A leading opponent of a proposed Kenton County jail near Independence says a protest Saturday will be just the start of a campaign against county Judge-executive Ralph Drees.
Independence lawyer Eric Deters said he plans a public-relations battle against Drees Homes, where Drees is chairman of the board of the home-builder.
County fiscal-court meetings will be disrupted, he said.
Also coming soon, Deters said: protests outside Drees' own home.
"He can picket my house," Drees responded.
"But he can't see the house from the street and he can't come on my property, so let him do it - we won't even know they're there."
Saturday's one-hour demonstration is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Northern Kentucky Home Builders Association's 2007 National City Home Products Expo, at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington.
It will be the first protest, other than during public meetings, Deters said.
"We're only going to protest from 1 to 2 (p.m.) because people have lives," Deters said. But, "by next week there will be protests at Drees' headquarters; I'm going to organize protests at his house."
Also next week, "we'll go out to every single market where Drees builds homes - Dallas, Virginia, North Carolina, you name it, wherever Drees builds homes - all the TV media are going to get a press release and a package from me, indicating what he's done as the judge-executive of this community to the group of homeowners," Deters said.
Drees has been roundly criticized for allowing little time for public input in December before the county bought 25.6 acres along a new section of Ky. 17 south of Pelly Road for a $40 million, 600-bed jail.
Nearby residents are outraged it will be in sight of their homes and close to schools.
"Whatever he wants to do," Drees said, when asked about the campaign against Drees Homes. "I don't know where he comes up with all these crazy ideas."
As for Saturday's protest, "Who's going to pay much attention?" Drees said. "I think it's probably a good idea they do it - let 'em waste their time doing it."
When it comes to the home builders association, "I'm hardly ever involved - I don't even know what's going on, to tell you the truth," Drees said. "So if he wants to do that, I guess let him do it, and wear himself out."
Said Deters: "You can quote me: I'm going to be on Ralph Drees like white on rice, like green on grass. Everywhere he turns, he's going to hear me, every place he goes, there's going to be somebody that he has to witness, protesting him."
Furthermore, "Every single fiscal-court meeting is going to be disrupted," Deters said.
Disruptions of public meetings will not be tolerated, Drees said.
"We can't do that. I think we've had enough antics," he said.
Deters said he does not plan to focus wrath on the county's commissioners, at least not yet.
"As long as the rest of the commissioners seem to be open-minded and truly to be interested in solving the problem, then I'm going to leave them alone," Deters said.
Opponents have compiled a list of 39 sites, of which 14 meet the county's criteria, and "every one of those 14 sites is better than what they've got (now)," Deters said.
Deters contends Drees reneged on a promise to give jail opponents six months to find a site. But when Drees in late December told The Enquirer he would consider other locations, he said it would have to be purchased within about six months.
Drees says Deters told county officials during a public meeting that opponents could provide alternate sites by late January. Instead, Drees said he gave opponents until Feb. 14.
By requiring that properties be submitted by then, Drees said, he gave Deters two weeks longer than Deters said was needed.
After Feb. 14, Drees said, the county wants to take "30-45 days to look at 'em, and meanwhile, if you bring another one in, we'll take a look at it.
"So it's a moving target," said Drees, who suggested Deters may be angry because "he's desperate."
Deters said opponents deserve more time.
"When they gave us six to eight months and they said they were going to have a public forum on Jan. 23, I said, 'Hey, we'll get you some sites by then the best we can,' just to start the process," Deters said. "We weren't planning on saying 'We'll get all of our sites done in just 30 days' - he's been working on this allegedly for a year and only came up with 27."