Sheriff Laurie Smith withdrew her endorsement of Rose Herrera this week. It was not an easy decision, but it was made as a result of evidence presented to Smith of substantive fraud perpetrated by Herrera in the past.
As the chief law enforcement officer of Santa Clara County, Smith believes it would set a bad precedent to support anybody who committed a felony, even if they were not convicted. That was her final call and she made it because of the integrity of her office.
Obviously, this came as a shock to the body politic. Rose supporters blamed “the union agenda” and claimed Smith was “pressured.” Nothing could be further from the truth, and I have first-hand knowledge of that fact.
Smith doesn’t succumb to political pressure. She has a high sense of integrity. Trust is a minimum qualification for her support and the evidence persuaded her that Herrera’s past behavior was too egregious for her to continue to endorse the councilmember.
In addition, Smith still supports Pierluigi Oliverio who is labor’s public enemy number one. There was intense political pressure on Smith from the same people who oppose Herrera not to endorse him. But Smith doesn’t care.
In the final analysis, it was the evidence provided by the Police Officers Association, the Deputy Sheriff’s Association and the Government Attorney’s Association that persuaded Smith she could not in good conscience support Herrera.
It was a principled call that she knew would cause her some political heat, but you would expect nothing less from Laurie Smith.
Rich Robinson is a political consultant in Silicon Valley. He worked on past campaigns for Sheriff Laurie Smith.