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Sheriff Rupf explains reasons for anti-Piepho mailer

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Friday, May 30th, 2008 at 8:08 pm in 2008 June primary, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics.

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.

“ ‘Laying off’ might not fit the classic definition here but my frustration is that we’ve cut back or laid off every collateral service… and we’re only marginally able to cover the 911 beat and our jails,” Rupf said.

The Deputy Sheriffs Association rejects this argument. Click here to read its letter.

The push to fund the retiree health care liability out of existing service levels and ever declining dollars will further exacerbate the situation, Rupf continued.

“Everyone on the board is running for something else or interested in something else and no one is running the business of the county,” Rupf said.

If the trend continues, Rupf says he will run for the Board of Supervisors in 2010 despite the drop in “pay and prestige” and the likely ire of his wife. (He earns $185,000 a year as sheriff.)

For Piepho’s part, she calls it patently unfair to put the blame on her shoulders for declining county revenues and defended her public safety record.

She says the sheriff’s numbers of vacancies is a “slight of hand” designed to make it appear as though he been shortchanged when the board has actually helped him with recruitment and retention through the creation of a two-tier retirement system that’s less expensive for new hires.

“My first year on the board, the Sheriff’s Department was slated for cuts and I went to bat for him,” Piepho said. “This is not about my record. It might be about personality, but it’s not about my record.”

Rupf’s unhappiness with Piepho clearly extends beyond her vote on the pay hike or even the budget. He has endorsed her colleague, Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, who has a nearly identical voting record.

Their conflict has its roots in Discovery Bay after vocal residents, including David Piepho, voiced dissatisfaction with law enforcement levels in a manner the sheriff considered unproductive, to put it politely.

The chasm expanded and the sheriff formed his own citizen advisory committee in far East County, bypassing the locally elected board. Piepho said he undermined the community leaders and has repeatedly rebuffed her efforts to create a collaborative relationship.

The two later sparred publicly over a no-tow ordinance in the Delta and their split is seemingly irreparable at this point.

As to the question of whether the sheriff can legally finance an independent expenditure in a supervisor campaign, Rupf said he consulted with an attorney was told he could do it with the use of personal funds.

If Piepho or someone else files a complaint with the state Fair Political Practices Commission, he says he is ready to answer their questions.

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  • http://halfwaytoconcord.com Bill Gram-Reefer

    “gladly take me on any day”?

    Is that your idea of “one-upping” or is it simple browbeating and intimidation that you’ve managed to do to anyone here or elsewhere who has the audacity to disagree with you?

  • http://halfwaytoconcord.com Bill Gram-Reefer

    “gladly take me on any day”?

    Is that your idea of “one-upping” or is it simple browbeating and intimidation that you’ve managed to do to anyone here or elsewhere who has the audacity to disagree with you?

  • Troublemaker

    Wow Reefer-really making points today!
    :)

    BTW- what did you “call me on” hmmm? I see that you are calling me names now. That is mighty clever! You are quite the case study in hypocrisy which is exactly why you cannot identify with it.

    Take a few deep breaths, you seem kind of agitated.

    You know it’s funny, I watched you try to ‘dis Lisa for lack of traffic on this (her) blog, but now it appears it is rocking and rolling with activity. How are things going over at your site? I’m thinking not good since you are trolling over here. Am I calling you out now? Never mind, you don’t have to answer.

    When you are done taking pot shots at elected officials (people that actually step up to the plate) then I would gladly educate you about what constitutes real cowardice.

    In the meantime, let’s get back to the business of politics because it really is o.k. to disagree as long as you stick to the facts. Can you work on that for me?

  • Troublemaker

    Wow Reefer-really making points today!
    :)

    BTW- what did you “call me on” hmmm? I see that you are calling me names now. That is mighty clever! You are quite the case study in hypocrisy which is exactly why you cannot identify with it.

    Take a few deep breaths, you seem kind of agitated.

    You know it’s funny, I watched you try to ‘dis Lisa for lack of traffic on this (her) blog, but now it appears it is rocking and rolling with activity. How are things going over at your site? I’m thinking not good since you are trolling over here. Am I calling you out now? Never mind, you don’t have to answer.

    When you are done taking pot shots at elected officials (people that actually step up to the plate) then I would gladly educate you about what constitutes real cowardice.

    In the meantime, let’s get back to the business of politics because it really is o.k. to disagree as long as you stick to the facts. Can you work on that for me?

  • Disgusted with Sheriff

    I think Lisa was much to kind to the sheriff in today’s column. He said one thing in a last minute hit piece against Piepho and just the opposite in the Contra Costa Times the same day. He has admitted that he might not have gotten the facts right in the hit piece. Hummm, how convenient for the arrogant, sexist sheriff to forget the real facts in a mail piece he paid for and then get it right in the newspaper.

    Mary Nejedly Piepho refuses to be his lap dog so the big boy’s chest is out and he is trying to teach her a lesson. I sure hope the public sees through the childish antics of a frustrated control freak. It is way past time for him to retire.

  • Disgusted with Sheriff

    I think Lisa was much to kind to the sheriff in today’s column. He said one thing in a last minute hit piece against Piepho and just the opposite in the Contra Costa Times the same day. He has admitted that he might not have gotten the facts right in the hit piece. Hummm, how convenient for the arrogant, sexist sheriff to forget the real facts in a mail piece he paid for and then get it right in the newspaper.

    Mary Nejedly Piepho refuses to be his lap dog so the big boy’s chest is out and he is trying to teach her a lesson. I sure hope the public sees through the childish antics of a frustrated control freak. It is way past time for him to retire.

  • Disgusted with Sheriff

    And now I learn Sheriff Rupf not only collects his pension from retiring from the Sheriff’s Dept. and ALSO collects his big fat salary from being the elected sheriff. He takes home more than $300,000 from the county coffers. I wonder how many deputies we could put on the streets with that money.

  • Disgusted with Sheriff

    And now I learn Sheriff Rupf not only collects his pension from retiring from the Sheriff’s Dept. and ALSO collects his big fat salary from being the elected sheriff. He takes home more than $300,000 from the county coffers. I wonder how many deputies we could put on the streets with that money.

  • Disgusted

    How many bridges can Guy Houston burn in one election? First he is Mr. Developer in Dublin, against labor, and a conservative anti-choice Republican.

  • Disgusted

    How many bridges can Guy Houston burn in one election? First he is Mr. Developer in Dublin, against labor, and a conservative anti-choice Republican.

  • Stunned in East County

    I think Bill has some sort of allergic reaction when he gets too close to a fact, if the exchanges on his site are any indication.

    Clever tactic taking this waaaay off topic, Bill. Do you have any relevant commentary to offer on this mailer we were discussing which has turned out to be lies? Do you approve of the #1 law enforcement official in the county engaging in that sort of behavior? Do you think it in any way helps the public safety that his time is spent on this sort of crap instead of better deploying his resources?

    What is a hack blog site like yours doing releasing a PR? Leading independent online news source??? What were you smoking when you wrote that one? I think that “independent” white dress you’re wearing has a few stains on it and you’ve got your nose so far up Houston’s rear end you can’t see sunshine. That makes you a propaganda mouthpiece, not a serious news source.

    Speaking of which, Cracker Jack Bill, maybe you’ll enlighten the folks on who these new IEs are from obscure individuals for substantial amounts of money. Both Houston supporters. That doesn’t pass the smell test and we wouldn’t want you looking like a hypocrite twice in one weekend after you bad mouthed Lisa V on the same subject.

    Lose an election -AND- break campaign finance laws? You guys are in a hole. You oughta stop diggin’.

  • Stunned in East County

    I think Bill has some sort of allergic reaction when he gets too close to a fact, if the exchanges on his site are any indication.

    Clever tactic taking this waaaay off topic, Bill. Do you have any relevant commentary to offer on this mailer we were discussing which has turned out to be lies? Do you approve of the #1 law enforcement official in the county engaging in that sort of behavior? Do you think it in any way helps the public safety that his time is spent on this sort of crap instead of better deploying his resources?

    What is a hack blog site like yours doing releasing a PR? Leading independent online news source??? What were you smoking when you wrote that one? I think that “independent” white dress you’re wearing has a few stains on it and you’ve got your nose so far up Houston’s rear end you can’t see sunshine. That makes you a propaganda mouthpiece, not a serious news source.

    Speaking of which, Cracker Jack Bill, maybe you’ll enlighten the folks on who these new IEs are from obscure individuals for substantial amounts of money. Both Houston supporters. That doesn’t pass the smell test and we wouldn’t want you looking like a hypocrite twice in one weekend after you bad mouthed Lisa V on the same subject.

    Lose an election -AND- break campaign finance laws? You guys are in a hole. You oughta stop diggin’.

  • Disgusted

    How many bridges can Guy Houston burn in one election?

    First he is Mr. Developer in Dublin, against labor and a conservative anti tax, anti-choice Republican.

    Now that he has moved to Contra Costa to run for Supervisor he became best buddies with labor by agreeing to support PLAs, became a sudden opponent to development, supports taxes (measure D, etc.) and starts slamming Mary because Lynn Leach supports her.

    The latest mailer by Ms. De Marcus is so misleading that it deceitfully implies that because Leach supports Piepho that Piepho agrees with everything Lynn believes. What a smear.. Then they smear her for being too close to Dems…

    What it comes down to is that Mary is consistent and capable of working folks from different philosophy’s to get things down.

  • Disgusted

    How many bridges can Guy Houston burn in one election?

    First he is Mr. Developer in Dublin, against labor and a conservative anti tax, anti-choice Republican.

    Now that he has moved to Contra Costa to run for Supervisor he became best buddies with labor by agreeing to support PLAs, became a sudden opponent to development, supports taxes (measure D, etc.) and starts slamming Mary because Lynn Leach supports her.

    The latest mailer by Ms. De Marcus is so misleading that it deceitfully implies that because Leach supports Piepho that Piepho agrees with everything Lynn believes. What a smear.. Then they smear her for being too close to Dems…

    What it comes down to is that Mary is consistent and capable of working folks from different philosophy’s to get things down.

  • Patriot Johnny

    Lisa,

    Why is this not reported in any of your articles ??

    BIG OIL, unions, real estate and developer interests have so far spent $215,298.64 to smear Guy Houston and ensure Mary Piepho retains her Supervisor seat. That’s an awful lot of money changing hands to not be noticed by an ace political reporter.

  • Patriot Johnny

    Lisa,

    Why is this not reported in any of your articles ??

    BIG OIL, unions, real estate and developer interests have so far spent $215,298.64 to smear Guy Houston and ensure Mary Piepho retains her Supervisor seat. That’s an awful lot of money changing hands to not be noticed by an ace political reporter.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Dear Patriot Johnny:

    To be honest, I haven’t had a chance yet. Friday is my column deadline and I was on the phone the good part of the day trying to unravel the Rupf-Piepho mailer issue for my column. (I didn’t finish up my column until after 7 p.m. Friday night, which didn’t endear me to my editor who had to wait to read it.)

    Plus, I do my best to never work weekends and instead, spend them with my husband and my children. (I was addicted to my job in my youth but I got over it.)

    But as I had originally planned, you will hear at length from me today in the blog and probably in tomorrow’s paper a full wrap-up of campaign finance numbers for the East Bay supervisor and state assembly/senate races.

    I was waiting until this morning because Friday at 5 p.m. was the last campaign finance deadline for the supervisor candidates and I picked up at 8 a.m. this morning from the clerk’s office an 8-plus-inch stack of finance reports.

    It’s absurd to suggest that I have “refused” to publish campaign finance numbers. I have written hundreds of stories about campaign finance reports over the years. But I’m only one person and can cover only so much ground in a single day.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Dear Patriot Johnny:

    To be honest, I haven’t had a chance yet. Friday is my column deadline and I was on the phone the good part of the day trying to unravel the Rupf-Piepho mailer issue for my column. (I didn’t finish up my column until after 7 p.m. Friday night, which didn’t endear me to my editor who had to wait to read it.)

    Plus, I do my best to never work weekends and instead, spend them with my husband and my children. (I was addicted to my job in my youth but I got over it.)

    But as I had originally planned, you will hear at length from me today in the blog and probably in tomorrow’s paper a full wrap-up of campaign finance numbers for the East Bay supervisor and state assembly/senate races.

    I was waiting until this morning because Friday at 5 p.m. was the last campaign finance deadline for the supervisor candidates and I picked up at 8 a.m. this morning from the clerk’s office an 8-plus-inch stack of finance reports.

    It’s absurd to suggest that I have “refused” to publish campaign finance numbers. I have written hundreds of stories about campaign finance reports over the years. But I’m only one person and can cover only so much ground in a single day.

  • Patriot Johnny

    Lisa,
    There was no suggestion from me about refusing. However, for the sake of fairness It would be nice to report this info before tommorrows elections end.

    I am very critical of the newspapers voluntary endorsements as I feel they should remain neutral and objective. When I see the media post a laundry list of who and what to vote for It really sickens me.

  • Patriot Johnny

    Lisa,
    There was no suggestion from me about refusing. However, for the sake of fairness It would be nice to report this info before tommorrows elections end.

    I am very critical of the newspapers voluntary endorsements as I feel they should remain neutral and objective. When I see the media post a laundry list of who and what to vote for It really sickens me.

  • Bernie Quigley

    Rupf pulls down both a $185k salary plus a six-figure pension. That sort of double dipping should be illegal. Why does any retired cop pull down a $120k per year pension. Why doesn’t the electorate wake up on this? Elected officials must be held accountable for giving away the store to the unions.

  • Bernie Quigley

    Rupf pulls down both a $185k salary plus a six-figure pension. That sort of double dipping should be illegal. Why does any retired cop pull down a $120k per year pension. Why doesn’t the electorate wake up on this? Elected officials must be held accountable for giving away the store to the unions.

  • Troublemaker

    Yep Bernie the Sheriff is caught trying to chastise the Supervisors for initiating a pay adjustment because the former boards had failed to take action for almost a decade! It is no wonder they were over 60 percent down.

    But for Rupf to try to hang this on the Supervisors (Mary Piepho in particular) who were formerly making 59k a year compared to his 185k is really the story. From what I repeatedly hear, more and more people are on to Rupf’s political antics.

    I guess he forgot to put that in his hit piece against Piepho.

  • Troublemaker

    Yep Bernie the Sheriff is caught trying to chastise the Supervisors for initiating a pay adjustment because the former boards had failed to take action for almost a decade! It is no wonder they were over 60 percent down.

    But for Rupf to try to hang this on the Supervisors (Mary Piepho in particular) who were formerly making 59k a year compared to his 185k is really the story. From what I repeatedly hear, more and more people are on to Rupf’s political antics.

    I guess he forgot to put that in his hit piece against Piepho.

  • Stunned in East County

    Now that Billy has voiced his objection to Lisa having a private life, we’re officially into the twilight zone. Maybe Lisa didn’t get the memo that the world revolves around BGR’s priorities?

    The best word that can describe BGR at this point is “unhinged”. Of all the things going on in the political world right now, he’s absolutely foaming at the mouth over this one race. That, my friends, is obsession with maybe just a dash of paranoia tossed in.

    Billy, step outside and go for a walk. I think you need a little fresh air.

  • Stunned in East County

    Now that Billy has voiced his objection to Lisa having a private life, we’re officially into the twilight zone. Maybe Lisa didn’t get the memo that the world revolves around BGR’s priorities?

    The best word that can describe BGR at this point is “unhinged”. Of all the things going on in the political world right now, he’s absolutely foaming at the mouth over this one race. That, my friends, is obsession with maybe just a dash of paranoia tossed in.

    Billy, step outside and go for a walk. I think you need a little fresh air.

  • Troublemaker

    Sorry Reefer but you hold the title of disingenuous and misleading. You see, unlike you, Lisa has no special or hidden agenda. She simply reports what she sees and learns. While I may not always agree with her position at least she states both sides and the supporting resources. She has a tough job and has to put up with the likes of you. I don’t envy her.

    Here is an upfront example of your sleight of hand for all of us to examine up close.

    Scroll up to your post #9 and click on the highlighted words “press release”. Well press release is a bit of a stretch -but humor me here.

    If you click on that it takes you to your so called press release. On that site which you have doctored up, there is a Guy Houston link and a Mary Piepho link. Hmmmmm guess what, click on the Houston link and it takes you right to his website (how convenient) but click on Piepho’s and amazingly you are transferred to your asylum known by many as halfway to nowhere. Thanks for showing us the real you. You are a real hack.

    Billy Boy we are squarely on to you. You are the poster boy for “Disingenuous and Misleading”. In fact from what I understand you pilfered Mary Piepho’s contact list and sent it out your nonsense to her many supporters. People with ethics would call that move disingenuous. I also hear that you have been blasted right and left for that effort. Pretty funny really. How is it that your actions continue to backfire smart guy?

    Game over. Now go back to your room before you embarrass yourself any further.

  • Troublemaker

    Sorry Reefer but you hold the title of disingenuous and misleading. You see, unlike you, Lisa has no special or hidden agenda. She simply reports what she sees and learns. While I may not always agree with her position at least she states both sides and the supporting resources. She has a tough job and has to put up with the likes of you. I don’t envy her.

    Here is an upfront example of your sleight of hand for all of us to examine up close.

    Scroll up to your post #9 and click on the highlighted words “press release”. Well press release is a bit of a stretch -but humor me here.

    If you click on that it takes you to your so called press release. On that site which you have doctored up, there is a Guy Houston link and a Mary Piepho link. Hmmmmm guess what, click on the Houston link and it takes you right to his website (how convenient) but click on Piepho’s and amazingly you are transferred to your asylum known by many as halfway to nowhere. Thanks for showing us the real you. You are a real hack.

    Billy Boy we are squarely on to you. You are the poster boy for “Disingenuous and Misleading”. In fact from what I understand you pilfered Mary Piepho’s contact list and sent it out your nonsense to her many supporters. People with ethics would call that move disingenuous. I also hear that you have been blasted right and left for that effort. Pretty funny really. How is it that your actions continue to backfire smart guy?

    Game over. Now go back to your room before you embarrass yourself any further.

  • creeped out

    I got some political spam yesterday from Bill Gram-Reefer. What was disturbing was that the spam was sent to an address that I’d only used once: when filling out a survey on Guy Houston’s state government website. Gotta tell you Mr. G-R, I was neutral on this race until you pulled this. I know that the records are probably public and that Mr. Houston’s web site goes has no privacy policy whatsoever so there is probably nothing illegal in your using this data but it was a clumsy and oafish move that has completely backfired on you.

  • creeped out

    I got some political spam yesterday from Bill Gram-Reefer. What was disturbing was that the spam was sent to an address that I’d only used once: when filling out a survey on Guy Houston’s state government website. Gotta tell you Mr. G-R, I was neutral on this race until you pulled this. I know that the records are probably public and that Mr. Houston’s web site goes has no privacy policy whatsoever so there is probably nothing illegal in your using this data but it was a clumsy and oafish move that has completely backfired on you.

  • Troublemaker

    Right on Creeped out. I am hearing the same thing!

    Thanks Reefer, You are really helping Piepho.

    Keep up the good work. You fit in perfectly with Houston’s campaign.

    All the best!

  • Troublemaker

    Right on Creeped out. I am hearing the same thing!

    Thanks Reefer, You are really helping Piepho.

    Keep up the good work. You fit in perfectly with Houston’s campaign.

    All the best!