Auditor Controller Race — Help Me Decide Between Smart and Woolery! (WOT)


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This may not be a current photo of Smart — but Cunningham used an unflattering one on her piece, which may actually push me to vote for her.  But I still need your help deciding!

There’s always one race that gets in the way of my sending in my ballot.  Usually, it’s a judge or a proposition, but I’m OK on those this year (even though I’m not allowed to divulge how I’m voting on Prop 71.)  This year, it’s the obscure Auditor-Controller’s race between incumbent Eric Woolery and his challenger and former subordinate Toni Smart.

I know that “shots have been fired” in this race — by which I mean a employment lawsuit filed by Smart against her former boss.  What I don’t know is: how meritorious is the suit?  And, regardless of that, is there any other basis to choose between them?

I met Woolery at an event at the Voice of OC office last year (or it could have been 2016) and he seemed sharp and to be doing a decent job — a view confirmed by one or two people associated with the VOC, which I trust on everything except their commenting policies.

And yet, the VOC also published this story:

Lawsuit Claims Auditor-Controller Had County Staff … – Voice of OC

snippet: Feb 1, 2018 – The suit against Woolery was filed Monday by Tonette (Toni) Smart who was the director of the auditor-controller’s internal audit division until …
And the Register followed up with its own story as quickly as it could, meaning five days later:

Lawsuit alleges Orange County’s fiscal watchdog had his staff drive …

snippet: Feb 6, 2018 – 29 lawsuit filed by lawyers for Tonette Smart is that Auditor-Controller Eric Wooleryroutinely asked county staff members who worked for him to …

And Matt Cunningham’s “Gilliard Blog” even makes a cogent contribution to the discussion — not coincidentally, one not authored by Matt himself — that seems to smash Smart’s competence over an FPCC complaint (although who knows what one can trust from there?)  It’s here:  State Ethics Commission Rules Auditor-Controller Challenger Toni Smart Violated CA Political Reform Act.  That makes me want root for her — but I’m disturbed by the “blind pig finds a truffle” possibility that the story is true — even though it seems at least as likely that Woolery has hired execrable Dave Gilliard as a client and Matt is simply trashing his patron’s client because that’s seems to be what he does as his part of their business arrangement.

So I’m legitimately perplexed here — and I’m not about to read the lawsuit and any counter-filings on my own, because life is too short for that.  Vern has already gone with Smart, and I suspect that that is because he is a rebel with a soft spot for the underdog.  But I want to get this one right — although I know that I can get it half-right simply by not voting in this race, although my spirit rebels at the very notion.

Can anyone out there, ideally one who has read those three linked stories above AND the court filings and FPCC decision — help me out?  (Hey, I’ve done it for you before!)

This is your Weekend Open Thread: talk about that, or whatever else you’d like, within reasonable bounds of decency and decorum.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)