Sleazygate makes New York Times

Representing Stockton in the New York Times.

When nothing’s ever your fault, everything is someone else’s fault.

Mayor Anthony Silva’s lawyer took that mentality to extremes in yesterday’s New York Times — and yes, the city of Stockton is getting bad press in the New York Times, thanks to Silva, whose booking photo the Times published, too.

Silva’s attorney Mark Reichel actually told the Times that San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber-Salazar and the feds have coerced the Silver Lake camp counselors with whom Silva played strip poker.

Here’s a graf from the Times story.

“They forced these kids to say this stuff,” Mr. Reichel said, accusing local and federal investigators of pressuring minors into saying they were naked and drinking as Mr. Silva recorded. “They are drunk with power.”

Authorities forced kids to say they were naked? The transcripts clearly reveal they were naked. If there was anything coercive, it is the asymmetrical relationship of a powerful mayor figure in a roomful of teenagers.

But then, a guy who can say to a reporter, “You have tried to ruin my life since I took office,” isn’t responsible for his legal and political problems. He’s beset by a vast conspiracy. He’s a victim.

Do you see where that leads?

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An allegation of pure hypocrisy


Cynthia Gayle Boyd speaks during the public comment portion of the first city council meeting after Mayor Anthony Silva's arrest.

One of the stunners at last night’s Council meeting was the allegation by activist Cynthia Gayle Boyd that Mayor Anthony Silva recruited her to denounce council member Michael Tubbs following Tubbs’ DUI.

“When Tubbs got arrested, Anthony Silva called me personally and said, ‘Are you coming to the City Council tonight?’ ” Boyd said during the public comment period. “I said, ‘I have my own agenda.’ (Silva) said, “ ‘If you will come tonight and get on your brother Tubbs, I will give you all the time you need to speak.’ ”

Astounding, if true.

Silva publicly took the high road after Tubbs’ arrest. He told one TV station, “It was a mistake and I don’t condone it, however, people are only human. And I think most importantly, we should be thankful no one was injured. I don’t think you should throw away someone’s career or life if it’s salvageable.”

Now it emerges that while Silva was playing the high-minded leader for the cameras he may have been managing a Machiavellian astroturf campaign behind the scenes to discredit Tubbs. If he recruited Gayle Boyd, is it unlikely he recruited others?

The sheer hypocrisy of such actions is nauseating. Nor did the mayor rebut the allegation. He ducked questions about it.

The mayor manages the citizen comment period. By policy each citizen gets three minutes to speak — though Silva allegedly told Gayle Boye, “I will give you all the time you need to speak.”

Meaning Mayor Anthony Silva allegedly takes one of the fundamental tools of democracy in our community and twists it for deceptive political ends.

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The urgent need to set limits on protests

To Can Nguyen has told supervisors and everyone in the audience to drop dead.

 9:38am · 9 Aug 2016 · Twitter for iPhone

Protesters — including mentally ill protesters — have a First Amendment right to express themselves in public. But the rights of protesters must be balanced against the rights of government agencies and those who have business before them to conduct orderly meetings and events.

That balance was totally out of whack yesterday when a council majority gathered in front of City Hall to to to say that Stockton is not a complete basket case. A small knot of loud protesters, one with a bullhorn, drowned them out. The event was a fiasco.

Protesters, including one with a bullhorn, disrupt yesterday's press conference.

It’s completely pointless to expect protesters of that sort to respect the balance. It must be imposed by the city. It can be done with respect for protesters, but it must be done.

In yesterday’s case, police should have been there. The should have moved the protesters across the street so the protests could be seen and heard but without destroying the press conference. Not that I am eager to see protesters arrested, but any who showed that their real agenda was to sabotage any government that does not have Anthony Silva in it should have been given the choice to shut up or face citation or even arrest.

Coping with protesters — good element and bad alike — is Democracy 101. Leaders showed yesterday that they are naive and unprepared to safeguard Stockton government functions from those who would impede them. They need to take the necessary steps immediately to stop city government’s public functions from degenerating into a circus that torpedoes government workings and tarnishes the city’s image.


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More on shooting into moving vehicles

Officer Houston Stephens, left, and Mark Rodriguez search a suspect in 2012.

L.A.’s Sheriff is the latest to ban his officers from shooting at moving vehicles.

“We are trying to impress upon deputies that its generally ineffective to shoot at a moving vehicle,” as assistant sheriff said.

Ineffective, dangerous — and morally dubious.

“Our policy states that we only shoot at a vehicle if it’s necessary to defend the life of another person or an officer,” police spokesman Joseph Silva told me in this column.

In that column I came out against shooting into vehicles. You can read the column for the reasoning. To which I would add: it’s been allowed if an officer feared for his life. But fear, and a rational calculation of danger, may be two different things. In fact, fear may be used as a rationale for failing to make an accurate calculation of danger.

I’ve also got qualms about shooting into backing vehicles. Like The Feb. 23, 2015, fatal shooting of Gary Hawkins, 33, by the controversial Stockton Police officer Houston Stephens, who has shot four people in eight years on the force.

“As (Stephens’ partner) Taiariol walked up behind the Mercedes, Hawkins jammed the car in reverse and screeched backwards “right at him at a high rate of speed.” Stephens yelled at Hawkins to stop. When Hawkins continued backing, both officers fired their guns.”

I was insufficiently skeptical of this account. If Taiarol had time to yell “Stop!” as the vehicle reversed towards him, didn’t he have time to step out of the way? Just how high a “high rate of speed” can a backing car go in a short distance? If the shooting took place at the suspect’s house, couldn’t the officers just have captured him there another day?

I don’t have the answers. But I now have the requisite skepticism.

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The Kool-Aid drinkers

This video is just sad now.

The national political expert explaining to the audience that the racist rustics of Stockton are not ready for an “urban mayor.”

The blinkered gadflys who see this paper as a tool for the bigwigs who run the city.

The whole absurd idea that anyone opposed Anthony Silva because he was for disadvantaged people.

But that makes this video a valuable document. Now one can see how distrust of Stockton institutions became such strong dogma among some people they were blind to the deeply disturbing cloud that followed Anthony Silva.

Now, the auteur who made this cinematic opus, N.Allen Sawyer, has withdrawn as Silva’s political consultant. That’s right: the man who did as much as anyone to get Silva elected no longer supports Silva. Except as his criminal defense attorney.

Christina Fugazi has not returned numerous calls for comment. It’s called laying low.

And who can blame her? Silva has made fools of his supporters.

In another video, Fugazi endorses Silva and adds, “I know he’s there for the kids. I’ve see him take students up to the camp, and he works well with them.”



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Silva’s Facebook post

The King of Distractions

Mayor Anthony Silva posted a long, sometimes odd, and sometimes risible defense on his Facebook Page. Then he took it down. Here it is, with a few comments at the end, if you can make it that far.

“Innocent until proven guilty is what we tell ourselves about the justice system. But we all know too well that in the court of “public opinion” it is just the opposite and its far too easy to cast judgement based on what we read in tabloid newspapers struggling to keep a readership or on 2 minute TV news segment.

“The truth is that “the elite” and “old guard” never wanted me to become Mayor and they have made it extremely difficult. They control both local written media and some local law enforcement.

“I am not perfect and I am human. Many would expect me to be held to a higher standard. The role of representing 300,000 people is very serious and I have been “The Peoples Mayor. I fight for people who don’t know me and who don’t like me. I fight for the poor and middle class. I fight for the residents who deserve a second chance in life so they can support their families.

“I haven’t always had my finest moments during the past few years. and I have mentored people and trusted them. I have given my trust to easily. Whenever I have let my guard down, the Record Newspaper has been there to exaggerate and blow things out of proportion. Being anything less then perfect when you have a huge target on your back is a very dangerous game in Stockton.

“Yes, I got into a limo one night in 2014 and I shouldn’t have. Yes, I wore a bathrobe and put up signs and a ” anonymous source” sent the picture to the Record. Yes, I did have (2) guns stolen by either house movers, a robbery where I identified suspects, or by someone close to me. Once I knew for sure weapons were stolen, I reported them.

“I also had my car broken into and items stolen that were never recovered. Have you ever heard of the media releasing the person’s name who got their property stolen?

“When I was in China, my former roommate got together with one of Councilmember Tubbs best friends and had a party at my house. I was so shocked once I returned home. Although I did anticipate a few attacks and alleged scandals exactly (3) months before this coming election, I miscalculated one thing and I am so disgusted and angry. THEY MADE MY SON CRY!

“Politics in Stockton is dirty so anything usually goes….but this is way too much over the top. My lawyers will not let me comment on the current situation and they will not even be happy when they learn I made this post, but I must because I can’t eat or sleep. This is nothing more then a episode of Game of Thrones or House of Cards.

“I’m going to tell you a story that I haven’t told many people. When I was elected to the Stockton Unified Board, I wanted to be with the “in crowd” or more powerful people. There was a Trustee named Dr. Glen Dolberg, a very popular Delta College Professor. He would not comply and do what the others wanted him to do. Finally they gave him one last chance. He still said “No”. I was told that he would be “taken out politically.” A few weeks later there were allegations made about him and he gracefully retired and said goodbye with one last email. The only problem was that I knew he did nothing wrong and the bullies planned it from the start. But I also did nothing to speak out on his behalf because I was scared of them too.

“The point is…..I have spent a lifetime in this City and there are plenty of you out there that know what I have done to make Stockton better and “challenge the system.” All my votes with the exception of the (Chloromines) in 2013 have been spot on with the will and desire of the people.

“I will not be bullied and muzzled by people in power.

“The intention of the latest headlines is not designed to convict me of anything, rather to take my only strength; “The People” away from me with public perception. I want to tell you so much more and answer all your questions but “the haters” are also reading this too and I must protect myself.

“When a member of the City Council got arrested for a DUI, I did not judge. I got on TV and said it wasn’t worth throwing away his entire career.

“I know you don’t have all the facts yet….however all of this should seem just ” odd and suspicious” to you. Just look at the timing with me first getting hit with the gun story and now this. They did this simply to embarrass me and make me throw in the towel and quit. They can’t risk a total shakedown of City Hall. There is too much at stake.

“These people have towed my car, reduced my salary by $30,000, leaked confidential information to the Record for the past 3.5 years and soon you will learn more. Also imagine if someone illegally searched through everything on your cell phone and spent a year looking through your pictures and messages. You have nothing to hide right?

“Yes, now I know what it feels like to be harassed. I really thought I was being arrested for murders. They couldn’t call me in or just come over to my house? The media was planted to cause a circus and they were first on the scene.

“So you have 2 choices. Believe everything you see and hear in the media or take a chance and open your mind to what I am saying. All your questions will be answered in due time. One day you or someone in your family may get into a scrape and you might need my help. I can honestly say I will never judge you until I have all the facts but for now you have every right to think ill of me if you believe the allegations and feel my career and life should be thrown away.

“I am innocent of any criminal activity and it will be proven in a court of law.

“They say when times get tough we know who our friends really are and the past few days I have learned who really cares about me and my son. I know for a fact that Stockton was getting pounded in the media before I became Mayor and this town was in bankruptcy and chaos. Now things are much better in our City except now I am getting pounded by the media. I will continue to pray and I will continue to fight!

• I imagine there are still some credulous souls who accept Silva’s characterization of this paper as “tabloid.” But I have heard from scores like Edward Garrison, who writes, “Your were right all along about Silva.”

• Playing Stocktonians off against each other — which Silva does with rhetoric about “the elite” — shows he’s willing to sew division and distrust to save his political career.

• Saying of some never-named oligarchy, “They control both local written media and some local law enforcement” is cray-cray. Who are these people who control me? My professional ethics and sense of duty to readers controls me. I felt early on there were disturbing signs that Silva was not worthy of office.

• “I haven’t always had my finest moments during the past few years.” That’s as close as Silva ever comes to taking personal responsibility for anything.

• “Have you ever heard of the media releasing the person’s name who got their property stolen?” Silva has always been amazingly obtuse about the news standard that applies to a public official. He acted as if he couldn’t see why, for instance, it was news that a mayor got himself handcuffed after a drunken fiasco in a limousine. He constantly tries to delegitimize not only media but the standards of the adult world.

• So the wild parties neighbors report Silva’s house are the fault of one of Michael Tubbs’ best friends. The blame game goes to hilarious lengths. Silva makes no mention of coming out to the curb late at night and his “hand-to-hand exchanges” with people in cars.

• “My lawyers will not let me comment on the current situation and they will not even be happy when they learn I made this post.” Another example of Silva’s self-destructive behavior. His lawyer says don’t comment, so he comments, at length. Next, perhaps, Silva will realize his lawyers are part of the conspiracy.

• “When a member of the City Council got arrested for a DUI, I did not judge.” Yes, and this rare moment of grace brought deserved rewards. The million-pound craphammer with which Silva is pounding himself would be two million pounds had Silva got an a high horse and tormented Tubbs about his DUI.

• “All of this should seem just “odd and suspicious” to you. Just look at the timing with me first getting hit with the gun story and now this. They did this simply to embarrass me and make me throw in the towel and quit.” Silva should try his case in court. Instead he tarnishes honest law enforcement people and honest journalists in a forlorn attempt at political self-preservation.

• “Now things are much better in our City …” Hello? Our city has gotten bad press all over the Western world.

• ”I will continue to pray and I will continue to fight!” A bid for support from the evangelicals in his base. Likely some are praying for Silva. I’m praying for Stockton.

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How Silva’s arrest is playing

That’s 253 page views per minute, about 46,000 total. The story is in major papers from the Washington Post to the London Daily Mail. Online its across the spectrum from the Huffington Post to Breitbart. News organizations from CNN Headline News to Capital Public Radio and KABC-AM in Los Angeles radio have called with requests to interview newsroom staffers.

And it’s all bad, thanks to Mayor Anthony Silva.

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Stockton woman upbraids Dan the Man

Mr. Walters,

I was just following the latest developments on Twitter, and came across this post by you:

Inline image

Pardon my bluntness, but how dare you use this news to participate in all-too-common “Stockton bashing?”

The election of Anthony Silva to public office in our city was an unfortunate political fluke, comparable to the spectacle now occurring with Donald Trump. Sociopaths are skilled in that way, and too many people are duped by their tactics. A majority of Stocktonians have long been disillusioned by Silva’s mediocre performance in office and disgusted by his personal behavior. . . but maybe now his hold-out supporters will finally see him for what he truly is.

Maybe it’s time you work on highlighting all the wonderful people and things in Stockton, instead of jumping on the bandwagon and using the news about (apparently former mayor) Silva to besmirch the city. Your tactic is akin to demonizing ALL Republicans for Trump’s nomination, an approach any reasonable person would never use.

Kathy Ikeda

Walters responded: “Sorry but too many scandals, not to mention bankruptcy, to take a positive view.”

So there you go. Walters sees Stockton as innately corrupt — the Jake Gittes reference is an allusion to the movie “Chinatown” — and Ikeda says that’s an unworthy stereotype.

Bravo, Ikeda!

It’s worth mentioning that Walters may be a bit sour on Stockton. He called the Barketts “the Lebanese Mafia” years ago. The Barketts sued him for libel.

Anyway, Stockton is not innately corrupt – not any more. It is, unfortunately, innately dysfunctional, with a large cohort of what is now euphemistically called low-information voters. Believing, as many do, that City Hall is bogus, they are vulnerable to charlatans and demagogues who say they have they’re down with the People. Until Stockton raises its civic IQ, there will be more bad leaders, more bad outcomes. It’s Stockton.


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Authorities release “strip poker” recording

Amador authorities have released a transcript of a recording they say is of an alcohol-fueled stip poker game at Silver Lake camp last year between Mayor Anthony Silva and minors.

The recording, allegedly found on Mayor Anthony Silva’s cell phone, likely came from last’ year’s seizure of the mayor’s electronics when he passed through customs while returning from a China trip.

Here it is.

The warrant of which the recording transcript is a part also says Silva surreptitiously audio-recorded the strip poker game. Hence the falony charge among the misdemeanors.

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“Angry” Silva vows to fight “minor allegations.”

Mayor Anthony Silva's booking photo

Mayor Anthony Silva, making bail from the Amador County Jail, vows to fight the “false” charges against him, says his attorney and political consultant.

N. Allen Sawyer says he will be joining the legal team to defend the mayor from charges Sawyer calls “minor allegations.”

“He’s angry,” said Sawyer, who was up in Amador. “He wants to fight. He absolutely says this is false.”

Silva even intends to return to Silver Lake to finish the session with disadvantaged kids, said Sawyer. No legal authority has prevented him from doing so, Sawyer said.

Sawyer also said the timing of the arrest is unfair.

“The timing of it terrible,” Sawyer said. “He’s going to be able to clear this before the election.”

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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