Guest Commentary: Is Reisig Trying to Clean Up for 2010?



by Eric Alfaro

Rick Gore, a Yolo County District Attorney investigator, has resigned from his position. Gore has also apologized for making accusatory statements of District Attorney Reisig’s unethical behavior. This resignation comes at a moment when the District Attorney’s office has been caught in a number of unflattering positions.

According to reports, Gore voluntarily resigned and retracted statements that were delivered to District Attorney Reisig in a letter on March 5, 2008. That letter delivered to Reisig was also forwarded to the Yolo County Counsel, the office of Yolo County Human Resources, the State Bar of California and the Attorney General’s Office of California.

The letter addressed to Reisig and forwarded to numerous public agencies accused the District Attorney of unethical behavior that started during his election campaign.  In that letter Gore states (when referring to the then D.A candidate, Pat Lenzi):

“However, these bullying techniques did work on many and you got many people to write these personal character attacks against her. We had many closed-door discussions about your campaign in your office doing working hours. I remember saying hi to DDA Lenzi in the hallway and you later called me a traitor and told me I was scared of her.

Gore went on to comment on Reisig’s alleged unethical behavior:

“One major disagreement you and I had was when you tried to hide and conceal discoverable evidence about a material witness and refused to discover evidence during an on-going murder trial.”

These accusation against Reisig, serious by all accounts, culminate with alleged acts of coercion. Gore states that Reisig forced him to sign an affidavit in favor of a gang injunction he did not agree with. Gore goes on to comment the obligatory signing of the affidavit:

“I was called in by DDA Linden a few days later, and was told [Reisig] had ordered me to sign this injunction and I had no choice. Knowing I could be fired for not following this order, I signed it after changing some of the language.”

The resignation and apology from Gore comes at a very controversial time in the District Attorney’s career.  Randy Skaggs recently filed a law suit against Reisig for whistle-blower retaliation and for violating the right of privacy. Skaggs alleges that District Attorney Reisig retaliated against him for bringing to Reisig’s attention, exculpatory evidence, evidence that would have proved someone’s innocence.

The connection between the Skaggs case and the Gore incident raise many questions about the District Attorneys recent public behavior–Skaggs’ and Gore’s alleged claims of obstruction of Justice would have naturally been detrimental to Reisig’s legitimacy and public image. Aside from these statements, protesters have focused on Reisig’s conviction track records–they claim are discriminatory and corrupt.

The connections between the three pressure points, Skaggs, Gore and protesters, have received little to no coverage with the local media. The nature in which this public statement of apology was released comes as nothing short of suspicious.

The District Attorney’s press release was distributed to major news services in the area; Reisig stated to the Daily Democrat, “I believe this retraction, along with the findings of the county’s independent investigation released last year, have vindicated those in the District Attorney’s Office affected by Mr. Gore’s allegations”.

An important question to ask is, why does this revelation come with the resignation of Gore? The climate in Yolo County has not been favorable to prospects of a Reisig 2010 re-election campaign run. This behavior seems more like the staple of a career politician and less like the mark of a District Attorney.

Could the District Attorney merely be cleaning up his office and track record for a 2010 campaign run? The logic behind the press release does not add up. Why would Gore’s apology be disclosed in such a public manner–especially when Gore himself had accused Reisig a year earlier, of coercing him into committing acts he did not consent to?

Eric Alfaro is a UC Berkeley political science graduate from Woodland.  He will be a periodic contributor to the Vanguard.


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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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17 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: Is Reisig Trying to Clean Up for 2010?”

  1. Ryan Kelly

    “Could the District Attorney merely be cleaning up his office and track record for a 2010 campaign run?”

    Probably a consideration. But the election is next year and won’t happen if there isn’t someone running against him.

  2. ol timer

    We Davisites are sadly all too aware that the likes of Reisig have a lock on political power in Yolo County. Gore’s quixotic attempts to change this were destined to fail and he evidently decided that martyrdom would not his choice. Stories like this make it all too clear why Davis voters must be unyielding in defending Davis’ local values and political prerogatives to thwart being overwhelmed by Yolo County’s political culture.

  3. What?

    Ol Timer said:
    “Stories like this make it all too clear why Davis voters must be unyielding in defending Davis’ local values”
    Just curious: Who defines “Davis’local values?”

  4. All For Truth and Justice

    Gore made accusations, and now has retracted them. His credibility is shot, especially when he is refusing to refute the DA’s latest claims of vindication. If this was part of Gore’s settlement deal, to allow the DA to say whatever while Gore remains silent, then he did not have the courage of his convictions. It will be interesting to see what comes out of Skaggs’ lawsuit, if anything. If you choose to be a whistleblower, then you need to stick it out to the bitter end, and not cave at the eleventh hour, if you really believe in your cause.

  5. Alphonso

    “His credibility is shot”

    That might be a reasonable conclusion if you knew nothing more about the person. In fact this guy Gore was a well respected employee in the DA’s office for years. This is the third former DA employee who has “lost credibility” because they disagreed with Reisig. If the reality is that Gore slandered the DA then why isn’t the DA taking Gore to court to be compensated for the injuries caused by the lies. Gore walks away without being fired and with a load of hush money. If Gore loses credibility then so does Reisig. The reality is that neither man is actually telling the complete truth and Reisig did many of the things Gore said he did.

  6. Gottalovelocke

    It’s a shame that Mr. Gore packed up his tent and went home, but it was inevitable. The forces arrayed against him are numerous and at least in Yolo county, powerful. IF this DA’s office commits discovery violations or is inclined to skate close to them in capital cases then it’s as likely as not that had Gore not collapsed and gone back to work that they would’ve “set him up” to finish their trashing of him. I’m guessing that he was well aware of that possibility. Whistleblowers never profit from their moral “high ground”, Daniel Ellsberg being the sole exception in recent memory. They do get burned as a rule and Mr. Gore is probably a little charred around the edges at this point but still breathing. My sense is that the “retractions” in this case were the major part of the settlement reported in today’s Enterprise. It may be a disquieting that the case ends with a whimper, but it’s the reality when you’ve got one against many living large at “city hall”.

  7. Alphonso

    One other point comes out of this. All of the people involved in this controversy either did or continue to work in the DA’s office. Many people go to court and assume the DA is telling the truth. This incident demonstrates that people in the DA’s office do not always tell the truth and they are not always honest. The goal is to win cases regardless of ethics and Justice in not the primary concern. Please remember that the next time you vote and the next time you sit on a jury.

  8. C. Rodriguez

    Eric’s point is that Reisig is acting more like a politician and less like a District Attorney. Everything has been politically motivated, from Gore’s letter of resignation to his Conviction track record.

  9. Ryan Kelly

    C. Rodrigues, How should someone who holds an elected office act when his performance on the job is being publicly and professionally questioned? What exactly would Reisig’s actions be if he was acting more like “a District Attorney?” Be specific.

    If people just don’t like Reisig and want to trash him here, that’s one thing. But if people really want to see change, be specific about the changes you want to see.

  10. C. Rodriguez

    To Ryan,

    It’s funny that people keep confusing the call for accountability with a call to take on Reisig’s responsibility. We are not the District Attorney nor did we run to become one.Reisig is the D.A-hence his conduct can be scrutinized by the voters. That mentality is getting old.

    “What exactly would Reisig’s actions be if he was acting more like “a District Attorney?” Be specific.”

    District Attorney’s do not settle things that have already been resolved.

    Gore’s settlement comes after an investigation proved Gore’s claims were unfounded. So why did Reisig give Gore a settlement in exchange for a public apology? Should I keep going?

    Keeping in mind that, according to Gore, Reisig made his staffers slur Pat Lenzi during the D.A election. I can no longer be sure if blog post, letters to the editors, etc, are from voters or from political machines. The point is; Reisig is stuck in a very bad position; when mismanagement is as obvious as it is now, what’s the point of playing the devils advocate?

  11. Ryan Kelly

    C. Rodriquez says “Gore’s settlement comes after an investigation proved Gore’s claims were unfounded. So why did Reisig give Gore a settlement in exchange for a public apology? Should I keep going?”

    So, you’re saying the Eric (and also you) believes that Reisig should have acted like a “District Attorney” and fired Gore instead of working with him to resolve the situation to the satisfaction of both of them, saving time and money for themselves and the County ????????

    I’m sorry that you don’t see this, but working it out IS good management.

    What form would “accountability” take? Again, please be specific.

  12. C.Rodriguez

    Ryan (the spin doctor),

    You seem to be very well versed in the art of ” spinning ” politics. You should work for the District Attorney, if you dont already. I’m not going to dignify your post with a response.

  13. Career Criminal Reisig

    I think Yolo County needs to have the staff of Reisigs placed on leave without pay, and send in a completely new staff to take over from here and then we would know what’s really going on in there.By the way, anyone seen the Govenor? Why hasn’t anyone stepped in to check any of this out and stop that ‘career criminal’ Reisig? Something needs to happen and soon! More lives are at stake everyday!

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