Sit Back and Enjoy Part 2 of a Conversation That Might Bore You to Death


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[In PART 1 of this excruciatingly long -- but in its way fascinating to some tastes, tastes that are not likely to be those of more readers -- exchange between myself and a veteran anonymous commenter named "beelzebub," which took place in the comments following the Voice of OC story about my removal as DPOC Vice-Chair, he and I bonded over our shared desire to rid County Government of incumbent District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.  From that initial high note, small signs of an eventual potential fissure were already evident.  In this PART 2, "beelz" starts to ask me questions about policy.  By the end, things start to get tense -- and substantive.  (Substantively tense!)  We begin where we left off -- with him telling me that he would only consider supporting me if I were "serious" about my candidacy and my telling him that I had plans that I could not yet discuss.  He now begins to "ask me the hard questions."]

Skeletons having conversation 2

21. beelzebub posted at 2:49 pm on Fri, May 2, 2014.

Mr. DIamond – are you still out there?

I want to run a scenario or two past you. Don’t worry. Even if you do not answer it to my liking you will still get my vote. So I won’t hold it against you. I am just trying to gauge how you would think as our DA.

Imagined scenio #1. Imagine if a labor leader (a Democrat) representing the unionize employees lost his temper during a collective bargaining negotiation and verbally and physically threatened the opposition that was representing the county. The threats were made in an open manner that many people witnessed. Police officers were also present when this took place. In fact, the county labor leader had to be physically restrained by a police officer during the confrontation. A complaint was filed with the DA.

Imagined scenario #2. Imagine if one neighbor caught another neighbor’s dog do-dooing on his grass. He knocked on his neighbor’s door and asked him to come over and pick up the doo-doo. The neighbor refused. The discussion got loud so yet another neighbor (not me) called the police. By the time the cops arrived it was a full blown heated argument. As the cops approached the front door let’s imagine the neighbor who had his lawn doo-dooed on blurted out verbal threats and charged the other neighbor in a physically threatening manner – only to be restrained by the cops. A complaint was filed with the DA.

If you were our DA – would you follow through on either or both of the imagined scenarios and prosecute one or both individuals who were witnessed making verbal threats and had to be physically restrained to preclude physical harm to the other parties?

If you would prosecute one party and not the other, please elaborate and provide your rationale.

Thank you, sir.

22. Karl Bostrom posted at 7:18 pm on Fri, May 2, 2014.  [n.b.: I don't know who he is either.]

OK, out of my sheer respect for Beelzebub (and my strange fascination with you), I will offer this to you since your campaign is for all inents and purposes BROKE!

Over the next ten days forty thousand people will flow in and out of the HONDA center for the NHL playoffs. Most who attend are affluent, white, middle class voters (who else can afford it and there is no such thing as a black hockey fan) who have likely NEVER HEARD OF YOU. But, they have heard of the crokked DA.

I don’t reccomend using the poor “latino” children you like to champion (save their exploitation for later). Go get some nice WHITE girls from your native Huntington Beach, Brea, Mission Viejo and some other privledged enclave.

Line these kids up with posters and signs, banners that display one of Beelzelbubs nifty slogans……Threre you go 5,000 votes.

Keep in mind, 80% of Ducks fans LIVE in OC. 30% of Kings fans do too (according to sports management’s 2011 report). NAME RECOGNITION BABY.

Now, next will talk about tying up traffic Chris Christy (NJ) style and blame T-RACK.

You’re right. This might be easy

23. beelzebub posted at 10:42 pm on Fri, May 2, 2014.

Karl, I am telling you, pal. Political candidate spin their wheels trying to raise money to win campaigns instead of using their creativity and imaginations to build their platform and popularity.

You are absolutely correct. If Mr. Diamond were truly serious about winning this race he would have events planned this weekend, as we are only about a month away from election day. That is why I told Mr. Diamond that I would give him my time and perspiration ONLY under one condition. He would have to PROVE to me that he has a passion to win and that he is a contender. Honestly, I am skeptical about his motives. He wants my money but discounts my creativity and energy. My dad always told me to trust my gut. He said “Son, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Listen to that little voice in the back of your mind. But once you decide to move forward put all your heart and soul into it. And don’t stop until you’re a winner”.

I like your idea, Karl. Doesn’t matter what the color of the kids skins are. Just get them to the HC about an hour and 15 minutes prior to faceoff. The little girls could hold signs that read: “I’m a Diamond girl. Greg Diamond for DA” and the little boys could hold signs that read: “Clean up Orange County. Greg Diamond for DA”. Greg could wear a Ducks t-shirt and shake hands with the hockey fans as they enter the arena. The kid’s parents could hand out a few inexpensive ‘remember me’ campaign brochures.Then afterwards throw a little pool party for the kids with burgers, games and prizes. Total cost: $700 tops. $700 that would bring in 5,000 votes or more.

This is what I’m talking about, Karl. Vision. Imagination, cleverness, ingenuity, originality at a low, low price!

What does Mr. Diamond have to lose? Nothing! He’s a 100 to 1 underdog for God sakes! Even if he loses look at all the fun he could have! On June 3rd if Mr. Diamond doesn’t have a MINIMUM of 40% of the votes he’s done something wrong!

24. beelzebub posted at 1:57 pm on Sat, May 3, 2014.

[In response to Stanley Fiala's assertion that I am devoid of charisma.]  The American people are, in general, too stupid to decipher between the truth and lies. We are the most educated stupid people on planet Earth. Too easily fooled. I love my country but strive to be honest. We can improve only by becoming painfully honest about ourselves and those around us. Obama only has charisma for those who are unable to see beyond their nose. But even the stupid have smartened up lately with Obama’s approval ratings under 40%. For that they deserve credit. However, by the time they smartened up the damage was done. For that they deserve scorn and ridicule. Unless there is negative feedback the stupid believe that they are free of blame. They are not. They should feel shame so that they do not repeat their stupidity.

Mr. Diamond may not have that false charisma. He may not light up a room. But that is the sort of leader that draws me like a magnet, particularly when he shows courage – which he has. Show me another leader who has drawn so much scorn from leaders in his own party over ideology. You can’t. Mr. Diamond could have played it safe. He did not. He took a significant risk knowing that they would cut him off at knees. That’s worth something. In fact, that’s worth quite a lot. You don’t have the intellectual capacity to see that, Stanley. Not saying you can’t acquire it. You can. But it takes enough courage to question your own convictions. I don’t know whether you’re capable of that.

The best sort of charisma is the truth spoken with humor. It draws people like magnets. Everyone is capable of developing a sense of humor. It’s takes more effort for some than others. You simply have to look for funny things in life that are not apparent to the average eye. It takes effort and concentration. But once you develop the habit it becomes second nature. It helps if you have suffered adversity in your upbringing or some significant grief in your adult life. But that’s not a prerequisite. Most people are lazy and couldn’t care less. And that’s fine. For they have their story too.

Oh, another truism in life is that if a person self-proclaims to be “intelligent” in 9 out of 10 cases he is not.

[He later added]

I will assume that Mr. Diamond is taking a couple days off the boards to regenerate. That’s understandable. But I do expect him to return and respond to my questions on May 2 @ 2:49pm. If he had the courage to fight his own party leader he must certainly have the courage to answer a scenario question for a voter sitting back in the 22nd row.

I will wait patiently, Mr. Diamond. Enjoy your time off. But don’t pull a Hector Villagra on me. You have way too much class for that.

25. Greg Diamond posted at 3:27 pm on Sat, May 3, 2014.

beelz — Yes, I’ve been away for a couple of days, not so much to regenerate as to attend to my solo law practice, which needed as much nurturing recently as my basil plants in this heat. I have a large filing due on Monday and that pretty much takes me out of the game until Tuesday, which is disappointing because Karl Bostrom’s idea about hanging out with the crowd at the Honda Center really is pretty brilliant — and I would definitely have taken it if it didn’t involve shortchanging a client. But, you know — I have to give that priority. It’s not even a close call.

I’ll address some of your other comments first, and then will get to your “any resemblance to Nick Berardino’s situation is purely coincidental question” at the end.

First, if you want to get a sense of my charisma (and perhaps intelligence), here’s the short speech that I gave to the North Orange County Bar Association on Wednesday, April 23. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-uXbj6NGA0. The recording started a few second late, so you miss the bit where I remind the audience that they were asked to hold their applause until the end — and that I was the last speaker. (That got a good response.) As it starts, I’m giving them various ways to remember my name when they are in the voting booth.

Stanley strikes me as quite bright, and I actually like him quite a bit compared to other virulent old-school “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”-type anti-Semites — but of course that’s grading him on a very low curve. My problem with him as someone who manages a blog is that he makes the comments sections unbearable for all but the most inured readers — and I like to hear what other people besides him have to say. When he behaves, he’s been invited to come back and write — but he rarely behaves for long. It’s a pity, because he’s smart and has a way with words.

As for your scenario: I have a hard time discussing this in the abstract because I believe that I have talked to Nick B. about what happened at that incident. This was not in my capacity as a lawyer, but I happened to be around in a group when it came up. I know that he denies many aspects of the reported story that you may (or may not!) think are settled fact, and that he suggested inclusion of other context (the specifics of which I don’t remember) that I don’t recall seeing reported. But let me take things as you pose them.

First of all, if the labor leader were a close friend or political ally of mine, I’d probably recuse myself from involvement in the case. I think that there should be much more recusal that we’ve seen recently here, because even if the “appearance of impropriety” standard isn’t state law, it’s still a good idea. (You can read my views on recusal in the OC Register’s Voter Guide, where it was relevant to one of the questions they asked. The link there is http://www.ocregister.com/articles/orange-612382-voter-county.html?data=138amp;appSession=969134670733260&RecordID=107&PageID=3&PrevPageID=2&cpipage=1&CPIsortType=&CPIorderBy=&cbCurrentRecordPosition=1#article-data; if you want to know the DA’s answers, you’re out of luck, because he apparently did not answer the Register’s questions.) What I’d put a premium on is ensuring that the people under my supervision were just as meticulous as I am about that.

Second, there’s the question of what’s involved in “losing one’s temper.” That’s not illegal. Even verbal threats are not necessarily actionable, and there’s a whole huge jurisprudence about that topic that I won’t try to summarize here. Physical threats are more of a problem, but even if there’s physical contact you have to asses whether it was intentional, inadvertent, de minimus (what the great legal philosopher Chick Hearn used to call “no harm, no foul”) etc. That a police officer “had to” restrain him is worth knowing (though in that case I wonder why there was no arrest), but you should realize that police officers restrain people, quite legitimately, even before they “have to” because their job is to control a situation and prevent violence — even if they may have considered violence to be unlikely. As for a complaint having been filed, that may be significant or not, as in a bitter negotiation it may be a way of gaining some advantage over an adversary. But would I just ignore it? Absolutely not.

As for the feces in the pool scenario, it would hinge on the manner and content of the verbal threats — something difficult to assess hypothetically. The law addressing assault and threats can be complicated, but straightforward enough so that I think that most attorneys and judges would come to the same conclusion based on the same facts.

The pool example bothers me more because in the negotiations metaphor it’s easy to discount some of the belligerence as having been performative — done in front of an audience for the benefit of the audience rather than likely to lead to actual violence. (Seriously, if you’re in a crowded room *with cops*, you know that you’re not going to get away with a fistfight, so this seemed to have a “someone hold me back!” flavor to it. But I could be wrong about this instance.) In the pool scenario, it seems less likely to be that that the person you described as rushing the other guy was playing for an audience, therefore there’s more reason to think that (1) he really intended physical harm and that (2) the other person would have perceived a realistic threat of harm, which is critical to one definition of assault.

Would I prosecute? I can’t say, on these facts, but I think that it’s unlikely that either of the accused attackers would end up in jail (unless there was a whole lot more going on.) This seems more like a mediation and/or plea with alternative sentencing and expungement situation to me — but I’m open to discussion on that point.

I also note that if either person who accused their “foe” of attacking them was really worried, they could seek a restraining order — and my guess is that on these facts they’d have difficulty getting one.

One thing that I would plan to do in the months between June and January, if I win, is to make a serious study of “best practices” in other counties regarding these sorts of situations (and many more); this is where my social science Ph.D./J.D. combination is a real advantage when it comes to assessing policy policy. Rather than “reinvent the wheel” of how to address many situations that come up with DA’s offices, I’d like to know who has already invented a really good wheel — and then copy their design. So while I gave you an off the cuff answer here, to give you a sense of how I think, I’d have an even better one once I took office.

26. beelzebub posted at 4:12 pm on Sat, May 3, 2014.

Thank you for your detailed response, Mr. Diamond. I had confidence that you would reply and it came as no surprise.

Naturally based on my scenarios it would be difficult to give a black or white answer. All I really wanted to do was get your wheels turning and provide some food for thought.

You see, one real weakness that I see in our system has to do with ‘equality under the law’ which I believe has suffered some serious erosion over the last couple decades. The ones on top (not necessarily just in OC) who commit some pretty egregious acts (whether it’s government officials or those in the financial arena) often walk away with out a scratch. Some are even handsomely rewarded. As if we have 2 distinct and separate books of laws, one for us and one for them. That wasn’t the intention of our Founding Fathers, nor is it in line with the US Constitution or the principles upon which our beloved nation was built. I’ve lived most my life, Mr. Diamond. I am not so concerned for myself, I worry about what we are leaving behind for our children, grandchildren and future generations. Our parents sacrificed to make our lives better than their own. And more often than not, they succeeded. I don’t want to undo what our parents worked to create. Make sense, sir? I don’t want to have to apologize to the youngsters as I lay on my death bed for what my generation did to them and our beloved nation. Do you understand? ‘Equality under the law’ was a basic founding principle of American life. Once that is gone, IMO we’re done.

As the OCDA would you strive to resurrect ‘equality under the law’, Mr. Diamond? IMO there should be no greater goal for you to achieve.

Thank you in advance for any comment you may offer, when you can take time away from your professional duties.

27. Greg Diamond posted at 5:23 pm on Sat, May 3, 2014.

“As the OCDA would you strive to resurrect ‘equality under the law’, Mr. Diamond? IMO there should be no greater goal for you to achieve.”

Of course I would. That’s one of the main themes of my campaign: opposing corruption, cronyism, and contempt for constitutional rights.

(I should point out again to readers that I have no idea who this beelzebub fellow is and we are not coordinating anything outside of what you can read here. It’s just that Rackauckas makes a really easy target for people who care anything about justice.)

28. beelzebub posted at 9:08 pm on Sat, May 3, 2014.

Yes readers. I vouch for what Mr. Diamond says. We have never met before and he wouldn’t know who I am if we bumped into each other on the sidewalk. I have no horse in this race. I have nothing to gain by a DIamond win except for hope that he could turn the ship around and revive ‘equality under the law’, America’s contract with her citizens. I am simply a concerned citizen who wants the best for our younger and future generations and I am alarmed over the facts that we have evolved into a society with 2 separate and distinct sets of laws – one for the insiders with powerful connections and one for the rest of us. That is NOT a constitutional republic. That is a description of a banana republic. I WANT MY OLD COUNTRY BACK! And I would like for Mr. Diamond to help return it to me!

Mr. Diamond, I would also like you to question why TR was the lead prosecutorial attorney in the trial of the 2 cops who were charged with killing Kelly Thomas. Why didn’t he use one of his seasoned homicide DDA’s who routinely try murder cases and have recent and practiced experience in such? TR handling the case would be like Doc Rivers of the Clippers taking out one of his starters and putting himself in a playoff game. Insanity! And we saw the results of TR’s efforts, didn’t we? IMO TR should be criticized publicly for such an inept strategy. And how did an attorney who had former connections with the DA’s office end up on the jury? And why did the public not get a statement from even ONE juror after the acquittal verdict to explain thier rationale for the verdict reached. That was the ONLY highly publicized jury trial that I can recall where NO JURORS came forward after the trial to make a public statement. VERY STRANGE, MR. DIAMOND! WOULDN’T YOU AGREE???

29. beelzebub posted at 11:05 pm on Sat, May 3, 2014.

Mr. Diamond, another question that would be relevant for a DA candidate.

I was shellshocked a couple years ago when the OC Register reported a scandal in Social Service Agency. It was reported that a couple social workers lied to the court with regard to an investigation involving a mother and her 2 childen. Exculpatory information was also withheld. As a result the mother had her 2 daughters taken from her custody for 6 years. She sued SSA and won. The jury determined the fabrications resulted in egregious harm to the mother and children. Judgment: $5M – and after legal fees were tacked on the cost to the county approached $10M. The social workers were never charged with criminal misconduct. In fact, one was promoted to a supervisory position. The last I heard lying to the court about material facts is called ‘perjury’. And the civil jury said the dishonesty resulted in egregious harm to other parties.

I did not read anything about the DA’s office investigating this matter. I thought that was very strange after the case was upheld on appeal. Did you read about this case and what were your thoughts? Do you think the DA carried out due diligence here? Had you been the DA at that time what course of action would you have taken? I read the comments under the OC Register article and many many commenters were quite upset that these social workers walked away without any punishment – either legally or internally at SSA. Do you feel the justice system and the DA dropped the ball?

If an ordinary citizen (not a government employee or someone with inside connections) lied in a court or law and as a result caused significant damage to the life of another party – would you expect that citizen to get charged with a crime and have to answer for his actions?

I think these are very pertinent and relevant questions for a candidate running for an important office like the DA. I suspect these questions would never get asked in a regular debate forum hosted by the media. That’s why as a concerned citizen I am asking them. I like to ask the tough ones.

Thank you in advance for any enlightenment that you can provide on this topic.

30. beelzebub posted at 1:02 pm on Sun, May 4, 2014.

Mr. Diamond, one more of those questions that the media would never ask you in a public forum:

No doubt you read or heard about the slain decorated black veteran Marine sergeant Manuel Loggins. He was fatally shot by an OCSD deputy in San Clemente as he sat in his personal vehicle only a couple feet in front of his 2 minor daughters who sat in the backseat of the car.. He was unarmed (except for a bible that he held in his hand) and did not have any drugs or alcohol in his system. I don’t want to reiterate the whole story. You can read about it on-line. To make a long story short – the County settled with the family before trial and paid them $4M in our taxdollars. Obviously, the county would not do that unless it had it’s back up against the wall and some egregious wrongdoing(s) occurred. I’m certain that you would concur.

The DA exonnerated the cop who shot Sgt. Loggins of any criminal wrongdoing. Many people questioned the credibility DA’s investigation and final determination. Speakers at the Supervisor’s meetings questioned it. Yet, as I understand it, the cop who shot Sgt. Loggins and the other cops at the scene when it happened (I understand 3 or 4 other cops were there) were not fired and remain to be employed as police officers. In fact, there were not even any reports of discipline to my knowledge. The taxpayers were punished, The cops walked away without a scratch.

Okay, here is my point. I understand that the event was caught on a police dashcam video and audio recorders that the police are required to wear. But after the case was settled all this evidence was buried from the public’s view. In other words, we were FORCED to pay $4M to the harmed family – but we were prohibited from seeing or from hearing the actual evidence of what took place that morning. Naturally that evidence would be worth 5,000 words and would give us a firm understanding of what actually occurred at the fatal shooting. As a citizen and taxpayer I feel that it’s not only unfair, but that it’s an injustice for a government that promotes ‘transparency’ from one side of it’s mouth while, in practice, does quite the opposite – to be able to hide direct evidence from the public after forcing us to pay a $4M settlement.

I would like to know your opinion on this. If you were the DA at time of settlement would you publicly request that the direct evidence be released to the public and to the taxpayers after the Manuel Loggins civil case was adjudicated so that we could examine the evidence for ourselves to help ascertain what took place that morning and we were billed for $4M?

Why should taxpayers get billed $4M and then told we have no right to review the evidence that resulted in the $4M settlement?

Would you make any changes to this policy if elected at next DA?

Thank you in advance or your answer, Mr. Diamond.

Disclaimer for full disclosure: I am a military veteran so this case holds a special interest for me.

31. beelzebub posted at 8:32 pm on Sun, May 4, 2014.

I sure hope Mr. Diamond returns to respond to my very relevant and pertinent questions with regard to his run for the DA’s office. I know he’s busy. But he chose to be a candidate and, as such, has some responsibility to the electorate. It would be nice if he could acknowledge the questions and assure me that he would respond to them at his earliest convenience.

32. Greg Diamond posted at 9:23 pm on Sun, May 4, 2014.

beez — yes, very busy, given a filing due.  [n.b., I don't recall whether this referred to work on this case or a non-Anaheim case that preceded it.]

I’d like to respond to your questions when I’m not so slammed (something I had not planned to be one month out from the election), but I have to say that I doubt that much of anyone is still reading this section at this point given Stanley’s “contributions” to it. I’d like to focus my efforts somewhere where they might find an audience — and at this point I don’t think that this is the place. Any ideas as to how to proceed? I’d invite you to OJB, where I can have such a discussion, but again I want to respect your privacy. Maybe you can post here and someone (perhaps even me) can port them over, without Stanley mucking up the works?

33. beelzebub posted at 9:59 pm on Sun, May 4, 2014.

I don’t like that answer, Mr. Diamond. My impression is that you were a straight up guy. My impression was that you had a passion to be a contender. My questions took some time to formulate and now you appear to be playing dodge ball. These were burning questions that would never get asked in one of those phony ‘feet to the fire’ type forums. These are the sort of burning questions that engaged citizens want answers to. And now I get the impression that you are heeing and hawing. I thought you were different, Mr. Diamond. Perhaps I was wrong. That’s why I wanted to test you right up front to see how you would respond. Now you are communicating like a typical politician. I’m disappointed. As a social and fiscal conservative I thought I may have struck gold on the other side of the aisle. Maybe as a society we are too far gone and no hope remains. Maybe was have already crossed the Rubicon. Maybe I am the enemy for asking too many pertinent and transparent questions while expecting candid answers from another political candidate. Shame on me. Like the Beatles once said “I should have known better”

I will await your response, Mr. Diamond. The ball is back in your court. Are you going to run with it or toss it out of bound and call another time out?

[Can Diamond recover beelz's respect?  Read Part 3 to find out -- and one thing I'll tell you is that it's going to get worse before if gets better -- if it gets better at all!]


About Greg Diamond

Worker's rights attorney now moving into "good governance" litigation. North Vice Chair of Democratic Party of Orange County and occasional candidate. Proud to be prolix. Unless otherwise specifically stated, his writings never speak for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. He tries to either suppress or openly acknowledge his partisan, issue, ideological, and "good government" biases in most of his writing here. If you have a question about any particular writing, just ask him about it and (unless you are an pseudonymous troll) he will probably answer you at painful length. He lives in Brea but generally doesn't blog about it. A family member works as a campaign treasurer for Wendy Gabriella in AD-73; he doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. He does advise some campaigns informally and without compensation, although in 2014 he may receive some compensation for campaign consulting and fundraising for the campaign of Jorge Lopez for Orange County Assessor.