Bi-Partisan Plutocracy on Parade

Plutocracy is when the rich and well-appointed take over your government. I guess, since our Sheriff and her husband can lose $2M in investments and not bat an eyelash, they are in that group.

Republicans and Democrats alike complain about this as a problem. Rich Robinson, if you were to believe half of what he says loathes the fact the government is run by the rich and well-appointed — however it should be noted, when he goes on about his candidate’s campaign having “unprecedented bi-partisan support,” plutocrats don’t necessarily play by time-honored party lines anyway. Right down to the NWPC_SV ladies, a good number of which appear to be well established in local government bureaucratic positions. All this tells me is that yes, money more and more has become “bipartisan” in San Jose government, party means nothing. In a sense I agree, party should mean nothing, but ideas should be the currency of political bipartisanship, not money.

Rarely do we get a look inside to all the names of the people who have their hands in hijacking our government, but today, we get to do exactly that in a way.

The Best of the West is a Special Weapons and Tactics competition held by the Sheriff’s Office. Dates for 2014 were recently announced by our incumbent. This event was started by Sheriff Gillingham, but I have personally heard Laurie Smith at one point over the past year accept credit for starting this event.

It’s my understanding from people who have been around longer than I have that this used to be an “open to the public” event, with tickets available by lottery due to the somewhat limited nature of space for guests. Laurie Smith, over the years has chosen to turn this into one of the events that has made her “politically powerful,” with invitations to virtually every federal, state and local government entity she can come up with. The only public allowed is those in her circle of friends, by special invitation only to this adult carnival — with food, automatic weapons to play with, and helicopter rides and watching the 2 day long competition. This is similar to what she has done with the Sheriff’s Advisory Board — initially started with good intent and purposes by a former Sheriff, it was a group of citizens seeking to support the sheriff’s office in its needs. Today, the group is the incumbent’s personal tool. When SAB members are at any type of event, it’s made clear to the SO personnel that may be in attendance that they are, like children, to be seen, not heard and speak only when spoken to.

But I bet few know, there is a more interesting side to this event — that Laurie, being the political powerful one here actually rates her “friends” from 1-5 on whether or not they’ll get access to the helicopter and other “services” that are provided beyond just being allowed to attend. That the assigned VIP handlers juggle the VIPs based on their ratings. It was a very interesting tidbit to find out.  Not that there is a shortage of access, but if there is, there are people who get thrown down.

Below are some of the guest lists for the Best of the West event. You can see clearly that there are plenty of people in our local government clearly aware of how taxpayer paid resources, including helicopters, guns and ammunition are being used for the purpose of entertaining those that can do favors for our incumbent and her husband. You can see there is plenty of money and power amongst the names. What you won’t see is anyone who can not do provide something of value to the sheriff incumbent.

You’ll see names like Dan Pulcrano, the owner of San Jose Inside, Doug Allen, the attorney that filed the FPPC complaint against her current challenger. You’ll see a variety of local invitees from city government, yes, even alleged sign thief Chuck Page as Mayor of Saratoga (the list is a bit old, I know). Even the County Exec, Jeff Smith, with the highest rating of (1) for access to the fun is on the list. These are our incumbent’s “constituents, the voters she truly reaches out to help. Just as they reach out to help her when she’s embattled by the little people like us.

BT Smith Personal Invitations redacted

Government, Mayoral, Assembly and Council member guest list

Judges and Court Admin Guests


SAB Guests

Services rating Small list

VIPs – drive up, no guest services rating


5 thoughts on “Bi-Partisan Plutocracy on Parade

  1. I have sent letters to all the papers in this county regarding this blog. Only Scott Herhold was kind enough to reply back. It sounds like the Mercury News may finally start to cover the Sheriffs race according to Mr Herhold. Casey keep up the good work. This is the smoking gun.


  2. Like the Sheriff’s Advisory Board, the Best in the West is a good idea hijacked by Laurie Smith for her personal use and gratification. This list of attendees and invitees looks like her list of supporters for reelection, the CCW list, the SAB list and her PAC. This has become nothing more than a local junket for the wealthy (the Bechtels, the Foxes, Vidovich, etc), politicians and bureaucrats. By the way does anybody at OES have any work to do because they all seem to have to time to attend this function? Lets not leave out the handful of judges including Ron Delposo who spent two days there. Meantime their courtrooms are dark while their staff members are being paid. The County Executive has so little to do, he can spend two days at BITW?

    What is not included in this posting are the thousands of taxpayers dollars expending for the amusement of the friends and supporters of Laurie Smith. How much is paid in overtime to SERT members, other sworn and civilian staff? How much time is spent by staff just keeping and updating these lists? And, why does the First Husband, BT Smith, get to invite a long list of people to a function paid for by the taxpayers? Did he lose this privilege in the divorce? How much money is spent on ammunition which I am sure is purchased under a training budget line item? How much is spent for fuel, maintenance and crew costs for Carnival Ride 1, I mean STAR1? How many “volunteers” hours were contributed by deputies who were forced to do so if they have any hope of ever making SERT. Of the limited training budget for SERT, how many days were lost to preparing for and operating this event?

    This is shameful! This is an example of politicians who are in office too long!


  3. I would say this directly supports what Tony Kovaleski was reporting during the Aldon Smith incident. If the media is reading this blog I would think this would make an interesting story…….


  4. When you look at the names on the various lists, it’s all about money and hanging out with the rich and powerful. How many Deputies and their families are invited?……….25+ years and I’ve never been invited, other than to do set up, not to the actual event. Guess my value is in labor not dollars. It’s time for a change at the top, her undersheriff and assistant sheriff’s too. Time for a new direction, new leadership and Kevin Jensen at the helm. She has had enough time to run our department into the ground.


    • As far as I’m aware, no deputies are invited, they’re asked to work… often, as volunteers in some cases. Even who does and doesn’t get an event/volunteer t-shirt is done by favoritism according to some people inside.


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