Grudge Match: Shirakawa, Liccardo, Campos Fight It Out

County Supervisor George Shirakawa waded into the fight over who’s to blame for the rise in crime in San Jose Thursday afternoon, releasing a statement voicing his displeasure with comments San Jose Councilmember Sam Liccardo made to the media.

“... I was disappointed to see Councilmember Sam Liccardo on NBC last night pointing the finger at the County with false claims stating, ‘thousands of inmates that one time were in State prison are now being released to counties. Jails are full, counties as a result are putting an awful lot of folks on the street that wouldn’t otherwise be on the street. And, cities are left to deal with the results,’” Shirakawa said in the release.

The supervisor, obviously taking a break from filing his campaign disclosure forms, then listed a “fact check” of Public Safety Realignment, or Assembly Bill 109, which last year shifted lower-level offenders from state prisons to county jails and has also resulted in the release of roughly 22,500 parolees statewide. Of that total, 1,044 have gone on to Post-Release Community Supervision (PRCS) in Santa Clara County, which Shirakawa notes “only 100 or 10 percent have been rearrested.”

Shirakawa’s statement then goes on to say: “Our County jail is NOT releasing inmates early due to over-crowding or any other reason. Santa Clara County jail is NOT full.” Shirakawa didn’t offer any exclamation points to accompany those all-CAPS, much to our and Jeff Smith’s chagrin, but he did continue scolding Liccardo:

“Then, in this morning’s Mercury News, Councilmember Liccardo seeks to admonish those that blame by stating, ‘whenever we encounter an awful run of violence as we’ve seen in the last week or two, the common reaction is to point fingers.’

“Councilmember Liccardo, I call on you to get the facts straight and please don’t participate in fear-mongering during this time of crisis. The community deserves the truth. Finger pointing at the County does not make our community any safer.

“The County stands at the ready to assist Mayor Reed and our colleagues in the City of San Jose.”

Councilmember Liccardo had this to say about Shirakawa’s comments: “That’s just George being George.”

Liccardo then went on to discuss the letter Nora Campos sent to Police Chief Chris Moore, which suggested SJPD ask the California Highway Patrol for help in combatting crime.

“If a state legislator wants to help us, they could start proposing efforts that stop taking tens of millions of dollars from the city (through ending Redevelopment Agencies),” Liccardo said, “and deciding not to push the burden of incarceration and rehabilitation of thousands of inmates on counties and local governments.”

Liccardo added that officials with the CHP were unaware of Campos’ idea or letter until it was sent to the media.

“People at the CHP don’t have any idea about this, so she hadn’t checked in with anyone,” he said. “This was basically a press release idea, not a policy proposal.”

We’ll update with new details once we have confirmation from the CHP.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. What a coincidence Sam.  Right after you fail to negotiate fairly with you public safety, and send an unfair and illegal vote to the public, crime increases because more inmates are being let out of jail. Amazing powers of observation.  Wrong………but really amazing.

  2. Supervisor Shirakawa early on took the lead on developing a comprehensive plan for re-entry for the non-violent offenders who would be returning from state prison to our county.  Most of these offenders would be coming back anyway, and now there are more services in place to help them, including more contact with parole officers.  A 10% re-arrest rate is extremely low.  The AB 109 programs are working, and new services will be added after more evaluation of emerging needs is completed.

    This morning at the City of San Jose’s Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force meeting, statistics were released that gang related crime was down this summer compared to last year.  There was a spike this week with the homicides, but the police and community agencies are responding, together, to address it.  It is time for us all to be united on this issue.  We all want the same thing—a safe community.

    • Totaly agree David , But you will NEVER see Rufus Reed stand up and take the Blame . you will see him take credit for others ideas , and work .  Im just wondering why more people aren’t asking why we cant afford more Police Officers??  since the whole “blame it on Pensions” arguement has been discredited. Before anybody starts screaming( YES , we do need legal , negotiated pension reform) as residents of San Jose , we pay so much more in Taxs than most other cities in the country. so ………………….where is all the money going????we keep building low-income housing, when already cant satisfy the needs of the city, but hey what the heck lets Build a Ballpark,lets buy and give away property to lew wolfe.  lets let our Mayor & Council masquerade as : (the now defunct) Redevelopement Agency, finance authority, Diridon developement agency, and who only knows how many other agencys , the city council comprise. why does nobody ask these questions??? Public Safety here in San Jose does way more than any other City its size , with FAR less personel. They are doing the best they can with what they have……………..with NO support from Mayor, Council or Chief Moore.

  3. For years residents of San Jose have been pointing fingers at the City Council, demanding to know what they were going to do now, not next year, not decades from now, to address the non violent crime in our communities.  We had it drilled into us for years that the reason we needed investigative units, gang suppression groups, graffiti abatement, code enforcement, community centers and libraries was because San Jose’s own surveys and analyses show that these are the things that keep non violent burglaries, thefts and break ins from escalating into violent crimes.

    After years of seeing those non-violent crimes turn into home invasions, armed robberies and carjackings, we still point the finger and ask what game plan is in place.  Because what we have isn’t working.

  4. Sparky Harlan said, “It is time for us all to be united on this issue.  We all want the same thing—a safe community.”

    I couldn’t agree with you more Sparky. It is very easy to point fingers during a crisis. It is much harder to tackle the “real” issues here. Our community must start working together with law enforcement to keep our City safe.

    When communities take ownership of their own neighborhoods through Neighborhood Watch Programs, educating themselves on how to work with at risk youth, and stop being in denial about what is going on in their OWN homes, change can happen.

    Hiding inside your home and wishing a way the problem doesn’t work. I believe that even if we had a million Police Officers, crime would still occur because much of what needs to change starts in the home.

    Having said that, I think all this finger pointing and political posturing is only making things worse. We need good strong leaders to take charge and collaborate with one another, and with the community. It is so easy to blame Chief Moore when no one wants to be held accountable for their part in this mess.

    The bottom line is this, unless and until we all start working together, more Officers will get injured or killed, and citizens will be murdered, robbed, and raped at alarming rates, and we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.

    • Kathleen , you are correct everybody wants and deserves a safe community , But how is that possible when public safety is leaving in droves?? They feel Maligned, mistreated,unappreciated ,overworked & underpaid. Its extremely hard Not to point fingers at The Mayor & council , They created this mess. Yes , chenges needed to be made in the Pension system ( but it needs to be done legally & negotiated) It is the absolute LACK of leadership in this City that has put us in this crisis .  Things wont change here in San Jose learns how to treat its workers correctly. who is going to work for this city when pay and benefits are way below par. why would anyone choose to stay here , when they can go somewhere else get more money/benes and be appreciated for the skills that they bring. I truely hope things turn around, but honestly dont see it happening anytime soon. Lets not even talk about the total cost of all the pending lawsuits that the City is sure to lose( case law is on the workers side) How can all sides come together after all this

        You make a lot of valid points, and ask good questions. I agree with you that our City should have worked with the Unions on how to go about getting pensions reduced in a fair, and equitable manner. I also agree that the way they have represented/treated our loyal City employees through this budget crisis was hurtful and disrespectful to all of you.

        I know that moral is low, and that you feel unappreciated. To that end, some of us are trying to turn that around. As I’ve said before, Council Member Rocha is holding an appreciation BBQ for Police, Fire, and Crime Prevention Sept. 23rd, from 2-5:00pm, at Hogue Park. Everyone is welcome.

        Tonight at City Hall, at 7:00pm, by the Rotunda, Firehouse is holding a prayer vigil for victims of violent crime, Police/Fire, and our community in an effort to bring us all together during this difficult time. I hope you and others will attend.

        The Mayor, Police Chief Moore, Fire Chief McDonald, along with some Council Members will be there. And several community leaders will also be there to do outreach, and provide resources to the community.

        Last Thursday night, I attended a prayer vigil and peace march held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. We honored public safety, and victims of violent crime.

        Both of these vigils asked/and will ask that the community start stepping up to the plate and support public safety, and to take ownership of our community. It might not be a fix to the problem of low moral of public safety, but it is a step in the right direction.

        Also, Firehouse will be working with officials, other groups, and the community to hold BBQs and resource fairs in the hardest hit communities. Lots of people in the community don’t know about all the excellent services out there to assist them in times of trouble.

        We need to get troubled youth, addicts, and mentally ill people resources so that our community will be safe again. A lot of the work to end these crime sprees needs to begin in the home, and in our neighborhoods. People need to support our PD and start reporting crime instead of complaining about it!

        As to Measure B, we’ll have to leave that in the hands of the courts. I’m sure Unions will prevail.

        As to Officers leaving in droves, they need to do what is best for their families. I know I would if I were in the same place. I know they deserve better treatment, and I hope they get it elsewhere.

        Please stay safe out there, and thank you for your service.

  5. Redevelopment agencies ??????? Talk about spinning the issues! These don’t even know what they are talking about.

    Clowns running the city. I hope the citizens of San Jose are waking up now.

  6. Leadership 101: Here’s some advice for everyone that believes they’re a leader. Does everyone believe that as a leader, anything that happens on your watch is your responsibility whether you like it or not? This level of responsibility just goes with the territory. Last I checked we all make mistakes, I know for certain I do. Most of us don’t look for perfection in leaders, we look for leaders who see mistakes as a chance for opportunity, growth, and improvement.
    The truth of the matter is no victories are won by participating in the blame game. It’s been said, “the only thing that happens when you throw dirt is that you lose ground. Don’t be a “Teflon” leader, be the mature leader who takes the hit, deals with the issue, and moves forward with character.

    • i agree but you’re asking for integrity from people who have none. If our mayor and his court of clowns had any integrity he wouldn’t have acted like an idiot when he was confronted with the truth.
      As you said a true leader takes responsibility right or wrong.

  7. David,
      Your insite, stirred my thoughts this cool and quiet morning.
    It’s at moments like this that WE ALL see our leaders for what they really are.
    We don’t need more police, WE need a caring and responsive community.
    We don’t need more wars that kill our youths!
      We don’t need more of our Silicon Valley Corporations going to China.
      We simply need them to become part of the fabric that makes up a healthy society here in Silicon Valley.
      Some years ago, as I stood at my anvil, hammering out products for humanity, I saw that much of this countries wealth would not survive the exodus of jobs to 3rd world coundries.
      Perhaps it is time to circle the wagons, and get back to the Americana, that was left for us to nurture and enjoy.
      Today, I am going to our Italian Festival and enjoy the friends, music and tastes of our Village.
      Today I will shake many hands, smile many smiles, and tomorrow I will be Salmon Fishing in San Francisco.
      Monday, I will be back at my anvil hammering out my future along side my Son.
      Simply my thoughts on this beautiful morning in our Village!

      The Village Black Smith

  8. Truth is…without a well staffed police department Chief Moore can’t do anything.  His biggest special operations unit mission changes on a day-to-day basis.  The poor guys start a new job and can never finish what they started.  When you don’t finish what you start, the job never gets done.  It’s that simple.

    Talk is cheap…bottom line is, until the courts decide Measure B we are not going to see an increase in staffing within the SJPD.  The number will hover between 1000 to 1100 at any given time.  SJPD was effective at 1450. 

    The question is…What are you willing to pay for the quality of life you want?  Pick your price and live with what you pay for.  Just like thy say, “You get what you pay for.”

  9. Not quite sure who is pointing fingers. Seems to me this is all about the mayor and his council playing the smoke and mirrors game. If you think for one second these people care about the citizens they work for then you have probably smoked a huge bowl of medicinal marijuana. Facts are fact. People cannot work under these conditions. Everyone in SJ is quitting and it will get a lot worse. Public safety has already gone down the toilet as these morons scramble to put a bandaid on everything they dismantled ie VCET and a proactive eager work force. But lets not forget the librarians, engineers, plumbers and all the other city empoloyees who the evil empire simply imposes their cuts with no care. These people keep the city running behind the scenes. THey too will leave for greener pastures. We have an extremely arrogant city govt in SJ just ask any small business owner what its like to deal with these jokers. This town is so poorly managed its beyond words and comprehension. The 40% of angry voters who represent a fraction of all the voters have decided for the rest of you that your city will go down the sewer. I truly hope that all of you out there who did not vote and did not read and do your homework on the totality of this measure can live with what you have allowed to happen. Man the lifeboats because this mother is taking on water on going down fast.

  10. I have a thought about the killings at Safe way and Walgreens.
      What has increasing the police force and giving overtime to more police to patrol the streets of San Jose, when most of these killings take place in public places where no police are active in walking a beat
      I fail to see the connection with Moore taking the heat volentarily, and some deranged killer in the produce deptment at Safe way.
      My thought is to see a beat cop at every shopping center. get them out of their patrol cars, and get to mix with the folks that call these centers home base.
      Sure there are drug cartels and such. But get the local communities confidance and we will all feel better about seeing good cops in our heighborhoods.
      Best example was recently, when some one wanted to change the demographics of the down town, by setting the dogs of the night folks. What genius thought up that one?
      When we were kids ,We hated the Dog Catchers, and did everything to save anyone’s Fido from getting taken away. Yet when the ice man came along, we’ed follow him along until he would break a charp of ice on those hot summer days, for us to enjoy.
      Two things have changed at Safe way, the produce department got spruced up after the stabbing. for camera’s sake I’m sure. and I noticed a portly security guard obiously looking for the next tragedy.
      Get a beat cop out there and get to know the folks. The dog catcher approch, just is not going to work to anyone’s favor. When was the last time there was a stabbing at Winchels, or anywhere our cops eat?
      Recently, I stopped at a store. Several guys had left, and a San Jose cop was there buying something. The guy behind the counter gave this cop all of the rundown on those guys that had just left. It was not good, but the cop got the onfo, perhaps licence number, etc.
    Some how I felt a lot safer knowing that the information shared by the guy at the counter may help to stem the violence that could result from these young hoods.
    Just my thoughts for a Monday, before I head to the Smoker. Two 20 lb Salmon out of San Francisco!
    Tight lines!!

    The Village Black Smith

  11. Kathleen,
      No vote required. It is time to send this off to Mike Honda, Norm Mineta, and Governor Brown.
    As a child, I recall the tales of GI’s returning from the war with Japan, only to face the rath of the beat cops in the Barrio of LA.
      These men, many decorated, killed many of the enemy in battle, only to come home to some racist white beat cop, that had his way with many. I need not discribe the results. Only that the white cops were replaced with black cops, and the community began to heal.
    I know One Top Cop, that could help to bring our Village together. Deputy Chief Luis Hernandez, (Retired).
    Chief Moore, it would be wise of you to seek His council. The wisdom of Men that know the Barrio is essential to your tenure, and our Village.
      I went to Walgreens on San Carlos, where the sitting lady,(as I called Her) was stabbed and killed. I droped off some film. I looked for any signs of her passing, any signs of police presence, and Secuity Guards. Nothing!
      It seems to me that many folks are playing the victims of our community tragety for gain. I need not go into who are these slease artists are, but this web site is full of them.
    Don’t sell me a cop, sell me happiness in our community. I’ll pay anything for that!
      The Village Black Smith

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