It truly is an exciting time in Riverside County these days, as we've watched the political demise of Riverside County Sheriff Bob Doyle and are about to witness the downfall of Doyle's handpicked successor, his Undersheriff Neil Lingle.
Sorry we haven't posted anything in the last few days. Things have been absolutely crazy on the 2nd Floor of Sheriff's Administration and you don't know who you can or can't trust these days. But that will hopefully soon be over in the next few days following the Board of Supervisors rejection of Neil Lingle as the Interim Sheriff.
Inside Riverside has learned that Neil Lingle's application is dead on arrival at tomorrow's meeting. While all appearances will be made for the Supervisors to appear open minded and interested in continuing the Doyle regime, too much has happened in the last two weeks for them to make the appointment. The chief cause of the Supervisors disenchantment with Lingle is the anonymous memo on Riverside Sheriff's Association letterhead that implicates Supervisors Tavaglione, Ashley, and Stone as being corrupt.
While the media and Bob Doyle are stating their concerns about the memo, while legally protecting themselves saying it could be a hoax, the members of the Board of Supervisors do believe the memo is fraudulent. They also believe Neil Lingle was involved in its creation and its circulation. In an attempt to distance himself from this latest scandal, Lingle allegedly told one County Supervisor that he believed Bob Doyle was the author of the memo. And we thought loyalty was more important than competency in the Royal Doyle's Sheriff's Department.
Beyond the memo, the members of the Board of Supervisors have been peppered with letters, faxes, emails, and phone calls from individual members of the Sheriffs Department from the low rank of patrol deputy to the high rank of assistant sheriff letting them in on many of the dirty little secrets that have been hidden during Doyle's reign of terror. All of the information provided to the Supervisors will become public information after tomorrows hearing, so if they appoint Lingle despite the baggage he carries in from the Doyle Regime, they will each have to answer to the voters of their districts come the next election about why they would appoint a person with such tremendous baggage as Sheriff.
If you need any more proof that the end is near for Lingle, just see yesterdays editorial in the Press Enquirer. They lament that the appointment process has become too political and the Board should request that the Legislature change state law so Riverside County can have a special election. This is the same paper that less than a month ago endorsed the appointment of Neil Lingle as Sheriff because it would keep politics out of the process. The change in position is obviously a response to the fact that their guy is going down in flames.
The responsible position that the Press Enquirer should have taken was to editorialize about how a special election would be best to choose the next sheriff and how the County should proceed about it. Then when the appointment process was announced the so-called paper should have interviewed the applicants and made a responsible endorsement. But no, they endorsed first without caring who else was in the race. And now that their choice is on the ropes being pummeled, they want to change the rules.
It really makes you wonder how much Sheriffs Department advertising revenue played into the endorsement making process. But we shouldn't be too harsh on the good old Press Enquirer. They did spell our website correctly and traffic has quadrupled since their slash and burn article about the memos on Thursday. It's just sad that they had to try and tie our site to some right-wing neo-con activist.
But back to our topic, the bell tolling for Neil Lingle and who will be Riverside County's next sheriff.
With Lingle's career about to come to an end, that leaves us with four people that could be appointed to complete the remainder of Doyle's term in office.
Assistant Sheriff Valerie Hill and former Assistant Sheriff Stan Sniff are the two heavy favorites in the race for the appointment. The Supervisors like and respect both of them and feel they can trust them. Stan Sniff should have the edge over Hill in the appointment process, as a retired colonel he already has the skills needed to lead and manage a large organization like the Sheriff's Department. If either Hill or Sniff are appointed, look for the other to become the Undersheriff as Lingle takes the retirement he's been promising us he'd take.
Former Assistant Sheriff John Boyd has also emerged as a strong contender. While he was an Assistant Sheriff under Doyle, Boyd retired before all the scandals started to hit, so he's an insider who doesn't carry the baggage of Lingle. But unlike Stan Sniff and Val Hill, there is no proof that Boyd was above the personal games and political manipulations that Doyle and the boys are fond of.
Frankky, there are serious questions about his ethics when he was the Chief Welfare Fraud Investigator. While there, Boyd allegedly violated federal labor law and convinced his employees to leave their union in exchange for a bigger raise. However, once they left the RSA, the higher raise for his investigators never materialized. If that's the case, Boyd is no different than Doyle or Lingle. Boyd also lacks the leadership abilities to make tough decisions and if appointed would likely keep Lingle, Andrews, and Freeman on board. So if the Board appoints Boyd they would just be exchanging one form of cancer for another.
Then there's the dark horse candidate, LAPD Lt. Craig Herron. Little is known about him, which makes him both inviting and dangerous. Should tomorrows proceedings turn into a circus, look for this man to be appointed Sheriff. He will be viewed as an agent of change for the County. What kind of change that will be remains to be seen. After all, the LAPD usually brings people in to fix its problems, not send its people out to fix other departments. But if he does become Sheriff there will be one person smiling up on the Supervisors Dais and that's Jeff Stone.
While the media has been overly focused on an anonymous memo they've missed the fact that Craig Herron is a close personal friend of County Supervisor Jeff Stone. Once again, the press makes its own case why it needs blogs like Inside Riverside to get the full story out to the people.