing jail deputies.
Giusto did not return calls seeking comment about his opponent.
If voters elect him, DuPay would have to give up his $26,000 yearly income from Transition Projects, where he manages a homeless shelter. He says he would donate $30,000 of the sheriff's $110,000 annual salary to charity.
DuPay graduated from Grant High School in 1954 and went on active duty two years later in the Navy. He finished his tour in 1959 and ended up with the Portland Police Bureau, which he says was rife with corruption.
"I was able to stay away from the corruption by mostly working alone," he says. "They didn't share things with me that they shared with the others, because they knew I wasn't going to be involved."
In the late 1970s, his supervisor refused to let him investigate a death that had been ruled a suicide. DuPay thought the victim had been slain in a drug-related execution. The supervisor, DuPay says, told him, "He's a nigger, he's 16, he's a junkie and we don't care. Go do something else."
DuPay says, "I decided that if he was so powerful that he could say that I couldn't investigate someone's murder because of their color, that I couldn't stay anymore."
Early this month, DuPay started getting calls from his TV-show fans encouraging him to run for sheriff. So, on the March 7 filing deadline, he took the day off work, went to the county election office, and plunked down $350 of his own cash to get his name on the ballot and in the Voters' Pamphlet.—Angela Valdez
03.14.2006 at 11:00Shut Up And Vote. Too bad Guisto doesn't have a challenger other than an old burned out doper. We could use a better sheriff. DuPay's explanation for why he resigned certainly sounds like he was a hero, but that ain't the way the rest of us heard it at the time.—Jimbeau
04.21.2006 at 10:00Shut Up And Vote. I have taken the time to research Mr. Dupay's ideas, and he seems to me an intelligent, caring, and well informed individual who has some wonderful ideas. To refer to him as an old "burned-out doper" while attacking his honesty is a cheap shot, especially when the person doing it won't even use his real name! I suggest not posting unsubstantiated negative comments from anonymous sources, because it isn't fair - Bernie Guisto himself could be behind them for all we know. I am extremely glad Dupay is running for sheriff, and I absolutely plan to vote for him. Thank God some decent candidates are running for some local offices (finally!). Politics in our country has become so corrupt that our future survival is at stake if we don't change things.—Dave Currie