Sheriff Jim Thomas has decided to end his career with a bang – a big bang, right upside Gail Marshall’s head. Sadly, it looks like Gail’s offering up her cranium for the blow.
Thomas plans to submit a proposal to the Board of Supervisors this week calling for a raise in the salaries of the Sheriff’s Deputies. Jimbo claims that deputies are underpaid, especially in comparison to the Santa Barbara City Police. Seven deputies out of a force 200 strong left last year, supposedly over pay issues. It’s a significant number, however it’s hardly a crisis considering the debate over the pay differences has lasted at least five years.
Going by Jimmy-boy’s math, the county needs to dig up 2.8 million in cold hard cash to give the deputies what Thomas is asking for. It’s a lot of money that Santa Barbara County does not have lying around.
The deputies do deserve something better. While their salaries are smaller than the city police, this isn’t where the big difference lies. A benefits package – one that pays for the majority, or all, of their health care and retirement – would equalize things nicely. If the county doesn’t have enough, then it should give as much it can for now.
Being the press-whore that he is, Jimbo managed to convince the populace that he’s asking for something on the side of goodness and light. It’s a convincing argument. There isn’t a soul alive on this earth who wouldn’t want a few more dead presidents bursting from their pockets. But that money has to come from somewhere – Jimbo should let the rest of us know where he intends to get the cash from. He’s had plenty of time to think about it. It’s noble that he’s finally showing some support for the deputies. It’s just a shame he didn’t bring up this issue earlier in his career.
Oh, wait. He wasn’t running for 3rd District Supervisor earlier.
The decision to trumpet the cause of the deputies seems a convenient way to hurl a shitball at Gail Marshall’s face. Jimbo already plays the hero in asking for more bucks. If Gail and the Board of Supes say no, she comes out a tight-fisted iron maiden and Jim becomes a thwarted champion of law and order. If somehow the county manages to scrape together the cash, Jim wins there too. Any contributions on Gail’s part will go by the wayside.
There’s a rule in politics: If your opponent comes up with a wonderful idea that the people love, you support it – even if it isn’t possible. Too bad Gail’s forgotten. She saw Jim’s trap for what it was but still stumbled into it, questioning Thomas instead of playing along. Honest politicians are hard to find, however they have a tendency to be recalled.
If Marshall’s smart, she’ll wipe the feces off her face, smile and say, “Wow, Jimbollena, that’s a fantastic idea! Let’s make a committee and see what they can come up with by next December.” This way, she can steal as much of Jim’s thunder as possible and minimize any damage to her own image.
But no matter what Marshall does, Jimbo will come out of this smelling like a rose. He’s a clever political animal who’s managed to convince the press that his pay raise is non-political and honest. So Gail, wake up and smell the shit before it hits you in the face.