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Posts Tagged ‘Bob Huff’

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

No Surprise with OC GOP Endorsements: Chang for Senate, Kim for Assembly, Do for Supervisor

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 2, 2015

The OC GOP Central Committee is convened in a special meeting tonight to consider early endorsements for Assemblyman Ling-Ling Chang for the 29th Senate District (being vacated by the termed out Bob Huff), Assemblywoman Young Kim for re-election in the 65th Assembly District, and Supervisor Andrew Do for re-election in the 1st Supervisorial District.

7:09 PM: Three new alternates were sworn in: J. Minton Brown (for Gene Hernandez), Ceci Iglesias (for Bob Huff), and Sara Catalan (for Ed Royce).

7:10 PM: Roll call began.

7:14 PM: Roll call was completed, and a quorum established.

7:15 PM: Chairman Fred Whitaker spoke about the OC GOP’s priorities in key State and County seats. County GOP endorsements are required before California Republican Party resources can help a candidate. In SD-29, that requires three county parties: Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino. In AD-65, it only requires Orange.

7:20 PM: Steve Sarkis moved and Lake Forest Mayor Scott Voigts seconded the endorsement of Supervisor Andrew Do’s re-election.

7:21 PM: Do spoke of his 43-vote victory over front runner Lou Correa earlier this year. He spoke of the importance of the OC GOP endorsement in the special election against Correa. He spoke of having an all-Republican Board of Supervisors. He spoke of his seat having a 12% Democratic registration advantage. He reminded the OC GOP of union expenditures from the special election. He spoke of his efforts for transparency, fiscal responsibility, and public safety.

7:25 PM: Whitaker asked if there were any questions.

7:26 PM: Supervisor Todd Spitzer praisee Supervisor Do as an excellent and honorable member of the Board of Supervisors.

7:27 PM: Lake Forest Mayor Scott Voigts called the question.

7:27 PM: Fountain Valley Councilman Mark McCurdy asked Do about his efforts on AB 109.

7:27 PM: Do said he works with Probation to keep track of trends and take action when there are spikes in crime in local areas.

7:28 PM: Allan Bartlett thanked Do for his efforts against redevelopment.

7:29 PM: Do endorsed unanimously 45-0.

7:30 PM: Whitaker reads a letter from Congressman Ed Royce that describes how she is an anti-tax, pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment Republican legislator.

7:31 PM: Young Kim thanks the OC GOP for its efforts last year to defeat Sharon Quirk-Silva and break the Democrats’ 2/3 supermajority in the State Assembly. She speaks of fighting against new taxes. She says she cast over 2,400 votes as an Assemblymember. She says she has a pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, and pro-taxpayer record. She says she has an
“A” rating from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. She says she helped stop $30 billion in tax increases. She notes she has to vote to represent her constituents. She warns she is the #1 target set, and Democrats have $16 million for Assembly seats across the State. She warns that Sharon Quirk-Silva has $350,000 cash on hand while Kim has $450,000 cash on hand. Kim spent $2.2 million in 2014 while Quirk-Silva spent $4.5 million.

7:37 PM: Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang asked when did Quirk-Silva began her campaign to unseat Kim.

7:38 PM: Kim stated that the day she was sworn in, the Speaker of the Assembly started seeking an Asian candidate to unseat Kim. In March, the Democrats gave up on finding an Asian challenger and backed a new bid by Quirk-Silva.

7:39 PM: McCurdy criticized Kim’s voting record on vaccinations, redevelopment, and civil asset forfeiture.

7:40 PM: Kim stated vaccinations were a very personal decision. Kim spoke of her daughter’s two brain surgeries and compromised immune system.

She stated on redevelopment, she expressed concern to the redevelopment bill’s author, Assemblyman Luis Alejo, on property rights and eminent domain. Alejo assured her he would fix those items. She voted for the bill based on Alejo’s promise to fix the bill. When the bill returned to the Assembly for a concurrence vote, she did not vote for it because the promise was not kept.

On asset forfeiture, she said she spoke to law enforcement in her district who stated the asset forfeiture bill would make it more difficult for law enforcement to fight crime.

7:44 PM: Alexandria Coronado says she received 26 emails in opposition to Kim on redevelopment and vaccinations. She stated the running theme on the emails was that she was not responsive to their concerns.

7:45 PM: Kim explained that she had scheduled a meeting with the group in question but ran into conflict with the legislative busy period. She tried to reschedule, but the bill vote occurred before this rescheduled meeting could take place during the very rapid end-of-session period when she was required to be in Sacramento and could not get down to the district. She offered to meet with them now and left voicemails with them. 

7:48 PM: Someone named Mike Glenn asked about civil forfeiture and redevelopment.

7:48 PM: Kim explained law enforcement’s needs on civil forfeiture. She reiterated she did not support the redevelopment bill when it returned to the Assembly for a concurrence vote.

7:50 PM: Ed Gunderson asked Kim why she supported the LGBT Pride Month resolution.

7:51 PM: Kim stated the resolution, which did not have the force of law, recognized the contributions of all people, including LGBT individuals. She noted the California Republican Party’s chartering of the Log Cabin Republicans. She stated she voted for tolerance and inclusiveness.

7:52 PM: Allan Bartlett asked about asset forfeiture.

7:53 PM: Kim stated she voted her conscience in the interests of her district.

7:54 PM: Sara Catalan moves and Steve Sarkis seconds an endorsement fof Kim.

7:55 PM: Stanton Councilman David Shawver supported Kim, speaking of how hardworking Kim is. He spoke of the party’s resources, including time, manpower, and money, spent to keep the 65th Assembly District seat. He calls for the party to unify behind Kim to keep the seat. He said she has repeatedly and consistently been a fixture in the district.

7:58 PM: Zonya Townsend proposed delaying Kim’s early endorsement, citing her vote on SB 277, the vaccination bill, preferring a later endorsement. She stated many Democrats left their party over SB 277. Townsend argued the OC GOP resolution was contrary to Kim’s position. She criticized Kim for speaking on the Assembly Floor in favor of SB 277.

8:00 PM: Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang spoke of Kim being the only candidate who could defeat Quirk-Silva. She warned that Quirk-Silva is everywhere and that Quirk-Silva would be a far, far worse vote in the Assembly. She plead for people to look at the bigger picture. She warned that Democrats would spend millions in a presidential election year to capture the 65th Assembly District seat.

8:02 PM: Mike Glenn stated property rights are important. He said law enforcement should not take people’s assets, their property. He stated people should have the right to do what they want with their own body, and cited the vaccination bill. He said eminent domain threatens property rights. He stated he wanted to delay Kim’s endorsement, not oppose it.

8:04 PM: Assemblyman Matt Harper warned that Quirk-Silva is a hard worker who believes she is a little Loretta Sanchez. He called Quirk-Silva a true believer in liberalism. Harper stated Kim is one of the most capable members of articulating conservative positions making liberals wince. Harper stated people are quibbling with literally just a handful of votes.

8:06 PM: Zonya Townsend raised a point of parliamentary inquiry about delaying Kim’s endorsement instead of opposing.

8:07 PM: Supervisor Todd Spitzer raised a point of inquiry about what would a delay accomplish.

8:08 PM: Ed Gunderson said he agreed with Kim on 80%-90% of issues. Gunderson attacked the California Republican Party’s decision to charter the Log Cabin Republicans. He stated his concern of Kim contacting law enforcement on the civil forfeiture bill. He criticized her vaccination vote.

8:10 PM: Lake Forest Mayor Scott Voigts made a point of inquiry noting that 5 votes out of 2,400 means 99.9% of her votes are not being criticized.

8:11 PM: Kim overwhelmingly endorsed for re-election with 43 votes.

8:13 PM: Whitaker described the 29th Senate District, including Democrats moving Sukhee Kang from Irvine to run for the seat.

8:15 PM: Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang spoke of giving up a safe Republican Assembly seat to run for a target Senate seat. She spoke of having reduced legislative tenure under the new term limits by switching houses. She spoke of her conservative record in Sacramento.

8:17 PM: McCurdy asked Chang about her votes on redevelopment and civil asset forfeiture. He asked if she endorsed or contributed to Democrats or if she is pro-life.

8:18 PM: Chang pointed out she voted against the redevelopment bill on concurrence. She stated that due process was still in place on civil asset forfeiture. She stayed she has never endorsed a Democrat in a partisan race and that she is personally pro-life.

8:19 PM: Zonya Townsend asked Chang’s position on abortion and Planned Parenthood.

8:20 PM: Chang reiterated she is personally pro-life, and there are no Assembly votes on funding Planned Parenthood.

8:21 PM: Steve Sarkis moved and Stanton Councilman David Shawver seconded an endorsement for Chang.

8:22 PM: No opposition speakers rise.

8:22 PM: Chang endorsed by voice vote with only McCurdy in opposition.

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 29th Senate District, 55th Assembly District, 65th Assembly District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Education Revolution in Orange County: Part II of III – Parent Trigger Law and Palm Lane Elementary

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 30, 2015

Anaheim City School DistrictLast week, I began my three-part series on the education revolution brewing in Orange County with a post on the rapid increase in the number of charter schools in the county after years of stagnation.

In this second post, I will turn to the use of the Parent Trigger Law at Palm Lane Elementary School in the Anaheim City School District.  My colleague, Craig Alexander, was the first person to break the news when he posted here on OC Political that Superior Court Judge Andrew Banks had ruled in favor of the parents in Ochoa vs. Anaheim City School District when Palm Lane Elementary School families used the Parent Trigger Law to petition for a public charter school.

This is a watershed moment in Orange County education.  Should the judge’s ruling stand, this will be the first successful use of the Parent Trigger Law in Orange County and one of just a handful in California.

Utilizing the Parent Trigger Law allows parents of students in failing schools to take back control of their schools like never before.  For many parents in lower-income areas that have been traditionally pro-union, using the Parent Trigger Law exposes them to the first time to the hostility of the California Teachers Association and the California School Employees Association ̣(and their local chapters, of course).  This is an eye-opening experience that causes many of these parents to turn against these unions that are impeding their efforts to improve their children’s education.

It is no surprise that Anaheim City School District administration are opposed to the use of the Parent Trigger Law because it is essentially an indictment of their failures at Palm Lane Elementary School.  Furthermore, the conversion of Palm Lane Elementary into a charter school weakens the Anaheim City School District administration’s control of the school (and its funding).

Four of the five Anaheim City School District trustees are in their first term on the school board, so they could hardly blamed for the failures at Palm Lane Elementary School, and when the petitions were submitted to the school district, two of the trustees had been in office less than six weeks while a third trustee had not yet even been seated.

Disappointingly, the Anaheim City School District trustees voted unanimously to appeal the judge’s ruling.  Not one trustee stepped back and asked themselves one basic question: “What is so horrible about a public charter school that I’m willing to spend an additional $600,000 to stop one at Palm Lane Elementary?”

The Anaheim City School District contends that only 48.43% of Palm Lane Elementary School parents provided valid signatures for the petition.  The Superior Court found at least 51.57% of signatures were valid, but the judge stopped counting at this point because it was clearly above the 50% threshold.

Even accepting the school district’s lower number, at what point do the Anaheim City School District administration and trustees take another step back and simply say, “Wow.  48% of parents at Palm Lane are so upset that they want to convert it into a public charter school.”  That’s not to say that the other 52% oppose a charter school; they simply did not sign the petition (if we use the school district’s numbers).

So, we now await the Court of Appeal, as the Anaheim City School District continues their battle against the parents of Palm Lane Elementary School.

In the second half of this post, I have excerpted four of the most stunning sections of the ruling by the judge.  The two longer excerpts give a glimpse into the truly offensive way in which the Anaheim City School District has handled this process.

What is the Parent Trigger Law?

Readers familiar with the Parent Trigger Law can skip down to the next section on the scathing court ruling.

In a nutshell, the Parent Trigger Law authorizes parents to petition for one of five types of reforms at their children’s school.  The school must meet legal definitions for a low-performing school for the petition to be valid.  A majority of parents must sign the petition in order to for one of the reforms to be implemented.  Yes, a majority of parents at the school must sign the petition.  This is a very high petition threshold. (Contrast that with ballot measures, a certain percentage far below a majority [varying from 5%-20% depending on the type/jurisdiction of measure] is needed to qualify a measure for an election, and most types of ballot measures pass with a majority vote.  Getting a majority to sign your petition is a much more challenging task than getting a majority to cast their ballots for your proposal.)

One of the five options for reform is launching a public charter school, and that is the route that Palm Lane Elementary School parents opted for in their petition to the Anaheim City School District.

The Parent Trigger Law was passed in 2010 by a bipartisan coalition of Sacramento lawmakers, and I don’t mean that a couple renegades from one party hopped on board with the other party to pass it.  This was authored by former Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero ̣̣(D-East Los Angeles) and Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff (R-San Dimas).  In the Senate, 12 Republicans and 11 Democrats formed the group of 23 Senators who voted to pass the bill; in the Assembly, it was 25 Republicans and 16 Democrats.  These weren’t rogue Democrats who joined the Republicans — this included the Democrats’ top leaders: then-Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, then-Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, and future Assembly Speaker John Perez.

Truly Scathing Court Ruling in Ochoa v. Anaheim City School District

After reading the full text of the judge’s decision that Craig posted, I am amazed that no one has quoted more extensively from it.  In the published sources I’ve seen, the quotes have been limited to the judge’s findings that the Anaheim City School District’s petition “rejection to be procedurally unfair, unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious” and regarding petition verification: “The deficiencies in the process used were substantial; so substantial that it made it an unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious and unfair process.”  (Craig in his original post also quoted “Clearly, the Respondents [the District] did not meet their obligations of good faith cooperation with respect to this issue and as mandated by the Act.”)

I am amazed no one has published more excerpts of the truly scathing court ruling.  As I read the full text of the ruling, I was actually angered and offended by the Anaheim City School District’s behavior.  Below are the four most stunning excerpts, and the two longer ones describe the repugnant fashion in which the Anaheim City School District conducted itself with regard to the petition.  In the court ruling, references to the “respondent” mean the Anaheim City School District while references to the “petitioners” mean the parents suing the school district in defense of the Parent Trigger petition.

Judge Banks noted about the school in question, “This proceeding involves parents of students at Palm Lane Elementary, a school whose performance over 10 of the last 11 years as measured by the legislatively imposed standards can be described as abysmal.”

The Anaheim City School District attempted to argue that the Court lacked jurisdiction because the parents had not completed all administrative remedies since the district had not rejected the petition. This is ludicrous because even the minutes of the school board meeting note that the motion was “to reject the Petition” of the Palm Lane parents. The Court described the school district’s brazen argument as:

The Respondent Board rejected the Petition in Exhibit 16…In the section “Action” the last sentence in relevant part reads “Accordingly the Petition…is rejected.”

Respondents sought to characterize the rejection as something less, arguing in the trial brief and at trial that the action of February 19th was not a final determination on the Petition (Respondent’s Trial Brief at page 1, lines 17-23 and page 25 lines 3-5). They presented their case in part on the theory that the Petition was returned as allowed under 5 CCR Section 4802.1(g)(j) and not rejected.  The language used by the District’s Board plainly says otherwise.  They rejected the Petition they did not return it.

The Respondents also argue that this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear this matter as well as to grant relief because the Petition was not rejected but only returned and therefore Petitioners have failed to exhaust their administrative remedies.  This argument fails because the Respondents rejected the Petition.

I find the rejection to be procedurally unfair, unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.

The school district attempted to argue that Palm Lane did not fit the criteria of a low-performing school for purposes of the Parent Trigger Law, relying on a truly bizarre rationale that the state Department of Education did not issue a 2014 adequate yearly progress report, so Palm Lane could not have “failed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP).”  The Court wrote:

The Respondents [sic] own internal communications admit to the fact that Palm Lane is a subject school subject to the [Parent Trigger] Act and has failed to make AYP.  Exhibits 29, 31, 32,67 and 80 are just some of those communications.

The reliance of the Respondents upon Exhibit 47 and the determination by State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Honorable Tom Torlakson, that no 2014 AYP report for elementary and other schools would be prepared by the California Department of Education did not provide a safe harbor against parents utilizing the Act as the Respondents argue.  Instead, it froze those schools and districts in their status based on prior measured AYP results.  The evidence clearly establishes that Palm Lane failed to make adequate yearly progress.  I therefore find that Palm Lane is a subject school under the Act.

In the Anaheim City School District’s rejection of the Parent Trigger petition, their findings noted that “The Petitioners failed to submit a separate document that identifies the lead petitioners.” The judge rips the school district to shreds for attempting to use this argument:

The evidence on the “lead petitioner list” issue was directly contradictory.  The Petitioners said they provided it when they delivered the signed petitions to the District at the District’s Office on January 14, 2015.  The Respondents said they never got it.  After considering all the evidence I resolve this issue in favor of the Petitioners.  In particular, I find the testimony of Alfonso Flores to be persuasive and he to be the most credible witness on this issue, and probably in the entire case.

I would be remiss however if I left the issue there.  The behavior of the Respondents [sic] personnel in doing absolutely nothing to determine who the lead petitioners were can not go without comment.  Wisely or not, the Act requires the Local Educational Agency (LEA) to work with the lead parent petitioners in the process.  In practical terms it means the Districts must cooperate and work together with the very people who seek to take from the District a school (and its funding etc) and to establish in its place a charter school.  No clearer repudiation of a school district’s performance could be imagined.

I find that the Respondents’ claimed ignorance of the identity of the lead parents and ignorance as to how to learn their identity (feigned and contrived ignorance in the Court’s view) is unreasonable.  They could have looked at the “sign in sheet” for January 14th when the petitions were delivered to see which parents were there – but they did not.  They could have called the name and phone number of the person listed on most of the petitions; which information was listed after the words:

“For more information, all interested persons, the school district, and others should contact:” (emphasis added)

[Name and number omitted by the Court]

And if that was not enough, immediately below the name and phone number of the contact person were the words:

“Supporting organizations”

with the name of two supporting organizations, one of which is headed by Senator Romero, with whom the evidence showed the Respondents were well acquainted.

Any of those acts would have been what a reasonable person would have done and what a reasonable process would have called for.  Instead, they manufactured a continuing state of ignorance as to the lead person identities.

Finally, and not to beat a dead horse, Senator Romero herself wrote to the Respondents and offered to put them in touch with and coordinate between the District and the lead parents (Exhibit 49, page TX 049-003 to 006).  Respondents never responded to her offer.

On July 2, 2015 while testifying before the Court the District Superintendent testified that even on that day she still did not know who the lead petitioners were.  The evidence established that Exhibit 97 (list of petitioning parents, i.e. lead petitioners) was again provided shortly after the District findings were announced on February 19, 2015.  How she could not know the identities is troubling.

Clearly, the Respondents did not meet their obligations of good faith cooperation with respect to this issue and as mandated by the Act.

The Court found the petition signature verification process to be”unreasonable, unfair and incomplete” and with just a few phone calls, the judge himself was able to confirm enough signatures to easily exceed the 50% threshold for the Parent Trigger petition.  Judge Banks brutally dissects the signature verification process:

Under the [Parent Trigger] Act and its related regulations, the Respondents as an LEA may verify signatures on petitions, but they are not required to do so; and if they undertake to do so their efforts must be reasonable. 5 CCR § 4802.1 (b).

I find that the process set up and utilized by Respondents was unreasonable, unfair and incomplete.

The process was developed by a temporary employee (Evelyn Gutierrez) who was given no training or education about the Act, the Regulations or the importance of what she was being asked to do.  She had no background, training or experience in handwriting analysis or comparison.  She was not supervised in any meaningful regard. She received no written procedures to follow.  She had to develop the script she used when calling parents phone numbers.  The deficiencies in the process used were substantial; so substantial that it made it an unreasonable, arbitrary, caprcious [sic] and unfair process.  In fairness it must be noted that Ms. Gutierrez did her best in the situation into which she was placed.

The result of this defective process was that valid signed petitions were not counted.  Ms. Gutierrez testified to several petitions she rejected that on reflection should have been determined valid.  In addition she testified that a number of petitions were placed by her in a “pending” status because she could not reach the parent signatory or for some other reason.  Someone, not Ms. Gutierrez, later decided to improperly classify those petitions as invalid.

A brief description of the signature verification process is in order.  Ms. Gutierrez would call the phone number twice to try and reach a parent signatory.  She called between approximated [sic] 8:30AM and 4:30PM. If she could not reach the person, she would put them in “pending”.  If she reached the parent she inquired about their signing the petition.  Calling only during normal working hours for the parents decreased the probability of making contact.

Some persons reached by phone said they had signed; others said their spouse signed; others said they could not recall if they signed and finally some denied they had signed.

Some children had separate petitions signed by each parent.  If the first petition signature could not be verified there was no attempt to look at the other signed petition to verify the accuracy of the signature on that petition.

In sum, there are numerous deficiencies in the process.  The result of the flawed process was that valid signatures sufficient to reach and exceed the 50% threshold were improperly excluded.

In the interest of brevity I attach and include a list of 29 students and parents utilized in argument and entitled “Improperly Invalidated Petitions (Child/Parent)”.  I have independently evaluated the evidence relating to some but not all of the 29, stopping once a total of 23 additional valid signed petitions were established.  Inasmuch as the Respondents determined and found the Petitioners were 12 valid petitions short there is no need to go further.  The Petitioners needed 367, the Court finds they presented a minimum of 378.  Using the aforementioned chart, the Court determines the following numbers referenced thereon were valid petitions: 1 – 7; 9; 13 -24; 27 -29.  The Court does not reach items 25 and 26.

The Anaheim City School District has much to answer for about the reprehensible way they handled this process.

Key Question for Anaheim City School District Trustees

To reiterate my point from earlier: each Trustee should take a look in the mirror, and then, each should ask and answer this question:

“What is so horrible about a public charter school that I’m willing to spend an additional $600,000 to stop one at Palm Lane Elementary?”

Posted in Anaheim City School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

No Run-Off, Swearing-In Scheduled: Senator-Elect Moorlach’s Lead Shrinks by Another 25 Votes, But Registrar Virtually Done Counting

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 20, 2015

California State Senator-Elect John M. W. Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)

California State Senator-Elect
John M. W. Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)

The sixth results (yesterday’s count) are in, and the Registrar of Voters actually finished counting all ballots in their possession.  The only remaining ballots are SB 29 ballots that will arrive in the mail today.

2,672 SB 29 ballots were counted, with 2,440 of those arriving on Wednesday and 232 arriving yesterday.  Only a tiny number of SB 29 ballots are expected to arrive today.

This sixth update has the penultimate results, as the seventh update tonight will be the final numbers from the Registrar of Voters:

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Completed Precincts: 248 of 248
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 38,111 50.3%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 33,403 44.1%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 2,619 3.5%
Louise Stewardson (W) 1,695 2.2%


Moorlach gained 1,718 votes, Wagner 1,533, Namazi 129, and Stewardson 106.  In other words, Moorlach gained 1,718 of the newly-counted votes (49.3%) while the rest of the field gained 1,768 of the newly-counted votes (50.7%).

Moorlach was ahead of 50% by 247 votes for the last Election Night count, which shrunk by 25 down to 222 votes after Wednesday’s count, and that lead shrunk by another 25 votes, still leaving Moorlach 197 votes above the 50% mark.  I project that the remaining SB 29 ballots left are far, far fewer than 197; I’ll go out on a limb and say there’s probably less than 10 of those ballots out there.

Based on the Election Night returns and trends, OC Political was the first place to call the election in print when we did so on Election Night at 10:31 PM, and we stood by the call even as a number of other places said late ballots would trend away from Moorlach.

Senator Sharon Runner was sworn in yesterday in the State Capitol after winning the SD-21 special election, which was held the same day as the SD-37 special election.  Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff had invited Senator-Elect John Moorlach to be sworn in on the same day, but Moorlach opted to wait and will also take the oath of office in the district.  He plans to be sworn in on Sunday at 4:00 PM in the Chapel at the Orange County Rescue Mission’s Village of Hope at 1 Hope Drive in Tustin.

Posted in 37th Senate District | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Assembly Member Wagner Announces Early Endorsements for State Senate Bid

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on December 9, 2014

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


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

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

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

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

More state and local endorsements will be announced shortly.

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

# # #

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

New State Legislators Sworn in Today

Posted by Chris Nguyen on December 1, 2014

California State CapitolIt’s the first Monday in December of an even year, so California’s new and re-elected state legislators will be sworn in today at 12:00 PM.  27 of 80 Assembly Members (33.75%) and 10 of 40 Senators (25%) will be freshmen.

Republicans picked up enough seats to break the Democratic supermajorities in both houses.

Orange County’s delegation will have proportionally even more freshmen, with 4 out of 7 Assembly Members (57.14%) and 3 of 5 Senators (60%) holding their first terms in their respective houses.

While the new Senators already have their official web sites up, the new Assembly Members do not, presumably waiting for the swearing-in at 12:00 PM.

As of 12:00 PM, Orange County’s Assembly delegation will consist of:

  • Ling-Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar), 55th District (far northern Orange County, southeastern LA County, and Chino Hills) – First Term
  • Young Kim (R-Fullerton), 65th District (northwestern Orange County) – First Term
  • Don Wagner (R-Irvine), 68th District (eastern Orange County) – Third Term
  • Tom Daly (D-Anaheim), 69th District (central Orange County) – Second Term
  • Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), 72nd District (Orange County’s northern coast and Little Saigon) – Second Term
  • Bill Brough (R-Dana Point), 73rd District (southern Orange County) – First Term
  • Matt Harper (R-Huntington Beach), 74th District (Orange County’s central coast) – First Term

As of 12:00 PM, Orange County’s Senate delegation will consist of:

  • Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), 29th District (northern Orange County, southeastern LA County, and Chino Hills) – Midway Through Second Term
  • Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), 30th District (Buena Park and portions of LA County)
  • Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove), 34th District (central Orange County and portions of Long Beach) – First Term
  • Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), 36th District (southern Orange County and northern San Diego County) – First Term
  • Mimi Walters (R-Irvine), 37th District (eastern Orange County) – Midway Through Second Term

Walters is still a State Senator, as she will not be sworn into the United States Congress until January.

Posted in 29th Senate District, 30th Senate District, 34th Senate District, 36th Senate District, 37th Senate District, 55th Assembly District, 65th Assembly District, 68th Assembly District, 69th Assembly District, 72nd Assembly District, 73rd Assembly District, 74th Assembly District, State Assembly, State Senate | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Community Leaders Endorse Ceci Iglesias for 69th Assembly District

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on May 25, 2014

This came over the wire from the Ceci Iglesias for Assembly campaign…

Ceci Iglesias for Assembly

Community Leaders Endorse Ceci Iglesias for 69th Assembly District

ORANGE COUNTY, CA – Campaigning for the 69th Assembly District on the theme of “Put Community First,” Santa Ana Unified School District Board Member Ceci Iglesias today announced the endorsements of two respected community leaders, Reuben Martinez and Frank Garcia.

Martinez and Garcia join a long list of organizations and leaders endorsing Iglesias for Assembly, including the Lincoln Club of Orange County, the Hispanic 100, Los 32 por Mexico, the California Women’s Leadership Association, Atlas PAC, Assemblymen Travis Allen and Don Wagner, Senators Bob Huff and Mimi Walters, Orange County Supervisors Janet Nguyen and Todd Spitzer, Orange County Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen, and Orange County Board of Education Trustee Robert Hammond.

“I am honored to be endorsed by two such respected community leaders like Reuben Martinez and Frank Garcia,” Iglesias said. “My campaign for the Assembly is about putting community first, and I am grateful for such strong community support.”

Reuben Martinez founded the iconic Librería Martinez bookstore in Santa Ana nearly 20 years ago. A delegate to several Democratic National Conventions and a 2004 winner of the MacArthur Fellowship, Martinez serves as a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University, promoting literacy and education.

Frank Garcia founded La Casa Garcia restaurant in Anaheim more than 40 years ago.  Nearly 30 years ago, Garcia founded We Give Thanks, which has provided over 200,000 free Thanksgiving dinners to Orange County families in need and has award scholarships to local students for 15 years.

Iglesias was the top vote-getter in the 2012 Santa Ana Unified School Board election.  Born in El Salvador, Iglesias immigrated with her family to the United States and to Central Orange County 35 years ago.  A graduate of Santa Ana Unified, she earned degrees from Santa Ana College and Cal State Fullerton. Iglesias resides in Santa Ana with her son, who attends local public schools.


Paid for by Iglesias for Assembly 2014. ID# 1364420.

Posted in 69th Assembly District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

AD-55 Watch: Biographies Scrutinized

Posted by Allen Wilson on March 28, 2014


The Orange County Register published an article scrutinizing the Assembly candidates biographies, but candidate Ling-Ling Chang education claims gets top grilling.

The view of the article is behind a firewall, which requires payment to have reading privileges.

It has been reported in previous campaign materials, publications and city of Diamond Bar website that Chang earned a degree in Biology from UC, Riverside and attending Harvard.

However, the article explains on the contrary that Chang has no degree in biology, which means she dropped out of UC Riverside and Chang explained that she is doing her studies “online” for a degree from Harvard.

Sadly, Chang offers no apologies for attending Harvard, but she should be reminded that attending an Ivy League university physically on campus is totally different than one taking courses behind a keyboard.

Unfortunately, Chang faults the inaccuracies to the City of Diamond Bar Public Information Officer, which is an insult to the professionalism of a municipal employee that is of high regard in and out of Diamond Bar City Hall.

If an Assembly candidate spends all of the time going to meetings as a councilmember on the taxpayers dime should have gone to night school and gotten a degree instead of polishing a political résumé for far too long.

It is ironic that an Assembly candidate is using SCA 5 on a campaign platform who only holds a high school diploma.

We are in a midst of a campaign season and candidates should be grilled until Election Day.

As for one candidate to embellish education claims brings bad taste who is being endorsed by high profile Republican elected officials such as Rep. Ed Royce and Senate Minority Leader Senator Bob Huff.

The voters in the 55th Assembly District deserves the truth as to who will be their next Assemblymember.

It is good to know now than with regrets for the constituents who could be stuck with a legislator for the next 2 or 12 years.

Posted in 55th Assembly District, Brea, California, La Habra, Orange County, Placentia, State Assembly, Yorba Linda | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Eric Woolery to Dominate Mail in Auditor-Controller Election with 1.5 Million Pieces

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on March 5, 2014

This came over the wire this morning from Orange Treasurer Eric Woolery‘s campaign for Auditor-Controller.  Woolery managed to snag rare unity from Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait and Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray:

Eric Woolery for Orange County Auditor-Controller

Eric Woolery to Dominate Mail in Auditor-Controller Election
with 1.5 Million Pieces

Maintains Frontrunner Momentum with Additional Endorsements

March 5, 2014
Contact: Chris Emami

ORANGE COUNTY, CA – Orange Treasurer Eric Woolery announced today that he has locked up the major county election mail slates in his campaign for Auditor-Controller, which will carry his message to voters on 1.5 million pieces of mail.  Based on prior election results for Auditor-Controller and current voter turnout models, nearly 350,000 voters are expected to cast their ballots in this election for Auditor-Controller.  Securing the slates will ensure that Woolery’s message will be heard by every high propensity voter several times before the June 3 election.

“Becoming Auditor-Controller is my goal, and I aim to win. I have been planning my campaign for many months when I strategically began securing slates and endorsements while implementing other key tactics,” Woolery said. “Using my technical skills honed over 20 years as a CPA in both the public and private sectors leaves me ready to competently lead our county. Currently, the Auditor-Controller’s office is missing opportunities to ensure proactive and efficient uses of taxpayer dollars.”

Several key endorsers have also jumped on board the campaign, giving him additional momentum as the filing deadline nears.  Over the past several days, five major Orange County leaders have endorsed Woolery for the Auditor-Controller position:

  • Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff
  • Assemblywoman Diane Harkey
  • Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait
  • Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray
  • La Habra Councilman Tim Shaw

These distinguished local officials join a lengthy bipartisan list of elected officials providing their full support to Woolery, as he continues to hone his strategic plan for victory in this countywide race:

  • Supervisor Patricia C. Bates, Vice Chair of the Board of Supervisors
  • Supervisor William G. Steiner (Ret.)
  • Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner
  • Laguna Niguel Mayor Linda Lindholm
  • Tustin Mayor Al Murray
  • Tustin Mayor Jerry Amante (Ret.)
  • Orange Mayor Pro Tem Mark Murphy
  • Tustin Mayor Pro Tem Chuck Puckett
  • Aliso Viejo Councilman Mike Munzing
  • Fullerton Councilwoman Jennifer Fitzgerald
  • Lake Forest Councilman Scott Voigts
  • Mission Viejo Councilman Frank Ury
  • Orange Councilman Fred Whitaker
  • San Clemente City Councilwoman Lori Donchak
  • Tustin Councilman Allan Bernstein
  • Tustin Councilman John Nielsen
  • Orange County Board of Education Trustee Ken Williams
  • Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee Arianna Barrios
  • Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee John Hanna
  • Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee Phil Yarbrough
  • Irvine Unified School District Trustee Paul Bokota
  • Irvine Unified School District Trustee Lauren Brooks
  • Orange Unified School District Vice President Alexia Deligianni
  • Orange Unified School District Trustee Tim Surridge
  • Orange Unified School District Trustee Mark Wayland
  • East Orange County Water District Director Doug Davert
  • Orange County Transportation Authority Director Michael Hennessey


Paid for by Woolery for Auditor-Controller 2014. ID# 1362822.

Posted in Orange County Auditor-Controller | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

OCTA Board Members Discuss State Lobbyist Contract

Posted by OC Insider on March 4, 2014

Yesterday, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Executive Committee discussed the state lobbying contract that the agency has with Sloat, Higgins Jensen and Associates (SHJA) because of recent FPPC violations by the firm.

If you are unfamiliar with the FPPC violations against Kevin Sloat, who is the principal at SHJA, this article will help fill you in. Sloat was fined a record $133,500 by the FPPC for hosting numerous political fundraisers that counted as “prohibited campaign contributions, and arranging and giving gifts to California lawmakers.” Some of the lawmakers warned by the FPPC for holding events at Sloat’s house include Governor Jerry Brown, Senator Lou Correa (SD-34), Senator Bob Huff (SD-29), and former Assemblyman and current SD-34 candidate Jose Solorio.

OCTA has contracted with SHJA since 2002 for state lobbying and consulting services. Unlike the Transportation Corridor Agencies’ lobbying contracts, this particular contract was approved by the full OCTA board and extended on multiple occasions by the full Board. According to the staff report, SHJA’s services to OCTA include “representation with the Legislature, Governor’s Office, various state departments, agencies, boards, committees, commissions, and staff; advising on state legislation, proposed regulations, and state budget proposals which could have an impact on OCTA; assisting with the preparation of and advocating for OCTA’s legislative program; reporting on state transportation and related developments of importance to OCTA; and updating the Board as specified. SHJA also provides a monthly verbal update on its Sacramento advocacy to the Legislative and Communications Committee.” OCTA’s contract with SHJA lists Kevin Sloat as the contract manager, with several lobbyists that work for SHJA as the legislative advocates.

During their presentation, OCTA staff made it clear that there were many initiatives OCTA was trying to accomplish, and that an interruption in service, i.e. a new lobbyist, may disrupt those initiatives. The staff recommendation was to issue an RFP for the state lobbying services, with a new condition that any FPPC issues be disclosed in the proposals.

Supervisor Todd Spitzer, referencing his time in the state legislature, stated that Sloat is well-respected in the capitol but that this was not a one-time violation.  Spitzer noted that it was likely that SHJA would lose credibility as a result of this finding, and that it could have a negative impact on OCTA.

Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Lalloway, who is also the OCTA Vice-Chairman, noted that the situation is similar to the recent one involving Matt Cunningham. Cunningham held two contracts with OCTA, which were suspended after some poorly thought out photos of a teddy bear were published on the Anaheim Blog page that received national coverage. Lalloway attempted to connect the Sloat and Cunningham incident, and thought if one deserved to be suspended (Cunningham), that the other (Sloat) should be suspended as well to preserve the integrity of the agency.

Michael Hennessey, who serves as a public member on the Board, stated that the comparing the Cunningham and Sloat situations was “weighing morality against need.” He stated that “if Cunningham is bigoted toward Latinos, he’s the strangest bigot I’ve met since he is married to a Latina, his children are half Latina, and if you go to a Christmas party at his house, it is largely Latinos.” He went on to note that if Cunningham’s services were absolutely critical (like OCTA staff was attempting to convey with Sloat), his contracts would have not have been suspended as quickly, and the matter would have been brought to the Board, similar to the current situation with Sloat.

After some other comments by the committee members, Supervisor Spitzer motioned to remove Kevin Sloat’s name from the contract entirely, and replace it with OCTA’s primary legislative advocate Moira Topp as the contract manager. Topp is still an employee of SHJA, but the committee felt that the perception of corruption lays with Sloat as opposed to the rest of the firm. Additionally, the motion included a provision that Sloat could not do any kind of advocacy on behalf of OCTA at any level. Finally, the motion called for an expedited RFP for the lobbying services, to be brought to the Board in April. The motion eventually passed with Lalloway voting no. The full OCTA Board will vote on this issue next Monday, March 10th.

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


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