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Yorba Linda: Matt Palmer Drops Out, Endorses Peggy Huang & Tom Lindsey

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on October 11, 2014

This came over the wire from the Matt Palmer for Yorba Linda City Council campaign last night…

Stepping Aside: Because I Love Yorba Linda

When I signed up to be a city council candidate in the recall and general elections I did so for one purpose only, to ensure Yorba Linda’s future. I think most would agree that the recall has left our city broken and it is time to for us to heal, to come together as neighbors, and to make sure that on November 4th we select two candidates that will help us do just that. At last night’s candidate forum I realized that there are two other candidates equally capable and committed to this city. Because of this I have decided to step aside as a candidate and endorse Councilman Tom Lindsey and Peggy Huang.

While my name will still appear on the ballot I am asking all my supporters to vote for Tom and Peggy because this has never been about me. This election is about Yorba Linda and the last thing I want to do is split the vote between two other common sense conservatives.

I am so grateful to have been able to play a role in such a historic moment in our city. I am grateful to have met so many new neighbors through this process. I am grateful that we made the right choice by voting no on the recall. And I will be very grateful to you, my neighbors, on November 4 when we elect my friends and most qualified candidates Tom Lindsey and Peggy Huang to the city council.

Your neighbor,
Matt Palmer

Paid for by Palmer for Council, 2014

 

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

The Stakes are High At Capistrano Unified School District This Election

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on October 9, 2014

When I decided to become a Candidate for Capistrano Unified School District, Trustee Area 4, I knew I would want to let people who read OC Political know why I am running with a post to this blog.  However on Monday (10-6-14) Mr. Robert Loewen of the Lincoln Club of Orange County published in the Orange County Register an opinion piece that does an excellent job of summing up the reasons I am running and why my friends current CUSD Trustee Ellen Addonizio (running for re-election to Trustee Area 6) and Julie Collier (running for Trustee Area 7) are running and what is at stake in this race.  Mr. Loewen’s title for his opinion is Support Accountability at Capistrano Unified.

I will not re-print all of Mr. Loewen’s excellent article here but here is the beginning and a link to the article (it is not behind the Register’s pay wall) for those of you who would like to read the entire article.  You will find it quite eye opening:

“By ROBERT LOEWEN / Contributing Writer

Jack was confused. When his neighborhood carpool dropped him off at Barcelona Hills Elementary that spring day in 2011, it seemed like just another school day. It was not a big deal to the seasoned fifth-grader when he trudged from the busy carpool drop-off area and was herded with his classmates onto school property. He and other kids were handed signs bearing big red letters, “SOS,” the call sign at sea for disaster. Jack assumed the signs held by students were about Earth Day or “Saving Our Planet.” But when Jack took time to read one of the signs, he saw it was a slogan, “Save Our Schools.”

Suddenly, Jack was no longer confused. The signs were a mean-spirited rebuke to a project proposed by his mother, Julie Collier and some other parents, who wanted to see if they could use innovations allowed by state charter-school law to improve the learning environment for their own children.

So Jack found himself in the middle of a protest by someone who used kids to make their point. Jack threw his sign on the ground. Smiling, his teacher came over and handed it back to him. “Jack, could you hold up this sign again? I want to take your picture.” Click.

Jack’s mother, Julie Collier, is running for a seat as trustee on the Capistrano Unified School Board, Area 7. For Julie, it’s personal. She doesn’t mind discussing the issues of accountability and allocation of limited funding in education with anyone.

As a teacher herself, she can more than hold her own. But who gave public school teachers permission to turn her kids, or anyone’s kids, into political pawns?…….” Support Accountability at Capistrano Unified School District

- – – – – – – – -

Thank you Mr. Loewen for an excellent article.

Julie, Ellen and I have opponents who are all endorsed by the unions who are pouring tens of thousands of dollars into our opponents’ campaigns.  That is no surprise to us and neither are the tactics being employed by the unions one of which was discussed by my friend Greg Woodard in his piece on this blog: Unions Care Nothing About Facts and on my own campaign web site: LAWSUITS?”

For more information about my friend Julie Collier and her race go to Julie Collier for CUSD.  For Ellen Addonizio go to Re-Elect Ellen Addonizio.

For my campaign web site go to: Craig For CUSD or my Facebook page Craig Alexander for CUSD

Julie, Ellen and I respectfully ask each voter in Trustee Areas 4, 6 and 7 for their vote.  Thank you all for your support.

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

Yorba Linda Recall Recap: 17% Margin Against Recall, Rikel Loses Replacement Race, Palmer Shows Weakness for November

Posted by Chris Nguyen on October 8, 2014

With all precincts reporting and 11,374 ballots counted of the estimated 12,500 ballots cast, the Yorba Linda recall of October 7, 2014, is clearly over – ironically on the 11th anniversary of the day that Governor Gray Davis was recalled on October 7, 2003.  Republican Yorba Linda Councilmen Craig Young and Tom Lindsey have handily defeated their recalls 59%-41%, becoming the first Orange County officeholders to defeat a recall at the ballot box since Mission Viejo Councilman Robert Curtis beat back a recall on February 27, 1990 (and Mission Viejo was incorporated in 1988).  Even if all ~1,100 outstanding ballots were cast in favor of the recall (which is impossible), Young and Lindsey are already beating their recalls by 2,000 ballots as it is.  It was a resounding victory against the first recall election in Yorba Linda’s 47-year history.

Recall proponents in the group Yorba Linda Residents for Responsible Representation (YLRRR) under the efforts of recall candidate Nancy Rikel submitted 9,000 signatures to qualify the recall, but could barely get half that number of people to vote in favor of the recall.

As the numbers were counted through the course of the night, the numbers continued to grow stronger against the recall and against both YLRRR-backed candidates, showing poll voters even more strongly against the recall and the YLRRR-backed candidates than early absentee voters.  As the campaigns for and against the recall wore on, the more the voters turned against the recall and its supporters.

Shall Thomas H. Lindsey be recalled (removed) from the office of City Council Member?
Completed Precincts: 22 of 22
Vote Count Percentage
Yes 4,684 41.3%
No 6,648 58.7%
Shall Craig Young be recalled (removed) from the office of City Council Member?
Completed Precincts: 22 of 22
Vote Count Percentage
Yes 4,691 41.5%
No 6,601 58.5%

To add insult to injury for Rikel, early absentee voters had her leading in the race to replace Young 53%-47%.  When all poll voters were accounted for, she was losing to anti-recall candidate J. Minton Brown, Jr., a complete political unknown until this recall election.  As the campaign wore on, more and more Yorba Linda voters turned on Rikel.

Candidates to succeed Craig Young if he is recalled.
Completed Precincts: 22 of 22
Vote Count Percentage
J. MINTON BROWN JR. 4,412 50.1%
NANCY RIKEL 4,400 49.9%

The one bright spot for YLRRR and the only minor dark cloud for anti-recall forces was in the election for the replacement candidate if Lindsey were recalled.  YLRRR-backed Jeff Decker handily beat anti-recall Matt Palmer.  While neither Brown nor Rikel is on the November ballot, both Decker and Palmer are running for Council seats in November.  Lindsey is also running for re-election in November; if the recall had succeeded, Lindsey would have only missed out on the final weeks of his current term, which expires in November.

With Palmer unable to capitalize on the anti-recall wave in October against Decker, this does not bode well for him in November when he won’t even have the coattails against the recall available to him.  YLRRR will likely continue to support Decker, but those who are anti-YLRRR will have to unite behind a different candidate with a better chance of beating Decker.

Candidates to succeed Thomas H. Lindsey if he is recalled.
Completed Precincts: 22 of 22
Vote Count Percentage
JEFFREY N. DECKER 4,574 52.3%
MATT PALMER 4,167 47.7%

While the percentages seem to show Rikel and Decker outperforming the recall, that’s not true when you look at the actual votes cast.  More people voted for either recall than voted for Rikel or Decker.  The numbers bare out one clear conclusion when looking at the anti-recall votes, a significant number of Yorba Lindans voted “No” on the Recall and refused to vote for any of the replacement candidates.  Clearly, voters heeded the “No on the Recall” campaign’s clear message (avoiding the infamous and schizophrenic message of “No on the Recall, Yes on Bustamante” that confused anti-recall Democrats 11 years ago).

Posted in Yorba Linda | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

BREAKING NEWS: Yorba Linda Recall Going Down in Flames

Posted by Chris Nguyen on October 7, 2014

For the first time in nearly a quarter-century, a recall in Orange County has been defeated at the ballot box.

In early returns, Yorba Linda voters have overwhelmingly defeated the recall attempts against Mayor Craig Young and Councilman Tom Lindsey by a 58%-42% margin.

In the now-moot replacement candidate race, pro-recall candidates Nancy Rikel and Jeff Decker led anti-recall candidates J. Minton Brown and Matt Palmer by 53%-47% margins.  However, Rikel and Decker got fewer votes than Yes on the Recall did, so it’s quite likely a significant number of voters who opposed the recall refused to vote for replacement candidates.

Young will be able to serve out his term until it expires in 2016. Lindsey will be able to serve out his term until it expires in November. Lindsey is seeking reelection on the November ballot.

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

OC GOP Endorsements Committee: Round 3 of 3

Posted by Chris Nguyen on October 7, 2014

We’re here for the third and final meeting of the OC GOP Endorsements Committee who will make recommendations to the OC GOP Central Committee.

The Endorsements Committee is chaired by Mark Bucher. Members include Jerry Jackson, Jeff Matthews, Peggy Huang, Mary Young, and Thomas Gordon. Gordon arrives after the second candidate, Bill Green.

On tonight’s docket are:

  • David Bass – Lake Forest City Council
  • William L. (Bill) Green – South Coast Water District
  • Miguel A. Gonzalez – Santa Ana City Council, Ward 6
  • Rene Gomez – Santa Ana City Council, Ward 2
  • Bryan Palomares – Stanton City Council
  • Annette Gibson – Laguna Beach Unified School District
  • Jon Peat – Cypress City Council

Dave Bass was appointed to the Lake Forest City Council in 2013 to replace Peter Herzog. He speaks about his extensive background in municipal government finance. He was brought in to help Bell recover money from its indicted City Council, City Manager, and Assistant City Manager.

Scott Voigts speaks on behalf of Bass. He speaks about his conservative credentials and council qualifications.

Jeff Matthews asks if there are still enough spots for endorsement available.

Mark Bucher confirms there are.

Peggy Huang asks about eminent domain.

Bass says he would support eminent domain for public purposes such as a park.

Mary Young asks if he’d support eminent domain for a park if several homes were seized.

Bass says he would not.

BASS RECOMMENDED UNANIMOUSLY FOR ENDORSEMENT FOR LAKE FOREST CITY COUNCIL.

Bill Green is permitted to conference call in from Hawaii. He served in the military, and in his first election, he volunteered for Richard Nixon. He worked in private industry for 35 years. He speaks about his son who worked for Darrell Issa. He speaks about his campaign team. He was Dennis Hollingsworth’s alternate on the Riverside County Central Committee and headed the Riverside County Lincoln Club.

Peggy Huang asks about Green’s position on Proposition 1, the state water bond.

He states he is generally opposed to bonds but supports the water bond especially with the current drought.

Huang asks him about his statements on his questionnaire about fiscal health of the district.

He speaks about increasing efficiency, recycled water, and various other water policy issues.

Huang asks about the Bay Delta peripheral canal or the Governor’s tunnel.

Green would be open to either one. His goal is ensuring water flow. He will be on a Metropolitan Water District inspection tour later in October.

Mark Bucher expresses his awe at Huang’s water knowledge.

Huang explains her experience working on state water legislation.

Green’s phone disconnects.

GREEN RECOMMENDED UNANIMOUSLY FOR ENDORSEMENT FOR SOUTH COAST WATER DISTRICT.

Mike Gonzalez speaks about being a businessman in Santa Ana. He speaks about his community volunteerism.

Maribel Marroquin speaks about Gonzalez’s contributions of time, money, and food to her Maribel’s volunteers.

Clare Venegas of the Lincoln Club speaks about Gonzalez being endorsed by the Lincoln Club. She speaks about the help he has provided to Latino outreach efforts for Republicans.

Candidate Rene Gomez speaks about immigrating to the United States at age 14. He went to Santa Ana High School. He joined the army during the Persian Gulf War though he was deployed to Germany. He served in the National Guard afterward for six years. He earned his degree and entered business. He speaks of burdensome government regulations and taxation.

Jerry Jackson asks Gonzalez and Gomez about why they support Obamacare. The committee clarifies the question says they support the repeal of Obamacare. Jackson misread the question.

Young moves and Gordon seconds as Robert Hammond jokingly heckles in support.

GONZALEZ AND GOMEZ RECOMMENDED UNANIMOUSLY FOR ENDORSEMENT FOR SANTA ANA CITY COUNCIL.

Bryan Palomares is a 10-year Stanton homeowner and son of a single mother. He speaks about his wife and children. He went back to school in his late 20s and earned his MBA in his 30s.

Clare Venegas of the Lincoln Club speaks citing the club’s opposition to Measure GG, the sales tax increase in Stanton. She met Palomares who told her of his life story, his community efforts, and his opposition to sales tax increases while there have been significant pay raises for City employees.

Alexandria Coronado speaks against Palomares. She cites his protests in front of the Stanton Republican Headquarters.

Bucher and Venegas state they were both at the protest which opposed Measure GG – the same position the party has taken. However, Bucher notes David Shawver is in charge of the Stanton Headquarters. Shawver strongly supports Measure GG.

Coronado says Shawver’s wife and another woman are the ones running it day to day even though Shawver’s name is on the lease.

Young expresses outrage that Yes on GG walks are being run out of the Stanton Republican headquarters when the party endorsed No on GG.

Venegas the passes out photos of the Yes on GG walk at the Stanton Republican headquarters despite the OC GOP endorsing No on GG.

Venegas posted No on GG signs on the headquarters which were removed within an hour.

Huang asks Palomares about his answer on the city’s fiscal health on the questionnaire.

Palomares says he would pay employees commensurate with the market and education levels. He notes salary.com shows salaries of $35K-$40K on average for secretaries versus Stanton secretaries making nearly double. He cites various pieces of land purchased needlessly by Stanton and the city’s unwillingness to sell them.

Gordon asks about Kevin Carr adding Palomares on his flyers.

Palomares says he did not authorize that. He states that Carr has been a thorn in Shawver’s side. Palomares and Carr do agree in their opposition to both Measure GG and Shawver.

The Endorsements Committee criticizes Shawver as they have documents showing Shawver criticizing Palomares.

Palomares disputes Shawver’s claims of cronyism by pointing out that of the five incumbent Stanton City Council members, they live in two neighborhoods.

Bucher reminds the committee that Shawver ran with extensive union backing against John Moorlach for Supervisor. He warns that Shawver will likely launch a behind the scenes campaign to derail the endorsement of Palomares.

PALOMARES RECOMMENDED UNANIMOUSLY FOR ENDORSEMENT FOR STANTON CITY COUNCIL.

Annette Gibson rattles off a lot of information about the Laguna Beach Unified School District. She criticizes the district’s consultant contracts. She calls for greater fiscal accountability in the district. She speaks against Common Core.

Robert Hammond supports her under questioning from Mark Bucher.

Clare Venegas of the Lincoln Club says the club has endorsed Gibson.

Bucher asks Gibson about charter schools.

Gibson says she supports charter schools and the free market.

Peggy Huang asks about the consultants.

Gibson rattles off a number of high-dollar value consulting contracts from the district.

Thomas Gordon asks about the field of candidates.

Gibson says there are four candidates running for three seats. There are only two incumbents running.

GIBSON RECOMMENDED UNANIMOUSLY FOR ENDORSEMENT FOR LAGUNA BEACH UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT.

Alexandria Coronado says Jon Peat is absent due to needing to stay late on a work project at Raytheon. She says he is a great conservative and is the best candidate for Cypress City Council and is endorsed by the 2010 Republican-endorsed Councilman Rob Johnson.

The Endorsements Committee makes more jokes about David Shawver during their discussion of Peat’s endorsement request.

PEAT RECOMMENDED UNANIMOUSLY FOR ENDORSEMENT FOR CYPRESS CITY COUNCIL.

Endorsements Committee adjourns at 6:55 PM. The Central Committee will vote on the recommendation on October 20.

Posted in Cypress, Laguna Beach Unified School District, Lake Forest, Republican Central Committee, Santa Ana, South Coast Water District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Unions Care Nothing About Facts As They Desperately Attempt To Hold Power In CUSD

Posted by Greg Woodard on October 7, 2014

I am all for engaging in a healthy debate with liberals, particularly during election season.  And I am not such a Pollyanna that I do not recognize that candidates on both sides embellish their credentials and take liberties in their attacks on their opponents.  However, when unions make up “facts” simply to smear a good candidate who opposes their stranglehold on school board power, well I will not let that go unchallenged.

In the battle for control in the Capistrano Unified School District Board, the union has stooped to outright lies to its members in an effort to sway the vote.  Sally White, President of the Capistrano Unified Education Association (CUEA), recently sent an email to CUSD retirees.  In the email, she falsely states that Craig Alexander, a conservative candidate for Area 4, has “sued the district several times.”  I spoke with Craig (for full disclosure, I am supporting Craig in this election), and he assured me that he has never once sued the district, either as an attorney (his profession) or personally, let alone sued the district “several times.”  Craig sent Ms. White a letter nearly two weeks ago in an attempt to clear up the misconception that he had sued the district several times, but, not surprisingly, he has not heard back from her.  Of course, Ms. White has no support for her bald assertion, and I would challenge her to either produce some evidence that her claim is true, or issue a retraction and an apology to Craig (don’t worry, I won’t hold my breath).

In that same email, Ms. White endorses Lynn Hatton, career union candidate, in Area 7 against Julie Collier.  Ms. White predictably has nothing good to say about Ms. Collier, and the union makes no bones about how they feel about Julie, including entrapping her son into a false advertisement for the union against a charter school Julie supported.  The union also was silent as the charter school students had rocks thrown at them during school, likely by union supporters.

I have no respect for union hacks who use extorted dues to fuel their political ambitions.  But lying and using children to advocate their cause shows how truly classless these folks are.  If you live in the CUSD, you have a chance to send a message in November to the unions that their tactics and their bad policies will not be tolerated.  Craig Alexander, Julie Collier, and Ellen Addonizio (Area 6) are the parent-power advocates on the ballot next month, and I would encourage voters to support real change that will benefit the students, and not line the unions’ pockets (and reward bad behavior).

Posted in Capistrano Unified School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Protest Underway at Stanton GOP HQ Over Measure GG Sales Tax Increase

Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 20, 2014

A small protest is underway at the OC GOP Headquarters in Stanton against the Measure GG Sales Tax Increase on the November ballot.  While the OC GOP has officially endorsed against Measure GG, the headquarters is being run by Stanton Councilman David Shawver, who has vocally advocated the Measure GG Sales Tax Increase.

Shawver is hosting a meeting for some delegates of the California Republican Party, as the state party convention is underway this weekend.

The protesters are objecting to an atmosphere of tax-and-spend by Republicans, led by Shawver.  The protesters are also objecting to Measure GG’s sales tax increase that is 12.5% higher than the existing sales tax.

Additionally, the protesters have raised concerns that City resources are being used to promote the ballot measure, as can be seen on this page on the City of Stanton web site (in case the page gets taken down, OC Political has taken the liberty of archiving the page here) or this City press release.

The City of Stanton has argued that it has been cutting its budget to the bone since 2011, cutting $9 million from its general fund since then.  The protesters have raised concerns about the adequacy of these cuts, citing the levels of salaries of City employees and citing pay raises granted during since 2011, when the City is asking the voters to increase the sales tax:

  • $162,504: City Manager (15% pay raise in 2012)
  • $141,312: Community Development Director (5% pay raises in 2011 and 2012)
  • $134,580: Public Works Director/City Engineer
  • $128,172: Administrative Services Director
  • $122,076: Community Services Director (5% pay raise on August 12, 2014, just six months after becoming Community Services Director)
  • $97,572: Accounting Manager
  • $78,132: Code Enforcement/Parking Control Supervisor
  • $78,132: Facilities Maintenance Supervisor (5% pay raise on April 22, 2014)
  • $78,132: Associate Planner (5% pay raises in 2011, 2012, and 2013)

The full text of Measure GG is available from the Registrar of Voters (it’s the first 3.5 pages of the PDF).  The City Attorney’s impartial analysis is on page 4.  While the proponents of the Measure GG sales tax increase have dubbed it the “9-1-1/Public Safety and Essential City Services Protection Measure,” the impartial analysis notes, “The City would not be required to use the revenues raised by Measure GG for any special purpose or for any particular program or service.”

Pages 5-6 of the PDF from the Registrar has the argument in favor of GG, argument against GG, and the rebuttals to those two arguments.

Posted in Stanton | Tagged: , | 11 Comments »

Puppets and Puppeteers in local politics

Posted by Brenda McCune on September 19, 2014

Much has already been written about the Orange County Sheriff and the contract they won a short time ago to take over policing the city of Yorba Linda. While I opposed this effort, the world seems not to have ended. As a conservative, I believe that if things are not broken, you don’t fix them. Although there have been no serious issues with the department change and the transition, and the OCSD is really pleasant to deal with, there is no credible argument that citizens “saved” money. Accounting tricks are not savings, and all the new stuff that came with the sheriff moving into town, was paid for by someone, even if it did not get reflected in a line item in the contract.

The lingering question is though, was it really pay to play, and were the politicians acting on behalf of a Union who “scratched” their back?

The IE’s (Indepedent Expenditures) in the 2012 Yorba Linda City Council election, made it the most expensive in our city’s history. Our telephones and our mailboxes were bombarded with propaganda about what bad guys Gene Hernandez and Craig Young were.  In 2010, John Anderson’s words (Which I will never forget) related to the hit piece on Jan Horton, “I did not write that piece”, were just the beginning of a very ugly trend. Those hit pieces were paid for (and apparently authored by) the YLRRR. Of Course they were tremendously helpful to Tom Lindsey and John Anderson. Fast Forward to 2012, THEN we have the Police contract in play, the YLRRR hit pieces looked like child’s play compared to the big budget union coming into our town and our political process. In addition to the big budget slick mail campaign on behalf of their friends,  the union president and his wife, showed up to council meetings, repeatedly singing the praises of their favorite candidates, and never once disclosing their conflict of interest.

Those 2012 hit pieces, against newcomer Gene Hernandez, were for the specific purpose of returning to office the incumbents, Mark Schwing, and ….you guessed it, Nancy Rikel, Queen apparent of the current recall effort.

The issue of policing aside, is being in bed with the Union, something we should all be concerned about? Yeah, ya think?!? Additionally, I thought it interesting that Ms. Rikel did not seek the endorsement of the OCGOP in her current bid to return to office. The OCGOP, has been clear that candidates taking money from Unions will not receive an endorsement from the party. The additional problem that neither Ms. Rikel or Schwing have answered is the implication of their own legislative baby, Measure Y. The Yorba Linda ETHICS ordinance which PROHIBITS any candidate from taking any more that $250 from anY CONTRACTOR with the city. Hello? Anyone besides me bothered by this? The largest contract in the history of the city was awarded to the entity that employs the UNION who provided more financial support to the Schwing/Rikel campaign, as to make it the costliest election in the cities history.

“Well, what does that have to do with 2014?”, you say.

The Union President’s wife is a chiropractor. Yes, this is the same couple, with different last names, who appeared at the city council meetings related to the policing contract, and encouraged the council to approve the OCSD contract, signing the praises of John Anderson as “one of the good guys”. As it turns out, there has been a really nifty relationship with her and the union in her receipt of direct referrals of deputies injured on the job. You’ll be hearing about it soon enough and thankfully one of our supervisors are courageous enough to be undertaking an investigation. I am certain he will be issuing a press release sometime soon. It’s probably a safe bet, that it is not Sp. Spitzer. The point being, Yorba Lindans, wake up. Density is not, nor has it ever been the issue. The pandering and exchanging of favors in this organization seems to run far and wide.  Nancy Rikel and Mark Schwing  are eager to get their life time bene’s and keep making sure that contracts for things like policing the city and legal representation, get awarded to their buddies. You have fallen for the smoke screen. They knew you would. In the YL we so easily fall for their repeated carrot and the stick of the evil developers. Who really has their hand in your pockets, citizen? The time has come to wake up and look around.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Live from the Costa Mesa City Council Feet to the Fire Candidate Forum

Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 18, 2014

We’re live from the Costa Mesa City Council candidate forum sponsored by the Feet to the Fire Forum, a lively debate sponsored by the Daily Pilot and Voice of OC.

Your intrepid blogger walked in late due to having never been on the Orange Coast College campus before, and having to search for the right building.

All the candidates are present except for Katrina Foley.

Daily Pilot Editor John Canalis asks about density. Two loud women scream from the audience.

Jim Righeimer says no changes have been made to any zoning. No variance has allowed people to place more units than permitted under zoning. The two loud women object again when Righeimer points out Foley voted for variances that allow more units than zoning allowed for certain areas.

Jay Humphrey complains about density in an unincorporated area that Costa Mesa is about to annex (Colleen island).

Rita Simpson says each project needs to be mitigated but she supports the annexation of the expensive apartments in the Colleen island.

Alicia Perez of the Daily Pilot asks about lot sizes. Barbara Venezia of the Daily Pilot asks about LAFCO processes and maintaining prior zoning like in Santa Ana Heights.

Tony Capitelli suggests adding bike loans and public transportation.

Norberto Santana of the Voice of OC asks Righeimer about the Costa Mesa City birthday party and a legal settlement involving Dan Joyce, who oversaw the party.

Jim Righeimer says he is not allowed to answer personnel issues, but he does note that some people involved violated city procurement policies.

Jay Humphrey called it a mismanagement of the process.

An obnoxious group of about 20 people out of an audience of 100 keep cheering for every word that Humphrey says and booing everything Righeimer says, sometimes before he even finish his sentence.

Al Melone expresses concern about debating a personnel issue in public.

Lee Ramos says this is beating a dead horse. He says the party was done irresponsibly, but the Council by a 5-0 vote has resolved the issue.

Barbara Venezia of the Daily Pilot asks about a sports park at Fairview Park.

Lee Ramos says he reveres Fairview Park the way it is. He calls for a study. He has spoken with Parks Commissioners and the school district. He speaks about asking community members and stakeholders for their perspectives.

Alicia Lopez of the Daily Pilot asks about community input.

Jim Righeimer says listening is not trying to be all things to all people and doing what each public commenter says.

Tony Capitelli says perception is reality in politics. He says Righeimer is unable to build consensus on important issues like homelessness. He wishes to revert to the old public comment policy. He says the Council has executive, legislative, and judicial functions.

John Canalis of the Daily Pilot asks about the old public comment system where all public commenters spoke at the beginning of Council meetings while the new policy has part of public comment at the beginning of the meeting and the remainder at the end.

Chris Bunyan blasts the new policy stating that Righeimer implemented it because he didn’t like being criticized.

Jay Humphrey says they didn’t have this problem in the past.

Chris Bunyan interjects that Righeimer caused public uproar about the Council.

Barbara Venezia of the Daily Pilot asks about why Costa Mesa didn’t join Newport Beach on group homes.

Jim Righeimer points out that a judge ruled against Newport Beach. He states it is important to follow state and federal law.

Chris Bunyan criticizes the structure of a task force on rehabilitation homes. He says no data is being collected. He points to an ordinance in the City of Orange that limits distances between rehabilitation homes. Bunyan blames the rehabilitation homes and the bed count for increasing crime on the east side.

Al Melone says the city is on the right track. He says the City cannot endure multimillion lawsuits for violating state law.

Rits Simpson expresses her agreement with Melone.

Barbara Venezia of the Daily Pilot asks about campaign contributions from rehabilitation homes.

Jim Righeimer says he returned the sole contribution he received from rehabilitation homes while the other candidates indicated that they did not receive any.

Jay Humphrey says Wendy Leece introduced the city’s rehabilitation home ordinance.

Lee Ramos expresses concern about the city’s political fracturing. He says Costa Mesa has to work together. He points to a local community group who is working on the rehabilitation home issue. He says it doesn’t matter who gets credit as long as the right thing is done (pointing to Humphrey crediting Leece on an ordinance).

John Canalis of the Daily Pilot asks about the Costa Mesa Police Department’s staffing levels.

Jim Righeimer notes crime rates dropped in 2013. (I’ve never heard audience members boo dropping crime rates until I came to this candidate forum.) He says all cities cut police during the 2008-09 financial crisis, which he notes was a decision the Costa Mesa Council made before Righeimer was elected. He notes changes to city HR policies to more efficiently hire additional personnel to restore former police staffing levels.

Norberto Santana of the Voice of OC questions if Righeimer is consistent with his prior statements about changing policing methods.

Jim Righeimer says it makes sense to utilize police helicopters in partnership with neighboring cities rather than having one helicopter for a single city.

Jay Humphrey expresses concern about having new police officers instead of lateral transfers. He says Costa Mesa is not getting the top quality people applying for police jobs, just the bottom people.

Chris Bunyan says code enforcement is part of public safety, not just police and fire. He again refers to group homes. He says police have no reason to come to Righeimer’s city.

Tony Capitelli speaks about good friends who left the Costa Mesa Police Department for other cities. He says the City needs to come together.

Lee Ramos says he met with the City Manager. He says the new police chief came in and had a decrease in staffing levels. Ramos would like to increase police staffing levels over 18 months.

Al Melone wants to recruit police officers from cold states using the weather to attract top quality experienced police officers rather than local rookies.

Chris Bunyan points to vice squads and K9 units needing experienced police.

John Canalis of the Daily Pilot asks about Righeimer dropping his lawsuit against the police union.

Jim Righeimer says he would be willing to drop the suit if the union, its law firm, and its private investigator would come clean. He expresses concern about the law firm extorting city councils on behalf of police unions.

Jay Humphrey says the suit needs to be dropped to bring calm to the city, which would attract lateral transfers to the police department.

Norberto Santana of the Voice of OC asks Righeimer if he’s really going after the police system.

Jim Righeimer says the police union and the police department are separate entities. He says there are a lot of police officers who didn’t like what the police union did. He says unions have done this in other cities.

Alicia Perez of the Daily Pilot suggests that Righeimer’s attitude has been anti-union and that’s a non-local issue that gives the perception of not caring about the city. She asks if he’s interested in higher office.

Jim Righeimer says he has young children and doesn’t want to go to Sacramento. Righeimer says there is a massive pension liability.

Norberto Santana of the Voice of OV asks if 65% of Costa Mesa’s budget is the appropriate amount to spend on police and fire. He asks if it’s sustainable.

Jay Humphrey says the level is correct and has been the level for years. He calls public safety the app

Tony Capitelli says 65% is sustainable but not with 19% for pensions.

Lee Ramos says 80% is more appropriate for sustainability.

Al Melone is fine with 65%-80% but calls for increasing the retirement age for pensions.

Rita Simpson says CalPERS is demanding greater payments for unsustainable pensions.

John Canalis of the Daily Pilot asks Bunyan about how he would deal with unfunded pension liabilities.

Chris Bunyan says CalPERS hasn’t followed all of Jerry Brown’s recommendations for pension reform. He says fat pensions are gone. He says Costa Mesa needs to tighten its belts.

Jim Righeimer says there is no silver bullet. He says cities will go bankrupt which will force change. He criticizes the structure of the CalPERS board. He says Costa Mesa will be fine because they monitor their budget but other cities will go bankrupt.

Jay Humphrey says the City pension committee has called for increased contributions from both employer and employees to deal with the pension liability. Humphrey cites a single year’s returns as proof that investments are reducing the pension liability.

Tony Capitelli says employees need to pay the entire employee pension contribution and should replicate the federal pension plan. He expresses concern that new employees and his generation are forced to pay for the largesse of older generations.

Jim Righeimer says the State prevents cities and employees from contributing more to the pension. He wants to establish a balance where police are not paying 25% of their salaries to pensions.

Lee Ramos is concerned that the only ways to fix the liability problem is via sales tax, Sacramento changes, bonds, or property taxes.

Al Melone calls for placing money in the bank from higher contributions as insurance against future liabilities rather than paying CalPERS more.

Alicia Perez of the Daily Pilot asks about building supportive housing.

Tony Capitelli says Civic Center Park was thr wrong location, and that Mercy House had applied for a number of other locations, some of which are in industrial/commercial areas rather than residential areas.

Jay Humphrey says Costa Mesa should provide housing for the homeless. He wants to convert motels into SROs. He says the City did this in the 1990s and was a model for the County.

Lee Ramos questions where these places were.

Jay Humphrey gives locations.

Several people shout that these are affordable homes for seniors not the homeless.

Tony Capitelli says there needs to be more collaboration with the community.

Chris Bunyan says hotels should start to take on more homeless as the hotels age. He calls Righeimer anti-hotel.

Al Melone asks where will the funding for all of this come from. He says Santa Monica and LA have much worse homeless problems.

Jim Righeimer says Costa Mesa has attracted homeless by providing numerous services. He says all cities need to provide these services so every city has its fair share. He says some hotel slumlords are overcharging the homeless for tiny spaces, like five people on 180 square feet.

Tony Capitelli says nonprofits, state, and federal funding pays for these. He says they should encourage community development rather than shelters.

Lee Ramos asks where the money is that Capitelli is referring to.

Tony Capitelli points to one grant the City Council voted against.

Barbara Venezia of the Daily Pilot asks yes or no on medical marijuana:
Jay Humphrey says Yes.
Tony Capitelli says Yes.
Lee Ramos says Yes.
Al Melone says No.
Rita Simpson says No.
Jim Righeimer says No if not medical.
Chris Bunyan says Yes.

Barbara Venezia of the Daily Pilot asks Yes or No on messages on toilet seats:
Jay Humphrey says Yes.
Tony Capitelli says Yes.
Lee Ramos says No.
Al Melone says No.
Rita Simpson says No.
Jim Righeimer says No.
Chris Bunyan says Yes.

Norberto Santana of the Voice of OC asks about taking four years with all of Righeimer’s promises and only outsourcing trash.

Jim Righeimer says they can’t outsource the city. He says general employee average total compensation is $105,000. He says the City worked with city employees to cap cash outs of employee vacation pay when they separate from employment.

John Canalis of the Daily Pilot asks about Banning Ranch.

Chris Bunyan says he has fought developing Banning Ranch. He criticizes Righeimer.

Jim Righeimer says it’s Newport Beach’s decision.

Rita Simpson says it’s the Coastal Commission’s decision.

Lee Ramos says there needs to be tighter control of the project.

Tony Capitelli calls for mitigation.

Jay Humphrey opposes the project.

Your blogger missed the final Yes or No question, but here are the answers (if someone recalls the answer please comment below or click on contact us above):
Jay Humphrey says No.
Tony Capitelli says says Yes.
Lee Ramos says Yes.
Al Melone says Yes.
Rita Simpson says Yes.
Jim Righeimer says Yes.
Chris Bunyan says No.

This blogger apologizes for any errors and omissions. Feet to the Fire debates are always the most difficult events to live blog due to their quick and lively pace.  Additionally, tonight’s extremely disruptive audience made it difficult to hear the candidates and panelists at times.

Posted in Costa Mesa | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Live from OC GOP Central Committee: Endorsements Round 2

Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 15, 2014

We’re live from OC GOP Central Committee for the second round of endorsements to decide on the recommendations of the Endorsements Committee, which we covered here and here. Please recall that the OC GOP Central Committee already made official early endorsements in August.

As is usual for an endorsements meeting, several new alternates are sworn in.

There are too many candidates and elected officials here to list them all.

The party is honoring Scott Loenhorst, who flew down from Silicon Valley tonight for the Central Committee meeting. Loenhorst left his position as OC GOP Executive Director three weeks ago to join Google.

On the docket tonight are:

Recommended for Endorsement
Angie Cano – Santa Ana Unified School District
Tim Surridge – Orange Unified School District, Trustee Area 5
Jim Cunneen – Fountain Valley School District
Sandra Crandall – Fountain Valley School District
Rick Ledesma – Orange Unified School District, Trustee Area 7   
John Briscoe – Ocean View School District
Andrew Hamilton – Lake Forest City Council
Elaine Gennawey – Laguna Niguel City Council
John Jennings – Laguna Niguel City Council
Shawn Dewane – Orange County Water District, Division 7
Chuck Perry – Costa Mesa Sanitary District
Ron Amburgey – Mesa Water District, Division 4
Duffy Duffield – Newport Beach City Council, District 3
Scott Peotter – Newport Beach City Council, District 6
Kevin Muldoon – Newport Beach City Council, District 4
MJ Noor – Fullerton Joint Union High School District
Tracy Pellman – Ocean View School District
Ed Sachs – Mission Viejo City Council
Rhonda Reardon – Mission Viejo City Council
Wendy Bucknum – Mission Viejo City Council
Kerry Ferguson – San Juan Capistrano City Council
Greg Sebourn – Fullerton City Council
Steve Vargas – Brea City Council
Cecilia Hupp – Brea City Council
John Tomlinson – Dana Point City Council
David Yang – Tustin Unified School District
Baron Night – Buena Park City Council

Recommended Endorsement Against
Measure I – Fullerton Joint Union High School District Bond
Measure H – Anaheim Union High School District Bond
Measure J – North Orange County Community College District Bond
Measure K – Orange Unified School District Bond

Recommended Neutral/Not Endorsed
Measure Z – Rancho Santa Margarita
Brad McGirr – Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
Michael Vaughn – Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
Jesse Petrilla – Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
Laurie Biehl – Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
Don Chadd – Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
Jerry Holloway – Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
Sean Paden – Fullerton City Council
Larry Bennett – Fullerton City Council
Michael Vo – Fountain Valley City Council
Barbara Delgleize – Huntington Beach City Council

No Vote
Tony Capitelli – Costa Mesa City Council
Leslie Daigle – Orange County Water District, Division 5

Additions
Tim Brown – San Clemente City Council

No Longer Being Considered
Doug Pettibone – Anaheim City Council
James Vanderbilt – Anaheim City Council
Kris Murray – Anaheim City Council
Gail Eastman – Anaheim City Council

Fred Whitaker moves and Brett Barbre seconds the above list in their entirety.

Newport Beach City Council is pulled for further discussion.

Tim Brown will be considered for San Clemente City Council on the floor of Central Committee.

Tracy Pellman and John Briscoe in Ocean View School District are pulled for discussion.

Tim Surridge and Rick Ledesma in Orange Unified School District are pulled for discussion.

Sean Paden running for Fullerton City Council is pulled for discussion.

Michael Vo running for Fountain Valley City Council is pulled for discussion.

Fred Whitaker moves and Denis Bilodeau seconds to endorse Tim Surridge and Rick Ledesma for Orange Unified School District.

Whitaker says that Surridge and Ledesma are both good Republicans. He speaks about their conservative voting records. Whitaker warns that Surridge’s opponent is Florice Hoffman, a liberal union lawyer who ran against Ed Royce. Ledesma’s opponent is also a liberal Democrat, Tim Perez.

Deborah Pauly speaks about Surridge and Ledesma voting for the bond. She said they both promised her they would not vote for a bond.

The vote sounds like 50/50, thereby falling short of the 2/3 vote needed.

NO ENDORSEMENT FOR ORANGE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT.

Kermit Marsh moves to endorse both Tracy Pellman and John Briscoe for Ocean View School District. Scott Voigts seconds.

Marsh states that the two have slung mud at each other, and he is moving them together to force them to be considered together. Marsh lives in the district and his children attend Ocean View schools. He says the teachers union supported Pellman and opposed Briscoe in 2010. He says the teachers unions now oppose Pellman and quietly support Briscoe in 2014; he has had five teachers confirm this.

BRISCOE AND PELLMAN ENDORSED FOR OCEAN VIEW SCHOOL DISTRICT.

Steve Baric moves and Brett Barbre seconds the endorsement of Duffy Duffield.

Baric says these three candidates took the time to apply. He calls them reformers who oppose the dock tax. He says their principles are consistent with Republican Party principles.

Mary Young wants all candidates considered, including Duffield’s opponent, Rush Hill.

DUFFIELD ENDORSED FOR NEWPORT BEACH CITY COUNCIL

Brett Barbre moves and John Warner seconds the endorsement of Scott Peotter.

PEOTTER ENDORSED FOR NEWPORT BEACH CITY COUNCIL

Lee Lowery moves and Zonya Townsend seconds the endorsement of Kevin Muldoon.

MULDOON ENDORSED FOR NEWPORT BEACH CITY COUNCIL

Brett Barbre moves and Mary Young seconds the endorsement of Wendy Bucknum.

Barbre speaks of Bucknum’s volunteerism on behalf of Republicans and her conservative principles.

Steve Sarkis asks about the he-said-she-said emails in Mission Viejo. Sarkis asks Bucher if the Endorsements Committee reviewed the issues raised. Bucher confirms they did.

BUCKNUM ENDORSED FOR MISSION VIEJO CITY COUNCIL.

Mary Young moves and Steve Nagel seconds the endorsement of Rhonda Reardon.

REARDON ENDORSED FOR MISSION VIEJO CITY COUNCIL.

Mark McCurdy speaks about Sean Paden’s city service and conservative principles.

Fred Whitaker states that the Endorsements Committee made a decision to not recommend Sean Paden or Larry Bennett since there are more Republicans than seats.

Thomas Gordon says the Republican team of Bruce Whitaker and Greg Sebourn have endorsed Sean Paden and that the Republican Party needs to send Whitaker and Sebourn a teammate in Paden.

Shawn Nelson says he agrees with Fred Whitaker. He says he has not endorsed either candidate. He says neither have been in the trenches.

TJ Fuentes moves and John W. Briscoe seconds to endorse no one (other than Greg Sebourn who was endorsed on the consent calendar).

NO SECOND ENDORSEMENT FOR FULLERTON CITY COUNCIL.

Steve Nagel moves and Peggy Huang seconds the endorsement of Michael Vo for Fountain Valley City Council. He notes that the OC GOP endorsed McCurdy, Vo, and John Collins four years ago.

Scott Peotter notes that Vo supported evergreen contracts and likes various Democrats on his Facebook page.

NO SECOND ENDORSEMENT FOR FOUNTAIN VALLEY CITY COUNCIL.

Amazingly, endorsements completed less than one hour after it began.

Scott Baugh speaks about the various Republican headquarters.

Meeting Adjourned.

Posted in Republican Central Committee | 6 Comments »

 
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