The stench from the criminal actions of former Placerville mayor and city councilman David Machado still lingers. It wasn’t enough his plea bargain netted him 960 hours of community service time to be spent in sunny Mexico — as he preferred. Now there’s a new twist. Machado was last seen managing the efforts of the city’s homeless encampment pilot program at 1700 Broadway as another option of serving out his time.
Maybe the public outrage over Judge James R. Wagoner’s earlier sentencing decision is finally hitting home. Machado claims he will only use 80 of his community service hours in Mexico. So the question now is how many of the remaining 880 hours will he declare for directing the efforts of volunteers at Hangtown Haven, the community’s new homeless subdivision?
Who in the probation department agreed to this new cushy option? Was it approved by chief probation officer Greg Sly? Or is Machado preparing his own community service schedule?
Machado’s involvement as project lead was yet another poke in the eye for our community. The arrogance of his comments after pleading guilty didn’t go unnoticed by Placerville residents. He snubbed his nose at his conviction and continues to declare he took the plea deal just to save money.
Now don’t get me wrong. If the project called for Machado to operate a weed whacker, install a port-a-potty, or pick up the human waste left behind at former homeless campsites around the city then this column supports it. But letting this convicted felon off the hook by allowing him to manage this project reeks of an odor stronger than the aforementioned.
With the project now completed will our former public servant lead the public relations campaign next? I can hear the exchange now.
Reporter: “Didn’t you plead guilty to three counts recently?”
Machado: “Oh yeah. No biggie. They had nothing on me. Isn’t this a really cool homeless campsite my staff of volunteers built?”
Reporter: “So you’re in charge here?”
Machado: “Sure, the city couldn’t possibly get this done without me.”
Reporter: “What’s next for you?”
Machado: “I’m off to Mexico to assist another local community.”
Of course all this wouldn’t be an issue had Judge Wagoner sent a clear and definitive signal to Machado — that his gross misconduct as a public official would not be tolerated. Instead we get milk toast sentencing and a convicted felon demonstrating his astute leadership skills, or rather his talent for pulling strings.
Anyone convicted of far less would be washing dishes at the Upper Room or picking up trash along the highway. (Any hours left to do that?) Apparently that wouldn’t do for our disgraced mayor. Someone (perhaps Machado himself) determined his leadership abilities were ideal for this community service role. I suggest they verify his finished work since he’s good at scheduling contractors on weekends when city inspectors are not around.
Machado lacks remorse and zero contrition for his past actions. He’s tarnished Placerville’s image and those serving on city council with him. If anyone believes this is how his community service time should be meted then maybe they’re not convinced (as he is) of his guilt.
Richard Esposito is publisher of the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Wednesday.