Almanac

News - April 30, 2008

Sheriff's detainment could prompt new county policies

• Supervisors to rethink how to discipline Munks, other elected officials, in case of misconduct.

by Rory Brown

San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks says he's moved on from an incident in which he was caught in a Las Vegas brothel bust a year ago, but it's clear the issue won't be going away anytime soon.

As early as May 6, the Board of Supervisors is expected to discuss how to hold elected officials, such as Sheriff Munks, more accountable for any misconduct they may commit outside the workplace.

Initial ideas floated by supervisors include forming a court-appointed ethics commission, or putting a charter amendment on the November ballot that would give supervisors the power to investigate or remove other elected officials.

Whatever action supervisors take in the coming months, it would be likely not to apply to Sheriff Munks' brief detainment in April 2007. But it's no secret that the sheriff's actions are at the root of the board's sudden interest in the accountability issue.

In recent stories in the San Mateo County Times and San Mateo Daily News, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park — both former county supervisors — blasted the sheriff's unwillingness to answer questions about his detainment, and criticized supervisors for their reluctance to investigate the matter.

Sheriff Munks and Undersheriff Carlos Bolanos were detained on April 21, 2007, after being caught in a brothel in an unmarked house several miles off the main strip of hotels and casinos in Las Vegas. The officers, who were not charged with any crime, said they thought the brothel was a legitimate massage parlor.

Other than a short statement issued by Sheriff Munks several days after incident, the officers have refused to comment on their detainment.

Changing the system

Because the top officers were off duty and outside San Mateo County, supervisors had argued that they weren't authorized to further investigate the matter.

But after the flurry of newspaper reports and calls for action from two congresswomen, that tune has changed.

Supervisor Adrienne Tissier suggested at the board's April 22 meeting that the county consider creating an ethics commission appointed by the courts. The commission would operate independently from the supervisors to avoid the possibility of "one elected official attacking another," said Bill Chiang, an aide to Supervisor Tissier.

Supervisor Jerry Hill floated the idea of putting a charter amendment on the November ballot that would allow the Board of Supervisors to investigate or discipline elected officials.

The charter amendment "is just a suggestion as a way for our Board of Supervisors to take a more active role," Mr. Hill told the Almanac. He said a similar system is currently used in San Bernardino County.

Supervisor Hill, who is also running for state Assembly, has announced that he will return all political contributions — totaling about $4,700 in monetary and non-monetary donations — he has received from the Sheriff Munks and his wife.

No new comment

In an e-mail to The Almanac, Sheriff Munks reiterated that he will not discuss his detainment in Las Vegas.

"I am not giving interviews on last year's incident," he said in the e-mail. "I hope that you can understand that I made my statement over a year ago and have moved on to address the significant public safety issues that face our community."

Comments

Posted by sick and tired, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 30, 2008 at 10:47 am

Unreal...when will the Sheriff own up to what he did? When will he and Bolanos be held accountable for what they did? He was caught INSIDE a brothel with the Under Sheriff at his side. There were sex slaves insidethe house. There were hundreds of exstacy pills inside the house. This was a crime. It is a CRIME to solicit a prostitute Sheriff and UNder SHeriff...it is a crime. Now when will they face the music for committing that crime? It is time for a full investigation. No more pushing this under the rug and "no comment" statements! Enough is enough.


Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 30, 2008 at 3:07 pm

I think we're as much to blame as he is for him still being in office unfortunately.

He has no accountability because we don't put pressure on him and the city. :-(


Posted by sick and tired, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 1, 2008 at 9:51 am

Joanna...once again...you are so uneducated. The "City" you refer to has no say over the Sheriff of San Mateo COUNTY. Putting pressure on the "City" means nothing. The Sheriff is an ELECTED offical and is the top law enforcement officer in the entire COUNTY of San Mateo. Sometimes I wonder if you ever think about what you write before you post.


Posted by Frustrated, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 1, 2008 at 10:31 am

Sick and tired, I share your sentiments. But what can be done to hold an unrepentant elected official accountable short of a recall?

By the way, it's obvious this was a brothel, but I hadn't read about the drugs (ecstasy). Was that in a news report? Were they being sold there?


Posted by Saddened, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 1, 2008 at 11:48 pm

This is depressing. If any of his deputies behaved like this, they would have rightly been fired and prosecuted. I wonder if any of them have been caught for something similar this past year, and I wonder what kind of punishment they got. The supervisors claiming they have no "authorization" to do anything because they were out of town is both laughable and cowardly. What is with law enforcement in this county? From Chief Cader in Atherton, Chief Boyd in Menlo Park, Chief Davis and his new captain in East Palo Alto...what is going on? I usually try to hold the cops in the highest regard, and teach my kids the same...but it is getting harder.


Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 2, 2008 at 5:08 pm

Sick,

You're a pot calling the kettle black! Ha!

I didn't mention a city so either you are crazy or you are a genius. Guess which one?

We live (well, maybe not you) in San Mateo county. We all have the responsibility to hold elected and non-elected PUBLIC employees to a standard. I don't care what way you put it, but Munks was caught red handed in a brothel. The fact that he is still on our payroll is a testament to our indifference.

I don't have the time or energy to get that clown out of office, but there should have been a few who do who are backed by those who wished they did. There is no other way to paint it... he was in a brothel and he was about to go all the way. It is written in the police report!

Double points for lying to us that he was, uh, checking out a massage establishment, yeah, he had a bad, er, back. Yeah, thats it.

Our elected officials, who represent us, should have the backbone to question his ridiculous alibi. Three crimes committed here:

1) he patronized a brothel
2) he lied (a bad one at that)
3) we didn't do anything.

I take the blame. I am ashamed of it, but I admit that I did not act to get Munks on unemployment.


Posted by Michael G Stogner, a resident of another community
on May 3, 2008 at 8:09 am

We are all learning a lesson on this one. One year after our two top law enforcement officers were caught inside a single family residence and as customers of human trafficked underaged sex slaves. We learned the FBI and Las Vegas Metro Police protected them, not the victims. We have recently learned that San Mateo County District Attorney's top two players James P. Fox and Steve Wagstaffe sent e-mails of condolences to Munks right after he was caught. We have learned that all five of our Supervisors support his behavior and not one of them has demanded his resignation, (as I have per certified letter). Supervisor Jerry Hill was in Las Vegas that same weekend, yet told reporter Robert Lyles of CBS 5, nobody knew about these trips to Las Vegas....

54 County Employees, 11 County Vehicles...Nobody Knew?

If Congresswoman Jackie Speier could get the records from Operation Dollhouse April 21, 2007 speciffically all communications between arresting/detaining officers and Munks/Bolanos that would be helpful.

Our Sheriff Greg Munks said he broke no laws. Is that ture?

San Mateo County is suffering every single minute that Munks remains in office.

Web Link





Posted by sick and tired, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 3, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Joanna...to quote your own statement "He has no accountability because we don't put pressure on him and the City" If you don't even know what you wrote then who is the idiot? Joanna...go back and read what you wrote BEFORE you post here again.

To Frustrated: Yes the drugs were in all the medai reports from Las Vegas. Just go to www.SanJoseMercuryNews.com and type in Sheriff Munks and read all the articles. VERY interesting. The quotes from Las Vegas Metro are especially enlightening.

This is just one big shove under the rug. The sheriff was looking for something a bit more personal than "a massage". Another fact...he did not run one step in that race. He has in the past...but NOT least year. If he was "sore from running" as he said, he could have gotten a legitimate massage at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and SPA where he was staying. Clearly he was looking for a "happy ending"...time for him to be a man and own up to the laws he broke and lied about...shame on him and shame on undersheriff Bolanos.


Posted by curious, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on May 3, 2008 at 4:23 pm

Mr. Stogner...what ever happened to the recall effort you were talking so loudly about last year? Or was it just more Stogner hotair????


Posted by Michael G Stogner, a resident of another community
on May 3, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Curious, thank you for your question, I am doing everything possible to have Sheriff
Greg Munks do the right thing and resign, (MUNKS is no SPITZER) with the help of two news reporters and two Congresswomen we are starting to make some progress.
The recall as you are well aware of will cost San Mateo County tax payers alot of money.
I personally think Greg Munks has cost us enough already.

Any man who did what he did could care less about San Mateo County residents.

If it turns out that the recall is the only option left, it will be started.


Posted by Curious, a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on May 4, 2008 at 11:37 am

Mr. Stogner, so what exactly are you doing? It does not sound like anything can or will be done about Munks and his partner in prostitution. It will just go away like everything else. Munks and Bolanos laugh all the way to the bank every pay day. Don't forget, Bolanos is double dipping from his previous time working for other agencies. Now he is in a completly different retirement system and getting paid VERY well.


Posted by R.GORDON, a resident of another community
on May 4, 2008 at 3:41 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.


Whatever happened to the words, "You're fired!" which is now so comfy in its disguised "waiting for his resignation" meaning waiting to get the pension plans, severance pays, and health benefits passed on to the job awaiting a person........please.


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