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Contra Costa sheriff pens anti-Piepho mailer

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Friday, May 30th, 2008 at 11:52 am in 2008 June primary, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics.

Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf roared into the political arena this week with a self-funded mailer targeting incumbent county Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho of Discovery Bay.

The sheriff has been a very vocal and public supporter of Piepho’s challenger, Guy Houston, a soon-to-be-termed out Assemblyman from San Ramon. Rupf and Piepho have repeatedly clashed over law enforcement issues in far eastern Contra Costa County and the two speak only by letter.

Hitting Piepho on her vote to raise her pay is a fair issue. While the dollar amount is small — a boost from $59,000 to $95,000 a year — it is symbolic at a time when the county faces financial woes.

But the sheriff’s statements on the mailer are inconsistent on several levels. And some question whether it was legal.

Rupf states in the mailer that he was forced to lay off deputies as a result of the county’s $2.5 billion budget deficit.

But in today’s Contra Costa Times, the sheriff is quoted saying that he had eliminated 16 civilian jobs but no sworn officers. Rupf did say, however, that he has left more than 70 deputy positions vacant as part of cutbacks in the past four budget cycles.

Rupf is also holding Piepho to a different standard than the one he used to endorse Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg. Glover voted for the same pay raise and all the budget cutbacks that have left the sheriff’s department short on deputies.

If the county isn’t “safe in Mary Piepho’s hands,” as the sheriff says, then it’s not safe in Glover’s or any of the supervisor’s hands.

The sheriff reported spending $12,500 of his personal funds on the mailers in an independent expenditure report filed with the Contra Costa Elections Division.

He apparently has a spare twelve grand sitting around to pay for mailers. He’s paid $185,000 annually as sheriff plus he collects his county pension. (Rupf retired from the Sheriff’s Department in 1999 after a long career prior to winning public office.)

But it brings up an interesting legal question.

State law says anyone who spends or collects $1,000 or more in order to advocate for or against a candidate or ballot measure must form a campaign finance committee. But the law also bars candidate-controlled committees from making independent expenditures on behalf of other candidates.

Can an elected official such as Sheriff Rupf, even if he’s not on the ballot, legally form an independent campaign expenditure committee? Rupf is clearly using his public office as his pulpit — the mailer says “Sheriff Warren Rupf” four times and has two pictures of his badge.

A spokesman for the state Fair Political Practices Commission can’t comment on specific circumstances but he did say that state law is silent on whether an officeholder is free to spend personal funds on an independent campaign expenditure.

On the other hand, should Rupf or any other individual who happens to be an elected officeholder be barred from using personal funds to exercise his or her free speech rights?

If Piepho or someone else files a complaint, the FPPC may provide a definitive answer although it won’t happen before Tuesday’s election.

If there’s no challenge, Rupf may find he started a trend as other officeholders privately fund mailers intended to shape the outcome in elections they care about.

Disclosure: Copies of the mailer were downloaded from www.HalfwaytoConcord.com.

Correction: Independent expenditure figure has been corrected to $12,500. 2:08 p.m.

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  • Ken Hambrick

    I haven’t a clue as to whether the FPPC would look negatively at mailers sent out by ofice holders using their own funds. But I do have the opinion that they should have the same rights as everyone else in airing their opinions.

    As to referring to himself as Sheriff, just what would you have hin refer to himself as? Mr.? Messr.? Citizen? Besides, most voters know who he is anyway so what difference does it make?

    I am with you that if Rupf is supporting Glover (I havent seen anything to that effect except this blog) that is inconsistent behavior.

    And by the way, what difference does it make what he is paid? There are lots of others in the county who are paid more. If he has $12K to spend like this, that is his right. There are others out there spending a lot more money than that doing Piepho’s dirty work by sending out false and misleading information on Guy Houston.

    Guess all is fair in love and politics.

  • Arne Simonsen

    I find it interesting that Sheriff Rupf doesn’t mention anything about the City of Ramon which severed its contract with the Sheriff to provide police services to San Ramon, which created its own police department last year.

    Logic would dictate that the Sheriff should have reduced the number of FTE (full-time employees; sworn and non-sworn) in his department that were dedicated to the contract with San Ramon.

    So the question is: Where did those FTE positions go?

  • http://halfwaytoconcord.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/New_Paradigm_Review.pdf Bill Gram-Reefer

    Oh oh…Looks like poor Warren has found himself on the shit list of the “monstrous regiment of women” that actually run this county.

  • Stunned in East County

    Ken, the pay issue is central to his mailer and you can’t understand why it’s raised in his article? He’s double dipping on the taxpayer dollar to the tune of $330k-340k/yr while belittling someone who works just as hard as he for less than 1/3 the money. Rupf seems to be fine with increased money flows only when he’s on the receiving end.

    Which part of the IEs for Piepho were non-factual regarding Houston? That he was sued? That he paid a settlement just before announcing candidacy? That Seniors were claiming in sworn statements that they were defrauded? That when questioned he answered “I don’t recall” so many times I wanted to start calling him Gonzo?

    Is selective amnesia a desirable trait in your choice of candidate?

    Bill, no need to come over here and pee in the pool, we already understand your credibility envy. Keep the sexist crap over at that kool-aid stand you’re running.

  • Stunned in East County

    Ken, the pay issue is central to his mailer and you can’t understand why it’s raised in his article? He’s double dipping on the taxpayer dollar to the tune of $330k-340k/yr while belittling someone who works just as hard as he for less than 1/3 the money. Rupf seems to be fine with increased money flows only when he’s on the receiving end.

    Which part of the IEs for Piepho were non-factual regarding Houston? That he was sued? That he paid a settlement just before announcing candidacy? That Seniors were claiming in sworn statements that they were defrauded? That when questioned he answered “I don’t recall” so many times I wanted to start calling him Gonzo?

    Is selective amnesia a desirable trait in your choice of candidate?

    Bill, no need to come over here and pee in the pool, we already understand your credibility envy. Keep the sexist crap over at that kool-aid stand you’re running.

  • http://halfwaytoconcord.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/New_Paradigm_Review.pdf Bill Gram-Reefer

    This is credibility?

    Is that what you call it?

    You and your potty mouth; can’t take you anywhere.

  • Pingback: Deputy Sheriffs Association blasts sheriff for mailer - Inside Politics - with Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Patriot Johnny

    The county isn’t “safe in Mary Piepho’s hands,” as the sheriff says, then it’s not safe in Glover’s or any of the supervisor’s hands.

    I think this statement has merit however…

    The Superevisors have not protected the taxpayers and citizens they represent. Special interest ( Deputy Sheriff Union, Fire Union, and Nurses Union ) is running the show right into banckruptsy. Our children will suffer badly to pay this debt. Shame on the unions selfish behavior. Eventually the union members will suffer too but not before our children are burdened with the debt bill.

    It’s time for a change to take back control by limiting benefits and raises to public employees through a vote of the taxpayers. This will also keep the Supervisors from being the bad guy allowing them to focus on the real needs of the county infrastructure.

  • Steve Marston

    For the same reasons Sheriff Rupf is opposing Mary Piepho, he should be opposing Federal Glover – who also gave himself a 60% pay raise, mishandled the employee benefits issue and helped run up the county’s $2.5 billion deficit, causing Rupf to lay off deputies. Crime is up in Glover’s district on his watch. He can’t be trusted with our public safety, either.

  • Bernie Quigley

    This kind of garbage, and the similar bile being spewed by Nunn and Marston are what gives everyone the impression that elected officials are scum. I will certainly never vote for Nunn or Rupf, ever. I am curious if these two are slimy by nature of they think it’s good politics.

    I was sorry to read that the Stockton paper shut down its Sacramento bureau and fired Hank Shaw. I don’t see how the Record can think of itself as a serious paper and not cover Sacramento.

  • Bill Johnson

    For all interested parties: Federal Glover’s campaign manager Mary Jo Rossi and Lisa Vorderbrueggen are best friends. It’s obvious everything on this website is slanted in favor of Rossi’s candidate. In addition, Rossi’s close buddy Tom Koch is the one supporting Piepho. So, it’s no surprise that of Lisa’s views are in favor of Glover and Piepho and against Nunn and Houston. The bias is showing through.

  • Troublemaker

    Thanks for putting things into perspective.

    A few observations;

    The Sheriff has certainly raised the bar on his ability to purposely mislead people to get his way. Never cared for him so this just drives the point home and shows citizens just what Rupf is capable of.

    We should all take note, that when the head of County law enforcement has a blatant disregard for the truth and lacks simple judgment then NONE of us should feel very safe.

    Mr. Bill Gram-Reefer needs to review his own post before he calls others potty mouths: “Looks like poor Warren has found himself on the shit list”.

    He should consider returning to his toady website where opinions are attempted to be passed off as reality.

    It appears he has the same mindset as Warren Rupf which is, rules are for other people.

    In my opinion Rupf, Houston and BGR belong in the same club.

  • Bill Johnson

    Bernie Quigley – So the Sheriff and Erik Nunn are scum? That’s a horrible thing to write. So who do you support in the 5th sup district race? Because of a campaign mailer? What about the false statements in Glover’s hitpiece against Nunn and obtaining his sealed file, as mentioned by Steve Marston (on another blog)? That’s pretty “scummy”. So I would expect you’re not supporting Glover, either.

  • Bill Johnson

    That would be “potty fingers” since he wrote it. Ooh, that’s even grosser. ;)

  • http://halfwaytoconcord.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/New_Paradigm_Review.pdf Bill Gram-Reefer

    I am happy to stand with that company. That said, it’s hard to have any meaningful conversation with anonymous cowards. I know who I am and what you are. bgr

  • Troublemaker

    Yeah we know…now please go back.

  • Arne Simonsen

    Deputy Sheriffs Association Refutes Rupf’s Mailer Against Piepho

    The Contra Costa Deputy Sheriffs Association today expressed concern at the tactics of Sheriff Warren Rupf, who in a recent hit piece questions the effectiveness of deputies as part of his ongoing personal vendetta against Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho.

    In the hit piece, Rupf warns voters about the safety of their neighborhoods and children if Piepho is re-elected.
    “For Sheriff Rupf to say that ‘our County is not safe’ because of Supervisor Piepho questions the life-risking efforts of hundreds of law enforcement officers throughout the County,” said Jim Bickert, President of the Contra Costa Deputy Sheriff’s Association. “Contra Costa Sheriffs Deputies are second to none. We have done an excellent job of protecting the people of the County, even during these difficult fiscal times. Could we use more deputies? Sure. But that has been the case since 1850.”

    According to Bickert, Mary Piepho has been a strong supporter of law enforcement, always voting to protect essential services while working diligently to balance budgets by making difficult choices.

    “Sheriff Rupf’s mailer exaggerates reality,” Bickert said. “Mary Piepho is NOT responsible for the OPEB liability. The OPEB liability has been reduced due to the current board’s efforts. Mary Piepho does NOT make your neighborhood unsafe. Mary Piepho’s steadfast support of public safety is the primary reason she won the overwhelming endorsement of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association.” Piepho also earned the endorsement of District Attorney Bob Kochly.

    Bickert said that Rupf’s mailer applies faulty logic. The mailer’s statement that the Board members’ long overdue salary increase puts the public’s safety at risk is erroneous.
    Under this rationale, one could say that the Sheriff’s salary, which is substantially larger than a Supervisor’s salary, has put the public’s safety at risk. But that, too, would be an untrue statement.

    “Sheriff Rupf’s statement that on-the-job deputies were laid off due to the OPEB liability is also not true,” Bickert stated. “There have been no deputies laid off, thanks to the efforts of Supervisor Piepho and the current Board.”
    The Deputy Sheriffs Association endorsed Supervisor Federal Glover for re-election. Glover, like Piepho, has been a strong supporter of law enforcement. Glover’s and Piepho’s votes on budgets for law enforcement services have been identical. Yet, Rupf supports Glover while opposing Piepho.

    “Sheriff Rupf’s mailer is based more on emotion than reality,” Bickert said. “The safety of our citizens is in good hands and we will everything we can to see that it stays that way.”

  • BigTom

    I don’t think that one elected official should either endorse or criticise another seeking election.

  • Stunned in East County

    BGR, with “brutally honest” headlines like yours which turn out to be lies, that’s some club you got going there!

    “it’s hard to have any meaningful conversation….”

    and this is different from the average day on your blog in what way? Between the heavy-handed bias commentary and the censorship, probably pretty hard to use “meaningful” in any descriptive over there.

    If you’re talking issues, it really doesn’t matter who the poster is. If you’re just looking to attack the messenger in your usual MO, then yeah, I can see where you’d have a problem.

    Warren reads here from time to time and I’m sure you’ve alerted him, Bill. Maybe time to jump in with some responses to the questions raised here? Why didn’t he form an independent committee like everyone else has to? Which Deputies were fired or let go?(name names, because he’s sure to point to lateral moves from crime prevention for his proof). Explain the disconnect between ripping Piepho while supporting Glover and explain the $2.5B “deficit” claim. And what I’d most like to hear, why did he use his badge in this mailer and what legal right does he have to do so if it wasn’t an official, sanctioned department correspondence?

    It would appear he has been exposed and I for one am none too pleased to see him using police services in a fear mongering campaign to get back at his political enemies. That’s our security and quality of life he’s playing games with and we deserve better.

    He’s pretty good at verbal tap dancing, so not really expecting any straight answers. But he could at least try.

  • http://halfwaytoconcord.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/New_Paradigm_Review.pdf Bill Gram-Reefer

    Censorship? What a laugh.

    I booted a childish Troublemaker that did nothing but serially belittle people.

    It’s real simple, if you don’t like the views expressed at Halfway To Concord, start your own site if you have the courage to stand up and own your words.

    But you must be “Stunned” people actually do that these days.

  • Pingback: Sheriff Rupf explains reasons for anti-Piepho mailer - Inside Politics - with Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Pingback: Sheriff Rupf explains reasons for anti-Piepho mailer - Inside Politics - with Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Troublemaker

    Mr. Reefer you and your site are a countywide joke. Everyone in the county knows it and reads it only for entertainment-nothing more. I hear it all too often. That is why so few post there.

    We come here to Lisa’s blog to get a real perspective at what people in the county think. It is quite a few rungs up the blog ladder from your little experiment in one dimensional politics.

    Many of us are secure in the knowledge of those simple facts.

    You are a very funny guy. (and I don’t mean clown funny).

    I and many others personally watched you expel an individual (which was not me; hell I never have posted on your pathetic site) who had done nothing remotely compared to others that trash talk there daily. But hey, you allow them because they tickle your little fetish.

    So, for you to come here now and post in one sentence that you booted a “childish” troublemaker directly after making an overture that you don’t censor? Get real. Now that is a laugh for the rest of us. Are you not reading your own rhetoric? Let me save you the “trouble”…we are!

    It is simple-you did not like that he was making sense so you kicked him off. That is censorship my friend. Whoops my bad, I don’t have friends like you.

    So Reefer, it is simple; if anyone doesn’t like the crapola served up over at your site they have many other choices where they are not threatened with the drink the kool aid or else mentality.

    There are many reasons that people post anonymously-respect that if you cannot respect them.

    Another poster opined, it is odd that you are so infatuated with finding out who is posting that you simply ignore the substance. He or she was right.

    Look up hypocrisy and then re-read anyone of the posts on your site. I am sure you will see example after example of Glover/Piepho/Nunn/Democrat/Republican/County/Union/Developer haters that trashed the candidates, issues and supporters but you CHOSE to attack the one that was making direct points.

    This is your wake up call. Now walk the walk.

  • Troublemaker

    Mr. Reefer you and your site are a countywide joke. Everyone in the county knows it and reads it only for entertainment-nothing more. I hear it all too often. That is why so few post there.

    We come here to Lisa’s blog to get a real perspective at what people in the county think. It is quite a few rungs up the blog ladder from your little experiment in one dimensional politics.

    Many of us are secure in the knowledge of those simple facts.

    You are a very funny guy. (and I don’t mean clown funny).

    I and many others personally watched you expel an individual (which was not me; hell I never have posted on your pathetic site) who had done nothing remotely compared to others that trash talk there daily. But hey, you allow them because they tickle your little fetish.

    So, for you to come here now and post in one sentence that you booted a “childish” troublemaker directly after making an overture that you don’t censor? Get real. Now that is a laugh for the rest of us. Are you not reading your own rhetoric? Let me save you the “trouble”…we are!

    It is simple-you did not like that he was making sense so you kicked him off. That is censorship my friend. Whoops my bad, I don’t have friends like you.

    So Reefer, it is simple; if anyone doesn’t like the crapola served up over at your site they have many other choices where they are not threatened with the drink the kool aid or else mentality.

    There are many reasons that people post anonymously-respect that if you cannot respect them.

    Another poster opined, it is odd that you are so infatuated with finding out who is posting that you simply ignore the substance. He or she was right.

    Look up hypocrisy and then re-read anyone of the posts on your site. I am sure you will see example after example of Glover/Piepho/Nunn/Democrat/Republican/County/Union/Developer haters that trashed the candidates, issues and supporters but you CHOSE to attack the one that was making direct points.

    This is your wake up call. Now walk the walk.

  • http://halfwaytoconcord.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/New_Paradigm_Review.pdf Bill Gram-Reefer

    You come here for fair and balanced?

    Boy, the joke is on you.

  • http://halfwaytoconcord.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/New_Paradigm_Review.pdf Bill Gram-Reefer

    You come here for fair and balanced?

    Boy, the joke is on you.

  • Troublemaker

    No Bill the joke is you.

    Deal with it.

  • Troublemaker

    No Bill the joke is you.

    Deal with it.

  • http://halfwaytoconcord.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/New_Paradigm_Review.pdf Bill Gram-Reefer

    Oh that was pithy. Is that the best you can do?

  • http://www.ibuzz.com Jen

    While Mary Piepho says she doesn’t accept special interest money, her campaign greedily accepted more than $219,798 in Independent Expenditures from BIG OIL, Realtors and Developers, and public employee unions.

    Stop the Special Interests

    Why have BIG OIL, Real Estate and Developers, and unions spent more than $219,798 to support Mary Piepho and smear Guy Houston with their mailers?

    It isn’t altruism. It’s plain as day they expect favors from Mary Piepho if she is reelected: lower taxes for Chevron, dismantle the Urban Limit Line for Tom Koch’s New Farm, continue to play patsy during upcoming union contract negotiations.

    Stop the nonsense

    $219,798! For a single supervisor seat?

    DON’T BE FOOLED. It’s time voters in Contra Costa’s 3rd Supervisor District stop the politics as usual in Martinez and defeat Mary Piepho and her campaign cronies who now own her.

    Taxpayers deserve a Supervisor who will work for their interests, instead of special interests.

    Just received this email from Bill Gram Reefer. Sounds like someone is mad because Guy will take money from anyone- they just won’t give it to him!!!
    Point being, we have lived through the barrage of campaign signs, our mailboxes have endured an onslaught of mailers (sometimes 3 a day for the same individual), and now our emails are under fire!! Well then Mr. Reefer, let the email wars begin!!!

  • http://www.ibuzz.com Jen

    While Mary Piepho says she doesn’t accept special interest money, her campaign greedily accepted more than $219,798 in Independent Expenditures from BIG OIL, Realtors and Developers, and public employee unions.

    Stop the Special Interests

    Why have BIG OIL, Real Estate and Developers, and unions spent more than $219,798 to support Mary Piepho and smear Guy Houston with their mailers?

    It isn’t altruism. It’s plain as day they expect favors from Mary Piepho if she is reelected: lower taxes for Chevron, dismantle the Urban Limit Line for Tom Koch’s New Farm, continue to play patsy during upcoming union contract negotiations.

    Stop the nonsense

    $219,798! For a single supervisor seat?

    DON’T BE FOOLED. It’s time voters in Contra Costa’s 3rd Supervisor District stop the politics as usual in Martinez and defeat Mary Piepho and her campaign cronies who now own her.

    Taxpayers deserve a Supervisor who will work for their interests, instead of special interests.

    Just received this email from Bill Gram Reefer. Sounds like someone is mad because Guy will take money from anyone- they just won’t give it to him!!!
    Point being, we have lived through the barrage of campaign signs, our mailboxes have endured an onslaught of mailers (sometimes 3 a day for the same individual), and now our emails are under fire!! Well then Mr. Reefer, let the email wars begin!!!

  • Monstrous Regiment of Women that Actually Run This County (MRWTARTC)

    My thanks to BGR who just coined a new name for the “women who actually run this county. — Monstrous Regiment of Women That Actually Run This County” or as I like to say… MRW TART C

    We will see tomorrow if the good’ol boys network and their power games pack it in or if it is a new day in the neighborhood. It really is not a gender issue as I know, appreciate and, in some cases love, the smart, honest men who use their power with integrity and for progress. Problem is that there tends to be more women that want to “find a way” rather than simply “get their way.”

    Power should be wielded with grace not a sledge hammer regardless of your gender.

    I will commit to continually reminding the MRW TART C’s to lead with grace and humility!

    One of a tribe…

  • Monstrous Regiment of Women that Actually Run This County (MRWTARTC)

    My thanks to BGR who just coined a new name for the “women who actually run this county. — Monstrous Regiment of Women That Actually Run This County” or as I like to say… MRW TART C

    We will see tomorrow if the good’ol boys network and their power games pack it in or if it is a new day in the neighborhood. It really is not a gender issue as I know, appreciate and, in some cases love, the smart, honest men who use their power with integrity and for progress. Problem is that there tends to be more women that want to “find a way” rather than simply “get their way.”

    Power should be wielded with grace not a sledge hammer regardless of your gender.

    I will commit to continually reminding the MRW TART C’s to lead with grace and humility!

    One of a tribe…

  • Monstrous Regiment of Women that Actually Run This County (MRWTARTC)

    We win…

  • Monstrous Regiment of Women that Actually Run This County (MRWTARTC)

    We win…