Gore Tells Reporters He Wants to Fire Opponent; Stephan’s Supporters Under Fire
There are developments in the crucial June 5th contests for County Sheriff and District Attorney. Incumbent Sheriff Bill Gore’s management abilities are under the microscope. And appointed District Attorney Summer Stephan’s campaign has its own problems.
I’ll start with the San Diego Sheriff Department, which is turning out to be a real little shop of horrors. Top dog Bill Gore apparently still feels entitled to his job, even as claims against the department mount.
What the Department did or didn’t do after warnings about the San Bruno shooter continues to be a mystery. Los Angeles Times crime reporter Richard Winton posted a Tweet saying, “@SDSheriff remains silent on what the Dept knew about Nasim Agdam and Youtube after father says he warned them about her YouTube issues.”
A civil jury yesterday found for family members of Rebecca Zahau, who claimed her death couldn’t have been a suicide. She was found nude, bound, gagged with a tee shirt, and hanging from a balcony in a Coronado mansion in July 2011.
Sheriff’s investigators’ concluded Zahau herself tied a series of intricate knots on her hands behind her back, put the noose over her head and propelled herself off the mansion’s balcony. The family has maintained that brother-in-law Adam Shacknai was responsible for the death.
From NBC 7:
After the verdict, the Zahau family thanked the jury for “spending so many weeks to get justice for Rebecca.”
“Adam Shacknai doesn’t have money. This isn’t about money,” said C. Keith Greer, family attorney for the Zahaus. “It’s about getting the sheriff’s department to open this up, do their job. This clearly isn’t a suicide.”
The Sheriff Department issued a statement after the verdict saying their findings were supported by forensic evidence and medical examinations.
People are dying again in sheriff-run county jails, and if it wasn’t for the Union-Tribune asking questions, the public wouldn’t know about it. Despite a clearly written policy calling for notice to be given when such events occur, the deaths of Michael Sullivan and Oscar Leal precipitated exceptions to that rule.
Sullivan apparently committed suicide at South Bay Detention Facility last week. He was a convicted child molester who’d served 15 years, been released on probation, and jailed again in October for failing to re-register within five days of relocating. His death is being reviewed by homicide investigators and the Medical Examiner’s Office.
The excuse given for withholding notice of his death by department spokesperson Lt. Karen Stubkjaer was “bringing publicity to suicide can promote more suicides.”
Leal died under suspicious circumstances at the Vista Detention Center of what the Sheriff’s Department is now calling a drug overdose. He was repeatedly pepper-sprayed by deputies after being taken into custody and stopped breathing as he was being physically restrained.
From the Union-Tribune coverage:
The statement said life-saving measures were taken and deputies summoned paramedics. The suspect was transported to Tri-City Medical Center and declared dead at the hospital.
“At this time, we have reason to believe the subject’s death was possibly caused by an overdose of illegal drugs,” the statement said. “Therefore, in addition to an investigation originated by our Homicide Division, we are investigating this case with our new Overdose Response Protocol.”
A spokeswoman at the county Medical Examiner’s Office said Friday that it too was reviewing the death, but no details would be released until the investigation was completed.
Notice of Leal’s death while in custody was not given, according to the department, because “it would have compromised an investigation into where the man got drugs.”
All this might not seem so unusual but for the fact that there have been more than 120 deaths of people in custody at San Diego County since 2007, including dozens of suicides.
In recent years, the county has paid millions of dollars to settle wrongful-death lawsuits filed by relatives of inmates who died in custody. Including other legal actions involving official misconduct, the grand total paid out comes to $24,033,149.36 via 108 personal injury and damage settlements since Gore assumed office.
So, maybe, just maybe, these deaths are being swept under the rug because Sheriff Bill Gore is running for re-election against another officer (Commander Dave Myers) who’s advocating for progressive reforms in the agency.
Gore’s behavior certainly gives the impression he’s spooked by having some competition at the ballot box.
His opponent was removed from command functions and relocated to a refurnished broom closet after announcing his candidacy.
Gore–who’s participated in debates in past elections–refused a Republican Women’s Club offer to appear with Cmdr. Myers, saying laws limited what he could say about employee conduct. Myers signed a waiver of those rights. Gore still didn’t show.
The latest edition of Sheriff Gore adding insult to injury comes via a press release from the Dave Myers campaign:
I was amazed by a message I received yesterday. I learned that Sheriff Gore recently told a group of reporters that he wanted to fire me. I was initially outraged. I’ve worked hard and made a lot of sacrifices for the department over the last 32+ years. But my campaign team and I eventually had to laugh about it. Somebody even made a “meme.”
The contest for San Diego County District Attorney is getting more interesting, as appointed incumbent Summer Stephan is realizing she not just facing an able opponent. There is a national movement building for a more fair and just criminal justice system and the DA’s race in San Diego is part of it.
Civil rights activist Shaun King, co-founder of the Real Justice PAC, made a promise yesterday, and I’d like to help him keep it.
I will be calling out every single Democrat who endorses, supports, or donates to conservative District Attorneys all over the country.
We are literally checking voting rolls, financial records, donation histories, endorsement lists, etc.
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) April 4, 2018
Here’s a start on your San Diego list of Democrats endorsing Summer Stephan:
Congressman Juan Vargas, City Attorney Mara Elliott, San Diego, Laurie Black, former San Diego Port Commissioner, Gil Cabrera, former Chairman, San Diego Ethics Commission, Hon. Bob Nelson, former Port Commissioner, Humberto Peraza, former Board Member Southwest Community College District, Shawn VanDiver, Democratic activist, Hon. Jim Wood, former Mayor, Oceanside.
Meanwhile, Stephan is hoping to rally the troops in her offices, via an “informational meeting” this evening at the San Diego County Bar Association.
The San Diego District Attorney Investigators Association and the San Diego Deputy District Attorney’s Association are gathering tonight so volunteers can sign up to work on Summer Stephan’s campaign.
There’s nothing wrong with this on the face of it. Their San Diegans Against Crime PAC coughed up $155,000 to support Stephan in March.
But… there seems to be a question about whether County servers were used for the mid-day email inviting people to this campaign event. That would be a no-no. A public records request for that information is pending.
A snip from a recent email post reveals their current thinking:
After our last All Hands Training, the Deputy District Attorney’s association invited Summer to come speak and provide an update on her campaign.
She said, “I’m running scared, but I’m not scared.”
Summer has debated Genevieve twice, and Genevieve’s supporters are enthusiastic and likely to turn out in droves. there are several reason why this is likely to be a close election: the anticipated funds from billionaire George Soros into a PAC supporting Genevieve, the “blue wave” that we’ve seen in special elections in other states, and the fact that Summer doesn’t have the same name recognition that Bonnie had when she ran in the last election.
They have good reason to worry. Stephan competed with Jones-Wright for and lost head to head endorsements for Run Women Run, National Women’s Political Caucus, and the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council.
She admitted during her Labor Council interview she was seeking the endorsement of Mickey Kasparian’s breakaway group, the Working Families Council, which probably didn’t help her case.
While Jones-Wright has yet to see a visit from the Soro’s fairy, she has picked up the support of PowerPAC.org, based in San Francisco, and Smart Justice California.
After a poor performance last month at a forum sponsored by the Labor Council, Summer Stephan has pulled out of a forum at USD and one sponsored by the NAACP.
So I’ll guess we have to wait for the TV commercials to hear about her ‘nonpartisan’ campaign. Maybe she can explain how a ‘non-partisan’ ends up as a Gold Sponsor for the San Diego Republican Party’s Annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner.
— The Hill (@thehill) April 4, 2018
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