Sheriff spokesperson seeing red

May 27, 2010

Rob Bryn

By KAREN VELIE

With two weeks to go, the six-candidate race for sheriff in San Luis Obispo County is getting testy with the communication spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department calling the supporters of one candidate, Joe Cortez, “commies” or communists.

Rob Bryn, who is the department’s official media spokesman, supports the candidacy of San Luis Obispo police Capt. Ian Parkinson for sheriff. Parkinson, Cortez and four others are on the June 8 primary election ballot competing for the job.

Bryn admitted that he wrote a press release announcing Parkinson’s candidacy for sheriff that was distributed in March 2009, prompting some to question whether Bryn has a conflict of interest since he still works for the outgoing sheriff, Pat Hedges.

Bryn told CalCoastNews that he sees no conflict in supporting Parkinson, who was described by many as the frontrunner.

“What I do off duty is my own business, and it’s nobody’s business who I do (support), or do not support in a political situation,” Bryn said of his support for Parkinson. “I will be doing what I can to help out. I’ve known the guy for 25 years.”

Nevertheless, Cortez, a former police chief of Pismo Beach, has been very vocal in his plans to eliminate Bryn’s position with the Sheriff’s Department if elected sheriff.

In response to Bryn’s comment that his supporters are “commies,” Cortez said:

“Some people get caught up in the heat of the campaign and their emotions get the better of them. It is an unfortunate situation and that is why it is time for positive change in the sheriff’s department.”

Cortez went on to say that he would do away with Bryn’s position as the department’s media spokesman.

“The position that Rob has is a full time position with benefits and a take home car and that is just not a luxury we can afford at this time,” Cortez said. “I will look to reduce that position to a part time position with no benefits and no car.”

In addition, several of the remaining four candidates have said they will either eliminate or reduce to part time the spokesperson position.

Last week, the New Times asked readers in San Luis Obispo County who they wanted to be the next sheriff.

Supporters of both Parkinson and Cortez began shooting out e-mails and Facebook pleas to have their friends vote for their candidate. More than 3,000 people – more than 10 times the usual New Time’s poll voters – logged on to vote for their candidate with the leader fluctuating between Cortez and Parkinson.

During a time that Cortez was leading in the poll, Bryn began sending out pleas to his 589 Facebook friends, including Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and recently appointed Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria, to vote for Parkinson.

“Attention: San Luis Obispo Sheriff Officers and friends, The New Times website has a sheriff poll and the Cortez staff is on it,” Bryn said in his post last Monday. “Let’s get up and give Parkinson the vote. Don’t let the commies win.”

In the end, Parkinson won the unscientific poll with Cortez coming in second.

Ed. Note: Rob Bryn issued a statement Thursday night denying that he has a “take home” car through the Sheriff’s department.


83 Comments

  1. Cindy says:

    I don’t want anyone to miss this post. The following was posted today over on the “Parkinson Unaware of Tax Liens” article. Sounds exactly like something Bordonaro has done in the past.
    Enjoy the read:

    And they say they are a grassroots campaign. This article along with the big 20′ sign tell me they’re anything but grassroots. And Ian claims he’s for change. I would agree, a change in his yearly income of about $30,000.00 (IRS did you hear that?)

    A campaign consulting firm that was paid in excess of $40,000 (Jan filing, March filing) by Republican candidate for Sheriff, Ian Parkinson, has been tied to a phony mailer that was sent to registered Democrats in the 2nd and 3rd Supervisorial Districts. The mailer was sent out under the name “Democratic Voters of the Central Coast” in an apparent attempt to make Democratic voters believe that it was an official party mailer endorsing Ian Parkinson for Sheriff (“Best Choices for San Luis Obispo Democrats”). The Democratic Party had not endorsed Parkinson. The mailer showed the names of thirteen Democratic candidates for office, none of whom had prior knowledge of the mailer and none of whom had given permission for their names to be used on the mailer. The only remaining name on the mailer was that of Ian Parkinson. The group “Democratic Voters of the Central Coast” did not even exist until it filed papers in Sacramento on April 23rd. The local address given for the group is a UPS Mail Store private mail drop located in the Marigold Center on Broad Street in San Luis Obispo. The individual who filed the papers for the organization (Kristina Calkins) is believed to be the sister of Parkinson’s campaign consultant (Cory Black). The phone number on the official filing for the group is the same phone number as that shown for Parkinson’s consultant. The group failed to file required expenditure reports and so the source of its funds for the expensive mailing remains unknown at this time.

    Members of the Democratic Central Committee are upset that a campaign consultant for a Republican candidate would attempt to influence the future makeup of the Democratic Central Committee by endorsing some Democratic Committee candidates and not others on the phony mailer. They are urging Democratic Voters to ignore the mailer when deciding their votes for members of the Democratic Central Committee.

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    • Saveslocounty says:

      Great post. What really scares me is that we are likely only scratching the surface if this man’s unethical behavior. The mound of improprieties is overwhelming. I also can’t understand why he would put his family though the embarrassment of what has been exposed and the additional misdeeds and what will surely come out, if he makes it past Tuesday. Two months ago my prediction was Lenthall and Parkinson in the run off. Today, I feel it will be Lenthall and Cortez. At least in my opinion, that won’t be a bad thing.

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