Campbell Makes New Nomination
Bruce Matthias Is Put up for the County's Human Relations Panel
By Peggy Lowe
Orange County Register [California]
November 14, 2006
Supervisor Bill Campbell swapped his parish priest with a politico for nomination to a county board after victims were outraged about the priest's role in a sexual abuse scandal.
Campbell nominated Bruce Matthias, who has long been active in GOP circles, to the Human Relations Commission. His appointment is up for a vote today at the Board of Supervisors' weekly meeting.
The new candidate comes on the heels of Campbell's controversial re-nomination of Monsignor John Urell last month. Urell was a high-ranking member of the Orange County Diocese's administration and was named as part of the cover-up that led the diocese to settle with abuse victims last year for $100 million.
Just a few days after the nomination became public, with abuse victims and their advocates blasting it, Urell pulled his name from consideration. The priest said he had become a "distraction" to the board's work. Campbell, who attends St. Norbert's Parish, where Urell is pastor, said he was "sorry I reopened a wound for him by this happening."
John Manly, an attorney who has represented many of the abuse victims, said he didn't know Matthias. But he said it was unfortunate that Campbell didn't reach out to victims and ask their opinions about who would be best to do the commission's work of reaching out to children.
"You would think, after making such a huge mistake, he would appoint someone other than the usual suspects," Manly said. "It's business as usual."
Campbell did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Matthias, 57, of Anaheim Hills, worked for former Rep. John Lewis, is a member of the Lincoln Club and unsuccessfully ran against Lynn Daucher for the state Assembly in 2000. He's a member of St. John's Lutheran in Orange.
Matthias said he called Campbell and volunteered for the job.
"He said, 'I'm looking for a man of faith who also has a grounding in conservative principles in government,' " Matthias said. "This is an opportunity to get involved."
Joelle Casteix, a leader in Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said she was surprised and disappointed that Campbell didn't respond to her letter or to her public comments about the Urell nomination. There are many victims in Campbell's district, and he should have reached out to them, she said.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.