Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek

What would you do with a spare $30,000 of public money? What's that you say? Produce a masturbatory 26-minute film detailing your heroic leadership in the aftermath of the 35W bridge disaster? That was Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek's answer. Framed by the carcass of the fallen bridge, Stanek sits in his starched white uniform. He is affable and confident as he explains his arrival at the scene that fateful day: "You can imagine how I just drove 15 to 20 minutes," he says, "red lights and sirens, through rush hour traffic, hearing all that was going on on the police radio, on my AM/FM radio, getting a constant barrage of phone calls coming in—more than I could ever answer." He goes on to explain how he ordered nearby bridges to be cleared in fear of terrorist attacks, and how he later took over as media spokesman for the recovery effort. Returning to planet earth for a moment: Why would Stanek, a former Republican state legislator who doesn't face reelection until 2010, create such a blatant campaign video? Perhaps he has designs on higher office. Or maybe the explanation is even simpler: He is jaw-droppingly vain.


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