At Tuesday's meeting of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, Sheriff Stan Sniff forcibly defeated Supervisor Bob Buster's reckless public safety budget cuts.
Sheriff Sniff made a strong case about the harm Buster's plan to effectively gut the Sheriff's Department would have on public safety, as we previously reported. Sniff deftly man-handled Bob Buster, County CEO Bill Luna "The Tick," and Luna's incompetent Chief Financial Officer, Ed Corser
Luna quickly jumped to his minion's defense and chided the Sheriff. Most observers agree with Sheriff's Sniff's comments that Corser was not telling the truth about the budget numbers. Heck, Luna and Corser probably wouldn't show up at work with their shoes tied if they didn't have the other to help.
While Sheriff Sniff may have won this first skirmish, public safety funding is still on the chopping block. Bob Buster and John Benoit are definitely united in their desires to cut the Sheriff's Department, and quite surprisingly County Supervisor Jeff Stone appears to be swinging their way.
According to sources close to the offices on the 5th Floor of the County's Administrative Center, these three Supervisors - Buster, Benoit, and Stone - intend to cut the Sheriff's budget as a form of retribution against the union for the department's deputies, the Riverside Sheriff's Association.
It appears dear readers that three politicians are willing to risk increased crime simply to carry out their short sighted plans for revenge against the Sheriff's deputies.
Those who follow county politics understand the animosity Buster and Benoit have towards the RSA. They have each attempted to strong-arm the union into supporting their political campaigns. Their tactics backfired and the Association has worked against them in their elections.
Jeff Stone's behavior is a bit puzzling though, dear readers. In 2004 Stone was supported and funded by the Riverside Sheriff's Association when he knocked County Supervisor Jim Venable out of office. The RSA also supported Stone's re-election in 2008 and his suicidal run for the State Senate last year.
So why is Jeff Stone now calling out his political ally? We're looking into it, and according to a source we've talked to who was on Stone's Senate campaign he's upset about his loss. Stone appears to have expected the Sheriff's Association to set up an Independent Expenditure for him during that election. That did not happen and Stone seems to want pay back for this.
This does have a sense of truth to it since immediately after losing the senate race to San Deigo's Joel Anderson, Stone led the way for the Board of Supervisors to put a competing initiative on the ballot to counter RSA's Measure L last November.
That was a clear an act of hostility on Stone's part towards the county's deputies. It's likely even a sorer subject now that Stone's Measure M received more votes than Measure L, which seems to dictate that M takes precedence over L.
We'll dig further into the reasons behind Jeff Stone's about face with Sheriff Sniff and his deputies. If Stone had indeed solicited an Independent Expenditure on his behalf, that would be illegal under state law and Stone could find himself in some extremely warm if not hot water.
District Attorney Paul Zellerbach as a candidate for the office last year stated his desire to investigate Stone for allowing his sister to use taxpayer resources as a volunteer staff member in Stone's office. That may explain Stone's other about face in recent months. Stone who had been a staunch supporter of ousted DA Rod Pacheco is now solidly in DA Zellerbach's camp and has been helping to retire Zellerbach's campaign debt.
This may simply be a matter of politics, since Stone's re-election is next June and he has no desire to have the new DA weigh in against him should former State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth challenge him. Or it could be a matter of Stone trying to create a conflict of interest with Paul Zellerbach so Stone can't be investigated for any of his actions that could rise to the level of criminal offense.
As always dear readers, we'll let you know what we find out and then you can make up your minds about what's really going on in this septic tank known as Riverside County.