Committee Approves SJI Appeal for Next Police Chief’s Emails

Earlier this week we wrote a story about why the city of San Jose should release more emails soon-to-be police chief Eddie Garcia sent with his city email account. Some of you supported our contention that this is a matter of transparency, and some of you ... disagreed.

Up until Wednesday, the city had denied the release of the emails, noting that they were “personal” and had nothing to do with conducting the public's business. In light of what we already knew from past emails, we appealed this ruling to the Rules and Open Government Committee. In a bit of a surprise, San Jose Inside’s appeal was granted on a unanimous 4-0 vote.

The emails Garcia sent will now be reviewed by the city’s open government manager, Tamara Becker, and we’ll take a look once redactions are made. City staff estimated there are approximately 400 emails to go through.

We could rehash every point and counterpoint made on the matter, and there were some good ones, but video of Wednesday’s meeting (click on the dot closest to the right or go to 2:30:00) can probably suffice if you’ve got 10—or 50—minutes to burn.

Josh Koehn is the managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @Josh_Koehn.

25 Comments

  1. What a waste of time and money. Just like a municipality to take 7 steps backwards before taking 1 step foward

  2. SJI’s initial story on this referenced emails going back several years, so I’m surprised to learn that the command officer who manages the department’s day-to-day affairs would have so few emails? I would venture to guess that most executives accumulate far more than 400 business-related emails in a single month.

    • Am I the only one who sees the missed opportunity here? If the media wants to read the chief’s email, then give the media what they want by adding some “chafe” to create scandals that don’t exist but that will give reporter’s something to do. Imagine if, in between genuine email messages, the chief would send messages such as:

      Chief: “Did you get a statement from (politician’s name) about that matter I told you about?”
      Response: “Yeah chief, I did. He (politician) said he thought the girl was 18 but he had no idea she was only 14”
      Chief:”Ok, good. Don’t book that underwear into evidence, let’s keep it locked in the safe in my office and try to keep a lid on this for now. No sense giving up an “ace” like this until we need it”

      Or:

      Chief: “Did the lab results come back on that stuff patrol found in the (IPA’s or some other pesky activist’s) car?”
      Response: “Yeah, lab said it was crack cocaine, as we suspected”.
      Chief: “Was it planted?”
      Response: “I don’t know.”
      Chief: “Alright. Pull all the reports and evidence and we’ll lock it up in my office. I want to hold on to this. Make sure the case doesn’t get sent to the DA just yet”.

      Or:

      Chief: “I want something done about that (SJI reporter’s name) problem”.

      The possibilities for fiendish amusement here are endless. The police could assign the task of creating the “chafe” email to an “Administrative Staff Sergeant” (or A.S.S.) Every morning some A.S.S. could create and send the “chafe” email in with the chief’s normal email so that when the media finds it, they’ll have a “gotcha” field day, running in circles screaming and shouting. The more adamantly the chief denies that the “chafe” email is genuine, the more credibility it will have and with the usual journalistic thoroughness for which SJI has become known, it will be accepted as fact without being vetted anyway.

      • I like how you think however there wouldn’t be much need for chaffe. Dan Pulcrano constantly emails department staff about goings on in his neighborhood andaround his office… see Dan like most normal people don’t like it when gangsters hang around the park he would like to take his kids to play. Dan also feels that pimps and hoes diminish the quality of life around Metro”s HQ… (however he doesnt mind cashing the checks backed with the money from the pimps and earned by hoes from Backpage.) The difference between the average person living near William St Park and the average SoFA business is they aren’t Dan Pulcrano owner of a new paper / online media outlet whoae name and business hold sway….

  3. Now that I’ve viewed this video I may have more to say later, but first this: Level of professionalism Josh? Really? You look like you just rolled out of bed after having slept in your clothes. You could probably clean up just a little with (1) a shave (2) buttoning one more of the shirt buttons, (3) Tucking in your shirt and (4) buying and using an ??iron. That aside who appointed you to assess the ability to lead or motivate? What are your qualifications?

    Your self-righteous “I want to see the emails and then I’ll decide for myself what is relevant” isn’t close to mature. You won 4-0 and will get more emails – the work you produce from this release will be predictably petty. Its your nature.

    • It doesnt take a rocket scientist in 2015 know about Gmail or Hotmail or any other services… heck even the old lady behind the mike who couldn’t stop nodding in agreement felt the need to get up and share her knowledge and advice.

      Hers I’d a serious question for you and Josh and all the others tied up in knots over this.

      Mr Resendez. Made a point to tell a story about a social event with Chief Urban that was interrupted by some notifications from the field. Mr Resendez said the interruption necessitated Chief Urban to have to text and email…. Mr Resendez clearly understands that the Chief was “off duty” until she received the notification which necessitated her going on duty to deal with. Resendez understands that is the nature of the job at the rank of CHIEF. Chief’s don’t get paid by the hour and they don get overtime instead they get paid a nice salary that compensates them for ALWAYS being on-call.

      With this in mind, since we are all worked up about “city time” and city equipment” and frequency of personal emails and word counts all supposedly taking away from productivity when on the clock… should Chiefs have 2 phones? One City one private? 2 laptops or PC’s? One for City business and one for personal? Accessable to a chief 24/7?

      Since a Chief is technically always on-call for the City and PD he/she is technically ALWAYS ON THE CITY CLOCK. Chief’s technically eat meals and sleep ON THE CLOCK (don’t even start with the firefighters job as some always want to do). They may even have a beer with their bro’s on City Time!

      How far do do the petty hairsplitters want to go with this?

      Understand, Josh and SJI don’t really have any responsibility for anything of substance… hell they fund their tabloid operation off of human trafficking and make no bones about it.

      • With this in mind, since we are all worked up about “city time” and city equipment” and frequency of personal emails and word counts all supposedly taking away from productivity when on the clock… should Chiefs have 2 phones? One City one private? 2 laptops or PC’s? One for City business and one for personal? Accessable to a chief 24/7?

        Does this mean nobody gets to give me crap about the frequency of my SJI posts while on the clock? (Looking at JMO, not MW)

    • Why are you making fun of him for advancing his career? Right now he works for a marginally reputable news outfit with a lot of shady tentacles. I didn’t realize how hard he works until I bumped into some of his articles on Sanjose.com the other day.

      I suspect he’s underpaid, overworked and probably doesn’t get a 401k or even health insurance.. Anyone in that situation would want a better job, and shame on you for making fun of him.

  4. Oh boy lets look at everyone on the committee’s Email too!
    Someone might be doing something wrong………………

  5. The bigger issue isn’t emails but rather SJPD needs better leadership. It’s not a good sign that the last four chiefs have been inside candidates. Sure, they know the organization and the culture but there in lies the problem.

    SJPD, like any organization, needs a fresh perspective if it wants to grow as agency.

    Garcia is a good man who has devoted his adult life to SJPD and law enforcement but SJPD needs new leadership to address the issues that have plagued the department for years – profiling, transparency, improved technology, community policing, budget effiencies, training for mental health, body cameras, etc.

    A new chief from outside the department would command instant authority, and if the City Mgr. and City Council can keep their hands off, he/she could shake loose the strangle hold the POA has had on the department and the complacency of the rank and file. Now that pay has been restored it’s time to restore the department!

    • You followed the last “Nationwide job search” for Chief right? The 3 or 4 finalists ALL backed out on learning they were finalists.

      I don’t doubt they did their homework on the the post Measure V, W, B police department they were looking to lead and that Chief Moore’s honest opinion about the Mayor and Majority of the Council had much to do with their decision to proceed with the process. I also suspect that the fact that most maybe all were seasoned white males did not sit well with the City Govt looking to hire may have been a factor.

      It’s a new day, new mayor and council, new POA and a tentative contract offer to start tuening rhings around and make the job maore appealing.

      The biggest problem with SJ is the culture or tradition or precident (not sure what it is) that has developed in recent years. It’s a combination of things that has been allowed to thrive in SJ and a lot of it has to do with pure EGO fueld by ignorance on the part of the politicians who cater to idiotic factions in Society AND THE MEDIA. Too many have this idea that once the Chief is hired he or she “answers” to the City Manager or the Mayor, or the Council – a bunch of idiots who typically have NO EXPERIENCE as police (ya I know Constant and Peralez). Politicians/Recent City Managers believe they are like CEO’s or dictators and have been allowed to meddle and micro-manage… but also the City Managers have allowed the Mayor and Council to dictate to that office.

      Then there is the press…idiots like Koehn and Wadsworth and Pulcrano and all the others over at the Merc. SJI’s email witch hunt is a fine example… they live in a very sterile child like world and only understand things in “absolutes.” (When it suits them) ex: police are supposed to be perfect…. FOIA law says I can therefore produce… No? If you don’t give me the emails the your covering up (veiled threat translates to “I’ll claim cover up whether or not one exists and you’ll have to defend yourselves). Still tell me no? You can’t do that because I haven’t been allowed to see the emails so I won’t know what is in them or why you are denying me them so it’s clear your covering up, good day I now have a story to write ( note this article expresses surprise that the Rules and Open Govt committee granted the request forcing a DIFFERENT story to be written) .

      So score one for SJI winning a battle they should have lost. The idiots won and will make big news out of bro’s and beers and football and spelling mistakes …. San Jose Council Lost because they allowed biased blogger to play them. It will be much easier next time…

      that WEAK, WEAK WEAK Chappie? He summed it up better than I can! “Josh and SJI have been very good to me and I hope they continue to be after today….” Really? District 1 you have a LOSER there!

      Josh said he isn’t doing a story on personal emails? Fine then , from the last FOIA we learned about the relationship with the 49ers and the scoffing at the gift policy and lack of respect for the CM and Council and Bros and typical police “gallows humor” (who hasn’t ever sent or received a Darwin Award link?) We know about Bellarmine Football…I get it rhe content doesn’t matter at this point there has been a violation (s) of a POLICE and there is a remedy – invetigstion, findings and rec”s and disciplne. There is no need for further emails to proceed down that road with what is alewady known.

      If I were Eddie Garcia I would hire a lawyer and make it be known that the City of San Jose is now engaged in violatiing the POBR by allowing evidence in a personnel investigation to be made public while the investigation is on going.

      The next word Josh/SJI says/prints about personal emails (on City servers and accounts or not) will result in a lawsuit that will get him and SJI rolled alongside the City. Garcia will prevail and take some control and a nice chunk of tax free change away from the idiots!

      • Mayor Weed,

        All great points, I particularly like the comments about the national search for a new chief. Only a fool would knowingly have walked into the lion’s den that was CSJ these past four years.

        Just a couple of points of clarification.

        The Chief actually does report and answer to the CMO, as do all other department heads; it’s in the City Charter. But I understand your point. What appears to be capricious over reaching by the CMO and others can only be frustrating for the “LE experts.”

        That being said, aside from the legitimate conversation/debate to be had on pension reform, Measure B, etc, is asking SJPD to wear body cameras or establishing a voluntary video camera registry an over reach?

        According to Police One and Taser Int’l, who surveyed 785 federal, state, and local law enforcement professionals, ” 85 percent of respondents believe that body-worn cameras reduce false claims of police misconduct, and reduce the likelihood of litigation against the agency.”
        http://www.policeone.com/police-products/body-cameras/articles/6017774-Survey-Police-officers-want-body-worn-cameras/

        Again, to my earlier point about changing the culture at SJPD, body cameras could be implemented tomorrow department wide, and only after six months of “analysis” did the registry get activated on the PD homepage.

        All organizations large and small should be willing to accept critiques or recommendations that help or strengthen their overall performance. And based on the city charter the council, mayor and CMO can do that.

        From Facebook to Apple, companies across the Valley and around the world, do top down performance review, looking to streamline and innovate where possible. Many LEAs across the state and country have sought out that innovation and improvement, why not SJPD? Could it be the cultural of “thanks for the suggestion but we know what we’re doing”? Let’s be clear, none of my comments in no way should be considered a slam against all the hard working officers and detectives working for SJPD – GIU, Robbery, Homicide, Patrol and others are working their but off with little or no help.

        Mayor Weed you are correct that the CMO and council have to STOP the “knee jerking” any time any random resident sneezes!

        And my second point, politics 101, kill the story before it spirals out of your control. In this case releasing AC Garcia’s emails (even redacted) kills the “stone walling” story. And to your point I suspect every CSJ employee is breathing a collective sigh of relief because their emails weren’t next.

        Lastly – like you said, SJPD was and will be a good agency again, but it won’t because it there are more bodies on patrol. It will be because good leadership, combined with a desire to not defend the status quo, that SJPD will regain the reputation it once had.

        Can AC Garcia be that change leader, possibly? But a new chief from outside SJPD will guarantee it.

      • EG would never hire a lawyer to sue over POBR. He wants to be C.O.P. so badly, he’s willing to take the hit…

    • Bully “Pullit”,

      These issues you speak of which have “plagued the department for years”, can you provide some basis, outside of Merc articles, for why you entertain this assumption regarding, “Profiling”, “community policing”, and “training for mental health.”

      A new chief would not “command instant authority” under even the best scenario. No group of cops who have been getting flogged by their employer for the better part of 4 years, would suddenly stand at attention for some new Chief from who knows where that doesn’t have a personal grasp on their departmental struggles. It would significantly undermine their credibility to even try to say they understand..

      “Shake loose… the complacency of the rank and file.” What complacency? Are you referring to the thousands of overtime hours being worked on a monthly basis to keep the SJPD afloat? Or the massive case loads detectives carry, but still manage an above average solve rate? Or the countless investigations that have been conducted by patrol officers in recent years to nab serious criminals it combat major quality of life issues? I’m curious about this one…

      You seem to be specifically motivated by problems only Ladoris Cordell viewed as problems.

    • It’s not about hiding anything. The FOIA from several months ago produced the information that Josh published in his first article.

      This recent FOIA is for the emails the person who submitted the first FOIA didn’t want because they were agreed to be personal in nature and NOT containing any “official business” type of info. So it was of no interest to the requester.

      Even in the first FOIA release
      Josh was able to cull some information useful to his agenda. Now all he wants is more emails to “prove” Garcia used City email to send/receive personal emails unrelated to his duties.

      It’s already been proven that Garcia violated the policy so what more proof does anyone need?

      Seriously, are we going to evaluate someones character and ability to lead because he used email to share news about his son or plan to have beers with a reporter? Sure if he was involved sharing porn or racist humor it would be worthy to note but there is no indication at all that this is the case and Josh’s “well, I haven’t been allowed to look so I don’t know that…” is just juvenile.

      Yes we can agree that it was not wise to use City email for “personal” business it IS policy violation in the most strict interpretation on City policy. That said if we want to judge Garcia’s character and ability to lead then check out his work history and what people who work for and around him think in the PD, in City Hall , in the community, in the jails.. because we already know there is nothing in the emails.

    • JSL,

      If you got “nuthin to hide…” then leave the bathroom door open next time you take a leak while guests are over.