Submitted by Contributing Author, MarstheUsurper
I was reading Friday, November 8th, the Mercury News’ Local Section. I found the article about former B.O.S. Shirakawa particularly interesting. What I found so interesting was that Karen De Sá, a resident of the County, was quoted as being “Outraged” by Shirakawa’s behavior and limited prospective punishment.
As many have pointed out, including Casey Thomas, there are several examples of Sheriff Laurie Smith’s behavior that mirrors now disgraced Supervisor Shirakawa. Shirakawa was found guilty of misuse of county funds, county property and some may say, worse of all, violating the County’s public trust. Sheriff Smith’s misuse of the Range, spending thousands of dollars of County funds, for her, “Family day”, as well as other events can easily be categorized in the same fashion of impropriety. I say this given the fact the only “family” allowed were her hand-picked administrators and of course, 49’er players and personnel. Make no mistake, no line staff Deputies (aside from those assigned to the Range itself) were invited or allowed to join in on the “Family Appreciation” day or go on tours in (“her” Star-1″) her helicopter. We, the Sheriff’s line staff, are obviously not appreciated as much as a now felony charged 49’er that was able to expend County ammunition and ride in the County helicopter.
Guilt by association is presumptuous and hardly a solid litmus-test. Yet I wonder about the once solid relationship Sheriff Smith had with Shirakawa and even former S.A.B. member Ron Battistella, who had unpaid taxes to the tune of over $600k and bamboozled over $1.9 million dollars in a failed used car dealership. When Sheriff Smith was questioned about Battistella, the Sheriff was quoted by NBC 11, “I think he is a local businessman.” This quote was taken well after Battistella owned 50% of a Limo that Laurie owned the other 50% of. You know, the Limo the Reserve Deputy Kevin Rumbly used to drive Smith around in. One would think if you are co-owners of the same vehicle, by the man who owned the white Hummer at the range, (You remember, the privately owned vehicle that had Sheriff’s Office decals and enforcement safety equipment installed in it during Best of the West) she would be able to recall if she knew him well enough to answer the question less vaguely.
If her association with Battistella wasn’t enough here is one more example. Does the name Clyde Berg ring a bell? While not widely reported, the Berg story did get some local coverage. Berg, a prominent real estate developer from San José was arrested in August of this year and charged with the heinous, violent and prolonged assault of his wife. What does this individual have to do with Sheriff Smith? Sources tell us that Clyde Berg was seen to frequent SAB events and is believed to be a member of the exclusive group as well as been an associate of the Sheriff’s. If the reports are to be believed from inside, he was her victim as well.
Victim of hers you ask, how? Sources are telling me that a newly-promoted sergeant assigned to the custody division was seen to be removing items from Berg’s personal property, believed to be his SAB card and badge which he was booked into the County Jail with. We can think of no reason a sergeant would have taken anything out of a property bag, no less an SAB member’s property bag without some kind of direction. Why would these items be removed? Who was being protected by the removal of these items? The hubbub about this had died down over time, but with so many recent indiscretions coming to light, the subject has been revitalized among those in the know. Although this is hearsay, her relationship with him and his association with the SAB is cause enough for concern in itself. That there would be associated property theft, even property of someone accused of serious, violent crimes, by badge staff is unacceptable. Personal property should not be removed or confiscated by anyone, under anyone’s direction, unless it was done so lawfully. (Oddly enough, Berg’s case has already been dismissed.)
Perhaps you are like me, asking how someone who has been in Law Enforcement for over 40 years, whose husband was a Sergeant with SJPD, could end up being so enthralled with people of reported moral lapses?
Maybe Sheriff Smith has lost her way? Maybe Sheriff Smith was this way from the beginning? Maybe Sheriff Smith is just a victim of her environment? Or maybe Sheriff Smith stopped being a cop long ago and is simply now a politician, doing politics as usual for someone who believes she has absolute authority and impunity to do whatever she wants, regardless of morality and justice.
The future of Sheriff Laurie Smith
The final question I want to leave you with, why doesn’t Sheriff Smith retire? The vast majority of her workforce has lost faith in her, a leader who is no longer in charge, is not a leader at all.
Could it be money? With her years of service and her executive package, she will be handsomely paid in retirement. If she decided to teach or consult, she could make vastly more money than her current posting.
My hypothesis, it all comes down to power. Like Nero, she would rather see the Sheriff’s Office and all her personnel burn before she willingly gives ups the reins. After all, how many of us have heard her say at one time or another, “I like the fact that people kiss my ass!”
To summarize, Sheriff Smith’s associations or relationships with powerful people of questionable moral values, the refusal to relinquish power of the department she no longer leads, all indicates one answer. The Office of the Sheriff, this single source of power, is the only source of self-value our insecure sociopathic Sheriff has.
With all these associations you have admit, you wonder if it’s just the humor of the universe that the image of Shirakawa with BT Smith was used for the article about Shirakawa’s indiscretions.