Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Little Primer On Corruption

Today Tracy Wood, veteran reporter who made her bones covering the Vietnam War up close and personal, wrote a piece in the Voice of OC, HERE, that will be very interesting reading for those of us who follow politics.

In her piece, The Ingredients of Corrupt Governments, Wood describes several characteristics of government corruption, regardless the level of government.  I found it fascinating reading and I overlayed some local government issues as I quickly scanned the screen. (Photo courtesy of Voice of OC)

She begins with this paragraph: "Corruption doesn't happen by accident.  Here's a rundown of tools used worldwide by corrupt leaders."Without plagiarizing her work, here are some captions with my comments:

Patronage and its siblings, nepotism and cronyism.
Uh, huh.  And, I wonder where we might have seen this characteristic?

Secrecy, one of the most valuable tools of a corrupt government.
Although our local government touts "transparency", it's clear from watching it work that much is already decided before it ever hits the light of day.

Attacking and even shutting down a free press.
Hmmm, this has a very familiar ring to it.  As a person who is a part of that "free press", it's clear to me that some people in charge work very hard at keeping important issues from being discussed in the open and reported by the press.  Those of us who DO manage to report on controversial issues are vilified for our efforts.

Cash, gifts or assets handed or promised to a government official...
Well, I have absolutely NO proof that anything like that has ever happened in Costa Mesa.... yet.

Well, now... this is a whole different matter.  No bid contracts, consultants filling positions, sweetheart deals for campaign contributors... all that has a very familiar ring to it.

Financial accountability.
The 60th Anniversary Celebration fiasco... 'nuff said.

Election Fraud.
This one is tricky.... how do you count the late presence of a person who has absolutely no chance in an election, but may appear on the ballot to syphon off votes made based only on gender?  Is it "fraud"?  Probably not, but...

One-sided justice.
Does this apply to the very special relationship the Orange County District Attorney's Office has with certain local politicians?  Do the scales of justice balance fairly in our area, where we prosecute a person for vandalizing $15.00 worth of campaign signs, yet ignore tens of thousands of dollars of probable misuse of public funds on an unnecessary city party?

Keeping voters at a distance.
Take some time to read Wood's take on this issue.  Ethics is a cornerstone here and some of our local politicians have summarily rejected a City Ethics Policy with no reason given.

Deliberately running yes-men - and now women - for office.
Take a moment and think about our last couple campaign seasons, the people who ran and those who were appointed to commissions and committees.

Read it and contemplate...
As you read through Wood's piece and the linked resources I suspect you'll find yourself overlaying local circumstances in many instances.  Enjoy.

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Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Its like they are writing specifically about Costa Mesa.

4/30/2015 07:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

What's with the alleged bullying by the CM car wash guy? Is he a rigbot?

4/30/2015 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Well, Mr. Singh has a history in Costa Mesa. One of the VERY interesting events had to do with a "campaign contribution" to Gary Monahan - who had annointed Mr. Singh with the Mayor's Award. Read what I wrote here at the time:

4/30/2015 11:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Bodiegirl198 said...

Sounds like just another day in Costa Mesa

4/30/2015 11:30:00 AM  
Anonymous It has to be said...

Would "keeping voters at a distance" include Riggy's mailers putting him on a "Democrat" slate with Jerry Brown, and touting support from law enforcement by buying his own mailer called "COPS"?

4/30/2015 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Wow. What is it with friends and supporters of the council majority?

This car wash crony of Monahan's might soon be "Singh-ing" a different tune...

P.S. Interesting that in the comments under that post, your old pal Krochman seemed to be standing up for what was right. How things have changed.

4/30/2015 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Racism, bullying, attacking public safety, cronyism, money "irregularities": All business as usual for OCGOP and its Costa Mesa sell-out partners.

4/30/2015 02:55:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

An interesting article indeed. The comment that caught my attention was “Secrecy, one of the most valuable tools of a corrupt government.”

While the Brown Act and the Public Records Act are designed to keep elected officials accountable, there are other organizations that operate in darkness. A good example is the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association (or is it the Costa Mesa Police Association?)

According to, the last tax return they filed was for the year ended December 31, 2012.

But according to their website, their 2015 Fundraising Drive is underway. There you’ll find a slick marketing piece designed as a mailer referencing their “community-oriented mission.”

What’s on the marketing piece in interesting. But what’s not on the piece or anywhere on the website I could find is that they are not a 501(c)(3) charity but a 501(c)(5) – a labor organization. Accordingly donations are not tax deductible. Wonder how many folks filed incorrect tax returns assuming they were a charity?

Once again from their website, “Every year the Costa Mesa Police Association donates money and time to benefit numerous charities, groups and organizations in the Costa Mesa area.” How much do they donate? According to their tax return for 2012, they had revenues of $179,307 and spent $2,612 on “Community Participation.” That same year they paid attorneys $119,472 in attorney fees.

What has become public about how they operate is disappointing. What we don’t know might be terrifying.

4/30/2015 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Sounds like "Team Dave" as "David" is attacking public safety for a change. Everyone knows OCGOP agents Riggy and Mensy sued our cops. No wonder the association's lawyer bills took up all that revenue. Still, that's nothing in comparison to the 7 figures squandered on attorney's fees by the city under OCGOP occupation.

4/30/2015 05:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

I'm not sure how the CMPOA could be terrifying. The revenues they receive come mainly from dues paid by police officers. Their major expenses would be legal because they defend members accused of wrongdoing, like any union. That is what unions are for.

4/30/2015 08:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Thanks Dave. I am certain to donate to the CMPOA now, even though I've not received any such flyers.

5/01/2015 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Teresa Drain said...


Ok I'll bite - please send the link to the tax returns. I would like to compare the years before the 2012 lawsuit. It makes sense that the association would have a huge hit for the lawsuit. I wonder just how much that affected their charitable contributions.

I agree with you, I am not a fan of organizations that operate in the dark or hide their intent, like a family values PAC or a taxpayers' advocate that does not investigate taxpayer waste.

5/01/2015 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

A few rebuttal comments and then I’ll move on.,,

“Sounds like "Team Dave" as "David" is attacking public safety for a change.”

Anyone who knows me knows that I campaigned against Righeimer in the last election and wrote checks to Jay and Katrina. As Yogi Berra would say, “You can look it up.” (Or was it Ralph Kiner?)

“Everyone knows OCGOP agents Riggy and Mensy sued our cops. No wonder the association's lawyer bills took up all that revenue.”

The numbers came from the 2012 tax return. The lawsuit was not filed until 2013.
It’s my understanding only the union has been sued. If you can name an officer sued by the Council members , please let us know. Otherwise, please stop repeating this falsehood.

“Their major expenses would be legal because they defend members accused of wrongdoing, like any union.”

Was any CM police officer sued in 2012 in connection with his or her duties? I know of no one and any such claims would be in the public record.

“I'm not sure how the CMPOA could be terrifying.”

Terrifying may be over the top. But what has been made public is disturbing enough. Isn’t discussing how to entrap and extort your elected officials enough for you?

If an officer is willing to entrap elected officers what makes you think they wouldn’t entrap you if it fit their purposes? What hasn’t been disclosed? Since the union is spending countless dollars in attorney fees to prevent discovery, isn’t it reason to assume there’s something to hide?

I, of course, don’t know if anything illegal took place. But I, and I hope the community hold law enforcement to a higher ethical standard than we've seen recently.

5/01/2015 02:30:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

The website is You may need to register to see the returns but it's free.

Legal fees were $90,253 in 2011 and $62,080 in 2010.

5/01/2015 02:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

This is exactly what's been happening in Costa Mesa since the OCGOP and its minions moved in (for the kill). Talk about a "playbook"!!

5/01/2015 03:09:00 PM  

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