Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf spoke with me at length via telephone late this afternoon about his decision to put $12,500 of his own money into a mailer targeting incumbent Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho. I also spoke with Piepho and asked for her response to the sheriff’s remarks. (Click here to see my earlier blog entry on the subject, which includes copies of the mailer.)
I’ve put some of this content in my column for Sunday but since there have been so many questions for Rupf about the mailer on among the comments and the election is so close, I decided to post a more lengthy version here than space will allow in the newspaper.
Rupf says he was inspired to write a big personal check on the cost of the mailer after he read the Contra Costa Deputy Sheriffs Association endorsement letter of Piepho, calling its representation of her record on public safety “180 degrees from reality.” He says the union is pandering to Piepho because it is currently in contract negotiations with the county and believes its support will translate into support at the bargaining table.
The sheriff is a vocal supporter of Piepho’s challenger, outgoing Assemblyman Guy Houston of San Ramon.
“I feel even more strongly than the money,” Rupf said. “We are in a hole that is driven by a lack of leadership and a lack of support for public safety services … At the same time, I believe there is a concerted and calculated effort by the Piephos (Mary and her husband, Discovery Bay Community Services District member David Piepho) to blame the sheriff for a lack of staffing and service.”
Rupf’s mailer says the budget shortfall forced him to “lay off deputies while Mary Piepho gave herself a whopping 60 percent raise at the expense of your safety.”
It’s true. Piepho voted in 2006 with her colleagues for a pay raise from $59,000 to $95,000 a year.
But Rupf has not laid off any deputies. He cut 16 civilian positions this year, although he says budget shortfalls have left him with 70 vacant deputy positions over the past four budget cycles.