When is the Fair Political Practices Commission or the state attorney general’s office going to actually penalize this elected for blatant violations of the conflict of interest laws?
Miguel Pulido gets a pass every time. He’s been around so long and has friends all over the place, so nobody ever goes after him.
This is a very interesting and well-written piece. It is sad how these “deals” seem to pop up over and over. And what is even more disturbing is that despite excellent investigative journalism such as this, I suspect little will come of this.
Does it pass the smell test? Nope. Will anything be done about it? Probably not.
The Orange CIty Council, past or present, did not authorize or know about the details of how this gang injunction was handled. The city was pulled into the suit after the fact by the ACLU, and Orange’s taxpayers may now be on the hook for the county’s misstep.
As the article states the current Orange council — a majority were seated when this happened — now has to decide whether to try and seek reimbursement from the district attorney.
This specific injunction was handled differently then others. And again in response to comments laying blame anywhere but the DA’s office, the City Council was not made aware or provided any details until the law suit occurred. Lousy position to be put in.
One would imagine that if a police department was told by the DA’s office that something was legally OK, they would believe them. I think the Lake Forest video shows that soon after, cities started to get nervous about making that assumption.
— Carolyn Cavecche
Editor’s note: Carolyn Cavecche is a former mayor of Orange.
Carolyn, this dispute began in 2009. Again, I believe you when you say the council was not aware of the situation and Orange PD apparently believed DA assurances.
My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that the council should have known. This injunction covered almost 17 percent of the city’s area. Complaints about lack of due process as it relates to gang injunction inclusion were not new even then.
The DA bears responsibility, of course, but one has to conclude the Orange City Council bears some too. You can’t have it both ways. Sit down with the American Civil Liberties Union. I know that isn’t easy. Skirmishes with them go back to the day-laborer controversy in 2007 when you were mayor, I believe.
The Orange City Council, some of whom weren’t even in office when this started, need to settle and move on. There is no shame. These things happen.
Why is this even in question? It should be paid by whoever filed the suit, in this case the DA’s office. In the end, it’s still the taxpayers paying for it; we fund the DA.
However, by making the DA pay for it they will be hesitant in the future to violate the civil rights of individuals, and that’s a good thing for liberty.
— Paul Lucas
Voice of Our Commentators
Here is another roundup of some of the most thought-provoking reader comments of the week. Comments are selected by our editors and subject to editing for grammar, spelling, clarity and length.
Click on each topic’s headline to see the article in question.
The article is inaccurate in its accounting of how the ordinance will apply to all elected county officials. Supervisor [Janet] Nguyen and I were crystal clear, and the language of the Ordinance reflects, that all county electeds will pay 100% of their employee share if the voters approve this provision.
— ToddSpitzer, Orange County supervisor
Now if they would just dump their $765-a-month car allowances, filling up at the county pumps and all of their other luxury goodies (are taxpayers still buying their coffee and croissants?), these people might actually become somewhat credible.
Now if they could only allow employees to opt out of the county pension system and let them choose Social Security, 401(k) or other options, it might really be a fair system.
This has gone on for years. Why not turn it into a transitional shelter for people with disabilities, including veterans who don’t have substance problems, so it’s safe for most in-need tenants and the community? The owner can still make money but management would have to be trained. and there could be some oversight set up.
I don’t think the male members of the City Council want anything but to run these places out of town and then have their developer buddies come in and make some serious $$$.
[From the article:] “Edwards and City Attorney Michael Houston argued that under state law, an appraisal is confidential because to release it too soon could undercut the city’s negotiating position.”
That’s got to be the most ironic statement of the year.
And I think they meant to say it would undercut Moreno’s negotiating position.
— David Zenger
The city has signed a memorandum of understanding stating that we are willing to go as low as a dollar a year on the real estate. The only way the appraisal weakens our negotiating position is if it comes in at less than a buck a year for 150 acres. What are the odds?
What an appraisal weakens is the re-election campaign of some “leaders” who will look foolish for saying the land is useless without the team when they are shown very, very wrong.
Heck, let’s really go crazy and send out a request for proposals. Let’s ask the business community to tell us what they would be willing to build there with their own money. It’s a tough economy so maybe we throw in the land for free, but we keep 100 percent of the tax generated on the site, and we get a percentage of the gross. We would still be far, far, far ahead of where we are with the current deal.
So let the market speak. Let’s get some bids. Let’s make it clear they are not to replace the Angels but only if the Angels choose to leave.
To not have a backup position is just plain stupid.
This is yet another example of “for every tragedy we need a new law so it can never happen again.” In this case, it is a law to give often heavy-handed police the authority to interject themselves into private homes.
It smacks of nanny state-ism. What’s next — banning large sodas and empowering the police to enter a home should they witness a large one being consumed?
I often feel that Supervisor [Shawn] Nelson is on the wrong side of an issue, but not this time.
— News Hound
Based on any observer of the board meeting yesterday, it would be simple to conclude that Shawn [Nelson] and I clashed on the issue of the Social Host Ordinance (SHO).
The fact of the matter is that Shawn and I are both skilled and experience trial attorneys who are both zealous and vigorous advocates for our positions. He used his tool box exceptionally well yesterday, and so did I and the speakers that came to support the SHO at the Board of Supervisors.
I knew going in that this was a tough and controversial issue. My colleagues brought up excellent points and concerns, and my hope is that I can satisfy them in order to make excellent public policy with their support. I am working on amendments to the SHO that address their concerns where possible without watering down or neutering the SHO’s effectiveness.
Most of the time Shawn and I are on the same page. There are times — and there are bound to be more in the future — where we disagree. So be it. Irrespective of our divergent perspectives, he is a warrior. I would walk side by side with Shawn anytime in battle. I will also sharpen my pencil when we are on opposite sides. That is respect, and he has mine at all times.
— Todd Spitzer, Orange County supervisor
[Todd] Spitzer is a major league grandstander. I doubt that anyone who knows him or has been around him would disagree. However, it shouldn’t detract from some good points he made during his mugging for the cameras.
In all fairness, Todd is hardly the person anybody should listen to when it comes to law enforcement issues. He was fired from the district attorney’s office because of his bullying tactics. So it is always hard to figure out if Todd is sincere or just looking for another opportunity to get his name in the paper.
I doubt that many people trust him, but on this issue he did make some sound arguments.
If such a system would be more democratic and transparent, why not adopt it for all elected positions — council and mayor? Failure to adopt across the board would only prove a slap in the face to democracy and transparency.
— Thomas Anthony Gordon
Before the Santa Ana council changes the election dates, the council needs to uphold the California Voting Rights Act and adopt district-voting elections.
Citywide voting for districts discriminates against the Vietnamese community. Well over 60% of the population west of the Santa Ana River (and growing eastward) are Vietnamese. If the Latino Santa Ana council can’t see the importance of valuing diversity and respecting the right of the Vietnamese community to elect a representative of their own, why should we support them?
First, congratulations to all the news agencies for stepping in and supporting Voice of OC. I hope these agencies will continue to participate in the efforts to clean up this extremely corrupt county.
The similarities to the city of Bell that engulf Orange County government are numerous. Now that all the heavy hitters in journalism are following this issue, maybe it will motivate them to stay involved and clean this place up.