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Live from OC GOP Central Committee: Resolution Against Chad Mayes

Posted by Chris Nguyen on August 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

August 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An audience member asks Steel about the alt-right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The minutes from the July special meeting are approved.

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

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

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

The suspension of the rules passes unanimously.

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

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

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

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

AMENDED RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY.

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

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

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

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

Various club announcements are made by audience members.

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on August 21, 2017

Chad Mayes

Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley)

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

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

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

There have been three rumored candidates to replace Mayes:

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

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

 

 

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

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

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on August 18, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted in 29th Senate District | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Senate

Assembly

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

Full Text of Spitzer’s Candidacy Announcement for District Attorney

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on July 14, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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Posted in 3rd Supervisorial District, Orange County District Attorney's Office | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 13, 2017

Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach)

Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach)

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

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

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

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

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

California AG stacks the deck on gas-tax measure

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here’s Joel Fox’s own commentary:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in California | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

AD 72: Mayor Pro Tem Diep Becomes Early Frontrunner in Race to Replace Assemblyman Allen

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 11, 2017

Mayor Pro Tem Tyler Diep (R-Westminster)

Mayor Pro Tem Tyler Diep (R-Westminster)

Cross-posted to OC Daily

As reported by OC Daily in English and Viet Bao in Vietnamese, Westminster Mayor Pro Tem Tyler Diep has officially thrown his hat in the ring for the 72nd Assembly District, finally confirming rumors that had swirled since mid-June.  The seat is being vacated by Assemblyman Travis Allen, who is running for Governor.

Diep comes out of the gate wielding a $260,000 City Council warchest that he can easily transfer to his Assembly race.  Diep also wields the most useful endorsement for this seat: the incumbent, Travis Allen.  The endorsement of the current occupant of the seat being sought is always uniquely helpful in a campaign, but Allen’s endorsement has an extra degree of usefulness in 2018 due to his increased name ID from his bid for Governor.

The two dominant population centers of AD-72 are Little Saigon and Huntington Beach.  In these two areas, Diep has locked up the endorsements of nearly anyone who could run against him.  He has sought to not only clear the field but win the support of the field.  It is difficult to launch a bid against someone when you have already endorsed them.

Diep quickly rounded up the endorsements of all three rumored candidates from Huntington Beach: Councilmembers Barbara Delgleize, Mike Posey, and Patrick Brenden.  (Posey is so popular that he was rumored for AD-72 despite being a resident of AD-74.)

Diep has locked down the endorsements of nearly every Vietnamese-American elected official in AD-72: Westminster Mayor Tri Ta, Westminster Councilwoman Kimberly Ho, Fountain Valley Mayor Pro Tem Michael Vo, Garden Grove School Board Members Dina Nguyen and Lan Quoc Nguyen, and Westminster School Board Members Frances Nguyen and Khanh Nguyen.  (In fact, Diep has the endorsement of every Vietnamese-American school board member in AD-72.)

The only other Republican Vietnamese-American City Councilmember in AD-72 (or actually, in all of Orange County) is Phat Bui of Garden Grove.  However, Bui was so badly bloodied in the First Supervisorial District race last year in which he came in third behind Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez and Supervisor Andrew Do that an AD-72 bid by Bui would be quixotic.  The Democrats’ sole Vietnamese-American City Councilmember is Thu-Ha Nguyen, who was just elected last year, but the AD-72 seat will remain in Republican hands and Councilwoman Nguyen occupies a small district seat since Garden Grove switched to by-district elections last year, so her name ID is confined to a small portion of Garden Grove.

At this point, it is difficult to see any viable opponent to Diep since virtually any viable candidate for AD-72 has endorsed Diep.

In my conversations with other people about the Diep candidacy before he officially announced, I commented that Diep appeared to be borrowing a page from the Mimi Walters strategy, and his official announcement bears that out.  In June 2013, when Congressman John Campbell announced that he would not seek re-election in 2014, Walters came barreling out of the gate with a large warchest and a slew of endorsements that included nearly every potential opponent.  The strategy worked well for Walters who won her seat and worked to help elect so many other Republicans that she was quickly elected by freshmen Members of Congress to serve as their representative in the House Republican leadership after the 2014 election and then again as the sophomore representative after the 2016 election.

And, yes, Walters has endorsed Diep.

Here’s the full text of the Diep’s announcement:

Councilman Tyler Diep Launches Campaign for 72nd Assembly District
Diep Enters Race with Significant Momentum: $260k COH & Key Endorsement

(Westminster, CA) – Westminster Councilman Tyler Diep announced today that he is running for State Assembly.

The announcement comes after 72nd District Assemblyman Travis Allen opted to vacate the seat in 2018 to run for Governor. Allen has endorsed Diep’s campaign to succeed him in the Assembly.

“Tyler is the right person to represent us in the State Assembly,” said Assemblyman Allen. “He is a dedicated public servant and has a proven record of fighting higher taxes and job killing regulations.”

Councilman Diep will begin the campaign with significant campaign resources – he will transfer approximately $260,000 from his council campaign account to his assembly race.

“I am passionate about public service, my community and fighting to make Orange County a better place to raise a family and start a business,” said Diep. “I look forward to taking my experience in Orange County to Sacramento and between now and election day I’ll work hard to earn the vote of every neighborhood in the 72nd district.”

The 72nd District includes all of Westminster, Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, a portion of Huntington Beach and the unincorporated county island of Midway City.

Axiom Strategies will serve as general consultants for Diep’s campaign, John Bovee of Capital Development Strategies will assist Diep with fundraising, and Lysa Ray will serve as his treasurer.

Diep was first elected to the Westminster City Council in 2008.  He has been a strong taxpayer advocate, is committed to job creation and supporting small businesses by keeping taxes low, and has prioritized hiring more police officers and road repair while on the city council.  He also serves as Director of the Midway City Sanitary District and works for the State Board of Equalization where he helps small businesses navigate through the bureaucracy of the IRS and Franchise Tax Board.

To learn more about Diep and his campaign, please visit: www.TylerDiep.com

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(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: I am not related to Garden Grove Councilwoman Thu-Ha Nguyen, Garden Grove School Board Member Dina Nguyen, Garden Grove School Board Member Lan Quoc Nguyen, Westminster School Board Member Frances Nguyen, or Westminster School Board Member Khanh Nguyen.  The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

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Live from OC GOP Central Committee on Stopping the Gas Tax

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 10, 2017

wpid-ocgop-logo-1_400x400.jpg

We are live from the special meeting of the OC GOP Central Committee where the OC GOP is considering the Endorsements Committee’s unanimous recommendation to officially endorse the effort of Assemblyman Travis Allen’s proposed ballot initiative to repeal the gas tax.

Due to the late release of title and summary less than one hour before the Central Committee meeting by the office of Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles), the committee does not have the text of the title and summary, so your blogger reads the title and summary of the measure.

The committee jeers portions of the title and summary due to biased language written by the office of the Attorney General.

Committee Member Scott Peotter moves and Committee Member Tim Whitacre seconds to endorse the measure.

There is no debate.

OC GOP UNANIMOUSLY ENDORSES ASSEMBLYMAN TRAVIS ALLEN’S MEASURE TO REPEAL THE GAS TAX.

After a few quick announcements, the special meeting adjourns after 22 minutes.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

SD 29: Mayor Whitaker Enters Race to Replace Senator Newman

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 10, 2017

Mayor Bruce Whitaker (R-Fullerton)

Mayor Bruce Whitaker
(R-Fullerton)

Cross-posted to OC Daily

First reported by Jon Fleischman at the FlashReport on Saturday night, Fullerton Mayor Bruce Whitaker has become the first candidate to announce his entry into the race to replace Senator Josh Newman if Newman is recalled in the 29th Senate District.

The 29th Senate District recall election has centered on Senator Newman’s vote for the unpopular gas tax (58% of voters in a statewide UC Berkeley poll oppose the gas tax increase, and the percentage is likely higher in SD-29, as that district is more conservative than the state as a whole).  Whitaker is well-versed in recall elections and anti-tax battles, having helped lead a City Council recall and multiple efforts to repeal/defeat taxes, as his campaign biography notes:

Bruce began an intense and prolonged foray into political activism in 1992 when he became incensed at the largest federal tax increase in U.S. history during the George H.W. Bush administration, and the largest state tax increase in California’s history under Governor Pete Wilson. He became active in his own city of Fullerton in 1993 when he led — as a proponent and treasurer — a successful effort to recall a majority of the City Council and repeal unnecessary utility taxes. That accomplishment has saved more than $170 million for residents and businesses of Fullerton to date.

On the heels of the Fullerton recalls, the Orange County bankruptcy erupted in December of 1994. At that time it was the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. As the chief spokesman of the Committees of Correspondence of Orange County, Bruce debated Sheriff Brad Gates, county CEO William Popejoy, Chapman University president James Doti and others and authored many guest editorials which helped to defeat Measure R, the bankruptcy sales tax.  The defeat of that tax has resulted in more than $2.8 billion in taxpayer savings since 1995.

Bruce Whitaker founded the Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers in 1996. He was president for eight years, following which FACT successfully brought suit against the Gray Davis administration for an unconstitutional $12.7 billion bond offering.

When Governor Davis was recalled from office, the Schwarzenegger administration and the Legislature attempted to pass a $2 billion pension obligation bond which also lacked voter approval. FACT and the Pacific Legal Foundation brought suit and won in both Sacramento Superior Court and the State Court of Appeals. 

Whitaker was first elected to the Fullerton City Council in 2010 and re-elected in 2012 and 2016.  In the citywide at-large vote, Whitaker came in first twice and second once in these three successful bids for council.

Whitaker also has name ID in other parts of SD-29, having been elected to the Republican Central Committee representing the old 72nd Assembly District in 1996 and re-elected in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010, before deciding not to run for re-election in 2012.  He was also the top vote-getter four times.  He came in second once, coming just 20 votes shy of first place in the race in which the top six places were elected.

Fleischman wrote:

Whitaker, a constitutional conservative, has been elected three times to the Fullerton City Council. Fullerton is the largest city completely within the boundaries of the 29th State Senate District.

Whitaker told me that, “Residents and taxpayers deserve respect from elected legislators. Senator Newman’s voting record proves that he does not reflect the values of this District.” He added, “Southern California needs strong leadership in Sacramento to protect and secure our rights, such as the right to vote on taxes. My record reflects that I’ve long been a passionate advocate for freedom, property rights, justice and fiscal responsibility.”

I was last with Bruce a few weeks at at a gas station on Harbor Boulevard where a massive effort took place to gather signatures for the recall of Newman. Whitaker appeared on the John and Ken Show, which broadcast their show live from that location.

Read the rest on the FlashReport…

In addition to his name ID from being elected to the City Council and the Central Committee, Whitaker may also have benefit from voters remembering the name of OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker, who has also been active in the recall.

Fullerton is the second-largest city in the district, behind only the portion of Anaheim in SD-29, but historically, Fullerton has produced the most voters in primary and special elections (which the SD-29 recall would be), as the SD-29 parts Anaheim has lower-propensity voters (Anaheim is split among three Senate districts, with voter-rich Anaheim Hills sitting in SD-37, represented by Republican Senator John Moorlach of Costa Mesa; the remainder of Anaheim is in SD-34, represented by Republican Senator Janet Nguyen of Garden Grove).

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CRP: 84,988 Signatures Submitted to Recall State Senator Josh Newman

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on June 30, 2017

This came over the wire from the California Republican Party on Tuesday…

84,988 Signatures Submitted to Recall State Senator Josh Newman

Today, the California Republican Party (CRP) announced that it has collected and submitted 84,988 signatures in the effort to recall State Senator Josh Newman. The campaign needs at least 63,593 signatures from voters within Senate District 29 by mid-October to qualify the recall for a vote.

“Voters in Senate District 29 have made their opposition to Newman’s vote on the gas tax and car tax increases very clear. The speed with which voters signed the petitions is a testament to the anger they feel towards these tax increases and a fear of what liberal Josh Newman might decide to tax next,” stated California Republican Party Chairman Jim Brulte.

In a cynically corrupt attempt to shield Senator Newman from the impending recall, Democrats in the Legislature scrambled to pass Senate Bill 96, a gut and amend bill that would needlessly extend the state’s recall approval process, denying voters in Senate District 29 the due process of a speedy election.

“It is a clear abuse of power for the same legislators who voted for a wildly unpopular gas tax to now change the rules applying to recall elections in order to protect their colleague form the voters of his community,” stated Brulte. “The Democrats’ attempt to quell the movement by retroactively changing the rules is pure political gamesmanship and completely undermines our democratic process.”

In light of the legislative tomfoolery the CRP will continue to circulate recall petitions and turn in signatures to ensure all voters who desire to sign have the ability to do so.

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Posted in 29th Senate District, California | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »