Friday, May 14, 2010

I Don't Even Play One on TV

I was an altar boy and learned Latin at St. Mary's School. So now I'm a bishop.

I played a lot of baseball and now I'm the starting first baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays.

I can balance a checkbook, so I suppose that must make me a certified public accountant.

Ron Holly took correspondence classes from a non-accredited diploma mill of a law school, so he's a lawyer.

Okay, I'm not the bishop, a ballplayer or a CPA. And Ron Holly is not a lawyer. According to Holly, he's only the sort of lawyer who gave legal advice when he was at the Securities and Exchange Commission and, you know, people who do that may as well be referred to as a lawyer.

I've watched politicians and bureaucrats in Monterey County for almost 30 years now. And I don't believe I've ever been more insulted than when I heard the evasions and excuses emanating from Ron Holly when he and two other candidates for the Monterey County treasurer-tax collector showed up at The Herald on Thursday to seek our editorial board's endorsement for his candidacy.

On his official candidate statement, Holly lists himself as a lawyer. Seeing as he's not a lawyer and that candidates must swear an oath under penalty of perjury that the information on the statement is correct, the statement seems fraudulent. I won't call it fraud, though, because I'm not a lawyer. And neither is Holly.

During his editorial board interview, Holly shrugged it off as an "honest mistake." Unfortunately for him, the more he explains the mistake, the more disingenuous he seems. And now he and his buddy, Supervisor Dave Potter, have the gall to accuse his opponent, Mary Zeeb, of smear politics for exposing it.

According to Holly's tangled explanation, he was not aware that the current Monterey County treasurer, Lou Solton, wasn't running for reelection until days before the campaign filing deadline. So he rushed into the Elections Office at the last minute to declare himself a candidate, and to file his candidate's statement by the March 12 deadline. Someone else — a "friend" — wrote his candidate's statement. Holly said his mistake was only in not proofing the sworn document well enough to see that he would be lying to the electorate.

(It begs the questions: Why would a friend believe that Holly is a lawyer? What else does Holly tell his friends? What other "honest mistake" might be on his candidate's statement?)

Not five minutes earlier, Holly had told the editorial review board that Solton had consulted with him several months earlier, asking if he'd be interested in running for the office. Solton's intentions were no secret. He announced early that he would not seek another term. The Herald had run a story — last August — saying that Solton wasn't running for reelection. Holly works in the county Auditor-Controller's Office. It strains credulity to believe that he hadn't heard about Solton's retirement in time to work on an accurate candidate statement.

Giving Holly the benefit of the doubt, the best conclusion we can reach is that he doesn't know what's going on around him and, given that he allowed an obvious lie to appear on his campaign statement, he apparently doesn't pay much attention to detail.

The job of treasurer-tax collector requires precise stewardship of a public portfolio worth hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars. It's scary to think that votes might be cast for a guy who is either egregiously sloppy or a flim-flammer. It's also frightening to hear that the Board of Supervisors still supports this guy.

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