OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

AD-72 Spending Breaks $1.6 Million

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 25, 2020

Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-Westminster), former Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley), Councilwoman Deidre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove), Bijan Mohseni (D-Los Alamitos)

72nd District Primary Election Field: Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-Westminster), former Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley), Councilwoman Deidre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove), and Bijan Mohseni (D-Los Alamitos)

The hotly contested primary in the 72nd Assembly District has exceeded $1.6 million in spending.  Between their campaigns and independent expenditures, $1.5 million has been spent on the battle between Assemblyman Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) and former Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley).  Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen (D-Garden Grove) spent $151,243, a rather significant sum for the Assembly primary but is dwarfed by the spending on the contest between Diep and Janet Nguyen.  However, with Bijan Mohseni (D-Los Alamitos) spending only $3,734, it is quite likely Diedre Nguyen comes in first place, with either Diep or Janet Nguyen coming in second in order to advance with her to the general election to set up the traditional Republican vs. Democrat general election in the seat.

Diep has spent $374,333 while Janet Nguyen has spent $268,401, for a combined total of $642,734.  However, independent expenditures have reached $871,834, meaning the expenditures involving these two candidates has reached $1,514,568.  No independent expenditures have been reported for either Diedre Nguyen or Mohseni.

Pro-Diep IEs spent $307,288.  Anti-Diep IEs spent $386,440.  Pro-Janet Nguyen IEs spent $136,457. Anti-Janet Nguyen IEs spent $41,649.  In other words, Pro-Diep/Anti-Janet Nguyen IEs spent a total of $348,938 while Pro-Janet Nguyen/Anti-Diep IEs spent a total of $522,896.

Between the campaigns and IEs, the Pro-Janet Nguyen/Anti-Diep side has spent $791,297 while the Pro-Diep/Anti-Janet Nguyen side has spent $723,271.

The biggest single source of IEs was Californians for Independent Work (sponsored by Lyft), which spent $249,803 against Diep.  Over $200,000 of those IEs has been spent on mailers, cable television, and digital advertising.  The remainder went to polling and consultants.

The biggest single source of pro-Diep IEs was $158,664 spent by California Labor and Business Alliance (sponsored by Building Trades, Correctional Peace Officers and Apartment Rental Organizations, and Energy Providers).  That committee’s four largest donors are Chevron, the California Apartment Association, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), and the State Building and Construction Trades Council.  Over $133,000 of those IEs have been spent on mailers.  The remainder went to polling and consultants.

All of the anti-Janet Nguyen IEs were $41,649 spent by the Coalition to Restore Republican Accountability & Ethics Opposing Nguyen for Assembly 2020.  That group received 98.9% of its funding from Parents for Safe Communities, whose four largest donors are Local Union 105 Sheet Metal Air Rail Transportation Workers, the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association, Lee’s Sandwiches, and Huntington Beach resident Hoi Quoc Doan.  The entire expenditure was for mailers.  (Correction: While a substantial sum of its funding came from Parents for Safe Communities, this group also received significant funding from the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles and the California Cardroom Alliance.)

All of the pro-Janet Nguyen IEs were $136,457 spent by Taxpayers for Ethical Government.  The bulk of that committee’s 2020 funds come from billionaire Kieu Hoang, the country’s wealthiest Vietnamese-American.  $135,000 of that was spent on field operations.

For visual learners, here’s a table of the IEs:

Pro-Tyler Diep IEs ($307,288) Pro-Janet Nguyen IEs ($136,457)
California Labor and Business Alliance $158,664 Taxpayers for Ethical Government $136,457
Healthcare and Housing Business Coalition $148,624
Anti-Janet Nguyen IEs ($41,649) Anti-Tyler Diep IEs ($386,440)
Coalition to Restore Republican Accountability $41,649 Californians for Independent Work (Lyft) $249,803
Silicon Valley Jobs PAC (CalChamber) $69,852
Taxpayers for Ethical Government $46,785
California Taxpayer Protection Committee $20,000
Total of Pro-Tyler Diep/Anti-Janet Nguyen IEs $348,937 Total of Pro-Janet Nguyen/Anti-Tyler Diep IEs $522,897

Here’s the campaign finance chart for the candidate’s campaigns:

Candidate Cash on Hand
12/31/2019
Monetary
Contributions
1/1-2/15/2020
Nonmonetary
Contributions
1/1-2/15/2020
Unpaid
Bills
Expenditures
1/1-2/15/2020
Cash on Hand
2/15/2020
Cash on Hand
Minus
Unpaid Bills
Tyler Diep (R) $531,393 $67,910 $1,480 $0 $374,333 $226,450 $226,450
Janet Nguyen (R) $214,591 $189,534 $350 $3,096 $268,401 $139,169 $136,073
Diedre Nguyen (D) $102,642 $22,415 $87,474 $28,931 $151,243 $90,219 $61,288
Bijan Mohseni (D) $3,527 $4,330 $0 $550 $3,734 $2,628 $2,078
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.
Expenditure figures include nonmonetary contributions and unpaid bills.
All of Diedre Nguyen’s $87,474 in nonmonetary contributions were from the California Democratic Party.

Posted in 72nd Assembly District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Live from the 1st Supervisorial District Debate

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 20, 2020

We are live from the 1st Supervisorial District Debate, hosted by Resilience Orange County (a youth nonprofit) and Latino Health Access, and moderated by Voice of OC Publisher Norberto Santana.

Participating in the debate are:

It is nice that for once, an organization called their event a debate, rather than a candidate forum.

7:19 PM: The debate is called to order, with representatives of Resilience Orange County and Latino Health Access welcoming the audience. They note they are 501(c)(3)s and cannot endorse any candidates. They also promote participating in the 2020 U.S. Census. They discuss the new Vote Center model. Resilience Orange County announces a plan to alert people of ICE is present in the streets of Santa Ana.

7:24 PM: Santana is introduced. He explains the debate will be a bit of an open forum. Homelessness, open space, ICE coordination, health care, the County budget, and the County jail/law enforcement will be the main topics.

While there is a nameplate for Do, he does not appear to be here.

7:26 PM: Santana asks what funding priorities in the County budget each candidate has.

Nguyen criticizes the cuts for public health that she says were used to fund $151 million in pay increases for Sheriff’s deputies. She calls for an external auditor to find ways to save money in the County budget.

Contreras says he would spend mental health and housing money rather than hoarding it. He wants to work with cities on housing. He wants to invest in workforce investment to prepare the workforce for growing industries, like health care and IT.

Pulido says the County fears controversy, which then causes the 1st District to suffer. He notes that criminals are arrested in other supervisorial districts and then simply released into the 1st District. He calls on mental health care services be offered in other districts, not centralized in the 1st District because he argues that there has not been strong representation for the 1st District on the Board of Supervisors.

7:30 PM: Santana apologizes for skipping opening statements.

Nguyen is a 28-year-old daughter of a Vietnamese refugee and a Mexican immigrant. She has lived in OC since the age of 10. She discusses her college degree. She has been working on Medi-Cal for the past 7 years. She is the youngest and first Latina on the Garden Grove City Council.

Contreras was born and raised in OC, as the son of an immigrant janitor. He worked as Disneyland for 10 years liked his father. He discusses his college degree. He discusses representing the diverse city of Westminster.

Pulido was born in Mexico City and came to the U.S. at the age of 5, speaking only Spanish. He took the bus to school. He went to school not knowing English but eventually learned. He discusses his college degree. He ran for Council when the City of Santa Ana threatened his family’s muffler shop, quipping, “I fought City Hall. I beat City Hall. I became City Hall.” He notes his record as Mayor.

Santana explains Do was invited but could not attend.

7:35 PM: Audience question states there were $151 million in Sheriff’s deputy raises with $110 million coming from the General Fund. He says $39 million was cut from the health care budget and $59 million added to the Sheriff’s department. He asks if the candidates would have supported this.

Contreras calls for increased funding for health care and social services. He calls for getting more money from Sacramento and spend more of CalOptima’s money on public health.

Nguyen blasts Contreras’s CalOptima plan, noting she had worked there, and the money is restricted by state and federal sources. She says the money Contreras is citing are restricted for one-time grants for nonprofit groups.

Pulido worked with Judge Carter on homeless services. He argues CalOptima should be more aggressive in assisting the homeless. He notes two Supervisors sit on the CalOptima Board and the Supervisors appoint the rest of the CalOptima Board. He notes what cities have done with the homeless. Pulido wants Sheriff’s deputy pay to be competitive but not at the expense of public health. He wants the unfunded liability to be refinanced and stabilized.

7:41 PM: Santana asks about the Sheriff cooperating with ICE.

Pulido opposes the Trump Administration’s targeting sanctuary cities. He worked with Congressman Correa to literally get people off ICE vans. He notes Santa Ana is a sanctuary city. He argues Santa Ana has a low crime rate due to trust from the community.

Contreras says the County has enough work to do that it shouldn’t be doing the federal government’s job. He wants more community policing.

Nguyen’s mother’s green card expired today. They are trying to figure out how to keep her here. She says she would drop the lawsuit against SB 54 [the Sanctuary State law]. She demands more rigorous Truth Act forums on immigration, calling the existing format “BS.”

7:45 PM: The Resilience OC Executive Director asks if they support Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s bill banning local government transfers to ICE

Contreras would sign on.

Pulido would sign on and would support hiring lawyers to assist potential deportees at hearings.

Nguyen says her stance is clear.

7:47 PM: Santana notes the Sheriff is independently elected, so what would the candidates do to “confront” him?

Nguyen would fill the Office of Independent Review and institute an Oversight Committee on immigration and jails. She would call for an external audit of the Sheriff’s department.

Contreras notes the Board controls the budget and can use the power of the purse.

Pulido agrees with the power of the purse. He says not funding overtime or other activities would restrict them. He says he wishes Nguyen, Contreras, and Pulido could be on the Board of Supervisors together. He speaks about Santa Ana’s lawsuit against cities sending criminals to Santa Ana that the Sheriff to see the precedent and stop doing that as well.

7:51 PM: Santana asks about homelessness and housing.

Nguyen says she is neither rich nor poor. She rents an expensive apartment, has student loans, and just paid off her car. She says Garden Grove has made good progress on issuing Section 8 vouchers and tenant housing assistance but still need to do more. She calls for wraparound services in addition to housing solutions.

Contreras speaks of living in one-bedroom multigenerational housing as a child. He speaks of updating Westminster’s general plan. They’ve built 150 affordable housing units and could build more if there were County support. He notes the average resident needs to make $31 per hour to afford housing. He says permanent housing is necessary, not just temporary shelters. He calls for workforce development and says the Board of Supervisors needs to work more with cities.

Pulido speaks of getting a bowl cut at home from his dad because they couldn’t afford the barber. He speaks of participating in food drives as a child to only realize his family were the recipients. He says South County doesn’t even want to see homeless people, yet Central County has a heavy share that he sees driving home. He speaks of shelters, services, and housing. He says moving the homeless off the riverbeds just sent them to Central County. He says the Civic Center homeless were cleared out and simply moved into local neighborhoods.

7:57 PM: Santana asks about mental health treatment.

Nguyen speaks about the current situation of the mentally ill being arrested and treated in jail. She notes she is the only elected with professional public health experience in the district. She is a regulatory auditor for a health agency.

Contreras speaks of constituents asking for help, and even his own staff struggling to navigate the process to help the constituents. He calls for spending, not hoarding, mental health money for mental health services.

Pulido says a bed is necessary, facilities to treat the mentally ill. He points to up to 1,000 beds at Fairview in Costa Mesa if it is converted into a mental health facility, but there should be at least 200 beds there. He praises Orange for building 60 beds. He says services can be allocated but there needs to be facilities to house the mentally ill. He calls for the money to be spent.

8:02 PM: An ACLU representative says too many people are being incarcerated instead of getting mental health services. She says the County is planning to expand the Musick Jail to house the mentally ill. She asks if the candidates would stop the jail expansion and form a taskforce to find other ways to handle the mentally ill.

Contreras says the existing mental health money needs to be spent. He calls for working with local agencies to provide humane treatment of the mentally ill. He says there needs to be Supervisors advocating for spending the money.

Nguyen says there needs to be Supervisors who want to spend the money correctly. She blasts the closing of the County hospital years ago because it leaves the County reliant on private hospitals. She blasts the deaths of the mentally ill in County jails.

Pulido says there should be a reduction on the revolving door of mentally ill people in jail. He says there need to be jobs and job training for the homeless to reduce the revolving door. He says jailing more people is not the solution. He says the County has both jails and health services. He says South County should have facilities to ensure they do their fair share.

8:08 PM: Santana asks about preventative health services, particularly for immigrants.

Nguyen says CalOptima has 338,000 members, with Anaheim, Santa Ana, and Garden Grove home to the largest share of members. She says there needs to be more affordable health care, so people can use more of their income spending in cities, generating revenue. She speaks of her work that contributes to expanding health care access. She claims, “I could literally solve this problem.”

Contreras says there needs to be a Latino on the CalOptima Board, as there are none now. He notes 42% of the CalOptima population are Latinos, and there needs to be more cultural sensitivity from CalOptima.

Pulido wants more nonprofit organizations to help people navigate the labyrinth systems of government health programs. He argues nonprofits are being blocked by CalOptima because the latter argues the nonprofits are trying to do CalOptima’s job. He speaks of various services provided by nonprofits. He says responsibility is to the community, not to turf wars.

8:14 PM: Santana notes that Central County has the least open space aned asks what candidates would do to rectify it.

Pulido says Santa Ana is the 4th most dense city in the country. He calls for more programming because people can’t be kicked out to make open space. He argues County park money could be used to bring services to City or School facilities. He points to schools in Santa Ana that are converted into parks after school lets out for the day or the weekend.

Contreras values open space having grown up in a one-bedroom apartment. He calls for investing in existing parks and opening pocket parks. He calls for school playgrounds to be open in off-hours.

Nguyen calls for better coordination of the “branches of government:” federal, state, county, and city. She has the most Latino district in her city. She points to ways Garden Grove has innovated to bring people to parks. She speaks of programs in Garden Grove that temporarily close streets for temporary parks on select occasions.

8:20 PM: An audience question from a group called Rise Up Willowick notes 1% of Garden Grove and 4% of Santa Ana are open space versus 25% of Irvine. She asks about using OC Parks money in relation to Willowick Golf Course.

Contreras helped create the Mendez v. Westminster trail and park. He says OC Parks money should be used to make Willowick a County park.

Nguyen says she is restricted from going detail because of closed session on this issue since Garden Grove owns Willowick. She says the County has plenty of money for parks that needs to be used in District 1.

Pulido notes Garden Grove owns Willowick, yet it’s located in Santa Ana. He says there is litigation involving Willowick and ultimately, a judge controls its fate. He appoints to the new Surplus Land Act amendments that just came into law on January 1. He calls for more affordable housing and notes Santa Ana has more than any other city in OC.

8:25 PM: Santana begins the lightning round of yes/no answers.

Would you support transferring certain county land to private land trusts?

All say yes.

Would you support building a County Library in District 1.

All say yes.

Do you support an alternative to policing for youth?

All say yes.

Who are you supporting for President?

Nguyen: Undecided, but not Trump

Contreras: Undecided, but leaning Sanders

Pulido: Undecided, but not Trump. He’s worked with Biden and Bloomberg. He praises them, Warren, and Sanders, as well as Buttigieg, who he met at Conferences of Mayors.

Would you accept endorsements from police unions or the Sheriff’s deputies union?

Nguyen: Not sought them in this race.

Contreras: Had police union support in past.

Pulido: Had police union support in past but notes Do has Sheriff’s deputies’ union support.

Do you support a $15 minimum wage?

All say yes.

Do you support the Poseidon desalination plant?

Nguyen and Pulido say no.

Nguyen wants to ascertain the environmental impacts.

Pulido notes there are better plans for increasing the water supply and jobs that are more effective than the Poseidon plan.

Contreras says yes because he believes in expanding the water supply. He wants to ensure any such plan does not have an adverse impact on communities of color.

Do you support rent control?

Nguyen says yes.

Contreras says it’s already law.

Pulido says no.

Do you support a bond to raise $2.2 billion for housing?

All say yes.

Would you support a feasibility study to connect JWA with ARTIC and ONT?

Pulido says the study’s already been done, pointing to CenterLine.

Nguyen and Contreras don’t have enough info.

Would you support the Irvine energy JPA?

All say yes.

Would you support increasing government whistleblower protection?

All say yes.

Nguyen says they need to figure out what to do when whistleblower helped cause problem.

Would you put more County homeless shelter beds in Santa Ana?

All say no.

Would you support increasing the Board of Supervisors to 7 members?

All say yes.

Do you support abolishing ICE?

All say yes.

Do you support immigration reform?

All say yes.

Do you support the Proposition 13 school bond on the March 3 ballot?

Nguyen is still researching it.

Contreras describes a different ballot measure.

Pulido is still researching it.

8:38 PM: Santana announces closing statements.

Contreras thanks audience. He says half the voters don’t know anything about the Board of Supervisors. He says there is no knight in shining armor who will fix everything. His experience in City government and the school district have prepared him for the Board. He works at United Way on many of the issues he argues the County should be working on. He says there should be representation from someone who actually lives in the district. He knows what it is like to be on the losing end of a 4-1 vote but still speak for the community.

Nguyen asks to receive the sword to go to the Board. She speaks of change and leadership and notes she is the only one who isn’t a career politician, as Contreras and Pulido have had a combined 45 years in office. She is accessible to constituents by cell phone and social media. She works hard on Council.

Pulido thanks Santana and the audience. He says Do doesn’t live in the First District. Pulido speaks out his deep roots in the community since he was 13. He speaks of dramatically lowering the crime rate, the safest city in America of its size. He speaks of a low 3% unemployment rate. He speaks of building schools. He says the County is not engaged and needs to work with cities. He has the will, experience, and vision, he says. He speaks out his experience at OCTA and getting them to vote for the Santa Ana streetcar.

8:45 PM: Santana thanks the candidates, hosts, and audience. The debate is concluded.

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on Live from the 1st Supervisorial District Debate

Orange County Young Republicans’ Endorsements

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on February 19, 2020

The Orange County Young Republicans have announced their endorsements for the March 3, 2020 Primary Election.

Posted in 29th Senate District, 37th Senate District, 39th Congressional District, 3rd Supervisorial District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 55th Assembly District, 68th Assembly District, 73rd Assembly District, 74th Assembly District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Capo Unified School District’s Board of Trustees Are Happy to Spend Your Tax Dollars to Defend Themselves!

Posted by Craig P Alexander on February 18, 2020

A Failure And Breach of Trust

As residents and taxpayers prepare to vote Yes or No on CUSD’s Measure H & I’s bond taxes, we hear cries of “We have no money for maintenance and construction” from CUSD’s Trustees, Superintendent and staff. But when their spending habits are brought under a microscope they fail the test as stewards of our money. Here is a prime example of the Board putting their own interests ahead of the taxpayers and the students to the tune of $41,975.00 taxpayer dollars in attorney fees to protect one of their own!

How many leaky roofs, broken air conditioner units, ramps, etc. could have been fixed with these funds rather than going to attorneys to protect a fellow Trustee? While I realize that $41,975.00 is a drop in the $500,000,000+ budget bucket of CUSD, when the board claims they are responsible stewards of our taxpayer dollars, they need to show a history of wise stewardship. Their past actions do not show wise stewardship at all!

Former Trustee Hatton-Hodson’s Financial Misadventures and the FPPC

In the fall of 2016 it was discovered that now former elected CUSD Trustee Lynn Hatton-Hodson (she resigned on June 2, 2017) had a financial conflict of interest due to her having an ownership interest in a vendor to Capistrano Unified School District.  She apparently did not disclose this conflict in her required filing with the FPPC known as a Form 700 (Statement of Economic Interest).  A citizen made a complaint to the FPPC (the Fair Political Practices Commission) and the Orange County District Attorney’s office about Ms. Hatton-Hodson’s failure to disclose her conflict.

Normally the filling out and defending of a Form 700 is completely on the shoulders of the person who files it – whether a successful candidate for office like Ms. Hatton-Hudson or the losing candidate who is not elected to office.  In this case the CUSD Board of Trustees had an attorney who works for them opine that filling out a Form 700 was an official act of a Trustee and any challenge to that entitles the Trustee to a taxpayer funded defense by attorneys who specialize in this field.  Of course there was no opinion by that attorney about a candidate who did not get elected, but that is food for thought for another day.

The CUSD Board of Trustees to Ms. Hatton-Hodson’s Rescue With Your Tax Dollars

In September 2016, the Board of Trustees voted 6 to 0 (Ms. Hatton-Hodson did not vote) to retain the law firm of Olson, Hagel & Fishburn, LLP of Sacramento to defend their colleague before the FPPC (but not the DA’s office).  The Board of Trustees twice authorized the District to spend taxpayer dollars on this law firm to defend one of their fellow trustees.

The Olson firm was specifically requested by Ms. Hatton-Hodson in a letter addressed to CUSD’s general counsel Mr. David Huff of the law firm of Orbach, Huff, Saurez & Henderson, LLP. [Hatton-Hodson ltr to Huff].  Interestingly the fee agreement between the Olson firm and the District identified the District as the Client not Ms. Hatton-Hodson. [9-28-16 Professional Services Agreement] and amended (for more fees) on 12-6-16 12-6-16 Amendment to Olson Authorization. Yet they apparently defended Ms. Hatton-Hodson – not the District – before the FPPC.

Public Records Act requests to CUSD and the FPPC – Surprise: Three Law Firms for One Matter!

When we sought records under the Public Records Act these requests included attorney fee invoices related to the FPPC matter from CUSD.  In documents disclosed by CUSD we received invoices from not one but three law firms.

In addition to the Olson law firm, CUSD was paying invoices for this matter from the Orbach firm apparently to give legal advice that the Board could spend taxpayer funds to defend Trustee Hatton-Hodson and presumably to watch over the Olson firm.  Also billing on this matter was the law firm of Werksman, Jackson, Hathaway & Quinn apparently acting as an expert to the Orbach firm (strangely not the Olson law firm).  This is a criminal defense law firm (https://werksmanjackson.com/). The hourly rate for the Werksman firm’s senior partner: $750 per hour!  [Werksman Invoices]. All three law firm’s invoices were heavily redacted (blocked out) so that we could not read what these law firms did in Ms. Hatton-Hodson’s defense.

Here is the total of what was spent on these three sets of attorneys:

Law Firm          Amount

Olson:              $16,274.50

Orbach:           $11,728.00

Werksman:      $13,972.50

Total:              $41,975.00

As an attorney myself I understand and value the need for the attorney client communication privilege.  However in this case we have taxpayer funds being spent to defend a financial disclosure that is normally funded by the politician themselves.  Therefore the taxpayers should have a right to know what they got for their money.

CUSD could have waived this privilege and given us un-redacted invoices but it choose to not do so.

Serious Questions Remain ESPECIALLY IN Light of CUSD’s Request for our Bond Tax Dollars (Measures H & I)

So after obtaining everything in writing from CUSD (and the FPPC) that they would disclose, many serious questions remain:

What did the Orbach firm do for CUSD that the Olson firm was not already doing other than justifying an expenditure of taxpayer dollars to defend Ms. Hatton-Hodson from her own failures in filling the Form 700?

Why was an expensive criminal defense “expert law firm” hired for this matter (via the CUSD General Counsel’s office rather than the Olson law firm) adding to the cost to taxpayers for Ms. Hatton-Hodson’s failures?

What did the children and taxpayers get for this expenditure of public funds?  Apparently absolutely nothing except dollars that could have been used for repairs and maintenance in the class room are now in the possession of attorneys.  In fact, three sets of attorneys!

What did the children CUSD is supposed to serve get for these tax dollars going to attorneys?  Nothing. No roofs repaired, no AC units repaired or replaced, no ramps repaired, etc.

What did the other Trustees get for this expenditure of their constituents’ money?  Apparently the comfort of knowing that if in the future they are caught with their proverbial hands in the financial cookie jar they will have taxpayer dollars to defend their actions and mistakes as political candidates.

And the most important question for taxpayers and voters who will decide to pass or vote No on Measures H & I, in light of this, how well does the Board of Trustees do at earning our trust that they are seeking the best interests of students and taxpayers?  I would argue that this is evidence that they have failed that trust.  They should not be rewarded with more of our hard earned and already over taxed funds!

Vote No on Measures H & I. www.capokidsfirst.com and www.nocusdbonds.com

Craig Alexander is a resident of Dana Point and an attorney who represents requestors of information under the California Public Records Act.  He can be reached at craig@craigalexanderlaw.com.

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

Voter Recommendations from Craig Alexander, Robyn Nordell and Other Conservatives

Posted by Craig P Alexander on February 18, 2020

If you are looking for Voter Recommendations from conservatives who research candidates, propositions and measures on the March 3, 2020 ballot they are now available.

My own “Craig’s Pics” voter recommendations are here: Craig’s Pics March 3, 2020.  For Robyn Nordell’s excellent one stop election shop (my term not hers) go to: www.robynnordell.com

At Robyn’s web site there is an Orange County section where Robyn’s recommendations and others like Kathy Dittner’s, Nancy Sandoval’s and my own are linked.  And we do not always agree on the candidates or issues! Evidence of that is we are evenly split on the race for the 73rd Assembly District.  One thing we all have in common – none of us is paid anything by any candidate, cause or issue group (or any PAC, Super PAC, etc.) for our recommendations.

One thing to note: most of the people who look for and read my voter recommendations, Robyn’s, Kathy’s and/or Nancy’s are conservatives who normally vote Republican.  This election is a Presidential Primary and President Donald J. Trump is running for re-election.  Given that he is the incumbent and it is highly unlikely he will not be the nominee for this state, it may be tempting for Republicans to sit out this election.  This is true whether you support the President or not.

Please do NOT stay home or not vote in this election.  Even if you decide to leave the ballot blank for the Presidential race, there are many, many down ballot races that need your vote.  Remember the “top two” jungle primary still applies to all other races such as Congress, Assembly, State Senate, local measures, etc.  Your vote is needed to help carry good people into other offices.  In addition there is a critical race for the Orange County Board of Education going on.  There are three seats up and all the have good conservative school choice candidates to vote for (you only get one vote if you live in that area).  They are Dr. Ken Williams (running for re-election), Jim Palmer, President of the Orange County Rescue Mission and Tim Shaw.

We also need your vote to vote NO on Proposition 13 which is a state wide bond tax (not the 1978 version) and No on local school bond tax measures like Measure M in the Saddleback Unified School District area and Measures H & I placed on the ballot by Capistrano Unified School District.  http://www.nocusdbonds.com http://www.capokidsfirst.com and http://www.facebook.com/noonmeasuremtax/

Craig Alexander is an attorney and Dana Point resident.

Posted in Capistrano Unified School District, Orange County Board of Education, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

California Voters Will Confront Hundreds Of Costly Bonds This Year – My Guest Commentary in the OC Register

Posted by Craig P Alexander on February 8, 2020

On February 1, 2020 the Orange County Register published this guest commentary by me in its Opinion section.  I thank the OC Register for publishing my commentary:

California voters will confront a Vesuvius of public school bond measures on the March 3, 2020 — nine of them in Orange County. In South Orange County, the Capistrano Unified School District is pushing two bonds (Measures H and I). If passed, both would obligate CUSD voters to pay $724 million in principal and interest — on top of all of the other taxes and bonds locals already pay.

Bonds are a tax. Just as homebuyers use mortgages to borrow money, governments borrow money, and repay lenders the loan amount (the principal) plus interest, often over the course of 30 years. Few ever talk about interest payments when they talk about bonds — and those interest payments can double the announced cost of the bond, sucking up money for other essential government services.

Voters throughout the state need to ask themselves whether these bonds are truly necessary and urgent, or yet another bailout for bad financial management of the state’s schools.

I’d argue it’s clearly the latter. Our problem isn’t revenue; California residents are already among the highest taxed in the nation. California has the dubious distinction of the imposing the nation’s highest state income tax rates, the second-highest gasoline taxes (we’ll be the highest on July 1, 2020), high sales and utility taxes, and even higher DMV fees. These gold medals in taxation come at the same time that the federal government has killed the deductibility of state and local taxes.

So, our problem isn’t revenue. It’s spending — or rather misspending. Consider that in 2012, California voters passed new “temporary taxes” to support schools (Proposition 30). The teachers unions that backed Prop. 30 promised these new taxes would provide billions of dollars for the school system. Prop. 30 passed, but four years later, the same unions and their allies in government were back with Proposition 55, a measure to extend for 12 years the temporary taxes first passed in Prop. 30.

Residents in CUSD can point to a similar experience. In 1999, voters there passed Measure A, a multi-million-dollar bond advertised as urgent. District schools, Measure A supporters said, were plagued by asbestos, in need of roof repairs and earthquake retrofitting and new science laboratories. Today, 20 years later, Measures H & I CUSD use these same problems as the evidence that proves the district is starved of cash.

Voters have every right to ask where all those tax dollars went. District records show that some 86 percent of its income are spent on the salaries and benefits of its employees. Some of those employees are paid remarkably well for a district that can’t manage its money. CUSD Superintendent Kirsten Vital earned $333,267 in 2018. Her deputy, Clark Hampton clocked in at $241,556. By contrast, Gov. Gavin Newsom was given a raise in December, bringing him to $210,000 annually, making him the nation’s highest paid governor. The bottom line: Each of CUSD’s top officials earns more than California’s top elected official.

Finally, it’s important to note that student enrollment in CUSD is declining. CUSD’s internal documents confirm that district officials know this. And yet they want to use new bond taxes to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into school building projects. So why is the district asking taxpayers to pay for improvements to school sites it will likely close over the next few years? Or is the district planning to spend the bond revenue on other projects?

Voters deserve straightforward answers on what CUSD intends to do with their bond taxes before they vote to place additional 30-year tax lien on their properties.
Residents and taxpayers deserve better stewardship of their tax dollars. They deserve transparency from their local government school trustees and education bureaucrats.

Craig Alexander is a Dana Point resident, property owner and an attorney. For more information go to http://www.NoCUSDBonds.com and http://www.CapoKidsFirst.com.

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

Capo Unified School District’s newest Bond Tax attempts: An Expensive Bad Idea!

Posted by Craig P Alexander on January 10, 2020

For the March 3, 2020 ballot Capistrano Unified School District is pushing two bond tax measures on the voters. Measure H for San Clemente (except Talega) and Capo Beach property owners and Measure I on the rest of Dana Point, all of Laguna Niguel and Aliso Viejo owners. If passed both measures would obligate voters to pay (with interest) an additional SEVEN HUNDRED TWENTY FOUR MILLION DOLLARS ($519,000,000.00 for Measure I plus $205,000,000.00 for Measure H) on top of all of the other taxes and bond taxes we already pay.

In this article I will set forth why these bond taxes are NOT a good idea. My knowledge of this subject comes from when I ran for the CUSD Board of Trustees in 2014, being part of a group that opposed CUSD’s Measure M in 2016 and the research I and others have done regarding past and present bond tax attempts. I wish to make three points.

The first is taxes. Or I should say taxes, taxes and more taxes. California residents are already among the highest taxed in the nation.

In 2012 voters passed new “temporary taxes” (Proposition 30) promoted by the teacher unions with a promise these taxes would provide billions of dollars for the school system.  Then in 2016 the same unions and their fellow travelers were successful in passing Proposition 55 resulting in most of the Prop. 30 “temporary taxes” being extended for twelve years.

Again voters were promised this was for public education. These higher income taxes have given California the dubious distinction of having the HIGHEST state income tax rates in the nation. This is in addition to gasoline taxes (second highest in the nation then, as of July 1, 2020, the highest) (Gas Taxes), higher sales and utility taxes, higher DMV fees, etc. with most of these taxes’ deductibility being limited by Federal tax law. It is reported that the state expects a $22 billion operating surplus and to have $20.59 billion in reserves this year. (CalTax ) Voters have every right to ask – where are those tax dollars we have already paid?

CUSD mismanages its funds!

There is one bond tax CUSD would apparently like for voters to forget about – CUSD’s Measure A bond tax passed in 1999. It’s on your current property tax bill and we are still paying for this bond tax (millions are still owed).  Importantly, as part of the 1999 Measure A pitch to the voters, the District listed as reasons for that bond tax the need for asbestos removal/roof repairs/earthquake retrofitting/renovating science laboratories.  Yet for Measures H & I CUSD is still listing these same items as needing repair!  So what did CUSD do with the bond tax money from Measure A?

Why are we being asked to pay twice for the same repairs?

CUSD constantly states it has no money of its own and it is slated via this bond tax to put zero of its own funds into these projects.  Where are our tax dollars CUSD currently receives going?  Over 86% of the District’s funds are spent on salaries and benefits of adult employees of the District.  Thus over the years it does not manage our tax money wisely to plan for building upkeep and maintenance.  For example:

2018 Salary & Benefits:                Regular Salary  & Benefits           Other Pay        Total

Superintendent Kristen Vital:       $333,267.00                                  $91,999.00      $425,266.00

Deputy Supt. Clark Hampton       $241,556.00                                  $58,755.86      $300,331.86

Gov. Edmond Brown, Jr.               $192,442.68                                  $92,730.31      $285,172.99

Thus the Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent each are paid more than the Governor of the State of California!  (Source: http://www.TransparentCalifornia.com).  And in December 2019 everyone at CUSD, including the Superintendent, received raises retroactive to July 1, 2019.

CUSD is a declining enrollment District!

CUSD’s own documents (Declining Enrollment) confirm the District itself knows this. Yet it wants to use these new bond taxes to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into school building projects.   The District, at pages B-3 (Measure H) and B-3 & B-4 (Measure I) list ALL of the existing schools implying all are slated for new construction from bond taxes.  So this raises the question: Why is the District asking the taxpayers to pay for improvements to school sites it will likely need to close over the next few years?  Or is the District not planning to spend the bond tax funds on some of these schools it will be forced to close due to declining enrollment?  If this is the case what is it really planning to do with these taxpayer funds?  Voters deserve straightforward answers on what CUSD intends to do with their bond taxes before they vote to place additional 30 year tax liens on their properties.  Either the District is not planning properly or it is not being forthright with its constituents!

Residents and taxpayers deserve better stewardship of their tax dollars! They deserve transparency from their local government school Trustees and education bureaucrats.   Please vote No on Measures H & I!

For more information go to Capo Kids First! on Facebook.  Learn more by attending the combined Chamber of Commerce Forum on this subject on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at the City of Laguna Niguel’s Community Room (30111 Crown Valley Pkwy, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677).

Craig Alexander is a Dana Point resident, property owner and an attorney. This post is adapted from a guest column that appears in the Dana Point Times and the San Clemente Times.

Posted in Capistrano Unified School District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Live from the 45th Congressional District CRA Candidate Forum

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 21, 2019

We are live from the 45th Congressional District forum for Republican candidates sponsored by the California Republican Assembly.  Participating are the four major Republican candidates:

Hosted at the Norman P. Murray Community Center in Mission Viejo by the the Saddleback Republican Assembly, Tustin Area Republican Assembly, and Anaheim Republican Assembly, the forum is moderated by OC Political’s own Craig Alexander, who is an attorney from Dana Point and former State CRA Executive Vice President.

Much appreciation to the City of Mission Viejo for supplying free WiFi.  (Most OC Political live-blogs are done typing into a smartphone due to most venues not having WiFi.  Thanks to the free WiFi, this live-blog will be done on computer, so there’ll be even more detail than usual.)

After the invocation, Pledge of Allegiance, and Star-Spangled Banner, moderator Craig Alexander is introduced.  He explains the candidate order was by random draw.  There will be several questions from the forum organizers, and then there will be audience-submitted questions via index cards.  CRA delegates will vote on a potential endorsement on January 11.

90-second opening statements begin at 7:20.

Don Sedgwick grew up in San Juan Capistrano and raised his four children here with his wife.  He served 18 years on the Saddleback School Board and two terms on the City Council, more elected experience than all the Democrats and Republicans combined in the CD-45 race.  He says Katie Porter does not reflect the values of the district.  He was ASB President, coached his children’s youth sports, and is involved in the community.  He says, “the freedoms of our country are at stake in this country…our economy is headed toward socialism, and I will do something to reverse that.”

Greg Raths welcomes everyone to Mission Viejo jokingly calling it “home field advantage.”  He introduces his wife as the First Lady of Mission Viejo.  He notes his city is the second largest in the district.  Six years ago, his children had grown up; he had retired after 30 years in the military, including assignments in the White House and Pentagon; and he decided to run for Congress after the election of Barack Obama.  Then he got elected to the City Council after his unsuccessful bid for Congress.

Lisa Sparks is Dean of Communications at Chapman University and serves this area on the Orange County Board of Education.  She speaks of her Midwestern upbringing and family values.  She has been a Republican since age 2.  She raised three of her four children in the 45th District.  She has written 12 books and published numerous articles.  As a college educator, she was frustrated with the way K-12 schools were treating students.  She decided to run for Congress on her father’s 80th birthday.

Peggy Huang is a Yorba Linda Councilwoman and Deputy Attorney General.  She came to the U.S. at the age of 7 after waiting 12 years to legally enter the country.  She described her Christian family fleeing from socialism.  She is frightened by the tyranny of socialism and does not want anyone in the room to endure what her family did.  She warns of the path that Katie Porter will lead us down.  At the Department of Justice, she worked to protect children.  She notes that she has worked on the issues that matter to the district.

7:28: Questions begin. Alexander asks which committees the candidates would like to serve on.

Raths picks Armed Forces (Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee), Homeland Security (Border Security subcommittee), Intelligence (National Security Agency subcommittee), Oversight (National Security subcommittee), Aeronautics, and Veterans Affairs.

Sparks picks Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education as well as Homeland Security, particularly on cybersecurity.

Huang picks Health and Human Services, Transportation, Commerce, Judiciary (Immigration subcommittee), Natural Resources (water subcommittee), Foreign Affairs, and Energy.

Sedgwick picks Education, Budget, and Judiciary.

7:32 PM: Alexander asks which caucuses the candidates would like to serve on.

Sparks picks Republican Study Committee and is interested in the Blue Dog Caucus.

Huang picks the Tuesday Group, the Freedom Caucus, the Asian-American Caucus, and the Taiwan Caucus.

Sedgwick picks the Freedom Caucus and the Problem-Solvers Caucus.  He says this election is about freedom versus socialism.  He says he will solve problems and get things done.

Raths picks the Freedom Caucus and the Problem-Solvers Caucus.  He speaks of speaking with Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows of the Freedom Caucus.  He says as a Marine, he took Marines of all parties into battle and in Congress, he will represent people of all parties.

7:35 PM: Alexander asks about the Equality Act (HR 5) and how they would have voted and why.

Huang says she would have opposed it to protect religious freedom.  She fears the risks to the First Amendment in the present environment, particularly due to social justice.  She says losing religious freedom will threaten Second and Fourth Amendment rights.

Sedgwick says Porter referred to thoughts and minds without prayer after a tragedy.  He says there should be separation of church and state but state should not be separate from God.  Doctors should not be forced to provide services they object to and religious organizations should not be required to insure services they object to.

Raths argues the federal government’s reach has gone too far.  He says national defense, common currency, and interstate commerce are its responsibilities.  He says government should not be in people’s bedrooms.

Sparks notes that protesters are trying to take away the ability to have invocations at the board of education.  She expresses agreement with the other candidates.

7:40 PM: Alexander asks Save the Internet Act (HR 1644) which would restore Obama-era regulations for net neutrality.

Sedgwick speaks of the importance of the Internet being able to transmit information, such as President Trump’s tweets.  He speaks out in opposition to hate speech but supports freedom of speech on the Internet.  He says parents should be able to opt out of things they object to in school.

Raths says he doesn’t know the details of HR 1644, but the federal government needs to get out of people’s homes.  He says his goal is to make Katie Porter a one-term Congresswoman.  She joined the Progressive Caucus and called for impeaching Trump.  Raths notes the district is Republican because every City Council in the district has a Republican majority.

Sparks speaks in support of free speech and speaks of encouraging it at Chapman University, noting the event they sponsored with Robert Gibbs and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.  She says she despises hate speech but it must be protected under free speech.

Huang says the question was about net neutrality.  She notes the regulation forbids cable companies from charging other companies for using their Internet cables.  She says taxpayer dollars should not be used to pick winners and losers.  She says the market should decide.

7:44 PM: Alexander asks about signing the discharge petition to allow a vote on SR 962, which would provide immediate medical care for a child born alive after a failed abortion.

Raths speaks in opposition to abortion and urges adoption.  He opposes late-term abortions and all other forms of abortion.

Sparks says she is pro-life and especially opposes late-term abortions.  She supports adoption instead of abortion.

Huang says she would support the discharge petition.  She says they need to support President Trump.  She speaks of the Susan B. Anthony health clinics that provide women’s health services in contrast to Planned Parenthood, which she refers to as an abortion group masquerading as women’s health services.

Sedgwick says it took seven years for him and his wife to have children and were initially told they wouldn’t have any.  He expresses support for life and is pro-life.  He expresses opposition to Planned Parenthood programs in the schools.

7:49 PM: Alexander asks if the candidates had any reason where they wouldn’t vote to defund Planned Parenthood.

All four support defunding Planned Parenthood without reservation.

Sparks calls it an easy question.

Huang supports funding health groups like Susan B. Anthony instead of Planned Parenthood.

Sedgwick says Katie Porter is out of touch with the district.

Raths expresses disappointment that Trump and the Republican Congress did not do this in 2017-18.  He speaks of seeing the movie Unplanned.

7:52 PM: Alexander asks the first audience question.  The question asks for opinions on DACA, comprehensive immigration reform, and border security.

Huang supports immigration reform.  Her parents waited 12 years to get permission to enter the U.S. She calls for reform of skilled visas vs. unskilled visas.  She does not support DACA. She says federal law dictated that children under the age of 5 would be presumed to be Americans if found in the U.S.  She worked on legislation to undo that, but it was vetoed by President Bill Clinton.

Sedgwick wants to work on Day 1 to end illegal immigration.  He says it is not compassionate to expose children to human trafficking, the drug trade, and immigration coyotes.  He says the U.S. is a nation of laws and that sanctuary cities are wrong.

Raths says borders must be secured because drugs and human trafficking are a major problem.  He served as a Marine with DACA Marines.  He will not send them to a country of birth that they do not know.  He wants immigration reform.  The U.S. needs labor because there are 7,000,000 open jobs and only 6,000,000 unemployed.

Sparks wants to secure borders.  Her husband waited 10 years to immigrate and is finally a citizen.  Her stepson took 12 years to immigrate and still only has a green card because the system is so slow.  She has DACA students at Chapman.  She says the U.S. needs to know who is entering the country.

7:57 PM: Alexander asks the candidates: what would be their top three legislative priorities in Congress?

Sedgwick says the federal government should get out of the way on education.  He wants to pass a federal opt-out law, noting that parents can opt-out of everything by homeschooling, so parents should be able to opt out of individual things in schools.  He wants to work toward eliminating tariffs because he supports free trade.

Raths wants Veterans Affairs to be run better.  He says Trump has made progress but needs to do more.  He expresses concern about pay for medical personnel at the VA.  He wants a constitutional amendment for term limits for Congress, 6 terms in the House and 2 terms in the Senate.  He wants to break up health company cartels and allow health care across state lines while protecting pre-existing conditions.

Sparks wants to allow crossing state lines and protect pre-existing conditions.  She wants to find ways to allow 529 funds to provide relief for people who are caring for both their parents and their children.

Huang supports a bipartisan bill (Feinstein and Stivers) that will address mental health and homelessness, which Katie Porter has failed to coauthor.  She wants bonuses for employees with student loans where the bonus is not taxed for employees or employers.

8:02 PM: Alexander asks which think tanks would advise the candidates in the House.

Raths says he would work with the Club for Growth, who’s he’s met with.  He says free college is available if you join the Marine Corps, and you won’t have student loans.

Sparks picks the Heritage Foundation, Club for Growth, and Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University, all of which she has already worked with.

Huang picks the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Children’s Defense Fund, all of which she has already worked with.

Sedgwick picks the Club for Growth, who he’s worked with.  He notes he is the only businessman and understands the challenges businesses face.  He expresses disgust that Katie Porter blasts “CEOs when she hasn’t even run the corner store.”  He says the people in the audience are the best think tank.

8:05 PM: Alexander slightly alters an audience question: the question asks how they support diverse ethnic groups in California and voice their concerns.

Sparks says the Republican Party needs to reach out to all groups and peoples.  She says the “Democrats have taken a lot of those groups hostage.”

Huang notes she is the only Asian-American on the stage.  She says she does not run on identity politics but she is running on freedom and liberty.  She says common issues are the best way to reach out to these groups because they all desire freedom and liberty.  She says Democrats have called minorities victims.  She says America is the land of opportunity where she could come not speaking English and then finds herself running for Congress.

Sedgwick speaks in Spanish (OC Political’s Spanish is rusty from college).  He says Hispanics are an important part of the fabric of the community.  He says most of his employees are Hispanics, and they support his stance on immigration.

Raths says television keeps talking about racists.  In the military, he says everyone worked together regardless of race.  He sees that as Mayor in his city.  He will fight racism and discrimination in Congress.  He says racism is overblown by the media.

8:10 PM: An audience question asks for candidates’ opinions on Common Core.

Huang has two children, and Common Core math makes no sense.  She calls for parental rights, local control, and electing school board members who will stand up to liberal mandates.  She says Integrated Science does not teach legitimate science and fails to prepare students for the future.

Sedgwick was President of the California School Boards Association even though he is a conservative.  Many people would boo him but others would come up to him privately to express support.  He calls for more local control and parental rights.

Raths’s wife was a teacher, and his daughters are both teachers.  He was a substitute teacher and jokes that it was the worst job he ever had, expressing his admiration for teachers doing this difficult work.  He calls for local control and getting the federal government out.

Sparks speaks of the craziness of Common Core that she is seeing on the County Board of Education.  She expresses concern about California Health Youth Act (CHYA) and holding a forum to inform parents.  She says health is the window dressing that is used to sneak all sorts of programs into schools.

8:15 PM: Alexander asks: What is your opinion on the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act which would allow military families to redirect funds for their children’s education to private school.

Sedgwick wants to give military families any leg up.  He wants to give more opportunities to children from Gold Star Families with increased educational tax deductions.  He wants the private sector healthcare expenses to be reimbursed for the military.

Raths is on the Orange County Veterans’ Advisory Committee for the Board of Supervisors.  He supports local nonprofit organizations assisting veterans in addition to the VA.

Sparks proposes each year of service for a military servicemember resulting in a year of free education for the military servicemember’s child.

Huang notes that military families are often forgotten.  She wants strong social networks and mental health care for military families, not just military servicemembers.  She wants to support nonprofits because government involvement results in inefficiencies from funding bureaucracy.

8:20 PM: Alexander asks: Do you agree with President Trump’s efforts for a better deal with China, including tariffs?

Raths says China nearly became the economic superpower until President Trump stopped them.  He says Trump has done a phenomenal job.  He doesn’t normally support tariffs but has found the tariffs on China are reasonable.

Sparks says “America wins when we lead at home and abroad.”  She praises the USMCA as an improvement over NAFTA.  She warns tariffs are taxes that are passed on to American consumers but has been surprised how well the tariffs on China are working.

Huang calls for student visa reform because students get shipped back to their countries and compete against the U.S.  She opposes tariffs because she is a free-market person.  She says tariffs hurt American consumers and companies.

Sedgwick says tariffs are a tax on consumers.  He supports President Trump’s efforts but believes it will eventually reach “zero, zero” tariffs.  He has been on Fox News six times in the past four months.  He warns the country to look to California to see what would happen if one of the Democrats wins the presidency.

8:26 PM: Alexander asks about policy on Iran and North Korea.

Sparks supports sanctions on Iran and North Korea.  She supports pressuring these dictatorships.

Huang supports Trump policy on Iran and North Korea.  She calls for putting enough resources for the 7th Fleet to strengthen the first line of defense against North Korea: South Korea and Japan.  She wants to protect Israel.

Sedgwick says the role of government is protection from threats, foreign and domestic.  He says socialism is a domestic threat.  He says the border needs to be protected.  He says Trump is right to open communications with North Korea.  He wants to keep the military out of battle.  He wants diplomatic solutions as much as possible.

Raths served two tours of duty in Japan and South Korea.  He had seven tours of duty in the Middle East.  He supports protecting Japan, South Korea, and Israel.  He says it is time to reduce American troops in “countries that don’t like us.”  He says troops should not be in Syria or Lebanon.

8:30 PM: Alexander asks an audience question asking about protecting the Second Amendment and opposing the Assault Weapons Ban.

Huang says she supports the Second Amendment.  She says she opposes all bans and jokes about the straw ban.  She says bans punish responsible people, not criminals.  She wants to reform HIPPA to allow families to speak to medical personnel about relatives’ mental health.

Sedgwick supports the Second Amendment and says, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  He notes gun control would not have prevented the Saugus High School shooting because the shooter already broke existing gun control laws.  He calls for more mental health services.

Raths says the Constitution is clear about the right to bear arms.  He says 99.9% of gunowners are responsible people.  He says the NRA has fantastic gun safety education programs.

Sparks supports the Second Amendment.  She speaks of going shooting with her family.  She notes her parents sent her to camp to get rifle training as a youth.  Her family was very diligent about gun safety.  She says families need to be helped when there are mental health problems in the home.

8:34 PM: Alexander asks the last audience question: “What do you plan to do when you get to Congress about the national debt?”

Sedgwick notes Laguna Hills will be debt free in 3 years.  When he joined OCFA six years ago, he put together a “snowball” plan to pay off the pension liability; he notes interest payments have decreased by nearly $25 million as a result.  He says that attitude is needed to balance the national budget instead of just supporting the presented budget.

Raths says Mission Viejo had a $6 million surplus this year due to $4 million in unexpected revenue and $2 million in cost savings.  He opposes omnibus bills.  He wants a 10% phased-in reduction of federal bureaucracy.

Sparks blasts the size of the deficit.  She opposes the previous budget deal.  She speaks of being on the County Board of Education, where she voted to remove 1% of the budget from expenses for lobbying and travel, and is fighting the Superintendent on that.

Huang notes Yorba Linda is the first city with OpenGov to show every dollar of City expenditures online.  She would start with Health and Human Services and with Education.  She calls for eliminating certain federal agencies, noting there are several in the EPA that should be eliminated.

8:39 PM: Alexander thanks the organizers and discusses the CRA.

8:41 PM: Closing statements begin.

Raths thanks the audience for attending.  He speaks of a life of service: being a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Eagle Scout, 30 years as a Marine, 5 years as a Councilmember and now Mayor, and now he wants to go to Congress to represent the people of the 45th District.  He will ensure Katie Porter is a one-term Congresswoman.

Sparks is “an accomplished scholar-teacher and a builder.”  She built the Chapman University School of Communications.  She has only been in politics for a couple years.  She will represent the people of the district and fight for them just as she is fighting for freedom of speech through her work at Chapman.  She says Porter does not represent the district, and Sparks will be the one to beat her.

Huang thanks the audience for attending.  She says next month marks the 30th anniversary of her citizenship and her registration as a Republican the day she was naturalized.  She worked on affordable housing and human trafficking not through reading about them but by working in the trenches with people directly.  She says she worked on the Unabomber case.  She has fought sex trafficking and the drug trade.  She says Porter has worked in theory brainwashing the young offering nothing of value to the people of the district.

Sedgwick says a democracy is only as great as its people.  He wants to strengthen parent rights, local schools, institutions of faith, and the free-market economy.  He wants Congress to not be paid if they don’t pass a budget; he wants to run government more like business.  His city contracts for most services.  They have no pension liability because they have few employees.  He called it ironic that the LA City Council was complaining about the expense of construction when it was their regulations that made it so expensive in the first place.

8:47 PM: Alexander thanks the candidates, the organizers, and the audience and adjourns the forum.  Two raffle prizes (a Thanksgiving basket and a Trump hat) are awarded to the audience.

Posted in 45th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

45th Congressional District Republican Candidate Forum Hosted by CRA on November 21, 2019

Posted by Craig P Alexander on October 21, 2019

On November 21, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. the California Republican Assembly will be hosting a Candidate Forum for the major Republican Candidates for the 45th Congressional District which is currently held by Democrat Katie Porter and formerly held by Republican Mimi Walters.  Doors will open at 6:45 p.m. and the Forum will begin at 7:00 p.m.  It is scheduled to end at approximately 8:30 p.m.  The venue location is the Norman P. Murray Community Center (24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, CA  92692).   The current four major Republican candidates are the Honorable Peggy Huang, the Honorable Greg Raths, the Honorable Don Sedgwick and the Honorable Lisa Sparks. 

The event is being hosted by CRA’s local units in the 45th Congressional District – the Saddleback Republican Assembly, the Tustin Republican Assembly and the Anaheim Republican Assembly.  Former CRA Executive Vice President and attorney Craig Alexander of Dana Point will act as the moderator. CRA Orange County will hold its Orange County Endorsing Convention in early January 2020.

This forum will consist of a series of questions centering in on policy and the candidate’s position on issues regarding their potential responsibilities as a Congressman / woman from the 45th District.  Each candidate will be asked the same questions.   Members of the audience will be able to offer questions to the candidates in writing (not orally) at the event.  No candidate will receive a copy of the questions prior to the Forum event.

The event is open to the public.  For more information regarding this event please contact Saddleback Republican Assembly President Cynthia Cantrelle at cynthiacantrelle@yahoo.com.

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Polling Shows Diane Dixon and Her Message Beat Cottie Petrie-Norris

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on September 19, 2019

This press release came over the wire from the Diane Dixon for Assembly campaign…

Polling Shows Diane Dixon and Her Message Beat Cottie Petrie-Norris

Dixon Holds Wide Lead Among Republican Voters, Petrie-Norris Beats Ernby Even Among Republicans

Orange County, California (September 17, 2019) – Polling from Public Opinion Strategies shows Newport Beach Councilwoman Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach) pulls ahead of freshman Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) for the 74th District seat when voters hear about Dixon’s record. The poll also shows that more Republican voters cross party lines to support Petrie-Norris than support Deputy District Attorney Kelly Ernby (R-Huntington Beach).

In name identification across the 74th District, the poll showed that Petrie-Norris only narrowly surpasses Dixon by 4% despite being the incumbent Assemblywoman. Ernby’s total name identification was only 5%, and her limited resources are inadequate to catch the other candidates. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 4.9%.

Dixon has higher name ID than Petrie-Norris among Republicans and among independent voters. She also has higher favorability and lower unfavorability than Petrie-Norris among each of those two voter groups.

In the initial ballot test, Diane Dixon, Republican, Councilmember, leads Kelly Ernby, Republican, Deputy District Attorney, by 18%. After voters hear about Dixon’s record on the City Council, Diane Dixon, Republican, Councilmember, outpolls Cottie Petrie-Norris, Democrat, California State Assemblymember, by 5% and Kelly Ernby, Republican, Deputy District Attorney, by 40%.

Among Republican voters in the initial ballot test, Dixon holds a 36% lead over Petrie-Norris. Democrat Petrie-Norris holds a 2% lead among Republicans over Republican Ernby. After voters hear about her record on the City Council, Dixon quickly consolidates 77% of Republicans behind her and opens up a 10% lead over Petrie-Norris among independents.

According to campaign finance reports from the latest reporting period, Dixon is the best-funded challenger running against an Assembly incumbent in the entire state, regardless of party. During that time, she raised over $207,000 and had more than $177,000 cash on hand. Additionally, Dixon raised the money after entering the race with only two months remaining in the six-month reporting period. She also outraised 42 Assembly incumbents, including 31 Democrats and 11 Republicans. During the reporting period, Dixon raised more than the majority of the Republicans in Orange County’s legislative delegation did.

Next week, Dixon has two fundraisers scheduled, one headlined by Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove and another headlined by former Governor Pete Wilson.

The 74th Assembly District has the strongest Republican registration advantage of any Assembly seat held by a Democrat.  There are 6 sitting Republican Assemblymembers who hold seats with weaker Republican registration advantages or even Democratic registration advantages.

Diane Dixon spent 40 years in the private sector as a business executive before being elected to the Newport Beach City Council in 2014.  She is serving her second term as Mayor, and has served as Chair of the Water Quality and Tidelands Committee and member of the Finance Committee for nearly five years, including four years as Chair.  During her tenure at City Hall, she has actively engaged city residents, holding over 23 town hall meetings, working closely with local business owners and residents to solve community problems, and initiating numerous neighborhood and community improvement programs.

An active member on several philanthropic community-based boards of directors for nearly four decades, Mayor Dixon has been married for 44 years to career prosecutor Pat Dixon, with whom she has a daughter, a former prosecutor, and three grandchildren.

The 74th Assembly District consists of Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, southern Huntington Beach, and most of Irvine.

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Paid for by Diane Dixon for Assembly 2020, ID #1418525.

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