Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

How much is enough? DSA endorses Sheriff

The Deputy Sheriff's Association (DSA) gave their endorsement to Sheriff Anderson yesterday in a closed vote. With the Lompoc Police Officer's Association voting for Chief Brown, this has to come as a small surprise as usually the city police unions fall in line with the DSA in a show of solidarity.

One has to wonder by how much did Anderson win? As Brown pointed out in the News-Press this morning, a candidate could win with as little 26% of the vote -- especially if deputies did not mark a candidate on their ballot. I'm not clear if there was a "no endorsement" option but it would be interesting to see what the tally was. Hardly a ringing endorsement, the biggest loser is former Sheriff Jim Thomas. With the DSA choosing not to support a replay of his administration -- this hurts his campaign the most. The DSA is right though -- making that public would dilute the endorsement.

Last October, News-Press editor Travis Armstrong asked SEIU to make their candidate questionnaire public in the interest of voter education and inserted this request in dozens of editorials. He did not make the same request of the SB Police Officer's Association or the Sierra Club or the Womens Political Committee or any other political action committee.

Personally, I think it is SEIU, DSA or any other groups' own business how the questionaires are filled out. But fair is fair -- will he ask the DSA to do the same? I'd like to know how Anderson defends his term in office, shouldn't the public know as well? Tell us what you think bout that and who is The Biggest Loser here....


Anonymous Valerio said...

To be consistent and fair, Factswrong definitely should pester the Deputy Sheriff Association (DSA) and the candidates about what their questions were to the candidates, and what the results of their voting were... but we know he will not ask, because, after all, he is Mr. Factswrong.

As Arnoldi highlighted in the article, one should understand the difference between a PLURALITY and a MAJORITY. Anderson indeed could have "won" the endorsement with 25.01% of the 356 votes cast. The other candidates should hammer hard with that issue.

The DSA either does not understand the credibility they would have if they at least required a simple majority of member votes in order to earn an endorsement, or they continue to be arrogant as in years past.

What should happen to shine some light on this race is for other groups also to make endorsements, such as the usual political suspects that endorse County candidates, including SB Womens Political Committee, County Action Network, Chambers of Concrete, etc.

Jimmy The T is a sad egomaniac. When interviewed on the Ernie Saloman Show on Channel 17, Thomas talked trash about Arnoldi, noting that Arnoldi was good for operations, but not for dealing with people. AS IF Thomas himself, looking for someone to recall to feed his hungry ego.

4/05/2006 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thomas is the biggest loser. Clearly, his old department is not rushing to take him back.

And many of us will never forgive Thomas for his shamefully embracing the attempted recall of Gail Marshall.

It was timed in a way to disenfranchise UCSB students. The attempted recall cost taxpayers about $1 million. Thomas jumped in supported by COLAB and their supporters.

In the end, all the divisiveness and expense led to nothing. We need to hold Thomas accountable for his role in all that.

Let's hope he runs third in the primary so we don't get more of his divisiveness in the fall.

4/05/2006 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Valerio said...

Santa Maria Times was all over the PLURALITY vs. MAJORITY issue... text below from their article the morning of April 5th.

a question of "SEMANTICS" indeed!!!!
Anderson gets key endorsement
By Quintin Cushner/Senior Staff Writer

The powerful Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff's Association ended weeks of speculation Tuesday by announcing it would endorse incumbent Jim Anderson in the contentious four-way race for sheriff.

Anderson emerged with at least a plurality of votes, said Sgt. Brian Olmstead, vice president of the association. How many votes each candidate received will not be released, he added.

Olmstead said that 91 percent of the union's voting members - 356 of 391 - cast ballots.

The DSA also endorsed Anderson when he was first elected sheriff in 2002.

Anderson bested former Sheriff Jim Thomas, Lompoc Police Chief Bill Brown and sheriff's Lt. Butch Arnoldi, all of whom were seeking the endorsement in their run against Anderson.

The DSA endorsement is considered a key vote of confidence in the race. No sheriff candidate endorsed by the union has lost an election since the DSA's founding in 1971, although the group has stayed neutral in some contested races, most recently in 1986.

The winner of the sheriff's race could be determined during a June 6 primary election. If no candidate receives a majority of votes then, a run-off will occur Nov. 7 between the top two vote-getters.

Subscribe to the Santa Maria Times

In the past, most local public safety agencies have mirrored the DSA's endorsement. This year appears more split, as Thomas was endorsement by the Santa Maria Police Officer's Association and Brown was endorsed by the Lompoc Police Officer's Association.

Along with the vote of confidence from at least a plurality of his employees, Anderson will receive a $25,000 donation from the DSA, Olmstead said. Traditionally, union members have also walked precincts for their candidate, he added.

“I'm honored to have the backing of this very important and vital group,” Anderson said Tuesday night. “The Deputy Sheriff's Association is the heart of our organization and can never be undervalued.”

Anderson said his support of improved salary and benefits for deputies may have tipped the scales in his favor.

Arnoldi said he was chagrined that the endorsement may have been decided by a plurality of votes.

“They changed the ground rules in the middle of the game,” Arnoldi said. “There should be a run-off for the endorsement between the top two vote-getters. It's not a clear-cut endorsement. I don't think it's fair. It's an embarrassment for the DSA and I think it's unfortunate.”

In the four-way race for the endorsement, the winner would need at least 25 percent plus one vote to defeat the other three candidates, though Anderson's winning total isn't known.

Olmstead said the disagreement was a question of semantics.

“The original intention of the board was to endorse the candidate with a plurality of the vote,” Olmstead said. “There was a misunderstanding about the difference between a simple majority and a plurality.”

An Orange County law firm that represents the DSA counted the votes by hand, Olmstead said, adding that no board member of the DSA knows the precise vote count. What is known is that a majority of members voted to endorse a candidate and more than 25 percent chose Anderson.

Thomas said the race was far from over.

“If it's not a majority, it means more people voted against him than for him,” Thomas said. “This makes it more difficult for a challenger to unseat him than before. It could be that we find it's not a very strong endorsement, in which case it's still wide open.”

Brown said he was not surprised he did not receive the endorsement, given that he was the only candidate who has never worked for the department.

“I'm disappointed but I'm not surprised,” Brown said. “Ultimately the plurality of the DSA won't decide who the sheriff is. But I think it's a severe blow to both Jim Thomas and Butch Arnoldi.”

Anderson said he was notified of the endorsement late Tuesday afternoon and that he planned to celebrate with a quiet dinner at his Lompoc home.

“I'm going to remain positive and move forward,” Anderson said. “I'm looking forward to a second term as sheriff of Santa Barbara County.”

Thomas said there's still a very long campaign season to go.

“He got more votes than the rest of us, and that makes it a good night for him,” Thomas said.

“But this isn't over by a long shot.”

The DSA's endorsement arrived at an opportune time for Anderson.

The sheriff has been criticized for his handling of the Sheriff's Council, the nonprofit organization that has raised millions for his department but now lies in tatters because of in-fighting over alleged financial misappropriation. Anderson was criticized for not reporting a scuffle he witnessed between two council members and has since cut ties with the group.

He has also received criticism for placing Chumash tribal stickers on department vehicles after the tribe - controversial because of its booming Santa Ynez casino - donated $125,000 to the department.

Also, members of the DSA in February ousted union President Mike Durant, who was viewed by some as an avid supporter of Anderson.

All four candidates met with the DSA board March 15 to discuss their candidacy. Olmstead said all of the candidates handled the interviews well and seemed eager to address the DSA's wish list, which included better equipment, a North County Jail and better employee retention.

The endorsement kicks off a busy April for the candidates. Each is trying to appeal to voters before absentee ballots are mailed May 8.

The first scheduled candidate forum in the race is set for 7 p.m. April 12 at the Solvang Veterans Memorial Hall. The event is sponsored by community groups Preservation of Los Olivos and Preservation of Santa Ynez.

The Lompoc Democratic Club will host a forum at the city's library April 19.

On May 4, the Santa Maria Valley League of Women Voters will hold its forum at the Betteravia Government Center in Santa Maria.

The sheriff's pay range is from $157,212 to $191,916 per year. Anderson is paid $191,916.

Quintin Cushner can be reached at 739-2217 or

April 5, 2006

4/05/2006 7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it amazing that any endorsement can be forthcoming when the Sheriff's Council audit is still pending, especially considering that Anderson cites the Council's 2005 fundraiser as one of his "accomplishments" on his campaign website. If it comes back that there were financial misdealings relative to the fundraiser will Anderson continue to suggest that the request for the audit was politically motivated, or will he acknowledge that he tried to destroy the Council to prevent the audit?

4/06/2006 7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SEIU was asked to provide their questionaire because it included obvious quid pro quo's for endorsement. Whether anybody honored those was another question. Look at Horton and the living wage. But any group can endorse anyone they want based on what ever internal agreement they have with their membership. We elect Presidents with a minority of elegible voters, why should local elections be different? I do find it annoying that this blog continues to be obsessed with Travis Armstrong and the News Press. It suggests a need or, even willingness, to want to be the victim.

4/07/2006 11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone needs to say something when Armstong doesn't get the facts right. It's not victimhood! The blog was founded on the desire to offer an alternative to him. It wasn't founded on being a political tool believe it or for the quid pro quo, why couldn't the same be said of the POA? I'm not clear why SEIU was singled out?

4/08/2006 5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog has primarily existed to push and defend Marty, SEIU and Das and associates and to try to attack the POA and News Press and others while cloaking itself in righteousness and anonymity. I am sorry but Valerio, and Sara are about as real and upfront as public personalities as I am. It is a silly little blog, occasionally interesting, but people expect something more need to get out of the house.


4/08/2006 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SEIU went after candidates, Falcone, in particular. They participated in campaigns where people were labeled anti-family, anti labor, etc. They were neck deep with Das, and the Channing/Blum campaign manager and the House and current Das campaign manager in blending money and coordinating . They, way more than they POA who actually has the juice, played the bully. They lost and in the process made themselves into a target. That is what happens with bullies.

The people they tout as having solely pushed into office were more accurately put there by more traditional groups such as Police (Horton) and Fire (Horton, House) plus a wide array of other community groups including SEIU. Their main agenda, replacing Falcone with Channing was DOA. On their major issue Horton dumped them on the Living Wage almost immediately while the person they failed to dump, Falcone, supported the Living Wage.

And the irony in all the sturm and drang about the DSA endorsement is that SEIU has endorsed Das in the 2nd with no process at all! That is totally their right but I don't see any outrage here about who actually voted on the endorsment and the percentage of union members that represents. The same with the Democratic Party. I am a Dem, but I have no idea who sits on this Democratic Central Committee. But I imagine it is the same small group who sits on about 5 similar committees. Who cares? Who they really deliver on election day?

I think that SEIU's problem mirrors Das's. They are one strand of a larger community that elects candidates. But like Das they tend to want to grab the credit for any achievements that are by nature collaborative, in Das's case I don't remember any votes by Council carried entirely by his one vote over the last 2 years. I wonder how the rest of City Council feels about just being Das's helpers?

4/08/2006 10:17 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Batman, Just to be clear -- Valerio is not one of us that hosts the blog...and I appreciate his/her input as much as anyone elses.

4/08/2006 1:11 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Also -- we've defended Marty and SEIU to an extent, but have also been critical when warranted. We don't have a preference in the supe race and have nothing against the POA! I'm all for the POA but disaproved of their tactics during the last contract negotiations. Please don't write us off for a certain stereotype -- we try to call it like we see it. You are welcome to protest if you don't agree!

4/08/2006 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which tactics where those by the way? In between you calling Mc Grew the Monster and Ms. Falcone, Leaky Foulcone I forgot.

4/08/2006 2:40 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

It's been a long time since we've written that. It was in the beginning when we were finding our style. Can't seem to shake FactsWrong -- but we haven't been using those names in over a year. They wouldn't be tactics on our part by the way -- more like sardonic commentary.

Here's our archive page which mainly quotes the Angry Poodle. It clearly explains it.

4/08/2006 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It actually explains Nick Welsh's view, not yours. And once again, which tactics on the part of the POA did you find offensive?

4/09/2006 10:36 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I'm not sure what would be more clear -- bringing up his son's cancer when the Mayor had just had breast cancer surgery in a speech that really didn't need to be made in order to get the contract, was not something McGrew needed to do. I didnt say they were offensive tactics -- I said I disapproved of them.

4/10/2006 7:00 AM  

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