We called it a bizarre twist of fate, and that it remains: Los Angeles city administrative officer Miguel Santana was charged Monday by the District Attorney's office with suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol after he was stopped last month following a roast for the District Attorney himself -- Steve Cooley.
"The complaint charged Santana (dob 6-23-1969) with one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence and one misdemeanor count of driving while having a blood alcohol level of higher than the legal limit of .08 percent," stated D.A.'s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons. "According to the complaint, the defendant's blood alcohol level was '0.15 percent by weight and more.'"
Santana, the city's powerful budget honcho, was stopped by California Highway Patrol officers March 26 in the Covina area as he headed home from the roast and fundraiser hosted by the American Diabetes Association at the downtown Marriott Hotel at LA Live. He was released on $5,000 bail and the next morning issued a public apology.
The administrative officer had been involved in the city's heated budget battle over how to pare more than $212 million from L.A.'s deficit. He was, ironically, a rare voice of sobriety, laying out the black-and-white cuts that would be needed, including thousands of layoffs, to get the budget back in black. The City Council to this day has mostly resisted Santana's suggestions, and the budget remains in peril as another $485 million deficit looms for July 1.
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Santana returned to his job a couple weeks ago after taking time off to attend an alcohol treatment program.