Sheriff John F. Duffy no doubt thinks he got the last laugh, and perhaps he did. With the news media fanning the controversy, Duffy's deputies were able to give out 18,000 post cards urging California Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird to resign.
Then, faced with a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Common Cause that alleged improper political use of county employees, Duffy called a halt to the distribution, saying the cards were nearly gone anyway.
Before the post card distribution was stopped and the ACLU suit dropped, deputies, at Duffy's direction, were handing out the cards to the public when asked, and were distributing them at sheriff's substations.
The message here is that the Board of Supervisors needs to take a firmer stance in seeing that county employees are not used to do their bosses' political bidding on county time. Either the county's existing ordinance prohibiting on-duty political activity is too weak and should be revised, or the supervisors should commit themselves to seeing that what's already on the books is enforced.
No county department head, not even one elected independently as is the sheriff, should be allowed to flaunt the law and use the taxpayers' time and money to grind his own political ax.