Jim Unland looked exhausted on election night. The San Jose police union president could barely enjoy the party he was attending, and not just because Councilmember Rose Herrera overcame an onslaught of public safety attack ads to earn re-election. The burden of a yearlong political cycle was written all over his face.
But that fatigue didn’t last long after the Mercury News reported over the weekend that an upstart member named Jon Baker was questioning Unland’s Police Officers Association leadership. Unland sent an email to POA members calling out Baker, the newspaper, Mayor Chuck Reed and any other scamps in need of being checked. He also defended the POA’s mission, use of funds in political races and its political consultant tag team of Tom Saggau and Dustin DeRollo.
“Many have expressed anger that outside forces are trying to manipulate our membership,” Unland wrote. “We must be doing something right for our enemies to be trying so hard.” But the POA prez wasn’t always so defiant.
“I’m not surprised to be attacked about the election results,” he wrote. “No one wanted to beat Rose Herrera more than I.” He goes on to make a case for keeping Saggau and DeRollo on the payroll, using a somewhat comical yet defensible position.
“The [Merc] article also says that Jon Baker wants to fire political consultants Tom Saggau and Dustin DeRollo. This would be a mistake. Name me any other consultants who would stand in a deserted park on the east side of San Jose at midnight so they could catch Rose’s husband stealing signs. And no, they weren’t paid extra for that.”
To their credit, Unland noted, Saggau and DeRollo also caught Mayor Reed making a questionable $100,000 transfer of PAC money to support Herrera.
Unland did not return calls for comment, but it’s obvious he sees a conspiracy in the works by Mayor Reed and the Mercury News, as well as Baker, known to be an ally of officer Bobby Lopez, the former POA president and a foe of Unland and his predecessor, George Beattie.
“My intentions were to remain quiet throughout this election and trust that the membership would see through tthe noise,” Unland wrote. “However, with the addition of a concerted Mercury News attack, most likely coordinated out of the mayor’s office, I felt that staying quiet was no longer an option.”