Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mike Carona, A Blogography Chapter 2

When I sat down with my “Source” who was a victim of priest abuse and learned the truth, all the puzzle pieces fit together. The Greenhut editorial scapegoating liberals and employees at Marywood, the sudden silence by Rackauckas after seemingly pledging to aggressively investigate abuse cases, it all fit together. When it was clear the Republican connections to the case, when it was clear the truth would almost certainly turn Orange County “blue” it was clear a cover up needed to be orchestrated. Mike Schroeder was Mike Carona’s political consultant and former Chairman of the California Republican Party. He relishes being called by his nickname Darth Vader, but I see him more like a Napoleon Bonaparte, a little man trying to be larger than life.

A lawyer by trade, and I will admit a good one at that, Schroeder has succeeded in evading law enforcement by making sure his fingerprints were not at the crime scene. Even at the apex of their power, while Jaramillo, Haidl and Cavallo got sloppy in their crime spree, Schroeder stayed cautious and made sure he would not be caught when the feds came sniffing around. Yet the actions and the cover up and the favors doled out to Republican insiders proved to the most casual observer that he too was part of the net of corruption on the Orange County Sheriff’s office. He convinced Carona to give concealed weapon permits to all the REPUBLICAN Board of Supervisors members and any Republican insider. In California, one has to show good cause as to why they need to carry a concealed weapon, the good cause Schroeder ordered Carona to give was that they were Republican.

The “Source” informed me that it was Carona’s office who “accidentally” shredded the proof that could have put Tom Fuentes, former Bishop McFarland and Monsignor John Urell away for many years(Bishop Johnson died in 1986 and therefore evaded any Earthly punishment). Many abuse victims believe Schroeder, in an attempt to cover for his beloved Republican Party gave the order, but it was ultimately Don Haidl the father of rapist Gregory Haidl, whose fingerprints were on the shredding.

Learning this truth was nauseating. The Sheriff who was exploiting his entire career on catching a pedophile murderer assisted in covering up for hundreds of pedophiles within the Catholic Church. I knew before I was not going to vote for him, but it was at that point that I would dedicate myself to getting a new Sheriff elected.

By this time it was 2006 and Carona’s re-election campaign was well under way. I proudly protested Governor Schwarzenegger’s fundraiser for Carona. I ended up supporting Ralph Martin, an LA County Sheriff Commander, for OC Sheriff after seeing he truly was about being a Sheriff first and a Politician second. Ralph Martin was a true officer of the law determined to ensure the bad guys were put behind bars and getting the OCSD back to doing what they were supposed to do.

In this time, more and more people began to see the Sheriff for what he really was. His own rank and file officers refused to endorse him, instead endorsing another candidate Bill Hunt. During this campaign, more scandals came out on “America’s Sheriff.” There were more tales of infidelity including a picture of his beautiful Russian “interpreter” with his Sheriff’s coat on and ONLY his coat. There was the phone calls to the wife of a Sheriff’s deputy that he was allegedly involved with. There was the answering machine message in which while getting hot and heavy with one of his mistresses, accidentally forgot to put his key lock on his phone(solution: flip phone Mike, flip phone). Then came the picture of Sheriff Carona attending a party and posing in UNIFORM with a known organized crime figure, Rick Rizzolo. This was a going away party for Rizzolo, who was being sent to prison for 11 months for tax evasion. It was a blatant insult to the men and women in uniform for him to pose with a convicted felon and known mobster.

At this point, Carona was not even trying to hide his corruption anymore. Yet at every revelation, the finger was pointed at his three original cronies, George Jaramillo, Don Haidl and Joseph Cavallo. Mike Schroeder and GOP operative and now Sheriff’s spokesman Jon Fleischman dismissed each revelation and insulted the honest critics of the Sheriff as crazy. Or at each revelation they would once again exploit the grieving mother of Samantha Runnion for their political gain.
In the end Carona was narrowly re-elected in June 2006 with a little more than 50% of the vote. At this point even Democratic party supporters told myself and others to stop the opposition to Carona, that he is our Sheriff and won fair and square. What they failed to understand was that this was NOT just a simple campaign to stop a re-election, this was a campaign to take back our Sheriff’s department from a corrupt Sheriff who thumbed his nose at the law and had let a culture of corruption and partisanship be created. This was an alliance of honest people from both the Left and the Right. We may have lost a battle that June, but the fight was far from over and Carona’s troubles were just beginning.

Before the election, the gang of four was fast unraveling. As Cavallo, Jaramillo and Haidl faced their own charges, the pressure was on to cave in to Federal Investigators, who seemed to be the only ones who had realized that Carona's political opponents were not just blowing smoke.

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