By Pat Nikolai
Recently, the Silicon Valley Voice/Santa Clara Weekly ran an editorial that had many factual errors. It’s not the first time. In fact, years ago on another story about me and the Santa Clara police department, I sent them a letter asking for a correction. But they would not print it or acknowledge their mistakes. So I’m turning to Santa Clara News Online to help educate our residents.
The Voice/Weekly criticizes me for being in control of the Santa Clara Police Officers’ Association PAC. This is inaccurate. I am not the President of the POA, and I have not been for nearly four years. I stepped down prior to the 2016 police chief election, so I was not involved in any of their PAC decisions as the Voice/Weekly reported.
The publication also dismisses my credentials and doesn’t seem to understand the police department’s management levels. I have been at the Santa Clara Police Department for 28 years, and I have held a supervisory or management position for 18 years. I recently earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, and I graduated summa cum laude. I was promoted to Lieutenant over a year ago, which is indeed a police management position. It’s true that I have not had the opportunity to attend the F.B.I.’s National Academy. That’s only because former Police Chief Mike Sellers improperly blocked my application.
I understand that the Voice/Weekly was a close ally of Sellers. During his tenure, the department frequently purchased ads in the publication. And Sellers was featured frequently and positively in the Voice/Weekly. In fact, many in our community believe that the publication’s editorial positions are determined by advertising patronage. That’s unfortunate.
It’s also unfortunate that Santa Clara City staff has to spend precious time and resources correcting things written in the Voice/Weekly. In the past year or so, that has happened numerous times with Carolyn Schuk articles and Miles Barber editorials.
In their recent editorial criticizing me, the publication suggests that I’m not qualified to be our city’s police chief. In addition to the qualifications listed above, I respond with these questions:
Why did three recently retired Captains write a letter to the residents of Santa Clara saying that I am the best choice to improve the quality and morale of the department?
Why did District Attorney Jeff Rosen endorse me saying, “He has the right talent and leadership to keep Santa Clara safe and restore the department’s reputation as one of the best in our community.”?
And why did over 17,500 Santa Clara voters (49.9 percent) choose me in the 2016 election against an incumbent? Are all these people wrong?
The Voice/Weekly implied that Assistant Police Chief Dan Winter is the only person to care about the City’s well-being because he withdrew from the race. That logic is bizarre and another demonstration of poor writing.
I care deeply about Santa Clara and our police department. That’s why I am NOT withdrawing from this race. I believe that our residents deserve a Police Chief who is willing to stand before voters and work hard to make a case to lead our department. I will be that leader and, with the voters’ blessing, I will make all Santa Clarans proud of our police department.