Tuesday, May 27, 2008


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, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Blogger Jim Righeimer said...

Geoff- I thought I was clear that I also wanted the best person for the job. But if several people are qualified to do a great job the next issue is electabilty. I also believe that if they do a good job over the next two years the chance for being elected goes up. But I am also saying that my experience is if they are not a strong candidate they start to hedge their decisions to fet elected. The first thing they do is give in to union demands because the union is the only group that can amass enough money to unseat them. I want a Sheriff to represent the citizens not the union. They already have representation.

5/27/2008 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Jim, thanks for writing. I re-read your commentary to see if I missed something. Nowhere did you say finding the best candidate was the most important part of this process. You provided reasoning for your process of distillation which brought you to Walters and Martin. I found it interesting that you completely overlooked Sandra Hutchens, former LA Sheriff's Department's Division Chief for the Office of Homeland Security, a job in which she oversaw more than 1,000 personnel. She outranked Martin in that job, the pinnacle of her 29 years on the LASD. Her bio is very impressive - more than many of the other candidates.

You may have intended to state that you thought it was important to select the best person for the job, but you didn't. Instead, you boiled it down to a political choice. Since I did not watch the interviews today I have no first-hand knowledge of any of the players. You know a couple of them, so you have a leg up on me.

The supervisors have decided not to make a decision after this first round of interviews according to Peggy Lowe's Total Buzz report. Right now it's unclear exactly when they will make the decision, nor is it clear the process from this point forward. That's more than a little disappointing.

You and I have different views of many issues. This is one of them. If the supervisors do their job they will select the best candidate for the job of Sheriff-Coroner. If they do, and that person performs to expectations, the election in 2010 will be a no-brainer.

5/27/2008 11:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geoff, thanks for the commentary. I'm not sure who to vote for yet, I'd like to watch the selection interviews myself.

I think Jim has his heart in the right place - finding a Sheriff who will do a great job and have tenure. But I absolutely agree with you about the tenor of his commentary. Here is what I posted on the Daily Pilot:

"Thanks, Jim. Without direction from our GOP Central Committee, I wouldn't have known who to vote for. We OC Republicans know that it isn't about the best man or woman for the job, its all about local party politics. Obviously, we have all benefitted from OC GOP's historical influence over Sheriff candidates, why throw a wrench in the works now?"

I, too, am a lifelong Republican. I have volunteered on campaigns and walked precincts to help get Republican candidates elected. The OC GOP Central Committee is EXACTLY what is wrong with local Republican politics - you literally cannot get elected without the local party's support. That is a corruption of the electoral process. We, as voters, don't get to choose the best candidate - we have to take who the local party bigwigs decide to let us vote for.

I know that is usually the way it works in politics, but our local GOP mechanism is a bastion of infighting and cronyism - and they hardly have a sterling track record. On the Office of Sheriff, they should just sit down and be quiet - they had their chance and blew it.

If Jack Anderson is disqualified due to his association with Carona, then so is the entire local GOP party machine. It boggles my mind that Jim fails to make that connection.

I appreciate Jim's efforts, and I hope that he takes the time to tell me if he thinks that offthe mark in my assessment, and then explain exactly why he thinks I'm wrong.

5/28/2008 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger CMTRUTH said...

mr. dickson, guess what?

we agree!

much respect to you sir & as always to mr. west for caring enough to provide this space.

5/28/2008 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

CMTRUTH, it's nice to see that you boys can play nicely here in my little sandbox. :-) I just read your last post on your blog and can't stop chuckling. It must be driving Mr. U-Know-Who crazy trying to figure out your identity so he can adjust and focus his personal attacks.

5/28/2008 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger CMTRUTH said...

yes sir it is comedy indeed! I also find it funny that who i am makes what i say valid or invalid, the simple fact is i post what im sure about not an "opinion" or some non factual rant. I look forward to soon being done with my current project so i can let people know who i am & who else is involved with CMTRUTH, but seeing the assumptions jump from me being mr. caspa to me being J... is quite a ride let me tell you!
I will cont. to point out his inaccuracy on subjects i know & care about, but i will be stopping the use of my blog to respond to his rhetoric until he can man up & debate subjects in an open forum.

5/28/2008 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Righeimer said...

Rob, First the good news. Based on what I read in the papers today it looks like we have 9 great candidates to pick from. When I distilled it down to Martin. I said he had the advantage based on the election argument. That does not mean he will get picked. The real advantage is with Walters. He hired ex Sen. John Lewis's firm as his political consultant, to help with the process. John Lewis also handles the political campaigns for Norby and Campbell. Watch, in the first round of voting, Norby and Campbell will vote for Walters. All they need is a third vote and it will be over.

You are very correct on one of your points. The OCGOP are not taking a position in the selection. They already feel burned the last time they endorsed for this seat. Any member can nominate a candidate for endorsement. But the process for endorsements takes a 2/3 vote which is a high hurdle. It rarely happens. Contrary to what you might think, the OCGOP is more often than not split on who to support. The fact is the members are not bigwigs. No doubt some have more influence than others but that is because of the respect they have earned over the years of volunteering. Go to www.ocgop.org and find the list of central committee members. You will see that most members are not bigwigs, just everyday people who have chosen to get involved.

Lastly, I have followed your comments here and in the DP. No matter if you agree or disagree with someone you are always respectful and polite. That type of discourse is what we need on these blogs. Talk to you soon. Jim

5/28/2008 09:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you for your thoughtful response. I admit that I am not involved in the local party machine, despite being a diehard Republican, and do not know the inner workings. I do, however, closely follow political reporting, both mainstream and blogs. That reporting has lead me to form my opinion that "bigwigs" (I actually hate that term - typical liberal typecasting, but I used it on purpose) do pull the strings. I don't think anyone can question the influence exerted by certain local power brokers.

While honest and dedicated folks serve on the central committee, the perception is that other forces decide where the money goes, and who gets support. That perception may not be the reality, but it exists nonetheless.

I agree that we have 9 great candidates. I hope that the Board chooses wisely, and that their choice will have the support needed to win re-election by informed voters.

Personally, I hope the new Sheriff takes on the union regarding pension reform and completely upends the jail. What is happening in the jails on a daily basis is horrific. The abuse is endemic, and the culture is corrupt. I'd be happy to provide examples, or you could talk to Steven Greenhut at the Register.

Thanks again, Jim.

5/29/2008 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Flo Martin said...

Mr. Dickson writes: " typical liberal typecasting"

Wow, isn't that the penultimate in type-casting? Hmmmm...

6/01/2008 03:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms. Martin,

Yes it is! With both parties, there are tried, true, and ultimately boring catch-phrases. Sometimes they are way off the mark, sometimes they are accurate.

"Bigwig" implies big money power brokers. It is a laughable generalization, and a word most Republicans would never use, which is exactly why I chose it.

6/02/2008 01:33:00 PM  

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