Here is another roundup of some of the most thought-provoking reader comments of the week. Click on each topic's headline to see the article in question. Comments are selected by our editors and subject to editing for grammar, spelling, clarity and length.
Another day, another excuse from the county.
First they blame the DA, then they block transparency by claiming the accusations [in a letter from Deputy CEO Alisa Drakodaidis reportedly alleging wrongdoings by county supervisors and the district attorney] fall under personnel issues.
The more these guys try to cover up what is going on [in the Carlos Bustamante sex crimes scandal] , the more it's clear how they share responsibility for what has happened. If there's nothing to hide, then why are they all hiding?
— Stunned / July 18
Having some experience in this area, there is a tool at the county's disposal called "redaction." They must comply with the request for information and may redact any personal information in the letter, i.e. her personal address, contact information, Social Security information. The Voice of OC can go to court and get a court order for the release, and the county would be responsible for paying any costs involved, including attorney's fees.
As reported in previous articles, she [Drakodaidis] is out on medical leave. I have not read anything that states she is a past employee. She may very well be fired at some point, but as of yet, she is out on medical leave.
— Cacityguy / July 18
Medical leave, my foot! She knows she's next.
She thought Carlos could do no wrong. When anyone even suggested that Carlos was a liability, Alisa went after them. Now she's throwing mud in an attempt to deflect the attention from her.
If she was Carlos' boss, she should be fired for letting him continue his path of destruction.
— SoccerMom / July 14
The contents of the letter must be really damning for the county to perform such circus acrobatics to hide its contents. Maybe all the OC media organizations should join together in a lawsuit to compel them to release it. This looks more like a whistleblower complaint than a confidential personnel matter.
— The Real Joe Hill / July 18
Drakodaidis, a whistleblower? Are you kidding? This is a textbook example of C.Y.A. [cover your ass] by the most incompetent executive in county government.
The letter is political gossip, and that's catnip to reporters like those at the Voice of OC. I get that.
But this site undermines its own credibility by taking her and her letter so seriously and without giving any consideration to the source.
— Clockwatchers Anonymous / July 18
It's terrible that the big worry at the county management level is who will keep their jobs. Funny how no one in management seems to be worried about the real victims. Bustamante and those who covered for him make me sick!
— Anneliesesmeh / July 17
Orange Countians, follow this case to see your Republican Party at work. This letter contains more bombshells than Romney's tax returns.
It's being sequestered because it names names, and the names don't like it. [Supervisor Pat] Bates doesn't like it, the rest of the Board of Supervisors don't like it, the DA doesn't like it, his wife doesn't like it, and the party doesn't like seeing its dirty laundry exposed in public.
The DA doesn't have any legal basis for seizing the letter, but the law doesn't matter to these people when it gets in their way. They just ignore it.
Stay tuned. This should be fun.
— Lostinspace / July 17
[Bustamante's attorney, James D. Riddet, asserted,] "Can there be any doubt that this conduct has had the expected result of tarnishing Mr. Bustamante as a sexual offender of the worst sort?”
That's what prosecutors do, Mr. Riddet. The DA did the same with [Fullerton Police Officer Manual] Ramos in the Kelly Thomas murder, and the DA did the same with [Itzcoatl] Ocampo, who slaughtered a group of homeless men with a hunting knife. Why should Bustamante get a pass? Because he was a government executive or a city councilman?
From what I've read there are at least seven victim witnesses who were Bustamonte's underlings. Are they all lying, Mr. Riddet? If so, give us the details. We are willing to listen to the other side.
But don't cry "foul" without offering some exculpatory evidence. The court of public opinion appears to believe Bustamonte is a bad guy. Change our opinion. Tell us why the prosecutor is wrong. I am always open to new information. And I reserve the right to change my opinion when the facts change.
— Beelzebub / July 19
Forgive my naivete, Norberto [Santana Jr., editor-in-chief of Voice of OC], but why cannot this woman nor her attorney provide Voice of OC a copy of the letter? Seems like if she is pissed off enough, a copy could mysteriously wind up in your mailbox.
— Praetor / July 18
Perhaps there needs to be a truly independent investigation and possible criminal prosecution by the federal government. We are talking about conspiring public officials, corruption and civil rights violations.
— Cassie / July 13
When the people of the cities of Bell and Vernon realized that they had corrupt governments, one of the first remedies they applied was to institute term limits.
That guaranteed that a politician would not be in there so long as to find ways to manipulate the system and continue to rip off the public.
It also stands as proof that term limits are an important component to keeping elected individuals who choose to manipulate their position for their own purposes instead of the best interests of the public being served from staying in that office forever.
Elections are a commodity to be bought and sold by unions and special interests. A regular member of the public stands very little chance of being elected against an entrenched institution candidate supported by special interests. It's not a level playing field.
For that reason, term limits are essential. They not only provide a means to potentially control corruption, but they ensure that more people will at least have the opportunity to participate in the election process and their own governance.
— Al Simmons / July 18
The Capistrano Unified School District had two recalls and voted out incumbents the last few years. Fullerton just recalled three council members. Four of the last eight U.S. presidents have failed to serve maximum terms — maybe five.
There you go: The voters can and do make changes without the need of term limits.
Where are your examples of how term limits have eliminated the power of special interests and unions and money? You have none.
People do not corrupt money, money corrupts people. So instead of using term limits to go after the people, use the tax code to go after the money. A gross receipts tax of 75 to 90 percent will stop that corrupting influence in its tracks.
I hope that if the ad hoc committee comes up with something that the required number of council members vote yes on, it will include more than one choice:
- Leave as is, no changes.
- New limits on mayor and the council.
- Repeal all term limits on the council.
The one that gets the most votes prevails.
The voters should be the ones making the final determination, and that determination should be from multiple choices like the ones I have outlined.
— Robincook / July 16-17
Robin, what do you mean by term limits have had no effect? With the exception of the mayor, all other council seats have a had the necessary turnover needed to prevent council members from becoming career city politicians and establishing support that can't be overcome by new candidates.
My proposal is different. I would prefer council members' terms be three years instead of four and they could serve four consecutive three-year. The difference is it would require one additional election to give the people another chance to vote someone out.
I also would like to see a limit on the mayor's seat. Not having a limit just basically says that we will allow someone to make a career out of one seat of office, which doesn't make sense to me. I want turnover.
I don't like organized groups or collectivism to outweigh individual rights. If there are no term limits and a council member has the backing of unions, explain to me how that person would ever be voted out of office?
— Chris Lee / July 16
While I agree that term limits for state and federal officials have not served the public, they do a great deal to prevent corruption at the local level. City councils and the county Board of Supervisors should be the "citizen government," not a place for despots to park and gain power. [Santa Ana Mayor Miguel] Pulido gains half his votes simply from his incumbency, not because he is popular with the people. He knows this, and it allows him to build his power base in a volunteer job.
Term limits give the people a necessary break. If he is that popular, he will be voted back in to office when his "break time" is up. That way, the people truly decide.
What you really need to watch here is that the City Council does not extend or do away with term limits for themselves, which is what I suspect they will try.
— Keepdapeace / July 14