New Radio Ad 'Cuts' To The Chase

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A new radio commercial targets supervisors Phil Larson and Judy Case as the votes that let hundreds of inmates walk out of jail early.

More than 650 inmates have been released early from this jail since the beginning of January. The group behind these radio commercials said the public needs to know who's responsible.

The newest political attack on the Fresno airwaves plays off of Bob Marley's reggae hit 'I Shot the Sheriff.' But this latest jingle slams county supervisors Phil Larson and Judith Case for their roles during budget cuts. More specifically the effect the cut backs have had on early inmate releases since January 8th.

"Certainly our members are facing the same kind of choices these supervisors are making but safety is everyone's number one priority," said Amanda Cooper who represents the union group United Health Care Workers-West. UHCW paid for the commercial ad.

In the ads Larson and Case are accused of increasing the County Administrative Office's annual salary and laying off correctional officers which in turn led to early inmate releases.

"They're having fun. Let them have fun. You know what? We're running like we've always run. We're doing our job and if there's more money they would get it," said Supervisor Larson. Larson also said he and other supervisors have taken voluntary cuts in pay and furloughs to help with the deficit.

Larson: "We serve all the people and all they are concerned about is their own personal pocket books at the executive level and that's what bothers me."

"Using the jail as your ace card is not the right thing to do," said Eric Schmidt, President of the Fresno Deputies Association. Schmidt said the United Health Care Workers are upset because of their budget cuts made by county supervisors.

"It's all about votes and it's all about politics and there's been cuts to in-home health care workers and there's been cuts to other areas of the county where these folks are representing," said Schmidt.

But Cooper insists when it comes to the cuts, public safety should not be a concern. "We think these choices show more concern for special interest than they do for public safety," she said.

In a statement Judith Case said she 'has always worked to maximize the sheriff's budget. She contended she has asked the United Health Care Workers to consider salary freezes and furloughs but they have rejected those options.

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