How to Buy Public Safety Support

The saying goes: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. But in politics, if you can’t join ‘em, buy ‘em. That’s exactly what San Jose City Council candidates Rose Herrera and Johnny Khamis did in a recent slate mailer to boost their public safety cred. Herrera has taken a beating from the Police Officers Association in her re-election campaign, and to combat the negative attack ads she recently spent $926 on an endorsement from the COPS Voter Guide. Joining Herrera was Khamis, who spent $1,031 on the slate mailer and is running against POA-endorsed Robert Braunstein in Almaden. All that’s required for the voter guide’s endorsement is money and an empty pledge to support public safety. (David Ginsborg, a candidate for a county Water District seat, also signed on for $1,200. Why a water board member needs to be seen as big on public safety is beyond us.) While one could argue the candidates are trying to get over on voters who don’t know the difference between real and purchased public safety support, it seems the smartest men in the room are the voter guides’ organizers, Barry Wyatt and Kelly Moran. If those two names sound familiar, it’s because they’re the guys who were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2008 to send out slate mailers supporting Prop. 8, which at the time banned gay marriage in California. Moran, of course, is gay and married, proving that morals can easily shrink in the shadow of the almighty dollar. In their quest to make moola, the two men have put together an epic cast of contradictions in this year’s COPS Voter Guide. The endorsement of Khamis, a Republican, lines up almost side by side with a “Yes” endorsement of Prop 30, Gov. Jerry Brown‘s proposed sales and income tax increase.

The Fly is the valley’s longest running political column, written by Metro Silicon Valley staff, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at local politics. Fly accepts anonymous tips.


  1. Both the COPS and Bay 101 mailers are perversions of truth and shameful! The Bay 101 one prominently features SJPD and quotes that rightfully state the PD is underfunded and understaffed… Then it claims that casino revenue will help SJPD.

    This faux support is totally unsubstantiated as SJPD does not endorse (or condemn) any measure.  Further, the SJPOA does NOT support the casino expansion.  Beyond that, increased General Fund revenue doesn’t guarantee PD funding and nothing in the measure earmarks money for the PD.

    If there was any semblance of justice, these dubious mailers would backfire- but politics are so dirty the average voter will never see th reality- sad.

    • Actually, those ad are served directly from Google, not by us, and vary with every user. Google’s algorhithm targets you based on your interests, web history, the page content, and other factors. So if you have been visiting political sites, you may get a political ad.

      Click the little triangular “Ad Choices” icon in the upper right corner of the ad to see Google’s explanation of how this works, and to specify your preferences if you do not want to receive certain types of ads.

      From Google:

      While Google often shows you ads based on the content of the page you are viewing, we also show some ads based on the types of websites you visit, view, or where you interact with an ad or other Google product supported by Google’s advertising services. In doing this, Google doesn’t know your name or any other personal information about you. Google simply recognizes the number stored in your browser on the DoubleClick cookie, and shows ads related to the interest and inferred demographic categories associated with that cookie. It’s our goal to make these ads as relevant and useful as possible for you. Google doesn’t create categories, or show ads, based on sensitive topics such as race, religion, sexual orientation, or health.

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