Looking behind the Scenes: Term-limited career politicos aspire upward

By: Jim Ruffalo
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Tip-toeing through the notebook while wondering when spring will finally arrive... Another thing I’d like to see arrive are even more stringent term-limit rules for our elected officials, and for the most part, the sooner the better. Need an example of why we need such a rule? Well, look no further than your voters guide which was mailed to your home a few weeks after your sample ballot arrived. Nearly every single race has at least one current or former politico running for that office, although the unopposed current Placer County Superintendent of Schools is the only one brave enough to use the word “incumbent” with her name. If you check up and down the state, you’ll find just about every termed-out politico trying to fool the electorate for yet another office. Fortunately, I’ve yet to see anybody — this year at least — attempt to do the Tim Leslie Shuffle. In other words, this year’s crop of career politicians all seem to be aspiring to an office higher up the political food chain than the one where they were term-limited. That’s not how Leslie did it in his salad days. He went from Assembly to the State Senate, and when the term-limit bell tolled, had no problem running for the lower-level Assembly again. Meanwhile, we see too many politicians so fearful of being forced to work for a living that they either continually run for yet another office, or try to convince the governor and/or state legislature that he or she is just the right person to be appointed to a seat on one of the state’s numerous nearly useless commissions. It needs to stop, and we know it won’t be voluntary. So if you would, read your ballot carefully. If the politico is a career hack and has done nobody but him or herself any good, then by all means vote for somebody new ... Let George do it: Speaking of letting somebody new do things, that eventually will be the case over at the Placer County Jail. That bastille is currently being run by Captain George Malim, who has improved every department he’s run since arriving here from San Francisco. In fact — and this is not to disparage the current occupants — he and Johnnie Smith remain the two best media-relations people the Sheriff’s Department has had in the more than two decades I’ve been toiling in the foothills. Malim hasn’t announced his retirement, but recently told a visiting group of citizens from the Auburn Police Department that he’ll be pulling the plug right after the new county jail gets built at Roseville. Whoever replaces him won’t have it easy, not with the state sticking it to the various counties the way it currently does. In fact, the night we visited, Malim told us the jail currently strives for equilibrium as to the number of prisoners arriving each day. That particular day, the Placer County Jail accepted 31 new prisoners, and granted freedom to the exact same number. We also learned that it used to be that a new deputy’s first assignment was two years working at the jail, but now that apprenticeship has been lengthened to three years. The jail staff is now also being bolstered by deputies who are on limited disability. They sit at monitors, thus freeing up a completely healthy guard for other duties. And there will also be a new face among the jail staff. Sergeant Dennis Walsh is being promoted and will be assigned to the jail, sending Lieutenant Ron Ashford to patrol. While we’re discussing police, allow me to ask the question of what were they thinking over at Lincoln? The Lincoln PD spent about a year — if that — at its new digs on 7th Street, but by Tuesday will have moved back to that tiny building at 640 5th St ... . Mangia: Coming soon to the former Pizza Parlor at 928 Lincoln Way will be a new Italian eatery called Tre Pazzi, and I’m looking forward to it if only for the name. For you stranierri out there, Tre Pazzi translates to Three Crazies. They are, in no particular order, Jim Brill of the Monkey Cat, Gary Capps of the Capps Group and Marcello of the Club Car. Capps told me that the name was selected because many people think you have to be crazy to start a new business in the face of this present economy. We’ll see.