Odd Bunch: Republican Sheriff Laurie Smith, Organized Labor

Politics can make for strange bedfellows, but there was something surreal about last week’s re-election kickoff party for Sheriff Laurie Smith—and it wasn’t the angry group shouting outside of La Piñata restaurant in downtown San Jose. Amidst the chicken quesadillas and margarita chasers, conservatives and laboristas came together to sing Kumbaya in support of the Republican law(wo)man. Not far from SJ Councilman Johnny Khamis and county taxman Larry Stone, county supervisors Cindy Chavez and Ken Yeager stood by Smith’s side. While the pairing of political disparates is being sold as Smith’s ability to cross party lines, the truth appears to be a mix of common animosities and payback. Smith supported Chavez in last year’s special election against Teresa Alvarado, who, ironically, is a Democrat but was derided as a GOP darling by Chavez’ handlers. It could be argued that the alliance is related to supervisors controlling the sheriff’s budget, but the real reason Smith got on the labor bandwagon is because political consultant Victor Ajlouny, also a Republican, was running an independent committee opposing Chavez. Despite their shared political affiliation, Smith and Ajlouny may as well be mortal enemies going back to past elections. Also, the Deputy Sheriff’s Association, the labor group opposing Smith and supporting Kevin Jensen, is working with Ajlouny for the upcoming election pushed back against Jensen working with Ajlouny. Despite previously heading the South Bay Labor Council, this isn’t the first time Chavez has backed an ideologically incompatible candidate. In 2010 she endorsed incumbent District Attorney Dolores Carr, a GOPer, over Democratic candidate and current DA Jeff Rosen. Perhaps Chavez was concerned that Rosen would be more aggressive in pursuing misconduct by officeholders. Carr had dropped the case against ex-Mayor Ron Gonzales and had shown little interest in opening any others.

CLARIFICATION: Victor Ajlouny and Kevin Jensen had conversations late last year about the consultant working on the sheriff's race, but those talks never materialized.

Send a tip to The Fly

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

11 Comments

    • People are just generally disgusted with Smith. I always liked her, but started doing my homework and uncovered some things.

      The protesters were there for Kevin Klaven, a 10 year son of a deputy that was found hanging under strange circumstances. Despite CPS having documented the abuse, the blue shield protected the deputy.

      http://kpatkins.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/my-story-2/

      Also there is the issue with the 49er player arrested for DUI, rushed through the drunk tank (in under an hour) then given a helicopter ride and a trip to the sheriff’s shooting range.
      http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Did-49ers-Aldon-Smith-Receive-Preferential-Treatment-from-Santa-Clara-County-Sheriff-228676411.html

      Finally, there’s the oddness of how she’s been handing out concealed weapons permits. Mostly to campaign donators.
      http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_19521214?source=pkg

      The protesters might have been a mix of all 3, but friends that work next door at OFlaugherties (sp?) told me they counted at least 30 people outside La Pinata were raising a ruckus.

      • Robert, thank you for taking the time to know about my son’s death and I am not correcting you with any kind of anger or disappointment, but my son’s name is Joshua Klaver

        • It’s cool Mrs Atkins, thanks for the correction. I’ve read your blog from start to finish and have decided that I want to help. I can tell by your writing, this has caused you immeasurable pain from your loss. Unfortunately it comes out in your writing, and that makes your blog a fairly hard read.

          I was planning on doing my own write up on what happened, just something easier for others to read. I’ll let you know when I’m finished.

          Yours Truly,
          Robert.

    • My name is Kathy Atkins, I am Joshua Klaver’s Mother and it was me and a very loud group of people who have support me as I step out to expose Sheriff Smith . .Joshua’s story is about Sheriff Deputy Involved Domestic Violence, My interactions with the Santa Clara County, California Sheriff Department and Sheriff Laurie Smith Directly, My son Joshua died by Hanging at the age of 10 after years of abuse at the hands of his father a Santa Clara County Sheriff Deputy.
      http://kpatkins.wordpress.com/.

  1. So I assume Laurie’s campaign maven, Rich Robinson, is packing. That would be scary. Rich would not need a pistol, he would simply bore the robber to surrendering. Listen to Rich analyze is like being water boarded.

  2. Seems to me the only “organized labor” associated with Laurie is the political proclaimers. Actual organized labor groups themselves — you know, the people who actually work — want nothing to do with Laurie. Hate to say it, but this is exactly the problem voters have, politicians making deals amongst themselves under the guise of “organized labor,” thereby smearing the names of the workers with the behind-doors deals made by politicians.

    You can hardly call SBLC, Cindy Chavez or Cortese, among many others, anything other than politicians. These people are simply seat-hoppers, jumping from elected position to elected position as they are term limited or see what they hope is a better opportunity that they can win. When is the last time this county actually had a newcomer in a political race rather than someone just seeking the next free political ride out of the group listed above?

  3. My name is Kathy Atkins, I am Joshua Klaver’s Mother and it was me protesting outside Sheriff Smith’s kick off party and a very loud group of people who have support me as I step out to expose Her and the Sheriff Department . .Joshua’s story is about Sheriff Deputy Involved Domestic Violence, My interactions with the Santa Clara County, California Sheriff Department and Sheriff Laurie Smith Directly, My son Joshua died by Hanging at the age of 10 after years of abuse at the hands of his father a Santa Clara County Sheriff Deputy.
    http://kpatkins.wordpress.com/.

  4. I was a protestor and I am with the National Campaign to End Police Terror. My own family member was murdered by a police officer John Moody in Manteca, CA. After Sheriff Smith left a large Caucasian heavy set with like a belly, tall, balding on the top and has like skin tags near his eyes came out and started screaming at me….I describe him because I would really like to know who he is. He came out screaming in my face wanting to know why I was there, he accused me of working for the “other side”, I explained to him we were there because we wanted people to know what they were supporting when they supported Sheriff Smith, a he got was foaming at the mouth mad! He accused me of lying and wanted to know who paid me….I was insulted and told him I was there because an officer killed my loved one and I refuse to allow police corruption to continue in our state and our country and he was like a rabid dog screaming at me and many intervened because of his behavior and he went back in the restaurant.

    As a woman, I was just really shocked at this “supporter” of Sheriff Smith’s behavior in public like that, the man was obviously intoxicated and had a stake in this election. He told me that the “other guy” who I didn’t even know was at the time was way worse, that the police loved him because he allowed their misconduct and that is why the police opposed Sheriff Smith. He called me an idiot for trying to hurt Sheriff Smith when the other guy was “worse”. The truth of the matter is that I am just a taxpaying, concerned citizen of the State of California. A citizen who had a family member brutally murdered in cold blood but who’s family has never seen justice because the murderer wore a badge. That night was an emotional night, I was really pumped up, screaming in public about police murder and demanding accountability. But that is not what had Sheriff Laurie Smith’s campaign pumped up, frankly they are so self serving they thought surely this must be their “competition” and they treated grieving families like the enemy. No, it was us…the voters, the people who are really in charge! Thank you for proving us right that night!

  5. Speaking of packing, fordwarburton, is it just the dress or is Laurie really packing on the LBs?