Mayor Reed Calls for Police Union Probe; Former Officer Accuses Reed Consultant of Payoff Offer

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed on Wednesday called for a federal investigation into accusations that the police union president abused his authority by thwarting the city’s recruitment efforts. A day later, Reed and his political consultant found themselves on the receiving end of calls for an inquiry.

In an Oct. 22 letter to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, Reed cites a Mercury News op-ed by former police cadet Elyse Rivas. In her article, Rivas said that Jim Unland, president of the San Jose Police Officers Association, told her and other recruits during an academy orientation that they should leave the department because it didn't help the union's political goals.

“He said that our employment with the department did not help the POA’s cause in proving Measure B was killing the department’s recruitment capabilities,” Rivas wrote in the Oct. 17 column. “He urged us to find jobs elsewhere.”

There has been some uncertainty about what exact words Unland used. Rivas recanted her original claim that he specifically said cadets should "quit," as she wrote in the op-ed, but that the message was the same. Unland called her a flat-out liar in a piece posted to the union's website.

In his written appeal for an investigation, Reed tells Haag that the overriding message Rivas heard is consistent with what Unland has been telling POA members for the last two years.

“These actions appear to be part of an ongoing, coordinated effort by the Police Officers Association to undermine the San Jose police department’s recruiting and hiring efforts in order to achieve personal and political benefits,” Reed states. In his letter, the mayor attached a message Unland sent to his members debating the ethics of hiring people who would have to accept a second-tier pension plan. He also included an email in which the POA president asked retired officers to boycott the city's efforts to hire them as contractors.

But the narrative took a sharp turn Thursday.

Former SJPD officer Aaron Ettinger came forward with an affidavit, signed under penalty of perjury, claiming that Reed’s political consultant, Victor Ajlouny, asked him to lie about Unland to get him fired. Ettinger said Ajlouny felt the union president had been lying to officers and the public.

“He then told me: ‘I’m trying to get Jim Unland’s ass fired,’" Ettinger's said in his affidavit.

Ettinger said he disagreed with Ajlouny about Measure B, which the police union has blamed for the exodus of officers from the department. The department has gone from 1,400 officers to fewer than 900 active duty in the last six years. The union has assisted this to some extent by holding job fairs for outside law enforcement agencies.

In his affidavit, Ettinger said he quit the force less than a month after graduating from the academy because he realized, after speaking with Unland, that the pension and disability benefits “could get worse before they get better.” He said he was making about $14 an hour after accounting for all the pension contributions, deductions and taxes.

Ajlouny denied Ettinger's allegations in a phone interview with San Jose Inside on Thursday afternoon. He said he will file a lawsuit if Ettinger doesn’t retract his statement. Ajlouny's attorney, Edward J. Kraus, sent a letter to Ettinger on Thursday demanding he retract his declaration.

"I’ve known this kid. We lived next to them since he was 10 years old. He and his brother used to come over all the time. We used to do 4th of July at his parents' house," Ajlouny said. "I don’t know what’s happened to him, but he’s obviously gone off the deep end."

The POA posted Ettinger’s sworn statement online, complete with a screen shot of the call log between the former officer and Ajlouny.

Meanwhile, county supervisor and mayoral candidate Dave Cortese, who has aligned himself with the unions in opposing Measure B pension reforms, offered his first critical comments of Unland’s leadership this week. He said Unland and his Measure B-backing nemesis, Councilman Sam Liccardo, have both created a toxic environment, and both sides need new leadership.

“I’d like to see a scenario when neither he (Unland) nor Councilmember Liccardo are in charge of negotiations anymore, because they have presided over the loss of 400 police officers,” Cortese said at a political debate earlier this week.

Cortese spokesman Vince Rocha told San Jose Inside that his boss has made that assertion throughout the campaign, but no one noticed until the cadet scandal broke this week.

“Supervisor Cortese has stated previously that all sides have been obstinate, which has resulted in the loss of over 400 police officers in our city,” Rocha said.

Sources tell San Jose Inside that Unland is leaving the department later this year, so a change in leadership has been expected for some time.

UPDATE: Mayor Chuck Reed's spokesperson Michelle McGurk sent San Jose Inside the following statement about alleged interactions between him and former police cadet Elyse Rivas. "Neither Mayor Reed his staff has spoken with Ms. Rivas prior to or since her opinion piece was published [sic]. We first saw the piece when it was published by the Mercury News. Mayor Reed is calling for an investigation because the allegations are serious and disturbing."

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

124 Comments

  1. Let’s be complete. The affidavit also suggests Ajlouny told Ettinger the Elyse Rivas article was ABOUT TO BE PUBLISHED in the Merc, and in a conversation with Ettinger’s mom BEFORE the Elyse Rivas article was published, provided a URL link to the article that was ABOUT TO BE PUBLISHED — a link Ettinger’s mom then emailed to Ettinger BEFORE the Elyse Rivas article was published. If this is true (and it sounds pretty hard to make up), it’s devastating.

    • Articles for most media outlets are routinely “published” online before they make it to print the next day.

      JK

      • Josh,

        I do believe in this case the claim is that the article had yet to be published in any form, at least that is my take on it.

        • That’s not a claim made in the affidavit. The Rivas op-ed was published online around 2pm Friday. If you read the affidavit, it shows Ettinger’s mom contacted him more than five hours later to let him know that Aljuony had called about it. According to that screen shot of Ettinger’s phone (posted at the end of the affidavit), he didn’t actually talk to Aljuony until the next day.

      • Ok, so Ettinger’s Mom hatched a conspiracy with Ettinger before the Elyse Rivas article went to print? As part of that conspiracy, Mom agreed to send Ettinger an email linking to the online version of the Elyse Rivas article along with a concocted story making it look like Ajlouny pointed her to the article and asked her son to be involved in the same attack against Unland? And by the way — as phone logs confirm — Ajlouny mysteriously did call Ettinger at the same time, though actually it was only to talk about the weather and the latest baseball stats, not about this? And Mom sent Ettinger her relatively confused email (if she was a co-conspirator, couldn’t she have done a better job making Ajlouny look bad) a week before all of this becomes a real issue? Well, anything is possible I guess . . . . :)

      • So what you’d like us to believe is that Ajlouny just happened to see the story in the MN, and then suddenly came up with the idea to try to lure Ettinger to a meeting with Reed and an attorney for the purpose of suing the POA? Really? What a quick thinker that Ajlouny is. I’m sure he had nothing to do with the Rivas story.

        • Well Pete, this is all conjecture for sure. But no, I wouldn’t like you to believe Ajlouny “just happened to see” the story in the MN. The suggestion is (and I am not originating or adopting the suggestion, only pointing it out) that Ajlouny already knew about the MN story and in fact, had something to do with it.

          • I guess my sarcasm wasn’t as obvious as I thought. Of course Ajlouny had something to do with it.

      • way to report the news . With” the Mercs” insanely biased and slanted views. people are better off reading a comic book , rather than wasting their time and Money on the Merc.

  2. Chuck Reed should be careful for what he asks for:

    http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/politics/Ex-San-Jose-Police-Officer-Says-Mayor-Reed-Aide-Told-Him-to-Lie-280232412.html

    http://thelefthook.com/2014/10/23/mayor-reed-implicated-in-police-cadet-scandal/

    Affidavit under oath from Ettinger:

    http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=0013hAUMR-IUF3r-r0OWl1sw0WJp81fz9c45mPR3nBRd3e0VI0F9IwLn95Ms_VyuTBt_wj2h8tXzPYeBfK-bYGaJ_NyleSichMX6yV7N1-9HmIRsr4VLqEWh5QfMd7rObIDFGEtCteN5uKaBTLN5h-ThAVnnT5UKojkn59j6AwBmPTEYF8PtA8at1_rih3Eeg-rcz3qBIRs0yw=

    Lastly, Victor Aljouny apparently knew the Rivas article was going to be published in advance. Looks like there is some collusion between 2 or more of the following:

    Victor Aljouny
    Elyse Rivas
    Chuck Reed
    San Jose Mercury staff
    POssibly even Sam Liccardo and/or his staff

  3. I hope that this proves to Supervisor Cortese, that the problem has been with the City all along, not the Police or POA. I’m also very thankful to Aaron Ettinger for his honesty and bravery to do the right thing. God Bless him.

    • Agreed, a lot of credit should go to Ettinger for taking the courage to first stand up and tell the truth and to put aside any personal gain he could have realized from going along with Victor Aljouny. You have to give the guy credit. Look at his affidavit I posted above it tells why he left the department. Bottom line he couldn’t support himself on $14.00/hr take home pay. This is what Measure V,W and the granddaddy of them all B has done.

    • Cortese was right to ask for Unland to step down… no need to be an unapologetic defender of the one thing both candidates can actually agree on :).

      • Unland was planning on leaving anyway but it’s not going to make a difference because the City is the one who fails to negotiate and act in good faith…as Cortese said has that “My Way or the Freeway” mindset. The City has tried their best to make it appear as if the police are the villains to gain public sympathy and misplace the blame. What we really need, once Reed is gone, to vote out most of the current dishonest City council. Every police officer is aware of the City’s unscrupulous doings and every officer is fed-up and mistrusts most of the City Council, and rightfully so.

  4. So SJI conducts a phone interview with Ajlouny but doesn’t ask him for the details concerning why he was talking to Ettinger in the first place? Or, if they did, they don’t see fit to publish his response? Another incredible low in journalism, which I believe SJI claims to practice.

    Hopefully, everyone will read the affidavit. Ettinger has no reason to lie. He isn’t a POA member and voluntarily left SJPD for the same reason nearly every other officer has: inadequate pay and benefits. What Ettinger lays bare is the depths that Reed and Liccardo are willing to plumb in order to maintain power. They are in full panic mode as they are finding they can no longer mislead voters as they have for the past few years. The voters are now seeing the truth for themselves. They are desperate to maintain their lie that it is somehow POA’s fault that so many officers have left and so few want to join SJPD, when the reality is that their own actions brought about this fiasco.

    Toward this end, Ajlouny attempted to use Ettinger, who grew up in Ajlouny’s neighborhood. What he apparently didn’t count on was Ettinger’s integrity. Now, after Ettinger had the courage to reveal Ajlouny’s disgusting efforts, he is trying to bully Ettinger into silence by threatening a lawsuit. If he follows through, he ought to know that Ettinger’s former co-workers will have his back.

    What this story also highlights is the nature of the relationship between Reed, Liccardo, the MN and SJI. Ajlouny’s prior knowledge of the Elise Rivas story certainly gives rise to the assumption that it was published at the behest of Reed and Liccardo. What a shocker. SJI now does their part by allowing Ajlouny to get away with a simple denial, without asking him any hard questions about what he was trying to do with Ettinger in the first place. Sadly typical.

    • Its not only his former coworkers that will have his back I will proudly stand next to him and I sure there are many others from the public that will do so as well.

    • How or why would Ajljouny recognize Ettingers integrity , Neither Ajlouny , Reed or Liccardo have any . Going to be interesting to see what Reed and his Posse actually knew and when they knew it. No doubt in my mind that they are heavily involved

  5. >>Articles for most media outlets are routinely “published” online before they make it to print the next day.

    Josh, it seems hard to believe that Mom hatched a conspiracy with Ettinger before the Elyse Rivas article went to print, in which she agreed to send an email to Ettinger linking to the online version of the article not yet in print and sent a confused narrative about Ajlouny’s phone call. If at the time, she was planning for the manufactured story in this email to be the smoking gun a week later in an effort to frame Ajlouny, wouldn’t she have made Ajlouny look worse (something more than “Vic called”)? If she was going to concoct a story to make Ajlouny look bad, couldn’t she have done a better job? And if the source of this conspiracy to frame Ajlouny is Ettinger himself, why does he get mom involved? And oh yes, mysteriously Ajlouny does call Ettinger at the same time — as phone logs confirm — though actually it is just to talk about the weather? Doesn’t add up.

  6. San Jose inside is cut from the same cloth as the Rag mercury news. This also proves they are in bed with the city and a one sided story newspaper. I hope if Cortese wins he sees this and stops the city from subsidizing this paper and let’s it go bankrupt.

  7. SJI poorly written story downplaying the importance. Ajlouny and Reed were working together on this. Now Ajlouny wants to sue some kid for telling truth. This Aaron stood up to some powerful people. Why not tell that story SJI. and how does Ajlouny know the story is going to be published in the Merc before it even comes out… So Ajlouny spoke with the dumb gal? The merkey in in bed with Reed. We know his wife is the sister of the past executive editor. But he has lots of pull on what the Merkey does. The house of cards for Reed is falling down. Yes Mayor lets get the feds in here and investigate YOU.

  8. As a San Jose resident the drama with the SJPD vs. the Mayor is getting on my last nerve. I get that SJPD employees are pissed that they have had benefits reduced and/or taken away. What employee doesn’t? I am in HR and have to cut benefits from private sector employees all the time, its never easy and no one is ever happy. Do you think the executives who order us HR people to roll the bad news out to employees care!? Nope. Private sector employees do not get the luxury of having someone represent them in the press or to an audience going at the CEO of a company for reducing benefits for years.

    I get SJPD employees are mad but Unland is always in the press being totally unprofessional about the way he talks about the mayor. He is always telling the citizens of San Jose how many cops are or will be walking off the job due to their compensation package, how unprotected the city is and I can go on and on. So if he can do this in the press and in public its not too far fetched he did it in private with new recruits.
    And all you SJPD who have alerts on this blog for comments please don’t waste time attacking me i am an average citizen in San Jose who is just looking from the outside in and is probably like most people here in San Jose that are sick of hearing Unland rant!!! His way of doing things hasn’t worked to fix the problem to date! Neither had the mayor but he is on his way out anyway! Everyone needs to do the right thing and solve the issue so we can focus on something else to bring revenue to the city!

    • Cops have no recourse against Reed, only the media- and the Murky News is embedded with him. They cannot strike and they can’t voice their opinion while on the job. Over 400 have “voted” with their feet and left for greener pastures… You wouldn’t even know that happened without Unland advocating for his membership.

    • Well I am not SJPD, so from one San Jose resident to another I have to question why you would feel this way. The Mayor, and most of his council, have done a huge disservice to San Jose residents by their corrupt politics. They got us into this mess and have misplaced the blame on our police officers. They are the worse City Council San Jose has ever had in my lifetime. You are totally off base on this one. The Mayor and most of the City council have put the blame on Unland because they are the ones 100% responsible and want to keep the public in the dark so they use the police, including Unland as a scapegoat. Please educate yourself by watching these videos.

      Also, from what I’ve read on these message boards, our police officers seem to have the upmost respect and appreciation for Mr. Unland. I have never seen any officer write anything bad about him. Please don’t believe everything you hear and do your own research and if you do so with an open mind, I guarantee you, you’ll change your mind. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me and I’d be happy give you more information or answer any questions.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzYVlLtQuiY

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VT0Fo0PCWA

  9. “I don’t know what’s happened to him, but he’s obviously gone off the deep end.”….$14 an hour, crappy benefits, worst retirement plan in the state, and zero disability protection…Ungrateful neighbor….hahahahaha

  10. Reed/Liccardo had to make sure the Murk would be on their side if they lost the election… So they got a multi-year taxpayer funded deal to move downtown (Liccardo’s Council District). The stinky relationships between Rufas and the local media is so obvious yet people somehow let it slide… After Josh’s recent anti-SJPD articles I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s cahoots there as well!

  11. Both sides end up looking childish here. One is arguing over what the definition of ‘is’ is and claiming oral sex is not sex. The other is failing to be above it all and let a story speak for itself, or not. Either way, get over it and stop the drama, people. You look pathetic.

  12. Ettinger has nothing to worry about if he is telling the truth. Ajlouny needs to look up the “anti-slapp” laws in California. Ettinger, if you have an attorney, discuss “anti-slapp” and move forward, if needed. We all have your back.

  13. And not a word about Ettinger ‘ s story in the Mercury News yet other major bay area media outlets carry the story.

  14. Michael, you beat me to the punch. It is a travesty that the Mercury chooses to omit reporting this. It shows just how corrupt and rigged the Mercury is, and just how complicit they are with Mayor Reed and Liccardo. None of them are to be trusted. The Mercury is a de facto PAC for Liccardo, giving him hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of political advertisements, wrapped in the guise of faux journalism. Corruption.

  15. The evidence now suggests that the Rivas op-ed was a Victor Ajlouny production, start to finish. His ties to Chuck Reed and Jose Salcido were already well known, but his sudden insertion into this episode now explains why the Merc, in its follow-up piece, came to include a comment from Robert Gallardo, a former deputy who had zero connection to the incident. Gallardo (and Salcido) are associated with the Fraternal Order of Police, as is Victor Ajlouny. I guess when Ajlouny was coaching Merc reporter Eric Kurhi on what to write he offered up his buddy Gallardo for a juicy, albeit meaningless, quote. Ajlouny must have already been aware that Gallardo was of such poor character that he would have no objection to falsely representing himself as a relevant witness.

    Anyone care to lay odds on Elyse Rivas’s phone number being in Victor’s phonebook? It’s enough to make one wonder what promises he made to her in exchange for making a public fool of herself? Any chance he lined her up for a ten-grand a month political gig like he did Jose Salcido? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

    • Ettinger stated that HE was offered money. It is really going to be interesting to see who all of the players are when people start pointing fingers to get out of this mess. The investigation will be very, very interesting.

      • In front of the TV cameras with the staff of the POA looking at home, he said he was offered money, but it’s a real stretch to say that he was offered money based on what was said in his written statement. Read the document.

    • I hope they pull Rivas’ phone and email records to see if there is any connect to Ajlouny.

  16. SJI why do you not ask the IPA Cordell if she has ever spoke to Ms. Rivas about this? And did Ajouny talk to Reed about the forthcoming story. He called Ettinger why not tell his best friend Reed.?

  17. Any Probe that Reed calls for is a “Farce” . The only hope of the truth coming out is if an outside agency does an independent investigation , in which case both Reed and Liccardo ( along with Ajlouny) will be in some deep doodoo

  18. You figure, if he signed a sworn statement under penalty of perjury, that would add weight to his accusation, right?

    Of course.

    But the fact is, there is nothing in the statement that supports the accusation.

    Don’t take my word for it. Read it.

    http://origin.library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1102938290350-524/A.Ettinger%281%29.pdf

    And look who notarized the statement. It’s someone in the POA who has rabidly attacked Rivas’s character.

    This isn’t a news item, it’s a POA stunt.

    And the stunt worked. It got some news coverage without there being any news.

    • If you’re not seeing the evidence, it’s because you don’t want to see it. It is there for sure.

    • I tend to agree. Some of the so called affidavits are parsing words, what the definition of is is, and whether oral sex is sex. Like, never specifically used the phrase quit right then and there. The feds don’t have any business investigating either side, based on the prima facia accusations. Both parties look childish. Even Cortese is embarrassed and looks forward to the day the POA leadership is cleaned out. I’m embarrassed just by reading many of the posters here. Nothing but drama and petty fighting.

      • Kinda looks like panic mode to me….on the side of Reed/Liccardo, come on Nov. 4th

  19. Another story that won’t be published in the Mercury is tonight’s story on Reed’s (Liccardo’s supporter) fuzzy numbers about “low” crime rate on NBC Investigative Unit @ 6

  20. It is inconceivable that the Mercury has not published one word about Officer Ettinger. The Mercury has to be one of the most unethical and immoral newspaper in the United States. There has to be a Grand Jury investigation into the ties between Mayor Reed, Sam Liccardo, and the Mercury. This just reeks of corruption and influence peddling. It is disgusting. Liccardo is cut out of the same mold as Reed. What other important stories does the Mercury bury for corrupt politicians?

      • Uh, that is the point of the Grand Jury, genius. Doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure something is up when you look at what the Mercury publishes, and chooses not to publish, which are almost always favors their favorite cabal of Reed and LIccardo, et al.

      • What crime was committed if Unland encouraged cadets to quit? The US attorney was asked to investigate that one. Did you ask the same question then? If not, why not? Or do you just know the statute Unland would have violated off the top of your head? When you criticize selectively, that is called bias.

        • OK, then name it. What law was broken on either side? Name the statute. Number and paragraph. No point hiding behind “so and so should investigate.” The election is soon, we can’t wait that long. Size it up, and let’s get it out there.

          • There was a huge news story that every media outlet covered, but the Mercury. This news story is very damning to both Reed and Liccardo. It involves allegations of at the very least, bribery.Tell us the reason the Mercury did not cover this. They are obviously deep in the tank for Liccardo, and their bias is blatantly obvious. Tell us why the Mercury never covered 4 former police chiefs who have nothing to gain, got together to blast Reed and Liccardo. In your words, “The election is soon, we can’t wait that long. Size it up, and let’s get it out there.”

          • Well we are lay people talking, not giving each other legal opinions. But the allegation against Unland prompted Reed to ask for a federal investigation, and he knows what he is doing, right? If the allegations against Ajlouny are true, most lay people would think there is something wrong with it. Who knows whether the law has been violated or not but most lay people think of bribery, extortion and possible subornation of perjury. Again, this is conecture and speculation not legal opinion but if the allegations against Ajlouny are true, they do not sound clean.

    • I agree! So obivious they have an agenda. What an evil city this has become between our newspaper, Mayor, and the Mayor’s partners in crime.

    • The whole business with the notarized document signed “under the penalty of perjury” was a made-for-TV stunt. Like Rivas, he could have written an op-ed, but he chose theater instead of substance.

      Why didn’t Ettinger just write an op-ed or call a reporter with his allegation? If he had done that, maybe he would have been taken seriously by the legitimate press.

      But here’s the thing. There is a huge disconnect between his on-camera allegations and the written document. Don’t take my word for it. Read the document.

      The way the document is worded, the extent to which it lacks substance, and the fact it was issued from the HQ of the POA, clearly makes it nothing more a campaign stunt, not a serious, newsworthy allegation.

      What Rivas wrote is credible. What Ettinger wrote is an embarrassment.

      But again, don’t take my word for it. Don’t take anybody’s word for it. Read the document.

      • I disagree and I’ve read both documents. What Rivas wrote is not credible. Sour grapes and she sounds like she might be difficult to get along with hence her “outspoken” personality. She provided no proof and not one of the other cadets in the class has come forward. The council would like you to believe this and perhaps you are one of the council members or their aides that is trolling in an attempt to put doubt in people’s head.

        Ettinger, on the other hand, has the email from his mother and phone records. Do you think Ajlouny called him just to chat about the weather even though they probably hadn’t ever had a phone conversation before? What is this “if his head is in the right place” stuff?

        Now what are Ettinger’s reasons to lie? Why would he pull his mother into this? And of course, why on earth would Ajlouny call Ettinger?

        Like I said, you have your own reasons and agenda to be here writing this crap. The council has been trying to blame the POA for all their own screw ups and anyone that believes their lies is either extremely naive, or pretending to believe them because they don’t care about justice and doing the right thing.

        • It could be sour grapes on Rivas’ part. I don’t think there’s anyway to know for sure.

          But for Ettinger, he clearly handed the whole thing over to the POA for them to orchestrate.

          The Ettinger spectacle is all political.

          There is no indication that Rivas had any kind of political motive.

          You might be inclined to think she had a political motive because you are passionate enough to characterize what I write as “crap.”

          A more objective look would connect the dots in a different way.

          • lol talk about sit and spin….dude your arguments are laughable, was it an op-ed piece or a letter to the editor? you claim no collusion with the Merky News….well we say otherwise, come on Nov. 4th

      • Where do you suggest Ettinger should’ve published his proposed op-ed? The MN has already clearly demonstrated that it has no interest in anything that might harm the chances of Liccardo, or anything that portrays Reed in a negative light. You also say that if Ettinger had taken your suggestion, he would have been taken seriously by the “legitimate press.” Can you please refer me to whatever press you’re talking about? I’d love to read it. I can’t remember the last time San Jose had any “legitimate press.” Your startling new information that such an entity actually exists is very exciting. Please reply as soon as possible.

      • Would you please explain to us how a person who is not a paid MercuryNews Staffer gets his or her own Op-Ed published. My understanding it that it is not as simple as comoping and submitting it and it may involve a significant cost to the the person who wants to be published.

        Ettinger’s “stunt” was a low cost option. Who paid for Rivas Op-Ed to be published? If it was at no cost who orchestrated its publication? Or are we to beliebe that Rivas is acting alone?

        • People who have op-eds published are not paid. I had one published on invitation of an editor. I’ve also contacted an editor and suggested an op-ed of a friend of mine be published and it was. It doesn’t involve any cost.

          True, Ettinger’s stunt was low cost but the paperwork and the media contacts were all handled by the POA.

          • I get that the writer isn’t paid. How much does the writer have to pay to get a piece published? When I read op-eds in the Merc they rarely present a view that is not in lockstep with the Merc Editorial board .Niether have I ever seen a diclaimer stating the views expressed do not reflect those of the Merc.

          • Newspapers don’t print op-eds from writers who offer to pay for the privilege.

            Does the Mercury News favor those contributors who are in agreement with the editorial board? Some people think so but others don’t.

          • I know that authors of Op-Eds not in agreement with the Merc’s editorial board have been given the option (by the Merc) to publish their pieces by paying a fee and having the Op-Ed published as “paid advertising.”

    • I forgot to mention that the Mercury will omit reporting this as well…… please call the Mayor at 535-3500 and let him know you want a safer San Jose.

    • I forgot to mention that the Mercury will omit reporting this as well…… please call the Mayor at 535-3500 and let him know you want a safer San Jose.

    • Thanks for the link. I agree with the ending of that video where Liccardo says the POA is essentially conducting a scorched earth, Wrath of Khan type of ending to this campaign. Cortese is embarassed by the whole situation and looks forward to turning over a new leaf. Good luck with that at City Council.

  21. This afternoon, I will be a calling a press conference to expose the fact that the Police Officers Association called me and asked me to lie.

    I have written a signed statement which I have sworn to under the penalty of perjury.

    My statement is well documented with copies of emails, phone records, and photographs of exactly what I had for breakfast.

    A photocopy of the menu from Bill’s Restaurant is attached.

    I have forwarded copies of this notarized statement to the city’s attorney office, the city manager’s office and the office of the U.S. attorney.

    I intend to cooperate fully with any future investigation.

    • now you sound like a moron…..who cares what you think, i mean really?? Come on Nov. 4th!!

  22. > Mayor Reed Calls for Police Union Probe; Former Officer Accuses Reed Consultant of Payoff Offer

    What an effing mess!

    Now do you believe Franklin D. Roosevelt when he says that public employee unions are a bad idea?

    Everyone says they’re public spirited servants of the people and that the other guy is a jerk.

    The elected politicians are and ought to be in charge of the cities finances, including deciding what pension plans to offer.

    Police officers can decide on an individual basis if they are happy or not happy.

    The SJPOA should stop trying to run the government by scheming and plotting.

    • Ya we should get Scott Walker and Brownback in there to take charge of finances hahahaha

      • Walker specifically exempted public safety from his pension reforms becausehe did not want to destroy the morale of the people who the public relies on to protect life and property.

        • hmmmm so it is ok to attack workers rights as long as public safety is exempted

          • Anthony:

            Your many, many fans outside the bubble were wondering: are you a Cortese guy, or are you an Unland guy?

            When Cortese threw Unland under the bus, were you shackled to Unland’s ankle and did you go under the bus with him?

            Or, were you one of Cortese’s henchmen who gave Unland an extra shove just to make sure he would get the full roadkill experience?

  23. And right on queue, the Mercury publishes yet another editorial today by Liccardo. It is filled with lies using skewed statistics, just like the Mayor did with the 70% drop in gang crime, which was a blatant lie. Sam also says the SJPD has a burglary unit, but FAILS to mention it is 2 people for a city of a million. The SJPD also has an auto theft unit, but Sam does not mention it is 1 person.

  24. As noted at the end of her op-ed piece, Ms. Rivas is a substitute teacher (condolences to those kids) “…until she resolves her career goals.” She still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up, after going to Bard College, at $47,500/year plus $13,722 room and board (X4), and USF Law School at $22,731/SEMESTER (X6)! Where’d all that money come from? Her State Bar Profile mentions nothing about her working as a lawyer for the Public Defender.
    Mr. Ettinger is called ex SJPD. His declaration states he was hired 4/13/14—a Sunday?—and resigned 5/5/14. 21 days. Calling him an ex-cop is like calling Michael Brown an “unarmed teenager”, both technically accurate but woefully incomplete designations. The preferred wording for a declaration is: “the facts set forth herein are of my own personal knowledge.” Mr. Ettinger’s lawyer wrote for him only “I am familiar with the facts set forth in this declaration.”
    Clearly the Murky News didn’t vet Ms. Rivas very well; nor did it get corroboration of her allegations before publishing. Ben Bradlee is rolling over in his grave.
    What a pathetic soap opera!!

    • Start of the work week at CSJ. All hires show a hire date starting on a Sunday.

    • “…and resigned 5/5/14. 21 days. Calling him an ex-cop is like calling Michael Brown an “unarmed teenager”, both technically accurate but woefully incomplete designations.”

      Forgot to add that he was a reserve police officer for CSJ for a number of years. Yes, he was an “ex-cop” as he no longer holds his reserve position.

    • I think your personal attacks against Mr. Rivas are an attempt to discredit her first person account.

      As for Bard College and where all the money came from, how and why does that matter?

      If it somehow matters, it might interest you to know that it is less expensive to attend Bard than it is to attend San Jose State. Only students from wealthy families pay full price at colleges like Bard.

      Allegations made in an op-ed are not supposed to be corroborated. If that were a requirement, very few op-eds would appear in print.

      • “…Allegations made in an op-ed are not supposed to be corroborated…”

        Then why should anyone on either side of the argument believe them?

        • Why should anyone on either side of the argument believe them? That’s left up to the reader. The critical reader considers who the writer is and how well the argument is supported. A skeptical reader can also call into question the motives of the newspaper.

          An op-ed isn’t as straight news piece written by a guest reporter. The primary responsibility for the content of an op-ed is the writer, not the newspaper. The writer stands by the story. The newspaper does not.

          • ok so when readers are looking for something to substantiate the “first person” account when they find it lacking question the authors integrity – after said author lays the foundation that some would conclude is beyond reproach (educated, lawyer… not to mention a latina – which in today’s pc world is fair warning that anyone questioning said latina’s integrity is exhibiting primae facie evidence that the questioner is a racist beyond redemption).

            Follow up interviews by “journalists” reporting on the story find that allegation that Unland (Union President – aka: union thug not to mention an old white cop – the mortal enemy of progressive and ever oppressed “Latinas” all across the USA) find that Rivas now admits that she NEVER heard Unland use the word “quit.”

            Many commenters here and in the Merc have been chastised for questioning Rivas and chastised for focusing on everything else in her Op-Ed except what her supporters say is the PRIMARY POINT of her piece – that Unland told her recruit class to quit! Yet even Rivas has admitted repeatedly and it has been reported repeatedly by reporters and others SEEKING CORROBORATION that despite what she alleged in the Op-Ed – she never heard Unland utter the word “quit.”

            If Rivas herself can’t corroborate her own story then it amounts to nothing – yet Mayor Reed, your neighbor Sam Liccardo , VIc Ajlouny and other Friends and Neighbors of Sam are trying to take Rivas story to the bank. its a joke and the Merc publishing it makes them the butt of the joke. the fact that so many are willing to accept ANYTHING that the Merc publishes is a pathetic reflection on their willfully ignorant readers.

      • So So: reserve officers do ride alongs and occasional traffic control and talks at schools, according to its own website. NOT a cop. Mr. Ettinger was a real cop for 21 days. And he went through all the academy training at his expense without checking out what he’d earn if hired? Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, I’d say.
        Yes, Mr. Wright, only rich kids pay full price at places like Bard and USF. Their parents and they also pay for kids with the “correct” skin color or surname or heritage. Ms. Rivas spent many years and a lot of other peoples’ money avoiding the real world by staying in school. Then when she got a real job, she blew it almost instantaneously. She seems to have enough personal issues to pursue an education in psychology and become a shrink. Read her blog posts.
        An honest, professional newspaper will always vet and corroborate the type of allegation made by Ms. Rivas. Watch All the President’s Men again and see how Ben Bradlee worked. Then there’s the Star and other supermarket check-out line tabloids. The Murky News is not required to publish op-ed pieces, but publishing such an uncorroborated allegation (and then running for cover when it blows up in their collective face) when it strikes to the core of the Mayor’s election is completely irresponsible and unprofessional.
        Neither Ms. Rivas, Mr. Ettinger, Mr. Unland, the SJPOA, nor the Murky News is credible in this fractured fairy tale.
        Full disclosure–I will vote for neither of the two mayoral candidates, both of whom are wrong for the job for different and compelling reasons.

        • John,
          I was both a reserve and regular police officer for many years. I assure you reserve officers are police officers, they just do not have 24 hour police powers. They have to complete a police academy and go through a stringent background process, and many do not make it through the process. They go through constant training and need to qualify with their guns every 4 months. I was called in many times as a reserve to work in emergencies such as the Loma Prieta earthquake and the Alviso flood back in the early 80’s, to name a couple, and for free. As a reserve, I worked a solo patrol car, made arrests, and wrote tickets. To say someone who is a reserve police officer is “not a cop” is inaccurate, and an insult to reserve officers.

  25. Rats have infested SJI. Commenters Robert Wright and JSL, reacting to the rotting odor of Victor Ajlouny’s latest political stunt, are scurrying about hoping to distract readers away from the facts on the ground. If they had their way, readers would:

    — assume there was nothing odd about the Mercury making its op-ed page available to a police academy failure whose charges were neither corroborated nor part of a lawsuit. (In fact, it was an unprecedented event).
    — think nothing that a trained lawyer backed away from the very words used in her own defamatory quotation.
    — be unmoved to find that Rivas’s claim about not receiving additional firearms training was a lie.
    — see no connection between discredited charges aimed at the POA, Chuck Reed’s outright lies about PD hiring woes, and the faltering Liccardo campaign.
    — find nothing suspicious about a newspaper using a Victor Ajlouny crony (Robert Gallardo) in a supposedly objective article about one of Ajlouny’s political targets.
    — fail to find anything significant about a resident of Nebraska, one joined at the hip with Mayor Reed, calling a former police officer to tell him that if he agreed to “collaborate” against Jim Unland he could, with the assistance of Chuck Reed and an unnamed attorney, get him his job back and a cash payoff.

    Instead, the rodents want you to believe:

    — that Jim Unland and the POA are responsible for creating the big stink (they want you to attribute Elyse Rivas’s published lies and fake quotations to a plot hatched at the POA’s secret underground bunker).
    — that in reporting incidents involving San Jose police, objective journalists value the input of people (Gallardo) who have no connection to SJPD or the incident itself.
    — in a message written with invisible ink and hand-delivered by a mysterious woman with a strange accent, the POA instructed a person with unchallenged credibility to concoct a story implicating a Palestine advocate from Nebraska in a sinister plot to discredit the San Jose POA and the Cortese campaign (as if anyone not housed in an asylum would ever agree to something so far-fetched).
    — that the Mercury News, which treated Rivas’s allegations as big news for days on end, sees no news value in their demolition nor their apparent connection to the cover-up attempts of a disreputable political operative who specializes in dirty work for the mayor (Nixon and the Watergate burglars could’ve only hoped for this kind of faux journalism).

    These are sad, sorry days for the city of San Jose. Reed’s rats are willing gnaw away at the last truth standing in order to spare him the reputation that he’s earned: the worst mayor in this city’s history.

  26. The Mercury is a dying newspaper, as it has lost all credibility and objectivity, especially blatant over the past couple months when they realized Liccardo is losing the Mayor’s race. I am sure they are not done yet.

    • Robert, according to Peoplesmart, there are 81,502 Robert Wright’s in the United States. Although you are using your real name, we do not know which of the 81,502 Robert Wright’s you are. Please give us more information so we know exactly which Robert Wright you are, so we can take you more seriously.

      • We’ll know his identity when he provides the link to the Op-Ed he claims a paper published gratis…. or maybe we won’t.

      • I live at 286 North 15th St. I worked as a teacher at Morrill Middle School for 37 years. I’ve lived in San Jose since 1955. I hope that narrows it down a bit.

        • Let it go. You don’t need to post this stuff to make a point or counter their bullying. Hope you all stay safe.

        • It all makes perfect sense now. Mr. Wr(ong)ight is a Liccardo apologist who lives in “Sam’s neighborhood.” I’m sure he’s had to wash the “slug trail” off of his porch more than a few times.

          Now, in all seriousness.. I know you’re a few solid blocks from El Tarasco, but what is your take on the 5 or so years of inaction on Sam’s part? And since you’re apparently so in tune with the Murk on their practices, how do you view them constantly providing positive quotes for Sam whenever they run an El Tarasco story, when in reality he has done next to nothing about the problem until the last few weeks?

  27. Robert Wright.

    In a debate of issues a person’s identity is immaterial to every motivated truth-seeker. Elyse Rivas used her real name and lied about what Jim Unland said and about her being denied remedial training. I post here regularly using a pseudonym… I challenge anyone to pinpoint my offering a single untruth.

    It is the scoundrels of this country who trade in character assassination and personal ruination who lust for their every opponent’s identity; it is their conduct that has made the use of pseudonyms so popular and necessary. One only need examine the reaction of the Mercury News to the statements of a series of people reacting to the Rivas affair — all using their real names and swearing to speak the truth: the paper ignored them all. The Mercury News, whose new business plan includes whoring itself out for character assassination, is not interested in the truth… and neither are you.

  28. I’m not lusting for your identity. I just think hiding your identity makes it easier for you to engage in name calling.

    People vent because it’s gratifying–in a low level sort of way.

    A “motivated truth-seeker” doesn’t normally call another person a rat.

    • this is an anonymous blog board…..just like in vegas you can be whoever you want to be baby hahaha

      • You aspire to be the shoulder that Cortese cries on when he loses the election. He is lucky to have you as a friend :-)

  29. After reviewing the statement provided by the San Jose Police Academy firearms instructor Pat Comerford, it is clear that Elyse Rivas has deep resentment towards the San Jose Police Department for her termination. Ms. Rivas clearly acted in a dangerous fashion by pointing firearms at her own arm, other police academy cadets and another academy instructor. Ms. Rivas needs to understand that people get terminated from employment every day, and it is a tough pill to swallow and it can be quite degrading when it happens. Termination from employment is a harsh fact of life. I personally have been involved with the hiring processes of both private sector companies and government organizations and it is heart-wrenching to be rejected but I have accepted these rejections and I did not write an OP-ED in the Mercury News about it.

    Now, if Ms. Rivas believes that there are staff retention issues at the San Jose Police Department, she should have mentioned those concerns to the appropriate channels within the city of San Jose, at that moment of the incident not after the fact. She clearly has poor judgement because writing an OP-ED piece regarding her personal issues with a former employer is going to make her appear to be a trouble-maker and liability to any other potential future employers. Everyone who has ever held a job has had past grievances about their employers in respect to inadequate pay, training and other similar issues but they do not write OP-ED pieces about it. If the issues involve the violation of the law then the employee resolves those issues through the judicial process and seeks a remedy.

    The mindset of Ms. Rivas is essentially this: she knows because of her reckless handling of firearms has led to termination at a law enforcement agency and therefore it means by default that her chances of law enforcement employment are nil eslewhere, that she might as well take off the gloves and really hit back hard against the San Jose Police Department for terminating her. She may know that each time she applies to another law enforcement agency they are going to ask if she has applied to other agencies. The other agencies will then notify SJPD and learn about her reckless handling of firearms and determine her to be unfit for law enforcement.

  30. Robert Wright,

    I’m not above insulting those who insult my intelligence by posting specious, biased interpretations of unambiguous events. Elyse Rivas’s op-ed piece, even before it was disputed, stunk to high heaven. The police department probably washes out a dozen or more academy students every year (many who construct their own self-serving rationalizations), but it is this one, and only this one, who was given the opportunity to air her malicious and wholly unsubstantiated gripe; a gripe that didn’t pass the smell test for a number of reasons.

    Rivas claimed Unland urged recruits to quit for the benefit of POA members. And you didn’t question that? Did you think to ask yourself how anyone in his position could possibly expect new hires (who underwent an ordeal to get hired and were getting a paycheck to be trained) to be receptive to such a message? Convincing anyone to walk away from a paycheck is a challenge, let alone young people who’d quit their previous jobs and are just starting out in the career of their choice; young people with rent and car payments and other adult responsibilities. And besides, what would motivate him to do that? If you think a dozen or two recruits represent a significant change in the staffing crisis at SJPD you’ve had one too many at the Liccardo Kool-Aid bar. That academy class could’ve had the full sixty and, at year’s end, PD staffing would still continue dropping.

    Didn’t it occur to you that if Unland was motivated to convey that message to that class he would’ve certainly done that to previous classes? And yet no such allegation has ever been made. Did it also escape your notice that no claim was made that a single one of the students he allegedly told to quit did so, or came forward to corroborate Rivas’s claim? You seem willing to grant Elyse Rivas a level of credibility you deny JIm Unland and everyone associated with him. Why? Because it’s his responsibility to inform new hires of the true impact of Reed’s destructive reforms? Well, guess what, it is also part of training to inform recruits that there are no tactics that can guarantee them they survive a car stop — an unwelcome reality check that, when demonstrated in scenarios, sometimes leads to resignations.

    Rivas also claimed she was not given a fair chance to master firearms training. To believe that claim one must assume that a police academy in the business of providing street ready recruits has the latitude to be unfair, the liberty to cavalierly dismiss anyone without just cause. Now, without even addressing the foolishness of an agency tolerating the squandering of qualified hires and training expenses, please tell me where in this litigious society, where even the most reasonable performance standards are regularly challenged in court, would a government agency get that kind of latitude? The answer is nowhere. Training has been standardized for decades, with each component documented with the expectation of being scrutinized and challenged. And because of this, I knew the moment I read the Rivas piece she was either lying or delusional…

    the same reaction I had to your claim of being a critical reader.

  31. It appears you feel that anyone who disagrees with you is insulting your intelligence and therefore deserves to have their character attacked.

    That’s using the fallacy of false equivalence to defend your use of another fallacy called ad hominem.

    I believe Rivas is credible and that the POA is not. To express that opinion, I don’t have to attack your character. And to disagree, you don’t have to attack mine.

    In fact, by resorting to ad hominem, a critical reader would conclude you have sullied your own argument far more than anyone else could.

  32. Well, having an unbiased opinion (which you cannot prove either way), Finfan very eloquently explained how he feels, rationalized that feeling, and explained that rationalization. You, on the other hand, seem to choose to ignore the basic facts surrounding measure B, the players involved, and the drama unfolding.
    If you think that I am going to advertise my name, address, profession, etc, you are delusional. Seeing as your identity regarding this issue is both irrelevant and unaffected by any outcome, I will not risk the future of my family and my well-being as a private citizen to please you. The simple fact that public employees have become a favorite punching bag for the likes of you, and sacrificial lambs for the politicians, I would be doing a great injustice to my family and my future by painting that bright red target for you to aim at.
    If you do not believe that, just look at Mr. Ettinger. While I applaud his courage, I pity him for the future he now has in front of him. People like yourself will whip him on the pillory of public opinion for a long time to come, while grandstanding liars and puppets for the political elite get free op-eds and accolades for being “brave and courageous” when they are just mouthpieces for the criminals in City Hall.

  33. Robert Wright,

    Insulting someone in the course of dismantling their viewpoint is not an ad hominem attack. The post to which you refer contained 451 words of which three qualify as insults. I have, several times now, laid out my arguments attacking the credibility of the Rivas op-ed and that of anyone, like you, granting her belief-based credibility. That you choose to believe her is your right, you can believe in the Easter Bunny if you wish, but if you’re going to peddle your beliefs here without offering anything even approaching evidence, then you are fair game for insult.

    That you are an educator does not surprise me. One need only notice the dearth of critical thinking demonstrated by America’s youth to conclude the existence of a destructive force other than lowbreeding when accounting for this great tragedy. Today’s students excel at feeling things, believing things, and shaming others, but the great majority couldn’t recognize a critical thought if it struck them in the forehead. They feel they are bright, but they perform poorly; they believe they are equal, but they find no such thing in the real world; they shame those intolerant of ignorance, and then ask if you want fries with your order.

    No one has sullied my argument, but as a dedicated truth-seeker, I can’t learn anything from you unless you try.

  34. Rather than attack or defend Rivas, Unland, Ettinger, or Reed, it appears that some people would rather attack those who express differing opinions. If you attack what I say, that’s one thing. If you attack me, my name, my profession, my neighborhood, and if you liken me to a rodent, at the very least, that’s off topic.

    If I have to spend time defending myself from personal attacks, I won’t have time to defend my opinions.

    That’s how ad hominem works.

    I think I’ll have to bow out of this “discussion” since the ad hominem continues and there’s no indication that it will let up.

    I have no interest in trading insults anymore than I would be interested in participating in an argument where the person who yells the loudest and the longest wins.

    You know, it’s quite possible to attack a person’s position without attacking them personally. Really.

    Name callers are not truth seekers.

    It’s that simple.

  35. Robert Wright,

    You’ve ostensibly bowed out of this discussion because I equated your style of relentless but baseless naysaying (sadly, a popular political ploy) with the relentless gnawing behavior of rodents. Apparently where you come from (public education) insulting language is so damaging and intolerable as to be grounds for ending the game and taking one’s ball home.

    You, the same man who challenged Aaron Ettinger’s credibility and character without justification, mocked the courage of a man who put himself in the line of fire, questioned the integrity and professionalism of a notary without cause, disparaged the POA headquarters without explanation, chastised me for using a pseudonym so you could sidestep my arguments, denigrated my reply by incorrectly categorizing it as ad hominem, and crushed my self-esteem by branding me a name-caller, now claim the moral high ground and declare yourself above the fray?

    You bow out accusing your opponents of attacking you instead of the issue and it participants. That is an outright lie, and one only need scroll up for the evidence. A good number of people have posted thoughtful comments offering their insights and expertise, but apparently all you saw in it was political theater. My goodness, you are quite the critical thinker, aren’t you?

    And now I’ll bow out; I think I heard the recess bell and, god, do I need a grief counselor.

  36. Got the best IE flyer of the season today, paid for by the California Apt. Assoc. It sates succinctly that the unions protected their interest by fighting to increase union pensions in negotiating the best pensions possible. Cortese, rather than representing the public’s interest by getting balanced and reasonable contracts, sided with the unions. It ends: “Unions should represent labor. The Mayor should represent the public.” RIGHT ON!!

    • So when the Mayor and council approve pay and benefit contests for city employees in an effort to attract and retain the best employees to fill critical jobs that the public expects aren’t they representing the publics interests? Or is getting a warm body to fill a job vacancy on the cheap what the public wants and expects from its elected officials? There has to be a balance somewhere in the arguments on both sides and the fact remains that SJ’S police and fire retirement fund is widely regarded worldwide as one of the best managed . Also a fact the funds level of unfunded liability is in no small part due to the world wide economic crash AND pension “holiday” the the City took during the high flying economic times of the late 90’s. There is plenty of blame to go around and the socalled “unions” recognized the shortcomings and were willing to negotiate a mutually benificail solution while Reed-Liccardo and the rest of their allies in rhe media said NO.

  37. JMO’C,

    Each and every increase in the police pension was based on these few realities:

    — the money to pay for the increases was already in the fund (or projected to be), the result of decades of time acting upon the huge balances accumulated (far more contributing members than receiving retirees).

    — job market pressure, the result of SJPD always lagging behind other local departments in salary. Increasing pension benefits was seen (incorrectly, in light of the mortgage crisis) by the city as a way to keep SJPD competitive without tapping into the general fund (which it was squandering buying votes).

    — actuarial studies that supported the increases, based on the common view that the owners of a fund should be its beneficiaries.

    I’m impressed that someone* authoring a flyer can so simply sum up so complex a issue as the pension debate; almost, but not quite, as impressive as candidate Obama was in summing up the solution to America’s complex problems as “change.”

    *that someone working for an industry that is sucking local renters dry (I wonder what promises Liccardo has made t them?).

  38. The way FINFAN so staunchly defends public employee pensions, one might think he’s getting one…or more.
    Whatever the cause, and whatever the amount, the fact is that the pension levels championed by Cortese and others on the council in the Gonzales-Chavez years nearly bankrupted this city. Sadly, the city’s response was the ill-conceived and poorly written Measure B. And now we have this silly pissing contest between Jim Unland–soon to retire at a young age and collect a hefty pension forever–and a clearly troubled Ms. Rivas. Cortese is likely our next Mayor. Hold onto your wallets!
    But perhaps the cops do have a good idea–move to another Santa Clara County city where, according to Mr. Unland anyway, the cops are paid more and those cities still manage to balance their budgets and maintain their streets.