Who’s Running the Sheriff’s Office Anyway?

I almost let this slip by.  A bit of the Palo Alto Post article I posted up was missing the other day.  I was sent the missing piece and almost forgot to address this rather shocking statement by the incumbent sheriff.

didn't knowAfter all the questions and concerns about Aldon Smith being on the range, shooting guns and using the taxpayer funded helicopter to fly a suspected felon around, our incumbent sheriff has a new story.

It went from an interview with NBC where she invited him and “it was wonderful and she would do it again,” to this latest where she “didn’t know in advance that Aldon Smith was going to be at the June 15, 2013 fundraiser.”

Seriously?  So who is in charge of making sure that the publicly paid for law enforcement facilities are being used appropriately and people who should be excluded aren’t being invited to these events?

Does the Sheriff just get a call from Mr. Campagna saying “We’re going to use the range to have a party” and she says okay and that’s it?

Is this what passes for the responsible oversight that goes into ensuring law enforcement facilities, resources and personnel are appropriately protected and managed?

How about a little transparency here — if this was a fundraiser, by the Sheriff’s Advisory Board, presumably to support the Sheriff’s Office — how much was raise and what was that money donated too a year later?  If the SAB has the freedom to use any facilities and resources they want, without oversight, to fundraise… what are the taxpayers getting out of these events?  It took 5 months of investigating by news organizations and others to discover what happened — should there be private fundraisers under the guise of being to support the Sheriff’s Office, using taxpayer funded resources with no disclosure that there was an event or how that money is being allocated?  It may be legal, but is this ethical?  I suspect even our incumbent doesn’t believe it’s ethical or she wouldn’t have worked so hard to hide it, then defend it and now find excuses to try and avoid responsibility.

I personally do not believe for a second that Laurie Smith “didn’t know” that the 49er’s were going to be there.  I personally do not believe that she wasn’t sure she talked to him because reports are that she absolutely was fawning over and following around several members of the 49er’s team.

It’s really such a simple thing — admit you did it, admit you knew about it, give clarity to the fundraising practices of the Sheriff’s Advisory Board and account for where that money ends up.  This would have been a dead story.  Instead we get the movie where we get to choose the ending because we have an incumbent sheriff who can’t even give us the respect of being honest with even the most simple responses to our most basic questions.

Danny Aulman writes in support of the sheriff that he doesn’t understand why we need change, it’s been the same for 40 years, therefore we should vote for the incumbent.  I would say that anyone who has been following the negligent leadership of this office and questionable associations of this incumbent for any period of time should find it very easy to understand why change is needed.


One thought on “Who’s Running the Sheriff’s Office Anyway?

  1. The lies just never end. Laurie Smith will say anything she thinks the public is stupid enough to believe. She embarrassed herself on NBC11 justifying inviting Aldon Smith to the Range and now she says she didn’t invite him? I doubt the public is that stupid. As if one lie was not enough, she now says that the SAB paid for the ammunition and helicopter time. Absolute bull shit! She has never said this before until the question about the cost for ammunition and Carnival Ride 1 has been brought up in these blogs. (At least we know she is reading Casey Thomas.)

    As an example one .223 round costs about $1 each even when purchased in bulk by the department. I would like to see the invoice of how many rounds were expended, how much the SAB was charged and a copy of the check where they paid the bill.

    A little time on the Internet shows the Eurocopter EC120 burns 210 lb. of fuel/hour. One gallon weighs 6.79 lb. so the helicopter uses 31 gal/hour. Jet A fuel is currently selling at $5.39 at the South County Airport so it costs $166/hour just for fuel costs. Now I know they pay less for fuel at Moffett Field but often times the helicopter is fueled at other airports. I can also guess that the fuel use greatly increases when doing frequent take offs as the engine is powered up to get the aircraft off the ground. I would guess that the contracted commercial pilot is paid at least $50/hour plus the cost of the deputy observer which is well over $50/hour even at straight time. In my Internet search I also learned that the EC120 is one of the most expensive helicopters in its class to purchase and operate. It has 52 life limited parts (under 21000 hours) as opposed to one competitor which has only 9. Each hour that it flies moves it closer to regular maintenance not to mention major engine overhauls.

    In short if the SAB holds a fund raiser and then spends thousands of dollars just to pay the overhead costs then they are fools. Whatever happened to holding these at Saratoga Springs or The Elks Club where the only costs are rent, food and beverages? No wonder they haven’t made any contributions in recent memory. I also see on their web site that there is no event scheduled for this year.

    I am surprised by Danny Aulman’s letters. As noted in this article at the time control of the jails was returned to the Sheriff, the decision was made based on saving money, not based on the DOC being poorly run under Eddie Flores and Kevin Jensen. As a matter of fact the article says the County praised the job that Flores was doing. Failing to submit a budget is more BS put out by Smith’s camp. If a department head failed to submit their annual budget, they would be fired by the Board.


    As for his letter on May 23, I would say that Aulman’s career in the department was not indicative of the experience of most deputies. Aulman was well respected by his peers, supervisors and administrators and that respect was well-deserved. By his own admission he had a “charmed” career where he was never assigned to the Jails or Court Services. On the other hand he had long periods in Investigations, Warrants and Vice/Intelligence. This career path was not one shared by most deputies. At best Aulman has been retired for about ten years so it is quite possible that he has no idea how just how far the department has fallen in that time period. I am following the recommendation of the 1300 deputies and COs who work currently work there, not someone who has been gone for ten years.

    In tomorrow’s Mercury News editorial about “campaign slime” they include the COPS mailer as a paid advertisement masquerading as a law enforcement group.


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