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Milestones – Hard Core Belief! – Opinion

If you have had the experience of discussing a point of view with a nonbeliever of your point of view, forget it!

When the facts are on your side, you argue the facts. If the facts aren’t on your side, you argue like hell, and/or, in the case of the Santa Clara Police Department…you spend a lot of money in an attempt to sway thinking.

In this case, who is right?

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Consider this for a moment, there is no wrong. Either way you vote, for an elected Chief of Police or appointed Chief of Police, there is no right or wrong.

The question is, “How will Santa Clara hire the most qualified Chief of Police?”

Most important are residents, who are entitled to the best possible police chief. Since very few candidates are eligible to become the elected chief, this fact alone limits the choices.

Only about ten Santa Clara police officers live in the City. And currently you have to be a Santa Clara resident to be elected Chief.  A few others are ineligible because they don’t have the experience of being a captain or even a lieutenant.

With these requirements in mind, what are the chances? What are the chances that residents will be able to pick the best candidate for Chief of Police? What are the chances when options are limited; or, in the case of most elections for Chief of Police, there is only one candidate.

In the current climate, once again, there is no choice because there will be only one candidate running, and that one person may not be your choice. However, it will be the choice of the POA.

At this point, up jump issues like oversight, objectivity, responsibility and most of all…accountability.

It is finally time that Santa Clara voters choose their existing management officials to make the selection. City management is capable of representing all of us when selecting a qualified chief — as they do in every other city in California. Replacing an elected chief with a professional chosen for their qualifications is a critical vote. Management oversight will allow for personal interviews, choosing experience, quality talent, skills, capability and fresh-face objectivity.

The Police Officers Association is promoting and funding its own pre-ordained candidate. It is spending thousands of dollars to oppose an appointed chief.

Have you asked yourself why?

A one candidate contest is not an election!

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11 Comments
  1. CSC 2 months ago
    Reply

    Good perspective from the Publisher, Miles. Two points I’d like to add two points that clarify and expound on what Miles has written.
    .
    1) Miles wrote, “A few others are ineligible because they don’t have the experience of being a captain or even a lieutenant.” While that may be true in every other city in California, it’s actually scarier in the City of Santa Clara. Until March 7, 2000, the only requirement to be Chief of Police in this city was being a registered voter. SERIOUSLY, and with NO EXAGGERATION…anyone with NO LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPERIENCE could have been the city’s top cop. In March 2000, voters decided to amend the City Charter and adopt the State’s minimum qualifications for Sheriff but that also exposed residents to risk as it allowed someone with just (a) a master’s degree and 1 year law enforcement experience or (b) a G.E.D. and 4 years law enforcement experience to be on the ballot for Chief of Police.
    .
    To add what Miles wrote: a resident doesn’t even have to be a sergeant, lieutenant, or captain to appear on the ballot for Chief of Police, they can literally be a rookie cop with a G.E.D.
    .
    2) Today, none of the current Police Command Staff – Asst. Chiefs Kazem & Rush, or Captains Lagergren and Martin can appear on the ballot unless they pick up their families and move from San Jose or Gilroy to Santa Clara by July 15, 2024 just to run a political campaign for the top spot. Why would anyone move their family to a different city without the assurance of a new job? How many highly qualified police executives do you think want to run a political campaign and become a politician?
    .
    If Santa Clarans VOTE YES on Measure B to amend the charter, this would allow the four members of the current command staff to apply, compete, and be considered for the role of Chief of Police. With a no vote on Measure B, Santa Clara’s safety, productivity, and competence could be in jeopardy with an underqualified rookie, with no police executive management experience, on the ballot.
    .
    VOTE YES on Measure B for a better Santa Clara!

    • NP 2 months ago
      Reply

      Couldn’t agree more with your second point. It’s not the way that police management officials are chosen anymore, with the exception of sheriffs. Neither process guarantees a perfect candidate, but in the case of electing someone, you guarantee that the winner can’t be fired for being incompetent. You must hold an election, or hope that the person leaves voluntarily.

    • Good citizen 2 months ago
      Reply

      It wouldn’t be that difficult for any candidate interested in running for Police Chief to rent a studio apartment in Santa Clara, change their voting registration to their new Santa Clara address, and run for Chief of Police without really needing to uproot their family without a guarantee of winning the election.

      Once they win they can either move permanently or continue with their studio apartment.

      Let’s not pretend that we all didn’t know that Chief Mike Sellers only had an apartment in Santa Clara where he occasionally slept in while his real home was in Gilroy where his wife was Police Chief there.

      Yeah it’s dumb loophole. The charter committee could have easily proposed an amendment that removes the residency requirement either altogether, or at least remove it for the purposes of running for the office but require Santa Clara residency within 3 months of assuming the position. That way anybody can run even someone from out of town heck even out of state but be required to relocate after assuming the job.

      That would have solved a whole lot of problems.

      • CSC 2 months ago
        Reply

        Simply removing the residency requirement could have opened up a bigger problem where scores of rookie LEO’s put their name in the hat. Under Santa Clara’s current system and CA Penal Code Section 830.2, correctional officers with no street experience, Dept. of Fish and Game officers, or California Exposition & State Fair officers could also run. (yes, the State apparently has circus cops)
        .
        After reviewing scores of professional studies and hearing from subject matter experts, the two-pronged approach of removing residency requirement and elevating management credentials for applicants seems to be the best benefit for residents.

  2. John Haggerty 2 months ago
    Reply

    Thank you for your continuing focus on this important decision (Measure B) which the Santa Clara City Council has asked the voters of our city to decide on Election Day, March 5, 2024. A few questions:

    (1) The City Council could have asked the voters to eliminate the current residency requirement of which you speak but chose not to do so–Why?

    (2) Is it not true that Measure B fails to replace the qualifications, currently in our City Charter, with ANY qualifications whatsoever but, instead, merely assumes that our current City Manager (and ALL future, politically appointed City Managers) will appoint a suitable candidate?

    (3) In this day and age, when people move many times during their lives, why would it be so difficult for a dedicated law enforcement professional (already living in the Bay Area) to move to our lovely city to better serve the public, advance their professional standing, and receive a pay raise?

    (4) Has our current, recently appointed City Manager ever STATED that his office has the ability and resources to supervise our city government, a law enforcement agency, a power company, and a major league stadium, ALL AT THE SAME TIME? Why not?

    The voters of our city need straightforward answers to these basic questions before they can vote for or against Measure B in an informed manner.

    • CSC 2 months ago
      Reply

      (1) Removing residency requirement is only part of seeking the best Chief of Police for Santa Clara, the other part is elevating educational and management requirements for candidates.
      .
      (2) Stronger management experience and higher education has already been discussed; city staff are are not publicly speaking Measure B to not influence voting.
      .
      (3) The same question could be asked about all 152 police officers who are currently employed by Santa Clara. Why doesn’t the city make all of them move into the city before they can be hired and promoted to detective, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, or Assistant Police Chief and receive pay raises? The answer is simple and obvious.
      .
      (4) Yes. You should watch City Council meetings on YouTube to hear answers to your questions firsthand.
      .
      I believe voters are smart enough to understand two things: #1 there are significantly more problems with an elected police chief/Sheriff as we’ve seen with Laurie Smith and #2 every other city in California appoints its Chief of Police.
      .
      We don’t need to get caught up in analysis-paralysis. Santa Clarans deserve the best police chief we can find, not the only schmuck allowed on a restricted ballot.

  3. Suds Jain 2 months ago
    Reply

    Suppose an ex-Chief of police from another City or one of our current assistant chiefs were to rent an apartment in Santa Clara and run against the POA’s choice for Chief, what do you think would happen? I think it would be a repeat of the situation of Assistant Chief of Police Dan Winter who dropped out due to POA pressure. The POA would again put pressure on the opponent or spend heavily in favor of their candidate and heavily against the opponent. Remember, we only switched to elected chief of police in 1952 and we are now the LAST City in California with an elected chief. I believe the POA has already selected our next Chief of Police and that person lacks management experience.

    • Good citizen 2 months ago
      Reply

      Yeah but that’s just how elections and democracy works. You can’t use double speak and say the primary reason is to broaden the search for a qualified candidate that lives outside of Santa Clara when the loophole or workaround to that is pretty easy to do. And then when that’s pointed out you change the goalposts and say that the POA will just pump money into the election for their preferred candidates…

      Voters aren’t stupid. Your argument insinuates that and essentially your proposed remedy is to just strip them of their right to vote.

      Dan Winters should have stayed in the race and gone head to head with Pat Nikolai. Voters would see that Winters was head and shoulders more qualified. And yes the POA would have pumped a ton of money to prop up Nikolai. But that’s how democracy works – show voters the qualifications and yes some will be swayed by glossy fliers and ads but at the end of the day voters will vote and that’s the bedrock of democracy.

      It’s also ironic that if we apply your own logic then we shouldn’t elect our councilmembers because the 49ers pumped a lot of money into your race which you won… let’s just have them all appointed. That’s nonsense.

      You can fight against the influence of money in politics by PACs and big organizations, which is a noble goal. But don’t mislead voters into claiming that the whole argument for appointing the Chief is to widen the search for a qualified candidate when your real motive is you want to strip away people’s right to vote (and not be swayed by the POA’s monetary influence).

      • CSC 2 months ago
        Reply

        You’re not discussing logic. Now breathe in slowly and frequently before pasting the following URL into a browser. Santa Clara is a Charter City, not a General Law City. If appointing a police chief was an act of “stripping away rights from voters” rest assured cities throughout the country would be embroiled in Voting Rights Act violation lawsuits: Here’s California’s discussion on the matter: https://oag.ca.gov/system/files/opinions/pdfs/97-1103.pdf
        .
        Don’t bother replying, you obviously don’t conduct research in support a constructive conversations.
        .
        For all else reading this thread, appointing the highest qualified police chief and ensuring they’re held accountable by a manager is a process that works in every other city in the State, it’ll work well here in Santa Clara as well. Vote YES on Measure B!

        • Good citizen 2 months ago
          Reply

          We currently vote for our Police Chief.
          Voting yes on measure B would take away our ability to vote for our Police Chief.

          Encouraging people to vote yes on B effectively strips them of their right to vote for that position. Was that so hard to follow or did you really need me to spell it out for you?

          Why are you misleading people and deflecting from having an actual rational discussion?

          Now breathe in slowly and frequently before you read on… I never doubted that appointment can also lead to a qualified candidate. I was simply pointing out that the argument that Santa Clara residency requirement blocks qualified candidates is a weak argument. Especially given that you know well that Sellers lived outside of Santa Clara.

  4. Suds Jain 2 months ago
    Reply

    Technically, Russians currently vote for their President too. Remember Sellers moved to Santa Clara and ran unopposed.

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