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Voter Apathy in San Mateo County

Original post made by Disappointed, another community, on Apr 26, 2015

Many times on these forums citizens have expressed surprise and outrage that there is a general apathy in San Mateo County about the performance of their elected officials.

For example, mothers who are very protective of their own children, and who don't want registered sex offenders living in their neighborhoods, are surprised to learn that the Sheriff, Greg Munks, was detained as a customer of an underage prostitution house in Las Vegas a few years ago, but was subsequently re-elected twice.

This weekend, the Almanac deleted three postings about a San Mateo County sheriff's deputy and bailiff who brandished a gun against a janitor in the court house who expressed an opinion he did not agree with. This was deemed newsworthy in neighboring Santa Clara County by the San Jose Mercury News.

The Almanac deleted the threads because they do not want to publish the name of the deputy (even though the Mercury News did) unless and until he is charged by San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

[Editor's note: The Mercury News story Web Link said the Mercury News "is not naming the bailiff because he has not been charged." We removed comments from Town Square that named a person accused of misconduct when we had no confirmation of this information. Web Link ]

Wagstaffe is a highly political individual who is going to support whatever Munks chooses to do with this deputy. When Munks was detained in Las Vegas, he sent him an e-mail saying he did nothing wrong. When Munks wanted to send in the bunko squad to arrest Juan Lopez, who dared to run against him in an election, as well as Lopez's girlfriend, for an alleged $450 of misused campaign funds, Wagstaffe complied and brought charges.

Wagstaffe does not want to exercise independent judgment about Munks' personnel situation with this bailiff, because it would seem like he is countermanding or does not trust Munks. Never mind that is exactly his role and what his duty to the taxpayers who elected him deserve.

Of course, if there were public outcry about the situation in which a sheriff's deputy pulls a gun in a courthouse, not because there is a dangerous situation he is trying to protect the public from, but because he disagreed with what another man had to say, Wagstaffe and Munks might figure they need to do something. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for us, they have a great partner in the Almanac, who has decided it should not be reported or even discussed unless Wagstaffe brings charges. That's exactly the cover Wagstaffe needs.

[ Editor's note: The Almanac is checking into this story.]

And one good explanation for why there is voter apathy in San Mateo County. If the press, the so-called "fourth estate" is not functioning as a watchdog against elected officials, big problems start to pop up.

It is reprehensible that this deputy has not been arrested and fired yet. Juan Lopez was arrested at gunpoint for allegations that involved no violent conduct. Why is this not happening here?

Comments (20)

Posted by Hear, Hear
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 26, 2015 at 11:51 am

Thank you for your post, Disappointed.

Tracey Kaplan an award winning reporter from the much bigger paper, the Mercury News, who has done stellar investigative reporting on prosecutorial misconduct and corruption , publishes a story about the bailiff. This story is of huge concern to all voters and citizens of San Mateo County.

I have never heard of a paper deleting posts that link to a story by a legitimate and award winning reporter at another paper . This must be investigated. Was this incident included in Wagstaffe's daily press lists? Is it listed on the police blotter? For gods sake , Almanac do a story. This story could well go national and the fact that it was a reporter outside San Mateo who broke this is shameful.

Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

Thank you to Tracy Kaplan for at least bringing this story to the public's attention.
Big part missing,
There was a 2nd confrontation between the Deputy and the victim after he reported the first incident. The 2nd confrontation involved the gun again, this time hand on gun in holster,

Posted by Hear, Hear
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 26, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Mr. Stogner:

If this information about the second altercation is true, then it is truly imperative that the public be informed ASAP from the press on this matter. Many papers even have reporters assigned to the "Public Safety" beat.

Seems to me there would be national interest in this story.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 26, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

One only need look at what was done to one of the Almanacs reporters by the Atherton Police Department and the DA's office to know why the Almanac is afraid. Those in power in this county don't care about the press and they will silence them through any means possible if they deem it necessary. And the sheeple of the county just go right on reelecting them.

Editor's note: I don't what you are referring to, unless it's the case against a former reporter for the former Daily News (not the Almanac).

Posted by Hear, Hear
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 26, 2015 at 1:52 pm

The Marshall Project, which covers misconduct by police officers and prosecutorial misconduct and whose editors have expressed an interest in monitoring the corruption going on in San Mateo County, have been alerted to the bailiff incident. The executive editor is Bill Keller, former executive editor of the New York Times. He also grew up in San Mateo and attended Serrah high school.

Posted by again, geez, again?
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 26, 2015 at 2:09 pm

Be Afraid, very Afraid.

... howl the same ol' posters, incoherent, with these great stories that end up being nothing in the end (they go away after everything comes out in the light of day.) Slam the DA, sheriffs, cops. Defend the guys who provide contraband cell phones to gangmembers in jail. Then go away, with one last blast about a decade old story in Vegas, howling at the moon. Dude's been elected twice since then.

That is NOT voter apathy. Voters come out and VOTE for him, not for your guy who ran against him, the apathetic guy who couldn't be bothered to file his paperwork on time (howling that his dog ate the homework/application.)

"Apathy" is the reaction to your stories, not something you label voters who come out and vote to re-elect a man several times. "Apathy" is not what it's called when the public votes the opposite from what your stories call for them to do.

We get your unhappiness. Just don't sit their and blame San Mateo County's good voters who DO vote, and label them Apathtic because they don't vote for your full Conspiracy Ticket.

Howl on.

{cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall}

"sheeple" ?

Posted by Hear, Hear
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 26, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Munks brothel story was eight years ago, not a decade. Nice try at diversion, though. I don't care if it was twenty years ago. The case is still horrifying.

Looking forward to what the Marshall Project and local boy Bill Keller does on the bailiff incident.

About a month ago, the Marshall Project posted a link to a story about former San Mateo prosecutor Al Giannini, cited by the Northern California Innocence Project as one of the worst offenders of prosecutorial misconduct in the state of California.

Posted by Juan
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm

70 page views in an hour (that's very few, and some are automated)

already 7 comments

on a Sunday afternoon

the fix by the conspiracy team is IN

Posted by Hear, Hear
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 26, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Chronicle reporter Henry Lee has just said that he is aware of this case and is monitoring the situation. Almanac, what are your plans?

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 26, 2015 at 3:56 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.


the case against Munks wasn't BS it was FACT. He was caught in a brothel for under age women. But our illustrious DA didn't see anything wrong with that did he? No, in fact he said "the people that matter" thought it was just fine. You can refer to that as a "decade old case" but their reaction to it or lack there of speaks volume as to our DA and our board of "stupidvisors." We live in a corrupt county with voters that have their heads up their posteriors' They just keep reelecting the same corrupt collection of yahoos year after year after year. It's basically because they can't be bothered to look beyond their own little life and the purchase of their latest car to educate themselves as to what is happening in their county. It doesn't matter to them, at least until the y wind up in the crosshairs of the corruptocrats. Then they are interested.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 26, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.


my apologies, you're right. Doesn't change the facts as to why you folks cower when it comes to corruption in this county.

Editor's note: No, you're wrong there, too. I don't know where you get this stuff. Some context: the Almanac does not have an investigative unit or cover county government. We focus on our four towns.

There are newspapers, news services and creditable advocacy organizations with resources to cover county government and investigate allegations of corruption. If these news services and organizations have vetted these allegations and issued a report or a conclusion, I'd be interested in seeing this information.

We are checking into this bailiff situation.

> Richard Hine (

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 27, 2015 at 5:02 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.


it seems sometimes you DO report on San Mateo County news:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

When it suits you and it isn't controversial. That's where I "get this stuff." Your own paper. You also consistently delete anything critical of our DA and Sherriff posted on town square. Even when there is evidence, in your own paper, that what is being posted is true.

Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 27, 2015 at 5:19 pm

Holly L. is a registered user.

To the Editors:

I agree with Menlo Voter. You HAVE reported on corruption. For example, the Menlo Park police officer Jeffrey Vasquez/prostitute case. You were also the first paper to report that San Mateo Prosecutor Melissa Mckowan had been disciplined by the California Bar.

In 2011, your paper also reported that the FBI was investigating DA Steve Wagstaffe.

There is a small California paper that just won a Pulitzer. They have a really small circulation and didn't have the resources either but nevertheless they investigated corruption and were rewarded for it.

There is NO excuse for any paper not to investigate corruption, no matter how small they are

The censorship of critical comments here about DA Steve inexcusable.

Thank you for your comment, Menlo Voter.

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Apr 30, 2015 at 12:38 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Headline from the Daily Post on Tuesday, 28 April, 2015: "Deputy in fraud case sues county".
Does anyone have a link to actual documents filed in this lawsuit?

Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2015 at 1:59 pm

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

Here you go CIV 533531

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 1, 2015 at 11:39 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

I have read CIV 533531 documents on file. What Juan seeks is an Administrative Writ of Mandamus with Civil penalties.

From Web Link I get:

"§1.1 A. Method of Judicial Review
A petition for writ of mandate is the method used to obtain judicial
review of most decisions issued by an agency. Mandate actions are
special proceedings of a civil nature. CCP §§23, 363. The terms
“mandate” and “mandamus” are used interchangeably, and are
synonymous. CCP §1084. California statutes recognize two types of
mandamus proceedings: “traditional” (also called “ordinary mandate”)
and “administrative.” CCP §§1085, 1094.5; Bunnett v Regents of
Univ. of Cal. (1995) 35 CA4th 843, 848, 41 CR2d 567. The focus of
this book is on administrative mandamus.
Administrative mandamus is the form of judicial review used to
challenge an agency’s adjudicatory decision, i.e., a decision by an
agency regarding private rights or interests, when a hearing is required
by law to be given before the agency issues that decision.
Administrative mandate is applicable only when certain criteria are
• The agency’s decision is final;
• The decision results from a proceeding in which by law a hearing
is required to be given;
• Evidence is required to be taken; and
• Discretion in the determination of facts is vested in the agency."

It is not clear whether Juan's Writ is applicable, lacking a final decision of the Respondent agencies. It has been a week since the Writ was filed. No response from the D.A. has yet been posted on-line. And, it is questionable whether this case can get a fair hearing in this County.

I hope that Juan can get some much needed short term relief from this travesty. In the long term, it is my opinion that this is a matter best resolved by the FBI and/or the Justice Department.

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 1, 2015 at 11:56 am

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Here is the link to CIV 533531

Web Link

Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2015 at 6:05 pm

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

Jack Hickey is suggesting this is a matter for the FBI.

The August 4, 2014 in the DA's office with Inspector Jordan Boyd flashing 2 Subpoenas at Deputy Juan Lopez. He did not give him copies of the subpoenas. A week later I went to get copies for Deputy Lopez and was told they were not there.

Inspector Jordan Boyd demanded Deputy Juan Lopez surrender his California Drivers license, announcing it was suspended. The FBI could determine who put Deputy Juan Lopez's DL# on somebody else's ticket and when did they do that, and from what computer that would be very useful.

Posted by Mark De Paula
a resident of another community
on May 2, 2015 at 2:16 am

Mark De Paula is a registered user.

A Oversight Committee should be put on the ballot this year for San Mateo County.
S.M.C. Board of Supervisors would not be allowed to appoint the panel.
A Federal or State Judge would appoint the panel for a one year period, this would not be a career based agency, more of a volunteer panel.
The panel would be similar to a Civil Grand Jury, except with authority to do change.

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on May 11, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

I see no action since 4/24 on this case. CIV 533531

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