I happily contributed and disclosed that I contributed $500 last year to the campaign of the current clerk-recorder, Gregory Diaz. I wasn’t aware of (or cared about) his political preferences, but I knew him to be competent and qualified. It was my first and only campaign contribution, as I said all along. I’m not a paid journalist, either. Moderate GOPers (including Supervisors Nate Beason and Ted Owens) endorsed Diaz as well.
His opponent, a tea party advocate whose wife works for Tom McClintock, had never worked in a clerk recorder’s office. It smelled of partisan politics to me, redolent of the Fran Freedle dispute years ago. Later McClintock said at a tea party rally it was time to replace the “left-wing” clerk recorder, helping to cement my impressions. We are, after all, “stubbornly backwater,” as one reader puts it.
Diaz was elected by a landslide. His opponent, Barry Pruett, lost in every precinct. Now, of course, I’ve been labeled an “extreme lefty” by that group — the same one that called Meg Whitman “Arnold in a dress.”
The reality is that the hard right can’t seem to accept that their candidate lost. Some have maligned Diaz for an ongoing lawsuit, publicized by Pruett, that seems to have more to do with the policies of the county information systems office than him. I’ve never heard them discuss that, however.
Instead, the hard right, led by Pruett and his fellow extreme right bloggers, keeps making hay of it.
Now the hard right, including some allies on the county Contractors Association, former supervisor John Spencer (a land surveyor by trade and Bedwell protege), many developers and the right-leaning local media, are being critical of Diaz’ decision to go with every other county in our state (except one) and remove recorder property maps from the internet. The issue will be discussed on Tuesday at the county Supervisors’ meeting.
Here’s why he did it: To comply with a state law requiring counties to protect the addresses of elected officials, and other prominent officials, online for privacy reasons. Diaz was not acting independently. He was complying with the county attorney’s decision, who is weighing concerns of liability in its interpretation.
Instead, the hard right contingent is arguing that Diaz wants to charge them for maps that used to be virtually free. He’s come up with a reasonable, discounted plan and is offering the information on a DVD to the contractors association for its members.
The outcry is ironic, since many of the same people argue vocally that government should not pick up the tap for “freeloaders.” The added revenue to the clerk-recorder’s office will be slim to none, according to a memo.
The Union and KNCO — which still have not even “dug deep” enough to find out whether the AMGEN bike race is coming here to boost tourism — have latched onto this map issue. The reporting is largely one sided.
“I’m not sure our board is entirely convinced this is the right way to go,” Supervisor Ed Scofield, chair of the board, told The Union. How about your county-wide constituents? Readers should also know that Ed also donated money to Diaz’ opponent in the clerk-recorder race, none other than Pruett.
Instead, I was hoping the supervisors would acknowledge that Diaz is between a rock and a hard place, following the opinion of the county counsel, who sees the risk of publicizing the sensitive information (like nearly all the other counties).
Instead, some of them seem to be politicizing the issue — and not leading by example.
The seats of Supervisors Nate Beason and Ted Owens will come up for re-election before we know it, and I keep wondering whether their replacements will be anywhere near as conservative. Look what happened in Grass Valley’s district, where Terry Lamphier beat Spencer.
Maybe it’s time for the board to move toward the middle and quit making political hay of every issue. After all, most of our problems are nonpartisan, and most of us are in the middle politically.
Exit question: Do you see the local hard right providing this kind of scrutiny to the county Sheriff, for example, an official whom they wholeheartedly support?