August 16, 2017
Fitzgerald and The Record Go Complicit
When it became obvious the Sheriff of the largest county in the United States was corrupt, the Los Angeles Times pulled no punches, providing the most powerful checks and balances to the system as our great nation’s Founding Fathers intended. Thanks to the free press, Former Sheriff Lee Baca is now a convicted felon.
A few days ago the Bakersfield Californian came out with an opinion piece that rightfully pointed out how outrageous that a couple dope dealing Kern County deputies only received probation for stealing pot plants from the sheriff’s evidence room. At least they were convicted of something.
However, here in Stockton, one of the most violent, poorly ran and corrupt cities in the entire nation, the local newspaper’s “star” columnist, Mike Fitzgerald, has a “Record” (pun intended) of often praising corrupt and incompetent officials; or at least giving them a free pass.
It’s a fact that our District Attorney, Tori Verber-Salazar, has reluctantly admitted that San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore and a few select deputies have “stripped, sold and then purchased evidence guns at substantial discounts”.
The DA admitted this was “of concern” and “a practice that should not continue”, but in a surprise twist that even the best Hollywood screenwriter could never dream up, she said that this was “not illegal”.
Don’t believe a DA would have the audacity and or stupidity to suggest public embezzlement is only “of concern” but, not illegal? Read Tori Verber-Salazar’s bizarrely love letter to Sheriff Steve Moore here.
Yes, this letter is crazy. So in short the DA says the Sheriff stripped, sold and then purchased evidence guns at “substantial discounts”, and even personally obtained an evidence gun himself, and although this should not happen, it is not really illegal, just kinda sorta wrong and should not continue. To make matters even more interesting, Sheriff Steve Moore told numerous media outlets including the Record (before the DA love letter came out) that his office “never sold evidence guns to the best of my knowledge”. Huh????
Is the Stockton Record’s Mike Fitzgerald too frightened to ask the DA and the Sheriff to reconcile their stories, or does “Fitz” or his editors think it’s just not newsworthy enough to follow up on the irrefutable fact that either the Sheriff or the DA (or both) are lying?
As 209 Times has reported in the past, District Attorney Tori Verber-Salazar graduated from a now defunct law school with a dubious record. (The Record refuses to report that also.) But it doesn’t take an educated law professional to understand that Moore lied on television and also to the Stockton Record. Lying to the media is not a crime, but stealing evidence absolutely is.
Moore is in clear violation of the sheriff’s own written policy that was in place at the time of the illegal evidence gun sales, 12028(C) PC (public auction requirement that is even mentioned in Moore’s written policy) 514 PC (public embezzlement) and 1090 of the Government Code (government employees cannot buy government property when they negotiated the sale, AT ANY PRICE.)
The Record’s Mike Fitzgerald disagrees. In fact he says a local attorney and law professor agrees with the DA that Moore did not break the law. Apparently Fitzgerald believes an attorney who allegedly said public embezzlement is perfectly legal, as long as it involves evidence guns? Did the attorney even really say that?
The Record itself, who has endorsed Sheriff Moore during his last two elections, has failed to push the Sheriff or DA for answers to such basic questions as:
1. How much were the ‘substantial discounts’ Moore and others received on evidence guns?
2. Why doesn’t the Sheriff know about an Uzi, serial MC01240, that was sold against court order on 7/11/12 for $750 that was once owned by Danny Ray Morrison, whose investigation led to the death of Deputy Dighton Little? (The DA, the Record and 209 Times has all the documents to prove this.)
In what bizarre universe is public embezzlement legal?
The San Joaquin County Grand Jury which is heavily influenced by the District Attorney, is currently allowing the Sheriff himself to complete an audit of the evidence room. As usual, the Stockton Record is being complicit.
Read this Sheriff interoffice memo from 2015 and decide for yourself if the Sheriff should be allowed to conduct an audit on the very same evidence room that if you believe the DA, Sheriff Moore himself is already known to have somehow “legally” stolen from…
It is no secret the Record is hemorrhaging subscribers, advertisers and sadly journalists at an alarming rate. They’ve even lost their editor and publisher. While the newspaper industry as a whole is having challenges, the Stockton Record is severely underperforming compared to its nearby colleagues.
Mike Fitzgerald recently and accurately wrote in one of his blogs that I cursed and went “ballistic” while discussing San Joaquin County corruption. I was thankful he didn’t also falsely accuse me of “stealing millions”, but I digress. Maybe if Mr. Fitzgerald would be more passionate about defending Stockton from corrupt local officials, more people would be inclined to read his newspaper column and less people like me would be so prone to cursing when talking about Stockton and all its problems.
If it were not for social media, Stockton residents would have two choices: read the Record and be misinformed, or not read the Record and be uninformed. The Record’s failing business model shows the public is sick and tired of pedantic sycophants who keep praising our clearly corrupted local elected officials.
“Fitz’s Stockton” deserves better.