Thursday, September 16, 2010

Elections Matter - State Attorney General Race

Isn't it nice when we have a choice like this? Both of the major candidates for California's Attorney General position can't seem to get past their own greed or dreams of glory to take the time to figure out who is giving them money.

And after all, isn't that what the Attorney General is supposed to do? I mean, gosh golly darn, it's not a problem that neither candidate has any money accepting a bribe, er I mean a campaign contribution from felons? Its not like neither Kamala Harris nor Steve Cooley don't have access to well funded staffs, or volunteers, who could check out where the checks are coming from.

In Steve Cooley's case (and only because his blew up first does he go first), he took money from someone who has been convicted in the past for violating campaign finance laws. That's right, records show that the Cooley campaign accepted money from Gladwin Gill. Who is Gladwin Gill, you ask? He's a wealthy guy who likes to see his people win office. Presumably because it will give him something down the line (either in the form of policies he supports or perhaps something more sinister, it really does not matter). However, he did this by violating campaign finance laws. He was caught. He was prosecuted. He was sentenced to a year in prison for violating the law in four separate campaigns.

Now why is this so bad? It must happen all the time, right? Well, as the District Attorney for Los Angeles, Mr. Cooley has a unit that works under him called the Public Integrity Unit. While Mr. Cooley was the District Attorney for Los Angeles, this unit prosecuted a number of people, including Pierce O'Donnell and John Archibald.

Slipshod campaign work? Or just turning the blind eye when money is concerned? Either way, this does not speak volumes of Mr. Cooley.

Then there is San Francisco's own contribution to the Attorney General race: Kamala Harris. It was revealed this week that Ms. Harris' campaign accepted funds from Norman Hsu. This after going after Mr. Cooley over the Gill contributions.

Does Ms. Harris know about that whole glass house thing?

So what did Mr. Hsu do to earn the scorn of the media and become ammunition for Mr. Cooley to sling back at Ms. Harris? Mr. Hsu contributed to the campaigns of Ms. Harris when she ran successfully to be re-elected as San Francisco District Attorney in 2006. Mr. Hsu, at the time, was at the time, a fugitive from the law. Isn't that nice, fugitives supporting a District Attorney's campaign. It seems almost... corrupt. But I should not use that word should I? I guess I just have to say its politics as usual.

Anyways, in case you were curious, Mr. Hsu ended up being sentenced to 24 years in jail for charges which included fraud (the original conviction for which he "forgot" to show up for sentencing on back in 1992), Ponzi schmes (well... that is to say more fraud), and violations of campaign finance laws.

About the only thing that commends Ms. Harris in this situation is that Mr. Hsu had not already been indicted on the campaign finance law.

By the way, in case you care, Mr. Cooley is the Republican nominee and Ms. Harris the Democratic nominee.

Also, in case you care about either of their policies, they don't actually seem that far apart. From my perspective, I scratch my head when I wonder why either of them actually are District Attorneys. One of them is adamantly opposed to the death penalty, so much so that there has not been a prosecution in the district where the death penalty has been requested without significant demand for it by everyone else. The other is against Three Strikes Laws. In fact, that candidate is so against it, they have tried to reform the Three Strikes Law here in California to curtail its usage and application.

One oversees an office which loses high profile cases. The other has an office which seems to have a conviction rate lower than any other major city in California.

(I'd say it was a problem that one of them was opposed to Jessica's Law, but I have some problems with that piece of legislation as well. Let's not talk about that right now, ok? Fine, basically I think it gets into an 8th Amendment violation. )

So that's what we have to choose from. Ain't it great to be a Californian with choices like these? My suggestion, hold your nose and make your pick. Either one is tainted. Both are, in my opinion, lackluster as far as real credentials go when it comes to someone who is the State's chief lawyer and enforcer of laws.

But coming on the heels of Jerry Brown's tenure, maybe it can only go up? Right? Or did I just say something akin to "It couldn't possibly get any worse?"



chrisbronstein said...

I agree with you!
However, there are some issues that set these two apart. Check out my blog What every woman needs to know about the office of attorney general...It includes letters to both offices (only Kamala's replied)

Anonymous said...

No Cooley! He's corrupt & will do anything for his own political gain. He has no problem spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to prosecute innocent people on misdemeanor cases. He has tried to ruin my life don't let him ruin your state.