Orange County’s five elected supervisors preside over $6 billion in public spending and pressing issues like homelessness, mental health and drug treatment, and how to balance spending between those programs and county jails, the Sheriff’s Department, and District Attorney’s Office.
County Supervisors Tuesday unanimously voted to pay Voice of OC $121,396 in legal fees after losing a Superior Court case for refusing to release public records about Supervisor Todd Spitzer’s handcuffing a preacher at a Wahoo’s restaurant.
Investigations into the Santa Ana mayor, county supervisor, and state senator are the subject of a records request by Craig Hunter, who alleged in a legal claim this month that District Attorney Tony Rackauckas “interfered in political corruption criminal investigations.” A spokeswoman for Rackauckas disputes the claim.
A state bill AB 1479 – up for vote on Friday – would create a fine for agencies that grossly violate California’s Public Records Act. A recent successful Voice of OC lawsuit against the County of Orange, appealing denied public records about an evangelist handcuffed by a county supervisor while armed, is a prime test case for the fine.
Christine Richters claims Supervisor Todd Spitzer ran his supervisor’s office through “fear and aggression,” forced his staff to be on-call at all hours of the night, and required them to work shifts of up to 24 hours at a time.
The 24-page opinion in the case of the City of San Jose vs. the Superior Court (Smith) also said “…there is no indication the Legislature meant to allow public officials to shield communications about official business simply by directing them through personal accounts.“