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Andrew Do Announces His Candidacy For Soon-To-Be-Vacated Orange County Supervisor Seat

Posted by Greg Woodard on November 20, 2014

Andrew Do, former Chief of Staff for current Supervisor and newly-elected State Senator Janet Nguyen, has announced his candidacy for the special election for the First District Supervisor seat that will occur in early 2015.  Do is expected to face Democrat and perennial candidate Lou Correa (who is termed out of the 34th District State Senate seat that Nguyen is taking over).  Another potential candidate is Chris Phan, a Republican councilman from Garden Grove, who has already announced his intentions to run for the supervisor seat.

For Immediate Release

November 20, 2014

Contact: Dave Gilliard

Phone: 916-626-6804

Andrew Do to Run for Supervisor in First District Special Election

Nguyen, Bates,Walters and Royce to serve as Campaign Co-Chairs

Westminster, CA – - Today, Andrew Do announced his candidacy for Orange County Supervisor in the First District, where a special election will be called soon to replace Senator-elect Janet Nguyen.

Supervisor Nguyen, along with Supervisor Pat Bates, Senator and Congresswoman-Elect Mimi Walters and Congressman Ed Royce will serve as honorary co-chairs of Do’s campaign.

“I am honored that so many community leaders have encouraged me to run for Supervisor to follow in the footsteps of Janet Nguyen, who has done such a tremendous job for our communities,” said Do.

“The First District is the diverse and dynamic heart of Orange County, with many needs that are different from other parts of our county,” said Do. “I believe government can help meet those needs and can do so in a fiscally conservative and responsible manner that protects taxpayers.”

Do said his priorities will be to help create jobs, assist small business, rebuild the local economy, and improve roads, parks and other infrastructure. As a former Deputy District Attorney and in light of State prisoner early releases, Do will make public safety one of his top priorities. Do opposes tax increases and strongly supports Proposition 13.

“Too many of our neighborhoods and communities in central Orange County were neglected for far too long. We have made tremendous progress in correcting things over the last seven years and Andrew is committed to continuing and expanding on the work we have done,” said Supervisor and Senator-Elect Janet Nguyen.

Andrew Do is a prominent central county businessman, attorney and Republican who currently serves as Supervisor Nguyen’s Chief of Staff. Previously, he has been an Orange County Deputy District Attorney and Garden Grove City Councilmember. Do has been elected to serve as President of the Asian Bar of California and as President of the Vietnamese-American Bar Association of Southern California. He was selected by the U.S. Department of Justice to represent Orange County at the National District Attorney Association Advocacy College at the University of South Carolina. Do received his J.D. Degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. He taught for three years as an Adjunct Professor at Cal State University, Fullerton and previously served as a Judge Pro Tem at Orange County West Municipal Court.


Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, Orange County Board of Supervisors | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

0.1%: OC’s Most Likely Recounts

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 18, 2014

The Registrar of Voters finished counting last night and will certify the election today.  With OC’s electronic ballots and optical scan vote-by-mail/paper ballots, counts are quite accurate, and it would be difficult to move the needle more than 0.1% in a recount.  There are three races that are within that 0.1% margin in Orange County:

Costa Mesa is the epitome of a deeply divided city.  With a 3-2 conservative majority Council, neither conservatives or liberals have been able to pull off a clean sweep in that city in any given election year, and city council elections are frequently close. Mayor Jim Righeimer (R) beat former Councilman Jay Humphrey (D) by 0.1%, or 47 votes.  You can bet on a recount here.  In a city this divided with this close a margin, it doesn’t matter who was ahead, the side that was 47 votes behind would pay for a recount.  Coming into this election, many considered this the third most important City Council election in Orange County, behind only Anaheim and Irvine.

CITY OF COSTA MESA Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 70 of 70
Vote Count Percentage
KATRINA FOLEY 9,346 26.5%
* JIM RIGHEIMER 7,524 21.3%
JAY HUMPHREY 7,477 21.2%
LEE RAMOS 5,305 15.0%
AL MELONE 1,470 4.2%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

In the Garden Grove Mayor’s race, three Democrats fought it out.  Garden Grove Unified School District Trustee Bao Nguyen brought incumbent Mayor Bruce Broadwater to a statistical tie of 42.4% but beat him by 15 votes.  With a statistical tie, this is Orange County’s closest race.

Nguyen, a 34-year-old union organizer, is a full 32 years younger than the 76-year-old incumbent.  (Nguyen’s day job is as an organizer for the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees Local 3930.)  For Republicans, an up-and-coming 34-year-old Vietnamese Democrat is a much greater long-term threat than a nearly-retired 76-year-old white Democrat in the Garden Mayor’s seat.  Broadwater is unlikely to run for anything other than Mayor in the future.  Nguyen sits in the 1st Supervisorial District, 34th Senate District, and 47th Congressional District.  While Senator-Elect Janet Nguyen should be able to defeat Bao Nguyen in any of those races, she can’t personally hold all three seats.

While Janet Nguyen is now the highest ranking Vietnamese American elected official in the country, Bao Nguyen will be the first Vietnamese American Mayor of a city with over 100,000 people – unless Broadwater can prevail in a recount.  (For the record, Senator-Elect Janet Nguyen and Mayor-Elect Bao Nguyen are not related to each other, and neither of them are related to me.  The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

Completed Precincts: 87 of 87
Vote Count Percentage
BAO NGUYEN 11,785 42.4%
ALBERT AYALA 4,234 15.2%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

In the quietest close race in Orange County, Carol A. Moore beat Rae C. Tso by 0.1% for Laguna Woods City Council in a battle between two candidates registered to vote as No Party Preference.  Moore is beating Tso by 16 votes.  Tso said publicly yesterday that she will not seek a recount.

Those following the Laguna Woods politics have indicated that Moore supports replacing the management company that runs the homeowners association in Laguna Woods (remember that Laguna Woods has one homeowners association that encompasses 90%+ of the homes in the city).  This is almost analogous to replacing the city staff after an election in any other city in Orange County.  No word on if the management company or another third party will seek a recount since Tso won’t seek one.

CITY OF LAGUNA WOODS Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 16 of 16
Vote Count Percentage
* BERT HACK 3,419 25.3%
CAROL A. MOORE 2,963 21.9%
RAE C. TSO 2,947 21.8%
AL RODDAN 1,473 10.9%
MARK L. MONIN 1,403 10.4%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

It is highly unlikely anyone can move the needle by more than 0.1% in a recount.  However, if there’s a place that will try, it may well be the City of Anaheim, which has a pair of 0.2% races.

In the Anaheim City Council race, James D. Vanderbilt beat Gail Eastman by 0.2%, or 203 votes.  While Democrats had an intraparty battle for Garden Grove Mayor, Republicans had an intraparty battle for Anaheim City Council.

Like Costa Mesa, Anaheim is a deeply divided city.  Mayor Tom Tait, the leader of the Council minority, won re-election with 53.4% of the vote, a 33% victory over his closest challenger former Councilwoman Lorri Galloway.  Falling 1% behind Galloway is Councilwoman Lucille Kring, who is a member of the Council majority.  Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray, the leader of the Council majority, was the top vote-getter in her bid for re-election to the City Council.  Vanderbilt was backed by Tait and joins the Council minority while the narrowly-defeated Eastman was part of the Council majority.  This election result gives Anaheim a 3-2 council.

When the voters narrowly deliver a 3-2 Council, give the minority Mayor a landslide re-election, and make the majority Mayor Pro Tem the top vote-getter in the City Council race, that is truly a closely-divided city.

CITY OF ANAHEIM Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 147 of 147
Vote Count Percentage
* KRIS MURRAY 16,207 20.7%
JAMES D. VANDERBILT 15,541 19.8%
* GAIL EASTMAN 15,338 19.6%
JOSE F. MORENO (1) 11,521 14.7%
JERRY O’KEEFE 6,244 8.0%
JOSE MORENO (2) 2,976 3.8%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

In the close race the press (but not the bloggers) forgot, Anaheim’s obscure Measure N has lost by 0.2% or 122 votes.  Does anyone care enough to bother with a difficult recount for an obscure ballot measure?  If there’s a recount in the Anaheim City Council race, can a Measure N recount piggy back on it?

N-City of Anaheim, Local Services Measure
Completed Precincts: 147 of 147
Vote Count Percentage
Yes 21,413 49.9%
No 21,535 50.1%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

Three cities ended up with 0.3% margins in their city council races.  Recounts are even further out of reach for these three cities.

In a Republican intraparty battle for Dana Point City Council, Joe Muller beat Jody Payne by 0.3%, or 61 votes. The Dana Point Council was in for a make over this year, with majority Councilmember Steve Weinberg (D) termed out, majority Mayor Lisa Bartlett (R) elected to the Board of Supervisors, and minority Councilmember Bill Brough (R) elected to the State Assembly.

Top vote-getter John Tomlinson (R) was endorsed by both remaining Councilmen, majority member Scott Schoeffel (R) and minority member Carlos Olvera (R).  Olvera also endorsed Richard A. Viczorek (R) who was elected in the second spot.  In fact, Olvera goes from being in the minority on a 3-2 Council to leading a 4-1 supermajority (or 3-2 majority, depending on how one interprets Tomlinson), with his preferred candidate Muller (R) defeating Schoeffel’s preferred candidate, Payne (R).

Dana Point Residents for Responsible Redevelopment (DPRRR) endorsed Payne (R), Harold Kaufman (R), and Chuck Rathbone (R).  With a similar set of priorities to Yorba Linda Residents for Responsible Redevelopment (YLRRR), who managed to lose seats, falling into a 4-1 superminority in Yorba Linda, it’s clear voters are sending RRR packing across the County.

CITY OF DANA POINT Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 30 of 30
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN TOMLINSON 3,229 13.5%
JOE MULLER 3,010 12.6%
JODY PAYNE 2,949 12.3%
ALAN WICKSTROM 2,935 12.3%
NANCY JENKINS 2,714 11.4%
HAROLD R. KAUFMAN 2,368 9.9%
ROY “RYAN” DIVEL IV 1,962 8.2%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

Coming into this year’s elections, it was long said that Anaheim and Irvine were the two most important Council races.  While Anaheim was an intraparty Republican battle, Irvine is an old-fashioned Republican vs. Democrat party-line contest.  Republican Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Lalloway beat Democrat Melissa Fox by 0.3%, or 210 votes.  Unlike in Anaheim, this was not make the Council more divided.  Indeed, Lalloway’s re-election ensures a 4-1 supermajority in Irvine.  Had Fox been elected, it would have simply kept the 3-2 status quo split.  Republican Lynn Schott unseated long-time Councilman Larry Agran (D), a former candidate for President of the United States.  Agran has been either Mayor or City Councilmember in Irvine for 28 of the last 36 years, being out of office from 1990 to 1998 (he ran for President in 1992).  Recall that the City of Irvine is only 43 years old.  Agran has been Mayor or Council member for 65% of Irvine’s existence.

CITY OF IRVINE Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 109 of 109
Vote Count Percentage
LYNN SCHOTT 16,814 22.9%
* JEFFREY LALLOWAY 16,749 22.8%
MELISSA FOX 16,539 22.5%
* LARRY AGRAN 14,403 19.6%
EVAN CHEMERS 8,966 12.2%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

In the Fountain Valley School District, Jim Cunneen (R) beat Gary Stine (D) by 0.3%, or 83 votes.

Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 31 of 31
Vote Count Percentage
* SANDRA CRANDALL 9,208 31.6%
LISA SCHULTZ 7,583 26.0%
JIM CUNNEEN 6,231 21.4%
GARY STINE 6,148 21.1%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

In the Orange Unified School District, the $296 million Measure K bond fell short of 55% vote threshold by 0.4% or 191 votes.  This is the third bond to fail in OUSD since two bonds were defeated in 2004, the November 2004 achieved the identical 54.6% that the November 2014 bond achieved.  The March 2004 bond failed to even reach 50%.

K-Orange Unified School District, Critical Upgrades and Repairs for Quality High Schools
Completed Precincts: 164 of 164
Vote Count Percentage
Bonds – Yes 25,992 54.6%
Bonds – No 21,613 45.4%

In the Centralia School District, former Trustee Art Montez (D) beat Kevin Sequeira (R) by 0.6%, or 128 votes.  Centralia voters were clearly in an anti-incumbent mood, as can be seen how the candidates placed.  20-year-old newcomer Connor Traut (D), the second coming of Jordan Brandman, was the top vote-getter.  La Palma Councilman Henry Charoen (R) came in second.  Former Trustees Montez (D) and Sequeira (R) came in third and fourth.  Sitting Trustee Irv Trinkle (R) came in dead last.

Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 36 of 36
Vote Count Percentage
CONNOR TRAUT 4,764 25.1%
HENRY CHAROEN 3,939 20.8%
ART MONTEZ 3,763 19.8%
KEVIN SEQUEIRA 3,635 19.2%
* IRV TRINKLE 2,862 15.1%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

In the Ocean View School District, Joseph A. Gaglione (R) beat incumbent Tracy Pellman (R) by 0.6%.  In a bizarre race, incumbents John Briscoe (R) and Pellman (R) each accused each other of being secretly backed by the union as their third candidate while the union openly backed Gaglione (R) and Jack Souders (R).  Libertarian former Trustee Norm Westwell and American Independent incumbent Trustee John Ortiz came in the last two spots.

Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 53 of 53
Vote Count Percentage
JACK C. SOUDERS 10,544 22.3%
* JOHN BRISCOE 8,909 18.8%
JOSEPH A. GAGLIONE 8,197 17.3%
* TRACY PELLMAN 7,898 16.7%
NORM WESTWELL 6,427 13.6%
* JOHN R. ORTIZ 5,339 11.3%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

Finally, the $574-million North Orange County Community College District’s Measure J bond actually still counting because that district straddles into LA County.  LA County expects to certify the election on Friday.  Measure J is at exactly the 55.0% bond threshold and leads by 8 votes.

In Orange County:

J-North Orange County Community College District, Fullerton/Cypress Colleges Bond Measure
Completed Precincts: 522 of 522
Vote Count Percentage
Bonds – Yes 82,751 55.1%
Bonds – No 67,420 44.9%

In LA County:

Los Angeles County Results Only

Measure J Votes Percent
YES 1,946 51.06
NO 1,865 48.94
Registration 11,729
Precincts Reporting* 16
Total Precincts 16

Combined total:

Measure J Votes Percent
Yes 84,697 55.00%
No 69,285 45.00%

Technically, “Yes” is at 55.004481043238820121832421971399% while “No” is at 44.995518956761179878167578028601%.

Barring a huge swing in LA, I would imagine Measure J will go to recount.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Live from the Common Core Hearings at OC Board of Education

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 17, 2014

We’re live from the OC Board of Education hearings on Common Core. This is an incredibly full audience. It took this blogger 10 minutes to find a parking space.  The hearing is so full that no more people are being let in the hearing room: there are 30 people in the hallway and 50 people outside the building listening to the hearings on loudspeakers the Department of Education set up outdoors.

Stacy Butler of CBS 2/KCAL 9 is here with a cameraman.

There are families with children of all ages, some teenagers who appear to be here of their own volition (!) without adults, senior citizens, and even people with infants.

There are numerous public commenters on both sides of the issue. Despite the controversial nature of the issue and the large crowd, both sides are quite civil. I’ve heard no jeering or booing. There is polite applause after each speaker.

After public comment, Board President Dr. Ken Williams hands the meeting to meeting facilitator Maggie Chidester.

She introduces the proponent panel:
*Gerald Solomon, Executive Director, Samueli Foundation
*Bill McCallum, Professor of Mathematics, University of Arizona
*Doug Grove, Assistant Provost for Adult, Graduate, and Online Learning, Concordia University
*Deborah Brown, Associate Director, Education Policy Children Now

She introduces the opponent panel:
*Zev Wurman, Former Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Planning/Evaluation/Policy Development, US Department of Education
*Sandra Stotsky, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas, The Department of Education Reform
*James Milgram, Professor of Mathematics, Stanford University and former Common Core Validation Committee
*Karen Effrem, President, Education Liberty Watch

Proponent Gerald Solomon spends lots of time on his credentials. He claims 8% of California’s budget goes to education while 10% goes to prisons (that is patently false, as well over 40% goes to K-12 education).

Proponent Bill McCallum states the key principles of Common Core are focusing on important life skills and thinking subjects, coherence by making mathematics an easy to understand language, reorganizing math teaching sequences in a more logical order, conceptual understanding, drawing on prior knowledge, and ensuring students’ college readiness. He says critics have failed to distinguish between college readiness and STEM readiness with liberal arts majors not needing STEM. He calls for continued access to calculus even though Common Core stops at Algebra II. He argues Common Core is the baseline not the ceiling.

Proponent Doug Grove warns that many students are not college ready. He decries six-year graduation rates, dropping out, and student loan defaults due to students not being ready for college. He notes numerous institutions of higher education have endorsed Common Core as a way to prepare students for college or the workforce. He says students need to be able to think critically and apply their skills to real world situations. He is baffled by having a single standardized test at the end of each year for students. He says there is no perfect solution but hopes people can unite behind Common Core to improve student learning.

Proponent Deborah Brown speaks about California being a model for how to implement Common Core. She noted California sped up the timeline for districts to have the tools in place for Common Core. She notes $1.25 billion in state funding was provided to local school districts to implement Common Core. She notes Common Core helping all students speak, read, and write English. She says there is support from all statewide education leaders. She says there is support from business and the four state higher education systems (Community Colleges, CSU, UC, and AICCU).

Opponent Zev Wurman decries math being pushed later with Algebra I being moved to high school. He is concerned that Common Core “squashes the top rather than raising the bottom.” He notes that Common Core delayed algebra by a year compared to previous California standards. He expresses concern about minority and disadvantaged students falling further behind because of Common Core. He is concerned that while middle school students are held accountable for learning standards, but not high school students.

Opponent Sandra Stotsky notes she voted against the Common Core Standards when she was on the Common Core Validation Committee. She was concerned then (and remains concerned now) that the standards are not benchmarked to international standards. She was concerned then (and remains concerned now) that Common Core asks students to both write an objective summary and do an interpretation of the meaning of a text without examining the breadth of literature that led to it. She was concerned then (and remains concerned now) that some of the standards were created without any research.

Opponent James Milgram was on the Common Core Validation Committee and notes China’s math standards far surpass those of Common Core. He says the 1992 standards created a disaster in California and that Common Core seems to be a repeat of 1992. He said only one member of the Common Core Validation Committee on math had experience writing standards, and that one person had written disastrous standards in the past. He notes the Common Core standards were adopted without the validation committee or research based information.

Opponent Karen Effrem states the Common Core standards are academically inferior. She notes one architect of the Common Core standards called them inadequate and another called himself unqualified. She says Bill Gates says we won’t know if they work for ten years. She criticizes Common Core requiring small children to reason abstractly when that is not developed in children’s brains until at least 3rd grade. She criticizes requiring children to solve math problems numerous ways instead of the simplest way. She says psychologists and early childhood experts have said that Common Core standards are developmentally inappropriate.

OCBE Trustee Linda Lindholm praises all the panelists and thanks everyone for their perspectives. She thanks teachers and school staff for their work. She asks McCallum about the numerous ways to do math and parental concerns about them.

McCallum supports children working with their parents on homework, but students need to do the work themsleves. He says the numerous ways to do math are a way for students to understand math more comprehensively. He says early assignments are overeager or not following Common Core standards.

OCBE Trustee Jack Bedell expresses concern that his grandson is able to solve math problems with 100% accuracy in traditional means but only 40% using Common Core.

McCallum says having multiple methods available is not the same as requiring every method be used. He believes there is a misinterpretation of the standards.

Bedell asks if this is a federal Obamacare-style imposition on local schools.

Stotsky says several of the test are federally imposed. She points to admissions from professors who stated this was a national Washington effort.

Wurman calls Common Core a federal Washington based program.

Brown says the states have adopted this on their own.

Effrem notes that most states signed an agreement not to alter more than 15% of the curricular material.

Stotsky notes the standards are forced across the country and cannot be amended.

OCBE President Dr. Ken Williams asks Stotsky to elaborate on the inability to amend the standards.

Stotsky says the standards were developed by two Washington, DC-based organizations that copyrighted Common Core and that the standards cannot be amended without violating the copyrights.

Williams asks if California took copyrighted material and created its own standards from them.

Milgram says the tests are still held by the copyright holders, and the standards on the test govern Common Core.

OCBE Trustee Robert Hammond asks a constituent’s question that numerous educational leaders and mathematical societies have endorsed the Common Core standards.

Milgram says that while the leaders of these societies individually wrote letters of support if Common Core achieves what it promises but that the societies did not endorse the standards.

Hammond asks if Common Core will help minority and disadvantaged students.

Solomon says the critical thinking skills taught by Common Core will assist these students in the workforce.

Wurman states that lowering the algebra standards will only harm these students.

Hammond asks if popular perception of Common Core being an experiment on children is reasonable.

Stotsky says there were longstanding Massachusetts standards that have boosted their students to the top and that these were former California standards. She says there is no need for the Common Core experiment.

OCBE Trustee David Boyd asks if there was ever a time when there was national agreement on standards.

Stotsky points to 1890 when the Ivy Leagues formed the College Board.

Boyd asks why Bill Gates has to be vilified and whether his organization is evil.

Stotsky responds the question is whether the Gates Foundation is qualified.

Boyd calls it a healthy debate and is glad the opponents were not excluded from the committee by the proponents.

Stotsky replied they tried.

Wurman says the creators had good intentions but these lower standards will harm student learning.

Boyd asks Effrem about her accusations of data mining.

Effrem says the Common Core standards themselves have nothing to do with data mining, but the Common Core tests are where the data mining is occuring.

Boyd states that the Common Core standards and tests are two different issued.

Effrem responds that the standards cannot function without the tests.

Intermission begins at 8:04 PM.

The hearing resumes at 8:17 PM.

Lindholm asks about the spending on the tests for Common Core. One test is $1 billion while another is $2.46 billion.

Effrem says switching tests cost Florida $220 million plus another $5 million for sample questions from Utah. She is concerned about the AIR contract.

Wurman notes the old California tests cost $20 per student. He says testing under Common Core will cost three times as much. He says the test tries to measure process instead of the right answer.

Brown and Wurman get into a slight cross exchange.

McCallum says AIR is designing the platform not the questions which come from numerous sources, including both teachers and testing companied.

Lindholm expresses concern about California’s low academic rankings and how to address them.

Wurman argues when adjusting for socioeconomic factors, California is the back of the middle of the pack.

Bedell says the OCBE voted 3-2 for Common Core material for the unique special education kids OCBE teaches. He asks what would have happened had the OCBE refused to adopt that.

Wurman says Sacramento would have screamed but there would have been no actual consequences. He says it was part of local authority.

Williams asks how does Common Core affect people. He has 14 affidavits from teachers and parents who have given examples of negative impacts they have suffered from Common Core. He also asks if the Gates Foundation has given any money to Brown’s nonprofit to promote Common Core.

Brown says they receive money from many sources including Gates.

Williams repeats his question if she received money from the Gates Foundation to promote Common Core.

Brown says yes.

Williams asks Wurman about his comments on the math standards.

Wurman discusses how the old standards helped improve the performance of California students.

Williams asks how California can get to where Massachusetts is on education.

Stotsky says the prior standards need to be restored in order to achieve the levels that Massachusetts students are reaching.

Williams asks about the data mining.

Effrem points to her 22 page report. She also says the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) has been gutted to allow any tangentially related organization to get student data.

Williams asks how can the OCBE stop the data mining.

Wurman says the only way is to stop using the Common Core consortium tests. Otherwise, the information goes to Washington.

Hammond asks about online testing in Common Core.

Brown says the new technology will help better assess the students.

Hammond asks when Common Core was adopted.

Three of the experts said June 2010.

Hammond asks when were the tests internationally benchmarked.

McCallum said the standards from several states and several Asian countries were used. He noted those standards frequently didn’t agree.

Milgram says technically, international standards were looked at, and the Common Core standards match them but are two years behind.

Stotsky says they are not really standards but skills instead, so they cannot be internationally benchmarked because everyone has these skills.

Hammond asks if the Common Core standards are in violation of State Education Code requiring international benchmarking based on what Stotsky said.

Grove says there are multiple definitions of benchmarking.

McCallum disputes that the standards are two years behind.

Boyd asks if any of the panelists have ever served on a school board. He notes that Hugh Hewitt wanted the OCBE to file a federal lawsuit to overturn Common Core. He says that would have cost $800,000 to $1,000,000.

Stotsky says that the local OCBE can set high standards without needing to sue the federal government. If the state attempted to withhold money, then she says OCBE could sue the state government.

Wurman says there have been successful lawsuits against the federal government for overreach.

The panelists now give their closing remarks.

Proponent Solomon says employment requiring STEM will increase by a quarter by 2020. These jobs earn more money. These jobs do not necessarily require college degrees. There are not enough people to fill these posts. He says math is a universal language that helps real world experiences. He says Common Core math is like remodeling an outdated house while keeping what is good. He says there is temporary inconvenience but long term benefit.

McCallum says that standards are the baseline for students. He says there need to be standards even if the federal government went away. He says Common Core is an agreement among states. He says Common Core started with state school chief officers in 2007. The National Governors Association joined in 2009. He says while he helped write the Common Core standards, he never spoke with a representative of the federal government or the Gates Foundation. He spoke of teachers providing feedback. He spoke of receiving 10,000 public comments while drafting the Common Core standards. He found California feedback helpful, such as moving multiplication tables from 4th grade to 3rd grade. He says a depth not breadth approach is used in other countries and Common Core seeks to do that. He says Common Core is a long overdue promise to children and are an historic agreement among states.

Grove says he applied for three Gates Foundation grants and got rejected on all three. He says the assessment discussion focused more on data mining. He says the real data used are data teachers gather daily in the classroom. He says the assessment data came too late for teachers in 2010. He says the 2014 data has a lot more support to ensure students benefit and more data is available to teachers to help improve student performance. He says Common Core is an opportunity for schools and students going into college or the workforce. He says something has to be done because students are not ready for college or the workforce. He says higher education in California has embraced Common Core.

Brown says there is bipartisan support for Common Core from hundreds of groups and policymakers. She appreciates that diverse viewpoints were represented. She says California is significantly changing its education standards. She says there is more local control of funding. She says supporting teachers is critical.

Opponent Wurman says Common Core is behind on algebra. He says 4-5 studies noted that Common Core is behind. He considers Common Core smoke and mirrors. He says there used to be algebra in 8th grade, but Common Core has forced it to 9th grade. He says Common Core’s 8th grade curriculum might match the old 7th grade curriculum in California. He says Common Core is supposed to consist of standards but is full of pedagogy. He says the Common Core tests require too much guessing. He says disadvantaged students will be most damaged by Common Core’s math delay. He points to multiple school districts where students taking advanced math has fallen precipitously since Common Core. He points out that California’s K-8 standards were actually more focused before Common Core. He points to Stanford Education Professor Linda Darling-Hammond stating she would oppose Common Core if she had a say.

Stotsky said content knowledge is proven from her experience on national education boards. She is not opposed to national standards nut simply finds Common Core to be a poor standard. She says the literature standards are not rigorous and not benchmarked against other English-speaking countries. She says reading literature is how to develop analytical skills, and this is reduced by Common Core. She says there is a mix of skills and pedagogy in Common Core. She says that Common Core uses content-free skills that could apply to the Three Little Pigs as well as Moby Dick. She says the writing standards are developmentally inappropriate. She notes students are now getting excerpts of literary works rather than whole pieces of literature. She urges the OCBE to adopt the old standards from before Common Core. She urges hiring teachers who taught before Common Core.

Milgram speaks of his time on the Common Core Validation Committee. At first, there was a path to calculus, which he supported. The final version of the standards stop at Algebra II. He says there is only a 33% chance that college freshmen whose high school education stopped at Algebra II will graduate with a degree. He said for students majoring in STEM, it falls to just 2%. He notes high achieving countries start Algebra I in 7th grade, yet Common Core starts it in 9th grade. He makes that clear that Common Core math is two years behind. He says the claims that UC, CSU, AICCU, and community college leaders signed a letter saying if Common Core will deliver what it promises, they would support it. It didn’t say they supported it.

Effrem says the Giselle Child Development Institute, child development experts, and psychologists have expressed that Common Core is developmentally inappropriate. She questions how Common Core’s computer-adaptive testing is compatible with uniform standards and comparisons. She says AIR is involved with the Social Genome data mining effort.

Chidester thanks all the panelists.

Williams thanks staff, panelists, and public for their participation and adjourns at 9:37 PM.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Common Core Hearing Tonight at County Board of Ed

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on November 17, 2014

This evening, the Orange County Board of Education will be holding its second public hearing on Common Core. The first hearing was held last month.


The Orange County Board of Education (the Board) is hosting two Public Hearings on the Common Core State Standards. Both hearings will be held at the Orange County Department of Education Boardroom, 200 Kalmus Drive, Costa Mesa, on October 20, 2014 and November 17, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

The purpose of the Public Hearings is to provide members of the public with thoughtful and scholarly perspectives of the Common Core that assist our community in understanding the standards at a deeper level: the origins of the Common Core standards; the reasons for which they were developed; the adoption process for the standards in California; the strengths or weaknesses of these standards, vis-à-vis the previous California standards, and other state or international standards; and the implementation process underway in California at present.

Since the fall months of 2013, there have been increasing numbers of community members addressing the Board related to concerns with the Common Core State Standards. The Board is providing an opportunity for respective sides, those who are opponents and proponents, to provide information to the Board and community members. It is our intent to provide a fair and neutral atmosphere for panel members to provide their expert opinion on this very important subject.

Two panels are being identified that represent both sides of this important issue. Both will be given 15-20 minutes to present their information. The Board will then have questions for each panel opponents and proponents in a round-robin format and closing with a Public Comment period.

From tonight’s agenda:

Introductions/Moderator: Maggie Chidester from the Law Offices of Margaret A. Chidester & Associates will moderate the Special Board Meeting/Public Hearing.  Panelists representing both opponents and proponents of Common Core State Standards will present information to support their positions. Presentations will be followed by a question and answer period with the Board members and panelists.

Panelists for the Opposition include:
*Karen Effrem, President, Education Liberty Watch
*James Milgram, Stanford University Mathematician and former Common Core Validation Committee
*Sandra Stotsky, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas, The Department of Education Reform
*Zev Wurman, Former Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Planning/Evaluation/Policy Development, US Department of Education

Panelists for the Proponents include:
*Deborah Brown, Associate Director, Education Policy Children Now
*Doug Grove, Assistant Provost for Adult, Graduate, and Online Learning, Concordia University
*Bill McCallum, Professor of Mathematics, University of Arizona
*Gerald Solomon, Executive Director, Samueli Foundation

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Measure J Bond Still Short of 55%, Contrary to OC Numbers – Everyone Forgets LA

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 14, 2014

In the latest numbers from the Orange County Registrar of Voters, Measure J has 55.1%, appearing to break the necessary 55% for the half-billion dollar bond to pass.  Supporters rejoiced and opponents despaired.

J-North Orange County Community College District,
Fullerton/Cypress Colleges Bond Measure
Completed Precincts: 522 of 522
Vote Count Percentage
Bonds – Yes 82,060 55.1%
Bonds – No 66,968 44.9%

Both have responded prematurely.  Here’s why:

Los Angeles County Results Only

Measure J Votes Percent
YES 1,790 51.44
NO 1,690 48.56
Registration 11,729
Precincts Reporting* 16
Total Precincts 16
% Precincts Reporting 100

Despite being named the North Orange County Community College District, part of the district is in LA County.  Even the Orange County Register forgot.

While Orange County has given daily updates, LA County hasn’t updated since Monday.  Measure J supporters and opponents will be left waiting for LA County to find out the fate of that bond.

Here are what the numbers look like when combining Orange and LA County:

Measure J Votes Percent
Yes 83,850 54.98%
No 68,658 45.02%

With Orange County nearly done counting (if not today, certainly by Monday), LA County is going to determine the fate of Measure J.

Here’s how the district broke down.

Here are the cities where Measure J broke 55%:

City Yes No
Stanton 2247 65.88% 1164 34.12%
Orange 13 65.00% 7 35.00%
Anaheim 19593 60.48% 12802 39.52%
Buena Park 6918 59.03% 4801 40.97%
Garden Grove 2761 58.60% 1951 41.40%
Los Alamitos 1342 57.16% 1006 42.84%
Seal Beach 1262 55.72% 1003 44.28%
La Habra 4493 55.29% 3633 44.71%

Here are the cities and unincorporated areas where Measure J failed to break 55% (I’d note Yorba Linda outright voted against Measure J, with 55.52% against the Measure, unlike in the other areas where Measure J fell short of the 55% supermajority but still broke 50%, though Rossmoor is virtually dead even):

City/Area Yes No
Unincorporated OC (Excluding Rossmoor) 1580 54.67% 1310 45.33%
Fullerton 14059 54.60% 11692 45.40%
Placentia 5549 54.35% 4660 45.65%
La Palma 1789 53.50% 1555 46.50%
Cypress 5615 52.59% 5061 47.41%
Brea 4992 52.59% 4500 47.41%
Los Angeles County 1790 51.44% 1690 48.56%
Rossmoor 1744 50.49% 1710 49.51%
Yorba Linda 8103 44.48% 10113 55.52%

Posted in North Orange County Community College District | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Less than 0.5%: OC’s Seven Closest Races

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 7, 2014

While most candidates have figured out whether they’ve won or lost, there’s a handful who are still waiting for provisionals and late absentees to see whether they’ve won or lost.

Orange County’s three biggest City Council races are all ending in nailbiters.

In Anaheim, School Board Member James D. Vanderbilt leads incumbent Gail Eastman by 705 votes (0.5%).  Vanderbilt was backed by Mayor Tom Tait while Eastman was part of the anti-Tait majority.  Should Vanderbilt hang on to his lead, the Council 4-1 supermajority will shrink to a 3-2 majority.

CITY OF ANAHEIM Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 147 of 147
Vote Count Percentage
* KRIS MURRAY 13,231 21.2%
JAMES D. VANDERBILT 12,591 20.2%
* GAIL EASTMAN 12,286 19.7%
JOSE F. MORENO (1) 8,460 13.6%
JERRY O’KEEFE 5,160 8.3%
JOSE MORENO (2) 2,131 3.4%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any


In Costa Mesa, incumbent Jim Righeimer is clinging to a 112-vote lead (0.4%) over Jay Humphrey.  Righeimer is the leader of the 3-2 conservative majority.  Democrat Katrina Foley replaces termed out Councilwoman Wendy Leece as a member of the Council minority with Councilwoman Sandy Genis.  If Humphrey overtakes Righeimer, the Council majority will switch from the conservatives to the liberals.

CITY OF COSTA MESA Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 70 of 70
Vote Count Percentage
KATRINA FOLEY 7,154 26.3%
* JIM RIGHEIMER 5,851 21.5%
JAY HUMPHREY 5,739 21.1%
LEE RAMOS 4,042 14.9%
AL MELONE 1,156 4.3%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any


In Irvine, what is clear is that the Republicans have maintained their majority, the Council’s longtime Democrat power-broker Larry Agran is gone, and women comprise the majority of the Irvine City Council (Republican Christina Shea, Republican Lynn Schott, and Democrat Beth Krom).  The question now is whether there will be a 3-2 Republican majority or 4-1 Republican supermajority.  This all hinges on whether Republican Councilman Jeff Lalloway can hang on to his 256-vote (0.4%) lead over Democrat Melissa Fox (even Lynn Schott only has a 309-vote lead of 0.5% over Fox).

CITY OF IRVINE Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 109 of 109
Vote Count Percentage
LYNN SCHOTT 12,964 23.0%
* JEFFREY LALLOWAY 12,911 22.9%
MELISSA FOX 12,655 22.5%
* LARRY AGRAN 11,022 19.6%
EVAN CHEMERS 6,792 12.1%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any


In Dana Point, Joe Muller leads Jody Payne by just 39 votes (0.2%).  There are no incumbents because Councilman Bill Brough was elected to the Assembly, Councilwoman Lisa Bartlett was elected to the Board of Supervisors, and Councilman Steve Weinberg retired due to term limits.

CITY OF DANA POINT Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 30 of 30
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN TOMLINSON 2,747 13.4%
JOE MULLER 2,570 12.6%
JODY PAYNE 2,531 12.4%
ALAN WICKSTROM 2,524 12.3%
NANCY JENKINS 2,315 11.3%
HAROLD R. KAUFMAN 2,056 10.1%
ROY “RYAN” DIVEL IV 1,649 8.1%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any


In Laguna Woods, Rae C. Tso wields a narrow 23-vote (0.2%) lead over Carol A. Moore.

CITY OF LAGUNA WOODS Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 16 of 16
Vote Count Percentage
* BERT HACK 3,197 25.4%
RAE C. TSO 2,770 22.0%
CAROL A. MOORE 2,747 21.8%
AL RODDAN 1,361 10.8%
MARK L. MONIN 1,284 10.2%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any


In the Santa Ana Unified School District, poor Valerie Amezcua is in another nailbiter.  She was just 536 votes (0.7%) short of winning a seat in 2012.  In 2014, Amezcua is clinging to a 141-vote (0.5%) lead.  I’m sure she prefers the 2014 result over the 2012 result, but clearly, the week after the election is becoming an extra stressful family tradition in the Amezcua household.  (On a sidenote, MIke Dalati, who came in fourth for Auditor-Controller in June, came in 8th out of 8 in his race for Santa Ana Unified School District.  His fiancee is Karina Onofre, the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat who lost a Santa Ana City Council race as a Republican and the 74th Assembly District, switching parties after she had taken out papers to run for the Assembly as a Republican but filing the Assembly candidacy paperwork as a Democrat.)

Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 92 of 92
Vote Count Percentage
* JOHN PALACIO 7,193 25.5%
RIGO RODRIGUEZ 3,470 12.3%
MIKE DALATI 2,121 7.5%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any


In the Fountain Valley School District, Jim Cunneen leads Gary Stine by 107 votes (0.4%).  Assuming his lead holds, Cunneen seems to be a consistent third-place finisher in FVSD, having come in third in 2012, but unfortunately for him, only two seats were up then.  He is breathing a sigh of relief that there are three seats up this time.

Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 31 of 31
Vote Count Percentage
* SANDRA CRANDALL 7,801 31.4%
LISA SCHULTZ 6,478 26.1%
JIM CUNNEEN 5,340 21.5%
GARY STINE 5,233 21.1%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any


Sidenotes (Five races with small, but not quite as close, leads)

In close, but probably done, are races where the lead is more than 0.5% but does not exceed 1.0%.

In Lake Forest, it’s clear that incumbents David Bass and Kathryn McCullough have been defeated.  Drew Hamilton leads Thomas Cagley by 303 votes (0.9%).  Hamilton had been Councilman Dwight Robinson’s first choice to fill the vacancy left by Councilman Peter Herzog’s resignation.  Bass had been Voigts’s first choice.  Jim Gardner who is second place and has won a seat on the Council was Councilman Adam Nick’s first choice.  On Tuesday, Nick was defeated in his legal carpetbagging bid for the 46th Congressional District, a place that does not include Lake Forest.

CITY OF LAKE FOREST Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 54 of 54

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

Vote Count Percentage
* SCOTT VOIGTS 5,397 16.0%
JIM GARDNER 5,023 14.9%
THOMAS CAGLEY 4,534 13.5%
* DAVID A. BASS 4,320 12.8%
LIZ MILLER 3,913 11.6%
MIKE HEALEY 2,063 6.1%


In a battle of two former Centralia Board Members trying to get back on the Board, Art Montez leads Kevin Sequeira by 98 votes (0.7%).  Shockingly, sitting incumbent Irv Trinkle came in dead last.

Connor Traut, the second coming of Jordan Brandman in every way, came in first.  La Palma Councilman Henry Charoen, who bowed out of the 65th Assembly District race for Young Kim, came in second.

Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 36 of 36
Vote Count Percentage
CONNOR TRAUT 4,065 25.4%
HENRY CHAROEN 3,335 20.8%
ART MONTEZ 3,129 19.6%
KEVIN SEQUEIRA 3,031 18.9%
* IRV TRINKLE 2,440 15.3%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any


In the La Habra City School District, Cynthia Aguirre leads Kevin M. Jacobson by 122 votes (1.0%) in a race where voters had to replace 3 sitting incumbents when no incumbent sought re-election.

Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 31 of 31
Vote Count Percentage
IDA MACMURRAY 2,817 22.1%
KEVIN M. JACOBSON 2,551 20.0%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any


In the Ocean View School District, Joseph A. Gaglione leads incumbent Tracy Pellman by 261 votes (0.6%).  In OVSD, the teacher’s union openly backed Gaglione and Jack C. Souders.  Incumbent Republicans Pellman and John Briscoe accused each other of being the union’s secret third candidate.

Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 53 of 53
Vote Count Percentage
JACK C. SOUDERS 8,867 22.2%
* JOHN BRISCOE 7,528 18.8%
JOSEPH A. GAGLIONE 6,926 17.3%
* TRACY PELLMAN 6,665 16.7%
NORM WESTWELL 5,482 13.7%
* JOHN R. ORTIZ 4,495 11.2%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any


Finally in the East Orange County Water District, incumbent Director Sy Everett has a 190-vote (0.8%) lead over former Director Douglas M. Chapman in the latter’s comeback bid.  OC Political readers may remember Chapman for his effort to run for two offices simultaneously, by seeking re-election to the East Orange County Water District while also challenging incumbent Denis Bilodeau for the Orange County Water District, which left him with neither office when his dual office-seeking drew former Tustin Mayor Doug Davert into the East Orange County Water District race.  Bilodeau won re-election and Davert unseated Chapman.

Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 56 of 56
Vote Count Percentage
* RICHARD B. BELL 6,518 28.0%
* JOHN T. DULEBOHN 5,718 24.6%
* SEYMOUR “SY” EVERETT 5,610 24.1%
DOUGLAS M. CHAPMAN 5,420 23.3%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any


Posted in Anaheim, Centralia School District, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, East Orange County Water District, Fountain Valley School District, Irvine, La Habra City School District, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Ocean View School District, Santa Ana Unified School District | 1 Comment »

OC’s Top 10 Election Stories

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 5, 2014

Last night was definitely a big night in OC politics.  Here are the top 10 stories:

#1. “Year of the Asian Woman” for OC Republicans - Republican Asian women dominated the electoral landscape last night.  I can demonstrate that with one simple photostrip of winners:

Year of the Asian Woman - 2014

The women in that photostrip are:

  • State Senator-Elect Janet Nguyen
  • State Assemblywoman-Elect Young Kim
  • State Assemblywoman-Elect Ling-Ling Chang
  • OC Supervisor-Elect Michelle Steel
  • OC Supervisor-Elect Lisa Bartlett
  • Yorba Linda Councilwoman-Elect Peggy Huang
  • Cypress School Board Member-Elect Sandra Lee
  • OC Water District Director-Elect Dina Nguyen

These candidates not only won their elections, but seven of the eight won in commanding fashion:

  • Janet Nguyen won 60% of the vote against former Assemblyman Jose Solorio in the most competitive Senate seat in the state.
  • Young Kim defeated incumbent Sharon Quirk-Silva 56%-44% in one of the most competitive Assembly seats in the state.
  • Ling-Ling Chang won 64% of the vote after coming through a grueling primary.
  • Michelle Steel won 62% of the vote in a Supervisorial runoff against Assemblyman Allan Mansoor.
  • Lisa Bartlett won 55% of the vote in a Supervisorial runoff against Laguna Niguel Councilman Robert Ming.
  • Peggy Huang came in first in a six-person field, even coming in ahead of her re-elected incumbent running mate, Tom Lindsey.
  • Sandra Lee came in first in a four-person field, far outpacing three other candidates, who consisted of two incumbents and a former Mayor.
  • Dina Nguyen was the only one with a close race, winning by 45.8%-42.1% in a three-way race for Orange County Water District.

The only Republican Asian woman who lost in Orange County last night was Westminster School Board candidate Bao Anh “Samantha” Nguyen.  (Garden Grove City Council candidate Ruhina Khan is a Democrat.  Laguna Woods City Council candidate Rae Tso and Fullerton Joint Union High School Board candidate Ho Jeong Lim are both NPP.  Republican Cypress School Board Member-Elect Lydia Sondhi is not Asian; Sondhi is her married name.)

#1A. Janet Nguyen and Young Kim Capture OC Swing Seats to Break Democratic Supermajorities – Of the Republican Asian women who won last night, clearly Janet Nguyen and Young Kim’s victories were the biggest stories, as they each struck a blow to the supermajorities held by Democrats in the Senate and in the Assembly.

Janet Nguyen’s 60%-40% victory was so sweeping that she won 8 of the 10 cities in SD-34, losing only Anaheim and Santa Ana (she even won Long Beach).

Young Kim’s 56%-44% victory was so sweeping that she won 5 of the 6 cities in AD-65, losing only Stanton.  Kim is the first Republican challenger to unseat an incumbent Democrat in a legislative race in 20 years.

#1B. Michelle Steel and Lisa Bartlett to Join Board of Supervisors - Board of Equalization Member Michelle Steel was widely expected to win the 2nd District Supervisor’s race after crushing Assemblyman Allan Mansoor by 25% in June and almost avoiding a run-off.  She ended up beating Mansoor by 24% in the November run-off yesterday.  Steel’s landslide victory was so strong that she carried every city in the district, including Costa Mesa, where Mansoor had served on City Council and as Mayor; she also won Mansoor’s 74th Assembly District.

Dana Point Mayor Lisa Bartlett was in the toss-up in the 5th District Supervisor’s race after coming in just 2% behind Laguna Niguel Councilman Robert Ming in June.  She ended up beating Ming by 10% in the November run-off yesterday.  Bartlett’s victory was so sweeping that she won every city in the district, except Lyndon Johnson Laguna Niguel (I have no idea why I typed Lyndon Johnson; it was clearly a long election night).

This marks the second time two women will be serving on the Board of Supervisors concurrently (the first time is actually the present day wherein Supervisors Janet Nguyen and Pat Bates are serving concurrently).  This is the first time two Asian Americans will serve concurrently on the Board of Supervisors.

#2 AD-74: Matt Harper Defeats Keith Curry, Even Winning Newport Beach - With independent expenditures helping Huntington Beach Mayor Matt Harper overcome Newport Beach Councilman Keith Curry’s massive fundraising advantage, Harper won by 18% yesterday after coming in 3% behind Curry in June.  Harper’s victory was so sweeping that he won 5 of the 6 cities in AD-74, losing only Laguna Woods. To add insult to injury for Curry, Harper even won 55% of the vote in Newport Beach.

#3 Major Changes in Anaheim – Voters in the County’s biggest city cast their ballots on a number of meaty issues.  First, 68% of Anaheim voters approved switching from the current at-large Council election system to a vote-by-district system.  53% of Anaheim voters approved increasing the size of the Council from 5 to 7 (Mayor and 6 Council members).

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait was easily re-elected, with 54.1% of the vote in a four-way race, outpacing the nearest candidate. Tait ally James Vanderbilt appears to have defeated Anaheim Councilwoman Gail Eastman, thereby shrinking the 4-1 majority against Tait to a 3-2 majority instead.

#4 Irvine Forms Republican Supermajority, Ousting Larry Agran – In a sweeping victory, Republicans won every seat on yesterday’s ballot for Irvine City Council.  Mayor Steven Choi was re-elected.  Council candidate Lynn Schott came in first, and Councilman Jeff Lalloway came in second place to win re-election.  Democrat Larry Agran, who lost control of the Council majority in 2012, found himself in fourth place, falling behind even his own ally Melissa Fox, who fell 0.4% short of winning a Council seat.  Republicans now wield a 4-1 supermajority in Irvine.

#5 Republicans Take Huntington Beach – In another sweeping victory, Republicans swept all four seats available on the Huntington Beach City Council, unseating incumbent Democrats Joe Shaw and Connie Boardman.  (The other two seats are held by termed-out Republican Joe Carchio and Assemblyman-Elect Matt Harper.)  This sweep replaces the liberal majority with a conservative majority on the Huntington Beach City Council.

In the Huntington Beach City Attorney’s race, conservative Republican Michael Gates unseated Republican incumbent Jennifer McGrath.

#6 Yorba Linda Supermajority Against YLRRR – In yet another sweeping victory, the slate of Peggy Huang and Tom Lindsey won both seats on the ballot in Yorba Linda.  For the first time since it began fielding candidates in 2006, Yorba Linda Residents for Responsible Representation failed to win any Council seats in an election.  YLRRR held a Council majority from 2008-2012 and even held a supermajority from 2010-2012.  YLRRR has a pesky habit of turning on the people they formerly supported (no fewer than three Councilmembers backed by YLRRR over the past eight years found themselves targeted for defeat by YLRRR).

With YLRRR-backed Councilmen Mark Schwing and John Anderson, YLRRR found themselves one seat short of a majority this year.  They launched an ambitious recall bid to try to gain a Council supermajority.  With the October recall defeated by the voters, the November re-election of Tom Lindsey, and the November election of Peggy Huang (see story 1 above) to replace the retiring John Anderson, YLRRR’s ambitious bid for a 4-1 supermajority in 2014 has ended with them on the losing end of a 4-1 supermajority, with only Schwing in office.  This could well spell the beginning of the end for YLRRR.

#7 Newport Beach Clean Sweep – In one more sweeping victory (anyone notice a recurring theme in these stories?), the slate of Duffy Duffield (of Duffy Boat fame), Kevin Muldoon, and Scott Peotter captured the three contested Newport Beach City Council seats (Diane Dixon won the uncontested District 1 seat).  In the District 3 seat, Duffield even managed to unseat Mayor Rush Hill by a stunning 2-1 margin.  Duffield, Muldoon, and Peotter pledged to bring fiscal responsibility to Newport Beach City government, opposing the dock tax and expensive new City Hall.

#8 Rancho Santa Margarita Eliminates Council Minority – In possibly the County’s most sweeping victory, the two-man Rancho Santa Margarita Council minority has been eliminated.  Majority Councilmembers Tony Beall and Carol Gamble were not on the ballot this year.  Three seats were on the ballot this year.  Majority Councilmember Brad McGirr was re-elected.  Candidates Jerry Holloway (himself a former Councilmember) and Mike Vaughn were elected to replace minority Councilmembers Steve Baric and Jesse Petrilla.  Baric was simply retiring and was not seeking a second term.  Petrilla (who had run unsuccessfully for the Assembly in June, coming in second among Republicans to Beall-backed Bill Brough) was running for re-election but ended up 3.7% behind third-place Vaughn who captured the last Council seat.  Additionally, voters rejected Measure Z, an initiative to change the zoning classification of Rancho Santa Margarita’s former Nissan site, by a margin of 54%-46%.  The Council minority had supported Measure Z while the Council majority opposed it.  The newly elected candidates both opposed Measure Z.  As with Anaheim, Newport Beach, and Yorba Linda, the majority and minority members on this year’s ballot are all Republicans.

#9 Unions Strengthen Grip on Capistrano Unified School District and Ocean View School District – In a rare liberal sweeping victory in Orange County, the teachers’ union won all three seats on the ballot in the Capistrano Unified School District, growing their 5-2 supermajority into a 6-1 supermajority, leaving Jim Reardon as the sole trustee to oppose the teachers’ union.  Union-backed Martha McNicholas defeated OC Political blogger Craig Alexander for the Trustee Area 4 seat being vacated by the retiring Anna Bryson.  Union-backed incumbent Lynn Hatton beat back a challenge by Julie Collier in Trustee Area 7.  Most surprisingly, in Trustee Area 6, union-backed Gila Jones unseated incumbent Ellen Addonizio, and Jones won by a larger margin than McNicholas or Hatton did.  (Jones was the Democrat who ran against Republican State Senator Mark Wyland in 2010.)

In the Ocean View School District, union-backed Jack Souders and Joseph Gaglione won two of the three seats up for election this year, unseating incumbents Tracy Pellman and John Ortiz.  While Souders and Gaglione were openly backed by the union, Pellman and incumbent John Briscoe (who won the other seat up for election) each accused the other of being secretly backed by the union.

#10 Claude Parrish Unseats Assessor Webster Guillory – In only the second time in the last half-century, a sitting Countywide elected official has been defeated for re-election.  With controversies over his nomination signature collection and three felony charges from the District Attorney related to the nomination signature collection, incumbent Webster Guillory was unable to survive a challenge from former Board of Equalization Member Claude Parrish.  Guillory had defeated Parrish 53%-47% in 2010.  In this 2014 rematch, Parrish defeated Guillory by the same 53%-47% margin.  (The last time a Countywide elected official lost a re-election bid was when John Dean unseated six-term incumbent County Superintendent of Schools Robert Peterson in 1990.  No one else has lost since at least the mid-1960s.)  With Republican Parrish replacing NPP Guillory as Assessor and Republican Eric Woolery replacing Democrat Jan Grimes as Auditor-Controller, Republicans will hold every Countywide office for the first time in recent memory.

Honorable Mention: Special Elections on the Way – With the elections of Supervisor Janet Nguyen to the State Senate and State Senator Mimi Walters to Congress, there will now be a flurry of special elections.  Early in 2015, special elections will need to be held to fill the remaining two years on Nguyen’s Supervisorial term and Walters’s Senate term.  In the likely event that an Assemblymember wins the race to replace Walters, another special election will be triggered in mid-2015 to fill the Assembly seat.

Honorable Mention: City Treasurers and Board of Equalization - Two Secret Paths to Power – It’s quite interesting what useful platforms City Treasurer’s seats and Board of Equalization seats can be for gaining other elected offices:

  • November 2010: Huntington Beach City Treasurer Shari Freidenrich elected Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector, defeating Deputy Treasurer
  • June 2014: Orange City Treasurer Eric Woolery elected Orange County Auditor-Controller, defeating Deputy Auditor-Controller
  • November 2014
    • Board of Equalization Member Michelle Steel elected an Orange County Supervisor, defeating Assemblyman
    • Former Board of Equalization Member Claude Parrish elected Orange County Assessor, defeating incumbent
    • Brea City Treasurer Glenn Parker elected a Brea City Councilman, defeating incumbent
    • Placentia City Treasurer Craig Green elected a Placentia City Councilman, defeating incumbent

On a related note, State Controller-Elect Betty Yee is the second consecutive Board of Equalization Member to be elected State Controller. Eight years ago, Board of Equalization Member John Chiang was elected State Controller, and last night, he has been elected State Treasurer.

Honorable Mention: Mimi Walters Elected to Congress – This doesn’t merit reaching the top 10 because it was a foregone conclusion that Senator Mimi Walters would crush Democrat Drew Leavens in the 45th Congressional District.  The real contest was in June when Walters managed to be the top Republican vote-getter and ensured a Democrat made the top two.  The only reason this gets an honorable mention is because of how rare it is to have a new Member of Congress.

Posted in 2nd Supervisorial District, 34th Senate District, 45th Congressional District, 55th Assembly District, 5th Supervisorial District, 65th Assembly District, 74th Assembly District, Board of Equalization, Capistrano Unified School District, Cypress School District, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Newport Beach, Ocean View School District, Orange County, Orange County Assessor, Orange County Water District, Rancho Santa Margarita, Yorba Linda | 4 Comments »

What Little We Know About the Justices on the Ballot

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 4, 2014

GavelWell, if you’re like me, you already figured out who you’re going to vote for in most races on the ballot and which ballot measures you’re voting for and against quite some time ago.  However, you’re probably thoroughly confused about the justices on the ballot since they don’t campaign, and they don’t have ballot statements.  We’re literally staring at names on a ballot.

I realize the justices are usually retained by 70%+, but I still prefer to try to be informed with my vote, rather than blindly picking.  I also have to keep in mind, that if a “No” vote prevails for any justice, Governor Jerry Brown picks the replacement.

In my 11th hour research, I tried to learn more about the justices, so I figured since I had the info, I might as well share with our readers Election Morning:

Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court

  • Goodwin Liu
    Official Biography
    Law School Biography
    Wikipedia Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Supreme Court Justice Since 2011, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    U.S. Senate Republicans filibustered his nomination to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by President Barack Obama (D)
    Professor of Law at UC Berkeley, 2003-2011
    Private Practice, O’Melveny & Meyers, 2001-2003
    Law Clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2000-2001
    Special Assistant to the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education, 1999-2000
    Law Clerk for U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Tatel, 1998-1999
    Juris Doctor, Yale University
    Master’s in Philosophy and Physiology, Oxford University
    Bachelor’s in Biology, Stanford University
    Registered Democrat
  • Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar
    Law School Biography
    Wikipedia Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Supreme Court Justice Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D), Will Take Office in 2015 if Approved by Voters
    Professor of Law at Stanford since 2001
    Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy, 2009-2010
    Co-Chair, Immigration Policy Working Group for Obama-Biden Transition Team, 2008-2009
    Law Clerk for U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Schroeder, 2000-2001
    Senior Advisor to the U.S. Undersecretary of the Treasury, 1997-1999
    Bachelor’s in Government and Political Psychology, Harvard University
    Master’s in Political Science, Stanford University
    Juris Doctor, Yale University
    Ph.D. in Political Science, Stanford University
    Registered Democrat
  • Kathryn Mickle Werdegar
    Official Biography
    Wikipedia Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Supreme Court Justice Since 1994, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    California First Circuit Court of Appeal Justice, 1988-1994, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco
    Senior Staff Attorney, California Courts of Appeal and California Supreme Court
    Director of Criminal Law Division for Continuing Education at the California State Bar
    United States Department of Justice
    Bachelor’s, University of California, Berkeley
    Juris Doctor, George Washington University (Began Law Work at UC Berkeley)
    Registered Republican

There’s a lot less info out there about the appellate justices than the Supreme Court justices.

Associate Justices of the California 4th District Court of Appeal, Division 1

  • Terry B. O’Rourke
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 1998, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    San Diego County Superior Court Judge, 1987-1998, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge, 1984-1987, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Private Practice, 1973-1984
    Bachelor’s, Claremont McKenna College
    Juris Doctor, Harvard University
    Registered Republican
  • Gilbert Nares
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Justice Since 1988, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    San Diego County Superior Court Judge, 1978-1998, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    San Diego County Municipal Court Judge, 1976-1978, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    Private Practice, Daubney, Banche, Patterson & Nares, 1968-1976
    Bachelor’s in Economics and Philosophy, University of San Diego
    Juris Doctor, University of San Diego
    Registered Republican
  • Alex C. McDonald
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 1995, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    Private Practice, 1963-1995
    Law Clerk for California Supreme Court Justice Raymond Peters
    Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering, Stanford University
    Bachelor of Laws, University of California, Berkeley
    Master of Laws, University of Virginia
    Registered Republican
  • James A. McIntyre
    Official Biography
    Wikipedia Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Justice Since 1996, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    San Diego County Superior Court Judge, 1993-1996, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    Private Practice, McInnis, Fitzgerald, Rees, Sharkey & McIntyre, 1963-1993
    Bachelor’s in Philosophy, Brown University
    Bachelor of Laws, Stanford University
    Registered Republican

Associate Justice of the California 4th District Court of Appeal, Division 2

  • Thomas E. Hollenhorst
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 1988, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Riverside County Superior Court Judge, 1981-1988, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    Riverside County Municipal Court Judge, 1981-1981, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, 1972-1981
    Bachelor’s, San Jose State University
    Juris Doctor, University of California, Hastings
    Master of Laws, University of Virginia
    Registered Democrat

Presiding Justice of the California 4th District Court of Appeal, Division 3

  • Kathleen E. O’Leary
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Since 2012, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice, 2000-2012, Appointed by Governor Gray Davis (D)
    Orange County Superior Court Judge, 1986-2000, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Orange County Municipal Court Judge, 1981-1986, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    Private Practice, 1975-1981
    Bachelor’s, Loyola Marymount University
    Juris Doctor, Southwestern University
    Registered Democrat

Associate Justices of the California 4th District Court of Appeal, Division 3

  • William F. Rylaarsdam
    Official Biography
    Wikipedia Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 1995, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Acting Presiding Justice, 2011-2012, Appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye
    Orange County Superior Court Judge, 1986-1995, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge, 1985-1986, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Private Practice, 1964-1985
    Bachelor’s, University of California, Berkeley
    Juris Doctor, Loyola Law School
    Master of Laws, University of Virginia
    Registered Republican
  • Richard M. Aronson
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 2001, Appointed by Governor Gray Davis (D)
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Pro Tempore, 2000-2001
    Orange County Superior Court Judge, 1996-2000, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    Superior Court Commissioner, 1989-1996
    Senior Staff Attorney, California Courts of Appeal, 1988-1989
    Supervisor of Writs and Appeals, Orange County Public Defender’s Office, 1980-1988
    Deputy District Attorney, San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, 1976-1979
    Private Practice, 1964-1985
    Bachelor’s, University of San Diego
    Juris Doctor, University of San Diego
    Master of Laws, University of Virginia
    Registered Republican
  • David A. Thompson
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 2012, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    Orange County Superior Court Judge, 1998-2012, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    Private Practice, Morrison and Foerster, 1988-1997
    Private Practice, Rutan and Tucker, 1984-1988
    Staff Attorney, California Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three, 1983
    Superior Court Commissioner, 1989-1996
    Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Georgetown University
    Juris Doctor, University of California, Los Angeles
    Registered Republican
  • Richard D. Fybel
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 2002, Appointed by Governor Gray Davis (D)
    Orange County Superior Court Judge, 2000-2002, Appointed by Governor Gray Davis (D)
    Private Practice, Morrison and Foerster, 1981-2000
    Private Practice, Nossaman, Guthner, Knox & Elliot, 1971-1981
    Bachelor’s in Business Administration, University of California, Los Angeles
    Juris Doctor, University of California, Los Angeles
    Registered Democrat

Posted in California | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »


Posted by Craig P. Alexander on November 3, 2014

My friend Kurt English requested that I post his recommendation and reasons for those recommendations for the 74th Assembly District race between Newport Beach City Councilman Keith Curry and Huntington Beach Mayor Matthew Harper. Kurt’s article is printed below:

I have researched the candidates and I recommend MATTHEW HARPER for California State Assembly.

I have known both Keith Curry and Matthew Harper for a number of years. But my recommendation is based on their track records and stands on issues, not on personalities.


Keith Curry is a member and a board member of Lincoln Club, a Republican donor group. The Lincoln Club requires candidates to sign a pledge not to take money from unions prior to getting their endorsement. Curry signed that pledge. Before the June 2014 primary, the Lincoln Club endorsed Curry.

Later I was shocked to hear that the Lincoln Club rescinded Curry’s endorsement for violating his pledge not to take union money. As a board member, Curry knew the rules.

Curry’s willingness to sign a pledge to get an endorsement and then ignore his commitment reveals a troubling integrity issue. This is especially disappointing for someone who teaches at a Christian college.

Curry’s willingness to break his pledge is another worrisome indication that Curry would vote for big compensation and pensions for government workers. Under Curry’s watch as a council member, Newport Beach had two lifeguards making over $200,000 a year.


I have written extensively in the Newport Beach Independent about the gross overspending on the Newport Beach City Hall totaling $297 million of costs, including interest. Keith Curry voted for that spending binge.


Curry supported converting lanes in the over-crowded 405 freeway into toll lanes, while Harper wants to keep all 405 lanes free.


Fire rings have been part of Orange County’s beach life style for decades. Curry voted to restrict the use of Newport Beach’s iconic beach fire rings. Harper opposes any bans on beach fire rings.


Keith Curry supported a tax on every mile we drive our cars. Harper opposes that tax.


Keith Curry voted for the infamous Newport Beach dock tax as a council member.


Newport’s dock tax violates Proposition 13’s limitation on property taxes. Curry’s support of the dock tax undermines his campaign promises to preserve Proposition 13. I believe Harper would be more reliable in defending Proposition 13.


Keith Curry supports too many new taxes and has voted to spend irresponsibly on the council. Curry has been involved in too many mismanaged problems like the rescinded endorsement and the overpriced city hall,.

Matt Harper’s record shows more support for lower taxes, less government spending and regulation, and more personal freedom than does Keith Curry’s record. Matt Harper is the better choice for Assembly Election Day November 4, next Tuesday.





http://www.dailypilot.com/opinion/tn-dpt-me-0726-commentary-20140725,0,4482849.story http://www.ocregister.com/articles/curry-638840-beach-harper.html



Posted in 74th Assembly District | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »


Posted by Craig P. Alexander on November 3, 2014

My good friend Kurt English asked me to publish his recommendations (and reasons for them) on the Newport Beach City Council race. Kurt’s article about this is printed below without any editing on my part. It is my hope that Newport Beach residents will find Kurt’s information helpful in making their voting determinations:

I have researched the candidates and here are my recommendations for Newport Beach City Council:




Mayor Rush Hill was one of the primary drivers of the overpriced city hall. This blunder cost Newport Beach taxpayers about $297 million. Those costs are over $3,000 per man, woman and child in Newport Beach.

At a recent Orange County Republican Party Central Committee meeting, Hill was practically begging the members for their endorsement claiming to be a strong (albeit big-spending) Republican. Hill’s opponent Duffy was endorsed overwhelmingly with the other reform candidates. At a recent candidate forum, Hill claimed to be “nonpartisan” while accusing the candidates that I and the Orange County Republican Party have endorsed of being partisan. That’s two-faced.

In December 2012, I attended the dock tax city council meeting. Many speakers criticized the excessive spending on the new city hall and the dock tax.

Apparently, Hill took it personally. He responded angrily by swearing at us, using the S***-word and insulted citizens who disagreed with him in immature, mindless and petty ways.

I was embarrassed for Hill that night. In my opinion, Hill is unfit for any leadership position.

Marshall “Duffy” Duffield is an American entrepreneur. He founded and grew Duffy Electric Boat Company, located in Newport Beach, based on his clever invention. Those of us who enjoy cruising Newport Harbor in Duffy boats appreciate and benefit from his life’s work.

Duffy would be a big civility upgrade over Mayor Rush Hill. Duffy wants to mitigate Rush Hill’s debt anchor, saying, “I don’t like excessive debt in my business or my city government.”


Kevin Muldoon is a lawyer and served as a prosecutor in the DA’s office. But Muldoon has moved into a business role.

Muldoon has been a Republican activist and would be influential as a council member to the benefit of Newport Beach with state legislators, county officials and business leaders.

In spite of using the title “Businessman” as part of his ballot designation, it appears Tim Brown’s primary income comes from being a junior college reading teacher in Riverside. I benefited greatly from taking junior college classes in 11th and 12th grade. It was a helpful transition on the way to college. Brown should embrace his long time profession.

I have found Brown to be temperamental. Brown could be another volatile Rush Hill. I’m also concerned that as a long time government employee Brown would continue the big spending past of Newport Beach, rather than launch its fiscally responsible future. Muldoon would be more diplomatic than Brown or Hill.

I predict Roy Englebrecht will finish last of the three candidates.



Scott Peotter is one of the reform candidates and Mike Toerge is the status quo candidate in this race. Although both candidates have served on Newport Beach’s Planning Commission, only Scott Peotter aggressively supports property rights and fiscal responsibility.

Toerge has encouraged property owners appearing before him on the planning commission to make expensive and time consuming changes to their projects, and then voted against the projects after they made the changes he suggested. I have asked Toerge for information on various issues, but he’s hiding from me. Toerge’s unwillingness to be forthcoming before the election indicates he won’t be transparent if elected.

Peotter supports reducing city debt like Duffy and Muldoon. Potter wants to explore ways to reduce the city’s irresponsible debt, including selling the old city hall property, the new city hall’s bad art graveyard and bunny-henge.


Diane Dixon is running unopposed. Dixon has a long background in corporate public relations. She is the least likely candidate to unleash the S***-word at a city council meeting (unlike Mayor Rush Hill) and supports more responsible fiscal policies.

Posted in Newport Beach, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


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