Keep up the Pressure on the Mercury News

The Mercury News is failing to provide any coverage of the sheriff’s race in this county.  The first contentious race in years faced by a 4 term incumbent and they have gone silent.  They briefly attempted to silence us to some degree as well as if in fear or under the control of the sheriff in some manner.

There are other “media” outlets, but many of them are little more than blogs similar to mine.  The Mercury News is a paper that has been in business for years, is part of the fourth branch of government, has a responsibility to it’s readers.

The recommendation was made to me to ask my readers to demand the Mercury News do it’s job and cover the sheriff’s race.  You can do this by emailing John Paton, the CEO of Digital First Media, the owners of the Mercury News at jpaton@digitalfirstmedia.com and ask him to force his newspaper to do their job.

Ted Atlas, forwarded this information as well as the following letter he sent to Mr. Paton.  If we all follow up with letters demanding the Mercury News do it job, perhaps we can get some real and fair coverage of this race to the public.

(The blog I promised will be out later today, so stay tuned!)

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Mr Paton,I am a lifetime subscriber to theSan Jose Mercury News and my family before that back to the time when they were theSan Jose News and the Mercury-Herald.  I have stuck with them through all these years of decline.I am writing to express my outrage that this newspaper refuses to cover the race for Sheriff.  This is the first seriously contested race in the last three election cycles.  The current sheriff, Laurie Smith, is seeking her 5th term running against Kevin Jensen, a recently retired captain.  Both the Deputy Sheriff’s Association and the Correctional Officer’s Union voted overwhelmingly to support Jensen although they supported Smith in all previous elections.These organizations have distributed press releases alleging the mishandling of major cases by Smith including the disappearance of Sierra Lamar, the death of Audrie Pott and the terrorist assault on the PG&E Substation in South San Jose.  Last month Marc Klaas, the father of Polly Klaas and a highly renowned expert on missing children, came out in support of Jensen.  There was a related press conference yet no mention in your newspaper.

There is a regular blog at Caseythomas.wordpress.com which skillfully and with supporting documentation articulates the failings of the Sheriff.  In the blog of May 5, Thomas revealed that Smith failed to report $2 million of foreclosures on her mandated filing forms.  Thomas also points out that the online records of Smith’s recent divorce disappeared in the last two months.

In full disclosure I am working on Jensen’s campaign and the editors did print my letter on Sunday in which I wrote about the grassroots efforts in Jensen’s behalf and Smith’s refusal to appear at any public forum.  This letter elicited a chain of comments.  Of what should be of concern to you is that the Mercury blocked a comment by Casey Thomas.  That unwise decision is now spreading on social media.

Facebook numbers indicate that posts related to Jensen are reaching 155,000 people in Santa Clara County.  That is 155,000 people who may draw the conclusion that Laurie Smith has some power to control the leading newspaper in the area and that they are not doing their job to fairly and accurately report the news.

I have to say that I share that belief and as such, I am shocked and disappointed that the newspaper that has been a part of my life has descended to this level.  I came of age during Watergate.  The Washington Post was not afraid of the President of the United States so I can not understand why the Mercury News is afraid of a sheriff.

Sincerely yours,

Ted Atlas

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5 thoughts on “Keep up the Pressure on the Mercury News

  1. It’s amazing that so many people can condone the personal attacks. You claim that Laurie smith is this horrible person with vendettas. Is attacking a political figure for how she looks not personal? Is publicly airing issues pertaining to investigations not an opportunity to malign the incumbent.

    Sad to see people who have been disciplined using Kevin to gain control.

    And the cpoa spent over $200,00o. What have you been promised. Dsa. Only put $50000.
    Oh and when you say the support of the union how many cpoa members were in attendance?

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    • Other people have attacked the incumbent for how she looks I have generally avoided that, unless you’re accusing me of running all the various blogs out there. I would be absolutely broken down by now if that was the case. Personally I don’t find it a relavent topic other than to say this: She appears more worried about photoshopping her campaign videos to look like a 20 year old than running a good law enforcement agency. That bothers me. Both as a woman (why do women have to pretend to be something we aren’t) and a citizen — where is your focus exactly?

      Publicly airing issues in regards to investigations isn’t airing dirty laundry. It’s letting the public know that investigations are not being conducted to the level they are being told and that they would expect from a “premier agency.” What if Sierra was your daughter and rather than having deputies actively investigating they were sitting on a street corner, under orders from above, to “be visible there”? How would you feel? Because that is exactly what happened? Or have the ICS so disorganized that deputies were going to the same houses over and over asking the same questions because there was no direction or organization? Because that is exactly what happened. The public has a right to know, because next time, it could be your child.

      Neither the CPOA nor the DSA have been “promised” anything by anyone. If you are aware of promises made, I would like to hear them, but the only promise I’ve heard is to be ethical, fair and ensure accountability. That has to scary for some people right now considering some of the things some people have done for the incumbent.

      Why would CPOA members be in anttendance at a DSA meeting? That doesn’t even make sense. The two organizations each held their own votes. Are you questioning the veracity and numbers of those votes? As we’ve said at the beginning of this, anyone who wants to know can contact the DSA or CPOA and ask for the voting statistics. They are available upon request. So I suggest you direct that question to the organization you’re questioning.

      That vote is both in regards to their elections, their endorsement AND their vote on putting money into the PAC.

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    • And you want to talk personal attacks? Consider the fact that her and her campaign manager have nicknamed the deputies “keystone kops”? Is that a legitimate debate point? If it is, I’ve yet to see her argument to back that up. Then siccing TDF on the deputies calling the “losers” and directing barbed comments about what she was going to do after this election and she won? Really? Again, name calling and thinly veiled threats are part of her defense of her and her admins decisions? Accusing the DSA of being “hijacked” because she has no one on the board that will engage in the illegal collusion with her that went on with some people in the past? The DSA board is doing exactly what the majority of the DSA body wants. There has been no “hijacking”, they have taken their association back. I would like to say I’m sorry, but after watching that for so many years, all I can say is it’s about damned time the DSA board did good by the DSA body and good on everyone one the board and actively working with them.

      And nevermind the “highjacking”, let us not forget the “coup” that Kevin Jensen has launched against her. Because of course we all know she is ENTITLED to that fifth term. She’s worked her political and rich friends hard for this over the years, how dare a bunch of key stone cops who can’t think for themselves take it away.

      And then to say in the Los Altos Town Crier that she’s “I have just great faith and confidence in the Sheriff’s Office,” Smith said. “Together we’re continually doing great work.” Seriously? Who is she kidding when she just had a NWPC representative clearly state the DSA and CPOA were not amongst the “trusted unions.” The only reason I can gather is because they’re trustworthy and aren’t selling out to her for her empty promises.

      Why doesn’t the sheriff stand up and pretend she actually means what she says and engage in a debate with Kevin Jensen? What is she afraid of if she’s done so much and has so much more to offer as the sheriff?

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    • Underdog, I’d like to respond to your comments. First I wanted to commend you for choosing such an appropriate alias.

      You mention personal attacks, but fail to mention the first salvo was not fired by any member of the DSA or the CPOA. Each of the associations received letters from the Sheriff. These letters were not a surprise, but the language was confrontational at best and at worst, insulting. The DSA letter started with a jab and ended with an uppercut! To state that we at the DSA are being embarrassed and manipulated is an affront to our professionalism. Then to “Demand” that our association rescind our Constitutionally protected right to endorse the candidate of our choosing is extremely provocative.

      I personally have never claimed Laurie Smith is a horrible person. My personal interactions with her have all been positive. I would like both her and Kevin Jensen to participate in a scheduled open debate so that each candidate can proffer their accomplishments and vision for the future. I know I would attend such a function as I’m sure hundreds of others would as well.

      You mention people who have been disciplined by the Sheriff using Kevin Jensen to gain control. Unless I have missed something where nearly 90% of the department was disciplined by the Sheriff I can only assume your overly nebulous statement is in reference to one person.

      Yes our current president was disciplined by the Sheriff. I don’t think anyone would disagree on that and I’m not here to debate you on it either. I would nonetheless like to remind you that our current president was NOT the president at the time of the nomination by either association. We were labeled “Keystone Kops” immediately after exercising our Constitutionally protected rights by the Sheriff’s lapdog. This was done without any attempt by the administration to quash this idea.

      As for the amount of money each association put forth, my response is this. So what!! It’s OUR money and we’ll do whatever we want with it. Each association took a vote, and the majority voted to use the money. You want to quibble over the numbers who were in attendance? It sounds like you either did not vote, or more precisely don’t belong to either association so your right to belabor this point is moot. I will however state that the number of attendees at the DSA meeting were enough to trigger the wider email ballot that was sent out. The resulting email ballot response was the highest number of votes ever received on any issue since I’ve been employed.

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  2. I received an email yesterday morning from David Butler, the editor of the Mercury News in which he said they would be covering this race as well as others taking place. He did not say when that would occur. His email is dbutler@mercurynews.com. Remember to be polite and appropriate in all correspondence.

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