Sit Back and Enjoy Part 3 of a Conversation That Might Bore You to Death

[In PART 1 of this excruciatingly long exchange between myself and a veteran anonymous commenter named “beelzebub” on the Voice of OC, he and I bonded over our shared desire to rid County Government of incumbent District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. in PART 2, he starts to ask me questions about policy.  By the end, things start to get tense — and substantive.  Now, in Part 3 — we argue about policies and I … maybe … begin lose his vote! Over what? Read on!]

Skeletons having conversation 3

34. beelzebub posted at 11:17 am on Mon, May 5, 2014.

Mr. Diamond, if you choose to avoid answering my totally pertinent and relevant questions for a challenger candidate in the DA’s race, would you at minimum provide a clear statement as to why you are running for the DA’s office and what you hope to accomplish? Or is that asking too much?

I noted that in the Voter Information Pamphlet you didn’t even bother submitting a Candidate Statement for the voters to read. What kind of passion is that? How are you going to get the voters to know you if you don’t tell them who you are and what you represent?

Is part of the reason for your candidancy to drum up some more private business? Just curious?

35. Greg Diamond posted at 1:00 pm on Mon, May 5, 2014.

Beelz, I am sorry to have disappointed you. I am working on a matter for a client, to be filed today, by midnight. That takes precedence over anything political. I will answer you as soon as I can following that.

Meanwhile, check out Orange Juice Blog at 2:00 for some partial satisfaction of your curiosity.  [I believe that this was a reference to either this post on the DA’s office blowing the Scott Dekraii case or this post on my answers (and the DA’s non-answers) to the Register’s questions.]

I will say this: that candidate statement costs $29,000. I couldn’t raise it; my opponent could. Had I known that Todd Spitzer wouldn’t run against him, I would have entered the race and started fundraising much earlier and would have tried to purchase such a statement.

I’m sorry that I can’t say more than that now; I hope that you don’t turn in your ballot until tomorrow at the earliest.

36. beelzebub posted at 1:49 pm on Mon, May 5, 2014.

Mr. Diamond, we are inside a month until the election. How many more clients are going to interfere with your campaign and your dialog with the voters as we move forward? I empathize with your lack of funds.That’s where creativity comes in and we have given you ample sugestions. When and where is your next (first?) campaign rally? If I am going to support you I need to see some passion on your part. Otherwise I begin to wonder and to guess why you got into the DA’s race at all. And you can’t blame me for that.

You have all the way until June 3rd to show us what you’re all about. But unless I see some real movement on your part in the next week (especially being a major underdog) I will be forced to rethink my voter strategy. I know my options are limited but I have the right to write-in the person or cartoon character of my choice. I want to give you my vote. But you must earn it, sir. I refuse to vote for another run-of-the-mill fair-weathered candidate. I need to discern a genuiness and a substance that most politicians are incapable of delivering. I need to see courage. I need to see passion. You don’t need the shinest teeth or the thickest head of hair. You only need to be an honest person whose actions match his words. If I see a conflict between actions and words I’ll drop my support for your like a hot potato. I am honest with you. I expect the same in return. Period.

So I will be patient. But I am human too. And patience does not come packaged in an infinite supply.

One more question – and this one is not a deal breaker – but is still important and will expose a part of your character. As a DA candidate – what is your opinion on the legalization of illegal foreigners who live in the USA and the notion of allowing them to keep the jobs that they stole from American citizens.

I ask the tough ones, Mr Diamond. This is not a ‘Feet to the Fire’ pat-a-cake media hosted political question session. Please don’t run away. That will indicate to me a lack of courage worthy of no vote.

I look forward to your responses.

37. Karl Bostrom posted at 5:42 pm on Mon, May 5, 2014.

It looks like we may be going at this alone Beez (more on that later).

Time NOT permitting, Diamond was unable to execute my plan last weekend according to his considerate reply. TODAY, however, would have been an even better opportunity to TROLL for votes because, not only is there Game 2 of the hokey playoffs, but an Angels VS. Yankees game which will be a sell out. Further, there is a movie shoot planned for Downtown Disney today.

Aprox. 100,000 mostly white, mostly OC Residents will converge on the “ORANGE CRUSH” as I type. In other words VOTERS.

Now, to mix it up a little bit and involve our Non-Voting brethren and Hispanic community members, I would have suggested, gathering up some of his allies from Anna Drive, the Mothers of the dead gang members to BLOCK TRAFFIC, in their traditional GANG attire, “CINCO DE MAYO” style. Make these people LATE and force them into utter gridlock, all in support of………TONY RACKAUCKAS!

The could chant “KILL WHITEY”, Burn an effigy of Bruno, the MeCHA killing perro. allthewhile chanting Viva Antonio! Viva Tony!

That’s called a SMEAR TACTICS! Perfect for this kind of Guerilla campaign!

More seriously, this same intersection (Katella and the 57) will host the gubernatorial debate brought to you by John and Ken and their ONE MILLION So. Cal listeners. I wonder if that would make sense to rally outside that??

So for about $250 in pizza for the participants, I just gave Diamond FACE TO FACE interaction with 150,000 voters at two events and media exposure to another 1,000,000 .

Meanwhile Greg is busy with blog posts.

FWIW, I don’t think a blog post would have convicted, Cincinelli, Ramos or Dekrai.

HIT THE STREETS DIAMOND!  [Note: I’d like to think that this one was meant as tongue-in-cheek.]

38. beelzebub posted at 6:57 pm on Mon, May 5, 2014.

Karl, you would make a fine campaign manager. Mr. Diamond would be smart to call you in for an interview. You think outside the box and would be an asset to any major underdog. To be a contender Mr. Diamond MUST takes risks. BIG risks! But as far as I can tell his train hasn’t even left the station. That is why I question his motives for entering the race. And he can’t blame me for that!

Those questions Wisckol asked him were high lobbing softballs. Nothing burgers. I don’t think we have any real political reporters left in So California, The questions I asked under this blog were hardball sliders and curves. And that might be the reason Mr. Diamond has so far avoided them. I would never make it in the journalism business today where the reporters and the politicians play footsie with one another. It’s repulsive. They are supposed to be semi-adversaries – not cozy warm and fuzzy buddies.

I will wait a while longer for Mr. Diamond but my patience is wearing thin. I will only buy the line “I’m working on a motion for a client” for only so long before I turn out the lights and close up shop. Afterall, this is campaign season and the clock is ticking. Less than a month to go and counting. Time to make a move. Where’s the beef?

39. beelzebub posted at 10:39 pm on Mon, May 5, 2014.

[In reply to some nonsense] Stanley, as you may note in my board comments I tend to be a social and fiscal conservative. But I am not a republican. I don’t play the D-R game at all. IMO the 2-party system (which in reality is really a 1-party system) is causing tremendous damage to the viability of our beloved Nation. I leave that to the amateurs. However, I am not a closed minded conservative. In fact, I am very open-minded and NEVER dismiss a political candidate based on political affiliation. In my world everyone gets a fair shot at winning my support. Initially I saw something in Mr. Diamond that I liked. It had to do more with intrinsic characteristics rather than ideology. I am still learning more about him each day. This is why I am asking him questions which I hope he won’t ignore. As with anything, when the facts change I always reserve the right to change my opinion. At this point I still support Mr. Diamond. I will have a much clearer picture of who he is and what he stands for in 7-10 days. If I see courage, passion, creativity, persistence and a recipe for REAL change (not Obama-style phony change) I am all on board. If I see mixed messages where the actions don’t match the words and typical phony politics so common in today’s campaign season – I run in the opposite direction and don’t look back. I won’t vote for TR. And I won’t vote for the best of 2 evils. If I vote for Mr. Diamond – he’s earned it. Time will tell. It’s showtime and the curtains are opening. The question is will Mr. Diamond perform or be a no-show. We shall see.

40. beelzebub posted at 11:35 pm on Mon, May 5, 2014.

Mr. Diamond – was that a text error when you said it costs “$29,000” to put a stupid 1 paragraph candidate statement in the voter booklet? If that is an accurate number no wonder the political system is broken. Common ordinary citizens are disenfranchised from holding political office. Who could possibly afford it? No wonder we have evolved into a society of haves and have nots!

41. Greg Diamond posted at 12:31 am on Tue, May 6, 2014.

Gentlemen, Gentlemen — and Stanley: I told you that I’d be busy until midnight Monday. Now I can take a few minutes to talk to you.

beelz, I think that the first question of yours that I hadn’t gotten to was Sat. 9:08 pm, I’ll start from there.

I don’t recall the SSA case you mention, but I do recall a similar case from LA. Yes, we see what I believe to be perjury from county officials, but the deck is stacked against those who would like to prove it. As for the substantive problem — it’s not a shock. Most of these workers are overworked — and overworked people tend to cut corners. We get what we pay for — but someone else usually pays the cost. I don’t know if the DA investigated the matter; I do know from many people that OCDA investigations are generally considered to be a joke, at least with “big fish” targets.

I can’t say what I’d do in such a case without knowing more. As a plaintiff’s employment atty (when I’m not suing over government corruption), I take perjury more seriously than many seem to. As for the substantive failure, I’d want to know more about whether in fact the higher-ups essentially wink at such omissions and in essence pressure people to cut corners. If so, I think that I’d be more interested in getting their testimony to go after a much more serious can of worms than be able to notch a couple of convictions of hapless small fry. However, I don’t want small fry to think that they’d necessarily get off; I’d want to see more whistleblowing by workers about conditions that lead to such failures, and of course people get less credit for it if they wait until after they get caught.

But let me ask you something: if a reasonable investigation showed that the SSA could not do its job properly in this respect without greater staffing, would you be willing to pay higher taxes (or attract income otherwise) to avoid such tragedies? You’re right to be disgusted by that outcome, but sometimes displacing blame onto the people on the front lines is too easy.

I’ll put each answer in a separate comment.

42. Greg Diamond posted at 12:47 am on Tue, May 6, 2014.

Whoops, that was your 11 pm message; let’s go back to the 9 pm one.

I have asked that question publicly in writing and in speeches. I think that the decision was inexcusable — but not mystifying.

One theory is that he was trying to show off for the public by taking on a popular cause — that he expected to win and to gain good PR for it (especially if people forget that he tried to suppress release of the damning audiotape before he suddenly switched sides!)

Another theory I’ve heard from an “insider” is that no DDA wanted to take the case because they didn’t think it was winnable. I have a hard time believing that no one would take his direct order to do so. The case WAS winnable, by the way — but probably not as a murder case. The focus should have been much more tightly on excessive force. A conviction on THAT grounds would have sent shockwaves through the county’s public safety community — it just wouldn’t have been as “sexy.” (There was also a possible way to pursue a murder charge, if it could be shown that the police were involved in a conspiracy with property owners to violate civil rights and that the Fullerton PD didn’t know about it, but he didn’t raise that possibility.)

Another theory is that he “took a fall” and blew the case intentionally. I don’t believe that — but largely that is because I just don’t WANT to believe it. As I’m not now in a position to investigate, I can give in to such feelings.

Whichever of the above is true, I think that there’s another reason that fits with any of them: he wanted to control how the prosecution went: how it proceeded, where it went, and perhaps especially where it DIDN’T go. He could have instructed a subordinate “do this but don’t do that,” but that would leave him vulnerable. By taking the reins himself, he didn’t have to communicate the basis for his choices to anyone else — he just had to do what he wanted to do.

For the record, I don’t intend to EVER prosecute a case personally as DA. Your “Doc Rivers” example is excellent. We have people in the OCDA’s office who are expert in that; MY expertise is in being able to protect the people who are doing the job well, fix the problems with people who are not, and to be able to say no to anyone. (That and I’m an excellent policy analyst and case analyst — and I’m scrupulous about corruption.)

How that attorney got on the jury, I do not know. As for the lack of a juror statement (if that’s true; I don’t recall that being so), I really don’t read anything sinister in it. It was not a pleasant trial, the jurors may have known that their verdict would not be popular, and they may not have wanted the notoriety. You could be right, but enough went wrong in that case that I personally wouldn’t focus on it.

43. Greg Diamond posted at 12:57 am on Tue, May 6, 2014.

Yes, I remember the sickening tragedy of the Loggins case. As perhaps there may be some possibility that I’d still play some role in it, I’d rather not comment on its specifics. I will answer generally.

One problem that we have is the unparalleled (at least within the U.S.) strength of POBOR, the Police Officers Bill of Rights, which among other things protects information about officers in the absence of criminal charges. Now, you may say “hey, that’s great, because you can just bring criminal charges to get around POBOR!” But that’s not how I work. I’m not going to bring criminal charges for anything less than legitimate reasons — and that means that I have to consider the defense that an officer is simply following departmental policy. (That was the most significant issue in the Kelly Thomas case — although it got subsumed in other questions.)

I’m far more open than the current DA seems to be to bring charges against officers for excessive force — and, especially, for conspiracy to hide or manufacture evidence. I hold police officers in high regard — to be able to kill someone with the permission of the state is an awesome responsibility — but they had damn well better earn it.

I think that simply having a DA with such an attitude will go a long way to reforming the way local police agencies think about the use of force. And, as always, I want to learn — and I want OTHERS to learn — about what is working well in other parts of the country. Not “working well” as in “leading to a DA’s re-election,” but substantively.

44. Greg Diamond posted at 1:06 am on Tue, May 6, 2014.

Your 9:59 pm Sunday comment breaks my heart, beelz, but I hope that you are heartened by the answers I’m providing you now. (Cut me a little slack, OK?)

I want to be elected DA because I think that the incumbent is doing a poor job — in failing to fight corruption, in deferring too much to cronies and contributors, and in showing contempt for peoples’ Constitutional rights. I want to clean up the county and to promote and support the people in the OCDA’s office who are most ethical and willing to do the job bravely and right. I want to get away from posturing for the public to aid one’s re-election and more towards doing proper justice, politics be damned.

There’s more, but I think that that should do.

Yes, the 400-word candidate statement really does cost about $29,000. The 200-word one costs $14,500, but I had not understood that to be an option. Given my late start, I could not have afforded that anyway. I think that it’s crazy social policy to have statements be that expensive — especially for a position that you really don’t want to be beholden to contributors.

Actually, if anything I have too much business right now. Far too much of it is pro bono — that’s what comes from knowing a lot of people of limited means who need help. The government accountability work makes be feel that I’d doing a real service to the county — but any payoff, if it occurs, would be well down the line. So, no, this is not a way of promoting my practice — but even if it were, you should still vote for me anyone given the alternative.

45. Greg Diamond posted at 1:19 am on Tue, May 6, 2014.

It’s past 1 a.m. and I’m getting tired, so I’ll make this my last answer for the night.

Karl, you have some wonderful ideas for campaign promotion, but I’m really not going to engage in false flag efforts or choose supporters based on race. If I lose by 3 votes, I realize that I may regret it, but I’ll still live it down.

beelz, we probably disagree a lot about immigration, but as that involves federal law enforcement it’s not going to be a big issue for me as DA — except as follows. I WILL be able to act regarding labor law violations — and if anyone is using unauthorized labor as a way of subverting the minimum wage and/or proper labor standards, I will happily lower the boom on them.

I’ll address the “why aren’t you campaigning HARDER” thing before I do. As I’ve said, I came into this race unexpectedly, because I had thought that Todd Spitzer would run and in that case there was no point in my trying to compete with possibly millions of dollars between them. When I decided to run, I know that — particularly due to my work with the non-profit “good government” group CATER — I had a good chance of having a huge amount of legal work coming up in the 4-6 weeks before the election. (I hadn’t know at that time, of course, that my own party and the Labor movement would also come after me.)

I decided to go ahead, because (1) I would be a good DA and (2) SOMEONE had to run against Rackauckas, especially given the past dismal four years. But let’s say that caution had prevailed — and that I’d said “no, I’m going to be too busy with urgent client work to do the smart thing and mill around the Ducks-Kings games, so I won’t run.”

Would we be better off in that case? I don’t think so. So I ran, and I will do my best to win — but not at the price of breaking critical commitments to clients. If that isn’t good enough, then I wish that someone could have found someone with a less busy schedule to run — but I solicited dozens of people to do so and they all said no.

So, again — a little slack, please. You’re not worse off for my having run, no matter what I can and cannot do to campaign over the next 4 weeks.

And yes, I have some ideas that are both cheap and creative — but I want to keep the opponents guessing. Good tactic, right?

46. beelzebub posted at 1:54 pm on Tue, May 6, 2014.

Mr. Diamond, I will answer each of YOUR questions separately, as you did mine.

First off, these SSA social workers are not underpaid. The one social who was said to have lied to the court (and found liable by a civil jury) then promoted to a supervisory position made over $100,000 in base salary. Tack on the 2.7%@55 pension benefit and health benefits and OT – one could assume a total compensation of $175-$200,000 with iron clad job security. Much more than an average lawyer makes, Mr. Diamond.

Regardless of the budget situation, no government worker should be given license to violate State laws, not to mention cause egregious harm to an innocent party and her children in the process. Surely, as an attorney who is sworn to uphold and defend the laws, you would agree. No excuses, Mr. Diamond. The county taxpayers were FORCED to pay $5M PLUS attorney fees for the violations perpetrated by these 2 government workers. The media reported that there was NO PUNISHMENT OR DISCIPLINE for what they did.

We have a legal principle established called “equality under the law”. It is part of the backbone of what American was founded upon.

What would happen to an ORDINARY citizen without inside connections who lied in a court of law and by doing so caused egregious harm to another person?

I look forward to your response(s), Mr. Diamond. Good day.

47. beelzebub posted at 2:22 pm on Tue, May 6, 2014.

Mr. Diamond, re: the Kelly Thomas trial matter. You last comment first:

Since the verdict was very unpopular and elicited many LEGITIMATE questions and criticisms, that is even GREATER reason why the jurors should have come forward afterwards to CLARIFY how they reached the decision to acquit. At least, that’s the way it should happen in a TRANSPARENT justice system. I cannot recall during a controversial widely publicized criminal jury trial when individual jurors did not come forward to give their side to the story. And to my knowlege not ONE juror seated for the Kelly Thomas matter gave any public statement whatsoever. And I did a detailed on-line search. I challenge you to produce any statement from just ONE juror at the cops’s trial.

All I can say it that it was VERY STRANGE for TR to take on the role of lead prosecutor in this case. Can you recall any other DA doing this for a criminal trial that garnered comparable publicity? Well, have you? Anywhere?

I have been watching the Clipper playoff games. Doc Rivers has never put on a player’s uniform and entered one game, even as a sub, let alone as a starter and leading player on the team.

All I can say is that I find it VERY STRANGE!

48. beelzebub posted at 2:35 pm on Tue, May 6, 2014.

Mr. Diamond – you failed to address my SPECIFIC point w/regard to Manuel Loggins.

WE, the taxpayers, were FORCED to pay Mrs. Loggins and her children $4M for implied county wrongdoing, re: the death of their husbands and father – yet are BARRED from seeing the dashcam video or listen to the audio recording that would tell us exactly what took place on the winter’s morning. We must ASSUME that the DA’s report tells us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, when there is actual EVIDENCE worth 10,000 words that is buried from our view.

That does not represent a ‘free’ society, sir. It is only a step away from the old Soviet Union. And that is extremely frightening to a veteran who risked his very life for our beloved nation and for our ‘freedoms’ that still exist.

49. beelzebub posted at 2:47 pm on Tue, May 6, 2014.

Thank you, Mr. Diamond, for clarifying your reason for running for DA. And I respect you greatly for replying to my specific questions. And I still support you. If the election were tomorrow – you would get my vote.

But now comes the heavy lifting. You must support your words with action. Words mean little to me, as one who has spent considerable time on the Planet.

If I see the your words and the actions diverge from one another, I will drop my support for you like a hot potato. Then I’m back to writing-in a cartoon character.

Convince me with your ACTIONS, Mr. Diamond. Restore my hope. Show me that you are a contender with integrity. Be our local Rocky Balboa.

50. beelzebub posted at 2:58 pm on Tue, May 6, 2014.

” I WILL be able to act regarding labor law violations — and if anyone is using unauthorized labor as a way of subverting the minimum wage and/or proper labor standards, I will happily lower the boom on them.”

Mr. Diamond – State labor laws are also in place to protect the livelihoods of California residents who are US citizen from unfair foreign competition. Do you have any idea how many Orange County citizens cannot find work in the construction, hospitality, manufacturing, maintenance, landscaping, etc… industries because those jobs are held by illegal foreigners? We have 20 million Americans who cannot find a full time job. Who do you champion, Mr. Diamond? Illegal foreigners or your own countrymen? Who do you put first? As a DA you DO have some control over this on a local basis. Please don’t pass it off on the Feds. Please don’t play dodge ball with me.

Good day, sir.

51. beelzebub posted at 3:04 pm on Tue, May 6, 2014.

Oh, btw, Mr. Diamond, if your actions match your words as we move forward and you show me that you are a contender with passion, if you need my help – even for something as minor as holding a sign or walking a neighborhood and pounding on doors – let me know. I excel in the art of persuasion. I can win you votes, sir.

[In Part 4 things still hang in the balance!  Can Diamond appeal to what appears to be Orange County’s prototypical intelligent, conservative, and disaffected voter?  Can Diamond get people to read another installment?  You’re not trying to do all of this in one sitting, are you?  It’s intended to be spread out over several days!]

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)