It was just announced that Pam Keller will soon be attending the “37th Anniversary Roe v. Wade Celebration” in Newport Beach. There she will join OC’s other liberal ladies such as Loretta Sanchez, Beth Krom and Rose Espinoza to relish in their legal ability to terminate the life of an unwanted human being.
Amongst her close political allies, the right to abort a fetus probably represents some kind of crowning achievement in the exhausted fight for women’s liberation.
But to many in conservative Orange County, abortion is the ultimate violation of human rights against a living being. In fact, many of the sleepy voters who voted for the smiling school teacher in the last election might find the conspicuous “celebration” of this act highly offensive.
Should Orange County replace Mike Carona with another cop tainted by the stench of abuse and cover up?
Let’s take a look at the career history of Anaheim Deputy Chief Craig Hunter. Back in his day as the head of the gang unit, Craig earned himself the nickname “Head Hunter”, and it wasn’t for respecting the rights of those he served.
Court testimony indicates that Craig Hunter was involved in several senseless beatings of handcuffed teenage suspects after they were safely in police custody. There were two incidents involving Hunter on court record from the 90’s:
The first beating was 16-year-old robbery suspect named Jorge Alvarado. After arrest, the kid was turned over to two of Craig Hunters’ gang unit officers John Kelley and Mike Bustamante for a ride to the station. By the time they arrived at the station, the suspect had been severely beaten. When the witnessing officer complained to the unit commander, Craig Hunter, he was told to shut up.
Another beating happened a few months later after a teenage suspect named Jerry Sanchez was captured on the roof of an apartment by officers Craig Hunter and John Kelley. In testimony that we just received, officer Steve Nolan claims that “Craig Hunter actually cracked Jerry over the head with his flashlight while Kelly kicked him as he lied on the ground”. Later, while the suspect was bleeding severely from the head, Hunter and his partner allegedly taunted Sanchez in a stereotyped Latino accent.
In a later interview, the youth said “I was handcuffed, then hit in the head with a metal flashlight and kicked. I was bleeding all over and felt dizzy and dazed. My whole shirt was bloody.” The suspect’s account of the beating matched officer Nolan’s claims.
Officer Steve Nolan claimed to witness both beatings. He was so appalled at Craig Hunter’s behavior that he finally reported both incidents to a superior.
In response, Hunter launched an all-out assault to discredit Steve Nolan. False accusations were made against him, which were later rejected by an arbiter and then a jury. Nolan eventually won a $340,000 lawsuit against Hunter and the department for wrongful termination.
During the arbitration, the whistleblower received anonymous death threats from what he believed to be his former coworkers at the Anaheim Police Department. Shortly after he filed the lawsuit, someone shot at his wife while she was driving down the freeway near Anaheim.
Were Craig Hunter and his officers retaliating against the whistleblower for breaking the infamous code of silence? The jury said “yes”.
After the allegations of police abuse surfaced, the department was forced to launch an internal investigation. As expected, the department soon announced that all officers involved were innocent.
So why did the young suspects so frequently arrive at the station bloodied and bruised?
The internal investigators were never able to solve that mystery. In the age before in-car cameras and personal recording devices, officer oversight in the Anaheim PD was lax. Allegations of suspect abuse were frequently shoved under the rug, according to a local civil rights group called United Neighbors, an activist group that formed in response to the allegations of police brutality.
In the wake of the scandal, Hunter’s department was subjected to investigations by both the US. Commission on Civil Rights and the US Department of Justice. With the feds breathing down his neck, Craig Hunter orchestrated “the biggest cover-up I’ve seen in my life”, according to officer Nolan. The feds were never able to gather enough evidence to file charges against Hunter, although California Supreme Court Justices eventually acknowledged that Nolan had brought to light a legitimate problem within the Anaheim PD.
In the end, the whistleblower was threatened, intimidated and pushed out of the department, eventually moving on to become the Mayor of Corona. Meanwhile, the accused officers were promoted up the chain of command at the Anaheim Police Department. One of those officers was Deputy Chief Craig Hunter, and now he wants to be the elected Sheriff of Orange County.
Yep. The day after former State Senator Joe Dunn addressed the County Board of Supervisors about establishing a mechanism for keeping track of the professional lobbyists who haunt the 5th floor of the Hall of Admin, Matthew Cunningham popped up serially on the “Red County” blog to explain to his readers why the system ain’t broke and why his lobbyist friends have a constitutional right to “petition their government for redress.”
Aha! We called it here. Of course the idea that lobbyists are petitioning their government for anything except a chance to make big bucks for their clients is patently absurd.
We don’t agree with some of the purported details of Dunn’s original idea, but overall the concept of knowing which well-connected middlemen are knocking on your representative’s door in order to swing some deal or other, is basically a good one. Dunn’s timing and presentation to the Board were counterproductive and will be viewed as partisan, in some way. But so what?
Cunningham suggests that the whole thing is just a plan to dissuade privatization, but of course he really can’t say how, except that the OCEA union boss Nick Berardino is involved.But why should a lobbyist who is doing nothing improper or illegal fear a little bit of light illuminating his interaction with public officials?
Actually, an effort to squelch the idea will make people even more suspicious than ever about what is going on behind closed doors.
Cunningham is just doing his job, of course: trying to run interference for his Repuglican lobbyist pals like John Lewis who apparently would really rather not have the public aware of his influence with electeds. But the strategy is poor. In a second post he suggests that Dunn is simply trying to force the supervisors to adopt their own plan to avoid his referendum. Good idea.
Rather than let Dunn produce a likely popular plebiscite, the Supervisors ought to develop a sensible sytem for keeping track of lobbyists themselves, and include the union bosses like Berardino and Wayne Quint who are really nothing but lobbyists themselves – paid with ample union dues.
This issue is about recognizing the influence peddlers in OC – people who use their political and financial contacts to make inroads into public policy and pubic expenditure. Nothing wrong with that.
10:50 Update: TDR forgot to add this little gem from the Register’s Jennifer Muir about Hutchens sending a helicopter to an LA cop chili “cook-out.” Wonder what Pat thinks about that use of public resources! – Admin
A recent Fullerton Observer article reported on some sort of “Women in Leadership” event and started out describing how Fullerton’s former Chief of Police introduced “surprise guest, ” appointed OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens in glowing terms and indicated his unreserved support for her election campaign.
We’re not at all surprised by this enthusiasm since McKinley has been reported as having post-retirement political ambitions, and has already demonstrated his connection to the local Reguglican establishment by his endorsement of the fraudulent Ackerwoman campaign.
Apart from political ambition, though, something more sinister flits through the shadows of the McKinley endorsement of Hutchens, and that is McKinley’s apparent ingrained approval of high-handed and unaccountable police behavior. Despite McKinley’s contention that Hutchens has “turned things around” after the departure of the deplorable Mike Carona, there is precious little evidence that any institutional attitudes have changed at all. In fact, quite the contrary. From examples of in-house secrecy and stonewalling, mistreatment of citizens, to even spying on elected County Supervisors, the Sheriff’s Department has shown itself to be the same old operation as ever. The only difference is that now Hutchens is running cover instead of Carona.
The latest example is provided by the OC Weekly’s Scott Moxley, here. It seems a couple of deputies were caught fabricating testimony about threatening a suspect during a Disneyland area drug bust at a preliminary hearing. The DA later dropped most of the charges against the guy who had been arrested; correspondence from the DAs office to the Sheriff about the problem were simply ignored. The deputies involved not only seem to have escaped disciplinary action, but have been awarded medals for valor for a Costa Mesa drug bust that supposedly occurred on the same day as the other arrest!
Here’s Moxley’s curt summaton:
The sheriff, who has promised to restore deputy accountability in the wake of the Mike Carona corruption scandals, refused to be interviewed for this story. Her command staff and media-affairs team repeatedly blocked my attempts to reach Catalano for comment.
Anyhow, in case we needed any other evidence, we now know exactly what kind of police management our former Chief admires, and we ought to remember that when and if he decides to run for office.
Former State Senator Joe Dunn has submitted a proposal to the OC Board of Supervisors that would register and track the activities of lobbyists at the County, as reported in the OC Reg by Jennifer Muir.
In the article Dunn is careful to point out that his mission is to restore faith in government rather than to stem any specific corruption. Well we don’t have to be so polite: for months we have been complaining about the circles of influence and money that run things in the County. There’s nothing wrong about knowing who is paid to peddle influence and whom they are peddling it to. The only people who will try to make this look troublesome are the ones who don’t want a light shined on their activities.
Some of the items that Muir describes in the Dunn proposal are not necessary – such as a registry fee, and some of the information – like the amount a lobbyist is paid is irrelevant. The piddling stuff can be worked out. And let’s not forget that people like Nick Berardino and Wayne Quint of the OCEA and OCSD unions are paid lobbyists, too – paid by their members to get as many concessions for themselves that they can. They should be included in any program that monitors lobbyists.
The Repugz and their blowholes will probably be decrying their loss of free speech and will forecast a tsunami of paperwork and bureaucracy – which is pure malarkey. An on-line registry could be created and maintained for next to nothing, and could be accessible by the public all the time. The Supervisors have paid staff with hardly anything better to do who can keep their bosses activities updated.
For some reason Dunn is trying to get this on the Supervisor’s January 12th agenda at the last moment which seems sort of odd. If he gets no help from the BoS he says he’ll get it on the November ballot via petition.
OCCCWS just issued an “Action Alert” asking its members to pester OC Supervisors Chris Norby, Patricia Bates and Bill Campbell to endorse their candidate for OC Sheriff, Craig Hunter. Standard PAC activity, for sure. But this is no ordinary PAC.
If you remember a few posts back, we talked about how OCCCWS is lead by a group of gun guys who wrote letters in support of Mike Carona after he was convicted on felonious corruption charges. Additionally, OCCCWS leader Greg Block was granted special access inside Carona’s department, which Block used to enrich his firearms training company and torment weapons permit applicants.
So will the Supes lend an ear to these masters of Caronyism? Or will they be careful to distance themselves from the empire of corruption that left a still-lingering stanky stench on the OCSD and the rest of Orange County government?
And what about the guy who is actually running, Anaheim cop Craig Hunter? Is he worthy of endorsement or will investigations into a dark past expose a potential Carona 2.0? Stick around, this isn’t over yet.
Blog reader Pam Keller sent FFFF an email yesterday to alert us of a blatant abuse of County resources to promote a political message against Tea Party activists.
In a video that is presented on the official Orange County government website, children are shown lecturing adults on the dangers of free speech as images of Tea Party activists flash across the screen. If you don’t believe us, see for yourself:
Clips of conservative activists are spliced in with displays of violence, including a fight scene from the Jerry Springer show and the infamous headbutt by soccer player Zidane.
Also appearing in the politically-charged video is a still of Republican congressman Joe Wilson in the now-famous incident where he yelled “You Lie!” to President Barack Obama during his health care address.
So how did this inciting video end up on the County website? Who paid for its production? Who approved the message and who decided that it was ok to use taxpayer-funded resources to promote a blatant political message?
Perhaps the felonious Mike Carona promised them that these letters would not be released to the public. Or maybe Greg Block and Bill Prentice owed Carona a huge favor. Whatever the reason, these two leaders of the OCCCWS PAC wrote fluffy letters in support of disgraced ex-sheriff Mike Carona when he was about to be sentenced for his crime earlier this year.
Already mentioned was the fact that these two are backing Anaheim cop Craig Hunter for OC Sheriff. We even supposed that they were instrumental in getting the candidate to run, given that they threw out rumors of his candidacy and announced his run before even Craig Hunter himself could put the word out.
The Capistrano Dispatch published a long list of letters sent to the court in support of Carona before his sentencing. In Greg Block’s letter to Judge Guilford (Exhibit 11), he wrote gems like “Mike Corona (sp) is a good man with a big heart” and “Mike gave his time and heart to the County of Orange making it a better place”.
Sure he did. And then he earned himself 66 months in federal prison.
The founder of OCCCWS, Bill Prentice, also wrote his own sappy letter (Exhibit 46). It was slightly less embarrassing, but went down the same slimy path of asking Judge Guilford to let Carona off the hook.
So why did Block write this shameful letter? If you remember our last post on this subject, you know that Carona allowed Greg Block to have special access inside the OCSD and Greg used that access to promote his firearms training business and taunt CCW applicants. Block’s access to the department has been hindered since Carona’s departure, and he looks to be attempting to restore his insider access to the department through candidate Craig Hunter.
Bottom line: There is no question that Craig Hunter is backed by Carona insiders and apologists.
Shortly after Anaheim cop Craig Hunter announced his candidacy for OC Sheriff, a PAC called OCCCWS jumped to endorse him. Of course we found that interesting, since “Ordinary California Citizens Concerned With Safety” is primarily focused on issuance of concealed weapons permits to civilians, an issue on which candidate Bill Hunt has taken the most pro-2nd amendment stance possible.
So why wouldn’t this gun PAC get behind Bill Hunt instead of launching their own candidate?
According to our sources, OCCCWS is a front for a company called “Greg Block Firearms Training” in Huntington Beach. Those who have been following the improvements to the concealed weapons permit (CCW) process over the years know that Greg Block was a civilian who Mike Carona allowed to hold unusual influence within the OC Sheriff’s department.
Back in Carona’s corrupt heyday, most Orange County CCW applicants gathered on an internet forum called californiaccw.org to seek advice on applying for a permit. Greg Block ran the forum, offering advice to gun permit applicants, selling his training classes and sharing details on Sheriff’s department internals with curious gun nuts.
It wasn’t long before the power of Block’s OCSD connections went to his head. Archived forum posts from the now-defunct website show that Greg Block held his insider influence in a threatening manner over the heads of potential gun permit applicants, going as far as reaching inside the department to sabotage the application of an individual who dared to question interim Sheriff Jack Anderson’s policy. Evidence of this appalling abuse will be revealed soon enough.
So back to Craig Hunter’s run for OC Sheriff: Is Greg Block seeking to restore his influence on the department via OCCCWS? A firearms instructor who used insider connections to shove applicants through Carona’s department procedures sure would have a strong interest in putting a friend back in office.
And why the animosity towards Bill Hunt, who ran against Carona and accused him of running an incompetent department? Are Block and OCCCWS harboring a grudge against the man who spoke out against his Caronian meal ticket?