Reading this morning's LA Times, I flashed back to Sheriff Mike Carona's emphatic response on a recording that surfaced shortly before the election. Our R. Scott Moxley described the circumstances leading to that response in one of his many Carona-related exclusives:

Evidence obtained by the Weekly places Carona inside a moving vehicle while, well, affectionately engaged with a then-low ranking sheriff's department employee. The pair kissed, giggled, moaned, groaned, cleaned up and offered expressions of love. After the 45-minute romp, the female said to Carona, “Do I still smell like you?”

The sheriff said, “A lot! A lot! A lot! A lot! A lot! A lot!”

Now, fresh from squeaking out an election victory in Tuesday's primary, Carona is back to questionable behavior that brings up the question of how things smell. First, there was the exiling of Lt. William Hunt, who ran against in him in this week's election, to the Siberia of administrative leave– a distinctly unsubtle and odiferous move, but one that had to be done, according to Carona's attorney. The attorney issued a statement, the Times reports, that

…he had recommended several months ago that Hunt be investigated for “public statements, actions and accusations that went beyond those which are protected by the 1st Amendment and could subject him to adverse employment action.”

The attorney, Martin J. Mayer, said Thursday that Carona needed to evaluate whether any of Hunt's actions adversely affected his ability to continue serving as a member of the sheriff's command staff — and to give everyone involved “some breathing room.”

Does this mean Hunt is being investigated for talking mean about Carona during a political campaign? Who knew the sheriff was such a delicate (if rank) flower?

The air in that “breathing room” has grown a little more fetid since Hunt was shown the door. The Times reports that now Carona has demoted two deputies: “A lieutenant who supported Lt. William Hunt in the campaign was demoted to sergeant, and a sergeant who backed Hunt was reassigned as an investigator.” A former Hunt campaign advisor called the demotions “thuggery”, Carona “couldn't be reached Thursday for comment”.

Of course, I doubt any comment the (big) sheriff could make would answer the question of if his latest moves reek of revenge better than the response he gave on that recording.

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