Local Elections

Union ad for Steinberg full of cop images despite Ashby’s police endorsement

A still image from California Statewide Law Enforcement Association’s video supporting Darrell Steinberg for mayor of Sacramento.
A still image from California Statewide Law Enforcement Association’s video supporting Darrell Steinberg for mayor of Sacramento. California Statewide Law Enforcement Association

The California Statewide Law Enforcement Association has posted a 60-second video in support of former Senate leader Darrell Steinberg’s run for Sacramento mayor. Here is a script of the video, followed by an analysis by Sacramento Bee reporter Ryan Lillis.

Video, with narration by CSLEA President Alan Barcelona:

“They patrol our streets.” (Image of shirtless young man with his hands above his head as two officers stand nearby with “POLICE” emblazoned on their backs.)

“They pursue those who harm us.” (Image of several officers, all but one with helmets and vests, weapons pointed and “POLICE” on their shirts.)

“They put the safety of others before their own. But law enforcement officers cannot be the do-all problem solvers in the fight against crime and acts of violence.” (Video of several officers with helmets and gear marching toward a house, “POLICE” on their backs, the last officer carrying a battering ram. Images of a man writing a ticket and an officer with a “POLICE” vest are also shown.)

“Candidate for mayor Darrell Steinberg knows what law enforcement officers are up against and recognizes the full equation of public safety.” (Fixed image of Steinberg on the left while several images of officers with “POLICE” on their backs cascades on the right.)

“Keep your law enforcement departments well staffed; your officers well-equipped and well-trained; and address homelessness, mental illness, access to employment and direction for our youth. I’m Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association.” (Video of Barcelona.)

“Help us to improve public safety. Darrell Steinberg – he’s where knowledge meets passion in our fight against crime.” (Image of Sacramento City Hall.)


The California Statewide Law Enforcement Association is a statewide union that represents lifeguards, California Highway Patrol dispatchers, state investigators, park rangers and other employees who work in state law enforcement agencies.

While the video attempts to depict Steinberg as the law enforcement candidate, his opponent – Councilwoman Angelique Ashby – has the support of nearly every influential local law enforcement organization in Sacramento representing officers who patrol city streets.

The video predominantly shows officers with “POLICE” emblazoned on their backs and shirts. That could give viewers the impression that Sacramento police officers are supporting Steinberg in the mayoral race. But Ashby has the endorsement of the Sacramento police officers union.

Ashby also has the support of the city’s firefighters union, Sacramento County Probation Association, the Sacramento Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, the Peace Officers Research Association of California and former Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully.

CSLEA spokeswoman Teri Cox said all of the officers featured in the video are members of the state association and the footage comes from CSLEA stock video. None of the officers shown in the video are with agencies whose unions have endorsed Ashby, Cox said.

The video is an independent expenditure – campaign mailers and videos funded and produced independent of political candidates. Cox said it is posted on Facebook and Twitter, and was emailed to CSLEA members living in the Sacramento. The union has no immediate plans to broadcast the video on television.

The organization had not reported its independent expenditure expense for the Steinberg campaign as of Tuesday, according to secretary of state records. The CSLEA’s independent expenditure committee has spent just under $19,000 this year, all on a Fresno-area Assembly race. The committee spent $228,789.10 in 2015, records show.

CSLEA has contributed nearly $19,000 toward Steinberg’s state campaign accounts since 2000, according to state records.

PoliGRAPH is The Bee’s political fact checker, rating campaign advertisements and candidate claims as True, Iffy or False.

Jon Ortiz of The Bee’s Capitol Bureau contributed to this report. Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis