"Kelly Thomas is Like Our Orange County Rodney King:" OC Supervisor Todd Spitzer
For the second time, Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer could not muster up enough votes from his board colleagues to pass an ordinance that would hold adults accountable for underage drinking on their property. But Spitzer is not blaming his fellow Supes for Tuesday's rejection, he's blaming you of little faith in law enforcement, something that came to a head (sorry) with the police beating death of homeless soul Kelly Thomas.
"Kelly Thomas is like our Orange County Rodney King," Spitzer explained. "That did not help this debate."
He's got a point. Defense attorney John Barnett, who is representing Manuel Ramos, the fired Fullerton cop accused of murdering Thomas, represented LAPD Officer Theodore Briseno in the King case.
And when it comes to demographics, if Orange County was to have a Rodney King, it makes sense he would not be African American, although you'd think he would have a Hispanic surname.
Skin color and Orange County-based cop defenders are not what made former cop and prosecutor Spitzer compare King and Kelly (R.I.P. to both).
"It's very fashionable now to be anti-police," Spitzer remarked to a City News Service reporter after the Board of Supervisors meeting in Santa Ana. "... I think in a weird way that was a significant influence" in defeating his so-called Social Host Ordinance.
He added he does not believe his fellow board members are anti-cop. One actually sounded more tea baggy in her rationale for no one seconding Spitzer's motion for the kind of law that is in place in 30 states and more than 100 California cities, including Orange, Irvine, La Habra, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo, Garden Grove and Huntington Beach.
Supervisor Patricia Bates, while praising Spitzer's "passion" for stemming underage boozing, said many of her constituents are concerned about "government infringing on their rights." She advocated more public education to build support for a Social Host Ordinance.
As for Spitzer, he is now prepared to take a page from his arch enemy District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (who fired then-prosecutor Spitzer). After the Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance Rackauckas co-authored to bar registered sex offenders from county parks and recreational areas, the DA went city to city in Orange County to lobby for local ordinances modeled after the county's Child Safety Zones law.
Spitzer tells City News Service he will take his case to each city in the county for his Social Host Ordinance, which would subject a first-time offender to a $750 fine and misdemeanor charges to repeat offenders.