A story sensationalized last weekend by the Merc’s Sean Webby stops just short of blaming the recent violent-crime spike on SJPD Chief Chris Moore’s business trips. “As San Jose’s homicide rate soared,” Webby writes, “police Chief Chris Moore was out of town on business 12 times.” He goes on to report that “some argue” an absent chief can destabilize a police force battling crime and sagging morale. Maybe so, but who exactly is arguing this (or even saying it under their breath) is unclear. The only person quoted criticizing the chief is Patricia Diaz, executive director of immigrant advocacy group SIREN, over an unrelated issue—the hiring of immigration agents. And Diaz’s criticism never comes close to Webby’s own front-page editorializing. Moore was frequently out of town in May, “one of the city’s bloodiest months,” Webby connects, even though only one of the seven murders in May occurred when Moore was absent. Conceding that the supersized chief always flies coach, Webby eventually explains that the main reason for Moore’s travels is that he’s heading a national effort to improve broadband emergency communications. Jim Unland, an SJPD sergeant and vice president of the police union, admits morale is down, but not because of Moore’s trips. Police are annoyed, Unland says, because 66 officers were just laid off.