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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Government and the Biggest Failures in Life

Posted by Walter Myers III on January 21, 2015

Occupy HomelessWhen I was a kid, I had an aunt who used to admonish me when I spoke without thinking that it is better to be quiet and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. It took me a while to take that to heart, so hopefully these days I have learned the truth of that long ago childhood teaching lesson. A few weeks ago one of my liberal Facebook “friends” posted a graphic created by the Occupy Wall Street movement criticizing the federal government for “millionaire representatives” cutting food stamps while homeless people froze to death on the streets of Washington, D.C. I don’t see the relationship between food stamps and dying on the street homeless, but then again my expectations of the cogency of Occupy movement communications are very low. Nonetheless, I want to address this charge because it is instructive to understand how liberal progressives think and to marvel that a group of people who are so devoid of responsibility have no problem criticizing others for what is their own responsibility.

Last I checked, Washington D.C. had shelters (church-sponsored or otherwise), private charities, a City Council, and of course members of the Occupy movement. But in the graphic, they didn’t call on any of these parties to do anything about helping the homeless in their own community. Obviously, the local community would have been the first line of support to provide shelter and food to the homeless, or at least could have contributed to shelters and private charities that provide these services. Where were these people? Next, the Washington D.C. City Council, which is made up of Democrats who supposedly care the most about “the little guy” could themselves have sponsored shelters for the homeless. It doesn’t appear they cared either that people were dying in the streets. And then we have the Occupy members. What were they doing in Washington, D.C. to help the homeless and the hungry? Well, I think we know what they were doing. Sitting in comfy pajamas in their parents’ basements mining liberal blogs for the latest “outrage” committed by Republicans in the U.S. Congress, instead of expending their energies in actually making a difference.

And this is where I come to the title of this blog about the biggest failures in life. The biggest failures in life (at least in my view) are those who feel they are taking the moral high ground by criticizing others for first, what is their own responsibility that they won’t accept, and second, what is not the responsibility of the party they’re criticizing in the first place. In this case, Occupy does not understand that charity is not the function of the federal government to begin with, yet it has for decades taken money away from the states that could be distributed far more effectively and efficiently at the local level. This practice is rife with bureaucracy and waste, and even worse, when they dole money back out to the states they shouldn’t have taken to begin with, they often use the threat of cutting off federal funds to coerce states into doing their bidding on some political matter. Despite that, if people are dying on the streets in Washington, D.C., it is still the local community and government officials that have utterly failed their own people since it is they who have full visibility into the point of need, unlike a far flung federal government. And that community includes the Occupy members who, instead of looking to themselves along with their community and local government, attempt to pass the blame off on a federal government that has no idea who is homeless or where they are on the streets of D.C.

To speak of this more generally, the responsibility to feed the hungry and provide shelter to the homeless is first the family, then the church or private charities, then local/county government. The state level would be the natural next level, but it is my belief that if charity has to bubble up to the state level, then the local community has failed at the most basic level of society. This view is based on the Catholic principle of subsidiarity that holds nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization that can be done just as well by a smaller and simple organization. So even though I’m particularly critical of the Occupy movement in this post, it also sheds the light on the rest of us who have failed if we expect anyone other than ourselves in the local community to meet the needs of those truly in need. Personally, a good percentage of my charitable contributions go to the Orange County Rescue Mission, which among other free health services provides transitional housing and job training to the homeless, helping them to get back on their feet and become productive, self-sufficient citizens without government welfare programs. So I ask the Occupy movement to stop complaining about what politicians are doing and act at the local level wherever they may live, and get all of their other progressive liberal friends who complain about “income inequality” to accept responsibility and follow suit. As for those of us of a conservative bent, we know better and have no excuse for not volunteering or supporting churches and charities in our own communities monetarily.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Julie Collier: Parents need more school choice

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on January 18, 2015

Last fall when I ran for CUSD’s Board of Trustees, my friend Julie Collier also ran for the Board (in another Trustee area). In getting to know Julie more I discovered a wonderful fellow citizen who is a true champion of education for children and their parents.

The OC Register has published an insightful column by Julie about school choice – how parents can and should be able to help their child leave behind a failing school – failing to give a child the excellent education he / she deserves. I highly recommend Julie’s excellent column to you. It is not behind the Register’s pay wall.

Here is the link: Parents Need More School Choice

Posted in Capistrano Unified School District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CARB’s Mary Nichols Is No ‘Rock Star’ Among CA Bureaucrats – Part ll by Flashreport’s Katy Grimes

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on January 2, 2015

Katy Grimes is one of my favorite bloggers / correspondent.  Partly because Katy pursues an important article with passion and doggedly searches out facts.  She follows the facts to wherever they lead and is not afraid to ask those under her microscope tough questions.  Most of the time she writes about government officials or programs that waste our tax dollars or abuse their power.  In California, Katy has a truly target rich environment!

One of the most powerful bureaucrats in California today is Mary Nichols, California’s Air Resources Board Chairwoman.  The CARB is charged with the implementation of California’s Cap and Trade (also known as Cap and Tax) program to allegedly reduce green house gas emissions under AB32.  As Katy lays out in great detail, Ms. Nichols, a lifelong career bureaucrat, has embraced this role with gusto and we, the citizens of California, are and will be paying the price for that gusto in the years to come.

Did you notice that gas prices just jumped .10 to .20 per gallon in the last few days?  Maybe not because gas prices have been dropping like a rock lately.  But the drop is due to market forces like Saudi Arabia keeping oil production high.  That can change at any moment.  But what was the latest jump in California – a new Cap and Trade tax on gasoline ordered by CARB.  And this is only the beginning.

Therefore it is vital that Californians know and understand the bureaucrats who run programs like this one and I highly recommend you spend a few minutes and read Katy Grimes’ articles (the link is to Part II just published Jan. 2nd – there is a link to Part I there). The link to Katy’s article is CARB’s Mary Nichols. 

I also highly recommend you get a free subscription to Jon Fleischman’s Flashreport at http://www.flashreport.org/.

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Live from OC GOP: Endorsement for 1st Supervisorial District

Posted by Chris Nguyen on December 15, 2014

We’re live from a special meeting of the Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee to consider an endorsement for 1st District Supervisor.

Three new alternates are sworn in.

Chairman Scott Baugh notes Chris Phan’s Orange Juice Blog interview where Phan expressed opposition to the non-union pledge; Baugh notes that he rarely reads Orange Juice Blog but was told about that post. Baugh notes that Lou Correa coauthored the legislation that allowed 3% at 50 pension plans. Baugh warns that Correa will be a foothold for Nick Berardino and OCEA on the Board of Supervisors. Baugh notes many Vietnamese people are Buddhist and do not celebrate Christmas. Baugh recalls in 2007 that two Republican Vietnamese candidates came in the top two although Correa is stronger than Tom Umberg.

A Central Committee member asks Andrew Do about the economy and public safety.

Do says there are too many regulations and points to the examples of various permits and local ordinances. He says AB 109 and Prop 47 has a greater impact on the 1st District than other districts.


Record time: 16 minutes to adjournment

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, Republican Central Committee, Uncategorized | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

Assembly Member Wagner Announces Early Endorsements for State Senate Bid

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on December 9, 2014

This came over the wire from the Don Wagner for Senate campaign yesterday…


Irvine – Assembly Member Donald P. Wagner announced an initial round of endorsements in his State Senate bid from many local and state leaders who have worked with him and with his opponent over the years.

Former Supervisors Pat Bates and Janet Nguyen, his new colleagues in the state legislature, have endorsed Assemblyman Wagner, as has Senate leader Bob Huff and the senator Wagner seeks to replace, Congresswoman-Elect Mimi Walters. Joining them in endorsing Wagner are Senator Joel Anderson from San Diego, Senator Mike Morrell from the Inland Empire, and Senator Jean Fuller from Bakersfield.

Local leaders have also enthusiastically endorsed Assemblyman Wagner’s run for State Senate, including Supervisor-elect Michelle Steel, OC Fire Authority Chairman and Tustin Mayor Al Murray, Orange County Transportation Authority incoming Board Chairman and Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Lalloway, and Board of Equalization Member-elect and former Orange County Assemblywoman Diane Harkey.

In the Assembly, Wagner has the overwhelming support of his colleagues, including Republican Leader Kristin Olsen and former Republican leaders Martin Garrick and Connie Conway. Finally, he is also endorsed by, among others, Assembly Members Brian Jones, Shannon Grove, Beth Gaines, Frank Bigelow, Jim Patterson, and Brian Dahle.

More state and local endorsements will be announced shortly.

If you would like to join the Wagner for Senate campaign or receive regular progress updates, please visit the website at wagner4senate.com or contact the Wagner for Senate campaign office at 714.514.1888.

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On Immigration Reform and Don Wagner’s Run for State Senate 37th District

Posted by Walter Myers III on November 25, 2014

120213 Don WagnerAs expected, Don Wagner announced his run for the 37th District State Senate vacated by Mimi Walters, who will be headed to Congress representing the 45th Congressional District. For the record, I do support Wagner. Wagner is a principled, stand up conservative, and he has always made himself readily available to myself and others who have wanted to learn about what he’s up to in the California State Assembly and discuss issues that concern us here in Irvine and surrounding areas. Certainly, I don’t expect this to be a coronation, and do expect that there will be a quality candidate to run against Wagner, but out of the gate there are already rumblings about a letter he signed along with other California state Republican legislators urging U.S. Congressmen from California to support “comprehensive” federal immigration reform. Personally, I was a bit stung by the letter, as it appears to me to play right into the hands of Democrats.

In the letter, Wagner et al. called for “thoughtful and strong border security, employer sanctions, and opportunity for undocumented residents to earn their full way to citizenship, but only behind those who have applied to become citizens through the current citizenship process.” I do believe this is somewhat reasonable, in theory, with the key exception that undocumented residents earn their full way to citizenship. There should be a price to pay for coming to this country illegally even if grace is applied, and if a bill were to pass with that clause implemented, it would be tantamount to declaring to all future illegal immigrants that if you get here and hang out long enough, you too can expect eventual citizenship. It may take a long time, but if you can avoid deportation, which has become easier and easier, it will have been worth it to go the illegal route instead of going the legal route and waiting your turn. Effectively, it would make legal immigration less attractive for those who felt they simply couldn’t afford to wait, and would be the proverbial slap in the face to those waiting to enter the country legally.

I can’t say I know Wagner’s intentions directly, but from some correspondence with him on immigration in general, I know that Wagner understands how hobbled the Republican Party has been, particularly here in California, by not actively pursuing and passing immigration reform legislation. There is little the Republicans can do here in California as they don’t have the governorship and are a distinct minority in both state houses, but there did appear to be a chance at bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate and House and perhaps Wagner et al. saw this as an opportunity to take illegal immigration off the table that focuses first on border security, then on employer sanctions, and finally on handling the illegal immigrants currently here (and hopefully in that order!). I think a key mistake Wagner makes is actually believing that comprehensive immigration reform is workable. There were supposed to be border protections in the 1986 amnesty bill signed by Reagan, but we all know that didn’t happen and now we have north of 12 million illegal immigrants in this country. So passing a comprehensive bill and expecting that it will be ordered in the manner as stated above, I think, is being highly unrealistic (okay, naive, with Obama, Pelosi, and Reid running things on the Democratic side).

For one, I am tired of huge, thousand page bills, and think we need to get away from “comprehensive” anything. What we need are smaller, simpler bills that can be read and understood by the average American. For an issue as huge as immigration reform, what we need is a broad framework that consists of border security, a functioning guest worker program that makes it foolish to immigrate here illegally in the first place, a way to legalize current illegal immigrants without providing for citizenship, and finally employer enforcement. Of course, this is the Orange County Lincoln Club position that I have been advocating for years. I believe this can be accomplished in a series of small bills that must be executed in a particular sequence that ensures we’re not back in the same situation we’re in now ten years later. My hope is that Wagner will further consider this and address it sooner than later, but I don’t think the letter should necessarily disqualify him in anyone’s mind who is considering reserving their vote for a single (though important) discretion. I wish Wagner well in his run, but I think he could be vulnerable on this issue if another candidate as excellent as him comes forward with a view more in line with the conservative base that sees Wagner as an amnesty supporter.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

End Of Forced Unionization For Government Employees?

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on November 25, 2014

In today’s Orange County Register former State Senator Gloria Romero discusses a pending case where several public school teachers have sued the state and the California Teachers Association (CTA) challenging the Plaintiffs being forced to be in a public employee union in order to have their jobs as teachers.  The case (entitled Friedrichs, et al v. California Teachers Association, et al) was pending at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  However, the Court granted Plaintiff’s attorneys’ motion to affirm the trial court’s findings against the Plaintiffs without the need for an oral argument.  Part of the reasoning, according to Senator Romero’s op ed piece, is the 9th Circuit recognized that only the United States Supreme Court can overturn its own prior decision of Abood v. Detroit Bd. Of Ed. 431 U.S. 209 (1977).  This has significantly sped up the appeals process hopefully getting the case before the Supreme Court (and a decision from it) by over a year – as early as 2015 or 2016.

A few months ago the Supreme Court issued an important decision in Harris v. Quinn which I posted a blog about on July 1st (Harris v. Quinn, an Important Limitation on Forced Unionization). I noted that while the Harris case did not overturn the Abood case or declare that all government employee unionization is not lawful, the Harris court majority noted serious misgivings about the Abood cases’ underlying rational and the public policy of allowing government employee unions to require people to join them (and pay dues) against their will in order to keep their government jobs.  Senator Romero also noted this about the Harris case in her op ed piece.  Here is a link to her opinion piece (which is not behind the Register’s pay wall): Union-dues case moves closer to Supreme Court.  I highly recommend you read her article.

The Supreme Court is not required to take and hear Rebecca Friedrichs and her friends’ case.  But I certainly hope it does and I hope the Supreme Court overturns Abood allowing government employees to make a voluntary choice to join a government employee union or not as they desire.   I hope the Court recognizes that when someone is forced to join a union by operation of law and forced to give the union money to spend in ways that employee may not agree with, this is a violation of the 1st Amendment of the Constitution.  Liberals always complain about wanting people to be able to make their own choices.  A decision by the Supreme Court to end forced unionization of government employees, would be a victory for individual liberty and freedom.

Finally, I have met Rebecca Friedrichs and her husband.  They are wonderful long serving teachers who love their profession.  If you ever have the opportunity to hear her speak on this subject, you will find a person of passion on this issue and a fighter who is not afraid to stand up to the unions and their bullying tactics.  I wish her, her co-plaintiff teacher friends and their legal team well.


Craig P. Alexander, Esq. is an attorney who practices law in the area of insurance coverage, construction defect, HOAs, business dispute and general civil litigation.  His office is in Dana Point, California. 


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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.

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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.

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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

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