We have been hearing about climate change for years now. But, not really in the context that I am going to talk about climate change. You see climate change in the political world is when a person who has held power or has been endorsed early in a race starts to unravel. When the politicians who have already made endorsements begin to consider pulling their endorsement back because they want to distance themselves from the person who they had earlier endorsed. Why do I bring up climate change? Well, this is a phrase that is being heard more often in the political circles surrounding Laurie Smith. Climate change.
There was climate change associated to the incumbent during her first run for office. The Palo Alto times had first endorsed Ruben Diaz early in the election process and then come around October, 1998 pulled their endorsement from Diaz and switched to the incumbent. Could this have been considered “wish-washy” as so many of the politicians now say? Once they endorse an individual they are willing to suffer the consequences for the entire race, hoping the person they had endorsed pulls it off, regardless of the impact of early, poorly considered endorsements
But, lets step back for a moment and look at what the Palo Alto Times did back in October 1998. The Palo Alto Times not only stood up and changed their endorsement, but laid out their reasoning and justified the change because of new information that had come out through the process. Maybe those who read this blog will let history repeat itself and follow a very difficult lead that the Palo Alto Times took 16 years ago. Let us look at what they did and learn about the integrity it took and the reasons why they changed their endorsement.
The Palo Alto Times wrote, “As we pointed out in June, Smith impressed us as the candidate strongest in day-to-day administrative and operational capabilities, but lacking Diaz’s political instincts for connecting with the many constituencies throughout the county, a traditional role for the sheriff.” This same thing can be said today. All we need to do is change the names within this quote. Today, Kevin Jensen is the strongest in the day-to-day activities of the office, while the incumbent has shown a significant lack of interest overall in the success of the operational and administrative success of the office. While Kevin may lack the political ties within the county, the primary function of a Sheriff includes, but is in no way driven by political day-to-day events. The incumbent has lost her focus and at this point, those in law enforcement don’t feel is capable or interested in regaining it.
The Palo Alto Times continues to build their case for changing their endorsement with the next comment, “Several developments have convinced us that Diaz is simply too political for the job.” Now 16 years later the incumbent has become too political for the job and has surrounded herself with the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and other politicians like George Shirokawa lest we forget the political favors with special body guards. The incumbent only has political and monied endorsements, rather than community and law enforcement endorsements, which are all on the still growing list of Kevin Jensen endorsers.
The Palo Alto Times final point for changing their endorsement rings the loudest, “Finally, Smith won the endorsement of the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association by a vote of 137 to 16, showing she has the confidence of those she is asking to lead for the next four years.” Smith has lead the Deputy Sheriff’s Association for the last 16 years and this is the first time in the last 35 years, let me repeat that – 35 years, the Deputy Sheriff’s Association has not endorsed the incumbent. Not only did the Deputy Sheriff’s Association not endorse the incumbent they did not endorse the incumbent in an overwhelming majority of vote where she only received 12 of the total votes cast, which was far more votes considering it included both the enforcement and corrections personnel this time. We could once again take what was printed in the Palo Alto Times 16 years ago and change the names from the incumbent to Kevin Jensen and the article would read the same, but not in favor of Laurie Smith this time.
The last paragraph of the Palo Alto Times article reminds us that history can repeat itself and that Climate Change can be a good thing.
Here this is how Palo Alto Times closed their argument and changed their endorsement. “As both Diaz and Smith have strong law enforcement backgrounds and state similar goals for the future of the office, we prefer a candidate who is known for dealing with management issues directly and fairly; who has a reputation for bringing multiple agencies together and building law enforcement coalitions to solve problems; and who has run a campaign based on the issues and needs of the county.” Once again, change the names and the article reads the same. Kevin Jensen has reached across agency boundaries works to bring law enforcement in Santa Clara County together to confront crime and come up with new and innovative ideas for all the agencies to work together. Whereas, during the incumbent’s 16 years as sheriff, she pulled her support from the Santa Clara Police Chiefs Association for several years. When the Chiefs of Police voted on RATTF issues in opposition to the incumbent she had the program removed from the sheriff’s office and the task force had to scramble to find new housing to continue to provide auto theft deterrence in Santa Clara County. Are these actions what she believes working together for a cohesive law enforcement partnership entails? I would say not.
What do the political endorsements with the incumbent really show? I would say they show the incumbent is too political and out of touch will ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT in Santa Clara County. Do you want a Sheriff who is out of touch with what is happening in the county? Who does not have a positive and supportive relationship with the other law enforcement agencies in Santa Clara County?
What does the endorsements given by the local politicos show? Their endorsements show that they too are not in touch with what is happening at the county level within the sheriff’s office or with other local agencies. The endorsements show that they do not have a grasp on the internal turmoil happening within an organization to which they have oversight, or they simply are more embroiled in holding onto their office the best way they know how… patting each other on the back for the public even as our public safety is beginning to crumble beneath us.
What can our politicians do? They can educate themselves regarding the issues at the sheriff’s office. They can take the lead in the same manner as the Palo Alto Times from 16 years ago and change their endorsement for the candidate that will bring Santa Clara to the forefront of law enforcement and create far-reaching, successful partnerships that will result in a positive benefit to all citizens of Santa Clara County, not just the elected ones.
I urge those of you who read this blog to reach out to your county supervisors, city councils, mayors and representatives and question them why they are supporting an incumbent who does not have the support of the two unions who work for her and who does not have the support of any law enforcement agency within Santa Clara County.
Educate yourself and vote June 3, 2014 for a Sheriff who will bring this county back on track and will set aside the years of sheriff’s office isolationism and create partnerships for a better county. Vote June 3, 2014 for KEVIN JENSEN.
While you’re at it, consider looking at all the endorsements and political ties of all your favorite local candidates and see where they lead before you cast any votes.