Mike Carona Still Isn't Serving as a Cautionary Tale for SoCal Law Enforcement

Illustration by Bill Hunt
Policing authority is an ego boost. Just ask Mike Carona. Around a year before the FBI arrested the Orange County sheriff for corruption in 2007, Carona showed up at a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department facility with a four- or five-SUV entourage. South Central-hardened LA deputies who observed the arrival assumed a Secret Service detail had accompanied then-Vice President Dick Cheney. But OC's top cop--a glad-handing politician and career bureaucrat who'd never made a single arrest in his life--jumped out of a government vehicle amid heavy guard, a scene that prompted laughter at the absurd grandiosity.

From pampered office-holder to convicted felon (circa 2009), Carona's fall is now the stuff of history. U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford issued a term of 66 months in prison and, in one of the most noble and necessary stern sentencing lectures in county history, slammed the disgraced cop for thinking he was above the law. Lying officers weren't tolerated in his courtroom, Guilford told a man who clearly didn't think he would serve a minute in prison. Following his conviction and on the way to the penitentiary, Carona earned a second identity: Inmate 45335-112.

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Slippery Loretta Sanchez Darts By TV News Crew After Making Native American Gaffe

Run, Loretta, Run!
Less than 48 hours into her U.S. Senate campaign, Loretta Sanchez made two, unforced gaffes and topped off the embarrassments by providing what could be the most inadvertently hilarious footage in the Democratic Party primary to replace retiring Barbara Boxer.

Sanchez first tried to tell a story to a gathering of native Americans at the state party's convention in Anaheim this weekend. The 19-year congresswoman tapped her hand on her mouth and said, "Woo! Woo! Woo! Woo!"--the stereotypical battle cry of attacking Indian warriors. Her lame punchline served to distinguish American Indians and individuals from India.

A native American in the crowd wasn't amused and gave reporters his cell phone video of what he viewed as Sanchez's offensive remarks.

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Recall Threat Gets Judge Kelly's Irish Up!

The Daily Journal (used with permission)
Don't hate on Judge M. Marc Kelly because he's Irish.
Orange County Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly has responded publicly for the first time to the recall campaign being mounted against him for what has been perceived to be a light sentence given to the 20-year-old rapist of a child--with Hizzoner managing to even work in his beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish into his plea to voters.

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Huntington Beach Activist's Voter Initiative Would End Alimony in California

Photo by flickr user Dr. John C. Bullas
Let him eat cake.
A Huntington Beach software consultant has received permission from California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to collect signatures for a voter initiative aimed at ending alimony.

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Irvine Seeks Contempt Charge Against Ex-Mayor For Evading Great Park Questions

OC Weekly photo
Agran: He wants the right to remain silent about how he wasted Great Park project money
The City of Irvine has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to issue a contempt order against former mayor Larry Agran for refusing to answer questions under oath about financial benefits he may have received from Orange County Great Park contractors when he controlled the $1.6 billion project.

Anthony R. Taylor, the city's special counsel, filed the superior court case this week in hopes of forcing Agran, a 1992 Democratic Party presidential primary candidate, to field questions he adamantly refused to answer during a March deposition.

Failure to obey a court order could result in jail time.

Agran--a lawyer and longtime boss of a political machine that ran Irvine and its proposed Great Park project for 12 years until 2012--has had troubled explaining how he spent $250 million in taxpayer funds without building a single, major planned feature.

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San Diego Politician Seeks To Undermine OC Great Park Audit

In Legally Blonde 2, Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) works to pass anti-animal testing legislation. But her sly boss, a congresswoman (Sally Fields), secretly sabotages the effort on behalf of a money-hungry campaign contributor. Though naïve and ditsy, Woods uses her charm to turn once contemptuous politicians into admirers, wins a new law and everybody, including her Chihuahua Bruiser, lives happily ever after.

It's a feel good Hollywood tale that doesn't quite mirror reality, at least in Sacramento. On April 22, Assemblywoman Lorena S. Gonzalez tried to play the role of an Elle Woods-type do-gooder by advocating that the state auditor open an investigation into the City of Irvine. Her issue? In a rambling, semi-coherent statement, Gonzalez said the legislature has "a responsibility" to determine if the audit of Orange County Great Park spending was performed "for political reasons."

The reason for the audit is obvious. Flabbergasted Irvine residents wanted to know how city officials spent about $250 million in park funds without building a single, major, promised feature of the proposed project. And the answer is most definitely political, but not the way Gonzalez is spinning the issue.

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Tainted Irvine Democrats Hope Sacramento Pals Will Rescue Them In Great Park Scandal

Luke McGarry / OC Weekly
Ever want to see politicians simultaneously argue two sides of one stance--and pretend they are consistent? Go to Irvine and see Beth Krom and Larry Agran in action. More than a year ago, Krom and Agran devised a two-pronged communications strategy to undermine the independent audit of how their political machine spent in excess of $200 million without building a single, major, promised feature at the Orange County Great Park.

The first prong involved trying to rile up the public by describing the audit as a waste of taxpayer funds, which was never a concern when their machine ran the proposed park and handed out $165,000 a month in no bid, no benchmark contracts to their own political consultants. Booted from power by 2012 voters, the pair suddenly discovered the notion of frugality.

Once one of California's largest and most anticipated public works projects, the Great Park idea under the leadership of Krom and Agran devolved into a cesspool of incompetence, mismanagement and cronyism you'd expect from two local politicians, one a housewife and the other a lawyer who has never held a private sector job, pretending they possessed the expertise to create a $1.6 billion, "world class" park.

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OCDA #2 Susan Kang Schroeder Responds to OC Bar Association Slamming OCDA: UPDATE

Media pool photo by the Los Angeles Times
Judge Goethals

UPDATE #1, MARCH 31, 3:31 P.M.: OCDA spokesperson Susan Kang Schroeder issued the following statement regarding the Orange County Bar Association's public rebuke yesterday of her boss, Tony Rackauckas. Roll the tape!

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Final Audit Report Shows Larry Agran's Great Park Plan Was A Debacle From Outset

Agran's "Great" Park had everything but the flying monkeys buzzing Munchkinland
Twelve years ago, Larry Agran, Irvine's career politician and mayor who'd never built anything, issued bold statements about his ability to build a "world-class" government park at the mothballed Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, and people, especially journalists, believed him.

"Move over, Manhattan," wrote an excited Christian Science Monitor reporter in April 2003. "Stand aside San Francisco. In Orange County, the final hurdle has been cleared for a 'county great park' that will exceed the size of Central Park and Golden Gate Park put together."

The reporter--who didn't know the mayor and his political scheming actually would be the final hurdles--went on to echo the mayor's oral machinations, declaring that "the area is considered America's leading laboratory of 'post suburbia' . . . "

Agran also provided the money quote, "We are finally moving forward with a plan that will transform the future of Orange County."

In pure Agranista form, the paper unquestioningly repeated his biggest lie in the title to a chapter in the article: "No cost to citizens."

Add you own exclamation point!

Those of us who for 12 years closely watched Agran and his Democratic political machine operate dictatorial control over the project didn't fall for the empty hype. Their operatives received lucrative, no-bid contracts for a public park that didn't yet exist. They wasted nearly $50 million on a park design plan that was laughably unattainable--a huge, man-made canyon and waterfalls!--the moment it landed on paper. Paranoid of being caught in various scandals, they treated park records with NSA-type secrecy. Agran conducted park spending business through his wife's private email account. Despite claiming otherwise, they planned to use a special tax scheme to boost park coffers until Gov. Jerry Brown killed such tactics. They ran fake Republican candidates to dilute their opponents' election strength. After years and years of spending several hundred million dollars without building a single, major promised feature, the Agran alliance finally lost power in 2012.

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ACLU Sues to Create District Elections in Fullerton on Behalf of Asian-American Voters

Categories: Elections

Buchanan-Hermit via Wikipedia Commons
Fullerton city hall...as ugly as Cal State Fullerton

The American Civil Liberties Union has its next OC city in sight for district elections. Fresh off a victory in Anaheim in November, the ACLU is now suing Fullerton. The current at-large system for electing city council members there is accused of disenfranchising Asian-Americans. Cue the next cheesy slogan for the next year or so: It's time to get it done, Fullerton!

But who'll be doing the winning?

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