Monday Morning Thoughts: DA Spitzer, Heal Thyself


By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Orange County, CA – It is difficult to remember now but when Todd Spitzer, a former Republican Assemblymember, ran for DA in 2018 against Tony Rackaukas, he ran as a reformer to clean up the office which had been embroiled in the informant scandal for the previous four-plus years.

But upon taking office Todd Spitzer quickly pivoted from reformer to a barrier to change.  And his reelection campaign has sought to tie his opponent to Los Angeles DA George Gascón and he has framed his reelection campaign, as he did last week in his launch event, as “No LA in OC.”

“The #NoLAinOC theme is not an insult to Los Angeles, but a warning against failed pro-criminal policies and woke District Attorneys who are accelerating the demise of communities around the country,” the Spitzer campaign stated in a press release. “Spitzer is running against a clone of Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon and is fighting to keep the same disastrous policies that have destroyed Los Angeles from spreading to Orange County and elsewhere.”

In his press conference he deftly arranged to stand on the border of LA and Orange Counties and bring in a number of victims who claim to have been wronged by Gascón.

“We’re standing literally on the border between Orange County and Los Angeles,” Spitzer said during his press conference. “I demanded that we have this event in the open to ensure that people who both supported me and opposed me could be in the same place at the same time, a person like me, who’s been an elected official for over 30 years in this county knows thousands of votes and thousands of decisions that you aren’t going to necessarily make everybody happy all the time.”

Spitzer added, “So let me tell you about why this is such an intense conversation. It’s not just an intense conversation in Orange County. This is an American conversation.

“This is about whether or not we’re going to continue to elect woke prosecutors in Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Los Angeles,” Spitzer said. “It pains me obviously to hear the victims who have lost their trust in their district attorney in Los Angeles, when something bad happens, you’re supposed to be able to trust your law enforcement officials who will protect you and fight for you. Not abandon you as your district attorney.”

It made for great theatrics, and it is a message that undoubtedly will resonate with a number of people—particularly those on the right.

But there is a problem—the campaign is focused on the challenger rather than the record of the DA himself.

And that record is deeply problematic.

“Todd Spitzer took office in 2019,” opponent Pete Hardin said in response.  “He is gaslighting voters because his policies have failed. Don’t let him get away with it.

“Homicides and homelessness are up double-digits since Todd Spitzer took office, so it’s no surprise that he’s trying to distract people with rhetoric about Los Angeles,” said Hardin.  “From his consultants on the campaign to his actions in office, he has shown himself to be Orange County’s very own Donald Trump. He is a tyrant desperate to hold onto power irrespective at any cost. Ultimately, the numbers don’t lie, but Todd does, and it’s time for him to answer for what’s happening here in this community.”

Hardin noted, “Spitzer’s tactics of criticizing crime, homelessness and public safety strategies in other counties is novel, given the significant increases that Orange County has experienced since he took office.”

Both sides pointed out each other two weeks ago with sexual harassment complaints, including lawsuits filed by several former prosecutors against long-time Spitzer friend Gary Logalbo who was installed into a management position.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs and others “were exposed daily to Mr. Logalbo’s sexual harassing comments.”

Orange County hired an independent investigator to review the harassment allegations and the investigation concluded, “Mr. Logalbo committed sexual harassment towards Plaintiff, and that his conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment.”

Missing from the campaign, however, is the massive corruption that Todd Spitzer was elected to clean up in the form of the informant scandal and has exploded with the evidence scandal—which happened in the sheriff’s office but the DA has failed to deal with.

On January 6, Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders  filed a motion to compel discovery in which he outlined a series of lies and violations by Detective Jonathan Larson, who last month served as a key witness in a murder preliminary hearing.

Larson failed to book evidence in a timely way, lied about it, lied about it being a violation of police and then got promoted.

Sanders argues, “In other words, in Sergeant Larson’s version of the truth, it is not a lie to write about an event as if it has happened—when it has not—as long as he intends for the event to occur in the future. It is unlikely any member of the law enforcement or the OCDA would accept this spin if delivered by any member of the public not wearing a uniform.”

While this is ostensibly a sheriff’s problem, the DA’s office used him as a witness and attempted to bolster his credibility.

In addition, an Orange County judge and former OCDA was hammered by the Commission on Judicial Performance for alleged Brady Violations while a prosecutor.

A man was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, despite CHP having grave concerns about the cause of death and then concealing that evidence from the defense.

Judge Michael Murray was informed multiple times that there were problems with the evidence and yet he failed to pursue this information and failed to turn it over to the defense.

The commission notes, prior to the trial, “the lead case agent, CHP Investigator Theresa Pines, informed you that other CHP officers did not believe Mr. Wilkins should be prosecuted for murder. You did not conduct any inquiry concerning this potentially exculpatory information to determine if it was, in fact, exculpatory and subject to mandatory disclosure.”

The CJP alleges that Murray failed to follow up on the statements from the Assistant Chief and also “also did not disclose any exculpatory evidence that the officers’ reports had been altered, that the PCFs had been changed, or that Officer Bernardin had found that the decedent, not the defendant, had caused the fatal accident until September 17, 2015.”

Spitzer was elected to clean this stuff up.  He hasn’t.

Instead, he continues to focus on the fact that Pete Hardin is a reformer.

“Every single voter needs to know that Pete Hardin is too radical and too dangerous for Orange County,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.

Maybe Todd Spitzer, instead of worrying about woke prosecutors from LA., should worry instead about dishonest and rogue sheriffs and prosecutors in Orange County and do what he was elected to do in 2018—clean up the corruption of a county now facing scrutiny for two major scandals (informant and evidence) and a whole list of other charges.


About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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2 thoughts on “Monday Morning Thoughts: DA Spitzer, Heal Thyself”

  1. Keith Olson

    No LA in OC

    What a great campaign slogan.  It’s short, simple and gets to the point.  It’s a slogan that people will remember when they vote.


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