Shawn Steel, whose wife Michelle Steel is running for Orange County Board of Supervisors, District 2, wrote an op-ed titled “Not your grandaddy’s California GOP” in the OC Register back in September, which you can find here. Michelle Steel’s opponent for Supervisor, Assemblyman Allan Mansoor, responded to Shawn’s op-ed, which I think is enlightening and worth reading. While Shawn Steel was perfectly within his rights to pen the op-ed which just so happened to feature his wife, in my view it appeared all too opportunistic for someone who is a current committeeman for the Republican National Committee. Below is the text of Mansoor’s response as follows:
“Shawn Steel (former chairman of the state Republican party, current National Republican Committeeman, and husband of Michelle Steel), recently wrote a commentary about the California Republican party titled: Not your granddaddy’s California GOP.
In it he decried that we have “watched our voter registration numbers dwindle with the state’s changing demographics,” implying that it is because of the demographic shift that we have declining numbers. That may be part of the problem but it is certainly not the majority of the problem. I hear from people of all backgrounds regarding various issues in our county that they want leadership based on the issues, not on race or how someone looks.
A major reason we are losing people is because of the poor words that are chosen by some in our party. Shawn Steel for example spoke at a recent Tea Party meeting in support of four Asian candidates, one of whom is running against Democrat Jose Solorio. When talking about Solorio he said “He’s a vegan…what a freak…that’s like fascist, that’s like ISIS.”
This type of rhetoric does not encourage people to become Republicans. It is not because of how we look that people chose a different party. Those words have absolutely nothing to do with the issues we face in Orange County or our country and we don’t need our county to be associated with that.
Including more people from a variety of backgrounds and heritage is certainly a good thing. Both of my parents immigrated to this country and my wife’s mother immigrated here from Viet Nam. But should we be supporting people just because of how they look or should we look at their position on the issues?
People have asked me why I am running for Orange County Supervisor. I tell them because we need someone who is from Orange County, knows Orange County, and will represent them on the issues that are important to them. It is well known in Republican circles that my opponent moved here from Los Angeles to run for this so she can spring board to a congressional seat with Rohrabacher’s backing when he steps down. In short, all the wrong reasons to run.
I have the endorsement of Republicans like John Moorlach and Democrats like Councilwoman Diana Carey because I have stood strong with them on the toll lane issue and I recently had a rehab home reform bill pass with bipartisan support. I co-authored a bill with Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco to allow hemp production in California.
The Steel’s, who still have their home in Rancho Palos Verdes, were strong backers of convicted and disgraced Sheriff Carona even when he was running for re-election. With the Steels so involved in behind the scenes Republican politics, it definitely has an influence in our county. I stood up in front of the Republican Central Committee while Carona was in the audience and voiced support for his opponent. I am not afraid to stand up to corruption or establishment politicians and I keep an open door policy with everyone I represent.
Michelle is being heavily backed by corporate interests who are in strong support of toll lanes on the 405. While she has expressed token passive opposition to the toll lanes for political cover, I have been outspoken in the effort to keep OCTA board members from caving in to Caltrans desire to use our Measure M funds to put in toll lanes. The state cannot put in toll lanes without our cooperation and funding. This is an on-going battle that we can win but it requires taking a stand for accountability to the taxpayer. I am doing that. Don’t count on that from the Steels.
It is issues like these and many others that we should be talking about, not calling people names. If the highly charged partisan rhetoric mentioned above coming from the Republican establishment replaces discussion of the issues, then Orange County will be headed in the wrong direction for the next eight years. We need results based leadership, not political based.
Former party chairs and national committeemen don’t sit idly by, they work behind the scenes. Do we really want Shawn Steel running our county and wielding power from behind the curtain? The hard working people of Orange County deserve better.”
Though Mansoor has a seriously uphill battle to win in this race, I do wish him victory.