A lot has transpired since I last wrote a Captain’s Log. The biggest change is that I am no longer a Captain, I am now the seated Sheriff-Coroner of San Benito County. Thank you to all who supported me in this most recent chapter of my career. To those who may be on the fence, I hope to show you my worth. The months leading up to the transition from the Thompson era to the Taylor era were very busy. Hence, I have not written. Since the transition, I am often asked two things…
- Will I keep writing for Benitolink?
- Will I rename the column?
As to the first question, yes I am going to keep writing. I have been told recently it is risky for a public figure to write things down like this because they can resurface and be used against you in the future. I am not afraid of such things. When I write these columns, they are written from the heart and are my truths, observations and wishes. If I am ever wrong, I will readily admit it. I am imperfect and I know there will be mistakes along the way. That is human nature. Also, I have vowed to make it my goal to stay even keeled in my personal and professional endeavors. I strive to never get to high, never get to low, and just “Stay Focused.”
When I was a kid, my only exposure to Major League Baseball was when we went to “Rotary Day with the A’s” at the Oakland Coliseum with the Freedom Rotary Club. My kids often ask why we are A’s fans and not Giants fans…and I relate to them the Coliseum and the A’s are fond memories of mine from the late 70s through the mid 90s prior to me moving to San Diego for college. I still follow them to this day. I am a die-hard fan for sure.
In the 80s and 90s, the A’s had a sign in center field that read, “Stay Focused.” It was in reference to them staying on an even keel. For those of you who don’t know, the A’s were a pretty big deal in the late 80s and early 90s. They were good. But they reminded themselves to stay grounded. Carney Lansford is one of my all-time favorite A’s because he was so good at 3rd base but had zero ego. For you Giants fans he is akin to Matt Williams. His playing, not his mouth, did the talking for him. Right behind him in my favorites was Terry Steinbach. An incredibly talented catcher who was kind, humble and professional. Again, no ego. His words were few but his play was stellar.
I would later go on to work alongside Billy Beane, Sandy Alderson, Ray Fosse, Bill King, Art Howe, Ron Washington, Tony LaRussa and Roy Steele (PA Announcer) when I was the Stadium Operations Manager for the Oakland A’s in the late 90’s. All of those men were and are legends in Major League Baseball. However they were all kind and humble. They were always kind to me and all the staff in the organization. They all carried on the mantra of “Stay Focused.” In the times I was part of the organization, we were not the best team around. But when Sandy Alderson turned the reigns over to Billy Beane as the GM and Mike Crowley as President (Previously Alderson had played a dual role), we had no idea what we were in for. The era of “Moneyball” was in its infancy. The team came back to finding success because even in rebuilding years, everyone fought to “stay focused.” Never get to high, never get to low.” Work on your weaknesses and be thankful for your strengths.
It may not be known much outside of MLB, but the farm system of the Oakland A’s is consistently named the best in baseball. It is how they recruit, train and build from the ground up that keeps them in the mix most years. They don’t have a big budget like the Giants (or Dodgers, Yankees, etc), but they are selective and look for chemistry. In many ways the A’s are like our Sheriff’s Office. Trying to play in the big leagues on a shoestring budget. All the while competing for the same talent as the big money markets like SF, LA or NY. What draws men to play in Oakland is the opportunity to show what they can do, the family feel and chemistry of the organization, and the connection to the community of Oakland. That is what I need to create here. A place where the talented players want to be.
Since coming here in 2014, I have been able to select and hire some top-notch talent. Some of these guys didn’t look too great on paper, but in meeting them and doing their background I found their hearts are in the right place. They are good people who want this job for the right reasons. San Benito County used to be a place where some lower quality candidates “made it in.” That is because while surrounding agencies with better pay and benefits were getting A and B applicants, places like San Benito got C and D applicants, sometimes Fs. There is a feeling in government, that I do not share, that if you don’t fill your spots, “they” will take them away. I pledge to this community to leave a seat empty if all I have are sub-standard candidates. I will only hire people who fit the requirements I have… tolerance, heart, compassion, drive, tenacity, focus, and an unwavering pursuit of justice. Most of all, ego and personal agendas are not welcome in my office. That goes for external forces as well. This office will not be exploited for personal or group interests in our community. We are an executive office. Our job is to enforce laws. As I have stated before, the legislature passes laws, the courts interpret and vet the legalities of such, and our office enforces the codified laws on the books. It’s actually simple. It is a separation of power.
As we all move forward together, I encourage you to help us seek out local talent we can hire in our office. If you feel you know someone who has the right temperament, heart and drive to protect our community, encourage them to apply. Remember, Sir Robert Peele said “the police are the people, and the people are the police.”
In an upcoming column I will give you a “State of the Sheriff’s Office” report and some changes that are coming. I will also begin making videos for our social media platforms to provide even more transparency to what we do, and why we do it.
Thank you San Benito County for this opportunity to serve you. This is your Sheriff’s Office. I have not selected a new name for the column yet, but I will continue to keep you all informed and included. It truly is an honor to be your Sheriff-Coroner.