Adios Carona – good riddance!

The O.C. Register is reporting that “Sheriff Mike Carona will resign today to focus on defending himself against public corruption charges, abruptly ending eight years of rocky leadership atop the county’s largest law enforcement agency.”

Here are a few excerpts from the Register’s article:

Carona will make his announcement on the department’s Web site, saying he will retire for the good of the department because he doesn’t want to be distracted while preparing for a June trial, H. Dean Steward, Carona’s attorney, said Sunday.

“While it’s a combination of factors that Mike decided to retire, one of the factors is his ability to focus on his defense,” Steward said. “He also wanted to make sure the department was ready for a smooth transition.”

By stepping down from his elected position, Carona will also be able to accept the free legal work offered by two top white-collar criminal attorneys. The California Attorney General’s Office has been reviewing since last month whether Carona’s use of the pro bono services would violate the state’s gift ban for public officials.

Plans for the change in the department’s leadership will be made public today. The Orange County Board of Supervisors will then appoint an interim sheriff for the job that will run through 2011, the end of Carona’s term. Several candidates have already expressed interest in the job, including Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters, Los Angeles Sheriff Cmdr. Ralph Martin and former Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Hunt.

Folks, this means Carona is in real trouble. I suspect he is headed for jail. And I am told there are more charges coming.

A Pajarito tells me that Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters has been meeting with key Deputies as he wants the interim Sheriff appointment. He will point to his success in building a new jail in Santa Ana. However, how will he answer when asked why Santa Ana leads the county in gang violence and graffiti? Moreover, the SAPD response time is not good – residents often complain that it takes forever to get any attention from the SAPD if minorities are involved, as opposed to white crime victims.

I think the best option would be L.A. Sheriff Commander Ralph Martin. Readers, what do you think?

Another question to ponder, to what extent will the Carona stigma haunt the OC GOP? I suspect this will not help them at all. The Republicans, particularly the folks at the Red-Faced County Blog have a lot of explaining to do. They continued to back Carona even after he was indicted. He is going to jail – they better start spinning some kind of response…

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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.