Editors note: we reached out to Shirley Grindle, OC’s political watchdog, for her thoughts on the proposed Ethics Commission ballot measure for next June; she offered her thoughts below:
For the past 10 years, I have made several attempts to convince the County Board of Supervisors to establish what is commonly referred to as an “Ethics Commission” to take over what I do (i.e., the continuous tracking of campaign contributions) and what the District Attorney does not do – enforce campaign violations.
As a result, we have had virtually no enforcement of campaign violations other than what I have been able to achieve voluntarily.
Finally, we have new a new Board of Supervisors who not only are open to the formation of an Ethics Commission, but worked closely with myself and others to come up with a tough and legal ordinance to establish a “Campaign Finance and Ethics Commission.” The Board has directed the Registrar of Voters to place this Ordinance on the June 2016 ballot and let the voters approve the establishment of this commission.
The proposed commission would allow each Supervisor to appoint one Member of the Commission. However, the restrictions spelled out in the Ordinance on who they can appoint are very severe and there will prevent the appointment of political cronies and others with ulterior motives.
This commission will also enforce the County’s Gift Ban Ordinance, the Lobbyist Registration Ordinance, and certain sections of the County’s Code of Ethics.
Only Supervisor Michelle Steele opposed the formation of this Commission stating that, “The County’s Campaign Reform Ordinance was already being enforced by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) and our District Attorney.” This is an outrageous lie. The main reason for establishing this Commission is because there has been a serious lack of enforcement and several prominent politicians have gotten away with serious violations because of this.
It will be up to the Voters next June to approve the Ballot Measure that will create this Commission. This is a First for Orange County and it is sorely needed to ensure that our laws (TINCUP, the Gift Ban, Lobbyist Registration and others) are being followed and enforced.
Shirley L. Grindle, Author of TINCUP Campaign Reform Ordinance