Kanalakis rakes in big bucks for re-election campaign, as opposition mounts.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
The Monterey County sheriff’s race took a twist (challenger Cmdr. Fred Garcia fighting a demotion) and a turn (Pacific Grove’s Scott Miller jumping on the campaign bandwagon), and by press time, incumbent Mike Kanalakis was touting his stacks of cash.
Kanalakis’ raised $65,834 in his latest campaign statements, which were filed Monday, Feb. 1, and cover July 1 – Dec. 31, 2009. As before, Kanalakis’ donations primarily come from ag and business officials, including $500 from business owner Don Chapin, who owns the infamous helicopter Kanalakis wants to buy. His donor list reads like a who’s who of Monterey County power brokers: Geoffrey Couch of Couch Distributing ($5,000), Bart and Paul Bruno ($1,500 combined), Taylor Farms ($1,000). Outside the county, Charles Schwab of Charles Schwab & Co. kicked in $1,000. The sheriff’s cash stash totals $73,149.
Garcia’s war chest is far lighter: He raised $9,518 from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, with donors including Sheriff’s Cmdr. Tracy Brown ($500) and Catherine Antle ($250), and a cash balance of $18,294.
As first reported on www.montereycountyweekly.com, Undersheriff Nancy Cuffney has called for Garcia to be demoted two ranks, from commander to deputy sheriff, for criticizing Kanalakis’ request to buy the helicopter and accessing an employee roster for campaign purposes. As expected, Garcia will appeal the investigation’s findings in a Skelly hearing, in which Garcia may tell his boss and opponent he was exercising free speech and that the employee address list was not confidential.
Garcia says he will ask Kanalakis to recuse himself from presiding over the hearing: “He went personally to the D.A.’s office to have me investigated. He is not neutral.”
Kanalakis says he will not send the matter to another sheriff and that he will remain impartial and objective, regardless of the employee. Once the sheriff rules on the discipline Feb. 25, the matter will likely go to arbitration. The sheriff’s camp is suggesting Garcia sign a written consent to open his personnel file so the Sheriff’s Office can detail why it wants to demote him. Garcia steadfastly says he won’t give up his rights.
Meanwhile, Miller, a former P.G. councilman and police chief, is positioning himself as a third option outside of the internal power struggle. “[Kanalakis’] employees have told me of his apparent obsession with putting his name on everything the Sheriff’s Department owns, and his incessant campaigning has earned him the department’s nickname of ‘Photo-Op Mike,’” Miller said during his Feb. 1 announcement.
Kanalakis fires back: “I’m dissapointed he decided to run a negative campaign. It’s easy to throw rocks and be critical when you haven’t done the job.”