Dirty politics mars DA’s race

May 9, 2014
Jody Langford

Jody Langford


In the first debate between the San Luis Obispo County district attorney candidates, Assistant District Attorney Tim Covello made public a private email from Deputy District Attorney Dan Dow and accused Dow of being political, saying, in essence, that he hoped this campaign would not become politicized and that he was disappointed in Dow.

In recent days, Covello has done a complete flip-flop on his stand against politicizing the campaign. Desperate to save his failing campaign, the only thing he has left is to attempt to tarnish Dow’s reputation in the eyes of the voters by creating a controversy where there is none.

When questioned by Dave Congalton about this situation, Covello admitted that nothing illegal was done but hesitated, stuttered, and stammered his way to an accusation of serious ethics violations. He also said that except for recent reported events, he did not believe there was any corruption in the district attorney’s office. He is implying that Dow is corrupt and that he took money from a defense attorney for nefarious purposes.

Several questions remain regarding this incident. Did District Attorney Gerry Shea and Covello leak an internal investigation? Did the district attorney, working with Covello, conspire to manufacture an ethical issue? Did Shea and Covello knowingly inflate a clear nonfeasance into an attorney general complaint, simply for the purpose of influencing the election?

Did Shea personally deliver the complaint to the attorney general’s office? Shea says he made no judgment on the matter. Is that true? Or, did Shea obfuscate the simple facts, instead posturing as if a real breach of ethics may have occurred, and purposefully forwarding a non-matter to the A.G. to create a story?

Dow did nothing wrong, ethically or legally. Covello, willing to try anything, is not going to let it drop. The voters should be prepared to see attack ads in the future, most likely painting Dow as some sort of evil, corrupt, politician, willing to do anything, including offering justice for a price. I hope that the voters are smart enough to see through this smear tactic and recognize it for what it is — a desperate act from a failing campaign.

Covello’s radio commercials are attacking Dow’s character, saying at least Covello knows right from wrong. Apparently Covello does not, as he was caught red-handed lying about his support for the veterans’ treatment court. Covello is making a fool of himself with these commercials because just about everybody who has worked with Dow does vouch for his character.

On another note, in the last few days, several large Dow campaign signs have been destroyed and stolen, to say nothing of the countless, smaller yard signs stolen and destroyed. Perhaps it is indicative of the type of supporters Covello has. Perhaps.

Finally, Covello has been trying to make Dow out to be some sort of union guy and therefore a crook. Ironically, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union donated $1,000 to Covello’s campaign and has a huge sign erected in front of its office.

The above, along with the recent United States Postal Service crimes, should convince any reasonable person that Covello is NOT the right person for this job. Dan Dow is. Dow’s real record speaks for itself.

Jody Langford lives in Templeton. He is not an attorney.


The former DA, Barry LaBarbara, is, was and always will be, the biggest crook in SLO County.

Remember how LaBarbara threatened the media to cover up the pre-planned assassination of Donal Schneider?

Anybody affiliated with the D.A. is tainted.


Could not agree more with your article. Hit the nail right on the head. As I commented on the write-in campaign of Mr. Phillips – it seems to me that either Mr. Covello or people that support him convinced Mr. Phillips to enter at the last minute. Why? Simply to get the

1 or 2% of the vote and keep Mr. Dow from winning in June. This will result in the DA’s race going on till November and give Mr. Covello ample time to do even more of what he has already done. If his campaign is going as bad as some think (and he probably realizes), then he must have this race go on – and he needs to Mr. Phillips to get enough votes to ensure this.

This race; if it goes to November; will be mean, nasty, degrading, with all sorts of accusations from both candidates that have absolutely nothing much to do with the race itself or the office for which they are running. That is politics, with a capital “P”.

Can we even begin to imagine how low, very low, this will become over the next 5 months?

The best thing that could happen for this county is for the voters to realize what is being done, to completely and totally ignore Mr. Phillips and his “Facebook and/or Twitter”

write-in candidacy – get this race decided in June. Do not let it go to November and see just how low it can sink.



Paul Phillips’ candidacy has obviously antagonized you. It’s clear that you’re either Dow or you’re working for him. Try to be more subtle in the future. You might be more believable.


Imagine that, an extreme right wing Christian fundamentalist member of law enforcement endorsing an extreme right wing Christian fundamentalist Deputy D.A. on a right wing biased opinion site. What a surprise.

Kevin Rice

If any bit of your bigotry were true, them how is it you are posting here? Are you some kind of stalker Mr/Mrs Nolen? Sounds like you got arrested once and have an eternal grudge.


When you throw mud remember, you are the one losing ground….


We have a desperate chance to vote for someone who is not part and parcel of the DA good ole boy system. This person is Dan Dow.

Remember how the DA’s office participated in keeping Lisa Solomon’s gun incident quiet until the statue of limitations had passed. Remember the two law enforcement officers found drunk on the road and were given special treatment. Ever notice how “friends” of the court cases like the firefighter in SLO are assigned to the least competent or fairly new prosecutors?


Thank you Mr Langford. I did not quite realize that the growing list of Mr. Covello’s antics was that long. So, it seems like a pattern that Mr. Covello has established right before the voters eyes if they look closely. I did hear a Covello radio ad saying Mr. Dow “got away with something” probably referring to campaign contributions. That’s another lie as the Attorney General found no wrong doing. If there were, Mr. Dow would have been reprimanded.

Come ON Mr Covello. That’s like saying I got away with parking my car in my driveway when I have every right to do so.

I think most voters can see through the mudslinging tactics these days. It’s kind of childish and it’s not working so much anymore. People are becoming more aware of what’s really going on. And, many of us reject those candidates who engage in it just based on that. Advertising like Covello’s radio spot is kind of insulting to be told who has integrity and who does not. If I have integrity, I don’t need to be told. I can see for myself just fine. So you take me for an idiot who can’t decide?? I need you to tell me?? No! I don’t.

I guess that’s why the Assistant District Attorneys support Mr. Dow. If Mr Covello treats his coworkers like he treats the voters, I don’t blame them for not wanting to work with him.

How can Mr Covello possibly effectively lead a group of people who don’t support him and don’t share his (rather weak) values and unalighned goals for the county. That’s gotta make for a difficult Monday morning on Day 1 if Mr. Covello wins.

I think in this particular race the contrast between the candidates couldn’t be more obvious. One is a stellar candidate with the values and motivation and capability of effectively making SLO County safe from proliferating crime…..and the other one is Mr. Covello. There’s no comparison. I’m voting for Mr. Dow.