In Defense of Frank Barbaro or “What Fleischman Criticism of Carona?”

DPOC chair Frank Barbaro was a guest on Rick Reiff’s InsideOC program on KOCE this weekend and there was a considerable  discussion about the Mike Carona case. 

With Jon Fleischman as a guest, what the former Carona insider said should have been the focus, but there seems to more emphasis on what Frank Barbaro said which seemed to be a defense.  Frank said the media convicted Carona, which is true, and the media was also right.  Frank essentially admited he didn’t follow the trial and didn’t know the evidence and then alluded to his friendship with Debbie Carona through their mutual work on the OC Fair Board (a position Mrs. Carona quietly resigned from a short time ago). Frank expressed his admiration for the judge and felt the judge arrived at the appropriate sentence. 

I can’t say that’s a defense of Carona, but I can say it seemed like Frank stated one small bit of opinion (which is true and the media was right about Carona) and reiterated facts on the case. Yep, the jury convicted the disgraced ex-sheriff on one count.  He’s friends with Debbie Carona.  He respects the judge and thought the sentence was fair. 

Flesichman’s rambling statement that the jury saw a “something we didn’t see” and they quickly agreed with Moxley that “the way Mike handled himself after the verdict andin the trial, um, clearly wasn’t appropriate,andclearly, ultimately (he)may spend a couple of extra years pondering his extended stay and wondering if that was the reason.”  Frank then chimed in that “you don’t do victory laps after you’ve been convicted of a felony.”

So I’d encourage folks to take another look at the program and listen to what was said at  Barbaro doesn’t defendCarona, but does opine that the media convicted him (which I’d agree with him but also add the media — in particular OC Weekly was right; the untold story is what took the Register so long to get on board with Moxley’s stellar reporting). 

Flesichman admits the jury saw a side of Carona “we didn’t see” (some insider huh?); Fleischman fails to address his mistake in his long standing blind support of Carona even suggesting on his blog that OCWeekly was behind most of this misinformation.  But Fleischman’s statements can hardly be considered criticism of his main man crush.

  13 comments for “In Defense of Frank Barbaro or “What Fleischman Criticism of Carona?”

  1. May 11, 2009 at 11:50 am

    And yet what Fleischman said was harder-hitting than Barbaro. Give it up, Dan: this shilling is beneath you.

  2. May 11, 2009 at 11:53 am

    And of course there would be more focus on what Frank said than Fleischman. Everyone knows Fleischman is a shameless shill who can’t admit the truth; never thought Barbaro would lean toward the same thinking.

  3. May 11, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Gustavo — go back to the videotape. Frank said the he thought the media convicted Carona (they did; we certainly did here too); can we agree on that? Frank said he didn’t see all the evidence. Carona was convicted on only one count. He was friends with Debbie Carona from their time together on the OC Fair Board. Fact. Fact. Fact.

    Frank admitted respect for the judge and felt the sentence was proper. Did I get anything wrong there? So how is any of this a defense of Carona?

    Yet you let Fleischman skate with a stumbling and bumbling non-criticism of his old boss and with an agreement with Moxley that Carona’s post-convicted celebration was inappropriate. Duh! Moxley nailed it.

    This isn’t shilling. I watched the tape online. I rewound it to make sure I heard what Frank said. I think you overreacted to it.

  4. R. Scott Moxley
    May 11, 2009 at 4:33 pm


    When I heard the chairman of the OC Dems utter those words about the media convicting Carona I was surprised because the line mirrored the number one talking point for the Alice in Wonderland, Republican pro-Carona crowd prior to the sheriff’s felony conviction and sentencing.

    At this point, it seems to me that Frank should explain exactly what he meant.

  5. Steve Perez
    May 12, 2009 at 4:39 am

    It was kinda disheartening and disgusting to hear the Chair of my county party, diminish the conviction of that scumbag by insinuating that it was only natural after the “media unanimously convicted him”. The Democrats of OC expected him to come out swinging against that felon and the corruption he stood for and instead we got a Chair that matter-a-factly states that he was “only convicted on one charge”. And why? Because he serves on a board (which btw is infamous for getting loads of legal bribes in the form of stadium and arena viewing boxes and the like) with Carona’s wife? This is poor leadership.

  6. May 12, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Mox — you were there. Two seats away from him. You should have asked him to explain himself. I don’t find fault with Frank correctly stating that Carona had been convicted by the media because nobody did a better job reporting the facts than you did. And this blog supported your coverage and piled on. So yes, I agree that Carona was convicted by the media but Frank never called you guys liars like Fleischman did. But to me, what Frank said pails in response to Fleischman’s “The jury saw something about Carona we (I) didn’t see.” Some insider.

  7. Pat Pasco
    May 12, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    I have been following this blog and the oc weekly coverage of the carona trial and the dpoc activities via this blog for about three years now. This is my first time commenting.

    I think that Frank Barbaros comments on the treatment of Carona is slightly off. I also was very taaken back by his lamenting the treatment of Carona and his wife. These two peple violated the publics trust and faith. For Mr barbaro to defend Carona is disturbing to me. If I were part of his organization I would be serioulsy looking into replacing him.

    Scott Moxely and Gustavo are right on the money dan. You are clearly shilling for Mr Barbaro. I am assuming this is due to partisan loyalty you both being democrats and. But like Gustavo said, this kind of shilling is beneath you.

  8. May 12, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    I saw that, and was sort of troubled by the whole thing, too. Not so much by the Democratic Party hack, because, who cares what he thinks, really? Carona WAS guilty, he was sentenced, so …

    But I really wanted to hear how Fleischman addressed the issue. Not only did he work for Carona, he’s now seen as some sort of leader in the political party.

    The whole “jury saw a side of him we didn’t” seemed a little lame. I know about this case from reading OC Weekly’s GREAT coverage, so I was waiting for Moxley to say “you must have been the only insider to not see the naked photos…” at least!

    I also wanted the conversation to touch on the bigger issue, how can these people slimed by corruption — Fleischman was a party leader before working for the sheriff — continue to be party insiders? Isn’t that the more important, larger issue?

    In the end, unfortunately, the show came off as the sort of thing you’d see on public access television one afternoon.

  9. glass house
    May 12, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    It is always upsetting when a friend/associate ends up with a felony conviction of any kind. Do you turn on the spouse of a former colleague and kick both of them while they are down or do you find a way to be diplomatic?

    I applaud Moxley for reporting this. Rackaukas did not have the guts to take up the charges, I am happy the Feds did.

  10. R. Scott Moxley
    May 12, 2009 at 6:57 pm


    Yep, Flash sat next to me during the KOCE show. But here are a couple of reasons I didn’t inquire of Flash myself: I’d already hogged time on the Carona issue. Flash and Frank needed time to opine. I wasn’t hosting and this particular segment (which had a producer telling us we’d already gone overtime) was of a rapid fire nature. Perhaps all this points to a need for a longer local public affairs show.

  11. Dan Chmielewski
    May 12, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    And Barbaro made like his racehorse namesake and Fleischman became the Flash and both bolted immediately after the producer said “that’s a wrap?” Did you question either of them off camera? They were both right there.


  12. May 13, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Debating Scott Moxley on Carona-related issues is like seeing the Washington Generals take on the Globetrotters. Give it up, Dan: your rationale is laughable, your spinning disturbing.

  13. Dan Chmielewski
    May 13, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    What debate?

    My rationale is backed up by videotape; and since when is reporting on what was said and seen spin?

Comments are closed.