Contra Costa District Attorney Robert Kochly
Boy oh boy, is the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors mad at Contra Costa District Attorney Robert Kochly.
The board will hold a special meeting at 3 p.m. today to air their grievances over a memo (see the memo is at the bottom of this post) Kochly sent out to the county’s police chiefs and his staff, which advised them that due to budget cuts, his office will no longer prosecute certain misdemeanor crimes. (Click here to read Malaika Fraley’s CCT story.)
Late yesterday, Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg announced that he will call for Attorney General Jerry Brown to investigate into how Kochly manages his office. (By way of background, the Board of Supervisors controls Kochly’s budget but the district attorney is a directly elected countywide official and the board has no jurisdiction over the management of his office.)
And prior to the board meeting this afternoon, unions representing 656 Contra Costa deputy sheriffs and 73 prosecutors in the District Attorney’s Office will hold a press conference outside the board chambers at 651 Pine Street in Martinez and call the on the board to restore the funding cuts to both the district attorney and the sheriff’s office.
This folks, to quote an old saying, is where the budget rubber starts to smell bad.
Budget cuts are no longer impacting impacting selected segments of the population, such as the poor woman without health care who needs the county hospital or that elderly man who needs an aide to care for him in his home. The budget axe has now struck the very core of what most taxpayers view as a critical government service for everyone: Public safety.
The debate over how government will pay for all the services the public demands at a time of serious financial restraints will continue, of course.
From a political perspective, this assault on Kochly, a Republican, comes at a time when he is still on the fence about whether he will seek re-election to a third term. A handful of people are reportedly chomping to run for the seat including Republican Concord Councilman Mark Peterson and a son of former District Attorney William O’Malley, Democrat, retired judge and attorney Dan O’Malley.
Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers chief Ken Hambrick, a vocal critic of the way the board has handled the county’s finances, has another theory.
“The board, in the form of Glover, is trying to lynch Bob Kochly as a cover-up for their own incompetence in handling the financial woes of the county,” Hambrick said. “As Charlie Brown said in one of the comic strips, ‘Find a scapegoat.’ This is a blatant attempt to move blame and responsibility from themselves to another and to smear Kochly’s name in the process.”