The opinion page staff at the Los Angeles Times today handed Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens an endorsement of sorts by hailing her policies as "overdue" change following "the political shenanigans" of sheriff-turned-felon Mike Carona. Their evidence that the sheriff is moving the Orange County Sheriff's Department in the right direction? According to the Times, "The cozy circle of the local power elite" and their "political gunslingers" are angrily squealing about her reform efforts.
"The paradox here is that Hutchens' lack of a political bent might be here biggest weakness in an elected office," according to the editorial. "As she increasingly comes into conflict with the entrenched establishment, she risks being voted out in the next election."
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(My March cover story profile, "Less Than A Year Since She Was Appointed Sheriff, Sandra Sue Hutchens Has Made Some Powerful Enemies," provides additional evidence of the Times' assertion.)
Though apprehensive about suspected anti-Hutchens political forces seeking to embarrass this sheriff inside District Attorney Tony Rackauckas' office, the paper also applauded the DA's "willingness to question the behavior of sheriff's deputies." Five deputies have been accused of recently testi-lying to help a fellow deputy escape a conviction for twice firing a Taser into a handcuffed suspect sitting in the back of a patrol car. Hutchens claims she is conducting an investigation, but the Times rightly suggests that she "would quell more doubts" if an external agency conducted the probe.
Read the LA Times editorial HERE.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly