Camp Calderon and the 18th Floor

Is San Jose making a play for the valley’s other large police organization? Already in control of the SJPD, San Jose’s political leadership appears to be aligned with an effort to challenge Sheriff Laurie Smith’s re-election. So much so that the 18th floor is beginning to look like a safe house for a government-in-exile. Ex-SJPDers already head up police departments in Los Altos and Los Gatos/Monte Sereno, but those departments don’t even have helicopters.

Mayor Chuck Reed’s campaign strategy chief, Victor Ajlouny, has been working with retired police Capt. Richard Calderon to take on the three-term incumbent. Camp Calderon has been conducting polls that suggest they’ll be making an issue out of the De Anza rape case investigation and county liability settlements related to conduct by sheriff’s deputies. Ajlouny previously worked with former Deputy Sheriff’s Association president Jose Salcido, a Smith adversary, SJPOA ally and one-time candidate for sheriff who’s now Reed’s law enforcement adviser.

Not all Reed staffers are in Calderon’s corner. Reed’s budget director, Armando Gomez, is supporting Smith, though his endorsement hasn’t hit Smith’s website yet. Reedsters say all this extracurricular political activity occurs on private time, not on the taxpayers’ nickel. Still, it could make it tougher for Reed to call SJPD use-of-force complainers “weapons of mass exaggeration” and take critics to task for making a lot of hay over “a tiny percentage of cases”—as he did in his State of the City speech—when some of his closest advisers will be doing just that with another law enforcement agency.

The likelihood that Reed will publicly involve himself in the race is slim, knowledgeable parties say, given his view that there’s more to lose than gain with endorsements. Just ask Sheriff Smith, who made the mistake of endorsing Cindy Chavez for mayor when Reed ran in 2006.

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


  1. Will we finally get true story about how Sheriff’s investigators messed up investigation of baseball players rape of drunken teenager so badly that DA could not prosecute guys?

    Why does it take hours to check people into county jail when other jails do it in less hour losing thousands of valuable city police patrol hours?

    Will Mercury and Metro again hand pick candidates and have their “attack dogs” oops ” investigative reporters” do negative stories on opponents? 

    Mercury and Metro newspapers have lost credibility and readership with biased “news stories”  more political mud slinging attacks then ethical news reporting

  2. Can anyone explain how Chuck Reed tolerates having his political consultant working against his interests? Does the mayor really want to be at odds with the sheriff? Is this a sign of political ignorance or machiavellian brillance?

  3. You’re right. Let’s have the “government without newspapers” that Thomas Jefferson spoke of and entrust voter education to the political consultants, special-interest sponsored blogs and prepared statements in League of Women Voters pamphlets.

    Why subject candidates to the messiness and inconvenience of independent scrutiny? Those too lazy to attend a debate or lucky enough to have a precinct walking candidate appear at their door can base their voting decisions on attack mailers or TV ads paid for by unions or the chamber of commerce.

    The audacity of those newspapers, forcing people to purchase or pick up copies and make them read their stories so they can fill their heads with lies.

    • Here, here Jeff! Who doesn’t enjoy bias reporting, and distortion of the facts by the press! It makes for entertaining restroom reading! wink

    • Independent scrutiny is important. 

      Could you please inform the Mercury News of that. It seems Laurie Smith has some big $$$ ties in there. 

      Unless you’re stupid enough to believe “independent scrutiny” includes a smear piece on Calderon and ignoring his press releases in favor of rude comments by the Sheriff.

  4. And you knew about the De Anza case even as the Sheriff pretended on the news that her office had done every thing possible to complete that investigation.

    So if the Mayor has a bias, that’s not okay, but if you, a journalistic source, have a bias that fails to inform the public of the negligence of elected officials, we’re supposed to pretend that doesn’t matter?

    Now, knowing what you and I both know, “The Fly”, between you, me and the 4 walls, maybe you can tell me why people who know you were notified of what was happening when it was happening should believe that this isn’t an exemplar of *YOUR* bias and not the mayors?

  5. So you believe that greedy corporate newspapers and their biased political reporting are ok if you own one or helps your political candidates or causes.

    Here’s hoping they turn on you as they have frequently done to former friends and you are their next target

    We will pay for quality local news journalism but have not been receiving it

    Newspapers deserved to go out of business because of years of biased unethical journalism and self rightness hypocritical opinions and have been unethically told to ignore their advertiser’s many misdeeds

    The worst paid subscription newspapers like Mercury ignore professional journalist ethics violations,  hypocritically attack political opponents while ignoring their endorsed candidate’s or elected official’s ethical, job failures or lack of experience to advance their political agendas

    Now we have many better quality less biased free news choices, so have stopped reading bad paid subscription newspapers

    There will be free and good paid quality newspapers left but not Mercury