Reading Into Sheriff Smith’s Retraction

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.

Rich Robinson is an attorney and political consultant in Silicon Valley. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.


  1. Rich,

    Still do not get the PO support.  But that is her right.  We need Steve Kline.  Although I no longer work for the city or live in SJ, I will walk to put out the vote AGAINST HIM.

    • I agree, which only proves she doesn’t alwayst take my advice.  That said, PLO haan’t committed, to my knowledge a felony.
        Although I think stealing signs is a misdemeanor.  wink


      • PLO has stated in prior blogs that police and fire services should be taken over by the county so the city can “save” money….thats why PLO has Sheriff Smiths endorsement

    • He says nothing but here is a thought: If Measure B passes

      Chief Moore:

      Personal security is the underpinning of the profession of law enforcement. It allows personnel to
      dedicate their lives to the service of others knowing that, in the event of a career-ending injury,
      they will still have some means to provide for their family and themselves. In this life-saving
      service, the decision to take a potentially career-ending risk must not be the equivalent of opting
      for financial ruin.

      The SJPOA would like to know what the Police Department direction is with regard to risk
      management should Measure B pass on June 5, 2012. As you are aware, under Measure B
      (see Section 9: Disability Retirements below), the safety net that currently allows police officers
      to fully execute their duties under the current risk management plan will be removed. Should
      Measure B pass, personnel who are called upon to risk their lives will be effectively terminated
      from employment if they are injured to the point of being unable to continue to work as police
      officers but not injured enough to be severely disabled or on death’s doorstep.

              Section 9: Disability Retirements

      (a)  To receive any disability retirement benefit under any pension plan, City
      employees must be incapable of engaging in any gainful employment for the
      City, but not yet eligible to retire (in terms of age and years of service).
      The determination of qualification for a disability retirement shall be made
      regardless of whether there are other positions available at the time a
      determination is made.

      (b)  An employee is considered “disabled” for purposes of qualifying for a
      disability retirement, if all of the following are met:

        i. An employee is considered “disabled” for purposes

      ii.  It is determined that 1) an employee in the Federated City Employees’
      Retirement System cannot perform any other jobs described in the City’s
      classification plan because of his or her medical condition(s); or 2) an employee
      in the Police and Fire Department Retirement Plan cannot perform any other jobs described in the City’s classification plan in the employee’s department because of his or her medical condition(s); and

      iii. The employee’s disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one
      year or to result in death.

      (c)  Determinations of disability shall be made by an independent panel of
      medical experts, appointed by the City Council. The independent panel shall
      serve to make disability determinations for both plans. Employees and the City
      shall have a right of appeal to an administrative law judge.

      (d)  The City may provide matching funds to obtain long term disability insurance
      for employees who do not qualify for a disability retirement but incur long term
      reductions in compensation the result of work related injuries.

      (e)  The City shall not pay workers’ compensation benefits for disability on top a
      of disability retirement benefits without an offset to the service connected
      disability retirement allowance to eliminate duplication of benefits for the
      same cause of disability, consistent with the current provisions in the
      Federated City Employees’ Retirement System.

      With Measure B now on the June 5, 2012 ballot, the SJPOA believes it imperative that the
      Department issue direction on how personnel should proceed in the event that they and their
      families are no longer provided with the financial security of a disability retirement. Additionally,
      the SJPOA would like to ensure that all mandated safety protections be in place to protect our
      members from injury.

      Prior to June 5, 2012 the SJPOA demands proof of the following: that a Cal-OSHA compliant
      San Jose Police Department Injury & Illness Prevention Plan is in place; that the Department is
      compliant in all mandated training and testing; that all policies and procedures are reviewed and
      revised to reflect legal mandates, industry standards and best practices; that all personal protective
      equipment and emergency response equipment is compliant to all applicable standards and laws;
      and that all worksites, including training facilities are compliant to applicable standards and laws.

      The SJPOA is very concerned about what impacts that Measure B will have on police operations.
      I look forward to hearing the Department’s risk management direction and to reviewing the
      requested documentation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

  2. The investigation into Rose Herrera’s business dealings exposed her not only as a businesswoman with scant regard for the rules, but as a human being who regards neither the loyalty nor trust of her closest friends. While I’ve heard plenty from her current political allies in defense of the former—her business failures, not one has dared attempt to justify the low-life scam she tried to pull on her faithful friends. The lack of character demonstrated by her behavior more than justifies the sheriff’s change of mind, just as the failure to inform the public, back in 2008, of Herrera’s scandalous background justifies questioning the professionalism of the staff at the SJ Mercury.

    That said, I believe an equally compelling case for breaking political ties could be made by Herrera’s acceptance of an IBM report that contained recommendations so baldly absurd that any leader with an ounce of integrity or common sense would condemn it at first glance. The notion, no matter how presented, that this city can be effectively policed with less than one officer per thousand citizens—or about one-half the ratio recommended to the council in 2006 by the police chief, is not one that cannot be responsibly entertained—not even under the pretense of “later review.” The report was politically divisive, an insult to the city’s police professionals, not to mention professional public safety research. As far as I’m concerned, every one on the council who voted to accept the report voted against the integrity of their office and acted against the best interests of this city.

  3. Oh, and I’m sure Sam L. is busting his behind to get cameras for all officers.  Nice political lie and it will never happen because the city would probably have to match funds at best. NOT!

    Looks good in the paper, but the truth is it will never happen.  And COP Moore is too busy looking for another polical job to care less but he like chuck says all the right words.

  4. Is Mr. Robinson now the official spokesperson for Sheriff Smith?  Did Sheriff Smith ask Mr. Robinson to write this on her behalf?  SJI should do a better job disclosing when political consultants are being paid to write articles for SJI.

  5. Rich,
    I’m a bit confused about all of this. If Rose is a felon, as Sheriff Smith claims, and everyone in law enforcement, and the the criminal justice system knows it, then why haven’t charges been filed against Rose for fraud etc.?

    • Because there is only a felony committed in the minds of the political foes of Herrera.

      Funny how those same people didn’t seem to think Xavier Campos who was part of the trifecta of incompetent leadership at MACSA who embezzled over a million dollars of public money from teachers and robbed the community of services (the never opened preschool and the now shuttered high schools) should be held accountable for his actions and his incompetence & inaction as COO.  Instead he chose to be the point guy to sell the properties to recoup money to lead the coverup.  But he’s a not a shady character who danced over the line of the law but got lucky enough to not have charges filed. 

      In Herrera’s case the union cronies want to cry “no breaking the law is acceptable!  Even if you’re not charged!!!!”  but in Campos’ case they like to say “well he was totally cleared because they didn’t have enough direct evidence and he refuses to cooperate with the DA’s office about his role” 

      Very consistent.  I don’t like Herrera but I will encourage everyone I know in D8 to vote FOR her.  Down with the hypocritical union hacks and their bought and paid for council puppets. 

      Reed has the balls to take them on for the good of the public and tax payers.

      • Aware D5,
        I’m not asking about Council Member Campos, or Ash Kalra, or anyone else you care to throw under the bus to side track my question about Rose.

        Rich has answered directly my question to my satisfaction.

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