No Facts Behind Ugly Rumors About Oakland Chief Batts

A couple of days before Debra Figone finalized her selection of Chris Moore as the city’s next chief of police, councilman Sam Liccardo referred to the candidates’ race as “the elephant in the room”—Moore, acting chief for the last three months, is white while the other finalist, Oakland Chief of Police Anthony Batts, is black. The real “elephant in the room,” though, was an inflammatory online report by a small newspaper in Long Beach.

Jay Beeler, editor of The Beachcomber, wrote a piece that alleged Long Beach police had been called to Batts’ residence on four occasions for complaints of domestic violence against his then-wife, U.S. Rep.Laura Richardson. When contacted to confirm the report, Beeler said he had no further comment and would stick by his story, but had no documentation or sources on the record regarding the alleged abuse.

No other media outlet has printed the allegation, most likely because some vetting showed Beeler may have had an ax to grind—he was once placed into custody by police for going into a restricted crime scene. But commenters on nearly every website documenting San Jose’s police chief search did broach the subject.

It’s possible that Figone, trying to restore balance to a police department already suffering from low morale, had an easier decision to make considering that Moore’s record had no blemishes, real or contrived.

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

9 Comments

  1. “… councilman Sam Liccardo referred to the candidates’ race as “the elephant in the room”

    How long will this nonsense go on? Race is recognized by the councilman as “the elephant in the room” not as a result of any political, social, or professional legitimacy, but because it’s been pushed in there by connivers from the NAACP, MACSA, and De-Bug, right past the genuflecting weaklings who are supposed to be minding the door at city hall.

    What possible justification is there for race to be considered in the selection of a police chief? Does there exist even a shred of reliable evidence of its relevance? I can’t think of a single public agency that has been made to run more effectively or better serve the public because of the race of the person at the helm. The evidence suggests just the opposite: that when race is treated as a factor the agency declines in effectiveness and professional reputation; no surprise given that it is all but impossible to elevate an irrelevant factor, such as race or gender, without sacrificing a relevant one, such as competence.

    It is illegal to consider race a factor when renting an apartment, approving a loan, or hiring a janitor, but here we have a city councilman acknowledging what we’ve all come to expect: that our appointed and elected leaders continue to play by their own rules. So much for transparency.

    Exactly what message is the city sending its employees here, particularly those empowered to enforce the law? Should the cop on the beat take heed of Ms. Figone’s “elephant in the room” when deciding whether to take down the punk selling drugs at the transit mall? Should the detective commander acknowledge it when deciding whether to pursue a fraud case or evaluate a domestic violence incident? Perhaps city hall should distribute a color-coded enforcement cheat sheet to keep the cops up to date on the rules of discrimination.

    Jim Crow, meet Debra Figone, your heir apparent.

  2. “The evidence suggests just the opposite: that when race is treated as a factor the agency declines in effectiveness and professional reputation”

    Yet Chief Moore will most likely continue a long standing tradition at the SJPD when it comes to promotions using race is a principle criteria.  SJPD has always made sure that the group photo at any promotional ceremony reflected every possible race provided they took the test.  In other words, test performance has always taken a back seat to having a good color and gender mix on the stand.  Chris Moore will undoubtedly follow in the footsteps of Chief Davis and all previous chiefs and continue the affirmative action policies that the City of San Jose blatantly employs state law notwithstanding.

  3. Gnat,

    Without feeling obliged to make your case you’ve implied there exists a degree of race discrimination of which you approve. Feel free to expand your thoughts beyond that which can be expressed with a spray can.

    • BS Monitor,
      FYI- Hyperbole, as I understand it, is now considered a form of ‘angry rhetoric’, particularly when directed toward a Democrat public official. Therefore you were in clear violation of the newly defined Rules of Public Discourse. You might want to tone it down a bit. After all, hyperbole is destroying the country.

  4. > Chris Moore will undoubtedly follow in the footsteps of Chief Davis and all previous chiefs and continue the affirmative action policies that the City of San Jose blatantly employs state law notwithstanding.

    It’s always been a source of amusement to me that “affirmative action” is nothing more or less than “racial profiling”.

    But, I presume that it’s OK because it’s the “good” kind of racial profiling and not the “bad” kind.

  5. Condemning Chief Moore before giving him a chance to prove himself isn’t very fair. I’ve been working with him on community issues and find him to be a very decent, and balanced individual. I may not always agree with him, but at least he keeps and open mind, and listens to all sides. I don’t think we can ask him to do more than that.

    • Chris Moore is a good man.  However, he has a boss that is a megalomaniacal racist and he will follow her orders.  Chief Davis was also very moral and he rolled over every time to support affirmative action promotions too.

  6. John Galt,

    Had “Norcalnat” posted his objection without the sarcasm so typical of arrogant, all-knowing egalitarians, I might have been more cordial in my reaction, being fully aware, as I am, of the extent of the brainwashing that has been done to the public by the media and the education establishment. Many, if not most of those who might encounter my post are likely to agree with Gnat, as they have been dispossessed of the common sense and logic necessary to hold firm their values in the face of a reality that’s been turned on its head.

    Placing a premium on race in the selection of a police chief is widely-accepted as moral for one reason: the assumption that the practice will harm only white male candidates. Rework the policy so that it harms some other group, or benefits white males—for any position from police chief to janitor, and in an instant the policy goes from being warm, fuzzy, and moral to being a reason to sic the feds on city hall and maybe set fire to the downtown. It requires no hyperbole at all to state that had the councilman’s revealing little quote been interpreted as suggesting a preference for a white police chief, the Justice Department would have had a team of self-righteous vultures here in three days.

    After half a century of finger-pointing and guilt indoctrination, the great accomplishment in the war to end discrimination is that its public face has been changed from that of a pot-bellied, shotgun-toting southern sheriff to that of a disarming, diversity-embracing bureaucrat, a change that has allowed discrimination to assume a number of comforting pseudonyms, wrap itself in the language of righteousness, and, remarkably, stake its claim to the moral high ground. Sixty years ago the public was outraged when racism deprived a black woman the freedom to her choice of bus seats; today, the same nation applauds its leaders for depriving a white male the right to be judged fairly when applying for a job. In other words, Rosa Parks earned an irrefutable claim to her civil rights for the price of a bus token, while Chris Moore’s civil rights, despite his 26 years of service with the San Jose Police Department, were not even worth considering.

    Norcalnat may be too far gone to ever see it, but Mr. Liccardo’s “elephant in the room” comment was a clear admission that the chief selection process was corrupted by “racists in city hall.” Ms. Figone, whose already proved herself to be reckless and ignorant in her handling of this city’s policing needs, has now been revealed as a practicing racist, a distinction that I view as abhorrent, but one that is sure to keep her in good stead with her political bosses and the scumbags at the Mercury News.