News

Eshoo sees swift appointment of new sheriff as an affront

This wasn't government by, for and of the people, says Congresswoman Eshoo

An expanded version of an earlier story.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors had a 30-day window to choose a successor to former sheriff Greg Munks, who resigned Saturday, July 16. A board majority chose not to use that window and instead made an appointment before the window opened, a move anticipated and criticized from a branch of government not usually involved in county affairs.

"This wasn't government by the people, for the people and of the people," Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, said in an interview. "It doesn't reflect that. It's deeply disappointing to me. San Mateo County is a very special place. The people deserved better."

Ms. Eshoo and Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, both congresswomen whose districts are in the county, – and both of whom are former San Mateo County supervisors – delivered the Board of Supervisors a letter, read aloud by aides at the July 12 board meeting. They urged the supervisors to open up the process to more candidates, and referred to rumors that the way had been paved for Mr. Munks' second in command to get the job.

"Whether these rumors are true or not, this has been a perception," the letter said. "We believe that our mutual constituents support a decision-making process that is absent a perception of a pre-ordained outcome."

As it turned out, Mr. Munks' second in command did get the job. By a 3-2 vote on July 12, the board appointed Undersheriff Carlos Bolanos to serve the two-plus years remaining in Mr. Munks' term. The appointment was effective July 16.

Voting with the majority were supervisors Don Horsley, Warren Slocum and Adrienne Tissier. Dissenting were supervisors Carole Groom and Dave Pine.

Mr. Bolanos, the undersheriff for nine years, has been acting sheriff recently while Mr. Munks was on medical leave for a "not life threatening" heart condition. Mr. Munks, 61, had announced his intention in November 2015 to step down in 2018. Mr. Bolanos has been campaigning for the 2018 election for sheriff.

"The board gave the rest of the term to the undersheriff and essentially named him the sheriff – as a candidate running for sheriff – without any discussion or giving the public an opportunity to weigh in," Ms. Eshoo said in the Almanac interview. "The sheriff doesn't belong to the board. The sheriff belongs to the people of the county."

Mr. Bolanos had been chief of the Redwood City Police Department for 12 years. He also worked in the Salinas Police Department and the Palo Alto Police Department in his 37-year law enforcement career.

Public involvement

In a memo to the board, County Manager John Maltbie presented the board's options during its 30-day window: a special election or an appointment, with deliberations allowed to begin before the effective date of the vacancy.

The supervisors began their deliberations at the end of a two-hour-plus meeting, using just over 20 minutes to state their preferences on addressing the vacancy.

The board heard from one member of the public, Michael Stogner. "On behalf of all the deputies of San Mateo County and on behalf of all the residents of San Mateo County, I urge you to just place this on the ballot and let's see what shakes out," Mr. Stogner said.

In the deliberations, Supervisor Horsley, a former county sheriff, said: "As you know, I love the department. I think it runs really well. ... If I thought that there was something wrong with the department, I would agree, 'Let's look for some other leadership.' I do not see that being necessary. I think Carlos has done an outstanding job.

"Why would I look outside when I have somebody already that I have confidence in?" he continued. "Why would I look someplace else for somebody who maybe looks good in an interview, but I have no idea how he or she is going to function in a department?"

Mr. Slocum made a similar argument. "Pretty much, I think we know what we're getting and that is a professional law enforcement officer who has demonstrated, through the years, his commitment to the county," he said, adding that had he might have had a different take had there been other "active candidates."

Ms. Groom said that an election "creates a sense of legitimacy" – something an appointment may not do, she said.

Given Mr. Bolanos' head start on campaigning and the close proximity of the November election, the congresswomen said in their letter they did not support an election. An appointment process would allow candidates to openly apply and be considered, they said, adding: "We do know that there are members of law enforcement who would be willing to compete for an appointment but who feel severely disadvantaged to compete in an election under the present circumstances."

Mr. Pine also spoke in favor of a slower process. In an interview, he said he had not been aware of the congresswomen's views. "I thought really hard about what would be the best process of going about sharing (the news) of the vacancy," he said. Candidate interviews would have served the public well, he said.

The 3-2 decision to appoint Mr. Bolanos was a surprise, Mr. Pine said, adding that it was "certainly true" that there was speculation that Mr. Bolanos had the votes. "The process proves that he did," he said. "It became very clear at the meeting. They dispensed with involving the public in any way in the process. ... The public was completely removed from this process."

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Comments

9 people like this
Posted by Paulina
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 18, 2016 at 10:22 am

This man Bolanos and his undersecretary Munks give me the creeps and for good reason. I am not comfortable with these people having any involvement with law enforcement, let alone in a leadership position. Shouldn't they have been stripped of their badges after the sex trafficking in Vegas scandal years ago? I can't believe they've been upholding our laws ever since they showed complete disregard for them, not to mention their ability to be moral human beings.


7 people like this
Posted by Roberto
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2016 at 10:54 am

Roberto is a registered user.

Anna Eshoo has no place weighing in on local issues. She, like me, is a citizen of the county, that is all for local measures. To do a one-off election would cost $400k of our money (that seems to be missing from this article and Ms. Eshoo's statements). In 2 years we will have a formal election at no additional cost. Search all you want for 2 years, put up a worthy candidate.
@Paulina, Munks was and is not an understudy to Bolanos. Also, so you are familiar with the way laws work, being accused is not the same as factual information to arrest, or convict, or suspend from the job. Giving the creeps is not reason for removal of anyone from any job. Be part of the solution, run against him in 2 years.


5 people like this
Posted by write-in anyone!!!
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 18, 2016 at 11:04 am

Find a candidate in two years? That gives enough time to find a candidate who forgets the deadline for filing, because the dog ate his homework, and has to go as a write-in.

Not that such a thing could ever happen... oh....


24 people like this
Posted by Renee Batti
associate editor of The Almanac
on Jul 18, 2016 at 11:31 am

Renee Batti is a registered user.

Roberto, to clarify: Ms. Eshoo and her colleague Rep. Jackie Speier did not advocate holding a special election. They urged the supervisors to call for applicants for the job and to appoint from the pool of candidates after conducting an open and transparent process, which would include public interviews.


8 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2016 at 12:34 pm

The supervisors voting in brothel bro Bolanos blew it! They failed us, and we need to remember this if they run again for office.


Like this comment
Posted by Roberto
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Roberto is a registered user.

@ Reneee - fair enough, not called for by them, but others (Stogner, Groom, et al). Bottom line, Munks announced he would not seek re-election in 2015. To my knowledge, back when Munks did, the only person to date who has started campaigning is Bolanos. If Eshoo and Speier feel it is important as CITIZENS to weigh in, they can - both should not abuse their power of authority on matters they do not vote on, nor control. Also, if the other candidates are truly interested, where is their campaign, letter of interest, etc. After all, this is an elected position and a political one to a greater extent. I fail to see the harm in waiting two years to someone who has held this position as #2 for years, and filled in many times.


12 people like this
Posted by Hold True to Your Values
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 18, 2016 at 12:55 pm

I happened to be in attendance at the last Board of Supervisors meeting. At the opening of the meeting, Supervisor Horsley spoke for at least ten minutes honoring the police officers who had been shot in Dallas the day before. He spoke eloquently about how the Chief of Police in Dallas worked so hard to get rid of the bad apples and bring dignity and respect back to the department. I just don't see how Horsely can feel that way and then turn around and approve a person for Sheriff who has broken the law and displayed a disgusting lack of respect for fellow officers. Bolanos and Munks didn't just happen to stop by unmarked house in Las Vegas -- it was a place known for underage prostitutes. They may not have been charged with a crime but they were caught breaking the law by undercover agents investigating sex slavery. Yuck. The Board of Supervisors made a huge error in judgement -- character counts. San Mateo County and the men and women of the Sheriff's Office deserve a leader who models decency.


10 people like this
Posted by Renee Batti
associate editor of The Almanac
on Jul 18, 2016 at 12:59 pm

Renee Batti is a registered user.

Roberto, When Bolanos started campaigning, the election to fill the seat was still three years away. Most people interested in running for office don't start campaigning that early, so I don't think anyone can reasonably conclude that Bolanos was the only person interested in the job based on the fact that no one else had launched a campaign for the November 2018 election.

If the supervisors had put out a call for candidates when Munks announced his resignation July 1, we would have learned whether there were others interested in serving as sheriff. I guess we'll never know for certain now.


7 people like this
Posted by My two cents
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2016 at 1:17 pm

First. I happen to agree that – at least by my own experiences – the Sheriff's office is well-managed. I have read about some deputies doing crazy things (like pulling out a gun in a courtroom to threaten someone with over a personal argument…don't know what happened to that deputy but I would hope he's been fired), but my own experience with the deputies and bailiffs has been very good. Not all the police departments around here are run professionally. Atherton has been a but of constant jokes and problems. So, Munks and Bolanos deserve some credit for this at least.

Second, about the brothel incident, some people find that disqualifying, some don't. I just want to see the same standard applied to anyone, law enforcement or not. I don't think it was, but we can just blame the FBI for that, right? They should have arrested Munks and Bolanos.

Third, this so-called "appointment" was ridiculous. It's a group of politicians not even caring about appearing reasonable. They must really think the voters here just don't pay attention. I guess they don't.


Like this comment
Posted by Roberto
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Roberto is a registered user.

To paraphrase the Dallas Police Chief - I hear the problems, become part of the solution. Thus far, not one other candidate has announced. Not one has stepped forward this year, none of us here and no one anywhere else that I can tell. So, 'we' can either accept what is done or change it, Change it requires someone to step forward, not like Brexit...., to say "I will run this County and here is how". Otherwise we simply placate each other with rhetoric of what could be done.


13 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jul 18, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Roberto:

if the supes wanted to appoint Bolanos they should have made him interim Sheriff until the next election. He could then run for the office as he will have to do in 2018. Except, that if he was interim he couldn't carry the title and advantage of incumbent. That title is a big advantage. We will see come 2018 if anyone else is interested in running for the office. One doesn't start running for a 2018 election in 2016.

I find it extremely disappointing this man was still in the position of undersheriff let alone sheriff after what went on in Las Vegas. If this was any other county besides the most corrupt county in California Munks and Bolanos would have been FIRED. It's a true reflection on Bolanos' morals, ethics and sense of honor that he didn't even TRY to resign. The citizens of SMC should keep that in mind when he comes up for reelection in 2018. Probably won't matter though. Didn't keep Munks from being reelected. Sad.


10 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 18, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Roberto, there is an elephant in this room that you may not have sensed.

What is it, do you think, that is allowing these two men to remain at the top without so much as an apology to their constituents?

How is it that some of their superiors on the board of supervisors turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to citizen complaints?

Why is the silence of would-be candidates for sheriff so utter and complete?

It strikes me as feckless if not perilous to one's career to challenge in any way the authority of the sheriff in San Mateo County.


8 people like this
Posted by Apple
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jul 18, 2016 at 2:39 pm

@Roberto

If the "fix" was in to choose Bolanos no matter what, that would explain why no one applied. The selection was preordained. That's how machine politics works.

Civil service positions come open when the machine has a particular individual in mind for the position. The facade is that anyone can apply, but that is only for the benefit of optics. All serious candidates know this. The machine already has made its selection.

If you're new to county politics, you may not be aware this is what happened. Eshoo and Speier are aware. They attempted to change the selection process to be more open and attract more interested candidates. I suppose it says a lot about the power of the machine or public indifference when a majority of supervisors still voted to name Bolanos sheriff at the meting anyway with so little debate.


2 people like this
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2016 at 6:25 pm

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

County Manager should have investigated Carlos Bolanos as soon as he announced that he would not discuss the 4/21/2007 Operation Dollhouse Sting by the FBI subject.

Mr. Maltbie should have asked the simple question, Were you ever inside 3474 Eldon Street Las Vegas Nevada on 4/21/07? If he refused to answer that question he should have been fired.

The same Mr. Maltbie being the Clerk of the Supervisors should have stopped Don Horsley from hijacking the agenda item 7 and got him back on track which was to choose either appointment which includes a process or election.

July 12, 2016 Agenda Item 7 = Intentional Deceit


2 people like this
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jul 19, 2016 at 6:35 am

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

Intentional Deceit by SMC County Manager/Clerk of Supervisors John Maltbie, County Counsel John Beiers
Supervisors Don Horsley, Adrienne Tissier & Warren Slocum.

Background info. May 14, 2007 by certified mail I asked Carlos Bolanos to resign.
Later that year I asked the Supervisors to sign my letter to ask Carlos Bolanos to resign.
I then asked the BOS to request the Attorney General to Investigate Carlos Bolanos.

July 5, 2016 I sent the BOS and leaders e-mail requesting Carole Groom and Don Horsley recuse themselves from the July 12, 2016 Agenda Item 7.

During the meeting on 7/12/16 there was a break, Don Horsley came up to me and we talked, I again asked him to recuse himself from this topic,

Don Horsley knows as a Victim's Advocate in SMC I have reported many issues regarding the Sheriff's Office. His statements about the office and Carlos Bolanos are simply FALSE.

"The board heard from one member of the public, Michael Stogner. "On behalf of all the deputies of San Mateo County and on behalf of all the residents of San Mateo County, I urge you to just place this on the ballot and let's see what shakes out," Mr. Stogner said."

I thank the Almanac for reporting on this important subject.

The idea that only one member of the public came to speak on this topic shows the Intentional Deceit.

Nobody Knew

Welcome to San Mateo County


4 people like this
Posted by Caroline V.
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jul 19, 2016 at 11:35 am

Thank you Dave for informing constituents. I will use this opportunity to address this issue with our district representatives and board of Supervisors through this portal because my certified mail remains unanswered or is returned as undeliverable and my email requests are now automatically blocked as of a month ago. I have requested your help for a number of issues l related to public safety and I have reported the Medicare fraud, hate crimes, Elder abuse, Elder Neglect, 2 suspicious deaths, academic and workplace mobbing, discrimination, harassment, retaliation and the collaborative efforts among our state and federal agencies to cover this up. Congresswoman Eshoo has known the abuse in our healthcare and education since 2012, the negligence by law enforcement since 2014. The officers at San Mateo District Attorney's office Wagstaffe and Santa Clara District Attorney's office Rosen, San Mateo Police, Daly City Police, Santa Clara Police all advertise that they assist constituents, that they investigate fraud, conspiracy, hate crimes, crimes against elder, bullying,harassment, intimidation and retaliation, but when we constituents report this kind of abusive and illegal conduct they refuse to investigate our allegations. The Board of Supervisors have known this since 2015 and yet nothing is being done to protect the safety of our students, patients and the elderly..Congresswoman Eshoo you promised to help solve the VA scandal, Congresswoman Speier you promised to help stop the sexual assault in our schools. I requested your help to stop the discrimination, to stop the hate crimes, to stop the bullying and the mobbing used to silence teachers, healthcare providers, students and parents, and the cover up by law enforcement since 2012- I am still waiting for your help and actions.
PV has seen in increase in burglaries. Sheriff Munks gave a wonderful presentation after the burglary at gunpoint...yet once again nothing is being done to improve the safety of PV constituents. Sheriff Munks encouraged citizen to report anything suspicious, yet every time we do report something our phone calls get logged, but no action. I requested a list of my recent reports. Once again 4 officers promised detailed reporting after an investigation. Once again it has been over 2 weeks and no answers. Congresswoman Eshoo, Congresswoman Speier, Supervisor Horsley, Supervisor Tissier, Supervisor Slocum....when are you going to act and demand that our law enforcement truly investigates the reports of constituents and truly ensure public safety????? Really... who has created this mess? Who is responsible for the lack of government by the people, for the people and of the people???
Caroline V.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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