I TRY TO BE AN INFORMED VOTER. I would rather not vote at all than vote for a political candidate whose character I am un or misinformed on. I wouldn’t even vote for a family member if I didn’t think they would be my best representative as a public servant. I want to know exactly what candidates who ask for my vote stand for, know enough about their character & background to trust their judgment in making decisions that will affect my life for a long time to come.
I cannot for the life of me get my mind around the “professional” background of assessor candidate Jeffrey Prang to understand it. I understand that Prang’s position as 2nd Assistant City Manager in Pico Rivera was created for him as a personal & political favor by then Mayor Chuck Fuentes even though Prang possessed no direct experience as a city manager & City Councilman David Armenta said there was no need for another city manager. Prang was one of those city managers who was subsequently investigated for the misuse/abuse of Pico Rivera city credit cards. Pico Rivera City Councilman David Armenta also told a local news source that he suspected both Chuck Fuentes & Jeffrey Prang of misusing city funds to pay for meals for family members & others in an inappropriate way. I also understand that Prang denied these charges , saying they were politically motivated & that they were eventually excused. At the time of this investigation, former Pico Rivera Ron Bielke is quoted as saying “Pico Rivera is a political cesspool!” I’m not familiar with the circumstances of Mr. Prang’s dismissal from his managerial post in Pico Rivera City Hall., but I do know he moved on to another job as a “special assistant” in the administration of his long time friend Sheriff Lee Baca, another fluff job I understand was also allegedly created for him as a political & personal favor, ostensibly at taxpayer’s expense. Sheriff Lee Baca himself resigned as head of the Sheriff’s Dept. recently under a dark cloud of suspected corruption on his watch. It’s never been clear to my what Prang’s “special assistant” duties were there or how relevant they were, but the position was eventually eliminated & so was Jeffrey Prang. Prang’s current job also has dubious overtones & is also purported to be a “special assistant” position, once again, created for him by his long time friend, the disgraced John Noguez, who has been released on bail from jail pending his trial on more than 24 counts of corruption while performing his job as tax assessor, having traded lower tax assessments for contributions to his personal campaign coffers. Prang’s intro into the 2014 assessor’s race started out on shaky legs to me, since the job title he chose for the ballot was disallowed by a judge after legal action was taken, since the assessor’s office does not use “Deputy Assessor” as a job title because there is no such thing. As I see it, using a false job title to run for public office is not only misleading, it is fraudulent. As far as I can tell, Prang had no responsibilities as a county assessor in any way, shape or form & any pretense as such is easily discounted by reliable sources. As far as Mr. Prang’s contention that he had “no inkling” of the corruption charges that were brewing in Noguez’s office before taking the job there, that does not pass the smell test for me. There was plenty of publicity on this investigation beforehand & a former West Hollywood city official wrote in the “comments” section of a local blog: “Prang was desperate for employment & leveraged his friendship with Noguez, the highest openly gay elected official in L.A, County, to have a job created for him.” In fact Prang defended Noguez & tried to convince others that the charges were politically motivated. The rest of this story is ongoing.
Based on the foregoing & other allegations, also including sexual harassment charges against Prang that cost the city of West Hollywood big settlement bucks & Prang’s withdrawal at one time for a state Assembly race, apparently in deferment to a long time friend who he felt “had a better chance of winning”, I can find no redeeming qualities in this candidate for an office that demands integrity honesty & especially trust with the public coffers. I don’t know Jeffrey Prang well & I cannot say for sure that he does not possess those qualities. But I can say for sure I would rather be safe than sorry. That’s why I am voting for John Morris for L.A. County Tax Assessor. John has a long history of public service, promoting public safety & fighting corruption that affects many areas of our every day lives. That’s why I think he is the best choice to clean up this important county office that is, as a whole, perceived as inherently corrupt. For me there is no contest.