Political revenge and the Orange County Sheriff

Suspended Lawman’s Wait for Resolution Stretches to 4 Months Hunt was suspended the day after he failed to unseat Carona in a politically charged fight that created divides throughout the department. Carona was backed by most area politicians, but Hunt earned the support of the department’s deputies. In the end, it was statements Hunt made during the campaign — such as suggesting that Carona’s administration had been tarnished by scandal — that apparently led to his suspension.

This is an instance where we could use a bit more of a free market - and illustrates a problem. The most qualified potential opponents to a locally-elected Sheriff are going to be largely found within his own department. If playing the role of both an opponent and employee is essentially impossible, then the position of the elected Sheriff is perhaps too secure.

Years ago, Carona was the head of what amounts to a group of security guards for the Orange County courts - not exactly the sort of experience essential to heading a large police organization. When Carona first ran for Sheriff, two of the candidates (one of them Carona) came and spoke at a local venue. My first impression of Carona - admittedly tenous - was that I did not trust the guy.

Looked at from another aspect, this may illustrate why meeting politicians on a local level may be a very good idea. Televised speeches and written articles can be carefully crafted by intermediaries to hide a candidate’s true nature. On a direct physical meeting there are all sorts of clues that may give away the candidate’s character, to the keen observer.

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