Two years ago, as this blog was getting its footing on solid ground, I had lunch with someone close to the Orange County political scene who is actually very neutral.Â We got on the subject of Irvine politics.Â He questioned why there was such a rift between Council members Christina Shea and Larry Agran. noting the vast different in their political styles and intellects.Â The answer was elusive but can likely be found in the high propensity of Republicans to Democrats in OC.
Shea is running for Mayor; if she loses, she’s termed out.Â One might wonder how I can equate Shea with Alaska governor Sarah Palin.Â Its pretty simple; she’s not afraid to use the power of her office to settle a personal grudge as this 1999 LA Times column details.
More after the jump:
From the story:
A City Council colleague has sought a district attorneyÂ investigation into whether Shea broke any laws by leaving voicemailÂ messages threatening to get tough with the cityâ€™s Police Department overÂ her daughterâ€™s drug-related arrest. I say itâ€™s not even a closeÂ call.
Arrogance, misuse of authority, disrespect for the criminalÂ justice system, false accusations, pettiness and anÂ old-fashioned Iâ€™ll-show-them-whoâ€™s-mayor attitude do not constitute criminalÂ conduct.
But they sure leave the mayor with a lot of explaining to do. SheÂ has most of the Police Department mad as blazes at her, with goodÂ reason.
From a story about Palin in SFGate.com:
Â The former Alaska public safety commissioner who refused to fire a state trooper embroiled in a domestic dispute with Gov. Sarah Palin’s sister says he holds no grudge, but still believes the GOP vice presidential nominee is too thin-skinned for the job she hopes to fill.….
Back to the LA Times story on Shea:
The cops are also outraged that she took a swipe at all of them withÂ a broad brush: â€œThe Police Department and how they deal with peopleÂ is really patheticâ€ â€¦ â€œIf they lie about this theyâ€™ll certainlyÂ lie about everybody else over thereâ€ â€¦ â€œIt doesnâ€™t make me want toÂ defend that department at allâ€ â€¦ â€œThe problem is [this case] is going toÂ be a real attack on the Police Department and Iâ€™m not going to back downÂ on it atÂ all.â€
City Councilman Larry Agran is upset too. Shea accuses him onÂ the voicemail of leaking the news about her daughterâ€™s arrest to theÂ media. (He denies it.) The only â€œevidenceâ€ she provides in theÂ voicemail, though, is her assertion that â€œthis is his mode of operation.â€Â But evidence or not, Shea vows to Christensenâ€™s voicemail that â€œLarryÂ Agran will meet my wrath.â€ And â€ â€¦ heâ€™s going to have to learn aÂ lesson.â€
All this strikes me as unfair, but not worthy of hanging the mayorÂ in effigy. What is highly disturbing to me are voicemail comments whereÂ she appears to make threats that she could carry out only as anÂ elected official of influence. Such as: â€ â€¦ itâ€™s just not going to goÂ well for the chief [Brobeck] and Jim Blaylock [a top police commander]â€ andÂ â€ â€¦ Iâ€™m going to get very tough about thisâ€ and â€ â€¦ we need toÂ take this toÂ task.â€
When you see the four voicemail messages as a whole, you get aÂ picture of a public official unafraid to use her clout if things donâ€™t goÂ her way.
Back to the SFGate article on Palin:
Shortly before McCain picked her as his running mate, Palin herself said she had fired Monegan because he wasn’t filling vacant trooper jobs quickly enough, wasn’t dealing with alcohol abuse among troopers and “did not turn out to be a team player on budgeting issues.”
No matter how it plays out, Monegan says that as far as he’s concerned, the trooper case has highlighted a character flaw in the would-be veep.
“Inside all of us, we have our likes and dislikes,” he said. “But when it comes time for doing official business, you put those back in the personal corner.
“Your motivator may be your heart, but your rudder should be your mind.”
In some respects, Shea’s behavior of “an upset mother” closely mimics the unhinged John McCain.Â But still, there is no excuse for using the power of one’s office to settle a personal grudge.Â And if Shea returns to the Mayor’s chair, I fear for the city staff that will have to deal with her mood swings.
“She apparently has difficulty compartmentalizing personal feelings from official acts,” said Walter Monegan, who spent 33 years in the Anchorage Police Department – five years as chief – before Palin named him as the state public safety commissioner late in 2006.
Monegan says that – contrary to the governor’s assertions – he believes his own firing by Palin in July was the result of his refusal to bow to pressure from her and her family to get rid of the trooper, Palin’s ex-brother-in-law Mike Wooten.