Former Public Affairs Director Melanie Eustice was paid out a $75,000 settlement last fall after dropping her public contracting corruption claim against District Attorney Todd Spitzer and agreeing to silence. Eustice was one of Spitzer’s longest-serving aides.
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.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer and Sheriff Don Barnes continued to take aim at each other this week, in the wake of an evidence-booking scandal that has already triggered four fired and seven disciplined deputy sheriffs along with four ongoing probes inside the Sheriff’s department.
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.
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.
With key debates over the future of Anaheim’s stadium and public lands in Santa Ana intensifying, Orange County’s premier progressive organizing group, OC Communities Organized for Responsible Development, OCCORD, is reeling from the resignations of Executive Director Shakeel Syed and a slew of organizers in recent months.
With congressional campaigns across Orange County intensifying for 2020, Chapman University Dean of Communications, Lisa Sparks – who is running as a Republican in the 45th Congressional District against incumbent Democrat Katie Porter – triggers a slew of questions about accessibility by avoiding interviews with her campus newspaper.
City Council members in Westminster adopt an ominous resolution encouraging all residents of Westminster to raise their voices against individuals who fit the profile of an “aider and abettor” of the communist government in Vietnam.