OC Political

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

BREAKING NEWS!! OC Realtors stand with taxpayers, unanimously opposing new taxes from measures I, H, M and Proposition 13 (2020).

Posted by Craig P Alexander on February 28, 2020

The Orange County Association of Realtors (OCAR) Board of Directors voted unanimously to Oppose new bond taxes in the form of Capistrano Unified School District’s Measures H & I, Saddelback Valley School District’s Measure M and the state wide bond tax of Prop. 13 (the March 2020 version – not the 1978 Prop. 13).

Here is OCAR’s press release:

Orange County REALTORS® Board of Directors Votes Unanimously to Oppose Ballot Measures H, I, and M, and Proposition 13 (2020)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: February 28, 2020

CONTACT:   Dirissy Doan, Government Affairs Director, Orange County REALTORS®
Phone: 949-586-6800 ext 119
Email: Dirissy@ocrealtors.org

Orange County REALTORS® Board of Directors Votes Unanimously to Oppose Ballot Measures H, I, and M, and Proposition 13 (2020)

The Orange County REALTORS® Board of Directors voted to oppose local school facility bonds Measures H, I, M, and the statewide school bond Proposition 13 (2020) which appear on the March 3rd primary ballot in Orange County.

Measure H was placed on the ballot by the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Trustees. If approved by the 55 percent of the voters, it would authorize the District to borrow up to $300 million to repair and modernize CUSD schools located in San Clemente and Capistrano Beach.

Measure I was placed on the ballot by the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Trustees. If approved by 55 percent of the voters, it would authorize the District to borrow up to $300 million to repair and modernize CUSD schools located in Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, and Laguna Niguel.

Measure M was placed on the ballot by the Saddleback Valley Unified School District (SVUSD) Board of Trustees. If approved by 55 percent of the voters, it would authorize the District to borrow up to $495 million to repair, improve, and modernize SVUSD schools located in the County of Orange and in Aliso Viejo, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, and Rancho Santa Margarita.

California Proposition 13: School and College Facilities Bond (March 2020) was placed on the ballot by the California State Legislature. If approved by 55 percent of the voters, it would authorize the issuance of $15 billion in state general obligation bonds for school and college facilities, including $9 billion for preschools and K–12 schools, $4 billion for universities, and $2 billion for community colleges.

Expressing concerns about the total amount of bonded indebtedness, the amount by which payment on these new bonds will increase property taxes annually, the way in which this increase may affect housing affordability, and the amount that interest on these bonds will cost homeowners over the lifetime of the bonds, members of the Local Government Relations South Committee voted at its meeting on February 3 to recommend that the Orange County REALTORS® Board of Directors oppose all four of these items, which the Board voted to do at its regular meeting on February 26th.

Here is the link to the Press Release.

For more about the opposition to CUSD’s Measures H & I go to http://www.nocusdbonds.com or http://www.capokidsfirst.com or on Facebook to CapoKidsFirst.

For more about the opposition to Saddelback Valley’s Measure M go to Facebook at No on Measure M Tax

Craig Alexander is an attorney and a resident of Dana Point, California.

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

OC’s Worst Ballot Designations, 2020 Primary Edition

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 28, 2020

Ballot designations are the only piece of information that appear directly on the ballot other than a candidate’s name (and sometimes, political party).

A unique animal in California elections law is the ballot designation.  Those are the three words the appear under non-presidential candidates’ names on the ballot (I will note, there are a handful of exceptions that allow more than three words).  For every voter, it’s the last thing they see about a candidate before casting their ballots.  For a frighteningly high number of voters, it’s the only thing they see about a candidate before casting their ballots in low-profile races.

Consequently, ballot designations may well be the most important words in a race, with campaigns even filing lawsuits over ballot designations every election.

In many previous elections, OC Political has written about the worst ballot designations on the ballot.  These are the candidates who truly squandered a small, but very important, opportunity to communicate with the voters.

OC’s Ten Worst Ballot Designations

  1. Caregiver/Driver (Will Johnson in the 46th Congressional District)
    The reverse version of this ballot designation (“Driver/Caregiver”) for this exact same candidate in this exact same office actually made the 2018 primary election list of “OC’s Worst Ballot Designations” as the second-worst designation behind only “Carpenter/Boxing Coach.”  With no Carpenter/Boxing Coach on the ballot this time, “Caregiver/Driver” takes the top slot.  To quote the 2018 list: “What special skills does a driver bring to being a Member of Congress? While caregivers provide a very important service, what does that service have to do with being a Congressional Representative?”
  2. Mother/Automation Director (Naz Hamid in the 68th District Democratic Central Committee)
    When running for the Central Committee of the party that bills itself as being the party of labor and working people, I can’t imagine why people wouldn’t vote for an automation director.  Nothing says putting people out of work like an automation director.
  3. Student/Campaign Coordinator (Kalvin Alvarez in the 74th District Democratic Central Committee)
    As I’ve said in previous editions of “OC’s Worst Ballot Designations,” the voters do not vote for students.  They prefer candidates who are not still in school.  Every time someone complains when I put “Student” on the list, their candidate loses.  Plenty of young people have won office: not one of them has used “Student” as their ballot designation even when they are students.
  4. Handyman (Bobby Florentz in the 65th District Republican Central Committee)
    What unique skills does a handyman bring when running for office?  I mean I guess he’s helpful if you have a wobbly table or flickering light at Central Committee that needs fixing.
  5. Teacher’s Assistant (Jalen Dupree McLeod in the 47th Congressional District)
    Teacher’s assistants perform a valuable job.  However, in picking candidates for office, I feel the voters would prefer the actual teacher rather than the teacher’s assistant.  It’s especially tough when you’re challenging a sitting member of Congress from your own political party.
  6. Risk Professional (Sudi Farokhnia in the 73rd District Democratic Central Committee)
    Oh, yes, that’s what everyone wants for Central Committee: a risk professional.  Who doesn’t love insurance?  While an important job, this profession does not bring warm, fuzzy feelings to anyone.  For those few voters who know what Central Committee is, I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to have someone who will fret about insurance for precinct walkers and phone bankers.
  7. Legal Clerk (Ariana Arestegui in the 69th District Democratic Central Committee)
    Unless you’re the Orange County Clerk-Recorder or running for that office, a clerk ballot designation just isn’t going to get the job done.  While legal clerks perform an important role, life is unfair, and the voters have little respect for the position.
  8. Filmmaker (Andrew Gallagher in the 74th District Democratic Central Committee)
    Are you Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, James Cameron, or another famed filmmaker?  If not, you should not use “Filmmaker” as your ballot designation.  What special skills does a filmmaker bring to the table?  Maybe if voters knew what Central Committee is, they might like you for your potential ability to make TV campaign commercials, but unfortunately, most voters don’t know what Central Committee is.  (It may be unfair to you, and it was after you’d already picked your designation, but it doesn’t help people are getting sick of Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer’s commercials.)
  9. Life Skills Coach (Michael Navarro in the 55th District Republican Central Committee)
    While many people joke about Central Committee members needing life skills coaching, I don’t think the electorate has any particular reason to back a life skills coach for office.
  10. Psychotherapist (Anne Cameron in the 73rd District Democratic Central Committee)
    How bad are your Central Committee meetings getting when you need a psychotherapist?  Why would a voter want to vote for a psychotherapist for office?  So the psychotherapist can make the other candidates feel better?

(Dis)Honorable Mention

This ballot designation was subpar, but it wasn’t bad enough to make the list of worst ballot designations.  However, this poor soul probably should have realized sometimes politics is about timing. For some of us, the name you’re born with (or the name you marry into) just brings unfair problems beyond your control.  (I am not unsympathetic to this, having had numerous misspellings and mispronunciations of my last name of Nguyen.)  For the candidate below, this is probably a good name when running for Republican Central Committee.  However, in running for Democratic Central Committee, I think it may have been wise to wait until 2024 to run:

  • Mary Tromp, Retired Computer Programmer (72nd District Democratic Central Committee)

Posted in 46th Congressional District, 47th Congressional District, Democrat Central Committee, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

March Primary Voter Guide

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on February 27, 2020

These voter guides came over the wire from the Lincoln Club and Atlas PAC…

Atlas PAC:

Atlas PAC Newsletter Head 2
March Primary Election Voter Guide
February 26, 2020
National
President – Donald Trump
Vice President – Mike Pence
U.S. Congress
California, 4th CD – Tom McClintock
California, 8th CD – Tim Donnelly
California, 14th CD – Devin Nunes
California, 25th CD – Mike Garcia
California, 28th CD – Eric Early
California, 39th CD – Young Kim
California, 45th CD – Don Sedgwick
California, 48th CD – Michelle Steel
California, 49th CD – Brian Maryott 
California, 50th CD – Carl DeMaio
Ohio, 4th CD – Jim Jordan
New York, 21st CD – Elise Stefanik
California
State Senate
CA State Senate, SD 28 – Melissa Melendez
CA State Senate, SD 33 – Ling Ling Chang
CA State Senate, SD 37 – John Moorlach
State Assembly
CA State Assembly, 42nd AD – Andrew Kotyuk
CA State Assembly, 55th AD – Phillip Chen
CA State Assembly, 68th AD – Steven Choi
CA State Assembly, 72nd AD – Janet Nguyen
CA State Assembly, 73rd AD – Laurie Davies
CA State Assembly, 74th AD – Diane Dixon
Ballot Propositions
Proposition 13 – NO
Orange County
Orange County Board of Supervisors, District 1 – Andrew Do
Orange County Board of Supervisors, District 3 – Don Wagner
Orange County Board of Education, Area 1 – Jim Palmer
Orange County Board of Education, Area 3 – Ken Williams
Orange County Board of Education, Area 1 – Tim Shaw
Measures B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N – NO
About Atlas PAC
Atlas is an organization made up of business, political, and community professionals who share a passion for free enterprise, limited government, reduced government regulatory burdens, low taxation, and individual liberty. Atlas furthers its ideals by funding candidates and causes who aggressively advocate the values of Atlas.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Voter Recommendations – A Reminder

Posted by Craig P Alexander on February 27, 2020

As March 3rd is only a few days away, I just wanted to remind voters (who have not cast a ballot yet) that there are voter recommendations by conservatives who do not get paid for their endorsements – people like Robyn Nordell and myself. And we do not always agree!

Here is the link to my prior post on this subject: Voter Recommendations.

Craig Alexander is an attorney and a Dana Point resident.

Posted in 38th Congressional District, 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 46th Congressional District, 47th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, Anaheim City School District, Anaheim Union High School District, Brea Olinda Unified School District, Buena Park School District, California, Capistrano Unified School District, Fountain Valley School District, Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Fullerton School District, Lowell Joint School District, Orange County Board of Education, Orange County Board of Supervisors, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, State Assembly, State Senate, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

CD-45 Spending Approaches $2.6 Million

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 26, 2020

In the hotly contested primary election for the 45th Congressional District, the candidates have spent nearly $2.6 million combined (seven candidates qualified for the ballot: incumbent Democrat Katie Porter and six Republicans).

Incumbent Democrat Katie Porter raised $3,867,406 and spent $942,242.  Even after all that spending, she still reports $3,008,911 cash on hand (the other $83,747 was cash left on hand from the 2018 election).  Additionally, there was $39,488 in independent expenditures supporting Porter, with $37,410 of that coming from End Citizens United, a large national PAC with numerous individual donors.  Planned Parenthood did a $1,177 IE for Porter, and three other groups (Courage Campaign Super PAC, Flip the West, and the Sierra Club) spent a combined $901 on IEs for her.

That leaves $1.65 million spent by the Republican candidates.

Laguna Hills Councilman Don Sedgwick raised $860,196 and spent $584,422, leaving $275,774 cash on hand.  Additionally, there was $87,757 in independent expenditures from California Freedom and Prosperity PAC supporting Sedgwick.  That PAC’s funding appears to be numerous individual people.

Orange County Board of Education Trustee Lisa Sparks raised $495,456 and spent $300,440, leaving $195,016 cash on hand. Her campaign has $39,558 in unpaid bills; accounting for that leaves her campaign at $155,458 cash on hand.

Mission Viejo Councilman Greg Raths raised $451,637 and spent $325,491, leaving $126,114 cash on hand (not sure why there’s a $32 discrepancy but that’s a negligible amount anyway).

Yorba Linda Councilwoman Peggy Huang raised $451,506 and spent $424,908, leaving $26,598 cash on hand.  Her campaign has $43,035 in unpaid bills; accounting for that leaves her campaign at $16,437 in debt. Huang loaned her campaign $139,000, so she raised $312,506 from donors other than herself, and the campaign would be in debt $155,437 if she wishes to repay the loan.

Attorney Christopher J. Gonzales raised $18,362 and spent $16,641, leaving $1,721 cash on hand.  However, Gonzales loaned his campaign $6,500, so he raised $11,862 from donors other than himself, and the campaign would be in debt $4,779 if he wishes to repay the loan.

Retired Teacher Rhonda Furin has not filed any campaign finance reports, presumably meaning she has spent nothing.

For visual learners, here’s the campaign finance chart for the candidate’s campaigns:

Candidate Contributions
Through 2/12/2020
Loans Unpaid
Bills
Expenditures
Through 2/12/2020
Cash on Hand
2/12/2020
Cash on Hand
Minus
Unpaid Bills
Cash on Hand
Minus
Unpaid Bills and Loans
Katie Porter (D) $3,867,406 $0 $0 $942,242 $3,008,911 $3,008,911 $3,008,911
Don Sedgwick (R) $860,196 $0 $0 $584,422 $275,774 $275,774 $275,774
Lisa Sparks (R) $495,456 $0 $39,558 $300,440 $195,016 $155,458 $155,458
Greg Raths (R) $451,637 $0 $0 $325,491 $126,114 $126,114 $126,114
Peggy Huang (R) $312,506 $139,000 $43,035 $424,908 $26,598 -$16,437 -$155,437
Christopher Gonzales (R) $11,862 $6,500 $0 $16,641 $1,721 $1,721 -$4,779
Rhonda Furin (R) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.
Porter rolled over $83,747 in cash from the 2018 election.

Posted in 45th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

AD-72 Spending Breaks $1.6 Million

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 25, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: Former Senator Janet Nguyen and Garden Grove Councilwoman Diedre Nguyen are not related to each other, and neither of them are related to me. The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

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

Live from the 1st Supervisorial District Debate

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 20, 2020

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

Participating in the debate are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Santana explains Do was invited but could not attend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contreras would sign on.

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

Nguyen says her stance is clear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All say yes.

Would you support building a County Library in District 1.

All say yes.

Do you support an alternative to policing for youth?

All say yes.

Who are you supporting for President?

Nguyen: Undecided, but not Trump

Contreras: Undecided, but leaning Sanders

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

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

Nguyen: Not sought them in this race.

Contreras: Had police union support in past.

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

Do you support a $15 minimum wage?

All say yes.

Do you support the Poseidon desalination plant?

Nguyen and Pulido say no.

Nguyen wants to ascertain the environmental impacts.

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

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

Do you support rent control?

Nguyen says yes.

Contreras says it’s already law.

Pulido says no.

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

All say yes.

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

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

Nguyen and Contreras don’t have enough info.

Would you support the Irvine energy JPA?

All say yes.

Would you support increasing government whistleblower protection?

All say yes.

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

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

All say no.

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

All say yes.

Do you support abolishing ICE?

All say yes.

Do you support immigration reform?

All say yes.

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

Nguyen is still researching it.

Contreras describes a different ballot measure.

Pulido is still researching it.

8:38 PM: Santana announces closing statements.

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

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

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

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

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

Orange County Young Republicans’ Endorsements

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on February 19, 2020

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

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

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

Posted by Craig P Alexander on February 18, 2020

A Failure And Breach of Trust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Law Firm          Amount

Olson:              $16,274.50

Orbach:           $11,728.00

Werksman:      $13,972.50

Total:              $41,975.00

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voter Recommendations from Craig Alexander, Robyn Nordell and Other Conservatives

Posted by Craig P Alexander on February 18, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Craig Alexander is an attorney and Dana Point resident.

Posted in Capistrano Unified School District, Orange County Board of Education, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »