The OC Register’s editorial board joins OCCCWS in endorsing Craig Hunter for Sheriff of Orange County.
We compared the candidates’ positions on six issues: community policing, pension reform, immigration, budget management, jail management and gun permits. Mr. Hunter’s and Ms. Hutchens’ outlook most closely aligned with ours on the first three categories. Mr. Hunter expressed a stronger reform approach on pensions and new ideas for jail management. Ms. Hutchens has done a credible job of improving practices and policies at the once-troubled Theo Lacy jail facility and she supports a two-tiered pension system. Mr. Hunter manages a sizeable but arguably relatively stable budget; Ms. Hutchens has overseen cuts to a much larger sheriff’s budget.
Mr. Hunter has a long history in the county and is respected by the greater law enforcement community, demonstrated by endorsements from a number of retired police chiefs. He is even-tempered and measured in his leadership style and is the only candidate to abjure contributions from unions. On the issues, Mr. Hunter is a strong advocate for the Second Amendment and exhibits the desire to buck the status quo and advocate for sensible yet hard-to-achieve pension reform in the form of a 401(k)-like system for new deputies instead of current unsustainable, defined-benefit pension plans.
Full Story at OC Register
While usually focusing on Sandra Hutchens, OCCCWS cannot ignore the recent revelations as to Bill Hunt’s work as a defense investigator for violent felons, particularly in light of documents we have obtained and how this most recent revelation impacts the perception of gun owners.
Recently Bill Hunt, a candidate for Orange County Sheriff, worked as a defense investigator trying to have evidence against an individual thrown out by arguing that the police officer requesting a search warrant had not been truthful. This individual, who had previously been convicted of attempted murder, eventually pleaded guilty to providing firearms to a prohibited person. That prohibited person was a known gang member and parolee.
The documents we are providing are telling, particularly the photographs the alleged gang members took of themselves with these weapons and other paraphernalia, including ammunition arranged to spell out their gang name and 187, the Penal Code section for murder.
While it is within Bill Hunt’s rights to work for anyone he chooses, it is the responsibility of law abiding gun owners to carefully consider the type of person they will vote for in the upcoming election. The most recent revelations about Bill Hunt’s work in defense of gang members is troubling.
When shown the attached documents and photos, Anaheim Deputy Chief Craig Hunter gave the following statement to OCCCWS:
“I’ve spent thirty years trying to keep violent gang members off our streets and out of our communities. Bill Hunt has been spending his time since leaving law enforcement defending them by attacking the credibility of police officers who arrest them and investigate their crimes. As a private investigator, that is his job, but maybe he should have spent his retirement learning what it takes to be a law enforcement leader. Every law enforcement organization he has applied to work for in the last several years has rejected him. Beyond the public safety issue here, when the general public sees photos of armed gang members, who have no business possessing weapons, period, many see it as an indictment of law abiding gun owners. That is not fair. Bill Hunt had every right to defend the man who provided these weapons to known, violent gang members, but it is the voters’ right to decide if he is the type of person we want leading the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.”
Photographs (PDF) [400 kB]
A second law enforcement union — the La Habra Police Association — dropped its endorsement today of sheriff’s candidate Bill Hunt, following complaints that he works as a private investigator for accused gang members.
Hunt’s campaign team has confirmed that La Habra broke the news to the candidate in a fax this afternoon.
The action comes just days after the Santa Ana Police Officers’ Association withdrew its support of Hunt, a former sheriff’s lieutenant running on a law and order platform. Santa Ana officers were angered that Hunt was on the defense team of a reported F-Troop gang member awaiting trial on attempted robbery charges.
A woman punched, snatched her keys back and thwarted an attempted carjacking early Wednesday morning, authorities said, fighting off a man who jumped into her car as she filled up her gas tank.
Standing at less than 5 feet and 115 pounds, Rosalina Ruiz said she started punching the man instinctively when she found him inside her car, trying to protect her only means of getting to and from work.
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“I’m a small person, and I can barely fight,” Ruiz said. “But when I have to, I fight.”
Authorities identified the man as Christhian Bonilla, 24, who had been spotted just minutes earlier by a deputy on the right shoulder of the I-5.
A deputy driving on the I-5 first spotted the man at 4:30 a.m., pushing a 2000 blue GMC Jimmy on the right shoulder, said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
The deputy asked the man if he needed help, but the man thanked him and declined.
Multiple sources say that the Santa Ana Police Officers Association has yanked its endorsement of Orange County sheriff’s candidate Bill Hunt.
The union’s president, Joe Perez, did not return phone calls for comment, but other law enforcement sources say the decision was made because Hunt, a private detective and former sheriff’s lieutenant, worked on a robbery case involving an alleged gang member.
“Our members are very upset with Mr. Hunt,” one officer told the Weekly on condition of anonymity. “He testified against us in court.”
But Hunt disputes the assertion, saying that he was hired to work on a robbery case and recently attended a preliminary hearing but did not testify. He also says that his client, Victor Manuel Lua, is innocent of the charges based on evidence he’s developed and that the gang allegation is tenuous at best: The 20-year-old Lua, he says, grew up in a Santa Ana neighborhood controlled by a criminal street gang and thus knows members but is not one himself.
[From OC Weekly Blog]
Over and over Sandra Hutchens has described herself as a longtime Orange County resident. But how long? In this audio clip, which we have overlayed with pertinent documentation, she claims a longer term of residency in our county than the documents seem to support. The question isn’t how long is long enough–it’s why would she fudge on the numbers? Was she still voting in Los Angeles County after moving to Orange County (a crime)? We don’t know, because, as is the case with the many issues we’ve raised concerning her actions and her character (being sued for default, having a restraining order issued against her, having massive county tax liens against her), she simply will not provide any answers.
What is Sandra Hutchens hiding? Do we really want a sheriff whose definition of honesty is avoidance?
Until recently reversed after the policy was about to be revealed, command personnel at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, with Sandra Hutchens’ approval, have, since November of 2008, been eligible to have tolls for the personal, non emergency use of their department issued vehicle paid by Orange County taxpayers.
While other department employees, and every ordinary citizen are responsible for paying tolls when commuting to and from work, OCSD command personnel, in a policy instituted by the Sheriff’s handpicked import from Los Angeles, former Assistant Sheriff Mike Hillmann, (PDF) were to have their commutes considered part of their daily responsibility. To quote from the policy memo (see attached), ‘Your responsibilities include driving this vehicle to and from your residence and to your duty station on a daily basis.’
The memo’s language is so broadly written that tolls incurred by any personal use of the vehicle would appear to be covered. To quote, ‘As command personnel, you are expected to have this vehicle available during off-hours and respond to emergencies 24-7.’ It also mandates that, ‘First responder equipment includes, but is not limited to, Orange County Sheriff-Coroner, Toll Road Transponders allowing access to all areas within Orange County.’
Now the question must be asked: How much have the the taxpayers of Orange County paid so that command personnel can use the toll roads for their daily commute, as well as other personal travels? And have these covered expenses been reported to the Internal Revenue Service as monetary benefits given to OCSD employees above their salary?
Considering Sandra Hutchens’ past history of personal fiscal mismanagement, as documented on this website, we expect to find more instances like this as time goes on.