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The Trouble with Josh Newman

Posted by Brenda Higgins on October 20, 2017

 

Josh Newman is the California State Senator elected to the 29th district, which includes North Orange County, Fullerton to Yorba Linda and adjacent communities in San Bernardino county and Los Angeles County.

http://wedrawthelines.ca.gov/downloads/meeting_handouts_082011/map_20110815_ap_sd_29_certified.pdf

Newman was elected in November 2016. The election of Newman created a super-majority of Democrats in Sacramento. His election was the closest one in the state and was the last one to be finalized and certified. This seat has been easily won and held by Republicans for many years.

SB1 is also known as the “Gas and Car Tax”. It increased the tax that Californians pay on a gallon of gas from $ 0.18 to $ 0.31, a $ 0.13 increase. The effort to recall Newman began shortly after that with San Diego activist, Carl DeMaio leading the effort.

A website was up during the time that the signatures were being gathered, as well as a Facebook page. “Stop the Gas Tax” was the mantra, the battle cry, the motto, the slogan emblazoned on the signs. The name of the website has now been changed, as has the name of the Facebook page. However the Facebook page has merely added “Recall Senator Newman” to its original title “Stop the Gas Tax. Now, it is hyphenated.
The first challenge to be mounted to the recall effort was litigation targeting the deception. The phrase that populated everything that came from the organization was “Stop the Gas Tax”. No mention of Newman. No mention of recall. Stop The Gas Tax.

Recalling Newman will not repeal the gas tax.

Further, Newman was not the “deciding vote”, as has been stated in some of the promotion of this effort.

https://ballotpedia.org/Verbatim_fact_check:_Was_Sen._Josh_Newman_the_deciding_vote_on_California%27s_gas_tax_increase%3F

The lawsuit filed on behalf of Newman, names as defendants, the Cal State Fullerton students who were gathering signatures, accusing them of misrepresenting the nature of the petition that they were having people sign. In discussing this with professionals who deal with these election law matters, they have insisted that this litigation is not going anywhere, as the description on the petition itself is the only relevant consideration in legally determining if signers have been mislead. It is hard to believe, that the signage, and name of the website and Facebook page don’t matter. Time will tell, that litigation is still pending. The legal issue may be resolved in the manner that the involved Republicans believe, but they seem to be a tad short sighted in assuming that voters do not care about being deliberately mislead.

In the meantime, the Democrats with their super majority and governor, have passed additional legislation, to delay the recall. The legislation would provide a 30 day grace period, for people to change their minds and ask that their signatures be removed from a petition. They passed the legislation in June, it was shortly thereafter blocked by an appeals court. A new bill, was then passed and quickly signed by the governor, would require that every single signature be verified, rather than just verifying a random sampling of the signatures. This of course delays and lengthens the time it potentially takes to get a special election on the calendar. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers have filed a petition in court to fight this new law. That litigation is also pending.

The score so far is this, California consumers will be paying 13 cents more for every gallon of gas, 20 cents on diesel fuel, starting November 1, 2017. California vehicle owners will be paying an additional $25 to $175 on vehicle registrations. That is just on the SB1 legislation that Republicans are blaming Senator Newman for.

It is estimated that these new taxes, on this legislation alone, will generate $52 billion over the next ten years, to be used for road improvements. I don’t think there is anyone who disputes that road and infrastructure is badly in need of attention in our state. However, the government in California has been notoriously untrustworthy in using allocated budget funds to repair and maintain our roads. This time, it seems they pinky promise or some other super-duper assurance that these funds, really will be used for roads.

The problem with hanging this albatross around the neck of Newman, is that watching all of the activity in Sacramento, it is impossible to fathom that an extra republican in the Senate would have made a difference. Nowhere in the propaganda accompanying this farce of a recall does it inform voters that there was a Republican who voted for this gas tax, and there was. That republican is not being targeted for recall. The fact checker (link is above) from Ballotpedia (Non-partisan source) says that the claim of Newman being the “deciding vote” is patently false. 27 Senators in the State Senate are Democrats. 27 Senators voted for the “Gas Tax” (SB1), the no votes were not tallied, and there were two Senators who did not vote. One of the affirming votes was from a Republican Senator.

After the recall was well underway, California Cap and Trade legislation came up for vote. The Republican minority leader voted for the legislation, which will raise taxes on a gallon of California by about 63 cents. The Republican leader, also convinced 8 other Republicans to vote along with him. Neither the Republican leader, nor any of the legislators who voted with him are being targeted for recall.
So the real trouble with Newman, is that he is a democrat, in a seat the Republicans perceive to be at risk. The issue never was the gas tax. Had we elected a Republican in SD29, I can imagine based upon voting history and party behavior, we would be having a very different conversation about this gas tax. It would go something like, we really, really need to fix the roads and there is no other way but to implement this new tax. The newly elected Republican Senator would be making the lunch and coffee meeting rounds to explain how hard it is to be in the minority in Sacramento and why she had to vote for the tax. It is all about the constituents and I was looking out for you, for our roads.

Newman, at least voted in the way anyone and everyone anticipated him to vote and makes no apology therefore. The false flag does not change this and it is not a far stretch to know that the Republican who would have occupied that seat, likely would have voted the same way and make excuses for it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

So what did taxpayers get from CUSD’s financing of Former Trustee Lynn Hatton-Hodson’s Financial Conflict of Interest defense? Nothing! Part Two of Two.

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on August 28, 2017

In Part One we outlined how the taxpayers came to pay for Former CUSD Trustee Lynn Hatton-Hodson’s conflict of interest non-disclosure legal defense. In Part Two we find CUSD is blocking the public’s access to what the taxpayer dollars were spent for and a long list of serious unanswered questions.

Even More Taxpayer Education Dollars to The Olson Law Firm and the Blocked Entries of the Descriptions of Services

In December the Board authorized a $10,000 increase in the allowed cost for the Olson firm (for total legal fees of $25,000.00).  [12-6-16 More Money for Olson Authorization]. Then in February 2017 the FPPC closed its file.  The Olson firm did not submit another invoice to CUSD until April 30, 2017 for $937.50.  When CUSD finally disclosed this invoice in late July (after several requests by CPC) it contained the similar redactions as in the 10/31/16 invoice. [4-30-17 Olson Invoice]

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 for the legal defense of a  financial disclosure filing which is normally privately funded by the politician themselves.  Therefore it would be proper for the taxpayers to know what they received for their money.  CUSD could waive the Attorney Client Privilege and give us un-redacted invoices.  But it has refused to do so.

Just What Did the Olson Firm Do For The Money?

With all of the Olson’s firm’s billing activity as of October 31, 2016 we would expect there to be letters and e-mails going back and forth between the Olson firm and the FPPC.

But in the responses to CPC by CUSD and the FPPC not one letter or e-mail was apparently exchanged between the Olson firm and the FPPC.  Not. One. Letter. Or. E-mail. Nothing!  And none between the FPPC and the Orbach or Werksman firms either. The FPPC advised me that if they had “phone notes” of any conversations with the Olson firm, those would have been turned over in response to our Public Records Act request.  None were disclosed.

Serious Questions Remain

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

Why are there be no written communications or telephone notes of conversations between the Olson law firm and the FPPC?

Why would the Olson firm not bill the District for the time put into the case between Nov. 1st and Feb. 28th until April 30, 2017?

Just what did this Olson firm do for the $16,274.50 taxpayer’s dollars it was paid?

Are there other matters the Olson firm is being paid taxpayer money for by CUSD?   There is an investigation by the Orange County District Attorney’s office into this same matter involving Ms. Hatton-Hodson.  That District Attorney investigation is not mentioned in the 9/26/16 Olson retainer agreement with CUSD.

Is the Orbach firm working for CUSD / Hatton-Hodson on the District Attorney’s investigation?  Why else would they hire the $750 per hour Werksman firm which advertises itself as “Tenacious. Proven. Criminal Trial Attorneys“?  The Werksman firm’s total invoicing (per the records CUSD disclosed) on this matter is $13,972.50 to date.  $2,175.00 for work done in March 2017 AFTER the FPPC closed its file in February 2017.

Why would the Olson law firm retained to assist the former trustee by the District not list Trustee Hatton-Hodson as the Client rather than the District? After all the District did not fail to file the Disclosure form correctly – Lynn Hatton-Hodson apparently failed to do this.  Why were there no written waivers of the obvious potential conflict of interest in the file disclosed to CPC?

What did the Orbach firm do for CUSD that the Olson firm was not already doing after the Board of Trustees hired Olson in late September 2016?

Here is the breakdown of the taxpayer dollars spent on lawyers in the Lynn Hatton-Hodson matter to date:

Olson              $16,274.50

Orbach           $11,728.00

Werksman     $13,972.50

Total              $41,975.00

Who Received What Benefits For The Public’s $41,975.00 Tax Dollars?

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

What did CUSD and the children it is supposed to service get for this expense?  Nothing.

What did former Trustee Lynn Hatton-Hodson receive? A free taxpayer funded legal defense before the FPPC (and maybe for the District Attorney’s investigation as well).

Perhaps the real question here is 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.

Craig Alexander is an attorney who represents requestors of information under the California Public Records Act. He is also volunteer General Counsel for the California Policy Center, Inc. a policy think tank that advocates for transparency in government. He is a former candidate for CUSD’s Board of Trustees. Craig can be reached at craig@craigalexanderlaw.com.

Posted in Capistrano Unified School District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

BREAKING: Democrat Brett Murdock Enters District Attorney’s Race

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on August 24, 2017

Former Brea Mayor Brett Murdock, who unsuccessfully challenged Congressman Ed Royce’s 2016 re-election bid, has become the third candidate to enter the race for District Attorney of Orange County.  District Attorney Tony Rackauckas is running for re-election, and Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer has already announced his candidacy to unseat Rackauckas.

This came over the wire from the campaign of Brett Murdock for District Attorney…

WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOR, LIFELONG ORANGE COUNTY RESIDENT AND ATTORNEY BRETT MURDOCK ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR DISTRICT ATTORNEY

Orange County, CA – August 24, 2017 – Former Mayor of Brea, Brett Murdock, announces his candidacy for Orange County District Attorney, challenging Todd Spitzer and incumbent Tony Rackauckas.

Brett Murdock is running to restore integrity to the office of the District Attorney. He stated, “Orange County has seen a wave of corruption and disgrace in the District Attorney’s office because of Tony Rackauckas’s inability and unwillingness to play by the rules and uphold justice. I am running to restore dignity and trust in the District Attorney’s office.”

Brett Murdock is the former mayor of Brea, former member of the Brea City Council, and owns his own law practice. Given his experience working with county governance, Brett will bring stable leadership that is missing at the District Attorney’s office. Tony Rackauckas’s rule has prompted an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, and, according to the Los Angeles Times, the District Attorney’s office has been “rocked by an ongoing scandal involving the use of jailhouse snitches and a steady stream of headlines about prosecutorial misconduct and overturned criminal cases.”

As an attorney, Brett regularly fights for victims of injustice and helps organizations that serve those in need. Brett has been a business owner for over 20 years. He will work hard to earn the respect of the over 700 professionals in the District Attorney’s office that work every day in the courtrooms and on the streets to protect our communities.

As District Attorney, Brett Murdock will bring a smart, tough, and victim oriented approach to crime and corruption. “It’s time for a change. We must dispense with the political infighting and favoritism that infects the District Attorney’s office and focus on the justice and fairness our county deserves.”

Brett Murdock was born in Anaheim and recently finished three years as an adjunct professor of American Government at Cal State Fullerton. He currently lives in Brea with his wife and two children.

For more information, visit www.brettmurdock.com.

Posted in Orange County District Attorney's Office | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

So what did taxpayers get from CUSD’s financing of Former Trustee Lynn Hatton-Hodson’s Financial Conflict of Interest defense? Nothing! Part One of Two

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on August 24, 2017

Former CUSD Trustee Hatton-Hodson’s Undisclosed Financial Conflicts Of Interest And The FPPC

Last fall it was discovered that elected CUSD Trustee Lynn Hatton-Hodson had an undisclosed financial conflict of interest due to her ownership interest in a vendor to Capistrano Unified School District. She apparently did not disclose this conflict in her required filing with the County known as a Form 700 (Statement of Economic Interest). A citizen made a complaint to the FPPC (the Fair Political Practices Commission) about Ms. Hatton-Hodson’s failure to disclose the obvious 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 opine that filling out a Form 700 was an official act of a Trustee and any challenge regarding the form entitles the Trustee to a taxpayer funded defense by attorneys who specialize in this field.

Trustee Hatton-Hodson’s Undisclosed Financial Conflicts of Interest and the FPPC

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.  The Board of Trustees authorized the District to spend $15,000.00 of taxpayer money to defend her.

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]. Yet they apparently defended Ms. Hatton-Hodson, not the District, before the FPPC.

Conflict of Interest – What Conflict of Interest!

The California Policy Center, Inc. sent Public Records Act requests to CUSD and the FPPC after the FPPC closed its file in this matter in late February 2017.

Most of the time a contract between a client and an attorney firm is required under Business and Professions Code section 6148.  CUSD disclosed to CPC the agreement between itself and the Olson firm. Again, oddly, this agreement identifies the District not Trustee Hatton-Hodson as the Client of the firm.  The FPPC complaint was the sole scope of work listed for the Olson firm.

In addition, an attorney is not allowed to represent clients with conflicting interests. Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3-310.  The attorney may represent two clients where the conflict of interest between them is only a potential one.  But the attorney should obtain a written Waiver of the Potential Conflict of Interest.  Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3-310 (c).

A potential conflict of interest is something that is very foreseeable in this situation and where the interests if the District and Ms. Hatton-Hodson could become adverse requiring the attorney to withdraw from the representation at any time.  However when we received the documents from CUSD, while the 9/26/17 Agreement was produced, no signed off letters or notices to either the District or Ms. Hatton-Hodson of the Potential Conflict of Interest for the Olson firm were disclosed.  Thus it appears no written waiver was obtained even though one Trustee apparently understood this and brought it to the attention to the Superintendent. [9-26-16 E-mail].

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

When CPC sought records under the Public Records Act the 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.  Importantly there was one invoice from the Olson firm dated October 31, 2016 for just over $15,000 – the entire amount authorized by the Board of Trustees just one half of one month earlier. [10-31-16 Olson Invoice].

But there were two other firms sending CUSD invoices for this matter: 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 acting as an expert to the Orbach firm.  The hourly rate for the Werksman firm’s senior partner is $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 for Ms. Hatton-Hodson’s defense.  We asked CUSD to give us un-redacted versions of these invoices and it refused.

In Part Two of Two – More Public Money for Attorneys, And for What?  Plus Serious Questions Remain from this Episode. 

Craig Alexander is an attorney who represents requestors of information under the California Public Records Act. He is also volunteer General Counsel for the California Policy Center, Inc. a policy think tank that advocates for transparency in government. He is a former candidate for CUSD’s Board of Trustees. Craig can be reached at craig@craigalexanderlaw.com.

Posted in Capistrano Unified School District, Orange County District Attorney's Office, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Live from OC GOP Central Committee: Resolution Against Chad Mayes

Posted by Chris Nguyen on August 21, 2017

We are live from the Orange County Republican Party Central Committee’s August meeting, where the committee is widely expected to pass a resolution calling on Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) to resign.

Mayes survived an ouster effort by three votes earlier this evening and will face another leadership vote on Tuesday, August 29.  He has been under fire from Republicans across the state for his role in supporting the controversial cap-and-trade bill.

The Lincoln Club of Orange County and OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker have already called for Mayes to step down.  Tonight’s resolution will put the OC GOP Central Committee on record in calling for Mayes to resign.

Here is the full text of the proposed resolution (the fast-moving pace of Central Committee votes has increased the number of County Party Chairmen and Central Committees in favor of Mayes’s ouster since the resolution was drafted):

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF ASSEMBLY REPUBLICAN LEADER CHAD MAYES RESIGNING HIS LEADERSHIP POSITION

August 21, 2017

WHEREAS, the Democrat controlled California Legislature rammed through a ten-year extension of Democrat Governor Jerry Brown’s disastrous Cap and Trade program, perpetuating needless economic devastation and imposing an enormous financial burden on the poor and middle class taxpayers of California;

WHEREAS, the Democrat led Cap and Trade extension will continue the exodus of small business from our state at a greater speed and in larger numbers while artificially increasing the costs of electrical generation and products that are made using fuel or electricity;

WHEREAS, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association projects that the Cap and Trade extension will increase fuel prices by 21 cents per gallon come 2022 and by 71 cents per gallon come 2030, in addition to the 19 cents per gallon hike passed by the Democrats last April;

WHEREAS, Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes turned his back on the Republican Party platform by proudly and publicly supporting the worst of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown’s far-left legislative agenda, and persuaded six of his fellow Assembly Republicans to join with him;

WHEREAS, Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes abandoned his mandate to elect more Assembly Republicans throughout the State of California by giving Democrats like Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva a free pass to vote against Cap and Trade and act more Republican than our leadership;

WHEREAS, Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes continues to be defiant, despite calls for his resignation from RNC National Committeeman Shawn Steel, RNC National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon, the Lincoln Club of Orange County, several other donor and volunteer groups, seventeen Republican Party County Chairmen and/or Central Committees throughout California, and the vote of the California Republican Party Board of Directors;

WHEREAS, Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes has irreparably harmed his ability to effectively fundraise on behalf of his Republican colleagues, elect Republicans in targeted districts throughout the state, and help lead the repeal of the recent Democrat led gas tax increase;

WHEREAS, Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes has inexcusably penalized Republican Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez for standing on sound Republican principle in opposition to this economically debilitating legislation that will direct billions of tax dollars to the high-speed rail boondoggle overwhelmingly opposed by Californians;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED:
The Republican Central Committee of Orange County respectfully requests Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes resign his leadership position immediately and allow another Republican to lead who will present a clear alternative to the Democrats’ crushing tax hikes and burdensome regulatory regime.

After the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance, RNC Committeeman Shawn Steel opens by stating there is a cancer growing in the Assembly.  He blasts Chad Mayes for going against his caucus, losing his right to be leader, noting that 17 of 25 members voted against Mayes’s position on cap-and-trade and that Mayes lost three Republican Assembly seats in 2016. He notes that Mayes was proud of his photo with Governor Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker Chad Mayes, and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon celebrating the passage of the cap-and-trade bill.

Steel notes Mayes’s survival of tonight’s vote in Sacramento and that a new vote will take place next week. Steel notes Orange County has 5 Republican Assemblymembers, which goes a long way toward the 13.  Assemblymen Travis Allen, Matthew Harper, and Steven Choi have been calling for Mayes’s ouster since the cap-and-trade vote. He states Assemblyman Bill Brough also supports electing a new leader, but has not yet picked which leader. Steel says Assemblyman Phillip Chen wants a smooth transition and wants to avoid a bloodbath. Steel calls on committee members who live in the 55th Assembly District to call Chen to pressure him.

Steel notes that Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez and Assemblyman Jay Obernolte are in the race. He says he spoke to Assemblyman Vince Fong, who decided today that he will run for Assembly Republican Leader.

Steel says he does not want to squander time fighting Republican leaders, as he would rather focus on fighting for other things, pointing to the example of his efforts for free speech on college campuses.

Steel thanks Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker for helping with ensuring enough police to protect event goers at the upcoming Milo Yiannopolous speech at Cal State Fullerton on October 31.

Steel thanks Steven Choi for his help in ensuring enough police to protect event goers at the Milo Yiannopolous speech at UC Irvine last year.

Steel thanks Fred Whitaker for being the first County Party Chairman to call for Mayes to resign.

Steel inadvertently curses while blasting Nazis and white supremacists at Charlottesville. He says Trump stumbled and should have simply said, “I hate Nazis!”

Steel blasts white suprenacy as a disease as disgusting as anti-Semitism and speaks of William F. Buckley’s efforts to run the anti-Semites out of the conservative movement.

Steel calls white supremacists and Nazis “our endemic, enduring enemy.” He blasts the Ku Klux Klan. Steel speaks of Abraham Lincoln and the Radical Republicans who fought to end slavery.

Steel calls for the exposure and expulsion of white supremacists, just like Buckley exposed and expelled anti-Semites.

In Q&A, Mike Withrow asks Steel for his assessment of the Virginia Governor’s race.

Steel says the race is dead even despite Virginia’s shift toward Democrats in other ways. He says the New Jersey gubernatorial race is lost.

An audience member asks Steel about the alt-right.

Steel says he had never heard of the alt-right until Hillary Clinton blasted them last year. He blasts them for being totalitarians and white supremacists. He says true Republicans believe in limited government, not authoritarianism.

An audience member asks Steel about efforts to protect Congressman Dana Rohrabacher against six Democrat opponents.

Steel describes Rohrabacher’s campaign and how it is being taken as the most serious election of Rohrabacher’s career. Steel notes his wife is unopposed in her re-election as Supervisor but will still wage a campaign to help Rohrabacher.

Steel speaks of Congressman Ed Royce’s opponents, including the one who dumped in $2 million into the race and the one who won a $266 million lottery jackpot.

Steel notes that Orange County saved Congressman Darrell Issa’s seat in 2016, as Issa lost in San Diego County.

Robert Petrosyan asks Steel about Mayes’s re-election. Specifically, he asks Steel if the California Republican Party will support a primary opponent against Mayes.

Steel states that Gary Jeandron, who lost the primary to Mayes by 100 votes, is taking a hard look at running again. Steel says that Mayes justified socialism in small bites while speaking to the San Bernardino County Central Committee. He speaks of Mayes debating Melendez at the Riverside County Central Committee. Steel says Mayes is “insane.”

Chairman Fred Whitaker calls the roll to establish quorum and determine the number of members present in order to vote on the resolution.

The minutes from the July special meeting are approved.

Whitaker speaks of the various party regional headquarters being set up across Orange County. He says the SD-29 recall will take place in November. Whitaker notes all the Democrats’ efforts to change recall rules are because Democrats know they stepped over the line. Whitaker says this why it is critical to have good leadership in Sacramento. He blasts Mayes for “political malpractice” in giving Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva a “free pass” on cap-and-trade. Whitaker notes Quirk-Silva issued a press release attacking cap-and-trade and looked more conservative than Mayes.

Whitaker says that next week, there are four candidates for Assembly Republican Leader: Obernolte, Melendez, Fong, and Mayes. He calls on Mayes to drop out.

Todd Spitzer moves and John Briscoe seconds to suspend the rules to allow the consideration of the resolution on an urgency basis.

The suspension of the rules passes unanimously.

Whitaker reads the full text of the resolution calling for Mayes to resign.

Andy Whallon moves and Todd Spitzer seconds the resolution for discussion.

Spitzer moves and Mike Munzing seconds for an amendment to add “and demanding the Republican Caucus vacate his seat” in the title and change “respectfully requests” to “demands” in the final paragraph while also adding a demand that the Assembly Republican Caucus oust Mayes as Republican Leader.

The committee votes unanimously and without debate to adopt the resolution with the amendments.

AMENDED RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY.

Deborah Pauly asks Chairman Whitaker to distribute the resolution to all the Central Committee members to pass on to other Republicans and organizations. Whitaker enthusiastically supports Pauly’s suggestion.

OC GOP Secretary Peggy Huang announces the June Volunteer of the Month, summer intern Nicholas Kumamoto from Irvine, an undergraduate at Amherst College. Kumamoto thanks the OC GOP for the opportunity to volunteer. Whitaker, Huang, and Spitzer present certificates to Kumamoto.

Huang announces the July Volunteer of the Month, OCC College Republican Noah Ritter.  Ritter thanks various College Republicans by name and thanks Orange County Republicans collectively.  Whitaker, Huang, and the office of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher present certificates to Ritter.

OC GOP Parliamentarian Kermit Marsh admonishes Republicans who are running against each other to not commit ethics violations. He provides a shorthand of the rules: don’t lie about yourself, don’t lie about your opponent, and don’t use the Republican Party symbols without permission.

Various club announcements are made by audience members.

Whitaker notes the OC GOP headquarters volunteers will be on Fox News tomorrow.

Whitaker reads a resolution in memory of Ross Johnson, former FPPC Chair, former Senate Republican Leader, and former Assembly Republican Leader. The Johnson family asked for donations to Women’s Empowerment or the ASPCA.

The committee adjourns in memory of Ross Johnson at 8:18 PM.

Posted in Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Breaking: Mayes Survives for Now by 3 Votes; Another Leadership Vote Next Week

Posted by Chris Nguyen on August 21, 2017

Chad Mayes

Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley)

Embattled Assembly Minority Leader Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) survived a vote this evening that leaves him in place as head of the Assembly Republican Caucus, according to Chris Megerian of the Los Angeles Times, quoting Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore).  Guy Marzorati of KQED radio reported the same information, with a leadership election to be held Tuesday, August 29.

The 25-member caucus needed 13 votes to oust Mayes, but only reached 10.

Mayes has been under heavy pressure to resign in light of his role in supporting the controversial cap-and-trade program.  The California Republican Party Board, two dozen county central committees, four Lincoln Clubs, and the Impact Republicans have all called for an end to Mayes’s tenure as Assembly Republican Leader.  The Lincoln Club of Orange County and Orange County Republican Party Chairman Fred Whitaker have already called on Mayes to step aside, and tonight, the Orange County Central Committee will be voting on a resolution calling on Mayes to resign.

There have been three rumored candidates to replace Mayes:

  • Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake), who appears to be the frontrunner
  • Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore), who entered the race late last week
  • Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield), who is rumored to have lost interest in the race

This is pure speculation, but it’s entirely possible the split in the race to replace Mayes may be unintentionally keeping Mayes in his position if none of the three can get to 13 votes to become the new leader.  The motion to “vacate the chair” may have failed because members were reluctant to have the position simply sit vacant.  These Republican Assembly members need to coalesce by the leadership vote on Tuesday because each additional failed vote against Mayes makes the caucus look more ineffectual and out of touch with their own base.  Additionally, the longer the caucus remains in chaos, the less time there is spent raising money to win seats.

 

 

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

Breaking News: Enough Signatures Verified to Qualify Recall Election for Senator Josh Newman

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on August 18, 2017

This came over the wire from the California Republican Party just minutes ago announcing enough signatures have been verified by County Registrars of Voters to qualify the recall election of Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton):

Statement by California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte on the Counties Verifying Enough Signatures to Qualify Recall of State Senator Josh Newman

Sacramento, CA — Today, the counties of LA, Orange and San Bernardino have verified 66,597 signatures from voters who signed the petition to recall State Senator Josh Newman. This is significantly more than the required 63,593 verified signatures from voters within Senate District 29 by mid-October to qualify the recall for a vote.

“Despite every cynical effort by the Democrats to stall this election, the time has come for Senator Newman to stand before the voters in Senate District 29 and answer for his tax-raising antics,” stated California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte. “We call upon the Secretary of State to certify the recall so that voters can finally have their say at the ballot box.”

Ever since SD 29 voters filed a petition to recall Senator Newman this Spring, Sacramento Democrats have gone out of their way to undermine and upend the electoral process.

In a cynically corrupt attempt to shield Senator Newman from the impending recall, Democrats in the Legislature scrambled to pass Senate Bill 96—a gut and amend bill that would needlessly extend the state’s recall approval process—denying voters in SD 29 the due process of a speedy election. In response, SD 29 voters joined with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and sued to stop the implementation of SB 96. In a win for the recall proponents, the courts granted their request earlier this week.

In a move to further bolster Newman’s chances of surviving the recall, Senate Democrats last month filed a motion with the supposedly non-partisan political watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), to lift the contribution limits for Newman’s recall campaign. Going against the recommendation of its legal counsel, the FPPC approved the Democrats’ request earlier this week. Newman’s colleagues in the Legislature will now be allowed to raise and contribute large sums of cash to Newman by using their committees to funnel money from special interests. To add insult to injury, it was reported that one of the FPPC commissioners had held several conversations with the Senate Democrats’ attorney prior to the ruling, calling into question the objectivity of the Commissioner.

“Make no mistake about it, the Democratic supermajority and the special interests who benefit from it will continue to fight dirty. They have all the money in the world, the power to change laws at will, and a direct interest in ensuring that Newman keeps his seat,” stated Brulte. “It’s despicable that the Democrat Party is pulling out so many stops to prevent voters from having their say. It’s really no wonder that voters are so cynical these days.”

Once the Secretary of State certifies the sufficiency of the recall petition, the Governor must order an election for SD 29.

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Breaking News: Eight Republicans Cross Aisle to Vote for Cap-and-Trade, Quirk-Silva Crosses Aisle to Vote Against Cap-and-Trade

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 17, 2017

California State CapitolTonight, the State Legislature passed AB 398, the legislation extending cap-and-trade, passed the Senate 28-12 and the Assembly 55-22. The bill required 27 votes in the Senate and 54 votes in the Assembly.

Governor Jerry Brown will definitely sign the bill, considering his active efforts to lobby for cap-and-trade, his rare testimony in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee in favor of cap-and-trade, and his ebullient press conference tonight celebrating cap-and-trade’s passage.

All 27 Senate Democrats voted for cap-and-trade. 48 out of 54 Assembly Democrats voted for it. Eight Republicans in the Legislature voted for cap-and-trade: one Senator and seven Assemblymembers.

Most of the Orange County legislative delegation voted along party lines, with Republicans voting against cap-and-trade and Democrats voting for it.  The sole exception was Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) who crossed the aisle to join the Republicans in voting against cap-and-trade.

Here are the eight Republicans who joined with most of the Democrats to vote for cap-and-trade:

Senate

Assembly

Posted in 65th Assembly District, California, State Assembly, State Senate | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Full Text of Spitzer’s Candidacy Announcement for District Attorney

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on July 14, 2017

Here is the full text of the press release that came over the wire Monday from the Todd Spitzer for District Attorney 2018 campaign…

ORANGE COUNTY SUPERVISOR TODD SPITZER ANNOUNCES  CANDIDACY FOR DISTRICT ATTORNEY PLEDGING TO RESTORE  TRUST IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

Spitzer pledges to replace the “Rudderless Ship” in the District Attorney’s office, fight crime and serve as a champion for victims’ rights. His campaign begins race with massive spending advantage of $1,261,925 Cash On Hand. New poll indicates voters feel less safe under DA’s watch.

Orange County, CA – July 10, 2017 – Supervisor Todd Spitzer announced his candidacy for Orange County District Attorney challenging Tony Rackauckas. Orange County has seen murderers’ sentences reduced and violent criminals released into our communities early because of the District Attorney’s inept safeguarding of public safety. A former reserve Los Angeles Police Department officer, Supervisor Spitzer served for nearly ten years as an Orange County Deputy District Attorney and Assistant District Attorney handling cases at nearly every level. He has real hands on experience handling thousands of cases including nearly 100 jury trials to verdict.

Todd Spitzer has received numerous commendations and honors for his work such as Orange County Prosecutor of the Year (chosen by his peer line prosecutors), Victims’ Advocacy Lifetime Achievement Award from Crime Survivors, Inc., Victims’ Advocacy Recognition from Parents of Murdered Children, Outstanding Prosecutor by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), Legislator of the Year by Crime Victims United California and Legislator of the Year by California State Sheriffs’ Association.

Spitzer has a track record of utilizing modern tools to fight crime. While in the State Legislature as an Assemblyman he was the Statewide Chairman for Marsy’s Law for California (Prop. 9, Nov. 2008), the most comprehensive Victim’s Rights Constitutional protection in the Nation, and Joint Authored Megan’s Law on the Internet (AB 488, Parra and Spitzer) that created an on-line database for the public to search for registration and residency information for convicted sex offenders.

Spitzer launches his campaign with a significant lead over his opponent, Tony Rackauckas, announcing more than $1,261,925 cash on hand compared to the last filing by Rackauckas showing $44,844 cash on hand.

Supervisor Spitzer stated, “I refuse to stand by as Tony Rackauckas destroys the District Attorney’s office and uses it as his own personal fiefdom for he and his cronies while the public’s safety suffers. I’m proud to announce my campaign for District Attorney and pledge to always uphold the rule of law, put people’s safety first and work tirelessly to make certain justice is served for victims and their families. We must restore faith and trust in our law enforcement and justice system.”

Supervisor Todd Spitzer pledges not to accept any endorsements from current elected officials. “First we have to clean up the corruption in the DA’s office and be fearless in the pursuit of public corruption wherever it exists. That’s why I will not accept endorsements from any current elected official. The DA must be impartial and beholden to no one.” Tony Rackauckas’ own Chief District Attorney Investigator, before he was fired by Rackauckas, alleged that Rackauckas interfered in political corruption investigations to help his political friends. Rackauckas’ history has repeatedly shown that he fires staff who reveal Rackauckas’ misuse of office for his own political and personal gain.

“As a former prosecutor and current Chairman of the Orange County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, I know what it takes to get justice for victims and work with the community to solve crimes and ensure violent felons stay behind bars. But we also must work to stop crime before it starts. As a former high school teacher and School Board Trustee and business owner, I know that solutions to complex crime problems begins by solving critical issues like homelessness, our kids’ broken education system and ensuring that our economy is growing to provide job opportunities for everyone. As Supervisor, I’ve already pioneered policies in our County to help address these issues and make our communities safer. It’s time to focus on rebuilding the DA’s office, including modernizing it by bringing the latest in crime fighting tools to our hard-working prosecutors. “

“Rackauckas has been in office for 20 years. This breeds corruption, complacency and a public failure of leadership. 20 years is long enough. While crime rates rise and the DA’s absence of leadership is causing cases to be botched and murderers to be let free, the real tragedy is that victims and their families are not getting justice. I’m running for District Attorney to be an advocate for every victim that has been let down by Tony Rackauckas. Every community deserves protection from criminals,” Spitzer said.

When weighing whether to run for District Attorney, Todd Spitzer tested in a June 2017 poll if public safety was listed as one of top three concerns. More than 1/4 Orange County voters feel LESS safe than a few years ago. Voters likely feel less safe because in fact, they are.

Under Tony Rackauckas’ failed watch as Orange County District Attorney crime rates have skyrocketed 23 percent in 2015 and there are over three times as many crimes per square mile just in Santa Ana as the rest of California, where shootings alone are up 556% since 2012. Even in cities like Brea and Westminster violent crime is up over 50%, while it spiked over 60% in usually low crime Rancho Santa Margarita.

Spitzer’s Chief Strategist, John Thomas, said, “As Tony Rackauckas approaches over 20 years in office it’s time for a new DA. Someone with the integrity and experience of a top prosecutor but also the understanding to know that we need to stop crime before it starts by focusing on proven and effective prevention methods like after-school activities and job training programs. Todd Spitzer is a battle-tested prosecutor who has the right priorities to restore faith in the DA’s office and get back to the business of fighting crime.”

Thomas continues, “Finally, the voters have a choice to replace Tony Rackauckas who has let down Orange County long enough. We look forward to running an aggressive campaign to hold DA Rackauckas accountable for the misconduct, misdeeds and mistruths that he continues to spread. We are not as cynical about voters as Rackauckas and his handlers. We know people are paying attention to the news and are disappointed that Orange County’s top prosecutor is out of touch and unethical.”

“Laziness, misconduct, abuse of power, failure to report political donations and outside employment, rampant sexual harassment–Rackauckas seems to believe the DA’s office is auditioning for an episode of Animal House or Shark Tank rather than a premier public safety agency.”

“Supervisor Spitzer begins the race for District Attorney with substantial advantages including his lifelong dedication to victims, a proven record on public safety, and a massive war chest to engage the voters. Meanwhile the OC Grand Jury refers to the District Attorney Tony Rackauckas as running the office with a “failure of leadership” and practicing as a “a lazy law firm”. (Orange County Grand Jury, June 2017) The void in leadership has blown up in scandals that continue to implode the District Attorney’s Office threatening the integrity of our justice system and maligning the great work of the employees who want to be proud again of their public agency.”


Supervisor Todd Spitzer has dedicated his life to keeping families safe and was inspired to dedicate his career to public service as an Orange County Supervisor and former California State Assembly Member. A champion for public safety, Supervisor Spitzer is recognized as an expert on security issues, whose reputation as an advocate for victims’ rights is respected nationally.

Supervisor Spitzer Chaired the groundbreaking campaign for Proposition 9, Marsy’s Law, the nation’s most comprehensive Victims’ Bill of Rights, and served as Statewide Co-Chair for Proposition 83, the nation’s toughest sex offender punishment and control law as well as Proposition 69, which requires the collection of DNA samples from all felons. Fighting to protect our community, he joint -authored Megan’s Law on the Internet, the landmark legislation requiring the release of public information related to sex offenders and as a former deputy and assistant district attorney he handled complex criminal matters while managing line prosecutors.

In his current term as Third District Supervisor, he secured Orange County’s first year-round, supportive housing shelter for the homeless, established an Ethics Commission, gained passage of pension reform measures and strengthened public safety oversight by expanding the Office of Independent Review.

Spitzer earned his Bachelor’s degree from UCLA (1982), a Master’s degree in Public Policy from UC Berkeley (1989), and a Law Degree from UC Hastings School of Law (1989). While at Hastings, Spitzer was awarded the George Moscone Fellowship, for the law student dedicating his career to public service.

Spitzer is a former high school teacher and reserve police officer assigned to DUI enforcement and patrol duties. He is a doting father of a son and daughter and a dedicated husband to Judge Jamie Spitzer, Presiding Judge of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.

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Allen Suing Attorney General for Questionable Title and Summary for Gas Tax Repeal Initiative

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 13, 2017

Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach)

Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach)

California law requires the Attorney General to prepare the title and summary of every proposed statewide ballot initiative before it is allowed to circulate for signatures.  As I briefly mentioned in my live blog of the OC GOP Central Committee’s unanimous vote to endorse the proposed initiative by Gubernatorial Candidate and Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) to repeal the gas tax and car tax that were recently passed by the Legislature and will take effect in the next few months (the gas tax in November, the car tax in January), a number of committee members jeered when the title and summary were read, due to the biased title and summary written by the office of Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles).  Here is the full text of that title and summary:

ELIMINATES RECENTLY ENACTED ROAD REPAIR AND TRANSPORTATION FUNDING BY REPEALING REVENUES DEDICATED FOR THOSE PURPOSES. INITIATIVE STATUTE. Eliminates recently enacted state and local transportation funding for repair and maintenance of streets, highways, bridges, safety projects, and public transportation by repealing portions of the tax on gasoline ($0.12 per gallon) and diesel fuel ($0.20 per gallon), sales and excise taxes on diesel fuel (4% per gallon), vehicle registration fees ($25-$175, depending on vehicle value), and $100 zero-emission vehicle fee. Eliminates Independent Office of Audits and Investigations, which is responsible for ensuring accountability in the use of revenue for transportation projects. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Reduced annual state transportation revenues of $2.9 billion in 2018-19, increasing to $4.9 billion annually by 2020-21. These revenues would otherwise primarily support state highway maintenance and rehabilitation, local streets and roads, and mass transit. (17-0004).

(Note: the bolding and all-caps are required by law.  It’s the content that is disputed.)

Assemblyman Allen intends to sue the Attorney General to force the title and summary to be changed to more neutral wording.  As I have spoken to Assemblyman Allen and his attorneys regarding the lawsuit, out of an abundance of caution, so as not to accidentally endanger his lawsuit, I will simply share snippets of other people’s commentary on this.

Though opposed to the gas tax repeal, the San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board (yes, the San Francisco Chronicle) actually condemned Becerra’s title and summary:

California AG stacks the deck on gas-tax measure

Once again, California voters are getting more spin than clarity from a ballot summary of gas tax repeal that’s at the signature gathering stage. The hazy wording from Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office is rightly infuriating the conservative architect of the measure…

Make no mistake, repealing the gas tax passed by Democrats in the state Legislature is a bad idea, given the crumbling condition of California’s roads. But the Becerra summary of the issue shades the argument unfairly. It shortchanges criticism that the money may be sent elsewhere and states that an oversight agency will be eliminated — though it doesn’t exist now.

It’s just plain wrong for a Democratic attorney general to offer a skewed legal summary of a Republican-backed initiative…

Click here for the rest of the San Francisco Chronicle editorial…

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley is a former Deputy Attorney General, and here are his comments, as quoted by Joel Fox, Editor and Co-Publisher of the Fox and Hounds Daily:

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who authored a bill to give the Legislative Analyst the power to write titles and summaries on initiatives, said of the gas tax repeal measure,  “There is no question that the ballot title and summary are a cynical effort to mislead, misdirect, and misinform.”

And here’s Joel Fox’s own commentary:

The title of the initiative written by the Attorney General is a dodge avoiding the blistering word “tax.”…Feels like funding headed for the roads is being taken away but doesn’t indicate that the money comes from the new “tax.”

However, in the body of the summary the AG makes up for the absent word “tax” by being quite specific that a 12-cent gas tax, 20-cent diesel tax, and vehicle fees up to $175 would be eliminated. All, well and good, although the summary did not mention that the taxes and fees are tied to inflation.

…there are features of the tax increase bill, such as bicycle and pedestrian projects and state park and agricultural programs outside of road repair that a reader of the title and summary would know nothing about.

The financial analysis as part of the summary says the money is “primarily” for state and local highways and roads and mass transit. I suppose “primarily” is supposed to cover bicycles and parks.

Allen also protests the sentence in the summary that the Independent Office of Audits and Investigations will be eliminated. That office was created by the bill in which the gas tax was increased and the office does not exist yet. Allen argues that when gathering signatures for the initiative the summary speaks of eliminating an office that is not there. From the Attorney General’s perspective, the argument is that if and when the measure is on the ballot in November 2018, the office will exist and that the initiative would cancel it.

…clarity for the voters understanding a measure and facts should prevail in writing titles and summaries. Including the direct fact that the initiative repeals a tax in the title would have been fairer and more accurate.

Click here for the rest of Joel Fox’s piece in Fox and Hounds Daily

Here’s the Los Angeles Times, including a quote from Assemblyman Allen himself:

Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), the leading proponent of the initiative, said he will go to court to have the title and summary changed.

“We’re going to challenge it in Superior Court,” Allen said late Monday. “Gov. Brown’s attorney general has issued a misleading title and summary,” Allen said. The lawmaker said “almost everything” in the short summary would mislead voters. We will wait to win in court and then we will be gathering signatures up and down the state…

Critics of the new law have said it lacks sufficient safeguards for the money to be spent only on road repairs and transportation and could allow money to be spent on other functions.

The summary also highlights that the ballot measure “Eliminates Independent Office of Audits and Investigations, which is responsible for ensuring accountability in the use of revenue for transportation projects.” Such an office has not existed and is called for by the new law.

Click here for the rest of the Los Angeles Times article…

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