Santa Clara supervisors take no-confidence vote on sheriff; anti-vaxx effort to recall supervisors takes shape

Santa Clara supervisors take no-confidence vote on sheriff; anti-vaxx effort to recall supervisors takes shape
Photo Credit: sccgov chambers
By Wesley Severson - Published on August 30, 2021.

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith has been a source of controversy over the past few years and in mid-August, she refused to step down after calls to resign from San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. According to Mercury News, there is now a request from two Santa Clara County supervisors for a no-confidence vote over Smith’s job performance. She is accused of rampant mismanagement inside her jails along with several instances of alleged mistreatment of inmates. Supervisors say settling jail abuse and other cases are costing taxpayers millions of dollars. 

Supervisors Joe Simitian and Susan Ellenberg released a memo on August 25th which says, “we find ourselves left with one regrettable conclusion. We no longer have confidence that Sheriff Laurie Smith is able to faithfully, effectively, and ethically perform the duties of Sheriff.” Simitian and Ellenberg are requesting the no-confidence resolution be taken up Wednesday.

The board does not have the power to remove Smith since she is an elected official. 

Simitian and Ellenberg say they hope the no-confidence vote will help let the public grasp the scale of the accusations. “This vote would make the board’s position clear to the public. It gives us the grounding to claim this violence and harm cannot continue in good conscience,” Ellenberg told Mercury News. So far, Smith has not publicly commented on the no-confidence vote but earlier this month Hoodline reported that she said she would not step down when asked to resign. She also said previously that she welcomes all investigations against her and her department.

Meanwhile, Simitian and Ellenberg and the rest of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors are facing a mounting recall effort from residents. According to San Jose Spotlight, county resident Jeff Roberts, along with three other county residents who are against the coronavirus vaccine, started the Committee to Support the Recall of Santa Clara County in late July. Their goal is to recall the entire board who they claim are violating our freedoms through COVID-19 protocols and restrictions. 

“I have a feeling a lot of people supportive of the recall of the Board of Supervisors are also supportive of recalling Gavin Newsom,” supporter Albert Benavides told San José Spotlight.

The formation of the committee means it can now accept donations but signature-gathering can’t happen it officially submits the recall effort with the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.

“We’re waiting to get a full team on board and that means making sure that we have a legal team,” Roberts told San José Spotlight.