con·vic·tion kənˈvikSHən/ noun
plural noun: convictions
1. a formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense, made by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law.
2. a firmly held belief or opinion.
The politicians of Santa Clara County and the myriad “friends” in political places throughout the state can continue to ignore the problem of convictions our sheriff has — but we the voters have the power to, if nothing else, remove her from office in one fell swoop. They may not have a problem with the below list, but I think a lot of people who expect a higher standard from those in law enforcement will have a problem with it.
Ben Field – (disbarred attorney) led the controversial South Bay Labor Coalition endorsement for Sheriff Smith based on the support of one lieutenant endowed with a take home vehicle (which he succinctly wrecked and had immediately replaced on site to minimize his inconvenience) by the Sheriff over the entire bodies of the two labor unions directly impacted by this election endorsing Kevin Jensen over the incumbent. Turns out our friend Ben was disbarred by the State of California for criminal actions. As a former Santa Clara County deputy district attorney, Mr. Fields acted unethically prosecuting four cases. His ability to to practice law in the State of California was suspended in September of 2010. Now, as we can see, he’s going all out for worker’s rights in the state of California… apparently unless they have a boss willing to make trades.
Douglas Allen (fired by one of the SCC unions) – of recent SJI “source” fame, rumored to be currently “working” behind the scenes for the Sheriff’s campaign and appearing completely on his own accord in local blogs was involuntarily released as the former CPOA labor issues attorney. Neither party is willing to give a statement as to why at this time. Interesting since Doug Allen’s efforts for the campaign seem to be undeclared… mayhap “free”… by the Sheriff’s campaign. Ironic giving that he’s complaining about the filings of other people. Looking over this laundry list, nothing is “free” in the Sheriff’s circle of friends; reasoning people can see there is clearly a price on everything, if you’re brave enough to ask.
Yu Jen and Maria Chen (federally indicted for multiple felonies) – Last year this well off couple was indicted under federal felony charges for theft and illegal export of high end vehicles. This couple, reported to be close to several local political people including Sheriff Laurie Smith, endorsed and donated the maximum donation per person to the sheriff in the last election (page 4 of this FPPC filing by Laurie Smith’s 2010 campaign), rumor has it, that the donation was made at the same time the investigation was being started by the Sheriff’s office. Why did this case end up at the federal level when it probably should have never left Sunnyvale? My sources report to me that when a well connected local person brought this case to the Sheriff’s Office rather than Sunnyvale, the business location of 888 Auto, a deputy was ordered to take the report despite the lack of jurisdiction. After the report was taken and moved up the line, it was ordered that the case be put aside. Some one further up the line, instead of allowing this criminal activity to continue, forwarded the case for a federal investigation to ensure follow up. Now we’re where we’re at today, with people who appear to rarely given political donations, that dropped $1000 on a Sheriff’s election facing federal charges.
Ron Battistella (multiple felony indictments for theft, fraud and tax evasion) – former Sheriff’s Advisory Board member and member of the SAB Board. Ron was indicted just over a year prior to the Chen’s indictment. He was charged with tax fraud, theft and strangely enough, the disappearance of a number of high end vehicles he had committed to sell for their owners. I wonder, has anyone checked to see if the Chen’s might have arranged shipment on any of these? It took another 2-3 months of waiting to see if this would blow over for Battistella to finally be forced off the SAB board.
George Shirakawa – the sheriff was caught out exchanging favors with our now convicted former Supervisor. While no one was ever able to pin down what may have been the trade off from Shirakawa, the Sheriff went out of her way to provide Shirakawa with a body guard, out of the jails, untrained in dignitary protection, not a sworn peace officer of California AND a family friend of Shirakawa’s. She topped this off by doing it all in a manner that resulted in one of her unions filing a lawsuit. I guess we’re supposed to buy that was all coincidence and there wasn’t anything in this for the sheriff in dealing with this clearly ethical Supervisor in such a clearly ethical and professional manner.
Sharath Sury (convicted by the federal government for SEC violations) – yes, yet another convicted friend of the sheriff. Mr. Sury was convicted of what essentially comes down to the theft of other people’s money to gamble on Wall Street in 2010. Despite this he proudly proclaims, …he currently serves on the Santa Clara Co. Sheriff’s Advisory Board, was granted an honorary appointment as a Santa Clara Co. Deputy Sheriff…”
Clyde Berg – just when you think it might be over, we get a tawdry tale about yet another of the Sheriff’s friends being arrested. This time for a rather disturbing domestic violence situation. Interestingly enough on this case, it’s being said by inside witnesses that Mr. Clyde’s property was taken by a newly promoted sergeant when he was processed into the jail — the property the witnesses said was taken? Information tying him to the Sheriff’s Advisory Board.
Aldon Smith (indicted on gun charges) – last but not least, Aldon made some mistakes in life. Rumor is that he is getting a handle on things, despite people like our sheriff being willing to utilize a person’s mistakes for personal benefit. We’re glad Aldon is getting things together — the young man has a bright future if he can rise above petty people who would keep him down for their own benefit. Aldon purchased illegal guns as a citizen of CA. He brought them back to CA and he was caught with them after police showed up at his house party where people had been shot and he had been stabbed. Rather than the party and the ensuing events being investigated by our Sheriff, Aldon was invited into her political circle as the entertainment… I’m sorry, guest of honor for one of her Sheriff’s Advisory Board events (billed as a “fundraiser” for a project the sheriff and her SAB have been “fundraising” for now for the better part of a decade or more.) Rumors were flying that he was invited to her Hero’s Run for the big political hoorah that was to raising funding for children (oh, and less obviously, the Sheriff’s Advisory Board) until the story of her ethical quandry broke forcing her celebrity political spotlight out of the picture. In the end, shortly after our sheriff, publicly and petulantly telling a local medial outlet she did nothing wrong, Aldon Smith was indicated on charges by the District Attorney’s office who did investigate the situation the Sheriff ignored.
These are just the easily found people of conviction the Sheriff hangs out with. I’m sure as we continue to dig, we’ll continue to find that the ethics of the 4th floor of 55 W. Younger Street are up for sale or trade. Before you discount this as “throwing stones” or “character assassination”, please recognized, most the above links, lead to media and legal sources indicating this isn’t mud or stones, but real information with substantiated actions showing these things happened. These events played out in our court rooms, with real investigators, attorneys and judges, not mud and stones from someone’s imagination.
Is it any wonder that people we have hired and given the responsibility of upholding the law in our communities are not endorsing the incumbent during this election? For the most part, all the above has only come to light since the last election. All these indictments and convictions in just 4 years.
Do we dare give her another four years in light of the last four?
Vote for ethics, vote for honesty, vote for some one who is going to bring positive convictions and values back to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office. Vote for Kevin Jensen for Sheriff.