Candidates target leadership in district attorney race debate

April 24, 2014

During the second debate between San Luis Obispo County district attorney candidates Dan Dow and Tim Covello, the candidates focused on leadership ability and experience.

dan dow 1

Dan Dow

During the debate at the San Luis Obispo Library, Covello, who has been with the district attorney’s office for 21 years, said Dow does not have the experience as a prosecutor to lead the office. In addition, other prosecutors in the county office have more experience than Dow, which would hamper his ability to lead, Covello said.

Dow countered by listing his past leadership experience in the Army and California Army National Guard. He also noted the support he has received from the majority of district attorneys in the office.

Both candidates are seeking to replace Gerry Shea, who announced he would serve out the remainder of his term late last year. Prior to that announcement, Shea had been slated to step down six months before the end of his term and recommend Covello as a replacement.

The past two district attorneys before Shea, stepped down amid their last term and recommended that the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors appoint their choice for district attorney who then ran as the incumbent and won the seat.

Tim Covello

Tim Covello

Inside sources said after several prosecutors complained about Covello’s selections for management positions, Shea announced he would serve out his last term. Shortly afterwards, a group of prosecutors met to discuss the best person to run as a candidate for office, and Dow was selected, sources said.

The majority of prosecutors in the office, 23 district attorneys, are supporting Dow’s election bid. Dow said during the debate that Covello is unapproachable and has a top-down management style that hurts morale.

Covello argued that some of the deputies have created the morale problems because of work related issues such as not working a full day.

The primary election is on June 3.

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Dow was a salesman in the tech industry and a pretty good one at that. He seems to being doing a good job of selling his latest product; himself.

I don’t practice criminal law but many of my friends do and they like Dow. They describe him as an affable, “what can I do to close this deal” kind of guy. He sells one version of his product to law enforcement, another to his co-workers and yet another version to the public. He reminds me of Ron Popeel the creator of Ronco, the company that brought you the vegematic and the pocketfisherman!

Dan Dow transcends politics, he is all things to all people and yet in reality he is an empty suit.

Not so Gordo!! Not even close. I know Dan and he just doesn’t live life the way you describe.Dan is as consistent as a person could be. Look again.

Dan Dow seems like a good guy. So does Barack Obama. Both lack experience in leadership and with the latter you know what that gives you – the inibility to rely on past decisions to extrapolate them into future policies resulting in confusion and chaos.

Covello didn’t get where he is by accident, he rose above the rest the old fashioned way, by preparing himself for leadership and then proving himself.

If you don’t like the policies of the current D.A. why would you blame another person for them just because he is the unelected second in command? The D.A.’s office is like a fifedom. And if you don’t believe it so, you don’t know much about the way these offices run.

Covello is about as decent a man as I know and all in to do a good job. He always has been. The reason that 23 deputies don’t want him is because the WANT the status quo and have been promised that by Dan. Tim wants a clean sheet and that scares the hell out of 5-hour-a-day workers.

Now that’s Opposite World! Covello (picked by Shea) embodies the status quo (which for Shea has been do pretty much nothing more than the minimum and collect a check). I’m sure Covello is “decent”, but he has opposed change and is not well-liked nor well-endorsed. Leadership and Rule are dissimilar, though easily confused.

I seem to remember that all the deputy sheriffs supported Pat Hedges for sheriff when he was running for sheriff against Jim Gardiner and we remember how that turned out; a demoralized department led by a guy who bugged his own employees. If I was swayed by endorsements I think I would see who police chiefs, police managers and retired sheriffs were supporting instead of who the worker bees wanted.

If you check the websites of the two candidates, I think you will accurately find that in addition to the “Worker Bees” (they work hard to keep you safe) there is

more Law Enforcement community (they work hard keep you safe too) support for Mr. Dow than there is for Mr. Mudslinger Covello.


I find it very disrespectful as well as judgemental of you to judge the hard working attorneys as 5-hour-a-day workers.

Where did you ever come up with that assessment? Who are you, their manager?

And I’m very sure you don’t know what has been promised to who and by whom.

I don’t put much value in your post. You’ve provided supposition instead of direct experience. And now, if you did provide direct experience, I wouldn’t trust it, just because you’re mudslinging much like Mr. Covello does.


From the ‘elections’ and appointments over the years of various Sheriff’s and D/A’s it certainly feels as thought there ought to be a better way. We’re choosing people for positions that should not be tied to political appeal, but rather to knowledge and expertise in the law and and leadership skills.

Prior to an election, candidates for both positions should be required to submit to review by a judicial committee made up of local and regional judges.

Less pomp and more circumstance.

WHAT?!! You think judges (appointed by the Governor) are apolitical???

Your issue is with the voters. The solution is to engage voters.

The California Legislature determines the number of judges in each court. Superior courtjudges serve six-year terms and are elected by county voters on a nonpartisan ballot at a general election.

Vacancies are filled through appointment by the Governor. A superior court judge

must have been an attorney admitted to practice law in California or have served as a

judge of a court of record in this state for at least 10 years immediately preceding

election or appointment.

D/A’s should be less the politician, and more the technician.