OC Political

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

Are LAUSD Teachers Underpaid, or Does it Cost Too Much to Live in California?

Posted by Craig P Alexander on January 17, 2019

This is a re-post of an article by Ed Ring (former President of California Policy Center) from CPC’s web site.  Here is a link to the original article.  Given the teachers’ strike at Los Angeles Unified School District – this article is very insightful and timely:

In California, public sector unions pretty much run the state government. Government unions collect and spend over $800 million per year in California. There is no special interest in California both willing and able to mount a sustained challenge to public sector union power. They simply have too much money, too many people on their payroll, too many politicians they can make or break, and too much support from a biased and naive media.

The teachers strike in Los Angeles Unified School District cannot be fully appreciated outside of this overall context: Public sector unions are the most powerful political actor in California, at the state level, in the counties and cities, and on most school boards, certainly including the Los Angeles Unified School District. With all this control and influence, have these unions created the conditions that feed their current grievances?

The grievances leading the United Teachers of Los Angeles to strike center around salary, class sizes, and charter schools. But when the cost of benefits are taken into account, it is hard to argue that LAUSD teachers are underpaid.

According to the Los Angeles County Office of Education, the median salary of a LAUSD teacher is $75,000, but that’s just base pay. A statement by LAUSD in response to a 2014 report on LAUSD salaries challenged the $75,000 figure, claiming it was only around $70,000. They then acknowledged, however, that the district paid $16,432 for each employee’s healthcare in 2013-14, and paid 13.92 percent of each teachers salary to cover pension contributions, workers comp, and Medicare. That came up to $96,176 per year.

The Cost of Benefits is Breaking Education Budgets

This average total pay of nearly $100K per year back in 2013-14 is certainly higher today – even if salaries were not raised, payments for retirement benefits have grown. For their 35,000 employees, LAUSD now carries an unfunded pension liability of $6.8 billion, and their OBEB unfunded liability (OPEB stands for “other post employment benefits,” primarily retirement health insurance) has now reached a staggering $14.9 billion. CalSTRS, the pension system that collects and funds pension benefits for most LAUSD employees, receives funds directly from the state that, in a complete accounting, need to also count towards their total compensation. And CalSTRS, as of June 30, 2017 (the next update, through 6/30/2018, will be available May 2019), was only 62 percent fundedSixty-two percent!

The reason to belabor these unfunded retirement benefits is to make it very clear: LAUSD paying an amount equivalent to 13.92 percent of each employees salary into the pension funds isn’t enough. What LAUSD teachers have been promised in terms of retirement pensions and health insurance benefits requires pre-funding far in excess of 13.92 percent. To accurately estimate how much they really make, you have to add the true amount necessary to pay for these pensions and OPEB. This real total compensation average is well over $100K per year.

To put LAUSD teacher compensation in even more accurate context, consider how many days per year they actually work. This isn’t to dispute or disparage the long hours many (but not all) teachers put in. A conscientious teacher’s work day doesn’t begin when the students arrive in the classroom, or end when they leave. They prepare lesson plans and grade homework, and many stay after regular school hours to assist individual students or coordinate extracurricular activities. But teachers working for LAUSD only work 182 days per year. The average private sector professional, who also tends to put in long hours, assuming four weeks of either vacation or holidays, works 240 days per year – 32 percent more. The value of all this time off is incalculable, but simply normalizing pay for a 182 day year to a 240 day year yields an average annual pay of not $100K, but $132K. Taking into account the true cost of pensions and retirement healthcare benefits, much more than $132K.

This is what the LAUSD teachers union considers inadequate. If that figure appears concocted, just become an independent contractor. Suddenly the value of employer paid benefits becomes real, because you have to pay for them yourself.

California’s Ridiculously High Cost-of-Living

If a base salary of over $70,000 per year, plus benefits (far more time off each year, pensions far better than Social Security, and excellent health insurance) worth nearly as much, isn’t enough for someone to financially survive in Los Angeles, maybe the union should examine the role it played, along with other public sector unions, in raising the cost-of-living in California.

Where was the California Teachers Association when restrictive laws such as CEQAAB 32SB 375 were passed, making housing unaffordable by restricting supply? What was the California Teachers Association stance on health coverage for undocumented immigrants, or sanctuary state laws? What did they expect, if laws were passed to make California a magnet for the world’s poor? Don’t they see the connection between 2.6 million undocumented immigrants living in California, and a housing shortage, or crowded classrooms? Don’t they see the connection between this migration of largely destitute immigrants who don’t speak English, and the burgeoning costs to LAUSD to provide special instruction and care to these students?

From a moral standpoint, how, exactly, does it make the world a better place, when for every high-needs immigrant student entering LAUSD schools, there are ten thousand high-needs children left behind in the countries they came from, as well as less resources for high-needs children whose parents have lived in California for generations?

When you make it nearly impossible to build anything in California, from housing to energy and water infrastructure, and at the same time invite the world to move in, you create an unaffordable state. When California’s state legislature passed laws creating this situation, what was the position of California Teachers Association? Need we ask?

The Union War Against Education Reform

Charter schools, another primary grievance of the UTLA, is one of the few areas where politicians in California’s state legislature – nearly all of them Democrats by now – occasionally stand up to the teachers unions. But why are charter schools so popular? Could it be that the union controlled traditional public schools are failing students, making charter schools a popular option for parents who want their children to have a better chance at a good education?

Maybe if traditional public schools weren’t held back by union work rules, they would deliver better educational results. The disappointing result in the 2014 Vergara vs. California case provides an example. The plaintiffs sued to modify three work rules, (1) a longer period before granting tenure, (2) changing layoff criteria from seniority to merit, and (3) streamlined dismissal policies for incompetent teachers. These plaintiffs argued the existing work rules had a disproportionate negative impact on minority communities, and proved it – view the closing arguments by the plaintiff’s attorney in this case to see for yourself. But California’s State Supreme Court did not agree, and California’s public schools continue to suffer as a result.

But instead of embracing reforms such as proposed in the Vergara case, which might reduce the demand by parents for charter schools, the teachers union is trying to unionize charter schools. And instead of agreeing to benefits reform – such as contributing more to the costs for their health insurance and retirement pensions – the teachers union has gone on strike.

Financial reality will eventually compel financial reform at LAUSD. But no amount of money will improve the quality of LAUSD’s K-12 education, if union work rules aren’t changed. The saddest thing in this whole imbroglio is the fate of the excellent teacher, who works hard and successfully instructs and inspires their students. Those teachers are not overpaid at all. But the system does not nurture such excellence. How on earth did it come to this, that unions would take over public education, along with virtually every other state and local government agency in California?

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Craig Alexander is an attorney, a former elected member of the Orange County Republican Party Central Committee and a former officer in the California Republican Assembly.  His practice is located in Dana Point and his law practice areas include Office/Commercial Leasing, HOA law, Insurance law, Civil Litigation and the California Public Records Act.

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OC’s Five Vacant Seats

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 8, 2019

As a result of the November 2018 elections, there are currently five vacant seats in Orange County.  Here’s a quick run-down on the five vacancies:

  • OC Supervisor, Third District
  • Fullerton City Council
  • Orange City Council
  • Seal Beach City Council, District 1*
  • Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education

*Seal Beach is not actually a vacancy, but there is an election this month (see below)

OC Supervisor, Third District – March 12 Special Election

The highest profile vacancy in Orange County is indisputably the Third District seat on the Board of Supervisors, which Todd Spitzer vacated when he was sworn in as District Attorney yesterday.  The special election has been called for March 12, with candidate filing closing on January 28.  There is no run-off, so whoever wins the plurality of the vote in this election will be Third District Supervisor through the remainder of Spitzer’s unexpired term that lasts until January 2021.  The seat would be up for election again in 2020 for a full four-year term lasting from January 2021-January 2025.  Since the new Supervisor would be filling less than half of Spitzer’s unexpired term, that person could hold the seat for nearly ten years before finally being term limited in the 2028 election.

Declared candidates so far are Irvine Mayor Don Wagner (R), former Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D), and former Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray (R).  Between his Assembly and Mayoral tenures, Wagner has represented 85% of the Third Supervisorial District’s registered voters, the entire district outside of Yorba Linda.  In Congress, Sanchez represented 12% of the Third Supervisorial District.  On the City Council, Murray represented 12% of the Third Supervisorial District.

Wagner was last on the Assembly ballot in 2014, but he has since been on the Mayoral ballot in both 2016 and 2018 in the 37% of the Third District that is the City of Irvine.  Sanchez was last on the ballot for the House of Representatives in 2014, though she did have an ill-fated run for US Senate in 2016, which of course included 100% of the district since it was a statewide race.  Murray was last on the City Council ballot in 2014.

Here are the latest campaign finance numbers for each of the three:

  • Wagner had $35,868 in his Mayoral campaign account as of the October 20 campaign finance report filed with the Irvine City Clerk.  What isn’t shown is how much of this he spent between October 20 and November 6 since he was in a campaign for re-election as Mayor, as that campaign finance report is not due until the end of January.
  • Sanchez had $18,384 in her Congressional campaign account and $18,344 in her US Senate campaign account, as of the September 30 campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission.
  • Murray had $316 in her City Council campaign account as of the June 30 campaign finance report filed with the Anaheim City Clerk.  She had $886 in her Supervisorial campaign account as of the June 30 campaign finance report filed with the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

Wagner and Sanchez’s state campaign accounts have all long been closed.  Neither of their Supervisorial campaign accounts have been open long enough to file campaign finance reports.

Wagner and Murray have each issued December press releases declaring that they have more than $100,000 in their Supervisorial campaign finance accounts.  The next campaign finance reports are due later this month.

Fullerton City Council

In Fullerton, an at-large Council seat was vacated when Jesus Silva (D) was sworn in to the Council seat for District 3 on December 4.  The City Council may either fill the seat by appointment or special election.  It requires 3 votes of the 4 remaining members of the Council to act.  Whether elected or appointed, this person would fill the at-large Council seat for the remainder of Silva’s unexpired term through 2020.  The at-large Council seat will no longer exist after 2020, as it will be replaced by a District Council seat.

At their December 18 meeting, the Council deadlocked 2-2 on whether to make an appointment or hold a special election.  Mayor Silva (D) and Mayor Pro Tem Jennifer Fitzgerald (R) voted to make an appointment while Councilmen Bruce Whitaker (R) and Ahmad Zahra (D) voted for a special election.  They will consider the issue again on January 15.  Even if the Council does opt to make an appointment, they must reach 3 votes on who the appointee is in order to actually do so.  If the Council fails to make an appointment by February 2 (sixty days after the initial vacancy), then it automatically goes to a special election.

Regardless of whether the City Council actively chose to call a special election or simply failed to make an appointment by February 2, a special election would take place on either August 27, 2019 or November 5, 2019, under the statutory dates available to Fullerton.

Orange City Council

In Orange, a City Council seat was vacated when Councilman Mark A. Murphy (R) was sworn in as Mayor on December 11.  As in Fullerton, the Orange City Council may either fill the seat by appointment or special election, and it requires 3 votes of the 4 remaining members on the Council to act.  Whether elected or appointed, this person would fill the Council seat through the remainder of Murphy’s unexpired term through 2020, at which point the Councilmember would be up for election for a full four-year term.

City staff in Orange proactively solicited applications for the vacancy, and 10 people have submitted them.  The application process is not mandatory, and the City Council is not limited to considering those 10 applicants nor is it limited to an appointment.

At its meeting this evening, the Orange City Council will consider whether to make an appointment or hold a special election.  Even if the Council does opt to make an appointment, they must reach 3 votes on who the appointee is in order to actually do so.  If the Council fails to make an appointment by February 9 (sixty days after the initial vacancy), then it automatically goes to a special election.

Regardless of whether the City Council actively chose to call a special election or simply failed to make an appointment by February 9, a special election would take place on November 5, 2019, the only statutory date available to Orange.

Seal Beach City Council, District 1 – January 29 Run-Off Election

In Seal Beach, there isn’t actually a vacancy, but rather, the Seal Beach City Charter requires a January run-off when no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the prior November election.

There is January 29 run-off election between Small Businessman Peter Amundson (R) and Retired Business Owner Joe Kalmick (D) for the District 1 Council seat.  District 1 Councilwoman Ellery Deaton (R) continues in office until the run-off election is certified.  Eight years ago when Deaton was first elected, she too had to go to a run-off election—against none other than Kalmick.

Republicans have a 7% registration advantage in Seal Beach District 1.  The Registrar of Voters began sending out ballots for this election on New Year’s Eve, so ballots started arriving in voters’ mailboxes on January 2.

Santa Ana Unified School District

The lone Republican on the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education, Ceci Iglesias (R), was elected to be the lone Republican on the Santa Ana City Council when she won the District 6 seat, to which she was sworn in on December 11.

At its December 11 meeting, the Santa Ana School Board directed their staff to open an application process to enable the School Board to fill the seat by appointment.  The School Board will meet this evening to conduct the first round of applicant interviews.  They plan to meet again on January 15 to interview the finalists and make the appointment.  They must reach 3 votes on one of the applicants to actually make the appointment.

If the School Board fails to make an appointment by February 9 (sixty days after the initial vacancy), then it automatically goes to a special election.

With a School Board appointment, unlike a City Council appointment, a petition of 1.5% of the registered voters of the school district can overturn the appointment and force a special election.  The petition must be submitted within 30 days of the appointment.  In this case, if anyone objects to the person appointed on January 15, they have until February 14 to submit a petition of 1,223 registered voters in the Santa Ana Unified School District to overturn the appointment and force a special election.  If this were to occur, the appointee would vacate the seat upon certification of the petition, and that person would not be entitled to incumbent status on the special election ballot.

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Recount Begins Monday for 34th Senate District

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on December 6, 2018

This just came over the wire this morning from the Orange County Registrar of Voters:

Public Notice 34th Senate District Recount

December 6, 2018 – Pursuant to California Elections Code section 15628 the Orange County Registrar of Voters will be conducting a recount of the ballots cast in the 2018 November 6th General Election, 34th Senate District, (Orange County’s portion) contest.

The election was conducted on November 6, 2018. The recount process will begin at the Registrar of Voters’ office, 1300 South Grand Avenue, Building C, Santa Ana, on Monday, December 10, 2018 beginning at 9 a.m. Details on the recount status will be located on our website at ocvote.com.

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Ballot Harvesting

Posted by Brenda Higgins on December 3, 2018

Since the blue wave that swept Orange County in November 2018, there has been much discussion and outrage at the multiple victories of the Democrats.  I have looked in vain for a thoughtful analysis of the relatively new law known as “Ballot Harvesting”.  The reactions of conservatives and Republicans to the election results have been shock and outrage.   Those sentiments are fueled by party leadership’s failure to provide meaningful explanation of the law, and the lack of party strategy in addressing it during the 2018 cycle.  A productive discussion is needed, with truth about what the statute says and doesn’t say, and what party leadership did and did not do.  There may very well have been fraudulent activity, but it is impossible to discern that, unless and until we appreciate what was permissible under the law, and the utter lack of response to the possibilities.

In September 2016, Governor Brown signed AB-1921 , it was codified as Elections Code Section 3017.  In past elections, (i.e. prior to 2016) a “Vote by mail” voter, which most Republicans are, could mail their ballot, drop it off at the polling place, or have a relative or member of their household drop it off at the polling place.  It had to be received at the polling place before the polls closed, or received by the Registrar of Voters (if by mail) prior to the closing of the polls on election day.

It is easy to see that even with the Vote by Mail ballots, there are impediments for some people.  If you live alone, if you have no relatives, if you are unable to get to the polling place and can’t or just forgot to mail it on time, maybe you don’t have the $1.00 in postage (It does require two stamps that are $.050 now), or you can’t get to the post office to get stamps.  For elderly or disabled persons in particular, it is easy to see how these things could prevent a person from exercising their constitutional right to vote.

The new law provides that you can turn your ballot over to anyone you want to, and have them drop it off at the polling place.  The law provides that the person transporting the ballot can not be paid for doing so, not by a campaign or party or political action committee.  The Ballot “Harvester”, if you will, just has to be a well intentioned person who wants to help a voter out.  On its face, seems like a great idea, ask your neighbor or the nice lady you know from church to take your ballot to the polls for you.  The opportunity arises though, for a grassroots army, of well organized volunteers, who could be working the Get Out the Vote process in a way that visits voters at their home to make sure they get registered, offer some helpful advice and information on what the issues are and about the candidates, offer to pick up the ballot on election day and take it to the polls for you.  It all sounds like a wonderful program, a win-win situation.

There is a window of opportunity created by this new law.  The law itself is impartial, and not a terrible idea in that it increases the ability and likelihood that someone can exercise their constitutional right to vote.  The problem with any window of opportunity, is that if you don’t move to make it work for you, it becomes a liability.  That seems to be what happened to Orange County Republicans in the 2018 election.

Before the primary in June, the California Republican Party engaged in a pilot program to call on consistent Republican voters and volunteers would offer to pick up their ballot and take it to the polling place.  The problem was, many Republican voters who were contacted refused.   This is the same thing we have seen in recent past elections with polling.  The polls have tended to favor Democrats, never forget the “sure thing” of a Hillary presidency, because Republican voters are disinclined to share their opinions or information with strangers.  They were similarly disinclined to turn over their ballots.  The OCGOP therefore abandoned any effort to organize and/or leverage the new law in their favor in the November election. They stuck to the old tried and true phone banking and canvassing calling on the RWF to round up the woman power to Get Out The Vote.

Democrats maximized their leverage of the new law  by registering new Democrat voters, getting out the vote from low propensity voters (who haven’t often voted), increasing the voter contact and then, ‘harvesting’, offering for volunteers to pick up and deliver voters ballots to the polls.

The Registrar in Orange County has been quoted as saying that the numbers of ballots dropped off on election day in the November 2018 election was unprecedented.

On November 19, at the OCGOP monthly meeting, a very contrite Chairman Fred Whitaker, discussed Ballot Harvesting and indicated that he had significantly underestimated the impact it would have in the 2018 races.  By that date, it had become clear that the county had lost every congressional seat, as well as State Assembly and State Senate seats.   On election night, the early returns had Republicans in slim leads in the congressional and state legislature seats.  As the hundreds of thousands of “Harvested” ballots were tallied, those leads disappeared.  On that evening of November 19, it was clear that no congressional seats were saved and the words of Chairman Whitaker dismissing Democrat challengers earlier in the year “Let them die on the hill in Orange County”, had come back to haunt him in the worst way.  Similarly, Mimi Walters, when asked in March if she had any concerns about being re-elected, she exerted a confident “No”.   This arrogance did not serve the party well, and translated to losses even for those who took the threat of harvested ballots seriously.

Young Kim was talking about harvested ballots. Travis Allen was talking about the threat of harvested ballots.  It is of little benefit for single candidates to recognize an existential threat to their candidacy when the party has affirmatively decided to ignore it.

The ballots turned in through the harvesting of volunteers, are not per se, ‘fraudulent’ votes.  That is the distinction that so many who are outraged over this result are missing. The elucidation of the new law herein, is not to say there was no election fraud, but to point out, it is a different issue.  In the November 19 meeting, Chairman Whitaker and others told stories of many long hours spent at the County office of the Registrar, observing the ballots being counted to look for any anomalies.  Mark Meuser and others did the same in many other counties.  Fraud may very well have been at work in this election and affected the result.  Deborah Pauly, OCGOP Central Committee representative noted that this new procedure  “May further have denigrated election integrity”, as there have been myriad other concerns  raised about election integrity in this election where not just Ballot Harvesting, but Motor Voter law, and an incompetent and recalcitrant DMV, have created a brave new world of election fraud possibilities.

The new law permitting Ballot Harvesting in California, should also not be confused with the ban on such harvesting in Arizona.  The Arizona law prohibiting ballot harvesting was challenged in the 9th Circuit.  On an emergency basis, in a remarkably brief, two line ruling,  the court refused to stay the Arizona law.  So, as of the 2018 election, ballot harvesting was banned, by law in Arizona.  That legal matter is still pending with the 9th Circuit and scheduled for a full  hearing  in January.  That case may shed some light on the California law, but it is important to know that the law is opposite in the two states.

Many factors likely contributed to the blue sweep of this famously red county.   It is disappointing and the sheer magnitude of the defeat is breathtaking.  The party has emphasized this ballot harvesting as being the problem.  It is onerous sounding, “Ballot Harvesting” without an understanding of the law.  This fueling of outrage though, does work in keeping constituents upset, and in their outrage, they fail to analyze and appreciate all of the other malfeasance by party leadership.  Given the classic behavior of liberals and conservatives, everyone should have known that the harvesting would dramatically favor democrats.  Given the make up and rhetoric surrounding the House of Representatives on a national level, they knew the efforts of the Democratic National Convention would be focused, aggressively  here.  In the constant refrain of polling and strategy, party leaders knew that demographics were changing and the market share of the Grand Old Party was shrinking in this region.

What the party missed was a set of cohesive messaging and ideas, conservative philosophy, simply communicated to voters.  Conservative ideals, of smaller government and greater civil liberties, law and order and government that stays out of your way…this is the ideal that sells that has always been the heart of the Republican party.  But, in their effort to distance themselves from Trump, because a pollster told them to, they forget what they were about.   The party, again in this election, let the liberals set the tone and the agenda and stuck to statistical models and polls, instead of revisiting our foundation, of greater freedom through smaller government.

In the current environment, if a candidate can not make the case for conservatism, then that candidate is finished. That is the battle field.  It will no longer work to just make voting easier and pander to a demographic, with slick mailers and repetitive phone calls. Voters are more sophisticated than that and they want to have a sense of the party’s core beliefs and the candidate’s willingness to adhere to that.  The party also put up “recognizable” names, without any appreciation for the baggage and displeasure that may be associated with the names.  Polls can’t tell you that.  Only involvement with the non-political constituents can give a reading on that.

Ranting about fraud or ballot harvesting, and encouraging others to rant about it,  is just a failure to accept full responsibility for an abject failure to see and plan for what was to come.  There is so much more the party needs to be doing to come into being a force to be reckoned with in the new political environment.  One thing is for sure, what we have always done, and ignoring and discounting what has occurred nationally, is not the right plan forward.  Other than attempting to gloss over the massacre of 2018, by congratulating the local officials who were endorsed and won races, the party has not communicated what the plan forward is.  There’s been no indication of leadership change, little acknowledgment of fault or malfeasance, no indication of what if anything will be done to address real irregularities that came up and were reported during the election season.  It will behoove and be incumbent upon leadership to forge and communicate a new path forward, and it would seem to be prudent to do that sooner rather than later.

There is an election in 23 months. Orange County, has no Republican incumbents in Congress.  Rebuilding, if it is going to be attempted, needs to be happening now.

 

Posted in 34th Senate District, 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, 74th Assembly District, California, Orange County, Republican Central Committee, U.S. Politics | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

OC’s Top 10 Stories From the November 2018 General Election

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 7, 2018

Here’s a quick look at the top 10 stories of the 2018 general election in Orange County:

  1. OC Congressional Delegation Now Consists of Five Democrats and Two Republicans
    In a political earthquake for Orange County, the 4-3 Republican majority in OC’s Congressional delegation is now a 5-2 Democratic majority.  The three senior members of the delegation are leaving Congress: Dana Rohrabacher (elected 1988), Ed Royce (elected 1992), and Darrell Issa (elected 2000); all three are Republicans and only Royce will be succeeded by a member of his own party.  While Royce and Issa both announced their retirements earlier this year, Rohrabacher has been defeated for re-election by businessman Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach).  Royce will be succeeded by former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) while Issa will be succeeded by Clean Energy Advocate Mike Levin (D-San Juan Capistrano).  While Board of Equalization Member Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) defeated Levin in Orange County, her undoing was Levin’s strong lead in San Diego County.  The three most senior members of the OC delegation are now Linda Sanchez (elected 2002), Alan Lowenthal (elected 2012), and Mimi Walters (elected 2014).  In a House of Representatives ruled by seniority, the OC delegation is severely lacking in seniority.
  2. Democrats’ Assembly Supermajority Hinges on Whether Matthew Harper Survives
    Orange County’s 5-2 Republican delegation could fall to being a 4-3 Republican delegation if Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) is unable to hold his narrow lead over Small Business Owner Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach).  Harper’s defeat would produce a Democratic supermajority in the State Assembly to go along with the Democratic supermajority in the State Senate (Democrats captured a Republican-held State Senate seat in the Central Valley last night).  Harper leads Petrie-Norris by 672 votes out of 120,164 votes cast, or 0.6%.  Late absentee ballots and provisional ballots have not yet been counted and most certainly could flip the lead.
  3. District Attorney-Elect Todd Spitzer
    For what appears to be the first time in Orange County history, a sitting District Attorney has been defeated for re-election.  20-Year District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (R) has been defeated for re-election by Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer (R).  Spitzer’s election also creates a special election in the Third Supervisorial District.  Spitzer’s victory was so sweeping that he leads in 27 of Orange County’s 34 cities, winning everywhere except Little Saigon and the northern beach cities.
  4. Tim Shaw Leads, But Fourth District Supervisor is Too Close to Call
    La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw (R) leads Fullerton Mayor Doug Chaffee (D) by just 1,610 votes out of 87,404 votes cast.  Chaffee won the Fourth District’s three largest cities, Anaheim, Fullerton, and Buena Park, but Shaw ran up the total in his wins in the three smallest cities, La Habra, Placentia, and Brea, particularly with the landslide in his own city of La Habra.  There are still an enormous number of late absentee ballots and provisional ballots that could still change the result in this seat.
  5. Assemblyman-Elect Tyler Diep
    In the race to succeed Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), Westminster Councilman Tyler Diep (R) defeated FreeConferenceCall.com CEO Josh Lowenthal (D-Huntington Beach) to retain this Assembly seat for Republicans.  Diep’s concurrent service with Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) makes California the first state ever with two Vietnamese-Americans serving in the State Legislature at the same time.
  6. Mayor-Elect Harry Sidhu and the New Anaheim Council Majority
    Anaheim voters delivered a new majority on their City Council.  Former Anaheim Councilman Harry Sidhu (R) was elected Mayor of Anaheim last night.  Businessman Trevor O’Neil (R) won the open Council seat in Anaheim Hills.  Former Councilman Jordan Brandman (D) defeated Councilman James Vanderbilt (R) in West Anaheim’s District 2 seat.  Councilman Jose Moreno (D) won re-election in Central Anaheim’s District 3 seat.
  7. Newport Beach Ousts Two Incumbents, Ending Council Majority
    While Councilmembers Diane Dixon (R) and Kevin Muldoon (R) won landslide re-elections, Councilman Scott Peotter (R) was defeated by Businesswoman Joy Brenner (R), and Councilman Duffy Duffield (R) is narrowly losing to Businessman Tim Stoaks (R).  With Peotter’s defeat and Duffield’s probable defeat, Newport Beach’s Council majority comes to an end.
  8. Lake Forest Sweep
    In a sweeping rebuke of incivility, Lake Forest voters elected Neeki Moatazedi (R) decisively over Sonny Morper (R) and elected former Councilman Mark Tettemer (R) to oust Mayor Jim Gardner (R) from office.  Moatazedi and Tettemer join Councilman Scott Voigts (R), who was unopposed for re-election when his opponent failed to qualify for the ballot, and Councilman Dwight Robinson (R) in a new 4-1 supermajority of civility.  Just ten months after the recall of Councilman Drew Hamilton (R) in which former Councilman Adam Nick’s allies won a 3-2 majority on the City Council, the voters have not only reversed the Nick majority but reduced down to 1 seat (which will be up for election in 2020).  A key turning point in the campaign came when Nick’s side sent a mailer so disgusting that multiple TV channels covered it, for it was so sexist that it called Moatazedi a “bikini model” and made up three fictional criminal record numbers with a photo of an inmate falsely implying that it was Moatazedi.  That mailer backfired into not only the media coverage but also campaign money and independent expenditures to oust Nick’s allies from the Council.
  9. Irvine’s New Councilmembers
    For the first time in 14 years, no incumbent Irvine Councilmember sought re-election (though Mayor Don Wagner (R) was re-elected last night).  Planning Commissioner Anthony Kuo (R) is the top vote getter while Businesswoman Farrah Khan (D) and Transportation Commissioner Carrie O’Malley (R) are neck-and-neck for the second Council seat, with Khan ahead by 389 votes, or 0.5%.
  10. Santa Ana Councilwoman-Elect Ceci Iglesias
    For the first time in a decade, Santa Ana citizens voted to elect a Republican to their City Council, with School Board Member Ceci Iglesias winning the Ward 6 seat by a decisive margin.  (The last Republican on the Santa Ana Council, Carlos Bustamante, was re-elected in 2008 to a term ending in 2012.)  Iglesias’s election creates a vacancy on the Santa Ana Unified School District Board, which will be filled by appointment.

Honorable Mention

  • There’s a New Sheriff in Town
    While it was widely expected that Undersheriff Don Barnes (R) would be elected Sheriff of Orange County, it’s always a major news story when there’s a new Sheriff.  Barnes decisively defeated Los Angeles County District Attorney Investigator Duke Nguyen (D) with 57% of the vote.

Upcoming News Story Due to Last Night’s Results

  • Race for Third District Supervisor
    With the election of Supervisor Todd Spitzer as District Attorney of Orange County, an early 2019 special election will take place to fill the remaining two years on Spitzer’s Supervisorial term.  Retiring Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray (R) and Businessman Andy Thorburn (D) have already announced for Spitzer’s Supervisorial seat.  Thorburn spent millions in his unsuccessful bid in the primary election for the 39th Congressional District.  Other early rumored candidates include Irvine Mayor Don Wagner (R), former Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang (D), and Yorba Linda Councilwoman Peggy Huang (R).

(In the interest of full disclosure, Western American, the company that owns OC Political, serves as the political consultants for Sidhu, O’Neil, Voigts, Moatazedi, and Tettemer, as well as doing secondary consultant work for Kuo.  Additionally, this blogger is Spitzer’s alternate on the Central Committee of the Republican Party of Orange County.)

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, 72nd Assembly District, 74th Assembly District, Anaheim, Irvine, Lake Forest, Newport Beach, Orange County District Attorney's Office, Orange County Sheriff, Santa Ana Unified School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Statement from Harry Sidhu, Newly Elected Mayor of Anaheim on Election Results

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on November 7, 2018

 

Anaheim Mayor-Elect Harry SidhuThis came over the wire just minutes ago from Anaheim Mayor-Elect Harry Sidhu:

Statement from Harry Sidhu, Newly Elected Mayor of Anaheim on Election Results

Anaheim – Harry Sidhu, the newly elected mayor of Anaheim, released the following statement after election results showed he has won a decisive victory:

“I want to thank my family, my supporters, and, most importantly, the Anaheim community for taking the time to cast your vote for me and the vision we share together for Anaheim’s future. I am honored and thrilled to lead the charge in unifying our city once again. The residents of Anaheim know that it’s time to move past the divisiveness and get back to working with all residents, businesses, and workforce that make Anaheim what it is today. We must return to the understanding that we only succeed when we all succeed. For Anaheim to thrive, we must work together and that starts anew today.”

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Posted in Anaheim | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Caught on Tape: Former County Poll Worker and LA Times Employee Stealing Campaign Signs

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on November 6, 2018

This came over the wire yesterday from the Allan Mansoor for City Council 2018 campaign…

Former County Poll Worker and LA Times Employee Caught Stealing Campaign Signs

November 5, 2018 (Costa Mesa, California) Chase Holden was caught on tape stealing the campaign signs of Councilman Allan Mansoor. Holden is a former Orange County poll worker and former Los Angeles Times graphic designer.

“It is always a sad day when anyone steals a campaign sign because that is intentionally trying to remove someone’s exercise of freedom of speech and freedom of opinion,” said Mansoor. “It is much more disturbing when it is someone who should know better, considering he worked for a media organization and worked the polls. His former employer relies on freedom of the press, and when he worked the polls, we expected him to be neutral in protecting everyone’s right to vote.”

Holden was a poll worker for the Orange County Registrar of Voters in the 2016 Primary Election at the polling place at Pomona Elementary School. He was also a graphic designer at the Los Angeles Times from 2003 to 2005. Holden is currently a National Merchant Relations Manager at Merchant Services Group.

Campaign finance records show Holden donated $465.80 to the 2016 presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. The Sanders presidential campaign apparatus evolved into Our Revolution, which has endorsed three City Council candidates, Arlis Reynolds, Andrea Marr, and Manuel Chavez, who were encouraged to run for Council by mayoral candidate Katrina Foley.

Allan Mansoor has served on the Costa Mesa City Council since 2016 after previously serving from 2002 to 2010, including three times as Mayor. A retired Orange County Deputy Sheriff and former State Assemblyman, he has dedicated his career to public service. Mansoor first moved to Costa Mesa at the age of 12 when his family came to the city. Mansoor and his wife, Janniffer, are raising their three young children in Costa Mesa, where the family attends church and are involved in the many community service programs available to Costa Mesa residents.

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Paid for by Mansoor for City Council 2018, ID #1385155

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

Voter Recommendations – Poll Voter Edition Including Judge Elections!

Posted by Craig P Alexander on November 3, 2018

This coming Tuesday, November 6, 2018 is Election Day.  While a great many people have already voted by absentee ballot (now known as Mail In Ballot), there is still a strong contingent of people who go to the polling places and vote in person on Election Day.  If you have not voted yet this post is for you.

As I stated in my earlier post on October 1, 2018, there is a stark contrast between what Republican candidates wish to do in Congress and what Democratic candidates wish to do.  Here is a link to that post: What’s at Stake For Orange County Voters This November 6th?

Voting for Democrats is a vote for bigger, larger and more in your face government.  Voting for Republicans is a vote for liberty, personal choice, the current economic boom, less government and less taxation.  In my opinion not voting at all is a vote for Democrats. A few days ago Kathy Tavoularis penned an excellent article (that Chris Nguyen cross-posted here at O.C. Political) entitled:  Are You Willing to Let Your Orange County Vote Be Bought by New York, Boston, and San Francisco?

Kathy’s article is 100% correct, insightful and clearly lays out that a vote for any of the Democratic candidates is really a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and what they stand for –  not a vote against Donald Trump.  If you are on the fence about voting for one of these Democratic candidates (or staying home and not voting), and especially if you are either a Republican or a conservative Independent / Libertarian voter, I highly recommend you read Kathy’s article before you step into the voting booth.

For those who would like to see my recommendations for voters, here is the latest version of my Craig’s Voter Recommendations (which I sometimes call “Craig’s Pics“): Craig’s Pics Nov 2018 Updated 10-31-18

Once you go to that link – you can print them out and take them with you to the polling station (and give your friends copies too).  This final version has recommendations for the judicial races (I get lots of questions about Judge races).

I also recommend you go to Robyn Nordell’s web site www.robynnordell.com. Robyn also publishes a lot of recommendations for races I do not cover / give an opinion on.  Here is Robyn’s Orange County page: Robyn’s Picks for the OC.

Craig Alexander is an attorney, a former elected member of the Orange County Republican Party Central Committee and a former officer in the California Republican Assembly.  His practice is located in Dana Point and his law practice areas include Office/Commercial Leasing, HOA law, Insurance law, Civil Litigation and the California Public Records Act.

 

 

Posted in 38th Congressional District, 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 46th Congressional District, 47th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, Dana Point, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

LA Times Endorses 3 White Candidates in English, But Endorses Their Latino Opponents in Spanish

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 1, 2018

Los Angeles TimesCross posted to OC Daily:

In one of the more bizarre stories of the 2018 election, the Los Angeles Times endorsed 3 white candidates (and 2 ballot measures) in its English language edition, but the paper then endorsed their 3 Latino opponents (and the opposite position on 2 ballot measures) in its Spanish language edition.  Specifically, the Times endorsed:

  • United States Senator: Dianne Feinstein in English, Kevin de León in Spanish
  • Insurance Commissioner: Steve Poizner in English, Ricardo Lara in Spanish
  • Los Angeles County Sheriff: Jim McDonnell in English, Alex Villanueva in Spanish
  • Proposition 3 (Water Bond): No in English, Yes in Spanish
  • Proposition 7 (Daylight Saving Time): Yes in English, No in Spanish

This wasn’t a mere listing error: there’s 1-3 paragraphs of text for each endorsement, and the Spanish language edition even includes a photo of each endorsed candidate.  This appears to be a case of blatant pandering where the LA Times simply got caught.

First reported by Latino Rebels yesterday, followed by a story on KCAL 9, the LA Times claimed this was simply an error, in which the endorsements of Hoy were run as the endorsements of the LA Times en Español.  However, Latino Rebels points out that these endorsements were not only posted online and in the weekly print edition of LA Times en Español but also issued again in a print supplement.

OC Political noticed the LA Times en Español’s endorsements consisted of Gavin Newsom for Governor and seven Latino candidates.  The LA Times en Español completely left out the races for State Controller, State Treasurer, and Superintendent of Public Instruction, where there are no Latinos running, yet it included the 24th State Senate District in its endorsements.

The LA Times in English endorsed the full slate of Statewide offices, including Betty Yee for State Controller, Fiona Ma for State Treasurer, and Tony Thurmond for Superintendent of Public Instruction.  The LA Times in English did not have any state legislative endorsements.  While the LA Times en Español endorsed 7 Latinos and 1 white man, the LA Times English endorsements for Statewide offices were much more ethnically balanced, with 3 white people, 3 Latinos, 2 Asian Americans, and 1 African American for State office.

The full LA Times English language endorsements are here (permanently archived here).  The full LA Times Spanish language endorsements are here (permanently archived here).

Below, however, are all five conflicting endorsements.

US Senate

In the English language edition:

U.S. Senate: Dianne Feinstein

Feinstein is a senator from a more civil and productive era of governance and has accomplished a great deal with that approach. California should reelect her and more candidates like her who know when to stand firm on matters of principle and when to negotiate to get things done. It is doubtful that challenger Kevin de Leon, unwilling by his own admission to compromise, would be nearly as effective in the Senate as it exists today.

In the Spanish language edition:

Kevin de Leon para senador federal

El senador estatal demostró tener la experiencia y el pragmatismo necesario para producir leyes. Él conoce de cerca la realidad de la gente y el valor de los inmigrantes. Dianne Feinstein ha estado en el Senado desde 1992 y de ganar esta elección, sería su sexto término en el Senado. Sin duda, es mucho tiempo y ha llegado el momento de un cambio generacional.

En estos momentos de claro enfrentamiento de Donald Trump contra el estado de California, se necesita una voz más fuerte y directa que vele por los intereses de los californianos en Washington.

Translation:

Kevin de Leon for federal senator

The state senator has demonstrated that he has the experience and pragmatism necessary for lawmaking. He knows closely the people’s reality and the value of the immigrants. Dianne Feinstein has been in the Senate since 1992 and if she wins this election, this would be her sixth term in the Senate. Without a doubt, that is a long time, and the time has come for a generational change.

In these moments of clear confrontation by Donald Trump against the state of California, a stronger and more direct voice is needed who looks after the interests of Californians in Washington.

Insurance Commissioner

In the English language edition:

Insurance commissioner: Steve Poizner

Poizner was an able and innovative insurance commissioner for a four-year term that ended in 2011. The Republican-turned-independent earned a reputation as an advocate for consumers, not insurance companies. This isn’t the right job for rival Ricardo Lara, who lacks experience with insurance regulation.

In the Spanish language edition:

Ricardo Lara para comisionado de seguros

El senador estatal tiene un fuerte compromiso con la defensa del consumidor, una responsabilidad vital para este cargo. Su cruzada en la legislatura por una cobertura médica universal refleja la pasión por defender al más vulnerable.

Translation:

Ricardo Lara for insurance commissioner

The state senator has a strong commitment to consumer protection, a vital responsibility for this position. His crusade in the legislature for universal medical coverage reflects his passion to defend the most vulnerable.

LA County Sheriff

In the English language edition:

Sheriff: Jim McDonnell

It turns out that reforming the Sheriff’s Department is a long and complicated process. But McDonnell remains the better of two candidates to do the job, given his long experience leading large law enforcement agencies. Challenger Alex Villanueva has no such experience.

In the Spanish language edition:

Alex Villanueva para Sheriff

Alex Villanueva ha demostrado su deseo de conseguir un cambio dentro del Departamento del Sheriff de Los Ángeles, el segundo más grande del país. En su opinión, la corrupción es un mal endémico dentro del Departamento y el actual Sheriff, Jim McDonell, no ha hecho nada para combatirlo.

Villanueva ha dicho que no apoya la presencia de agentes del Servicio de Inmigracion en el interior de las cárceles, y considera que las leyes santuario ayudan a fortalecer la confianza de la comunidad con las autoridades. Villanueva garantiza un cambio desde el interior del Departamento.

Translation:

Alex Villanueva for Sheriff

Alex Villanueva has shown his desire to bring change from within the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the second largest in the country. In his opinion, corruption is an endemic evil within the Department and the current Sheriff, Jim McDonell, has done nothing to combat it.

Villanueva has said that he does not support the presence of ICE agents inside the jails, and he thinks that sanctuary laws help to strengthen the trust of the community with law enforcement. Villanueva guarantees a change from inside the Department.

Proposition 3

In the English language edition:

Proposition 3: ($8.877-billion water bond): No

Not all water bonds are created equal. This one would have all Californians pay for projects that would benefit only a few interests or regions, chiefly Central Valley agriculture.

In the Spanish language edition:

PROPOSICIÓN 3: Sí

Autoriza 8,900 millones de dólares para proyectos relacionados con agua. Los proyectos son extensos, cubren desde mejorar la calidad, almacenamiento y distribución.

Translation

PROPOSITION 3: Yes

Authorizes $8.9 billion for projects related to water. The projects are extensive, covering quality improvement, storage and distribution.

Proposition 7

In the English language edition:

Proposition 7 (Permanent daylight saving time): Yes

Passage of Proposition 7 would empower the Legislature, by a 2/3 vote, to express its desire to shift to year-round daylight saving time. But an actual shift requires an act of Congress.

In the Spanish language edition:

PROPOSICIÓN 7: No

Autoriza votar por el cambio de hora. La legislatura debe atender temas más importantes que este.

Aunque la Proposición 7 fuera aprobada por los votantes, California no podría hacer el cambio de horario sin el permiso del Congreso. La ley federal permite a los estados dejar de observar el horario de verano, pero no hacerlo de manera permanente.

En otras palabras, la Proposición 7 no detendrá el cambio de reloj, pero abre el camino para un debate que vale la pena tener. Pero creemos que en este momento la legislatura estatal tiene cosas más importantes y urgentes que abordar.

Translation

PROPOSITION 7: No

Authorizes voting for the time change. The legislature should address more important issues than this.

Even if Proposition 7 is approved by voters, California could not make the schedule change without Congressional permission. Federal law allows states to stop observing Daylight Saving Time, but not permanently.

In other words, Proposition 7 will not stop changing clocks, but it opens the way for a debate worth having.  But we believe that at this moment the state legislature has more important and urgent things to address.

Posted in California | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Are You Willing to Let Your Orange County Vote Be Bought by New York, Boston, and San Francisco?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on October 31, 2018

Cross posted to OC Daily:

Kathy Tavoularis

Kathy Tavoularis

OC Political presents an op-ed from former Republican Party of Orange County Executive Director Kathy Tavoularis, who directed and implemented the 2004 get-out-the-vote effort in Orange County, producing the highest vote margin of victory for George W. Bush of any county in the United States:

Bill Watterson said, “Selling out is usually a matter of buying in. Sell out, and you’re really buying into someone else’s system of values, rules and rewards.”

The question is: Can you really buy the third-most populous county in California, the sixth-most populous in the United States, and a county more populous than twenty-one U.S. states?

Orange County, for decades known as “America’s Most Republican County,” has seen an unprecedented amount of Democrat dollars spent to flip four traditionally Republican Congressional seats in order to take control of the House of Representatives. To be clear, the list of money to date includes, but is not limited to:

  • Over $10 million from the House Minority Leader, San Francisco liberal icon Nancy Pelosi
  • $5 million from liberal San Francisco environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer
  • Nearly $10 million from the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee
  • Over $5 million from former New York Mayor and Democrat Presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg’s PAC

That is roughly $30 million from outside Orange County that is being spent to buy your vote – whether you are a Republican or a Democrat. Democrats can’t win in Orange County without Republican votes. The numbers aren’t there. So Orange County Republicans voters are being targeted with outside money with San Francisco, Boston and New York values to tell you your values are wrong, that the way you live is wrong, that government is best when it runs your life. So vote Democrat.

Do they not understand the history of Orange County? They do not because they are not from here. Since 1888 when we separated from Los Angeles County, Orange County, a.k.a. “the OC,” has prided itself on being a separate, unique destination. One where you can live comfortably, raise your children and send them to good, safe schools, drive to work and enjoy your weekend on the beach or at an amusement park.

Now, Tom Steyer, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren want Orange County all to themselves and they are promoting four Democrat Socialists to take over four Congressional districts. You have never heard of these candidates before because they have no history of service in Orange County. But with all that money being spent on them by Tom, Nancy, Bernie and Elizabeth they might soon control you and represent “their” values on your behalf in Congress.

The Democrats’ talking point, especially to Republicans, is: “Hey, it’s great you like Trump, but he needs a check and balance. Give the Democrats the House, and we will make sure he doesn’t do anything crazy.” But don’t be fooled:

  • In Congressional District 39, a vote for Democrat Gil Cisneros is not a vote against Republican Young Kim or Donald Trump – but a vote FOR San Francisco Liberal Senator Kamala Harris.
  • In Congressional District 45, a vote for Democrat Katie Porter is not a vote against Republican Congresswoman Mimi Walters or Donald Trump – but a vote FOR Massachusetts Socialist Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren, a mentor of Katie Porter. In fact, Ms. Porter’s campaign Treasurer is Alexander Warren, Senator Warren’s son. And Porter named her daughter after the Massachusetts Senator.
  • In Congressional District 48, a vote for Harley Rouda is not a vote against Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher or Donald Trump – but a vote FOR San Francisco Liberal Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and her quest to be Speaker.
  • In Congressional District 49, a vote for Mike Levin is not a vote against Diane Harkey or Donald Trump – but a vote FOR Vermont Socialist Democrat Senator Bernie Sanders.

So, I ask, can your vote, values and way of life be bought on November 6?

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »