Published in the May 9 – 22, 2018 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Editor’s note: Morgan Hill Life asked each sheriff candidate to have someone supporting their campaign author a 300-word endorsement statement. Candidate Jose Salcido did not return messages asking for his statement.

Joe La Jeunesse

Joe La Jeunesse has answered his nation’s call over and over again, serving with distinction and valor in theaters of action from Bosnia to Iraq to the California-Mexico border. He joined the Army at 17, becoming the third generation in his family to serve in combat, rising to the rank of Major.

Today, Joe is answering the call of thousands of Santa Clara County residents who realize it is time for change in the Sheriff’s Office. It is time for progressive, proactive leadership that will modernize our county’s chief law enforcement agency and strengthen its ability to protect the public.

Drugs and gangs are ravaging many of our cities and towns. With his military background and extensive experience around the world, Joe knows the importance of using the latest technologies available to fight crime. He knows adapting to the ever-changing tactics and activities of the drug lords and other criminal cartels is essential.

Laurie Smith’s administration has failed the people of Santa Clara County. Almost a quarter-century has passed since the incumbent took office. What do we have to show for it: our jails are in crisis, with multiple unexplained deaths, escapes, and even deputies convicted of murdering an inmate. Even a blue-ribbon commission recommended taking control of the jails away from the sitting Sheriff!

Joe has a detailed platform for change on his website at votejoeforsheriff.com. He is also the only candidate willing to issue CCWs for legitimate self-defense and he is opposed to sanctuary state and city policies that release dangerous criminals into our communities, including vulnerable immigrant communities.

Joe La Jeunesse: veteran, patriot, officer of the law and a man I am proud to call my friend. Please vote Joe for Sheriff.

Eric Overstrom, a friend of the candidate, wrote this endorsement.

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John Hirokawa

As someone who has dedicated my career to law enforcement and public safety, I write to seek your support in making the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and the wider Santa Clara County community safer by voting for John Hirokawa for Sheriff in the June 2018 election. In the 2014 election for Sheriff, I was grateful that the majority of those living in Gilroy and Morgan Hill voted for me, and now I strongly urge those communities to vote for John.

Other organizations and community members have also called for John to be elected, including retired Judge Ladoris Cordell. Cordell advocated for a change in leadership alongside the Blue Ribbon Commission in response to the 2015 murder of a mentally disabled inmate. Meanwhile, Sheriff Laurie Smith has fought against reforms for the organization every step of the way. As of April 2018, she paid an out-of-state consultant nearly $75,000 of taxpayer funds for a biased report that undermined independent oversight of the county jails.

Men and women employed by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office deserve to be led by someone who has sound ethics and is willing to instill positive changes. I am supporting John Hirokawa for Sheriff because he has demonstrated throughout his four decades in law enforcement that he can be trusted to make Santa Clara County safer. He has exhibited integrity and transparency — values that I cherish and are needed in our community, now more than ever.

I ask that you join over 80 career law enforcement individuals and organizations, including the Deputy Sheriffs Association of Santa Clara County and retired Sheriff Robert Winter, to unite and support John Hirokawa.

Kevin Jensen, a retired assistant chief of the Department of Corrections, wrote this endorsement.

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Martin Monica

I believe Martin Monica would be the best candidate for sheriff of Santa Clara County. Some key points that make him resonate compared to other candidates. He is a former chief of police and former San Jose police officer. His ethics are something the department needs as he was terminated after he arrested one of his own sergeants for child molest. When he was told that if he continued the arrest he would be terminated he did so. He was also involved in special units such as the K9 unit.

Martin also demonstrated he could handle larger tasks. One cornerstone example is when he was involved in the protection of United States President George Bush, Sr.

Martin has been involved with community groups since before his career started in law enforcement. He volunteered his free time to help low-income communities during the holidays.

I admire Martin’s views on jail reform as well because that is a crucial issue that needs to be changed. His views of transforming the sheriff’s department and jails into the 21st Century.

I believe Martin would be instrumental in improving the current issues with mental health with his bachelors in social work as he finishes his doctorate in police leadership will only solidify accountability in the department.

I have seen in my own community the tragic cases of human trafficking which I believe Martin will be the key to helping to prevent these future tragedies.

His strategy of using community policing to bring the community together is another example of why I believe he would create collaboration with community members and law enforcement.

James Martinez, a friend of Martin Monica, wrote this endorsement.

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Laurie Smith

In addition to being the first female Sheriff elected in the State of California, Laurie Smith offers the current race for Santa Clara County Sheriff integrity, experience and real results.

Policing the rural, unincorporated areas of District 1 in Santa Clara County is a challenge. Sheriff Smith and her deputies have a solid track record of proactively addressing this region’s unique public safety needs. Issues of burglary, homelessness, traffic violations, domestic violence, vandalism, and animal abuses are among the primary issues faced by the Sheriff’s Office in the area. Sheriff Smith has done an outstanding job connecting with the community and proactively addressing public safety needs which produce results.

Under Sheriff Smith’s leadership residential burglaries in unincorporated rural South County have declined 26 percent between 2015-2017, according to recent public data. Domestic violence in the unincorporated region is down 53 percent in that same time frame and incidents of vandalism have dropped by more than half.

Sheriff Smith’s collaborative approach with neighboring law enforcement agencies makes her an even more valuable asset to the community. This includes deputies regularly interfacing with Gilroy and Morgan Hill Police department personnel and actively participating on the Rural Crime Prevention Task Force.

Now more than ever, our diverse County’s communities need steady, trusted, proven leadership from law enforcement agencies.

We are fortunate to have that in every corner of District 1 and this is why I hope you’ll join me in supporting Sheriff Laurie Smith for re-election on Tuesday, June 5.

Mike Wasserman, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, District 1, wrote this endorsement.

 

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Guest Column

This guest column represents the views of the writer and not necessarily that of Morgan Hill Life. If you're interested in writing a guest column for this newspaper, please email the editor at editor@morganhilllife.com.
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