This post recapping O.C. Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly’s political roots was submitted anonymously by one of our readers. It should be noted that Daly is currently a Democratic candidate for the 69th Assembly District.
Part One: Birds of a feather, flock together
After college, Tom Daly came back to Orange County and eventually landed a job in 1979 with Orange County Board of Supervisor, Ralph B. Clark.
Supervisor Ralph B. Clark was the unscathed democrat on the Board of Supervisor after the O. C. District Attorney, Cecil Hicks, intiated the toughest, non-partisan, non-discriminatory, corruption fighting, prosecuting-crusade not seen since the days of Sodom and Gomorrah.
If you were an cheater, a crook, or a common criminal, you might as well turn yourself in because the “Boss “, which was one of the popular nicknames for the tough D.A., was going to hunt you down.
But if you were corrupt elected official, a fundraiser, a lobbyist or a staff member who benefitted financially from a government decision that was not in the public interest, your days were numbered.
In the good ole days, prosecutors had ways of finding the truth, maybe it was those far reaching detective efforts that would put Joe Friday to shame. Perhaps, it seemed that most of the bad guys were either morally ignorant or overly arrogant in their misdeeds so it didn’t take much convincing to have them spill the beans.
The “Boss” prosecuted irregardless of the political party, to him fighting corruption was his duty and to the citizen the badges of his accomplishments were the many news accounts. The L.A Times wrote, “ Hicks led the district attorney’s office for 23 years, from 1966 to 1989, an era one well-wisher recalled Monday as a “golden age of prosecution.” The office won convictions of at least 44 elected officials, fundraisers and other political figures, including a congressman and three members of the Board of Supervisors.”
It was right after the “Boss” took out the garbage, that Supervisor Ralph Clark signed on to the efforts of anti-corruption crusader Shirley Grindle’s Tin-Cup ordinance in 1978.
A year later, in 1979, Daly joined the staff of Supervisor Clark and things seemed to eventually change.
Supervisor Clark, while the only Democrat left on the BOS, was considered the least vulnerable because of his inspiring political beginnings, his club alliances, his tenure and his friendly and genuine nice personality.
But despite all those political assets, the far-reaching inability to not be corrupted by the elected position, ended up costing Supervisor Clark his seat on the OC board.
After 16 years on the Board, faced with “pay for play” corruption allegations, “sex for play” improprieties, and a reportedly very concerned wife, Supervisor Clark decided not to seek re-election in 1987.
It was ugly and embarrassing and it involved an Anaheim Fireworks Manufacturer by the name of Patrick Moriarty. The scandal was politically wide, involving not only state political people but also local political people and included what the L.A. Times called sex parties with politicos and prostitutes.
And during all the federal investigators, with some reported assistance From the “Boss man”, the extensive “G-man” interviews, the indictments, in all of this political corruption and sex parties, someone in Clark’s office found time to bilk the O.C taxpayers a few hundred dollars in what the L.A. Times called “1-800 Dial a porn” calls.
Daly was appointed to the Anaheim Union High School in 1986. But before all the scat hit the fan many of Supervisor Ralph Clark’s appointees, friends and staff left for nicer pastures, long-time friend and personal aid James Kenan went on to a new post on on the OCTD, now called OCTA, Gary Granville moved to the Clerk Recorders office , Stan Oftelia went on to work for the Orange County Business Council, later the CEO for the OCTA, but Daly rode it out with Clark’s resignation and went on the staff of Clark’s predesessor, incoming Supervisor Don Roth.
Newly elected Supervisor Roth, a former Anaheim Mayor himself won the supervisory seat reportedly with a last minute endorsement from former Supervisor Clark.
Daly stayed with Supervisor Roth and a few years after leaving his side, it was Don Roth now who was under investigation for corruption. It was the unreported or under-reported trips to Catalina Island, stays at nice Inland Empire hotels, and vacation trips to the fitting sin city, La Vegas. All theses gifts, loans, or perks reportedly came from people and companies who had specific business with the city of Anaheim or the the County of Orange.
There were home remodeling and landscape jobs done at Supervisor Roth’s Anaheim Hills home in the thousands of dollars that coincidently came coincidently right before these companies had business with the city or county government There was a no-interest loans that was reportedly around $10,000 from a company that had a building interest that he voted on.
Here’s what Grindle wrote about Supervisor Roth before he resigned, “But he’s just an arrogant guy who doesn’t think the rules apply to him. . . . One of his reasons for being in politics is to achieve the freebies available if you want to use your political pressure.”
In his 1987 election victory, funded mostly by business interest groups and lobbyists, Daly started his part-time job earning around $700 a month.
Former Anaheim Mayor Fred Hunter said once when referring to fundraising interests , “That perception is sometimes a reality. When the general public sees us collecting $200,000 for a $700-per-month job, the question is: Why?”
Part 2 “Show me the Money” coming soon!