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.