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The Law of the Land: Busting out-of-control officials while Tiger takes your phone 

click to enlarge He's the sheriff!
  • He's the sheriff!
He's the sheriff!From Iowa, With Love

So I, Mr. Mick McMenaminsus, was lounging in my 9,689-square-foot mansion in Juniper Ridge, you know, the one beside the top-tier university, near the Les Schwab headquarters, made of recycled radials, of course. My cell phone rings: It's my editor calling from Iowa; he's in a tizzy applying for a FEMA trailer and emergency aid to replace his double-wide with a wrap-around deck and bocce court. Don't worry, he does this every year, Big Muddy don't quit flooding, nor do Federal funds stop flowing, but he won't be back this week (something about proof-of-residence problems or fraud). So, when he asked me, a run-of-the-mill ne'er do well, to write Upfront, I said, "Sure."

"I am the Sheriff"

Giusto. Say it, feel it, "Giusto." Few names conjure respect for elected office like Bernie Giusto; maybe Bernard Kerik, but let's not pick on all the Bernies of the world just yet... Last Friday, the Multnomah County Sheriff told the Oregon Government Ethics Commission that sometimes practice (and position) overrules written policy.

Giusto has been under investigation by the ethics commission for allegedly driving a county vehicle to Seattle with his girlfriend. Never mind the 250 pages of strict guidelines the soon-to-be dethroned Sheriff and staff must follow, Giusto told members of the commission: "The policy is either in effect because I say it is or not in effect because I say it's not, because I am the sheriff."

Seizures and Subpoenas

Speaking of shady sheriffs, did anyone listen to NPR's recent investigative series on cash and property seizures by sheriffs nationwide? One cop has seized over $11 million, so now he's a superstar and being recruited by other counties; meanwhile, Sheriff Bill Smith of Camden County, Georgia, is now being investigated for seizing $25-$30 million.

The seizures aren't really the problem (more lauded than looked into nationwide) it's the spending: Smith bought a $90,000 Dodge Viper for Camden County's D.A.R.E. program, gave a $250,000 scholarship to his alma mater, The Citadel, then allegedly paid prison guards to bring inmates to his vacation cabin - to rebuild it.

Why do we care? Oregon Measure 53 is still too close to count. If passed, it will allow more lax controls over cash and property seized during busts. Let's just hope Sheriffs Bill Smith and Bernie Giusto are still around to offer us guidance.

"Hey, I'm just trying to sell a few books!"

As honest as ever, Scott McClellen (former White House press secretary and now best-selling author) returned to the scene of the crime - err, essential overthrow of a dictator - to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. Bemoaning how "vicious attacks, distortions, political spin become accepted," the man who gave us instant classics like saying that Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Karl Rove weren't involved in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame (later disproved by Libby's conviction, followed by an immediate commuting of his sentence by President George W. Bush), McClellen isn't done yet.

Citing a cloud of suspicion still over Vice President Cheney - and pushing his book, What Happened, even from the stand - McClellen somehow managed to say that he "doesn't know if a crime was committed." As of press-time, his head has yet to explode, though several witnesses did see lightning bolts striking very close to Capitol Hill.

click to enlarge Can you hear me now?
  • Can you hear me now?
Can you hear me now?MIA Ringtone Teeing Off Tiger

On a lighter note, preferably Beethoven's 5th, spectators entering Torrey Pines for last week's US Golf Open were rather aghast at having their cell phones brown-bagged. It seems pro golfers don't like clever ring tones like "War Pigs" and the peak of "White Rabbit" blasting when they're playing. So tens of thousands of golf enthusiasts handed over iPhones, Blackberries and crappy Verizon phones with the promise of having them returned after dozens of men spoiled a good walk.

But perhaps golf officials are overlooking the added entertainment value of allowing spectators to keep their cell phones on hand. Sure the Tiger vs. Rocco sudden death playoff made for one hell of a match, but wouldn't it have been even more entertaining if Tiger went bonkers on some loudmouth standing alongside the 17th green? Possibly.

Source photographer-at-large Larry Burstein was there to not only surrender his communication device, but also to snap the extremely silent photo seen at the top of the page.


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