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  • Thursday, December 27, 2007

     

    Metro TALK

    Metro TALK
    A community service of the
    Greater Orange Communities Organization


    Orangewood Children’s Foundation Benefit to Ring in 2008
    Dave and Busters at The Block at Orange will host a New Year’s Eve benefit for the Orangewood Children’s Foundation. The benefit will include a full buffet dinner, champagne toast, New Year’s party favors, a DJ and dancing. The cost is $60.00 per person or $110 per couple. For more information CLICK ON: NEW YEAR



    Orange 2008 State of the City Luncheon address

    The Orange Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau will hold its annual State of the City Luncheon address this year on February 7, 2008 at the Doubletree Hotel. The program will feature Orange Mayor Carolyn Cavecche. Individual tickets are $55.00 before January 5th ($60.00 after). A number of levels of sponsorship are also available. For more information CLICK ON: ORANGE ADDRESS


    Old Town Holiday Light Awards
    Just in case you missed them, the Old Town Preservation Association has posted their 2007 Holiday Decorating Awards on their website. Posted pictures of the winners from the six award categories include the “Best Block” category won by the “Its’ a Wonderful Life” theme of the 200 Block of North Pine. To view the award winners CLICK ON: WINNERS

    Greater Orange in the News
    The Greater Orange News Service features the TOPIX news gathering service. Stories about the three main Greater Orange Communities are gathered from thousands of online sources to give the reader a look at all the news about their community from across the nation and across the web. From sports, to obituaries, to local businesses and business and professional people, you get a unique look at the Greater Orange Communities from across the news media.

    Check out the TOPIX links daily at the
    Greater Orange HEADLINES in The NEWS link
    CLICK ON: http://greaterorange.blogspot.com/

    Metro TALK is a community service of the
    : Greater Orange Communities Organization:
    :GoCo:
    GreaterOrangeCO@gmail.com
    Orange Communication System /OCS/
    and its News family

    Ecast on the Internet Community Group i/)))cg

    For more information on the current issues of defending media freedom in the electronic world visit:
    The ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION link at: www.eff.org

    Friday, December 21, 2007

     

    The Winter Soltice: Winter Begins January 21 10:00 PM PST

    The winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The sun appears at its lowest point in the sky, and its noontime elevation appears to be the same for several days before and after the solstice. Hence the origin of the word solstice, which comes from Latin solstitium, from sol, “sun” and -stitium, “a stoppage.” Following the winter solstice, the days begin to grow longer and the nights shorter. *

    Thanks to MonsterFact.com

    Sunday, December 16, 2007

     

    This Holiday don't forget our Military Personnel and Veterans

    This holiday season it is easy not to forget the service men and women and veterans who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice so much. For as little as $5 for a gift certificate you can bring holiday cheer to someone in uniform. Please click on the following links to help. Charity begins at home in the USA.

    (Special thanks to 35th District State Senator Tom Harman for the list of links.)


    OPERATION UPLINK:
    Donating Phone Cards for Soldiers





    CLICK ON: PHONE HOME


    Freedom is Not Free: Helping wounded Vets





    CLICK ON: FREEDOM


    Sponser a USO $25 Care Package





    CLICK ON: USO CARE


    Gifts From the Homefront: Various Orgainizations for Service Members and Families



    CLICK ON:GIFT CERTIFICATES

    Tuesday, December 11, 2007

     

    Metro VIEWS: The Orange Unified Trustee Area Boundary Debate

    Metro VIEWS _____________:GoCo:
    Giving Voice to the Greater Orange Communities


    Views from Dr. Fred Smoller

    On Thursday night (12/13) the Orange Unified School district will consider three alternatives for realigning district boundaries. It is unfortunate that they are not considering eliminating district boundaries altogether. I would like to see some empirical evidence that school districts that have boundary requirements are more efficient, less polarized, and distribute resources more equitably than districts that do not. Instead, there is is ample evidence that the district faces a more serious problem: the recruitment of qualified candidates—as evidenced by the election of Steve Rocco.

    There are few incentives for serving on the school board. And plenty of disincentives, including low pay, long hours, abuse from the community, etc. On top of this, we have a requirement that potential school board members live in a specific area (but run in a district wide election). We do not have this requirement for City Council and I do not the City of Orange has been ill-served as a result. To increase the potential pool of talent, the school board should at least debate dropping boundaries altogether.



    Dr. Fred Smoller is a political science professor at Chapman University and a local community activist. Smoller is working on a documentary about the election and tenure of controversial OUSD Trustee Steve Rocco.

    Metro VIEWS is an open forum to express viewpoints on local Greater Orange issues.
    Views expressed in Metro VIEWS are not necessarily the views of the NETWORKS that ECAST or post them.
    GreaterOrangeCO@gmail.com
    Orange Communication System /OCS/
    Views expressed in Metro VIEWS are not necessarily the views of the NETWORKS that ECAST or post them.
    : Greater Orange Communities Organization:
    :GoCo:

    Monday, December 10, 2007

     

    OUSD BOARD TO VOTE ROCCO OFF THE ISLAND

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    a news service of Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    Independent insight into OUSD


    Proposed Trustee Area Boundary changes mean…
    OUSD BOARD TO VOTE ROCCO OFF THE ISLAND

    The Godley Majority of the Orange Unified School Board has failed at everything they have done to try and silence outspoken Orange Unified School Board Trustee Steve Rocco. They have changed the OUSD Board By-laws to prevent Rocco from rotating into a leadership position and also to prevent him from adding agenda items for discussion. They have passed an official Resolution of Censured against Rocco and then won a court battle against him upholding the Censure. OUSD then went back to court to make Rocco pay for the legal battle, ultimately garnished his wages and putting a lien on his home. They have censored OUSD Board of Education meeting cablecasts to the community to prevent controversial Rocco statements (and the reaction of other Board members against him) from reaching the community over cable television. The OUSD Trustees have walked out on Rocco’s statements during meetings (including the November 15th meeting were enough trustees walked out to end the quorum and silence Rocco). When Rocco showed up at the OUSD Community Drug Forum and spoke as an audience member, OUSD did not cablecast the Forum. Some of the OUSD Trustees and their community allies tried to go to the community to Recall Rocco, but failed to get the required signatures (CLICK ON: ROCCO RECALL FAILS ). Throughout it all Rocco has defiantly refused to be silenced reacting to the moves to silence him by frustrating and alienating the status-quo by mixing his own style of local democratic populism with a penchant for off-topic conspiracy theories. Now, in an ultimate power play over the heads of the electorate, the OUSD Board at its December 13th meeting is ready to in effect vote Rocco off the island in political power ploy that will change the OUSD Trustee Areas boundaries thus taking Rocco’s Trustee Area 6 away from him and placing him into Trustee Rick Ledesma’s Area 7.

    Board President Kim Nichols began the move to change the OUSD Trustee Area boundaries stating that she was concerned that her Trustee Area 5 included the Anaheim Hills communities that she felt she was geographically disconnected from. The results of the demographic study initiated by Nichols request appears on the December 13th Board Agenda in Item 12 B (page 11) as the “RESOLUTION PROVIDING FOR A PROPOSED READJUSTMENT TO TRUSTEE AREAS”. The Agenda Item includes three boundary change scenarios. The staff report with the Agenda Item recommends Scenario Three that in essence moves Rocco out of his Trustee Area 6 to Trustee Rick Ledesma’s Area 7. The move would have to be approved by the Orange County Committee on School District Organization. Any move could also be challenged by voters. (For complete information how the boundary process works please CLICK ON: OC Committee ). If approved, the change would take place in November 2008 when Rocco is up for reelection.

    Scenario 1 of the proposed plan makes minor adjustments to the Trustee Areas and keeps the current Trustees in their areas, but does little to address the Anaheim Hills (and proposed new Orange Hills communities) geographical concerns of Nichols’ had about her Trustee Area 5. The two other proposals, Scenario 2 and 3, do however address Nichols geographical concerns. Scenario 2 addresses the issue and keeps the current trustees in their current Trustee Areas. In Scenario 3, the geographical issues are addressed, but with major changes in the current boundary arrangement that includes changing Rocco’s Area 6 boundaries away from his home. OUSD Board members are elected at-large, but must live in the Trustee Area they represent.

    The OUSD Staff supports Scenario 3 which is by far the most radical of the proposals that gerrymanders the Trustee Areas in established Orange and Santa Ana neighborhoods and splits high school attendance areas into new Trustee Areas. The stated reasoning behind supporting Scenario 3 is that by 2015 and into 2020, Scenario 3 would have the least population deviation between the Trustee Areas. However, it is not known if the current housing mortgage economic melt down, which has pushed many current housing building plans into a holding pattern was taken into consideration in the demographic consultant’s timeline.

    Scenario Three would also do what the Godley Majority on the OUSD Board has been unable to do: silence Rocco. Under Scenario 3, just in time for the November 2008 Election, the boundary change would take Steve Rocco out of Area 6 and place him in Ledesma’s Area 7 (Ledesma also has been at odds with the OUSD Board majority from time to time). Trustee Lissa Smith’s home would be moved from current Area 1 to Trustee Wes Poutsma’s Area 3 (sources report Smith has stated she does not plan to run for another term in 2010). Rocco’s Area 6 would become open in November 2008 (when the proposed boundary shift is to take place) and Smith’s would be open in 2010. Sources state legal counsel has advised the OUSD that Smith would be able to remain in her position until the 2010 election. ONN was unable to confirm how the proposed boundary changes would impact declared candidates for Rocco’s seat, Florice Hoffman (currently in Area 1), Phil Martinez, or Arianna Barios. Open Trustee Areas could improve the likelihood of slate candidates from such organizations as the Educational Alliance again making a bid for seats on the OUSD Board.

    In an emailed response on the boundary changes, the local watchdog organization the Greater Orange Communities Organization wrote:

    “Current Board President Kim Nichols as a citizen single handedly fought the former recalled Board in court and won when that Board tried to play politics with the recall election ballot to fool voters and stay in power. Apparently absolute power has corrupted another well meaning citizen as Kim Nichols now plays the Machiavellian game of the end justifies the means political power play to do an end-run around the voters that wouldn’t sign her recall petitions. Having Nichols place political expediency above democracy is a sad day for the Greater Orange Communities, but an even sadder comment on what kind of politician Nichols has become: ‘a sore winner’.”

    After missing the first September deadline for turning in signatures, Rocco Recall supporters openly feared and stated that the voters (who they insist mistakenly elected Rocco) could not be trusted to oust Rocco in a regular election because he would carry the title of incumbent, or because challengers would split the vote. Now those recall supporters will not have to fear what voters will do because since the voters wouldn’t give them a Recall Election in 2008, the OUSD Board won’t give voters a choice in 2008.

    OUSD’s Legislative Coalition next Means Justify End ?
    In an irony of mythic proportions, at the same meeting the OUSD Board moves against Rocco, they will also move to change one of Rocco’s favorite targets, the OUSD’s Legislative Coalition. Rocco has attacked the Board Committee as the training grounds for the OUSD Trustees Godley Majority. In fact, more Board members, past and present, have been pervious Legislative Coalition members than any other civic group or organization. The December 13 Information Item 13 (page 30) will open the conversation on the Committees of the Board.

    As an independent committee of the OUSD Board with its own by-laws, the first sign of a struggle over the Legislative Coalition came as the OUSD Board reviewed the by-laws and made a move to change them after the last Board election when current OUSD Trustees were challenged by Legislative Coalition members. Then at the October 17th Legislative Coalition, an emotional Trustee Lissa Smith resigned from the Legislative Coalition because of the “blurred lines” between Board members also being school and parent representatives on the committee (For the meeting minutes CLICK ON: LEG CO Agenda ). Nichols also present at the meeting later announced that the Board would be looking at changes to “organizational” status of the Legislative Coalition.

    Sources state that some OUSD Board members and OUSD Administrators have become annoyed at some members of the Legislative Coalition who have taken on Board-member like qualities and not “focused” on “promoting public educational legislation”, but on district policy areas OUSD Trustees are elected to deal with as well as becoming increasingly political in district affairs.

    Responding to an email inquiry about the direction of changes for Legislative Coalition, OUSD President Kim Nichols wrote:

    “If the organizational change occurs, I do not believe there will be any change in Leg. Co's. mission or purpose. I believe it will facilitate its stated mission by reducing the amount of time spent on "administrative issues" allowing for more time to be spent learning about and discussing education legislation. As to the 'bringing together distinct parties from throughout the District', there will be no change in the way individuals are selected by their sites to participate in Legislative Coalition. Leg Co will continue to request a representative from each of the school sites, as selected by their parent group, or by the Principal if no parent group is active, and a representative from each of the employee associations. The only difference in attendance is that there will be no Board Member representatives unless requested by Leg. Co., for a specific purpose”.

    The Legislative Coalition by-laws state the following focus:

    The Legislative Coalition of the Orange Unified School District shall bring together distinct parties from throughout the District for the purpose of understanding and promoting public education legislation.

    Responding to and emailed inquiry about the possibility of changes in the Legislative Coalition organizational structure, Legislative Coalition Dianne Singer relied:

    “Legislative Coalition is a committee of the Board of Education and as such serves at their pleasure. The Board will be considering a change from committee of the Board to committee of the Superintendent at the next board meeting.

    Legislative Coalition, and its purpose, does not change at all. Certain organizational features such as by-laws will no longer be needed. The purpose of Legislative Coalition, as well as membership and participation, will continue to remain: parents, elected by their schools, discuss, consider and recommend legislation that effects K-12 education to the Board in a non-partisan, open environment.

    The change to committee of the superintendent is an organizational change only. It allows us to focus only on our purpose. The purpose, which is the most important feature and why a majority of members continue to participate, will not change, nor will participation or membership.”


    Some members of the Legislative Coalition are confused at the proposal or why the work of Legislative Coalition has become the focus of the OUSD Board. Some Legislative Coalition members will be meeting before the Board meeting to discuss the concerns they wish to relay to the OUSD Trustees at the December 13th meeting.

    INSIDE the November 15th, 2007 OUSD Board Agenda
    Item 9- Annual Organizational Meeting: With the Board eliminating the Rotation of Officers, Kim Nichols has been OUSD President for two years. The biggest question for the members is who wants to deal with a now certain lame-duck Steve Rocco until November?

    Action Items include the following items:
    12 C Interim financial report: a positive report showing an Unappropriated Fund amount of $7,164,527 above the 3% state required emergency fund.
    12 D A wage agreement giving a 3.5% raise to CSEA employees
    12 E A wage agreement granting the 3.5% raise agreed to for support staff to District Leadership (administrators).

    Consent Agenda Items include:
    • PAGE 30: The Planning Center-$60,000 for reports to begin the demolition process on the two historic original school buildings from Villa Park Elementary School

    Community Donations
    Angel Baseball-$1,000 to Olive E.S. for Library supplies; Running Springs PTA-$4,470 for Running Springs Library Book shelves; El Modena Education Foundation $13,090- laptop computers. For a complete list of community donations see page 36 of the Agenda.

    INSIDE the OUSD Budget
    “We’re a $220 million dollar business; we’re going to spend the money somewhere.”
    -OUSD Trustee Wes Poutsma 9/22/05

    INSIDE’s EDUCATIONAL TAX DOLLARS WATCH 2008:

    $200,000 Total
    2008 Attorney Fee Tally:
    11/15/07 Parker & Covert (1/08 to 6/08) $200,000

    INSIDE’s EDUCATIONAL TAX DOLLARS WATCH 2007:
    $704,090.00 Total
    2007 Consultant/ Speaker Fee Tally:
    4/30/07 Debra Ford Speaker Fee $ 4,090
    4/30/07 Danny Brassell Speaker Fee $ 3,500
    3/8/07 Dr. Daggett Speaker Fee $ 9,000
    9/27/07 Dr.Daggett Speaker Fee $ 35,000
    11/15/07 OCDE High Priority Consultants $115,000
    Total $166,590

    2007 Attorney Fee Tally:
    1/18/07 Parker & Covert (1/07 to 6/07) $175,000
    (6/07-12/07) $200,000
    2/08/07 Miller, Brown, and Dannis $ 7, 500
    2/22/07 Parker & Covert $ 45,000
    5/10/07 Miller, Brown and Dannis $ 50,000
    7/19/07 Parker & Covert $ 60,000
    Total $537,500

    2007 Administrative Conference/Travel: hidden since 6/8/06*

    *JUNE 8th, 2006 Trustees VOTE to Give OUSD Superintendent the power to APPROVE Travel Requests taking this item OUT of the PUBLIC AGENDA

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2006: $849,717.00*
    2006 Consultant Fee Tally: Total $176,400
    2006 Attorney Fee Tally: Total Approved $655,000
    2006 Administrative Conference/Travel: Total $ 18,317 *
    * JUNE 8th, 2006 Trustees VOTE to Give OUSD Superintendent the power to
    APPROVE OUSD Travel Requests taking this item OUT of the PUBLIC AGENDA

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2005: $978,300.00:
    Total 2005 Conference Administrator/Board Fees: $ 7,500.00
    2005 Attorney Fee Tally: $730,600.00
    Total Watched 2005 OUSD Consultant spending: $ 270,200.00


    Next OUSD Board Meeting Thursday December 13, 2007. For more information
    CLICK ON: OUSD AGENDA

    OUSD CLOSED SESSION STARTS 6:30 PM on 12/13 Regular Session: 7:30 pm
    For more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040
    For budgeting questions call Business Services at 714-628-4015


    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD
    is an independent news service of /O/N/N/
    Orange_NetNews@yahoo.com
    “Independent Local Insight”

    Friday, December 07, 2007

     

    Mandatory Evacuations End with a Surprisingly Light Storm

    The Thursday Pacfic Storm turned out to be a lot less than anticipated ending the precautionay Mandatory Evacuations in the Orange County Burn Areas. As of 10:30 a.m. on Friday 12/7 the Mandatory Evacuations for Modjeska Canyon, Williams Canyon and Silverado Canyon were lifted and the El Modena High School evacuation center was closed. At 12:00 p.m. the Orange County Emergency Operations Center has been deactivated and the Orange County Emergency Hotline shut down.

    Thursday, December 06, 2007

     

    Friday morning Undersheriff Galisky appears on Daybreak OC


    The Orange County Sheriff Blog has announced that on Friday morning 12-7-07, between 6 and 8 AM, Undersheriff Galisky sits down for an interview with Pete Weitzner on Daybreak OC.

    KDOC-TV and the Orange County Register formed a partnership to create Daybreak OC, Orange County's first weekday morning newscast. Daybreak OC is a two-hour newscast with each half hour beginning with a brief summary of the main headlines and key stories from the Register. Traffic and weather reports appear on screen throughout the broadcast with detailed traffic reports three times per half hour that focus on Orange County's freeways.

     

    STORM WATCH: Mandatory Evacuations for Orange County Canyons

    El Modena H.S. Evacuation Center for people, Orange H.S. for livestock

    (Update for 5:00 pm 12-6-07 for latest news CLICK ON:
    LATEST NEWS )

    CLICK ON for
    Local Forecast of the NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE


    CLICK ON for
    Santa Ana Mt, NATIONAL WEATHER RADAR


    ENHANCED Santa Ana Mt. MAP

    Voluntary evacuations of people and animals turned to mandatory evacuations today as the Orange County Canyons impacted by last month's Santiago Fire braced for a huge winter storm. Yesterday the National Weather Service issued Flash Flood warnings for Orange County begining Thursday evening. If you have questions call the Orange County Information hotline at 714-628-7085.

    Mandatory evacuation of people and large animals was ordered at 11:00 am for Modjeska, Silverado and Williams Canyons. Residents will have access to their homes to retrieve necessary items and pets until approximately 8:00 p.m. At 8:00 p.m. access to the Canyons will be restricted. Residents will not be forced to leave their homes, however, anyone choosing not to evacuate does so at their own risk.

    The Orange County Fairgrounds has been designated as a reception area for evacuated large animals. The Orange County Fairgrounds has the capacity for up to 100 head of livestock. Residents who need to evacuate large animals and livestock are directed to go to Gate 5 at the Orange County Fairgrounds. Livestock, other than horses, will also be sheltered at Orange High School, 525 N. Shaffer St., Orange. General information about Orange County Animal Care Services is available on their website at www.ocpetinfo.com or by calling (714) 935-6848.

    An evacuation center has been set up at El Modena High School, located at 3920 East Spring Street in Orange.

    Mandatory evacuations for residents of Modjeska, Silverado and Williams Canyons will take effect at 5:00 pm.

    Wednesday, December 05, 2007

     

    National Weather Service issues local FLASH FLOOD WARNING

    The National Weather Service has issued a FLASH FLOOD warning for the Orange County area begining Thursday evening. Last weekend the Orange COunty Canyon areas that were effected by the Santiago Canyon Fires were under both voluntary and mandatory evacuation.

    The following National Weather Service warning has been issued:

    FROM THURSDAY EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY EVENING

    * A STRONG PACIFIC STORM WILL BRING RAIN...HEAVY AT TIMES..
    THURSDAY NIGHT AND FRIDAY. THUNDERSTORMS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE.
    THERE IS A THREAT OF FLASH FLOODING...MUDSLIDES AND DEBRIS
    FLOWS...ESPECIALLY IN AND BELOW BURNED AREAS. ALL RESIDENTS
    LIVING ON OR NEAR HILLSIDES OR MOUNTAIN SLOPES SHOULD BE
    PREPARED FOR POSSIBLE MUDSLIDES AND DEBRIS FLOWS. MUDSLIDES..
    DEBRIS FLOWS OR ROCK SLIDES MAY OCCUR AT ANY TIME...EVEN
    DURING PERIODS WITH LITTLE OR NO RAIN FALLING.

    A FLASH FLOOD WATCH MEANS THAT CONDITIONS MAY DEVELOP THAT LEAD
    TO FLASH FLOODING. FLASH FLOODING IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION.

    YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION
    SHOULD FLASH FLOOD WARNINGS BE ISSUED.


    ...A STRONG STORM WILL MOVE THROUGH SOUTHWEST CALIFORNIA FRIDAY WITH SHOWERS LINGERING THROUGH SUNDAY...

    A STRONG STORM APPROACHING FROM THE NORTHWEST COULD BRING SHOWERS AS EARLY AS THURSDAY EVENING...THEN PERIODS OF MODERATE TO HEAVY RAIN IS EXPECTED FRIDAY. THE RAIN WILL CHANGE TO SHOWERS WITH POSSIBLE THUNDERSTORMS SATURDAY...AND CONTINUE INTO SUNDAY IN THE COLD... MOIST... UNSTABLE AIR MASS. STRONG GUSTY SOUTHWEST WINDS WILL ACCOMPANY THIS STORM ALL AREAS...ESPECIALLY IN THE MOUNTAINS ON FRIDAY. THERE COULD ALSO BE FUNNEL CLOUDS AND WATERSPOUTS SATURDAY AND SUNDAY.

    PRELIMINARY RAINFALL ESTIMATES THROUGH FRIDAY ARE FOR OVER AN INCH OF RAIN IN MANY AREAS WEST OF THE MOUNTAINS WITH TWO TO THREE INCHES ON THE SOUTHWEST FACING MOUNTAIN SLOPES. UP TO A THIRD OF AN INCH OF RAIN IS EXPECTED IN THE DESERTS. THE CHANGE TO SHOWERS WILL BRING MORE VARIABLE RAINFALL TOTALS SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. LOCAL ADDITIONAL AMOUNTS OF A THIRD TO ONE INCH WILL BE POSSIBLE.




    For the forecast CLICK ON:
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

     

    O.C. County Counsel rules on Carona leave

    Sheriff Carona still collecting pay

    The following is the information on the December 11th Orange County Supervisors meeting agenda concerning O.C. Supervisor Chair Norby's inquiry that County Counsel report back to the Board on several issues regarding the Sheriff-Coroner’s current job status. The following also appears on the OC Sheriff Blog site:


    For the OC Supervisor Agenda CLICK ON:
    DECEMBER 11 AGENDA



    BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
    On October 30, 2007, a federal grand jury indictment was unsealed against Sheriff-Coroner Michael S. Carona, charging him with several felonies. On November 6, 2007, Sheriff Carona sent a “Message to the [Sheriff’s] Department,” wherein he stated that he would be taking a “sixty day leave of absence” effective November 9, 2007.

    We are advised that the Sheriff has delegated his duties to Undersheriff Galisky. We are also advised that Undersheriff Galisky consults with him on a regular basis concerning department business, and the Sheriff is available to return to the office immediately should the need arise. We are informed that he continues to collect his salary.

    (1) Does the Sheriff have the authority to select to whom he delegates his duties while he is on a voluntary leave of absence?
    Yes, unless his office is vacant, the Sheriff has the authority to assign personnel to carry out his duties as he sees fit.

    The Sheriff is designated in the general statutes as a county officer. (Gov’t Code § 24000, subd. (b).) The Sheriff “may appoint as many deputies as are necessary for the prompt and faithful discharge of the duties of his office.” (Gov’t Code § 24101.)

    Because his office is not vacant under the law, the Sheriff remains the department head. As discussed below, his duties may be properly exercised by the Undersheriff and other OCSD personnel.

    The Board has the responsibility and authority to supervise the official conduct of all County officers. (Gov’t Code § 25303.) However, the Board has no power to direct the manner in which the Sheriff’s statutorily prescribed duties are performed or to appoint deputies for the Sheriff. (See Brandt v. Board of Supervisors, 84 Cal. App. 3d 598, 602 (1978); Hicks v. Board of Supervisors, 69 Cal. App. 3d 228, 242 (1977); County of Modoc v. Spencer, 103 Cal. 498, 500-502 (1894).) The Board also has no power to control the manner in which the Sheriff assigns personnel. (77 Op. Cal. Att’y Gen. 82 (1994).) The Attorney General supervises the Sheriff’s performance of his functions. (Cal. Const. art. V, § 13 (“. . . The Attorney General shall have direct supervision over every . . . sheriff . . . in all matters pertaining to the duties of their respective offices . . .”); Gov’t Code § 12560 (“The Attorney General has direct supervision over the sheriffs of the several counties of the State . . . .”).)

    The Sheriff is acting within his authority as Sheriff-Coroner to assign his duties to the Undersheriff in his absence. (2) May the Undersheriff perform all the Sheriff’s duties in his absence?
    The Undersheriff possesses all the powers and may perform the Sheriff’s duties unless restricted by statute, charter, ordinance, regulation or by the Sheriff himself.

    At common law, a “deputy” was authorized to perform only limited, ministerial duties on behalf of his principal. (52 Op. Cal. Att’y Gen. 75, 76-78 (1969).) The Legislature changed this rule by statute, generally allowing a deputy to perform any of the duties of his principal unless otherwise prohibited. (Id.; Gov’t Code §§ 7, 1194, 24100.) Currently, “a deputy may perform any of the duties of his principal unless restricted by statute, charter, ordinance, regulation, or by the principal.” (78 Op. Cal. Att’y Gen. 362 (1995); 70 Op. Cal. Att’y Gen. 250, 253 n. 6 (1987); 63 Op. Cal. Att’y Gen. 710, 715, 718-719 (1980).) The Government Code contains the statutes setting forth this principle of law.

    Section 7 provides:

    “Whenever a power is granted to, or a duty is imposed upon, a public officer, the power may be exercised or the duty may be performed by a deputy of the officer or by a person authorized, pursuant to law, by the officer, unless this code expressly provides otherwise.”

    Section 1194 states:

    “When not otherwise provided for, each deputy possesses the powers and may perform the duties attached by law to the office of his principal.”

    Section 24100 states:

    “Whenever the official name of any principal officer is used in any law conferring power or imposing duties or liabilities, it includes deputies.”

    The same rules apply to the office of the Coroner. Section 27530 provides:

    “If the coroner is absent or unable to attend, the duties of his office may be discharged by any of his deputies with like authority and subject to the same obligations and penalties as the coroner.”

    The court in Sarter v. Siskiyou County, 42 Cal. App. 530 (1919) explained as follows:

    “The deputy of a public officer, when exercising the functions or performing the duties cast by law upon such officer, is acting for his principal or the officer himself. The deputy’s official acts are always those of the officer. He merely takes the place of the principal in the discharge of duties appertaining to the office. When, therefore, the law provides that it shall be the duty of a certain public officer to do or perform certain public official acts, the deputy of such officer, if there be one, is necessarily included within the terms of the provision. If the law provides that an official act shall be performed in a particular way, it is no less the duty of a deputy to do the act in the manner so prescribed than it is that of the officer himself. In brief, a deputy under a public officer and the officer or person holding the office are, in contemplation of law and in an official sense, one and the same person.”

    This principle of law applies equally to the Sheriff and his deputies. “As to the extent of the power exercisable by a deputy sheriff, both the general statutes and decisional law establish that he possesses all of the powers and may perform all of the duties attached by law to the office of sheriff.” (People v. Woods, 7 Cal. App. 3d 382, 387 (1970) (emphasis added).)

    As a deputy, the Undersheriff is authorized to perform the duties of the Sheriff. Over a hundred years ago, the County of Del Norte required its Sheriff to also be its Tax Collector. The state general law provided that “the sheriff must perform such other duties as are required by law.” In People v. Otto, 77 Cal. 45 (1888), at issue was whether the undersheriff had the authority to collect the taxes in Del Norte. The court held that the undersheriff had the authority to perform the Sheriff’s tax collecting duties since each deputy possesses the powers and may perform the duties attached to the office of his principal. The court stated:

    “The under-sheriff is a general deputy. He performs all the duties of a deputy, has like powers and authority and his principal is bound by his acts in like manner as by those of other parties. In addition to this, the under-sheriff has certain powers in cases of the absence or sickness of his principal not possessed by an ordinary deputy. He may be termed a vice-sheriff, who acts in certain contingencies in place of the sheriff, and who in addition performs the duties of a deputy.”

    (Id. at 48 (emphasis in original); see also, Shirran v. Dallas, 21 Cal. App. 405, 415 (1913) (“[I]t clearly appears that an ‘under-sheriff’ is merely another name for a ‘deputy sheriff’ and that the two phrases describe precisely the same officer. It follows that the execution of the return and the certificate of sale referred to in this case by the sheriff by and through a person designating himself as an ‘under sheriff’ was sufficient to show that the official acts essential to their validity were those of the sheriff through a deputy duly and regularly authorized to act in said transactions for him and in his name.”)

    (3) Is the Undersheriff the “Acting Sheriff”?
    No, the Undersheriff is not the “Acting Sheriff” because Sheriff Carona still holds the office of Sheriff-Coroner.

    There is no formal title “Acting Sheriff.” Sheriff Carona stills holds the office and the title of the office. His sixty-day absence is voluntary and is not a legal impediment to his ability to exercise his duties as Sheriff. Sheriff Carona retains the complete discretion to return to his duties at any time during this voluntary “leave of absence.”

    (4) What does it mean for an elected official to take a leave of absence?
    There are various leave provisions in the Personnel and Salary Resolution (“PSR”) and applicable Memorandum of Understanding for each union. Leave may be paid or unpaid, depending on the type and duration.

    There is no corresponding “leave” provision for elected officials. There is no procedure for an elected official to take a leave of absence (with an exception as to judges). (Our Opinion No. 86-108.) The generic term “leave of absence” is not applicable to elected officials as it would be to County employees or appointive officers. (Id.) There are no minimum hours for an elected official to work. (See, 33 Op. Cal. Att’y Gen. 62, 63 (1959); Our Opinion Nos. 78-139, 86-108, 93-308.)

    (5)May the Sheriff be involuntarily deprived of his salary during his self-imposed leave of absence?
    An elected official generally may determine to take time off for personal reasons in his or her discretion. It is well-established that an elected officer receives the salary fixed for the office as an incident of the office. (People v. Harrington, 63 Cal. 257, 260 (1883) (an office is “a right to exercise a public function or employment, and to take the fees and emoluments belonging to it”).) There is no provision in the law for depriving an elected officer of his or her salary during the officer’s temporary absence from his or her duties on account of personal reasons.

    Article I, Section 9 of the California Constitution provides: “A bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligations of contracts may not be passed.” This has been interpreted to prevent decreasing the salaries of public officers once they have entered into a term. In Olson v. Cory, 27 Cal. 3d 532 (1980), the California Supreme Court held that the salary of judges could not be lowered, for judges who had entered into their terms, by placing a cap on the cost of living increase which had been enacted prior to their entry into their terms. It should be noted that the Court could have decided the issue solely on the basis of Article III, Section 4(a) of the California Constitution which prohibits the reduction of the salaries of elected state officers during their term. However, the Court went beyond that, and held that such a reduction during the term would, in effect, impair the obligation of the “contract” between the judges and the State:

    “[W]e deal here with the right to compensation by persons serving their terms of public office to which they have undisputed rights. [P]ublic employment gives rise to certain obligations which are protected by the contract clause of the Constitution. Promised compensation is one such protected right. Once vested, the right to compensation cannot be eliminated without constitutionally impairing the contract obligation. (Citations omitted.)”

    (Olson v. Cory, 27 Cal. 3d at 537-538 (emphasis added).)

    The Court indicated that the terms of this “contract” are fixed at the time the judge enters office: “A judge entering office is deemed to do so in consideration of—at least in part—salary benefits then offered by the state for that office.” (Id. at 539.)

    However, the Board’s power to set the compensation of county officers is broad. (Gov’t Code § 25300. (“The board of supervisors shall prescribe the compensation of all county officers . . . .”); Hall v. Williams, 2 Cal. 2d 186 (1934).) The Attorney General has concluded that, barring a constitutional or statutory prohibition, if a particular body has the power to fix salaries, it follows that this power gives the body the authority both to increase and to decrease compensation, and the timing of the change in such salaries is vested in that body. (61 Op. Cal. Att’y Gen. 384 (1978); 62 Op. Cal. Att’y Gen. 356 (1979).) It is important to note that these opinions pre-date Olson v. Cory, supra.

    In any event, the Peace Officer Bill of Rights (“POBRA”) applies to those classified as “peace officers” under Penal Code sections 830.1, et seq. Penal Code section 830.1 defines peace officers as “[a]ny sheriff, under sheriff, or deputy sheriff . . . . .” Therefore, if the Board wished to suspend the Sheriff’s salary during his absence and assuming ultimate authority to do so exists, the Board would first have to comply with POBRA’s procedural requirements. (See also, Bostean v. L.A. Unified Sch. Dist., 63 Cal. App. 4th 95, 113-114 (1998) (court held due process required a predeprivation hearing before district took away salary of employee on involuntary leave of absence).)

    (6) When does a vacancy in office occur?
    An incumbent elected officer holds that office until the occurrence of an event that creates a vacancy. (See Gov’t Code § 1770.) Apart from resignation, there are several ways a vacancy in office may occur.

    (a) Government Code section 1770(g) provides that an office becomes vacant before the expiration of the term if the officer “ceas[es] to discharge the duties of his or her office for a period of three consecutive months, except when prevented by sickness, or when absent from the state with the permission required by law.”

    (b) Government Code section 1770(h) provides that an office becomes vacant if the officer is “convict[ed] of a felony or of any offense involving a violation of his or her official duties. An officer shall be deemed to have been convicted under this subdivision when trial court judgment is entered. For the purposes of this subdivision, ‘trial court judgment’ means a judgment by the trial court either sentencing the officer or otherwise upholding and implementing the plea, verdict, or finding.”

    (c) If a public official engages in conduct that falls within the statutory definition of willful or corrupt conduct, the Grand Jury is authorized, with the assistance of the District Attorney, to initiate, by accusation, the removal of that officer from office.

    The statutory grounds for an accusation are set forth in Government Code section 3060, which reads as follows:

    “An accusation in writing against any officer of a district, county, or city, including any member of the governing board or personnel commission of the school district or any humane officer, for willful or corrupt misconduct in office, may be presented by the grand jury of the County for or in which the officer is elected or appointed. An accusation may not be presented without the concurrence of at least 12 grand jurors, or at least eight jurors in a county in which the required number of grand jurors is 11.”

    The accusation proceeding is conducted like an indictment hearing before the Grand Jury. Probable cause is the burden of proof necessary to present an accusation. The concurrence of twelve grand jurors is needed to present an accusation. The accusation is then delivered by the foreman of the grand jury to the district attorney of the county, unless the district attorney is the officer accused. (Gov’t Code § 3062.) The District Attorney shall have a copy of the accusation served upon the defendant, and by notice in writing require the accused to appear in court. (Gov’t Code § 3063.) The District Attorney’s duty to serve the accusation is ministerial and involves no discretion on his or her part. Bradley v. Lacy, 53 Cal.App.4th 883 (1997). The appearance of the accused shall not be required in less than 10 days from the service of the notice. The accused may object to the sufficiency of the accusation, deny the truth of the accusation, in which case it shall be set for trial, or enter a plea of guilty. The accused is entitled to a jury trial in Superior Court. The allegation must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. (Gov’t Code § 3070.) The sole penalty is removal from office. There can be no jail time or monetary fine imposed, no probation, and no restitution ordered.

    (d) An office will become vacant if the incumbent is recalled by the voters in accordance with the provisions of the Elections Code. (See, Elec. Code § 11200, et seq.) The recall process may be commenced only with a voter-signed recall petition.

    (7) May an elected official suspend his or her leave and return to work?
    Yes, the elected official may return to work at any time.

    (8) What is the difference between leave of absence and administrative leave?


    Administrative leave is taken at the employer’s direction without any finding that the employee committed wrongdoing. The employee is asked to not report to work. Since it is not punitive, administrative leave is with pay. There is no legal provision to put an elected official on administrative leave.

    (9) What is the Sheriff’s current job status?

    The Sheriff has taken a voluntary, 60-day “leave of absence,” as he has termed it. Technically, the Sheriff is not on a leave as that term is used in the PSR. He continues to exercise the authority of his office by delegating his duties and responsibilities to Undersheriff Galisky.

     

    ROCCO RECALL ENDS

    THE ROCCO RECALL REPORT
    The Committee to Recall Rocco will let today’s December 5th final deadline to turn in signatures pass in their effort to try and qualify a ballot recall of controversial Orange Unified School District Trustee Steve Rocco. The Committee had announced late last month that they would end their efforts at a recall of the outspoken Rocco. Today’s deadline officially marks the end of that effort.

    Sources close to the Committee to Recall Rocco said the signature effort did not come close to the 15,000 signatures needed to assure a recall would qualify. The drive to oust Rocco never caught on with the community beyond the small core of recall advocates on the Committee. The small core of the Committee to Recall Rocco was a group of close friends and associates of OUSD Trustee Lisa Smith and OUSD Board President Kim Nichols. The two Trustees helped steer the effort from behind the scenes while the public face of the Recall Committee was community activist Terri Rasmussen.

    Hampered by an apathetic public, unable to put together the kind of community coalition and publicity that was the hallmark of the successful 2001 Orange Recall that ousted three former radical trustees, and dogged by bad timing of the effort, the recall effort seemed for the most part invisible to the general public.

    Making the signature collecting effort a project of the small Recall Committee, the Recall Committee failed to build any type of community coalition before announcing the recall effort. After it became apparent that the effort was too big for the small Recall Committee, the Committee tried to play catch-up in building community support. Among those approached was the Orange Unified teacher’s union, Orange Unified Educators Association (OUEA). Efforts to get the large work force of the district’s teachers involved were hampered by the timing of the effort with the school year ending in June for the summer break. After school resumed in September, the Committee began to send a representative to all of the OUEA’s Representative Council meetings during the signature drive to recruit support for the campaign. After the Committee missed their self-imposed deadline of September 20th to get the recall question on an early ballot, the Committee’s pleas became more emphatic cumulating with a personal emotional plea by OUSD Trustee Lisa Smith at a meeting of the OUEA Representative Council in October. While many individual teachers did circulate Recall Petitions, the OUEA’s Representative Council did not take a stand on the Recall question with the overriding reason appearing to be that while the perceived antics of Rocco were some-what distracting to the democratic process, the reality was that as one vote of seven on the Board of Education, Rocco presented no threat to the policy making decisions of the Board.

    Unlike the very public and community effort of the Orange Recall that included a vast publicity effort that featured everything from public rallies, bumper stickers and balloons, to a functioning press corps, the Rocco Recall lacked a public face . Publicity efforts were mainly focused on Recall Committee speakers at the OUSD Board meetings chastising Rocco in 3 minute public comments to the Board. Later efforts included postings on YouTube using video from a documentary on Rocco being filmed by Chapman University Political Science Professor Fred Smoller and an eleventh hour small advertisement in the Orange City News. The Committee had no internet website or other publicity focus.

    Another apparent problem was the inconsistency of the Recall Message. The beginning message for the reasons for Recalling Rocco focused mainly on assertions he was failing to do the job he was elected to do and misusing his office. After missing the September 20th deadline, the message of the Recall Committee changed. The Recall Committee’s message then became that a Recall Election would prevent Rocco from running again with the advantage of an incumbent when his term expires in 2008. Meanwhile in the YouTube campaign, the message appeared to be that Rocco was mentally unbalanced as the posted video’s showed him in various unflattering speaking situations and featured interviews with various local personalities. Finally, in the Press Release announcing the end of the Recall effort, the Committee announces that “Actually, we may have already achieved our goal of preventing Mr. Rocco’s reelection”. The Committee asserts that because of the publicity of the Recall they have prevented Rocco from being re-elected. Part of the assertion is based on the perception that “Over 7,000 people have seen” the Smoller YouTube videos. These assertions however appear to be a case political face-saving spin.

    Professor Fred Smoller posted 16 different Rocco videos on YouTube. The video with the largest number of “hits” is a video entitled Trustee Steve Rocco. As of December 5th, that video had 1688 total hits. The other 15 Smoller video’s have from 1098 to 42 “hits” apiece. Added all together the total “hits” for the video’s are over 7000, however anyone who understands how the internet works knows “hits” do not equal total person visits. In reality, the most actual people visiting the total 16 videos can be assumed to be close to the 1600 “hits” in the most viewed video. The likely scenario is that each person viewed other videos in the series not that 7000 people visited just one individual video each in the series. In addition, the matter is complicated by the fact that Smollers’ students at Chapman University were directed to the site and the fact that OUSD Trustee Steve Rocco shares his name with a very famous world renowned skateboarder. With YouTube basically a tool of young people, it is no wonder why Skateboarder Steve Rocco’s two videos on YouTube have a combined hit count of over 8,200. Reasonably, because YouTube is a tool of the 20-something culture, many of the skateboarder fans accidentally found OUSD’s Steve Rocco on YouTube and some of the 7000 hits the Recall Committee sees are actually hits of young people looking for the skateboarder Steve Rocco.

    The assertion that the Committee has already prevented Rocco’s reelection also must be questioned. In the November 2006 General Election, Steve Rocco ran for a Rancho Santiago Community College Trustee seat in the middle of the very much publicized Censure of him by the majority of the Orange Unified Board. While losing to incumbent John R. Hanna’s 74% of the vote (58,378 votes), Rocco still garnered 20,324 votes (25%). In next year’s November election, Rocco is seen as vulnerable with candidates already lining up to ruin against him. In a “perfect storm” scenario, a number of challengers could split the opposition vote leading Rocco to again claim victory.

    The Godley Majority on the OUSD Board ran successful election campaigns, but have not been able to move those individual performances to a community-wide victory in three important political moves, Defeated in two Bond measures and now an attempted Recall of their nemesis Steve Rocco, they are now forced to defend two seats in November (Wes Poutsma and John Ortega) while they try and defeat Rocco in his seat. While the Rocco Recall ends today, the story of Trustee Steve Rocco is far from over.

    ALSO CLICK ON the following posts about the ROCCO RECALL:

    June 4th


    June 14th


    June 18th


    June 21st


    June 29th


    September 16th

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