Co-authored by Casey Thomas and Semperviren
Update: 1500+ hits today and no one mentioned that the Laurie Smith statement image clicked over to Kevin Jensen until now. That was not my intent and has been corrected. Those interested in reading the incumbent’s statement can now do so.
My sample ballot arrived today and I learned things that I never knew. According to the current sheriff, “The Sheriff’s Office has achieved national prominence for distinguished service and the highest standards of integrity, accountability and transparency.” She has, “…a legacy of visionary leadership and an extensive record of accomplishments. Too bad there are no footnotes to back up these wild claims. Somebody must have done well in Creative Writing class. This is the problem with Sheriff Smith’s claims, she never substantiated them enough for anyone to verify them. Her office has achieved national prominence according to whom, exactly? She has an extensive record of accomplishments, however she fails to list them on her campaign page and she has turned her back on having a public debate to let us know what these accomplishments are. I can say the sky is purple and the clouds are pink cotton candy, simply saying it does not make it true.
The Sheriff lists her bipartisan support, none of whom I am sure ever bothered to meet Kevin Jensen before voicing their support of the incumbent. She also fails to mention how many of her supporters are Sheriff’s Advisory Board members (more than 20 by my count from the list I have), how many she has received via endorsement trading (Mike Honda, Cindy Chavez, Dave Cortese) or outright turning her back on integrity (SBLC’s disbarred Ben Field owes a debt to the Sheriff and Cindy Chavez for the job he has today after violating the rights of the people in a court of law, not once, but at least 4 times; he’s doing everything he can to pay that debt back).
For some reason, the Sheriff appears to be trying out a new catch phrase in this campaign as well, “[Smith] is especially focused on keeping children out of gangs, off drugs, and in school.” Where this has come from has left everyone in the office scratching their heads. Sheriff Smith has done nothing to this end in 16 years. She has cut community programs, eliminated DARE and the only schools with Resource Officers are the ones that specifically pay for them in her contract cities. She has no gang program and her participation in multi-agency task forces in the county dealing with gangs, task forces and human trafficking issues is minimal to non-existent. I won’t even go into her lack of concern for a 17 year victim of a gang rape, Sierra Lamar or Audrie Pott to point out specific cases that exhibit her lack of concern for the children of the community.
The Sheriff rightfully touts having 3 cities that have been titled “safest” in the nation. However, as we discussed just a couple days ago, she ignores the focus of her offices primary existence, the unincorporated county, which is not being called “safest” by anyone these days.
Putting aside all of the above bullshit, the most interesting claim in her statement is,”…currently assisting the City of San Jose in addressing its diminished level of police services.” The election code prohibits false information in these statements yet this statement was submitted to the Registrar of Voters by March 7, 2014.
There is a two fold lie in this:
If she is claiming current aid to the VTA, county buildings, etc. is the current assistance, all those MOUs and agreements were in place well before SJPD started having personnel issues. These are not new programs put into place to assist SJPD with their current issues. There’s not debate or question in this. It’s simple fact. She made a point of snidely addressing her role to the BoS just earlier this week and specifying jurisdictional vs. ownership issues and giving her opinion on the VTA MOU currently in place. She knows none of this is new.
Which brings us to the issue of timing on this.
It’s quite the political gamble to make a claim that you are “currently” doing something that hasn’t even been discussed by anyone in the public venue. Clearly conversations between the Sheriff and Dave Cortese have been ongoing since all the way back in February for her to have brazenly made such a claim on her ballot statement. A claim that she had to presume would be true by the time this hit the voters mailboxes in early May.
The Board of Supervisors’ didn’t discuss and vote on even examining the possibility of assisting San Jose until April 15, 2014. What if it hadn’t passed? Even that it did pass doesn’t change a blatantly false claim on a ballot statement by an incumbent sheriff.
As of the Board meeting on April 29, 2014, there are no current services being provided to the City of San Jose other than responsibility for County buildings in the city and limited responsibility for VTA. The VTA services are a contract with VTA not the City of San Jose and if I am not mistaken, those same services apply throughout the County. VTA pays for this service to protect their property, not to bail out the City of San Jose for their poor decisions regarding the SJPD. At the end of their “let’s pat everybody on the back” session, the Board directed that discussions continue. There are no additional services currently in place or scheduled to assist the City of San Jose. Her ballot statement was premature and false!
If you go back to when Dave Cortese broke this as his great idea to help SJPD and how he and the Sheriff were riding in on this great white horse to save the day, they said this was not a political ploy. Despite their inability to publicly agree on the level of conversation between the two, the statement from other Sheriff’s Office personnel that were absolutely unaware of the situation, the two played it off as a very recently hatched idea they were gallantly bringing to the public. Clearly this idea was hatched months ago and while they tried to play their timing to their political benefit, it’s resulted in a political gamble that puts and outright lie onto the voting ballot which constituents will use to base their decisions on.
For the sake of clarity and context, below are the ballot statements of both candidates.