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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Editor’s Note: Santa Clara County Needs Strong Candidates for Sheriff

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith has not announced whether she will run for a seventh term in 2022.

Whether or not she decides to run again, the constituency needs strong candidates to effectively lead its law enforcement. It is imperative that Smith’s reign as head of department comes to an end.

Yes, Smith could be removed from office following a Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury investigation that reportedly began earlier this month. If the grand jury finds a charge of willful or corrupt misconduct, the jury will determine whether she should be removed from office.

But the residents of the district should not count on such an opportunity. The district’s political leadership and residents must do everything they can to encourage as many strong candidates as possible to run for sheriff’s office next year.

The two candidates are retired captain Kevin Jensen and a sergeant. Christine Nagaye – announced their candidacy. This is a long awaited event. But it is questionable whether she possesses the name recognition or political acumen needed to defeat Smith if she escapes. Jensen only got 40% of the vote in 2018 when he ran for sheriff, and he has significantly more department leadership experience than Nagaye.

Finding good candidates is difficult due to a 1989 state law requiring all sheriff candidates to have certification from the Peacekeeping Standards and Training Commission or recent law enforcement experience. It is imperative that efforts to find qualified candidates begin now in order to campaign as effectively as possible in the June primary.

We hoped that Smith would safely retire in 2018 after five terms in office. But we were forced to call for her immediate resignation following her unacceptable decision to invoke her right to the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination when she appeared before another grand jury in September 2020. involving her office.

At the time, we said that county residents have a right to know if the county chief was aware of corruption in his office, or worse, if he was involved. Her refusal to answer questions under oath prevents her from holding office. County residents should not reward such behavior with another term of office.

Smith’s call for the Fifth Amendment and her role in the pay game scheme is hardly her only flaw as a sheriff.

Two tragic county jail incidents cost taxpayers millions of dollars in settlement, and the third is expected to lead to an eight-figure settlement.

A sheriff’s office employee testified to a grand jury of criminals that Smith asked her to buy cheap tickets to a hockey game in the San Jose Sharks so as not to report luxury apartment tickets as a gift under state political campaign laws. The sheriff reportedly did not use cheap tickets and instead celebrated her re-election in a luxurious suite.

It was because of this terrible level of performance that the Santa Clara County Supervisory Board passed a vote of no confidence in Smith in August.

Think about it for a minute. The board consists of five members with different backgrounds and political views, but they unanimously supported the vote of no confidence. Chiefs Joe Simitian and Susan Ellenberg said in their memo, “We no longer have confidence that Sheriff Laurie Smith is capable of performing sheriff’s duties with integrity, efficiency, and ethics.”

We agree. The district needs a new sheriff to restore trust and respect to the office.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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