Cooper And His ‘L’ Word Problem: Luggage And Leary

Stars not aligning in Jim Cooper’s universe; Enough time to recover? Since his formal announcement that he is seeking to become the ne...

Stars not aligning in Jim Cooper’s universe; Enough time to recover?

Since his formal announcement that he is seeking to become the next Sheriff of Sacramento County, things have not gone very well for Jim Cooper.

First there was current Sheriff John McGinness’ resignation announcement. While he did not make any endorsement at the time, he flatly said that he would not be supporting Cooper.


Nonetheless, Cooper was able to recover and snagged the endorsement of McGinness’s predecessor, Lou Blanas.

The next problem, or what looked like a problem, was the announcement from McGinness that his choice for sheriff, Scott Jones, was being endorsed by Elk Grove Mayor Patrick Hume. Although Hume quickly retracted McGinness, it was evident that Cooper may not even have the support of a fellow council member.

It didn't help Cooper's street cred either when former Elk Grove Police Chief Robert Simmons threw his support to Jones. As far as we know, Simmons has not done a "Hume" on Jones and backpedaled his endorsement.

Then there last week's story in the Sacramento News and Review. Depending on your perspective, Cooper did not come out looking like that nice of a guy. Just ask former Elk Grove council member Dan Briggs.


The story outlined Cooper’s imbroglio with the Sacramento County Grand Jury regarding relations with fellow council members, city employees and conflict-of-interest votes over the city’s contract with the sheriff’s department.

The story also covered Cooper’s term as the head of the county jail. During his tenure, the jail experienced a serious problem with inmate suicides.

All of this will undoubtedly become campaign fodder used against Cooper in the coming months. But if these obstacles have not deterred Cooper in three successful city council campaigns, another “L” word exploded last week that might prove to be difficult to overcome.

Leary liability problem?

Last week former Elk Grove City Council member Mike Leary was arrested on real estate fraud charges. Although Cooper is in no way associated with the arrest, The Sacramento Bee was seemingly quick to associate the duo.

Both were charter members of the Elk Grove City Council and both are long times veterans with the sheriff’s department. Also, the two were subjects of the scathing Sacramento County Grand Jury Report.

In reporting on Leary’s arrest, The Sacramento Bee wrote:

It has been a difficult period for both Leary and the department. Leary lost his bid in November for re-election to the Elk Grove City Council, where he served for years with sheriff's Capt. Jim Cooper, who is now running for sheriff.
Leary and Cooper had faced criticism in the past by the Sacramento County grand jury for their actions as members of the council.

A follow-up story contained the same phrase noted above. The interesting aspect of this story was that several of the comments took glee in tying Cooper to Leary.

In a SacBee blog posting on Leary’s legal problems, with no mention of Cooper, readers took the opportunity to slam Cooper.

Whether it is fair or not, Cooper will be baring the weight of Leary. Scott Jones and his supporters undoubtedly are aware of this and it will be interesting to see how, or if, they exploit it.

Whether or not Cooper can shake himself free of the Leary’s legacy between now and next June will be a determining factor in his bid to become sheriff.

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