District Attorney Cliff Newell’s personal baggage figures to get the attention TSA gives somebody on its watch list now that attorney David Alkire has announced his candidacy to restore “personal integrity and professionalism to the leadership” of the office.
Alkire kicked-off his campaign by announcing he has the endorsement of the bargaining units that represent Nevada County’s deputy district attorneys and deputy public defenders. “They chose to endorse my candidacy over their own boss,” he told The Union. “Frankly, it’s a sad commentary.”
Alkire, who has apparently been honing his sound bites, was just getting warmed up.
“Ordinarily, you’d expect an incumbent to run on his record. This incumbent will have to run away from his record. He’s been in office seven years. If he was going to do things right, we’d know by now.”
Newell has accumulated baggage during his time in office that makes him vulnerable to an aggressive candidate. The biggest baggage–a steamer trunk, if you will–is his connection to Gold Country Lenders, whose principals have been charged with multiple counts of fraud, criminal conspiracy, and elder abuse after the county was forced to hand the case off to the state.
The DA and his former wife borrowed $260,000 through Gold Country, but struggled when the bottom fell out of the real estate market. The Sacramento Bee took a look at Newell’s dealings with Gold Country and concluded in a editorial that “he showed an appalling lack of discretion” that “irreparably damaged his ability to administer fair and impartial justice.”
Newell dismissed the Bee’s coverage as “the worst form of yellow journalism” and said, “The article had no substance. It was full of allegations and loose connections.”
In response to Alkire’s charges, Newell said in a statement, “Our record speaks for itself. We continue to effectively prosecute crime, not withstanding dramatic cuts in resources from the state and locally.”
He also took a swipe at the deputy DAs who endorsed Alkire, saying, “We have made demands that all employees work to their full potential; most do but some may be resentful for being held to that standard.”
If nothing else, staff meetings should be interesting between now and election day.