Costa Mesa Planning Commissioner Jim Righeimer was cleared last week of criminal wrongdoing after he got out of his car at a drunken driving checkpoint and questioned police officers for staging the operation on a weeknight during rush hour. We see no reason to disagree with the city attorney's finding — at least based on what we know about the case — because there is no law against a politician throwing his weight around.
Righeimer has a right to question public employees as long as he is not interfering with their ability to do their jobs. That does not mean we support his decision to question cops who were just following orders from above; we don't. But we do feel that citizens have the right to ask public employees questions and exercise free speech.
Our real problem with this latest development, however, is with City Hall and its reluctance to release details of the investigation to the public, which has a right to know how an appointed official and police officers behaved that evening. The folks involved, the theory goes, work for all of us, and we have a right to know how they performed on the job.