RIGGY'S WRONG - AGAIN
RIGGY'S TAKE ON THE SHERIFF JOB
In his Daily Pilot column May 24th, "Martin has advantage of sheriff", HERE, Orange County Republican activist and carpetbagging Costa Mesa Planning Commissioner Jim Righeimer presents us with his views on the selection process for the position of Sheriff-Coroner of Orange County. As I type this the Board of Supervisors is going through an exhaustive interview process today with the final nine candidates - eight men and one woman - who made it through the initial cuts from the original 48 people who tossed their hats in the ring. They are now in the midst of a dinner break and will interview the final two candidates this evening.
PEGGY LOWE ON THE BALL
Peggy Lowe, co-blogger at the Orange County Register's Total Buzz blog has been doing a masterful job of covering the interviews and providing an almost real-time report on the blog. You can read it HERE.
POSERS LONG GONE
Long gone are such luminaries as the electrician from Garden Grove, the police chief from Duck, North Carolina and the Executive Director of INTERPOL. Also not making the final cut is Orange County Deputy Sheriff Erik Mansoor, brother of our Mayor Pro Tem, Allan Mansoor. I'm curious why he thought he could make the jump from jailer to sheriff. Another example of that "Mansoor judgment" in action, I guess. Eclectic doesn't even begin to describe the group from which our next Sheriff will have been chosen.
POLITICS VS. COMPETENCE?
In his column Riggy makes some good points as he sorts the final candidates for us, distilling them down to a Final Four - apparently an homage to the recently completed college basketball season. Primary in his reasoning for his ultimate selection is that the person chosen by the supervisors to replace the disgraced and indicted Mike Carona must be able to be elected in 2010. He tells us that, in a contest between his final two, Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters and Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Commander Ralph Martin, the nod goes to Martin because he has been a lifelong Republican and Walters has shown some ambivalence about his party affiliation in recent years. As Riggy says, "This is an elected position, and politics matters. The supervisors do not want to have a sheriff with political trouble in two years. Therefore, in handicapping this pick, the advantage goes to Ralph Martin."
I'm trying to decide whether I'm angry at the system that creates this dilemma or at Righeimer for so clearly demonstrating why it's a problem, or both. I don't necessarily think it's bad that Walters, for example, has shown displeasure with his affiliation with the Republican Party. Who could blame him - except those in charge of the party itself.
SHERIFF'S BEHOLDEN TO US, NOT THEM
The position of Sheriff-Coroner of our county is an elected position so the holder of that office will not be under the thumb of the Board of Supervisors - he will be beholden only to the voters of this county. I'm comfortable with that arrangement. However, in this situation, Riggy would have the supervisors select a person who passes muster with the hacks that currently control the Orange County Republican Party. He conveniently neglects to mention that Carona was one of "their guys", too.
SUPERVISORS SHOULD PICK THE BEST COP
In my view, the Board of Supervisors has a unique opportunity before them next week - one that transcends "politics as usual". From the remaining pool of candidates they may be able to select a person with impeccable credentials in law enforcement leadership - a person with a background of exemplary performance leading large law enforcement organizations - the kind of person with the command presence and leadership needed to rebuild the morale and reputation of our Sheriff's Department. And, they can do this without worrying about an election more than two years away.
LEADERSHIP, NOT A LACKEY, NEEDED
The new sheriff will have more than 24 months to demonstrate that he or she is the right person for the job. Just as interim sheriff Jack Anderson has done in his few months holding that "temporary" job, the new sheriff can jump in immediately and begin making the reforms so necessary to "fix" the department. This job requires a top cop, not a politically connected back-slapper who will immediately begin to ingratiate himself with the political movers and shakers in this county.
SEVERAL GOOD CHOICES AVAILABLE
I read through all the application material available online for each of the candidates and was impressed by many of them. As a recruiter for most of my working life, I know that information is just the starting point, and that the interviews today will be the deciding factor in the process. Based on what we see in their background information, most of the remaining candidates could probably do the job. Deciding which one will be able to do it best is up to the supervisors.
PERFORMANCE, NOT BOOT-LICKING, WILL COUNT MOST
The new sheriff will be under intense scrutiny, so his or her performance in the next two years will be much more important to the electorate than whose boots he or she is willing to lick to get elected in 2010. Regardless what Riggy and his pals in the Orange County Republican Party think, the supervisors should do the job we elected them to do and give us the best law enforcement leader available for the job of Sheriff-Coroner of Orange County. If they do that, and the person selected demonstrates the right skills over the next two years, the 2010 election will take care of itself.