MOORLACH UPDATE — Civilian Oversight — June 15, 2015

The Sunday Commentary section of the OC Register, in its lead editorial, endorsed the position that I espoused on retaining the County’s OIR (Office of Independent Review) (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 593 — June 10, 2015 June 10, 2015 John Moorlach). It’s the first piece below.

On the same day, the Daily Pilot provided its perspectives on the U.S. Senator Paul Rand visit to my District in the second piece below (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Butt Out — June 13, 2015 June 13, 2015 John Moorlach).

BONUS: AB 93, The Budget Act of 2015, passed this afternoon in the Senate by a vote of 26 to 13, along party lines (with Senator Joel Anderson absent). I had an opportunity to share my thoughts and pulled out a few blue pencils that I later gave to the Governor’s office for his line-item veto efforts.

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OCSD should retain civilian oversight Board of Supervisors should not defund Office of Independent Review.

Not just in Orange County, but nationally, Americans are demanding greater accountability for police. That’s why one of the most crucial issues for the county is the proper oversight of deputy sheriffs.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to eliminate the Office of Independent Review for the Sheriff’s Department and its $450,000 budget.

The vote is not final, but was part of budget planning for the board’s June 23 meeting. According to the Register, “Chairman Todd Spitzer pointed to the revelation that the Sheriff’s Department has for years secretly overseen jailhouse informants and the recent news that a sheriff’s deputy is refusing to testify in criminal cases involving the Mexican Mafia, which is forcing prosecutors to drop charges and consider generous plea deals.

“Spitzer said he feels Stephen Connolly, executive director of the office, is too close with Sheriff Sandra Hutchens,” the Register reported.

The board is considering other models of oversight.

However, state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, a supervisor from 2006-15, told us the OIR was created seven years ago amid more than 30 lawsuits against the Sheriff’s Department under Sheriff Mike Carona, who resigned in 2008 after he was indicted on corruption charges that sent him to federal prison.

“Steve became pretty respected in Orange County,” Sen. Moorlach said. “Steve has been very effective in disciplinary matters.” Mr. Connolly also was a protege of Mike Gennaco, a federal prosecutor who in 2001 was appointed head of the similar Office of Independent Review that looked into problems with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

“It’s essential that there be a meaningful civilian oversight of police and sheriff’s departments,” Erwin Chemerinsky told us; he’s the dean of the UC Irvine School of Law and was a member of the review panel a decade ago that looked into the scandal in the Los Angeles police Rampart Division.

Mr. Chemerinsky didn’t have an opinion on what should be done with Orange County’s OIR. But he called for California Attorney General Kamala Harris “to create an independent commission” to look into problems with jailhouse informants. As the Register reported in December, the problem surfaced “when authorities used an informant to obtain information from Scott Dekraai, who pleaded guilty to gunning down eight people at a Seal Beach salon but is fighting a potential death sentence.”

We urge Ms. Harris to create the independent commisson. As to Orange County’s OIR, we believe it should remain unless and until something better can be found. Orange County doesn’t need to risk the kind of violent unrest seen elsewhere in the country.

Daily Pilot

Rand Paul: Republicans must broaden appeal

Speaking at a fundraiser in Irvine, the Presidential candidate tells attendees that the GOP needs to change its attitude.

By Matt Morrison

Orange County Republicans sampled a taste of one Presidential candidate’s recipe for bringing more Californians to the party table at the 16th annual Flag Day Salute fundraiser Friday night at the Irvine Hotel.

"We have to change our attitude more than our policy," Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told the ballroom crowd of more than 800 in his keynote address. He emphasized the importance of better explaining how GOP policies can benefit the public socially and economically to traditionally Democratic voters.

"We were the party of emancipation, the party of civil rights," Paul said, talking about how to appeal to younger and minority voters. "We can still be that party again."

The event is the Republican Party of Orange County’s largest party fundraiser of the year, not a campaign fundraiser for the junior senator from Kentucky. Paul committed to the speaking engagement in January, three months before announcing his candidacy for the GOP nomination.

"It’s not just about the speakers and what they’re auditioning for," explained Assemblyman Matthew Harper, the former Huntington Beach mayor now representing the 74th district in the state legislature. "There’s a lot of folks here maybe considering running for city council, the school board, water district or legislative office and some of them are trying to test the waters, if you will, for next year."

"It’s fun when Republicans get together," added Newport Beach City Councilmember Scott Poetter. "You don’t have debate in the Democratic Party, they’re pretty uniform. In the Republican Party you have a lot of varying opinions on a lot of different subjects. So it’s fun to be where the debate is."

Like his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the Libertarian Party nominee for president in 1988, Rand Paul is a trained physician and entered politics after a career practicing ophthalmology for two decades.

"Certainly I don’t think he follows in his [father's] footprints 100%," Poetter said. "He definitely has to show he’s his own man. He takes the view that government is not very good at doing anything. So don’t give it anything more than it needs to do. I look forward to him adding to the debate."

Among the 18 major GOP candidates that have declared for the 2016 nomination so far, Paul is running fourth or fifth in recent presidential straw polls. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush appears to be the frontrunner 18 months before the election.

"For him and what he’s trying to accomplish, this is a real cherry opportunity to make his case to an incredible county in this country," said Republican state Sen. John Moorlach of Costa Mesa. "If you can get someone loyal early, then you’re going to have a good base. If you can get a good base here in Orange County, that’s going to bode well."

This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District.

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