Letters to the Editor
A Positive Guy
Perhaps due to space constraints, last week's story about San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis ("Can Davis Survive?," Cover Story, April 8) incorporated only one aspect—the most negative—of the views that I expressed to Metro about the chief's performance. The article accurately conveyed that the chief and I have had public disagreements over downtown policing and the Independent Police Auditor's authority. Those policy-related disputes didn't change my assertions then (nor do they change my beliefs now) that Chief Davis is a very honest, honorable, competent and intelligent individual.
When asked, I told Metro that I do not, nor will I, call for the chief's ouster. In many aspects of his management of the department, the chief has demonstrated considerable success. In the last two years, for example, he has ably marshaled scarce resources to substantially reduce gang violence citywide, and he has courageously defended the SJPD's policy of staying out of federal immigration enforcement.
For those and other reasons, he should be commended. I expect we will work together to resolve our disagreements, as well as to resolve whatever mistrust that has arisen in our community.
Councilmember Sam Liccardo
For sources, Metro gives us a police union guy, Rick Callender (whose own run-ins with SJPD are well-documented, just not in this article) and a pissed-off bar owner who pours the drinks that help cause the problems. A stellar piece of journalism!
Is Rob Davis a different kind of police chief, or is he the culmination of a trend in the SJPD? The police response to the shooting of a small, disturbed Vietnamese woman ushered in, for me, a different way of looking at the SJPD. There had long been valid complaints about police behaviors toward community members.
There seemed to be a different flavor on Chief Davis' watch. Police seemed to be closing ranks against the community, particularly against Latinos, African-Americans and the less affluent. And with the backing of the new mayor, Chuck Reed, Tasers were introduced and Taser deaths increased. Barbara Attard, the independent police auditor, wanted more authority to challenge what she perceived to be lack of accountability to the public. The city closed ranks against her and sided with the police. Attard's contract was not renewed.
This attitude is reflected in the management of City Hall. As an observer of the Public Intoxication Task Force, I have watched City Manager Debra Figone attempting to move the process one way while the members of the Task Force wanted to move it in another way.
In closing, I think that Erin Sherbert is too kind to our city administration. If Rob Davis is on the hot seat, might it be that the city administration is willing to sacrifice him under the guise of wanting change—but not really? The attitude toward people of color and the poor does not stop with San Jose's the police chief.
Imagine if a new restaurant was proposed in Campbell called the "Coon Cafe" or some such racist title, and it featured cartoon black people eating watermelon and tap dancing to banjo music. A place like that could never open. Or if it did, the public outrage would close it immediately. So why then does Campbell have a donut store called "Psycho Donuts" ("Crazy About Donuts," MetroMenu, April 8) featuring staff members dressed like medical personnel and featuring donuts called such things as "Cereal Killer" and "Split Personality."
It is unacceptable to tell racist jokes, to make fun of people with developmental disabilities, to mock the handicapped. So why do the owners of "Psycho Donuts" think it is acceptable to make fun of people with mental illness?
President Obama's recent comment directed to terrorists that "We will defeat you" shocked me. He seemed to be quoting George W. Bush. And sending more troops to Afghanistan and supporting Israel as previous administrations have are also causes for concern.