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Mark Your Calendars! Candidate Forum: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on January 9, 2016




68th Assembly District includes all or part of the communities of Anaheim, Orange/Villa Park, North Tustin/Tustin, Irvine, and Lake Forest, including the former Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro.  The seat is currently held by Assemblyman Don Wagner who is termed out this year.

The Candidate Forum will be held on Tuesday, February 2nd starting at 7:00 p.m. at Orange City Hall (the Council chambers) located at 300 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA. The event will be recorded and the media will be invited. This forum will be free and open to the public as a service to the community by the California Republican Assembly. For more information about CRA go to: http://cragop.org/

For further information, please contact CRA Executive Vice President, Craig Alexander at cpalexander@cox.net or CRA Vice President, Dale Tyler at edt@tylerent.com.

Posted in 69th Assembly District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

CD-45: Walters vs. Raths – The Rematch

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 6, 2016

Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) and Councilman Greg Raths (R-Mission Viejo)

Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) and Councilman Greg Raths (R-Mission Viejo)

2016 seems to be shaping up to be the year of the rematch.  Yesterday, I wrote about Assemblyman Don Wagner challenging Senator John Moorlach in the 2016 Primary Election for the 37th State Senate District after Moorlach prevailed over Wagner in the 2015 Special Election for that same seat.

On the same day that Wagner submitted his application for an OC GOP endorsement for the 37th Senate District (nearly a month after Moorlach submitted his application), Councilman Greg Raths (R-Mission Viejo) pulled papers to challenge Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) in the 2016 Primary Election for the 45th Congressional District after Walters prevailed over Raths in the 2014 Primary Election for that same seat.

(Ironically, it was the election of Walters to the 45th Congressional District that caused the 2015 Special Election for the 37th Senate District that sent Moorlach to the Senate.)

In the 2014 election, the four candidates were California State Senator Mimi Walters (R), Educator/Businessman Drew E. Leavens (D), Retired Marine Colonel Greg Raths (R), and Buena Park Library District Trustee Al Salehi (NPP).

(Why Salehi ran for Congress in a district that does not include his city of residence of Buena Park, I’ll never understand.  I wrote extensively on Salehi’s perennial bid for offices in my post on his latest bid for office in the February 9 Special Election for North Orange County Community College District.)

Walters easily defeated Leavens, Raths, and Salehi:

Vote Count Percentage
MIMI WALTERS (R) 39,631 45.1%
DREW E. LEAVENS (D) 24,721 28.1%
GREG RATHS (R) 21,284 24.2%
AL SALEHI (NPP) 2,317 2.6%

In the 2014 election, Walters spent nearly $1,200,000 while Raths spent $267,000.  Leavens spent $2,150, yet Salehi didn’t even open a committee.

As of September 30, Walters had more than $616,000 cash-on-hand in her Congressional campaign account.  Raths has no cash on hand, as he had terminated his Congressional committee in May and has not started a new one.

After losing the 2014 Primary Election for the 45th Congressional District, Raths successfully won a seat on the Mission Viejo City Council in the 2014 General Election.

Consequently, while the 2014 Primary Election for the 45th Congressional District featured State Senator Walters vs. Retired Colonel Raths, the 2016 Primary Election has Congresswoman Walters vs. Councilman Raths.

In the 2012 Primary, then-Congressman John Campbell (R) still captured 51% of the vote against Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang (D), who got 33%, and Small Business Owner John Webb (R), who got 16%. Campbell opted not to seek re-election in 2014, thereby creating the opening for Walters to run.  Kang termed out as Mayor of Irvine in 2012 and is now running against Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) for the 29th Senate District, which does not include any portion of the City of Irvine.

Posted in 45th Congressional District, Mission Viejo | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

SD-37: Moorlach vs. Wagner – The Rematch

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 5, 2016

Senator John M. W. Moorlach and Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner

Senator John M. W. Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) and Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner (R-Irvine)

Rumors had swirled for months that Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine) would challenge Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) for the 37th Senate District this year.  Former Supervisor Moorlach had defeated Assemblyman Wagner for the seat just ten months ago by a margin of 50.3%-44.0% in the March 2015 special election to complete the unexpired term of State Senator Mimi Walters, who had been elected to the United States House of Representatives.

Wagner has taken a very public step toward challenging Moorlach to a rematch in 2016.  On December 7, Moorlach had submitted his application to the Republican Party of Orange County for an endorsement for re-election for the 37th Senate District. Then, yesterday, January 4, Wagner submitted his application for an OC GOP endorsement for the 37th Senate District.

Both applications will be considered at the OC GOP Central Committee meeting on January 18.  The OC GOP states: “All Republican candidates running for election in [the 37th Senate District] are invited to participate in a candidate forum that will be held during the January Central Committee meeting. The meeting will begin at 7 PM.”

The format will be: “Each candidate will be allowed three (3) minutes to present why they should be endorsed. And, in keeping with tradition, we will allow three speakers in favor and three opposed to speak for one (1) minute. The candidate will be allowed one (1) minute to address any issues raised by opponents of the endorsement.”

Otherwise, it should be a quiet January 18 Central Committee meeting, with Congresswoman Mimi Walters, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman Darrell Issa, Assemblyman Bill Brough, and Assemblyman Matthew Harper all filed applications for endorsement of their respective re-elections in time for the January 4 application deadline for OC GOP endorsements for partisan seats in the Primary Election. Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang‘s bid for the 29th Senate District and Assemblywoman Young Kim‘s bid for re-election were already endorsed in December.

The OC GOP endorsement application deadline for nonpartisan seats in the Primary Election (County Supervisors and County Board of Education Trustees) is January 11, though Supervisor Andrew Do‘s bid for re-election was already endorsed in December.

An incumbent holding partisan office has not been denied the OC GOP endorsement since John Campbell fell one vote short of the 2/3 needed for an endorsement when John Webb challenged him (two of OC Political’s earliest posts).

In the March 2015 special election for the 37th Senate District, Wagner spent $493,000 while Moorlach spent $276,000.  Despite this significant funding differential of nearly 2:1, Moorlach still won the Senate seat.

As of the June 30 campaign finance reports, Moorlach had $31,299.92 in cash-on-hand across two committees (Moorlach for Senate 2015 and Moorlach for Senate 2016) while Wagner had $84,416.71 cash-on-hand across three committees (Wagner for Senate 2016, Wagner for Assembly 2014, Wagner for Attorney General 2018).

Presumably, Democrat Louise Stewardson, who ran as a write-in candidate in March 2015 will file for the ballot in June 2016.

No word on if the hilarious Naz Namazi, “Naz, N-A-Z, Naz…a legal immigrant,” will be running again to challenge “a liar and a hypocrite” for this seat.

Winner by City in the 37th Senate District Special Election

The ever-popular “Winner by city or unincorporated area in the 37th Senate District Special Election” map.  See this map in its original glory here. (Note: the sizes of Moorlach’s and Wagner’s heads have nothing to do with their vote margin in that community, it’s just the geographic size of the community that did it.  Laguna Woods and Laguna Beach are very oddly-shaped cities.)

Posted in 37th Senate District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Recall Effort Against Judge M. Marc Kelly Fails to Qualify for Ballot

Posted by Chris Nguyen on December 31, 2015

Superior Court Judge M. Marc KelleyWith a legal deadline of 5:00 PM tonight to submit 90,829 signatures for the recall of Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly, recall proponents were unable to gather enough signatures and did not submit their petitions to the Registrar of Voters by the deadline less than an hour ago.

The recall effort was launched against Kelly in reaction to his April ruling in the Kevin Jonas Rojano-Nieto case, in which Rojano-Nieto was convicted of sexual assault of a 3-year-old relative.  Despite state law imposing a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years, Kelly slashed the sentence down by 60% to 10 years.

In his ruling, Kelly stated:

…in looking at the facts of Mr. Rojano’s case, the manner in which this offense was committed is not typical of a predatory, violent brutal sodomy of a child case:  Mr. Rojano did not seek out or stalk [the victim]. He was playing video games and she wandered into the garage. He inexplicably became sexually aroused but did not appear to consciously intend to harm [the victim] when he sexually assaulted her…There was no violence or callous disregard for [the victim’s] well-being…”

Appointed by Governor Gray Davis in 2000, Kelly was unopposed for re-election in 2006 and 2012, so he did not appear on the ballot.  He is widely expected to face a challenge for his next re-election in 2018.

Posted in Orange County | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

YLWD Water Rate Referendum Proponents Retain State GOP’s Lawyer in Effort Against District

Posted by Chris Nguyen on December 16, 2015

In October, I wrote about how an effort to overturn the Yorba Linda Water District’s recent rate increase had qualified for the ballot after the Orange County Registrar of Voters had verified the number of valid signatures submitted was sufficient.

The YLWD Board was expected to rescind the rate increase, place the rate increase on the November 8, 2016 general election ballot, or place the rate increase on a special election ballot.

Unexpectedly, in November, the YLWD determined that the water rate increase was not subject to referendum and did not act on the petition.

Yorba Linda Taxpayers Association, the recently-formed organization which had submitted the signatures, has retained the law firm of Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk in their effort to force YLWD to rescind the rate increase or place it on the ballot.

Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk is well-regarded throughout the state for its effectiveness on campaign and election law and is one of the leaders, if not the leader, in this field.  Senior Partner Chuck Bell is also the General Counsel of the California Republican Party.

If YLTA and Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk prevail, it would behoove YLWD to place the measure on the June primary ballot, as that would allow the voters to give a final verdict on this allowing YLWD to plan its finances accordingly while also enabling the voters to render an opinion quickly on this yet still keeping costs down by consolidating the special election with the June primary instead of making it a standalone special election.

In a seven-page letter (see this PDF for the full version including footnotes), Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk wrote:

December 14, 2015

Fax: (714) 701-3028

Yorba Linda Water District
1717 E. Miraloma Ave
Placentia, CA 92870

Re: Demand Regarding Yorba Linda Taxpayers Association Petition

Dear District Board Members:

This law firm represents the Yorba Linda Taxpayers Association (“YLTA”). This letter is an attempt to administratively resolve the issue of the Yorba Linda Water District Board’s refusal to repeal the District’s recent water rate increase or, alternatively, present the question to voters by placing the issue on the next special or general election ballot.

I. Introduction.

As you are well aware, the YLTA circulated a petition asking voters whether the Yorba Linda Water District’s (“YLWD”) newly enacted water rate increases should be repealed. YLTA’s petition requested the following:

We, the undersigned, demand that RESOLUTION NO. 15-22 be reconsidered by the Governing Board of Yorba Linda Water District and repealed, or if not entirely repealed, that RESOLUTION NO. 15-22 be submitted to a public vote of the VOTERS OF THE YORBA LINDA WATER
DISTRICT at the next regular election.

Each petition section included a complete copy of YLWD Resolution No. 15-22 (the challenged water rate increase). YLTA circulated the petition for a mere 19 days, but amassed almost double the number of required valid signatures necessary to qualify the mater for the ballot.

Upon submission of the petition to the YLWD (and a report from the Registrar of Voters certifying the petition had collected more than the required number of valid signatures to proceed), the District Board refused to take action to repeal the rates or present the matter to voters. The primary basis for the YLWD’s refusal to put the rate repeal question to voters is apparently that the petition was circulated as a “referendum” petition and not as an “initiative” petition. In response to the certification of the signatures on the referendum petition, the District Board’s legal counsel opined that the “referendum process is not applicable to water rates adopted in compliance with Prop 218.”

As of the writing of this letter, the YLWD has taken no further action with respect to our client’s petition other than only to receive them into its possession. The YLWD’s failure to take appropriate action violates the California Constitution, including the provisions amended by Proposition 218.

II. Referendum May Be Used To Challenge The YLWD’s Rate Increase.

The “referendum” is the power of the electors to approve or reject legislative enactments. (Cal. Const., art. II, § 9.) Article II, section 11 of the California Constitution specifically grants the electors of each city or county (and the special districts therein) the right to exercise referendum powers. The ability to refer legislative acts to voters is a right that the people have retained for decades, and is one which cannot be limited by the whim or proclamation of an elected body. (Dwyer v. City Council of Berkeley (1927) 200 Cal. 505, 516 [“It is clear that the constitutional right reserved by the people to submit legislative questions to a direct vote cannot be abridged by any procedural requirement”]; and see Citizens Against a New Jail v. Board of Supervisors (1976) 63 Cal.App.3d 559,563 [“Neither an elected board nor a court has the power to limit that reserved right (of referendum and initiative) …. Whatever our view as to factors of cost and practicality, the decision must be left to the voter-taxpayers, to whom we must and do commit it”].) Simply put, the people reserved the power of referendum as a check on elected bodies making the rules under which the people must live — whichever legislative power exercises that power inherently accedes to the ultimate authority of the people through the referendum right. This includes, of course, the Yorba Linda Water District.

The YLWD is a county water district, formed pursuant to Water Code sections 30000, et seq., and is a “local public entity” within the meaning of the Section 900.4 of the Government Code. Under those provisions of law, the YLWD is granted the authority to make legislative enactments. In response to those legislative enactments, the voters in the YLWD are guaranteed specifically the right of referendum. Division 12 (entitled “County Water Districts”), section 30831 of the California Water Code provides unambiguously that ordinances enacted by county water districts, like YLWD, are subject
to referendum:

Ordinances may be subject to referendum in accordance with Article 2 (commencing with Section 9140) of Chapter 2 of Division 9 of the Elections Code.

(Emphasis added.)

“[R]eferendum provisions are to be construed liberally in favor of the right of referendum.” (Kuhs v. Superior Court (1988) 201Cal.App.3d966, 972-73.) Section 30831 of the California Water Code is declarative of established case law authority in California holding that “any legislative act may be … subject to referendum.” (De Vita v. County of Napa (1995) 9 Cal.4th 763, 787, fn. 9 [The right of referendum applies to any legislative act “regardless of whether that act is denominated an ‘ordinance’ or ‘resolution”‘]; see also Midway Orchards v. County of Butte (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 765 [Holding that the Elections Code provisions relating to referenda must be read to include all legislative acts in order to protect the people’s constitutional right of referendum].) There is no indication in the legislative history of California Water Code section 30831 that the statute was intended to abrogate the referendum power with respect to enactments of rate/fee increases.

Moreover, Article II, section 11 of the California Constitution contains no restrictions on the use of the local referendum power to repeal rate increases. In fact, California law establishes only two mechanisms by which the Legislature could have even theoretically foreclosed the power of local referendum of the YLWD’s enactment. The first would require a clear showing of legislative intent to revoke the power of local referendum through an exclusive delegation of legislative authority to the YLWD. (See, e.g., De Vita, supra, 9 Cal.4th at 780.) The second would require a showing that setting of rates in the YLWD somehow was an administrative action where the state’s system of regulation over a matter of statewide concern is so pervasive as to convert the local legislative body into an administrative agent of the state. (See, e.g., Yost v. Thomas (1984) 36 Cal.3d 561, 571.) Of course, neither of these situations are present in this

Based upon the foregoing, YLTA’s referendum effort is a valid exercise of constitutional rights afforded to voters in California to refer legislative actions to a vote of the people. YLTA’s referendum in no way impermissibly interferes with the powers of the YLWD. By this letter, and on behalf of our client, we demand that the challenged legislative action (Resolution No. 15-22) be immediately suspended and that the Water Board forthwith consider its repeal or set it for an election. Delaying any of these actions is a denial of our client’s constitutional rights in the worst form.

III. Referendum May Be Used Even Under A Strict Prop. 218 Analysis.

By its own terms, Proposition 218, did not create or redefine the referendum or initiative power. Indeed, Prop. 218 contains no bar to utilizing referenda to challenge a legislatively enacted fee or rate increase. In fact, the specific purpose of the law is to limit local government revenue and enhance taxpayer involvement in revenue-related decisions. Article XIIIC, section 5 of Prop. 218 is entitled titled “Liberal Construction” and provides:

The provisions of this act shall be liberally construed to effectuate its purposes of limiting local government revenue and enhancing taxpayer consent.

(Emphasis added.)

Moreover, the law was drafted to specifically apply to actions by local government in California:

Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution … the initiative power shall not be prohibited or otherwise limited in matters of reducing or repealing any local tax, assessment, fee or charge. The power of initiative to affect local taxes, assessments, fees and charges shall be applicable to all local governments.

(Cal. Const., art. XIIIC, § 3 (emphasis added).)

In addition to the plain language of the law, a review of the opinion of the state Legislative Analyst’s Office concerning Prop. 218 reveals that even the LAO agrees that Prop. 218 challenges may be brought by referenda. In Appendix I, titled “Areas in which legislative or judicial clarification may be needed – Elections,” the LAO queries: “Who may vote on referendums to repeal assessments, fees, or taxes?” (Emphasis added.) It is clear that the LAO is inquiring as to which voters would be entitled to cast ballots in a referendum election to repeal rate or fee increases — it correctly presupposes that a referendum is entirely appropriate when pursued to repeal an enactment of local fee or rate increases.

More broadly, it is clear that where Prop. 218 mentions the “initiative power,” it undeniably includes the power of referendum. This is because the structure of our Constitution is that if the right of initiative can be invoked, the corollary right to referendum must be conceded to exist. (See, e.g., Save Stanislaus Area Farm Economy v. Bd. of Sup’rs. (1993) 13 Cal.App.4th 141, 152 fn. 3 [“There is no textual basis for construing the power of referendum as broader than the initiative power, or vice versa”].)

The petition qualified by YLTA requests a vote to repeal the District Board’s recent rate increase. Utilizing a referendum procedure to qualify the repeal question for the ballot is entirely consistent with the California Supreme Court’s repeated “recognition that the local electorate’s right to initiative and referendum is guaranteed by the California Constitution … and is generally co-extensive with the legislative power of the local governing body …. ” (De Vita, supra, 9 Cal. 4th at 775 [‘”(W)e will presume, absent a clear showing of the Legislature’s intent to the contrary, that legislative decisions of (local agencies) … are subject to initiative and referendum”‘], quoting Voters for Responsible Retirement v. Board of Supervisors (1994) 8 Cal. 4th 765, 777.) Since referendum matters frequently follow in response to unpopular action or inaction by the local government, the potential for misuse of power by a governmental body strongly supports the referendum power in local fee/rate matters.

Moreover, even if (contrary to fact) the District Board had raised some conceivable doubt about YLTA’ s petition, that doubt would necessarily have to be resolved in favor of the electorate’s power to repeal increases to water rates by means of the YLTA petition. It is long accepted in California that if doubts can reasonably be resolved in favor of the use of the reserve power of initiative and referendum, our courts
will preserve it. (Blotter v. Farrell (1954) 42 Cal.2d 804, 809; McFadden v. Jordan (1948) 32 Cal.2d 330, 332; Martin v. Smith (1959) 176 Cal.App.2d 115, 117; and see De Vita, supra, 9 Cal. 4th at 776 [Recognizing and applying the longstanding “judicial policy to apply a liberal construction to this power wherever it is challenged in order that the right (to local initiative or referendum) be not improperly annulled”].) In fact, this concept is laid-out in Prop. 218. Once again, citation to the actual text of Prop. 218 is instructive: “The provisions of this (measure) shall be liberally construed to effectuate its purposes of limiting local government revenue and enhancing taxpayer consent.” (Prop. 218, § 5 (reprinted in Art. XIIIC, preceding§ 1) (emphasis added).)

Finally, no voter signing YLTA’s referendum petition would have been misled as to the intent or purpose of the petition (to place a measure on the ballot seeking repeal of the YLWD’ s water rate increase). The statement at the top of each petition section made clear the purpose of the petition was demand the YLWD reconsider and repeal the water rate increase “or if not entirely repealed, that RESOLUTION NO. 15-22 be submitted to a public vote of the VOTERS OF THE YORBA LINDA WATER DISTRICT at the next regular election.” Each petition section also included a copy of the challenged enactment.

YLTA gathered over 5000 signatures on its referendum petition — approximately double the amount necessary to qualify the measure for the ballot. There is no allegation that even a single voter was misled into signing the petitions, but it is inconceivable that 5000 voters would somehow have been misled because the petition was not styled specifically as an initiative (in fact most voters are not aware of the detailed differences between the two). On this basis alone, YLTA’s petition should be accepted by the YLWD and the rates immediately reconsidered by the Board or set for election.

Courts in California have held that it is appropriate to withhold a question from the ballot based upon defects in the petitioning process only when the alleged defect in the challenged referendum petitions threatens, as a realistic and practical matter, to frustrate or undermine the purposes of the statutory requirements in ensuring the integrity of the referendum process, such as when a defect “affect[ s] the integrity of the process by misleading (or withholding vital information from) those persons whose signatures are solicited.” (Costa v. Superior Court (2006) 37 Cal.4th 986, 1016-17.) The court in Costa explained that the governing cases in this area have recognized that an “unreasonably literal or inflexible application of constitutional or statutory requirements” fails to take into account the purpose underlying the particular requirement at issue “would be inconsistent with the fundamental nature of the people’s constitutionally enshrined” initiative and referendum power and with the well-established “judicial policy to apply a liberal construction to this power wherever it is challenged in order that the right be not improperly annulled.” (Id. at p. 1013 [internal quotations and citations omitted].)

IV. Conclusion.

The YLWD continues to improperly infringe upon rights reserved by our client under the California Constitution, and continues to use alleged technical deficiencies to summarily invalidate a repeal effort with which it disagrees. The District Board’s refusal to act on YLTA’ s petition is a patent violation of the constitutional rights afforded to YLTA’s members as proponents of the petition. By this letter, our client reserves all rights to pursue enforcement of establish constitutional, statutory and case law in pursuit of a resolution of this matter. Our client further reserves the right to recover any and all attorneys’ fees expended in pursuit of enforcing their rights and enumerated herein.

Please contact the undersigned within 72 hours to discuss further our client’s position and any possible resolution the parties may reach to avoid a court challenge. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Posted in Yorba Linda Water District | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

OCYR ‘Politically Correct’ Holiday Party Tonight

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on December 14, 2015

This came over the wire from the Orange County Young Republicans…


Vague seasonal salutations, person/non-person:

Need a safe-space to tide you over through this terrifyingly offensive holiday month? The Orange County Young Republicans have just the place for you!

Join us TONIGHT at JT Schmid’s for a politically correct holiday party, where the only discrimination you’ll be subjected to is whether you’re a member or not.Admission is FREE for current members, $10 at the door for non-members and guests. An unwrapped toy donation benefiting Toys-for-Tots will also be accepted in lieu of the guest admission fee.
Don’t want to be discriminated on that basis? You’re in luck! We’re offering discounted 2016 memberships at the event for only $50 (talk about preferential treatment).

There’s going to be culturally-diverse bar food, gender-neutral festivities, and religiously-ambiguous event announcements! We’ll also be conducing elections for 2016 board positions. I know you’re saying to yourself, ‘Self, that sounds like a situation where there are distinct winners and losers!”. It’s nothing to be afraid of though; there are really no winners in cases like these, so it’s totally tolerable.

Confused by this entire event? Don’t worry, it’s perfectly ok. This is our final meeting of the year, and we’re shutting down 2015 the way 2015 deserves –

Festive Chaunakwanzistivus4thofJuly to all, and we hope to experience you tonight!

What: OCYR Politically Correct December Party
When: TONIGHT, December 14th 6:30PM
Where: JT Schmidt’s, 2415 Park Avenue
Tustin, CA 92782
Why: Stop asking insensitive questions

(This is a photo of a gift. There is not a

particular holiday at all implied by this photo.)

Posted in Orange County | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Four Qualify for Special Election for North Orange County Community College District

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 16, 2015

Filing has closed for the North Orange County Community College District Special Election to fill the vacancy left when Area 3 Trustee Donna Miller (D) resigned on June 30 just seven months after being re-elected to a four-year term.  Miller had been on the Board for nearly 19 years.

Four people took out papers to run for the seat, and all four returned them and qualified for the ballot.  In alphabetical order, they are (with their party affiliation and ballot designation):

  • Daniel D. Billings (NPP), Contract Manager
  • Stephen T. Blount (R), Member, Cypress School District Board of Trustees
  • Steve Hwangbo (R), Orange County Businessman/Councilmember
  • Alan ‘Al’ Salehi (NPP), Trustee, Buena Park Library District

Exact ballot order will be determined by a lottery by the Secretary of State later this morning.

Daniel D. Billings

Married to a high school science teacher, Billings works for Southern California Edison. He was the appointee to the seat until Salehi overturned his appointment by petition.  A graduate of Fullerton College, he earned degrees from Whittier College and Azusa Pacific University; he also obtained a certificate at UCI.

Billings does not list any endorsements but does note his unanimous appointment by the NOCCCD Board.

Stephen T. Blount

A member of the Cypress School Board since 2010, Blount is a corporate controller.  He was a Democrat until 2014, when he reregistered as a Republican.  He was the Democrats’ nominee for the 67th Assembly District against Assemblyman Jim Silva (R) in 2008.  Holding a certificate from Cypress College, he earned degrees from Biola University and Azusa Pacific University.

He notes endorsements from Coast Community College District Trustee Jim Moreno (D) and Centralia School District Board President Steve Harris (NPP).  Oddly, he also notes endorsements from several appointed staff: Cypress School District Superintendent.  Normally, staff do not endorse in political races because of the neutral position their offices are supposed to hold.

Blount has endorsed Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva’s bid to unseat Republican Assemblywoman Young Kim.

Steve Hwangbo

A La Palma City Councilman since 2010, Hwangbo is a businessman and engineer.  He was the top vote-getter in his 2014 re-election, coming in more than 13% ahead of the second vote-getter.  A community college graduate, he earned a degree at UCLA before going on to USC.

A longtime Republican, he notes endorsements from Senator Bob Huff, Senator John Moorlach, Supervisor Shawn Nelson, and Supervisor Michelle Steel.

How This Special Election Got Started & Info on Alan ‘Al’ Salehi

NOCCCD Trustee Area 3 consists of the entire City of La Palma, most of the City of Buena Park, the City of Cypress north of Orange Avenue, and two portions of Anaheim (one north of Ball Road and west of Beach Boulevard; the other north of La Palma Avenue and west of Magnolia Avenue).

Five people applied to fill the vacancy in Trustee Area 3.  In four rounds of voting on August 25:

  • In the first round of voting, the trustees voted: 3 votes for George O’Hara (R), 2 votes for Daniel Billings (NPP), and 1 vote for Jon Hultman (R).
  • In the second and third rounds, George O’Hara and Daniel Billings each got 3 votes.
  • In the fourth round, the NOCCCD trustees voted to appoint Daniel Billings.

Billings was to hold the seat until November 2016, when the seat would be up for a two-year short-term election.  The seat would then resume a regular four-year term in the November 2018 election.

However, Salehi, who the trustees did not support, then used Education Code 5091 and hired petition circulators to get signatures from 1.5% of registered voters within 30 days of the appointment, which invalidated the appointment (removing Billings from office) and triggered a special election.  (1.5% of registered voters in NOCCCD Trustee Area 3 is 799 valid signatures.)

Salehi is a colorful figure:

  • Last month, the Orange County Register reported that the Orange County Registrar of Voters successfully sued Salehi for $4,248 for not paying for his candidate statement in 2014.
  • The Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot reported that Salehi pulled papers for Laguna Beach City Council and Laguna Beach Unified School District in 2010, but on the last day of filing, he registered to vote in Buena Park and filed to run for the Buena Park Library District, where he realized he would be unopposed, as the second candidate to file for two seats.
  • Salehi has made no fewer than 8 unsuccessful bids for elected office:
    • 1996: Laguna Beach Unified School District (winning 11% and coming in last)
    • 1998: Laguna Beach Unified School District (winning 5.7% and coming in sixth out of seven)
    • 2000: Laguna Beach Unified School District (winning 6.5% and coming in last)
    • 2004: Irvine Unified School District (winning 4.8% of the vote and coming in seventh out of eight)
    • 2010: United States Senate (winning 27% of the American Independent Party vote and coming in last in the AIP primary)
    • 2012: Buena Park City Council (winning 9.5% of the vote and coming in fourth out of eight)
    • 2014: United States Congress, 45th District (winning 2.6% of the vote and coming in last)
    • 2014: Buena Park City Council (winning 12.1% of the vote and coming in fourth out of eight)

Posted in North Orange County Community College District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

How Viagra Crushed a Little Pink House (Part II)

Posted by Brenda McCune on November 14, 2015

It has been more than a decade since the decision that approved a city’s taking of Susette Kelo’s home.  As stated in Part I, memories in Sacramento are short.  Not one member of the California State Assembly stood to speak against AB 2, the new law re-authorizing such takings of private property. The new name of these Sheriff-of-Nottingham agencies is CRIA, Community Revitalization Investment Authority, the purpose for any city or municipality to create such an agency is clear.  The purpose is to ‘take’ from ordinary home owners and give the property to their wealthy friends and developers.

Not just in California though, other states have similarly exercised voluntary amnesia about how badly the Kelo case went for both the homeowners who lost at the Supreme Court, and the city who lost ultimately, holding the bag on a bunch of vacant land.  Similar fights have gone on in New Jersey and in Colorado.

Glendale, Colorado, pursued a plan to take a family owned Persian rug store and turn it into an entertainment complex.  The family pushed back, and the city ultimately decided it did not need that specific property to move forward with its plan.  However, the city had designated the property as “blighted”.  The family sought to have the designation removed, but the city refused, saying that there were conditions on the property that had not been improved since the “blight” label had been attached.  These were not new conditions, but existing conditions, pursuant to the city’ definition of “blight” which could have been anything from poor lighting, deteriorating structures, poor street layout, environmental contamination or an unsafe condition.  The family filed suit against the city on October 27, 2015 to have that label removed from their property.  There is no resolution yet.

In Atlantic City, Charlie Birnbaum owns a home near a casino, that has been in his family for 45 years.  Last spring, the Casino Redevelopment Authority, sought to obtain Charlie’s home and bulldoze it, making way to expand the Revel Casino.  However, there are already multiple other vacant lots surrounding the casino that have not yet been used, and the casino has filed bankruptcy twice, and has now closed.  The city is still seeking to take Charlie’s house from him.  Charlie does not live there anymore, he uses the property for his piano teaching and tuning business.  He has vowed not to surrender his family home without a fight.  He has also asked to know what will be done with the property, in effect, he wants to know, is there a good reason to give up this family treasure.  There is still no answer, because they do not have a plan.

Remember, from the Part I of this post, that our local representatives, Chang and Kim, were on the very quiet bandwagon to reimplement Eminent Domain practices in our state.  There really is not way of knowing why they voted in support of this, feel free to ask them, if they have some friends in building associations or development that encouraged their vote in this direction. Also worth considering though, is what you likely saw on your own newsfeed this fall, while this vote was quietly making it’s way through Sacramento.

You may have seen headlines indicating that both the Chargers of San Diego, and the Raiders of Oakland, are considering a move. Also noteworthy, the ongoing pandering with the Anaheim City Council and Arte Moreno, the owner of the Angels. They are going to need property, and these professional sports teams are favorite pet-projects of politicians elected to small city offices.  These projects are always pitched under the ‘revenue’ enhancement argument, about how great it will be for the sales tax income of the city, but make no mistake, welfare is welfare even if the welfare recipient is a wealthy owner of a sports franchise, and they will not stop at simply given tax breaks and donating land, if they want your land, they are going to take your land.

This is a likely direction for the ugly growth of Eminent Domain powers in your neighborhood.   Be on the lookout, political favoritism and outright takings are coming to a neighborhood near you.  No one’s property is safe.

Posted in State Assembly | 1 Comment »

The First Veterans Day Proclamation in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on November 11, 2015

The day to thank all of our nation’s veterans for their risks and sacrifice to defend our nation and our freedom, Veterans Day, was first proclaimed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954, replacing Armistice Day…

Proclamation 3071By the President of the United States of America
A ProclamationWhereas it has long been our custom to commemorate November 11, the anniversary of the ending of World War I, by paying tribute to the heroes of that tragic struggle and by rededicating ourselves to the cause of peace; and

Whereas in the intervening years the United States has been involved in two other great military conflicts, which have added millions of veterans living and dead to the honor rolls of this Nation; and

Whereas the Congress passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926 (44 Stat. 1982), calling for the observance of November 11 with appropriate ceremonies, and later provided in an act approved May 13, 1938 (52 Stat. 351), that the eleventh of November should be a legal holiday and should be known as Armistice Day; and

Whereas, in order to expand the significance of that commemoration and in order that a grateful Nation might pay appropriate homage to the veterans of all its wars who have contributed so much to the preservation of this Nation, the Congress, by an act approved June 1, 1954 (68 Stat. 168), changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day:

Now, Therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America, do hereby call upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954, as Veterans Day. On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain. I also direct the appropriate officials of the Government to arrange for the display of the flag of the United States on all public buildings on Veterans Day.

In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this eighth day of October in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and seventy-ninth.


By the President:
Secretary of State


Posted in National | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Lake Forest Councilman Dwight Robinson Elected To The South Coast Air Quality Management District Position, Ousting Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido

Posted by Greg Woodard on November 6, 2015

In a coup for conservatives, the Republican party, and businesses throughout much of Southern California, Dwight Robinson defeated Miguel Pulido for the Orange County cities’ representative on the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) Board.  As reported by OCPolitical’s own Chris Nguyen earlier, having to win the majority vote of all Orange County mayors, both in the number of cities, and overall county population, Robinson garnered 21 cities and 54% of the County’s population, to Pulido’s 12 cities and 45% of the population.  Pulido was Orange County’s representative on the AQMD for over a decade.

Robinson’s victory is significant as it flips the AQMD Board from 7-6 Democrat to 7-6 Republican, which will have considerable impact for many Southern California businesses.

Of his victory, Robinson said, “I am very proud of the broad based support I had across the spectrum that helped secured the votes I needed.  I deeply care about air quality and the environment.  I drive an electric car.  I put solar panels on my house earlier this year.  Equally important to me are jobs and the regional economy.  Many of the things AQMD has been doing over the last decade have driven companies, jobs, and the middle class out of Southern California.  I am dedicated to making sure that AQMD balances sensible environmental stewardship with middle class job retention.”

The race was marred by infighting from Republicans and rumors of Pulido offering support to mayors and their cities in exchange for their votes.  The most curious (and in my opinion, disappointing) aspect was the battle that erupted between Irvine Councilman Jeff Lalloway and Mayor Steven Choi.  As reported here, Choi was unavailable for the vote so he originally designated Lalloway as his voting representative.  However, it was reported that Lalloway was planning on voting for Pulido, and Choi removed Lalloway and appointed Christina Shea to vote instead.  Shea voted for Robinson, giving a size able chunk of population to Robinson.  While Lalloway denied that he had made up his mind on who to vote for, his claim that the Orange County Republican party’s support for Robinson was a push by California Republican Party Jim Brulte to strong-arm local Republicans to vote lock-step with the party is curious given that the race pitted Robinson, a strong Republican conservative and pro-business candidate, against Pulido, an avowed liberal Democrat who recently admitted to six violations of the Political Reform Act.  Pulido also previously appointed his brother as a part-time consultant to the AQMD, a position that paid more than $35,000 per year.

Posted in Orange County | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »


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