Orange County Government
The Voice of OC(EA) on Friday posted a story about yet another high-level crony of County CEO Tom Mauk bailing out of the creaky tub that is taking on water fast in the wake of the Carlos Bustamante sex-assault case. This person’s name is Alisa Drakodidas, and she was in immediate charge of the patsy who just got canned last week, and about whom I wrote about, here.
Drakodidas was a Deputy CEO of Infrastructure (whatever that means) and apparently a close confidant of Mauk. She has taken a medical leave until the end of August, and of course is still being paid. She has got herself a lawyer, too, and according to Voice has sent the County a nasty letter blasting various individuals, including Supervisors, most specifically Pat Bates. According to the Voice’s source, the letter accuses Bates of getting one of her office flunkies a high paying job and generally botching things up. Other Supervisors, collectively, are blamed for interfering with contracts (I think this is probably code for doing favors for fund-raising lobbyists). It’s obvious that Ms. Drakodidas is not planning on coming back to work.
Apparently the County is not releasing any details of the letter via the Public Records Act, but it’s clear somebody at the County has leaked the general outline of this document. It must provide some interesting reading. Hopefully all of this finger pointing will result in a clear picture of why Bustamante was employed at all, and who let him get away with his twisted pervy sex attacks.
Although FFFF hasn’t been reporting much on County activities it’s pretty hard to overlook the latest management crisis in the County Hall of Administration, in which top managers appear to have hushed up a multitude of sex crimes and workplace harassment perpetrated by a creep named Carlos Bustamante. Bustamante is a Santa Ana city councilman, and until last fall, a high level bureaucrat in the OC Public Works Department. Mr. Peabody touched upon the mess, here.
Bustamante was arrested last week by the DA, fifteen months after an anonymous letter was received by the County. Apparently that complaint was actually given to an underling of Bustamante to investigate! It remains unclear who made that call, but his boss, the Director of Public Works is taking the hit for the team – so far.
Meanwhile a second complaint in August 2011, spurred the CEO, Tom Mauk to hire an outside lawyer to investigate Bustamante’s activities. The consequent detailed report, completed in September 2011, supposedly detailed some pretty greasy stuff. For some reason the Supervisors were not shown the report – except for Chairman Bill Campbell, who now amazingly claims he refused to read it, supervising apparently not being one of the requirements of a Supervisor. The report remained under lock and key as Bustamante was permitted to quit and given 3 month’s salary to (get this) – prevent him from suing the County! Blackmail? Who knows?
Finally, the report came to the surface after the County’s Internal Auditor, pursuing his own investigation (and after months of stonewalling by Mauk and his HR Director, Carl Crown) was permitted the IA to see it. At that point the jig was up and the Board was notified of the damning report. They immediately referred the matter to the DA for an investigation which culminated in a dozen felonies and four misdemeanors.
Remarkably, in the intervening months between March 2012 and now, Mauk has been permitted to keep his job despite the inescapable facts of incompetence, cronyism, withholding information from the Board, and of course, paying Bustamante $45,000 to go away without a ruckus. Sure sounds like a cover up, doesn’t it?
Evidently the Board, or a majority of it at least, likes this kind of thing and thinks it’s just fine. Bill Campbell has publicly said so, claiming the Mauk was just trying to protect the County by covering up Bustamante’s behavior. Of course that begs another question: why did anybody put the County at risk by employing this scum-sack in the first place? For that you may direct your question right back to Bill Campbell, who has been Carlos Bustamante’s political patron over the years, and who, no doubt, presided, along with Mauk, over Bustamante’s weird and inexplicable assent to the top of County government.
A “closed session” was held by the Board on Friday to discuss what to do. Apparently doing nothing remains the Board’s path of least resistance as they have postponed taking about the matter ’til July 24th. They had better hurry up. The DA has said that he’s not done investigating and will now focus his attention on personnel with the Hall of Administration itself.
Last summer I did a post on the disastrous leadership at the County, and how I hoped the Supervisors would perform a certain kind of cranial extraction and take care of business. Of course that was months ago, and the disasters keep mounting due to the indifference of the antiquated and exhausted CEO, Thomas Mauk. Naturally, the Board did nothing, most likely because a majority of the Board rely on the CEO to push their pet projects through.
The latest mess to unfold is an embarrassing sex scandal that has engulfed the Public Works Department – all due to the bad behavior of some deviant named Carlos Bustamante. Apparently this bad boy was shielded from investigation until things got so bad he was permitted to quietly resign.
Anyway, Vern Nelson over at the Orange Juice Blog has done a write up on the situation that deserves our attention.
Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson (Fourth District) honored long-time Fullerton jewelry store owner Ismael “Ish” Gomez with his 2012 “Second Amendment Award for Heroism” in recognition of the incredible courage he displayed in saving the lives of his two employees last month during an attempted take-over robbery by five armed suspects.
Mr. Gomez’s heroism resulted in one suspect being hospitalized and the other four in jail. Accolades were received from friends and professional associates for protecting the lives of his employees during a dramatic hand-to-hand, bullet-firing confrontation against violent criminals.
If you look closely at the image below, you’ll see a reminder of the struggle in the mirror behind Supervisor Nelson and Mr. Gomez.
And now for some County news.
Our crazy, ever more left-leaning affiliates at the Orange Juice Blog reported on a story here, about 2nd District Supervisor John Moorlach and his quest to give himself another term in office (there is currently an eight consecutive year limit). His proposal was to amend the County Charter to impose a lifetime limit of three full terms, thereby increasing his tenure by 50%; and he asked his colleagues on the Board to place it on the June ballot.
The proposal was defeated 3-2 with only our own Supervisor, Shawn Nelson supporting the idea letting the voters take a swing at it.
Of course the Moorlach Plan was seen for the self-serving nonsense it was. When so-called conservatives start to confuse their own interest with the public good, it’s waaaaay past time to go. Unfortunately, Moorlach is one of those big idea guys whose big solutions to solve intractable problems just need a little more time to percolate. And then more time. And when the expensive idea ultimately fails we are left to ponder the linguistic and logical gymnastics that convert defeat to victory, or a darn good try, at least an attempt to do something.
What the Supervisors should put on the ballot is a two-term lifetime limit and have done with it. That way we can cycle through losers like Jim Silva, Todd Spitzer, Cynthia Coad, Tom Wilson, and all the other miscreants who agreed to massive retroactive pension spikes, and not have to worry about any of them ever exercising their incompetent misrule in the County Hall of Administration again.
I want to know why Dick Ackerman hates Fullerton so much. You may wonder at the question, but to me the fact that he does is inescapable.
The Dickster used to live in Fullerton many years ago, and sat on the city council. His claim to fame was excluding Democrat Molly McClanahan from the mayorship year after year.
Subsequently Ackerman has never seemed to want to let go of Fullerton, possibly because he saw the opportunity to ascend the political ladder on our backs. After getting elected to the State Assembly and then the State Senate, Fullerton was ever on his mind. When the Legislature redrew district boundaries in 2001, Ackerman’s 33rd Senate District shifted way south, which was convenient for Ackerman who had already moved to Irvine. And Fullerton made the trip south, too.
Notice how Fullerton was gerrymandered into a district that extends into south county – virtually to the Pacific Ocean, connected by the thinnest of geographical tendons a few hundred feet wide. It would appear that Dick just couldn’t bear to be separated from his pals in the Fullerton Rotary and the long series of political clowns like F. “Dick” Jones that he helped to foist on us.
After a dismal Sacramento career that included self-serving budget deals and courting lobbyists in Hawaii under cover of a fake charity, Ackerman was mercifully termed out. But the Dick was a long way from finished with Fullerton.
In 2009 an embarrassing opening occurred for the 72nd Assembly District. Not one to let an opportunity for political greasing to pass him by, Ackerman set up his wife Linda to run in a special election to represent Fullerton. Forget for a moment that Linda A was less qualified than a ling cod.
There was a bigger problem: the Ackermans lived in a secret, gated community – in Irvine! No problem for the ethically challenged Dick, who found a compliant stooge in Fullerton willing to pretend the Ackerman lived in his spare room! A rancid collection of repuglicans including Ed Royce, Don Bankhead, Dick Jones, and Pat McKinley, lined up to endorse this cheap fraud.
During this campaign Ackerman even tried legal intimidation against Fullerton citizen bloggers on FFFF. Off course we told him to shove it up is lower alimentary canal.
After the saddest, sleaziest campaign imaginable, the Ackerwoman got her posterior kicked by Chris Norby, and the Ackermans almost immediately re-registered to vote, citing as their address the Irvine mini-mansion they never left.
After this attempted swindle, any man with an iota of shame would have left Fullerton forever, but possessing an iota of shame precludes The Dickster. In 2010 Dick was back meddling in Fullerton politics on the Pat McPension bandwagon. Was it a quid pro quo? Who cares? It was definitely a way to create a solid council majority which could be lobbied hard for his new client – St. Antons Partners – that eyed the huge pile of cash the Three Tree Sloths had lined up for Ackerman.
In August 2011, the lobbyist Ackerman called in his markers and got his client jumped from number eight on the list to the top spot for a hyper-dense, massively subsidized public housing project of the type Ackerman railed against when he was seeking election in Fullerton. What a difference 20 years makes.
Comically, at almost the same time Ackerman was also tagged as a defender for inept and corrupt stasis everywhere as he taught a seminar on how to handle people like the good folks in Fullerton who had finally had enough of their government selling out to special interests like him.
And finally, Ackerman continues to wage war against the people of Fullerton, against competent government, against accountability and responsibility; he protects his investment by organizing to fight the Recall of his Three Dim Dinosaurs.
But Ackerman’s ship has sailed. His anti-recall campaign has been an expensive and unmitigated disaster. And when the Recall succeeds, Ackerman will finally be finished in Fullerton. His endorsement will be less than useless and his lobbying for government subsidies will fall on deaf ears. He can spend the rest of his days around the bar, telling anybody who will listen about how important he used to be.
Which is a lot better than none. We would be remiss not to offer a tip ‘o the cap to County Supervisor Shawn Nelson for taking on the obscene pay raises handed out by the County CEO Tom Mauk to a couple of his cronies.
The egregious raises were given out three or four years ago within months of these employees being promoted to new jobs by Mauk. The multiple raises went well into double digit territory, as uncovered during a Performance Audit of the County’s own Human Resources Department.
As an ad hoc subcommittee studying the findings of the audit, Nelson and Supervisor Pat Bates recommended reversing the raises, and were supported by John Moorlach at the December 6th Board meeting. Supervisors Bill Campbell and Janet Nguyen fought hard to keep the astronomical raises in place.
Well, kudos to Nelson, Bates, and Moorlach for calling the CEO on his hypocrisy and for taking a big step in the direction of accountability at the County Hall of Administration.
After we outed him as one of the biggest hypocrites in the history of OC repuglicanism (and that’s saying a lot), it looks like my old punching bag Matthew J. Cunningham is in the news again.
According to the New Santa Ana blog, Supervisor Bill Campbell looks to be hiring Cunningham’s wife as chief of staff in a new make-work project for which the RINO 3rd District Supervisor is becoming notorious.
Campbell is mercifully (for the taxpayers) termed out at the end of next year and so a rat is apparently leaving the sinking ship. Mrs. Cunningham must need a job, and what better way to misdirect a six-figure income to one of your loyal co-parishioners than give them the job running your office? Mrs. Jerbal, like her husband has close ties to the lobbyist/political handler John Lewis, so they’ve got that going for them, too.
The fact that Mrs. Cunningham ran the Latino outreach for the bigoted and unconstitutional Proposition 8 campaign seems not to be an issue for Campbell who is known as rabidly Catholic: he is the guy who also appointed the pedophile-priest protector Monseignor John Urell to some dopey County commission. Oh yeah, this was the same guy who Cunningham created a support group for after he bugged out of his sex-abuse case deposition and fled to Canada.
Yesterday our humble blog received an e-mail from Third Distrct Supervisorial candidate, Todd Spitzer asking us to publish a link to an article he had written for the OC Register about the charges leveled by the DA in the Kelly Thomas murder.
Sure, Todd. Here it is. Happy to oblige.
I keep hearing persistent rumors that the Fullerton City Manager Joe Felz has had discussions with high level County officials about the possibility of abolishing the Fullerton Police Department and replacing it with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
Apparently the hook is not just the recent revelations of FPD misconduct, perjury, cover-up, crimes high and low, a spokesman caught blatantly lying, and the attendant PR curse that the department has visited upon itself. There is an issue of huge cost savings. And I mean huge.
While the prospect of getting honest, competent and respectful police services from the Sheriff’s Department is probably only marginally more likely than with the FPD (and there’s no way in the world it could be worse), extrapolating from current costs in contracted cities, using the OCSD could save the taxpayers of Fullerton as much as $13,000,000, per year from the FPDs bloated budget of $37,000,000.
That’s a whopping 37%, and $13,000,000 could go to a lot of things Fullertonians hold near and dear.
In this era of government fiscal constraint brought about in large measure by irresponsible decisions by dimwits like Don Bankhead, Dick Jones and PatMcKinley, to hand out exorbitant pay and benefits to “public safety” employees, everything should be on the table.