In his column today, Record columnist Michael Fitzgerald asked the question: Who is Allen Sawyer? It follows this news that City Councilman Elbert Holman listed notorious criminals he pursued as a lawman in the ballot statement he is using to pitch himself to voters in his re-election bid. One of the names on Holman’s list is Sawyer, a political consultant working with Rick Grewal, who is challenging Holman.
Sawyer was convicted of a crime following a federal investigation that spread to former Sheriff Baxter Dunn and others in what was one of the biggest political scandals in San Joaquin County, so far, this century. Sawyer was convicted and served time. But a subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decision changed the law, and Sawyer was able to get his conviction set aside, his fine returned and a legal writ issued by the court meant to correct an error. The details are in the column and the story.
The city council race, and the fight over the ballot designation naming Sawyer isn’t happening in a vacuum, and it has connections to other elections happening in the county this year.
Grewal isn’t Sawyer’s only client. He’s consulting for Sheriff’s Sergeant Pat Withrow in a run to be the next sheriff and for City Councilman Paul Canepa in his run for the District 2 seat on the county Board of Supervisors. Canepa is running against City Councilwoman Kathy Miller, who is working with Jeff Acquistapace, who is also Holman’s political consultant.
There’s a link in the District 4 county race, too. Lodi attorney Doug Goss was set to run for the open seat, but decided against it. Instead, he endorsed Wine & Roses Hotel Restaurant Spa owner Russ Munson, who is running against former County Administrator Manuel Lopez and Ripon Mayor Chuck Winn. Goss represented Sawyer in his bid for exoneration. And Acquistapace is consulting for Winn, as well as Tori Verber-Salazar, who is running for district attorney, and Jay Wilverding, who is running
opposed unopposed to remain auditor-controller.