The Dog Whistler

The Dog Whistler
Sarah Roemer (left), from Witches and Warlocks, and Loralee Bergdall (speaking) during the June 2 press conference where several women denounced being targeted in a mailer from Madera County Board of Supervisors District 5 candidate Mark Reed. Photo by Mike Rhodes
Sarah Roemer (left), from Witches and Warlocks, and Loralee Bergdall (speaking) during the June 2 press conference where several women denounced being targeted in a mailer from Madera County Board of Supervisors District 5 candidate Mark Reed. Photo by Mike Rhodes

Most of you have heard of a horse whisperer, who can calm horses and build trust. Well, Oakhurst and the Madera County Supervisorial District 5 race have a dog whistler.

Candidate Mark Reed has perfected the dog whistle, known as a coded message communicated through words or phrases commonly understood by a particular group of people, but not by others. More often than not, those words are of a racial or racist nature. Reed uses these to reach out to get supporters who are bigots, intolerant of others not like them, prejudiced and hateful, while hopefully not offending others.

Throughout the supervisorial primary campaign, Reed referred to his opponent (singular) although he had two opponents, Bobby Macaulay, a young White man, and Beau Campbell, a middle-aged Black man. Reed almost never referred to Campbell as an opponent, just Macaulay. It was as if Campbell didn’t even exist.

Reed mailed out a flier calling five local women active in the community supporters of his opponent Macaulay. Here again he used dog whistles, naming two women as being part of Witches and Warlocks. Talk about scary—witches in eastern Madera County.

The truth is that they took part in a Halloween paddle on Bass Lake to raise money for charity and didn’t even know each other. They are not truly pagan witches, which would really upset the conservative Christians in town.

One was named a member of the local Democratic club, one a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and the Peace & Freedom Party, and one as a founder of a local LGBTQ+ Facebook page. Such scary groups if you are a conservative and Reed supporter. 

On the flier, mailed to more than 4,000 local voters, Reed said of the five women: “Here are his [Macaulay’s] most vocal supporters from the Far Left that he doesn’t want you to know about.” At least one of them was not a Macaulay supporter and didn’t make up her mind to vote for Macaulay or Campbell until the last moment. She has stated that to Reed over and over, but he still called her a Macaulay supporter whenever he could.

These women had previously questioned some of Reed’s comments on Facebook and elsewhere. They pointed out the many discrepancies and more. He seemed to take offense to that so he outed them as members of groups that his supporters would be against.

He also mentioned SEIU, Macaulay’s union at his Madera County job, and BLM, or Black Lives Matter. To this day, no one has been able to get a straight answer from Reed about how Black Lives Matter was a supporter of Macaulay.

Many have guessed the reason could be that the Oakhurst Boys & Girls Club, of which Macaulay is a board member, has a Black Lives Matter poster on their wall. Somehow they made it seem as if BLM supports Macaulay. Why wouldn’t they support his Black opponent, Campbell, instead? Everyone mentioned on the flier was a dog whistle to his supporters.

Also, on the flier Reed lists many different reasons one should vote for him. See the possible dog whistles below in parentheses.

  • Vote to protect our mountain lifestyle. (Keep our rural area conservative; keep out the liberals and leftists.)
  • Vote to protect our children. Vote to protect proper education. (Keep critical race theory and gender issues out of our schools.)
  • Vote for law and order. (Keep the poor and riffraff out of our communities.)

Reed has made statements about a proposed low-income housing project. With it being near Oakhurst schools, he questions if Megan’s Law and drug laws will be enforced. A dog whistle that low-income people are sex offenders and drug users.

He proposes other locations, with one being between a Christian preschool and a community college. It seems he has no worries about Megan’s Law and drug laws being enforced there or at the other locations he recommends. Reed has stated that the property management would not enforce these laws at the proposed location but doesn’t mention the same problem at the other locations he recommends.

Anyhow, property management does not enforce these laws. Law enforcement does that.

Reed stated that the project process was sandbagged in the community and pushed through carelessly. However, this project has been in the works for years. No one is pushing it through without thought.

He states that Macaulay has bragged about his part in this. Macaulay has worked on this project for several years in his position as chief of staff of the current supervisor, nothing more. Reed further alleges that this project will drain local emergency and law enforcement resources, but only at the proposed location. Not at his other suggested locations.

All these accusations are dog whistles that the project Macaulay has worked on for years is wrong. Only Reed’s recommendations are valid.

Lastly, though not a dog whistle, Jack Porter, editor of Big Valley News, has stated that Reed called Campbell the “n” word, which Reed says is a lie. Who does one believe in this situation, a news reporter who has been an active member of our media community since 1989 or a professional candidate who no one had seen or heard about before he decided to run for supervisor, even though he says he has lived here for 15 years? 


  • Vickie M. Fouts

    Vickie M. Fouts is the director/organizer of the Uprooting Racism Project and a member of EMC ACTION (Eastern Madera County Active Communities That Include Our Neighbors).

    View all posts
5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x