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The Verdict Against Sheriff Brad Gates

I think it’s time for the people of Orange County to wake up. Orange County Sheriff Brad Gates has finally had a verdict rendered against him for violating the civil rights of a political rival by using sheriff’s investigators to harass him. It’s unfortunate, however, that the blame lies on Brad, yet the burden once again will fall on county taxpayers. (In 1987 Orange County bailed Gates out in a related matter to the tune of $375,000.)

What’s even more distressing is the attitude of some prominent people around the community. For instance, Eileen Padberg, Gates’ previous campaign manager, said, “It (the verdict) won’t have an impact in a reelection campaign at all.” How naive does she think the people are? As if we’re not capable of electing a sheriff with more integrity who would be accountable for himself and his actions.

Or, how about County Supervisor, Thomas F. Riley, when he said in relief, “I guess it could have been a lot more . . . (referring to the $189,894 judgment against Gates).” Come on! Isn’t that enough!

I suggest that Orange Countians take a long, hard look at their ballots next election, and let’s see if we can come up with a sheriff who will conduct himself in the manner that one of our highest elected county officials should.

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STEPHEN PAYNE

Laguna Beach


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