Huntley: Should Orange County’s Grand Jury Investigate Itself?

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Kirk H. Nakamura, assistant presiding judge and chair of the Grand Jury Recruitment and Selection Committee, offered an invitation printed in the January 16, 2017 edition of the Orange County Register among other places to potential do-gooders who have 30-40 hours to spare each week to join the 2017-18 Grand Jury. This effort to encourage people who want to “make a difference” is certainly laudable, but the reality of what the Grand Jury does or doesn’t do tells a different story. That story needs to be told and action should follow.

Aside considering criminal indictments and investigative matters such as the recent “jailhouse snitch” issue, the Orange County Grand Jury, and every Grand Jury throughout the State of California, spends a majority of their time looking at local jurisdictions and special districts under its purview “promoting sound government” in its civil “watchdog” role. Thousands of fully burdened government employee hours are spent on the OC Grand Jury annually. This exercise is more of a tax-payer funded civics class for retired folks. The reports produced and signed off on by the presiding judge at best qualify as passing grade term paper in a community college or yellow journalism. A glance at the sources of these reports would lead a high school sophomore to scratch their head when they see that in some of the 2016 reports (for example), Wikipedia was used as a source. As that sophomore knows, Wikipedia as a valid source is a no-no.

A public agency then has 90-days to respond to the findings and recommendations contained in the report. In my personal experience spanning 25 years in Orange County local government I have never seen a report that actually unearthed some terrible wrongdoing but I can assure you many hours toiling with these guys are wasted. Totally wasted.

Perhaps the Orange County Grand Jury itself? Imagine the credibility they would have if they pursued an independent review of themselves. Interview all the same government leaders they do and ask tough questions on their function and contribution to the public good. Then a report could be submitted, hopefully with valid sources, that would include “findings and recommendations” on the value of this effort to the taxpayer.

Certainly Orange County has plenty of areas where government is not doing the right thing, be it unintentionally or intentionally. Irregularities and outright malfeasance needs to be weeded out for sure and there are many ways this happens but seldom is it the Orange County Grand Jury that discovers these wrongs, however. The Orange County Grand Jury plays an important role here in Orange County and in counties throughout the state on criminal indictments and investigations. Watchdogs groups are popular and needed but their effectiveness in Orange County would not be hurt one bit if the OC Grand Jury focused solely on their more important criminal investigation role.

Glen Huntley from Orange has more than 25 years’ experience in Orange County municipal government, all years including direct involvement with public agency interactions with the Orange County Grand Jury.

Opinions expressed in editorials belong to the authors and not Voice of OC.

Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org

  • Jacki Livingston

    I had the unhappy pleasure of testifying before this entity three times. I provided them with boxes of documents. I sent them files that they refused to even read, because it was too much work. I brought them evidence of corruption, abuse, assault and deaths in OC nursing homes, showing mob connected owners were buying up facilities. I sent packets to Dean Fulcher, an investigator, and Brock Zimmons, the ADA who runs the GJ. I showed them PROOF of this corruption, and proof that an OC supervisor used his position, committing acts that should have gotten him DISBARRED, to avoid testifying under oath. They did nothing. Not. One. Thing. They are not worth five dollars a day.

  • Bert Ashland

    It is clear that Mr. Huntley has an axe to grind.

  • The_Dread_Pirate_Roberts

    In 2015 and 2016 the Orange County Grand Jury did an excellent job focusing on the issues surrounding mental health care and response. Those reports have been invaluable in helping create a better safety net for our citizens with severe mental illness, for our first responders, and for our health care professionals.

  • Glen Huntley

    Zenger: No. I got nothing for someone like you.

    • David Zenger

      You’re back. How about telling us who you are and what your 25 year experience consists of. Is that even a real name?

      • Glen Huntley

        No need, dude. The majority of VOC readers in OC read the articles not the comments. Comment section trolls are a different breed. I will admit it’s hard not to reply to BS but this will be my last. I saved it for you. Now reply again and prove yourself. Ba-bye.

        • David Zenger

          So funny. An unknown nobody with a made up biography writes a chicken “opinion” piece attacking a group of honest citizens, refuses to back up his brave, if indefensible garbage and then disappears back under the baseboard. Yep, a real opinion-maker.

        • LFOldTimer

          How do you know the majority of VOC readers don’t read the comments, Huntley? Did you take a survey? Are you an expert in media consumption too? lol.

          I find that the comment sections contain valuable information that’s often omitted in the blog articles which gives the reader a much better perspective of the truth.

          Commenters like Zenger have actually live inside the belly of the beast and have seen firsthand what the beast feeds on. There is no better expert than that. And we know specifically where Zenger worked. In the executive ranks. The information he provides is invaluable. I have learned as much from him as from the actual blogs.

          OTOH, you won’t even volunteer which county municipal agency you worked for, your former job title or what gives you the expertise to publish a blog on the OC Grand Jury.

          IMO you can’t hold a candle to Zenger. Go away. I couldn’t care less about your peanut gallery opinions.

  • verifiedsane

    Let’s just do away with all oversight and citizen involvement. Come on now, let the ruling corrupt criminal ruling class oligarchy control everything. Heck, using Glen Huntley’s pseudo philosophical lunacy, why don’t we just do away with elections while were at it…Everyone knows government is working in the peoples interest, correct…LMAO

    Lines like this below should show everyone the pure ignorance and folly associated with this opinion piece

    “This exercise is more of a tax-payer funded civics class for retired folks.”

  • Glen Huntley

    No time for you either, Leader dude. I have my pants on and I am not in a basement.

  • Glen Huntley

    Thank you Old Timer and Mr. Zenger. Considering that between the two of you you amass more than 5000 VOC posts, you are not my target audience! Others are noticing the post and talking about it, some in positions to actually do something about it. I am sure you will both respond, but that is all I have for you.

    • verifiedsane

      Glen, it appears you are already on the defense before others have even responded. This sends a clear message that you don’t have much of an argument that can withstand the scrutiny of an open debate. So who is your target audience exactly? could it possibly be three unemployed clowns, a sock puppet, and your cat…just asking! 🙂

      • David Zenger

        Actually, the Board of Supervisors is extremely sensitive and defensive when it comes to the Grand Jury. I think this person may be trying to curry favor with one or more of the Board for some self-serving reason.

        Mr. Hunley has left his faeces on our doorstep but it doesn’t appear that he is inclined to come back to explain why he put it there.

      • Glen Huntley

        So funny. VOC has built itself into a cool place informed people (staff) share ideas. I can’t say much about the folks like you that post comments on most anything. But good for you for contributing as you see fit.

        • David Zenger

          And congratulations to you for posting a lame-brained opinion scrawl that you refuse to defend. Yes, they’ll let anybody in here.

        • verifiedsane

          Nice of you to join us after getting your diaper changed…Do you have anything of relevance to add to the conversation? I didn’t think so….

        • Jacki Livingston

          Okay, boys, can we all put them back in our pants? Glen, I had a very bad experience with GJ, too. I find them lazy, but I also believe that Brock Zimmons runs it like his own personal investigations team, which is why the corruption I brought them proof of never saw the light. I had proof of links to organized crime, corruption and downright fraud, and they did nothing, they even refused to see or read files I sent them, as I got more proof. I can understand what you are saying, and I agree with you. So long as the DA has one of his boys running the GJ, and that person blocks evidence and proof from reaching them, then it is a useless entity.

          • LFOldTimer

            I’m unfamiliar with your beef with the county and have no idea what evidence you have to support your case. But if what you claim is true and the matter was pursued by investigators (local, state or Federal) – can you imagine how many careers it would end and the chaos it would cause? It would bring county government to a standstill. If the case had merit that might be the reason you are being shined on. The authorities might rationalize turning a blind eye because the fallout would cause immense damage to county operations. Could that be moral or just? Of course not. But that’s the way politics work.

            But the OCGJ has embarrassed the Board of Supervisors more than once. It is the only watchdog agency in Orange County that has done a halfway decent job at calling out the BoS and the executives in County government. There is no other watchdog to speak of. The BoS appointed watchdogs are a total farce.

          • Jacki Livingston

            They are. It has to change.

    • LFOldTimer

      That’s unfortunate, Mr. Huntley.

      Since you took the time to impose your opinion on the VOC readers I felt that you might be open to answering a simple question or two, or to engage in some open discussion so we could gain clarity and better understand your point of view.

      Silly of me to ask.

      • David Zenger

        “between the two of you you amass more than 5000 VOC posts”

        He can count. Does that make him an expert on the Grand Jury?

        • LFOldTimer

          I could never understand why someone would be so compelled to publish his or her personal opinion on a topic yet refuse to openly discuss it or explain what qualifications granted the opiner the expertise to write such a piece in the first place.

          The refusal to do so forces me to question the sincerity of the content and the source.

    • David Zenger

      Got nothing, huh? I’m not surprised. I never heard of you.

  • OCservant_Leader

    Sir – Your argument lacks logic.

    Since the corrupt Board of Supervisors systemically ignore the GJ reports, and the corrupt DA does not follow up on any reports of malfeasance, therefore, the Grand Jury should stop investigating?

    What?

    Maybe you didn’t work in OC County Government, but I did. My experience SHOULD be taught in Civic’s Class as a warning to what happens when governments are corrupted by organized crime.

    Perhaps in your career you followed some law or regulation as part of your job description..Sir -we did not. We were punished if we did. Wrap your civic minded head around that.

    It’s hard to describe an organization that is without direction, or leadership or ethics, is lawless, and corrupt. But stay tuned, I will keep trying.

    • Jacki Livingston

      Amen. I sent them documents, and testified, PROVING the corruption and the links to organized crime. I was told they were too busy to deal with it. They are useless and worthless, because the DA is preventing them from getting the information they need.

  • LFOldTimer

    The OCGJ is really the only legitimate watchdog that we have left in Orange County. If not for the OCGJ the foxes would rule the hen house with zero oversight.

    Mr. Huntley must have read different OCGJ reports than I have. I’ve read most of them. I found the reports professionally done and very revealing. The reason the supervisors have repeatedly impugned the OCGJ is because OCGJ pulled back the curtains on the 5th floor and exposed the scoundrels. As a matter of fact, Spitzer wanted to reduce the OCGJ stipends from $50 to $15 a day. Do you think Spitzer would propose a 70% stipend reduction for a lapdog agency? ha. He had no problem extending OIR Stephen Connolly’s $210,000 contract for 6 to 9 months!! ha. What good did that do? lol.

    Mr. Huntley – could you tell us specifically what position you held in County government for 25 years? It might help us cogitate how you formed your opinion.

    • Bert Ashland

      The problem is semantics…and Huntley may be the guilty one. County employment is not considered Municipal employment. So I doubt if he really ever worked for the County.

  • David Zenger

    “Certainly Orange County has plenty of areas where government is not doing the right thing, be it unintentionally or intentionally.”

    Thanks for the understatement of the decade.

    “Irregularities and outright malfeasance needs to be weeded out for sure and there are many ways this happens…”

    Please name one or two.

    BTW, Mr. Huntley, when was the last time our DA brought a criminal indictment to the Grand Jury?

    • Jacki Livingston

      *Horshack hand raising* Oooooh, ooooh!

      Ummmmm, never?