Santana: High Ranking Aide to DA Todd Spitzer Disappears from Agency and State Assembly Campaign After Filing Explosive Claim Against County

Melanie Eustice, a top ranking executive who worked for OC District Attorney Todd Spitzer filed a legal claim with the county earlier this year obtained by Voice of OC alleging that Spitzer was an abusive boss and repeatedly engaged in a pattern of illegal behavior, highlighting instances of improperly releasing information from county bids and public records. Spitzer disputed her characterizations in email correspondence also obtained by Voice of OC.

Santana: Brea’s Secretive Water Agency Draws Court Challenge

This Tuesday, Brea city officials will go behind closed doors to talk about their secretive water agency, Cal Domestic, and plans to keep city representatives on the Cal Domestic board of directors from filing any kind of financial disclosure about conflicts of interest. Such disclosures would have allowed city officials to question a former city manager that was being paid by the water agency while also advising the city to spend millions on controversial water rights purchases – a move that last year drew sanction from the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission.

Santana: Can DA Todd Spitzer and Sheriff Don Barnes Survive The Evidence Booking Scandal?

A disturbing OC Sheriff’s Department Audit of late evidence bookings finds that 30 percent of evidence booked by deputies over the last two years didn’t comply with policy. While photos and videos are the majority of late bookings, there’s also cash, drugs and guns among the items booked into evidence late, sometimes by as much as a month. The audit, kept secret until recently, raises a host of issues for Sheriff Don Barnes and District Attorney Todd Spitzer and could affect thousands of criminal cases across Orange County.

Santana: Columbus, Indigenous Peoples’ Day Engages Around Equity

The debate over recasting Columbus Day as Indigenous People’s Day offers a chance to consider equity in society and how best civic leaders can address inequity. In San Juan Capistrano, the historic debate is in many ways still playing itself out in the effort to preserve one of the last original indigenous villages in Orange County. And on the modern policy front, one recent study about inequity in Orange County is challenging local policymakers to confront a stark opportunity gap between geographic areas of the county – split along largely racial, ethnic and income lines.

Westminster City Council To Consider Monthly Meetings

Westminster officials are considering moving their bi-weekly city council meeting to a monthly basis. Officials argue the move increases efficiency while opponents question the impact on public comment, access and accountability.