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Side Eye: The Theatrics of Patrick

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

Why Supervisor Patrick Kennedy confuses us.

He'll take a stand on something and then doesn't bring his A-game. Almost like he doesn't want it to pass, or doesn't want to really piss off important opponents by seeing it through and wants his supporters to give him the benefit of the doubt for at least trying.

Supervisor Kennedy, we want to give you credit for FIGHTING for these issues. Not introducing them and throwing your hands up.

It was 2019 when Sac Bee columnist Marcos Breton wrote "But I know this after years of experience – this kind of stillness has been a pattern with our friend Kennedy for as long as he’s been on the political scene." The article goes on to provide examples like Kennedy seeming upset that the Sheriff locked out the Inspector General, but then doing nothing about it as Chair and voting with the two conservatives on the Board to extend the contract of now resigned because of scandal former County CEO Nav Gill who was "acting like he was subordinate" to the Sheriff.

It's 2021 and "this kind of stillness" is on full display.

Last month at the Feb 9 BOS meeting, Kennedy introduced a Sheriff Civilian Oversight commission (see our full write-up on that), and it is the bare minimum even though he said he was going to introduce this back in 2016. We're confused he did this despite having cover from a state law AB 1185, that authorizes the County to create a board that oversees the Sheriff’s department with subpoena power. It took his other two colleagues Serna and Nottoli to push him to make HIS bill stronger. SMH!

Now to the February 24 BOS meeting. This is Kennedy's time to fight for an Alternatives to 911 program that he pushed (we give credit where credit is due) his colleagues to support back in September when they were voting on the budget. He said:

"I'd like to see us develop a more robust mobile mental health crisis team system providing more appropriate and timely care."

Kennedy continued: "The goals of this would be to provide appropriate care for individuals in crisis taking a public health view on public safety to meet the needs of people where they are and address those needs outside the criminal justice system. It would alleviate the need for deputies who as the Sheriff pointed out are very expensive to spend time in areas that they are not adequately trained, to reduce the jail population will ultimately reduce the number of personnel in the jail, and help satisfy the spirit of the May's consent decree and doesn’t criminalize mental illness."

He was clear that he wanted money out of the sheriff's budget. Yes it was a paltry sum, but he was the only one brave enough to dare ask for it (again, give credit where credit is due). So that’s why we were surprised by his comments and STALL TACTICS (read: stillness) on the February 24 meeting:

First, you have Kennedy’s colleagues (again) Serna and Nottoli pushing for things to beef up the program like having it be seven days a week and expanded hours. Kennedy is silent.

Then later in the meeting he speaks:

“It’s completely unreasonable {to remove law enforcement entirely}...that’s never going to happen frankly, nor should it.”

It’s the “nor should it” for us. Talk about keeping the status quo! Why not be bold in reimaging public safety? Shoot for the moon and maybe land on the stars bruh! But to cut off that possibly entirely...smh.

Kennedy also went on:

“It’s a red herring if we talk about removing law enforcement entirely. I don’t want to go down that road”

What? A red herring is something that misleads or distracts. How is saying that the idea is to have no law enforcement on an alternative to 911 program misleading? Even the former law enforcement guy on the board (Desmond) said “the most important aspect is not to have people encounter law enforcement during a crisis”

See why Supervisor Kennedy confuses us?!! Like this is the guy who PUSHED for this five months ago. (face palm)

To add insult to injury, Kennedy is the first to put a motion on the table and it’s FOR MORE RESEARCH. Like, during the 5 months when staff were researching this why didn't you, Supervisor Kennedy, direct them to research costs for 7 days a week for 8/16/24 hours? Why are you just proposing that NOW and coincidentally giving the Police Chiefs time to organize and kill this? These are the types of actions from someone who’s either ambivalent or trying to slow-walk this. Not from a fighter, a champion who has made this his life’s work.

That’s why we are confused. But then again, this pattern of still as the Marcos Breton article said is not new. So maybe in the words of Dr. Maya Angelou,

“when someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

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