Spitzer comes out of the closet; calls for Carona Resignation

I must be getting old.

In a letter to the editor in today’s OC Register, state rep. Todd Spitzer announced that he has called for Sheriff Mike Carona’s resignation on federal corruption charges.

The letter started as a rant to an opinion piece by Steve Greenhut, but I nearly spit out my coffee when Spitzer said he’s called for Sheriff Mike to turn in the keys in the past tense, like this is old news or something. I’ve read every story on the Carona indictment and just don’t remember any public statement by Spitzer calling for the sheriff’s head.

When did he do that?

Here’s the text of the letter:

Editorial writer Steven Greenhut reviewed the 2007 Sheriff Mike Carona indictment [“Freedom Index 2007,” Dec. 30] and, again, misstates the Orange County Republican Party’s position, which is mixed. I have called on the sheriff to resign his office. Even if the sheriff beats the charges, it will be impossible for him to lead our largest law enforcement agency.

My testimony against Supervisor John Moorlach’s proposal to remove indicted county elected officials from office was not a newly found double standard. It was based on a consistent principle of due process of law and for judicial oversight in this area of law. Moorlach was seeking authority to remove any indicted official – not just the sheriff – and that was a dangerous power for politicians to possess.

An indictment is the government’s statement of what it believes it can prove at trial. As a former prosecutor with almost 100 jury trials under my belt, I know that trial evidence is often different from what is alleged; the government sometimes gets it wrong. Second, a legislative body like the Board of Supervisors is designed to be a political body where compromise is expected. [Hard to do when they are all conservative Republicans – Dan]

The appropriate branch of government to judge Carona is the judicial branch, where precedent and rules of law govern. We have seen outrage calling for hasty action before. In 1995, two former Orange County supervisors were indicted by the grand jury and were later cleared, as a matter of law, by the Court of Appeal for their role in the county’s bankruptcy.

The Register continues to write that it stands for freedom, and the column is headlined, “The Freedom Index 2007.” Freedom includes not being tried in the press. This is what District Attorney Mike Nifong dangerously accomplished against three college students in Durham, North Carolina, only to drop charges once exonerating DNA and other evidence were finally disclosed. Maybe Greenhut could put his biases aside to understand that three separate branches of government exist, and the media is not one of them.

My prediction for 2008: Greenhut will continue to misconstrue fact to spin when it serves his purposes to criticize O.C. law enforcement.

– Todd Spitzer of Orange

Assemblyman for the 71st Assembly District

Quite a letter. While Todd is busy admonishing Greenhut, he might want to try not talking from both sides of his mouth as political figures are very likely to try issues in the press. On one side, he thinks Sheriff Mike should resign while on the other side, using language and examples by Pro-Carona supporters (i.e. citing the Duke Rape case) as examples of prosectorial misconduct. Nice fence straddling Todd.

Now, LibOC readers, I’ve been looking and I have yet to find a reference of Todd Spitzer calling on Mike Carona to resign. If you have a reference, please send it because my quick canvass on this issue has turned up squat. Nice photos of Todd and the Sheriff in the Multimedia section of Todd’s website though.

  16 comments for “Spitzer comes out of the closet; calls for Carona Resignation

  1. peanutbutter
    January 2, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Not to be nitpicky, but that’s not past tense. That’s present perfect. (Past perfect would be “had called.”) This may well BE his call for Carona to resign and he’s just being falutin’ with his language…or else he’s happy to rewrite history too, who knows.

    Oh, and as long as I’m being nitpicky, you forgot to close the bold at the end of the quoted letter… 😀

  2. Anonymous
    January 2, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Does Assemblymember Spitzer have his eyes on becoming Sheriff? I guess it might take longer to indict and convict the D.A. It’s funny how things can change in politics. Mike Carona endorsed Spitzer for the State Assembly.

    Dan, you are right, these are nice pictures of Spitzer with Carona: http://republican.assembly.ca.gov/members/a71/Images/pic31_awards6.jpg

  3. Todd Spitzer
    January 2, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    I was very clear that Carona should resign when I was interviewed by John and Ken on KFI either the same day I went to the Supervisors meeting or within a day or two of my testimony.

    My stating he should resign is not new news.

  4. January 2, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    When did the John and Ken show become Todd Sptizer’s Press Office?

  5. RHackett
    January 2, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    I can’t say if Todd’s comments are an indication. But I know of at least a dozen people who have quit their subscriptions because of Greenhut’s writings. Given the OC Register is losing 3% – 5% a year in circulation it won’t be too much longer before it and the Greenhut are gone for good.

  6. Anonymous
    January 2, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    Greenhut has become an equal-opportunity offender since he switched kool-aid. It’s Martin Wisckol who has become the new GOP mouthpiece for the OC Register.

  7. Dan Chmielewski
    January 2, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Gosh Todd, I didn’t realize that John and Ken were your “spokesholes.”

    They are entertainers, not serious journalists (don’t blame me for this description, this is how Chuck DeVore profiles Limbaugh and Hannity all the time and John and Ken are in the same loud boat).

    And it is “news” that you only announced this on their show and in your letter today but didn’t issue a news release to the rest of the general press corps; or perhaps you did, but your webmaster hasn’t gotten around to posting a new news release since May?!?! Careful now, we don’t want to upset the OC GOP Machine.

    And your comparison of the Carona case to Nifong and the Duke Rape case is totally laughable and downright dishonest coming from someone with more than 100 jury trials under their belt.

    I have to laugh that your criticize Greenhut for his “bias” while going on the “unbiased” John and Ken show. Pot, meet Kettle.

  8. Todd Spitzer
    January 3, 2008 at 5:56 am

    Dear Dan (also posted on Red County blog),

    All my statements about any issues surrounding Mike Carona have been made in public on the record. The LA Times reported (David Reyes) that the DA and I believed that Carona needed to take a leave of absence. That was reported by Reyes on November 3rd, 2007 in the OC edition front page story in the California section “DA calls on Carona to go on leave.” I was quoted as follows:

    “Assemblyman Todd Spitzer (R-Orange) joined the chorus Friday, agreeing with Rackauckas that ‘there’s no way’ Carona could run the department and simultaneously wage his court battle. ‘If he wants to fight the charges, that’s his right,’ Spitzer said. ‘But if this were a rank-and-file employee, they would have to be on administrative leave. He should take administrative leave.'”

    Both the DA and I said the same thing on Tuesday, November 6th, 2007 at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

    My interview with John and Ken was that same day:

    As of this posting, the interview is still listed in their archives.

    I have not issued any press releases on my opinions about Sheriff Carona. All my statements have already been a matter of public record and have been widely distributed as shown above.

    I have been frank and honest about my assessment of the Carona situation. I, like to so many others who called Mike Carona their friend, am deeply saddened by this situation–both for the Carona’s and their son, Matt, as well as for the entire County of Orange. I am not pleased about having to comment about this; I testified at the Board because I believed the action item to remove indicted officials was overreaching based on an allegation. John and Ken beat me up pretty good interpreting my objection to removal for an indictment as defending Carona (too complicated for talk radio, I suppose). But I also know that these type of allegations most likely mean that Carona will not recover professionally and will likely make it impossible for him to ever lead the Sheriff’s Department again if he were to come back after beating the US Attorney’s charges.

    For those of us who believe in law enforcement and have our roots in law enforcement this is a complicated and sad state of events. But to defend law enforcement you have to stand up and point out when there are errors or lack of judgements that result in public trust issues. This is not just about Mike Carona; this is about what impact his actions may have or may not have on law enforcement and public safety issues in the months and years ahead. I was taught this in the police academy 17 years ago and I believe it the same today. Actions by police–in public or in private–effect the public’s perception of one of government’s most important powers. Any abuse by one, reflects on all. Mike Carona’s resignation, under these circumstances, seems to be the appropriate remedy.

  9. Dan Chmielewski
    January 3, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Thanks Todd for documenting the LA Times piece, but I construe “administrative leave” and resignation as two different things. I’ll post a more thorough response after my morning meetings.

  10. Dan Chmielewski
    January 3, 2008 at 9:57 am

    “But to defend law enforcement you have to stand up and point out when there are errors or lack of judgements that result in public trust issues. This is not just about Mike Carona; this is about what impact his actions may have or may not have on law enforcement and public safety issues in the months and years ahead.”

    So Todd, are you so willing to admit an error in judgement as a member of the BOS when Carona made the case for elevating Jaramillo and Haidl to lofty positions in the department. How do you resolve the case Carona made for his guys then with the scapegoating of the same two men now?

    I also think when you make announcements such as you did on John and Ken” you probably should have issued a more formal statement on the case. I check around before posting this and no one seemed to remember your position on this much before your Letter to the Editor.

    That all aside, I do commend for you speaking out. So many of your Republican peers are silent on the Carona case. Either too afraid to tick off Mike Scroeder or involking Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment (Thou shall never speak ill of another Republican).

  11. Dan Chmielewski
    January 3, 2008 at 11:24 am

    And to be nitpicky, even our friends at Red County seem to be unaware you had called for the Sherriff to resign as well.

  12. Steven Greenhut
    January 3, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Todd is spinning here. He knows there’s a huge difference between a leave of absense and resignation. I will revisit Todd’s interview on John and Ken when I get back from vacation, but I recall him being ridiculed by the radio hosts for refusing to call for Carona to resign, but instead calling for him to step aside temporarily.

  13. Dan Chmielewski
    January 3, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Todd posted this response over at Red County:

    “On the Friday before the Supervisors meeting I thought I went far enough in calling for Mike Carona to take a leave of absence. Over the course of the next week and repeated discussions and deliberations–especially after debating John and Ken for an hour about the Moorlach proposal which called for Supervisors’ ability to remove an indicted official from office (while excluding themselves; Norby later insisted that the measure apply to Supervisors as well or he could not support it) and then listening to John Ziegler’s profound and intense analysis distinguishing between the criminal procedures versus the court of public opinion (which fairly or unfairly judges all of us electeds) I was moved to go even further in my position supporting resignation.

    I admit that my position evolved over the course of several days as I was biased in my personal feelings for the Sheriff as a friend and the ability to see with more clarity as I listened to the difficult and tortious discussion about his alleged misconduct in office and the overall harm it could do for OC law enforcement for possibly the next decade.”

    So now we go from Todd saying he was “very clear “that Carona should resign to admitting his position “evolved over the course of several days.” And Todd can be biased in his personal feelings for the Sheriff but Steve Greenhut is admonished for alledged bias.

    I have to wonder Todd, did you read any of Moxely’s coverage about the sheriff over the course of the past few years? Did you bother to ask the Sheriff if there was any substance to it or did you dismiss the stories as biased chattle from the publication with all the stripper ads?

    I, for one, can’t wait to hear the audiotapes between Carona and Haidl.

  14. Andrew Skog
    January 9, 2008 at 11:38 am

    I am just a taxpayer and a voter. Some of my votes I regret but my vote for Carona I do not. I believe that he is innocent and should stay in office until he has had an opportunity to defend himself.. The OC Weekly to me ranks lower than the National Inquirer . Moxley needs to come out with who his source has been for all the smut he has printed about the sheriff and I think it is probably traced back to Jaramillo. John and Ken using the OC Weekly as their source ranks them even lower. John and Ken can be idiots. The Feds can be politically motivated and overly aggressive. I want to hear the facts not all the mud and slime that has been dredged up.

  15. RHackett
    January 9, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I love the Carona supporters. None of them are willing to address the issue of the man’s character vis a vis his infidelity.

  16. Chris
    January 14, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Well of course not; questions of character and intergrity are reserved for Democrats. BTW, has anyone addressed how absolutely creepy and menage-e-tois-ish it is that the wife and mistress hip-to-hip? Carona is proabably just well hung (after all, he is Italian).

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