Wednesday, January 7, 2015

San Mateo County Gets New Spokes-Hole

SMCO Spokes-Hole
According to San Mateo County's website (pdf), the County has hired a new spokes-hole to help them develop "communications strategies for a wide variety of projects and initiatives and identifying new ways to help San Mateo County deliver its goals of collaboration and transparency."

She is Michelle Durand, long time reporter with the San Mateo Daily Journal; a paper which has long seemed to be skeptical of our criticisms of San Mateo County's handling of some of the more controversial sex crimes cases against former County employees and contractors, and which appears to routinely use tear-sheets from the County District Attorney as the basis for accurate reporting, rather than digging into the stories directly.

Michelle tells us that she has "spent nearly 14 years telling San Mateo County’s stories and this position is another opportunity to continue doing so."

What a Sage was good old George:

Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.

― George Orwell


  1. She has 14 years of training as a PR person. Effectively we have just received official confirmation that she (and the SMDJ) have been providing Public Relations services for the county on a continuing and ongoing basis.

    Irrespective of her personal qualities, she is, as Orwell would indicate, a Public Relations employee, NOT a reporter or journalist. In fact, she may be quite NON-horrible at that job.

    Vive Charlie Hebdo!
    Vive la France!

  2. Yesterday San Mateo County held a " San Mateo Community Day of Action" to kick off its "Anti-Trafficking Poster Campaign."

    Was San Mateo Sheriff Greg Munks, who was caught red-handed in an FBI sting of a brothel with underaged girls in Las Vegas in 2007, in attendance at this conference? You bet he wasn't !!!

    But Mark de Paula, who ran last year for a San Mateo Board Supervisor's slot was. He's still madder than hell about Munks and his undersheriff Carlos Bolanos still being in office and their refusal to answer reporters' questions about the issue. At this meeting yesterday, de Paula stood up and explained to the rather large audience what it was that Munks and Bolanos had done, and had an op ed from 2007 the San Jose Mercury News to back him up, that wanted Munks out of office. This is the op ed that quoted fawning emails from DA Steve Wagstaffe to Munks after the underaged girl incident, calling it a "non-issue" and praising Munks to the hilt.

    Those who were in attendance at yesterday's meeting reported that you could have heard a pin drop when de Paula stood up to complain about Munks.

    Observers state that San Mateo Board Supervisor Dave Pine, who was in attendance, just sat there with a weird frozen look on his face as de Paula spoke.

    After the meeting, the organizer of the meeting bustled over to de Paula to thank him for bringing up the Munks issue. So did a number of visitors from the East Coast, who were dumbfounded to learn that Munks and his flunky Bolanos were still in office

    You know that Durand from the Daily Journal would never report on this. But several other news organizations, smelling blood in the water, are keeping a close eye on the close, weird ties between Munks and DA Wagstaffe.

    Stay tuned.

  3. Does Michelle Durand know what happened between DA Steve Wagstaffe and his sister Gerry? And when Durand is the official spokesperson for the San Mateo DA's office, how will she respond to the questions when the reporters come a'callin'? It's all in the family!!

  4. Looks like old Solveig up and moved to Sacramento. Shorter commute to Stockton? What about her chorale group ? Gotta be a rough life for her.

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    1. Maybe dingbat Solveig moved in with dipshit Barbara.

  5. I am curious as to why San Mateo DA Wagstaffe would hold a press conference about the charges against Deputy Sheriff Juan Lopez - for smuggling a cell phone to an inmate, for pete's sake - but NOT hold one for San Mateo deputy sheriff Colin Troy Smith, who was arrested TWICE for violent assault, but whose name was not even listed on the daily police blotter and , it also never made Wagstaffe's cases of interest list to the press AND Wagstaffe never held a press conference about it.

    Wagstaffe and the police conspired to hush the Troy Smith incidents up.

    Why? Why the different treatment for Deputy Juan Lopez? Is it because he ran against Sheriff Munks in the last election and pointed out that Munks had been caught in a brothel with underaged trafficked girls in Las Vegas and has refused to answer all questions? Is it because Wagstaffe wrote fawning emails in support of Munks after he was caught in the brothel?

    Why does Wagstaffe hold a press conference about Juan Lopez but didn't hold one after Deputy Smith was arrested for violently assaulting the boyfriend of his girlfriend so badly that the victim required surgery on his eye socket?

    As a citizen, I would like to know : how often does Wagstaffe hold press conferences? Has he ever before held a press conference about a police officer from San Mateo County who has committed a crime? What sort of crimes warrant a press conference by Wagstaffe? Has he ever held one before concerning someone who smuggled a cell phone? I know for a fact that some deputies were caught having sex with the inmates at the jail, but they were just quietly transferred to the courts and are now working as bailiffs.

    The press needs to be reminded that in 2010 , the California Bar sent Wagstaffe a warning after he lied to the press about the facts of a case involving a man named Jambri Johnson. But that hasn't stopped him from using the press to lie.

    And how will San Mateo DA's spokesperson Michelle Durand handle these questions?

  6. Why didn't DA Wagstaffe hold a press conference after Luke Longergan, who founded the tech firm Greenplum, who has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, who is white and Ivy League educated, who is one of the wealthiest people ever to be arrested in San Mateo County- was arrested for having massive amounts of child porn?

    Why were the names of minorities who were arrested in the same child porn sting released to the press, but not Lonergan's ?

    Why is it that Wagstaffe not only never held a press conference about Lonergan but never included his case on his daily "Cases of Note' list to the press? Why did Wagstaffe give the same excuse to the press when they found out nineteen months after Lonergan had been arrested - as he did in the Deputy Sheriff Troy Smith case- as the reason he never told the press about the case, blaming it on an email?

    Hmmm. San Mateo Deputy Sheriff Juan Lopez, a lowly deputy, charged with smuggling a cell phone to an inmate. His arrest warrants a press conference.

    Then you have the uber-wealthy, white, Ivy League educated Luke Lonergan, who helped invent cloud computing, who was dramatically arrested at the airport for bringing back massive amounts of child porn from Russia? Wouldn't you think that this would be of interest to the press? And while we're at it: how come Lonergan in his hushed up case ( just like in the Jeffrey Epstein case) only got charged with a misdemeanor- when the arresting detective from Santa Clara County who was involved in the multi-agency sweep says that it is the first time in his career that a person with that much child porn wasn't charged with a felony?

    Lonergan's attorney was Ryan Okabe, a high powered LA attorney who represented one of the defendants in the OJ Simpson robbery case. And yet Wagstaffe, when confronted by the Palo Alto Daily Post as to his failure for not notifying the press, had the gall to say the case wasn't even familiar to him....

    A press conference for the lowly Juan Lopez but none for Luke Lonergan, and nothing listed on the daily press list, and when asked, Wagstaffe claims he doesn't know anything about the Lonergan case.

    Either he is the most incompetent buffoon ever to grace the San Mateo DA's office, or he is the most corrupt DA ever to come down the pike.

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    1. Hey, Luke Lonergan! You were arrested at the airport for bringing back massive amounts of child porn from Russia. You had to go through sex offender treatment and went to jail. Isn't one of the stipulations of your probation that you stay OFF the internet? Aren't you skirting close to the edge here? You have a wife and son. You put them through HELL. Not to mention you paying to look at photos of kids being raped

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