Cambrian: Opinion

Tim Covello is best choice to lead county district attorney’s office

After 24 years as a deputy district attorney in San Luis Obispo County and 38 years working as a prosecutor, I’ve seen my share of “leaders.” In my view, leadership embodies a number of essential ingredients:

Judgment: Wise leaders know when to say “yes” and when to say “no.” They don’t need the difference between right and wrong explained to them.

Experience: There simply is no replacement for having been there day in, day out, year after year.

Character: Actions, not words, are the real window into a person’s soul.

Competence: A leader’s professional skill is the pillar around which colleagues rally.

Courage: The strongest leaders know that taking the easiest path is rarely the best option in the long run.

Commitment: Following through, not quitting, on the toughest assignments separates the doers from the talkers.

Communication: Showing the way with the truth is often more difficult — and creates the most friction — than saying what people want to hear.

Passion: Being one of the best at what you do is the core of your leadership.

It’s these leadership qualities that cause me to endorse Tim Covello as not only most qualified technically and professionally to be this county’s next district attorney, but also as the best possible leader of the office moving forward into the next generation.

Driven by his passion for trial work and public service, Tim joined the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office in 1993. A career prosecutor, in the last 20 years Tim has prosecuted virtually every type of criminal case, including capital murder and other homicides, three strikes, gang, white collar crime, domestic violence, narcotics, environmental crime and mental health cases, and has litigated in the California Court of Appeals, California Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

For those of you who might remember cases and not the attorneys who prosecuted them: Tim prosecuted the defendants in the recent murder case of Dystiny Myers, the 15-year-old girl who was brutally murdered by five people. Tim was on the team that prosecuted and won a death penalty conviction for Rex Krebs in the death of two college students. He also successfully prosecuted the three murderers of National Guardsman Michael Sotelo, and Peter Derks who murdered Mary Waterbury out at Montaña de Oro.

In the last six years, he has supervised trial attorneys, managed nearly every aspect of the office’s day-to-day operations and worked closely with allied agencies on the many issues facing law enforcement in the county. He is the hardest working attorney in the office. That’s why retiring District Attorney Gerald Shea promoted him through the ranks to his current job and it is why he appointed him as second-in-command. Mr. Shea has also endorsed Tim Covello for district attorney (in addition to five current police chiefs in the county and six retired police chiefs).

Tim and his wife, Sue, live in the city of San Luis Obispo, where they have raised their daughters, Zoe, a sophomore at Penn State University, and Olivia, a senior at San Luis Obispo High School. Tim is an avid outdoorsman, a native plant enthusiast and hunts with his father and his Labrador retriever every chance he gets.

One last note: Tim Covello is a good man. He is a man of integrity. He’s not the most gifted politician. He’s not the smoothest media operator. Sometimes he can be blunt and ruffle feathers, especially those of an adversary.But he always tells the truth. He’s the best trial attorney in the office. And I trust him to be our county’s next district attorney.