By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Illustrations by Bob AulRepublicans tell us we'd like Rackauckas if we knew Rackauckas like they know Rackauckas. Here's what we know: he gave a Glock as a gift to a man his own staff regarded as an organized crime suspect. He was the subject of a 2002 grand jury's scathing 100-page attack on his ethics or lack thereof. The gallons and gallons of hooch his top aides suck down and charge to the taxpayers. The time Rackauckas protected political contributor George L. Argyros by deleting the billionaire's name from a suit charging that his apartment company bilked tenants for millions.
No problem, his friends tell us. The problem, they say, is that Rackauckas is not a good communicator—that each one of these and the scores of other controversies that attach themselves to the office of the most powerful law-enforcement official in OC (expense-account vacations, firing whistleblowers, spying on fellow prosecutors, leaking classified files on political opponents, etc., etc.)—has a reasonable explanation that Rackauckas is simply unable to enunciate. He's inarticulate, they admit—and it's true that if lips were limbs, Rackauckas would be a quadriplegic.
Attempts to dismiss the controversies surrounding Rackauckas remind us of an old cop joke: a traffic officer in the Deep South is ticketing a farmer hauling a load of manure. Flies swarm the cop.
"Them are circle flies," the farmer observes.
"Circle flies?" the cop asks.
"Yup. Them circle a horse's ass," the farmer explains.
"Are you calling me a horse's ass?" the policeman asks.
"Nope," the farmer says, "but it sure is hard to fool them flies."
2002: Ex-Congressman Bob Dornan's confirmed offspring (Robin, Kate, Theresa, Mark and Bob Jr.)
2001: The Reverend Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition
2000: Orange County Supervisor Jim Silva
1999: Gloria Matta Tuchman, self-hating author of anti-bilingual language Proposition 227
1998: Dr. Bernard Rappaport, former head of the county's Children and Youth Services (deceased)