And No One Heard the Starting Gun

Update: FB was down when I wrote this, John Hirokawa has a campaign page on FaceBook and is holding a campaign kickoff fundraiser according to that page.

So it’s been in my pending file for a long time now – Undersheriff John Hirokawa (ret.) has been quietly meeting people, gathering support and trying to keep rumors at a minimum, but it appears to be official now – Undersheriff Hirokawa (ret) is running for Sheriff.

He quietly filed the paperwork, according to the filings on the county site, on May 10, 2017 for his run for Sheriff. Someone told me this morning there was some sort of release of information on the internet (perhaps the filing making it up to the county site?), but I’ve been unable to find anything more.

I’ll be honest with you, I’m torn here, but there’s one thing in his favor – He’s not Laurie Smith. It’s up to him if he can build that list of pros over the coming weeks. It means explaining some things that we’ve covered here, it means showing the deputies that he doesn’t think as little of them as the sheriff and his prior roles in the office would have them believe. It’s about showing he’ll back the deputies when they’re right, and hold them appropriately accountable when they’re not. Will he do that? I am so opposed to Laurie Smith, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here and keep an open mind for the time being.

But if I’m honest with myself, at this point, to see the disaster that is Laurie Smith forced out of office is the best thing that could happen, no matter her replacement. Hirokawa can’t possibly treat people any worse than Smith and her cronies have.

Could he get rid of the dangerous “trust no one, always watch your own back first” attitude that’s prevalent throughout Smith’s office? I’m pretty sure no one can without years of work. The rank and file all the way up to the captains function as if the proverbial knife will be stuck in their back at any moment. Most have reached a point where they’re willing to stab someone else in the back just so they’re not the next victim. It’s a sad state of affairs and a painfully unprofessional law enforcement environment in that respect..

The promotions that have filled the ranks of captains, lieutenants and now sergeants will keep this office struggling for trust and internal credibility for years to come regardless of who’s leading. If the bar you’re raising as a deputy for anyone to go against Laurie Smith is they be a miracle worker, just don’t.

Can Smith solve the problems better than anyone else because she knows the job and what the issues are, as some have and again are arguing in the office? Sure, of course that ignores the fact that she created most of the problems we face today. She *can* fix the problems – but she has proven, after the 2010 election, again after the 2014 election, that she *won’t* fix the problems and because of that, many of them have gotten progressively worse. It doesn’t matter why she won’t fix the problems, we just know that since winning in 2010 she has spent more time offering personal rewards to those that “like” her and conducting personal vendettas against those who even consider questioning her than building the modernized and progressive office she likes to pretend exists. The office has suffered, deputies have suffered, enforcement and corrections have suffered, far more than they have benefited.  Yes, there are individuals who have benefitted through these years – many, not all, but a great many of them for very questionable reasons rather than their capabilities and experience.

There are some potential benefits to Hirokawa over any other potential candidate in this, if he’s willing. Hirokawa doesn’t have to take a year or two sorting out the good from the bad, learning who’s done what and why, figuring out who’s in the right place for the right reasons. He knows who’s done what and if it was done for the right reasons. He doesn’t have to spend time trying to discover who’s just obsequious enough to successfully hide their previous behavior and ply it on him for their benefit. And if he’s willing to hold these people accountable, if he’s willing to potentially make demotions of those who serve at the pleasure, willing to pull favors given to people who carried the sheriff’s water, willing to assign people according to their skills and abilities rather than how deep they were willing to bury the sheriff’s proverbial bodies, he offers the office some potential to change a little quicker. He will have the ability to circumvent the games, cut off the bad behavior he knows exists far quicker than someone from outside and focus on developing better practices and procedures and truly moving this office forward from the quagmire Smith has dumped it in by using it for her personal gratification.

At this point, this blog is all I am offering in favor of Hirokawa over Smith. He’s going to have to show, somehow, that he’s up to this task and willing to do what’s necessary to show he’s willing and capable of being the polar opposite of Laurie Smith. If and when he does that, I’ve little doubt the attacks from Smith and her supporters will be brutal. Wait, we’re talking Laurie Smith and people who are looking at seeing their entire easy ride flushed down the toilet – the public attacks on Hirokawa will come before he’s willing to prove anything, the internal attacks have already started. My sources this morning in enforcement have told me some lieutenants and captains are already actively working to undermine Hirokawa within the ranks. so I appeal to those in and out of the office, keep your eyes open, listen to Hirokawa and any other candidate that may come forward, and parse out the “fake news”, stilted taglines (I’ll keep your kids off the streets, off drugs, and in school!),  empty promises, straw man arguments, and persona attacks the sheriff proved she is so good at during the last election.

To those dismissing Hirokawa out of hand, stop and consider facts. I suggest you go back to Smith’s campaign promises of 2010 and 2014 and see how many of them she kept v. broke, count the lawsuits, count the public embarrassments you’ve endured at her the feet of her leadership… and ask yourself, just how bad do alternative candidates need to be to qualify her as deserving and yet another 4 years? Do not listen to the claims being pushed by her shills who will be rewarded for conducting a political propaganda campaign while wearing their uniforms and on duty, and for God’s sake do not sell your soul for the promise of your support as some already have. Be the independent decision-maker in control of your actions like the uniform you wear demands you to be and weigh all the information as it comes.

Yes, we need a “good politician” in the sheriff’s office – Supervisors like Cindy Chavez and Dave Cortese demand whomever is in this position can play their sorry game of PR and Happy Bills. But it’s time to look for someone more than that, someone who actually might care about law enforcement, justice, fairness, and running an office through recognition for actually doing something other than helping the sheriff create a false PR facade to hide her laziness, negligence, and complete disregard for everything a law enforcement agency does and stands for.