Based on what we have seen from Steve so far, apparently he believes that the arrest and arraignment on four felony charges of Nick Conway, the now former Executive Director of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, is the result of an elaborate conspiracy involving the Mayor Pro Tem of Walnut, the Los Angeles District Attorney's Public Integrity Office, and Caltrans. All of whom colluded to do in Nick Conway, a person Tobia refers to as "a highly regarded private sector consultant."
You get the drift here? It's a crooked government conspiracy out to crush a guy for the crime of being from the "private sector." With Steve Tobia starring in the role of Batman.
So how does Steve show that this is all the dirty work of a vast network of greedy government co-conspirators? He doesn't really. Rather he spends the better part of three columns talking about his own legal run-in with Caltrans. Which, you will be relieved to know, resulted in a lawsuit and Steve walking away with $2 million dollars in your tax money.
Tobia leaves it to you to figure out what the connection might be in these two very different and completely unrelated cases.
And for the third time Steve Tobia fails to mention that Nick Conway, rather than merely being an outside "private sector consultant," was actually the Executive Director of the COG, something that made him an ultimate insider in that organization and therefore conceivably responsible for the kinds of things the District Attorney arrested him for. Nick's Executive Director role is an important element in the D.A.'s Conflict of Interest case under Section 1090 of California Government Code. It is also something that inconveniently flies in the face of a defense strategy built on the fiction that Nick was only an innocent hired hand doing what he was ordered to do. A reprise of the old Sargent Schultz dodge, I guess.
Obviously Tobia decided it was better to just leave that "Executive Director" thing out altogether.
As you can see from the inset above (click to enlarge), City of Walnut Mayor Pro Tem Tom King is quoted in Tobia's column last Sunday. The passage cited, sliced from King's e-mail to Steve Tobia, is taken a bit out of context. For the record, here is what Tom King actually said:
Dear Mr. Tobia,
Your paid infomercials in the Los Angeles Times fraudulently allege that I wish to form a new Council of Governments. The San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments is the logical entity to speak as a unified voice for our region. When the criminal allegations are adjudicated against your good "friend" I will evaluate if we rejoin the organization.
What happened to your friend is tragic and self-inflicted. He was the architect of his own undoing. I feel sorry for him.
Integrity is what we do when no one is looking. Unfortunately for him, people are looking.
All of which I thought was a fairly evenhanded response to a guy who had just accused Tom, and in a few heavily distributed opinion pieces no less, of forming a vast conspiracy to somehow take over The COG, one that included both the Los Angeles District Attorney's Public Integrity Office and Caltrans. How exactly so vast an enterprise, made up of such disparate elements, was put together by King has yet to be adequately explained by Mr. Tobia. Apparently that Mayor Pro Tem gig in Walnut comes with some fairly impressive powers.
There is one more column to go, however, so maybe this important aspect has been saved for the stunning climax to Tobia's dramatic tale.
One more thing. The "paid infomercials" Tom King refers to in his e-mail is Tobia's self-produced mass advertising insert called The Weekly Insider, which is disseminated by the Los Angeles Times each Sunday for its usual distribution fee. The businesses advertising in this throw-away are pretty much the same as those that grace Tobia's THE Magazine, the San Gabriel Valley's own overweening testament to ostentatious consumerism.
I wonder how many of these Weekly Insider advertisers understand what exactly they have bought into here. Should they ever figure it out I'm not certain that all of them would be entirely pleased by the association.