It was only a year ago that we were in the midst of one of the most vigorously contested elections for County District Attorney in anyone's memory. Then District Attorney Christie Stanley, who was forced by illness to resign from office prior to the end of her term, used her resignation letter to urge the Board of Supervisors to appoint Chief Trial Deputy Josh Lynn, to replace her and at the same time blast Deputy DA Joyce Dudley, who had announced a few months earlier that she would run against Stanley.
As we know, Stanley would pass away a few months after resigning, the victim of lung cancer, and Dudley would go on to defeat Lynn and become the new District Attorney. Lynn would never return to work at the office again, he was terminated days after the election by then acting DA Ann Bramsen in a maneuver that appeared more like Chicago style politics than Santa Barbara gentility.
So, against that background of rancor and upheaval it was nice to read the front-page story in Saturday's Santa Maria Times about a ceremony Friday at the DA's north county office where the office's newly remodeled conference room was dedicated to Stanley's memory and Dudley was there for the dedication singing Stanley's praises and telling the audience, which included Stanley's daughter Renee Wright, "It was difficult not to be struck by what a magnificent woman she was."
Talk about everybody gathering around the campfire and singing Kumbaya.
Speaking of the DA's office, I've learned that Ron Zonen, who has been a prosecutor in the office since the early 1980's and was part of the team in the 2005 Michael Jackson trial, is retiring on March 31.
Zonen was an early supporter of Dudley in the DA's race and publicly supported her even before Stanley announced that she wouldn't seek reelection.
Zonen was a couple of years ahead of me when we were both students at Los Angeles High School, so I can assure you, he's not one of those public employees who is retiring in his 50's.
© 2011 by Craig Smith and www.craigsmithsblog.com