I get a lot of paper sometimes. At times I put it aside either because I’m so inundated with information to sort through, or there is something on the table demanding time, or I’m looking for better timing. At times I forget what I have (hey we all get older) in a sometimes quick moving process, or worse, I don’t realize what I have because I review to quickly.
I have had made many comments about the sheriff’s questionable actions — from finances to her helicopter (Star 1) usage and who is allowed to use it. Sorting through old documentation, I found a few oddities that support these concerns I thought I would put forward.
A major question has been her use of the helicopter, or better yet, who is allowed to use the helicopter, when and why (1, 2). It was my understanding at one point when this blog brought up the helicopter issue in the past, the sheriff actually changed practices on how certain passenger information was logged in the event some one of an official capacity started to look. Unfortunately no one ever did.
Some time ago these two emails* were sent to me. The first clearly states the Sheriff’s Advisory Board (SAB – 1, 2, 3, 4) is the entity in charge of who gets to “ride” on a taxpayer funded piece of equipment during an official event the sheriff hosts as a “training event” for SWAT teams. The guest list for these events certainly includes all members of the SWAT teams, but they’re competing, they’re not riding on the helicopter and it has NEVER been used in a competition scenario. So who is riding it? My understanding from seeing the guest lists, is members of the SAB, VIP guests of the sheriff that include people who donate heavily to her campaign, special friends like Daisy and Kansen Chu (stick around for more coming on this), virtually every politician from the county and state that can benefit her politically — yes, that absolutely includes every single member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. My understanding is the sheriff was so stressed about the attention paid the last few Best in the West events that no one not on an official guest list was allowed entry. In the past off-duty deputies, family members and other friends were allowed to drop in. No longer is that allowed — someone might decide to officially verify what we’ve been trying to tell the public.
The second memo is even more interesting. It is an order to make the helicopter available for Daisy Chu to entertain a Chinese delegation, with just a couple of days notice. Daisy Chu was now-convicted George Shirokawa’s policy aide according to San Jose Inside. We know the sheriff almost got caught in a quagmire there involving the inappropriate assignment of Council member Shirokawa’s bodyguard. Smith escaped that potential mess when his problems ballooned into issues that resulted in him spending a little time behind bars himself. The Chu’s were also friends with the federally indicted Chen family, another investigation that rumor states almost burned the sheriff for doing favors. Daisy is reportedly a “dear friend” of Sheriff Smith, I’ve seen them giggling, hugging, and scampering around at least one Best in the West event with my own eyes. Apparently their relationship is enough that Mrs. Chu can call and ask for use of the taxpayer’s range and the helicopter at a moments notice without hesitation. “Who exactly pays for this?” isn’t the only question to come to mind.
The last is a PDF document. This memo was forwarded to me in March or so of this year. It’s in regards to allowing deputies to purchase their decommissioned duty weapons. All seems well and in order until you look at the financial arrangements. $200 EXACT CASH ONLY. Really? First, making change means an exchange of funds potentially affecting the amount in say, a petty cash account that may have to be annotated. Second, cash can’t be tracked. It’s unfortunate that deputies distrust their sheriff so much so that this is their first reaction to something like this. If even only a quarter of the deputies purchased their guns, it would be $20,000 in unaccounted for CASH. Enough to pay for — say a vacation in Africa? Is the sheriff laundering money through these sales? Doesn’t the office have a checking account? I have no real evidence of wrongdoing here, what I’m saying is purely speculation — but this is what happens when there is no transparency, even within your own ranks, and you have someone who is not trusted in charge. It is but another question about a slew of questionable accounting issues by a person who handles tens of MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars.
Where is the county board on all this? Can they show us the budget line to account for potentially tens of thousands of dollars in cash collected by the sheriff? Or explain of how a private citizen can call up and ask to use multi-million dollar taxpayers resources to entertain?
Does Board of Supervisors President Cortese think it’s time YET to audit the sheriff’s office? How about the Sheriff’s other good friend, Supervisor Cindy Chavez?
We keep hearing the world accountability tossed around by these people. So when are we going to see some?
* I’ve redacted only the names of the innocent off the images of the emails to protect those only conveying orders from superiors, or unaware they became an unwitting source of information.