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.
VIPs – drive up, no guest services rating