The resignation of Superior Court Judge Marc Garcia was appropriate and necessary.
Once it became public knowledge that he had accepted payment from his previous law firm after ascending to the bench, it also became virtually impossible for him to be viewed as fair and impartial. Whether or not the youngest man and first Latino ever appointed to serve on the Merced Superior Court was guilty of any wrongdoing is, as he pointed out, beside the point.
In resigning, he took full responsibility for failing to disclose the payments and the appearances that accepting $250,000 created. “Perception is just as important as reality in this case,” he said of his decision to resign. Law firms are complicated partnerships with payments to partners often continuing beyond their tenure or practice with the firm. That’s not unusual. But taking a payment – even if it had been earned prior to becoming a judge – would be unusual.
Garcia should have had the good sense to know the payment arrangement was a problem the moment he became a judge. He didn’t, and it rightfully cost him his robe.
Choosing to resign rather than jeopardize the public perception of the court was the correct call.
No smile for the cameras
After the Frontline documentary that aired on PBS stations this week, many consumers might perceive Foster Farms in a negative light. After all, more than 600 people became ill after eating chicken in 2013, and many of those cases were traced back to the Livingston processing plant. We don’t doubt that Foster Farms has gone to great lengths to correct whatever problems it discovered in its plant. And there’s no question the company once enjoyed a spotless reputation for cleanliness and sanitation, truly an industry leader.
But eschewing the opportunity to explain its new procedures and processes before a national audience won’t help rebuild that reputation. The company told reporter John Holland of The Modesto Bee that the Frontline producers decided not to use a statement it provided. A statement is not the same as inviting in the cameras and speaking openly about what went wrong and how it has been addressed. We believe Foster Farms will regain its reputation for producing the highest quality products, but not until it learns that the best way to clean up your reputation is with sunshine.
Up, up and away
It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the first Open Cockpit event at the former Castle Air Force Base. But time doesn’t dampen our enthusiasm. We’re looking forward to seeing old friends among the 30-plus aircraft that will be on display and the newest addition, the Northrop-Gruman EA-6B Growler. Open Cockpit Day is Sunday, May 24 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Castle Air Museum.