OCGOP Endorsements Committee Discusses Non-Consent Calendar Candidates
Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 4, 2012
All Endorsements Committee recommendations must be ratified by the Central Committee.
Endorsement Committee Members Present:
Mark Bucher, Chair
San Juan Capistrano City Council
6:10 PM – San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Sam Allevato touts the fiscal state of his city and his endorsements from various Republican elected officials. He praises the city’s public safety record. He speaks of his efforts to build nature trails, preserve open space, build toll roads, and support the relocation of several car dealerships to his city. He speaks of his strength on private property rights issues and belief in the free market.
His supporter is a resident of San Juan Capistrano and is difficult to hear. He elaborates on Allevato’s earlier points.
An opponent is a resident of San Juan Capistrano and is also difficult to hear. She attacks his environmental record and another issue that was difficult to hear. She questions his commitment to conservatism.
Another San Juan Capistrano resident praises Allevato’s record on infrastructure.
People need to project when speaking.
Clinton R. Worthington of San Juan Capistrano attacks Allevato for squandering a 50-year reserve for city hall construction. Worthington states there were more lawsuits in 8 years of Allevato than in the previous 42 years. He attacks Allevato approving a $300,000+ city manager contract. He also attacks Allevato for collecting fees/taxes for a bond that was never issued.
Ian Smith of San Juan Capistrano elaborates on Allevato’s water tax and bond issues.
6:21 PM – San Juan Capistrano Council Candidate Virginia “Ginny” Kerr touts her community involvement, her support of planned development, and her support of more open equestrian space. She urges the committee to endorse both her and Allevato.
The first speaker against Allevato is also the first speaker against Kerr. She argues Kerr voted to impose taxes on a private religious school while a Planning Commissioner.
Robert Williams is San Juan Capistrano’s Planning Commission Chair and praises Kerr’s “well-prepared” status. Williams presents minutes that show Kerr recused herself on the private religious school vote mentioned by the previous speaker.
A San Juan Capistrano resident blasts the open space that Kerr pointed to because it is outside the boundaries of the city.
Dave Adams is a former San Juan Capistrano City Manager and praises Allevato and Kerr for making San Juan Capistrano what it is today.
A speaker complains that while on the Planning Commission, Kerr voted to send a “poor” plan to the City Council instead of rejecting the plan.
6:28 PM – Committee Member Matt Harper notes that Mimi Walters and Diane Harkey have endorsed Allevato and asks if they’ve endorsed Kerr. Kerr says they have.
Committee Member Chandra Chell asked why Allevato supported taxing a private religious school. Allevato pointed to the large growth in retail space and student enrollment that would impact the community.
Allevato refutes the argument about the land being purchased outside the city. He says it is inside the city and his hand was forced by a city ballot measure.
Committee Member Thomas Gordon asks how Allevato could vote to raise water fees when he signed the “no new taxes or fees” pledge. Allevato states these fees were necessary to build new water infrastructure in San Clemente.
Committee Chair Mark Bucher asks about the argument that Allevato had pushed for the removal of religious references from city council invocations. Allevato states his City Attorney said federal law does not allow use of specific religious references (e.g. Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed) but can reference God. He says he also doesn’t want to offend people.
6:37 PM – Bucher asks Kerr about her vote on a tax she supported. She explains its usage for open space, parks, and traffic mitigation, among other things.
One of the speakers in opposition to Kerr blasts the deal struck “behind closed doors” that did not actually create new open space.
One of the speakers in opposition to Allevato notes San Juan Capistrano is paying twice the water rate it should be if they had purchased the cheapest water instead of a groundwater recovery plant.
Committee Member Ray Grangoff asks about the private religious school’s consent to being taxed. The speaker in opposition to Kerr says the school was forced to consent to the tax in order to get their construction plan approved.
6:44 PM – Committee Member Matt Harper asks if the vote can be delayed until other candidates can weigh in. He states Allevato and Kerr made good presentations, and as a councilman, he understands the difficult decisions they have to make, but serious concerns have been raised. He wants to hear from other candidates and moves to delay the endorsement vote for San Juan Capistrano Council to October.
Committee Member Thomas Gordon expresses his concern that Allevato put the bond on the ballot in violation of the no new taxes pledge that Allevato signed.
Committee Chair Mark Bucher expresses concern about the per-student tax imposed on the families that attend the private religious school.
The committee votes 4-1 (Gordon dissenting) to delay the vote to October.
Laguna Hills City Council
6:50 PM – Laguna Hills City Council Candidate Bill Hunt touts his law enforcement background at OCSD and community involvement. He notes his endorsements from a slew of Republican electeds, including “5 of the 7 City Council Members Laguna Hills has ever had.”
Laguna Hills Mayor Melody Carruth speaks of her previous endorsement by the OCGOP and praises Hunt’s conservative values and communitywide respect. She praises his US Army service, his time as a Parks & Recreation Commissioner, and his decision to keep his children in public school.
OC Political blogger Craig Alexander is supporting Hunt’s record as a reformer, his conservatism, and his goal of cutting salaries.
6:55 PM – Laguna Hills Council Candidate Dore Gilbert speaks of his military service, his fiscal conservatism, his support of parks, his support of transparency, his belief government salaries should be kept to comparable levels with other cities, and his belief that the city council should be run like a corporation. He notes that he was 60 when he joined the military and outpaced younger soldiers as leading by example.
Laguna Hills Mayor Pro Tem Joel Lautenschleger praises the fiscal conservatism of Laguna Hills and speaks to Gilbert’s record as a school board member of fiscally conservative and very successful schools.
7:00 PM – Laguna Hills Council Candidate Raghu Mathur supports strong public safety and fiscal conservatism. He touts his record as a tough negotiator who kept SOCCCD fiscally solvent while constructing buildings without bonds. He touts his endorsement by the late OCGOP Chairman Tom Fuentes.
TJ Fuentes praises Mathur’s fiscal conservatism at SOCCCD, his founding of the Republican Indo-American group, and his general Republican activism. Fuentes says that had his father lived, he would have been here to support Mathur.
Mayor Pro Tem Lautenschleger talks about Mathur’s divisiveness, Mathur’s golden parachute from SOCCCD, Mathur’s hit piece against Councilman Allan Songstad.
Committee Member Mary Young bangs on the window asking someone to unlock the door so she can get inside the meeting.
Councilwoman Barbara Kogerman blasts the “old guard Council Members” for opposing modest pension reform. She blasts Hunt and Gilbert as “old guard” candidates.
Mayor Carruth points out her city’s pension is 2% at 60, the lowest in the county. She blasts Mathur’s divisiveness.
7:10 PM – Laguna Hills Council Candidate Andrew Blount shouts about his support of Mitt Romney, Elizabeth Emken, and Prop 32. He supports local control and touts his support from various Republican elected officials.
Mike Munzing praises Blount as the only person louder than him and touts Blount’s business record and his citizen-politician status. He praises Blount’s knowledge of local issues and his conservatism.
7:11 PM – Hunt says being endorsed by most of the City Councilmembers does not make him a non-conservative. They support his independence and commitment to principle.
Gilbert speaks of his dedication to public service in education, the military, and the community. He praises the whole pool of candidates.
Mathur speaks of his leadership and communication skills, his fiscal conservatism, and his battles with the unions. His “divisiveness” is a result of union complaints about his battles with them.
Committee Member Chandra Chell asks Mathur about his time at SOCCCD when he was at odds with now-Assemblyman Don Wagner. Mathur says there were 4 conservatives and 3 liberals on the SOCCCD board. Mathur accused Wagner of attempting to get then-Chancellor Mathur to appoint a “female friend” of Wagner’s as a dean.
(7:43 PM – Emami says the accusation against Don Wagner is impossible, pointing out chancellors cannot appoint deans and disputes the accusation.)
Committee Member Matt Harper asks if any Democrats are running. There are only Republicans running for Laguna Hills City Council.
Committee Member Ray Grangoff motions for neutrality because they’re all great candidates.
Committee Member Matt Harper says he wishes the Laguna Hills candidates were running for Huntington Beach City Council. He praises all the candidates.
The neutrality vote passes 4-1-1 (Chell dissenting and Young abstaining).
(Meeting in recess)
Orange Unified School District, Trustee Area 3
7:29 PM – Incumbent Alexia Deligianni notes that during her tenure, they’ve cut spending and never raised taxes. API scores are up and four schools became California Distinguished Schools. She touted her CRA record and her various Republican endorsements.
Committee Members quickly and unanimously support recommending an endorsement for Deligianni.
Irvine Unified School District
7:31 PM – Michelle Ollada Alipio speaks of her endorsements, including from Committee Members Matt Harper and Ray Grangoff. She speaks of fiscal and academic accountability, protecting, and school choice.
Yvette Ollada from Congressman Rohrabacher’s campaign praises her sister and was the one who encouraged her to run.
Committee Member Mary Young urges Rivera to teach her sister about safe drilling.
The members vote quickly and unanimously to recommend endorsing her.
East Orange County Water District
7:35 PM – Former Tustin Mayor Doug Davert speaks of his conservative record and his backing from various Republican elected officials. He spoke of the incumbents’ retroactive pension increase.
Jon Dumitru supports Davert by revealing how the incumbents granted retroactive pension increases and included themselves on it. He speaks of how one of the incumbents is running for two water boards at once in order to double dip on his pension.
After being threatened by Commitee Member Matt Harper, Denis Bilodeau simply says, “He’s a Republican in good standing, and I support him.”
The committee quickly and unanimously recommends endorsement for Davert.
Dana Point City Council
7:38 PM – Carlos Olvera touts his military service and conservatism. He speaks of his Republican endorsements and community service.
Councilman Bill Brough says he needs Olvera on the Council because it takes two Councilmembers to get anything on the agenda.
The committee quickly and unanimously recommends an endorsement for Olvera.
Santa Ana Mayor
George Collins speaks of the opportunity Republicans in Santa Ana have.
Collins’s wife speaks in support.
The committee quickly and unanimously recommends an endorsement for Collins.
The committee is now running 15 minutes early and recesses.
Santa Ana City Council, Ward 3
7:54 PM – The meeting resumes 6 minutes early.
Charles Hart speaks of his efforts for the past several years to advance the Republican Party in Santa Ana. He speaks of his 9 years of private sector experience and 9 years of public sector experience. He urges using defined contribution 401(k)-style retirement instead of defined benefit pensions.
Brett Franklin speaks about his birth in Santa Ana and his marriage to a Costa Rican. He speaks Spanish and has children with dual citizenship. He speaks of his previous election to the City Council. He speaks of his efforts to advance the Republican Party in Santa Ana in the 1980s and 1990s. He says he is precinct walking and fundraising.
Denis Bilodeau speaks of Franklin’s Republican activism all over Orange County. He speaks of Franklin’s warchest without fundraising. He speaks of Franklin’s previous elections to the same seat.
Robert Hammond speaks of Franklin’s missing 50% of Central Committee meetings. He spoke of Franklin’s unwillingness to support Hammond’s candidacy against Jose Solorio because Franklin said Franklin was friends with Solorio.
Jon Dumitru speaks of Franklin’s track record and their personal relationship.
Franklin acknowledges Hammond’s statements about Franklin’s absenteeism and states it was because of his son’s basketball league. Franklin says he simply didn’t know Hammond and didn’t know if he was a liberal.
Gwen Dyrud speaks of Franklin’s Central Committee absenteeism and his lack of an alternate. She speaks of Hart’s diligence as a Central Committee member.
Hammond speaks of Hart’s participation and attendance at many Republican events. He speaks of Hart’s activism, his precinct walking, and his efforts to register new Republicans.
Committee Member Chandra Chell asks how long Franklin has been on the Central Committee. He has been on the Central Committee since 2004.
Committee Member Ray Grangoff suggests neutrality on the same basis as Laguna Hills and asks the candidates why there’s a need to endorse one or the other.
Franklin speaks of Democrat Eric Alderete who is backed by Democratic legislators, most Santa Ana City Councilmembers, and labor unions. He says Alderete has only lived in Santa Ana for two years after shopping for a seat and has close ties to Democrats on the LA City Council. He says Alderete wants to run for higher office including the Legislature and Congress.
Committee Member Mary Young asks if Franklin has fought rent control. Franklin says he has received an award for fighting rent control.
Committee Member Matt Harper speaks of his longtime work with both Hart and Franklin. He is concerned about Alderete.
Committee Member Mary Young speaks of Franklin’s record on the Council and of both men’s Republican activism.
Committee Member Chandra Chell expresses her concerns about Franklin’s absenteeism over many years.
Committee Member Ray Grangoff expresses that both candidates are excellent and wants to know about viability.
Franklin says he’s raised $25,000 since July 26 without holding a fundraising; he claims pledges of another $20,000. He says he raised $66,000 in his first council run, $87,000 in his council re-election, and $250,000 in his failed supervisorial bid.
Hart says he has grassroots support, with over 200 volunteers and in-kind contributions. These supporters are scattered throughout the city (although they must live in one ward, but the entire city votes).
Committee Member Thomas Gordon says Franklin was a good Councilmember but has been AWOL as of late. He says Hart helped restart Santa Ana CRA and Santa Ana RWF. He says Hart has built Republican grassroots.
Committee Member Matt Harper says they must decide the endorsement recommendation not on the best Central Committee Member but the best City Council candidate.
Committee Member Ray Grangoff moves to recommend endorsement of Franklin, with Young and Harper seconding.
Committee Member Ray Grangoff speaks of Franklin’s electoral record versus Hart’s.
Committee Member Thomas Gordon speaks of its “slap in the face” to Hart, who is working hard for the Republican Party in Santa Ana.
Committee Member Matt Harper argues a non-endorsement by the Republican Party in Santa Ana might not be a bad thing due to the Democratic tilt of the city. He thinks Franklin is the stronger candidate.
Committee Member Mary Young echoes Harper’s sentiments.
Committee Member Chandra Chell believes the party should back people active in the community and the Republican Party.
Committee Member Thomas Gordon sees that Franklin’s brochure speaks of preventing Santa Ana from going bankrupt. He asks Franklin if he voted 3% at 50. Franklin speaks of his “holding the line” in closed session but does not directly answer Gordon’s question.
Committee Chair Mark Bucher checks the rules and found that there is nothing prohibiting the party from endorsing two candidates for one seat.
Franklin says he would support a dual endorsement.
Hart says Franklin told him the Republican endorsement didn’t matter much in Santa Ana, and that’s why Hart decided to go for a single endorsement.
Franklin says he’s won the seat twice and was being gracious in wanting to avert a “food fight” at Central Committee.
Committee Member Matt Harper says he’s inclined to recommend a dual endorsement or a “neither” endorsement.
The vote recommending Franklin is split 3-3 (Grangoff, Harper, and Young in favor with Bucher, Chell, and Gordon opposed).
Committee Chair Mark Bucher moves to recommend a dual endorsement.
The committee votes 4-2 to recommend dual endorsement (Chell and Gordon dissenting).
Irvine City Council
8:34 PM – Lynn Schott argues her best contribution to the Republican Party is giving birth to three Republicans. She speaks of her involvement in the Tustin Area RWF. She is a Community Services Commissioner in Irvine. She speaks of the importance of fighting Agran, the ACLU, and Occupy Orange County. She notes she is the final lynchpin for the Irvine Republican slate (Steven Choi has already been endorsed for Mayor while Christina Shea has already been endorsed for one of the two Council seats).
Committee Member Ray Grangoff asks if three Republicans are running for two seats. Much discussion ensues about whether Evan Chemers is a Republican.
Committee Member Matt Harper asks about Schott’s Central Committee Alternate, Patrick Rodgers. Rodgers has spoken out against Jim Righeimer and the Costa Mesa Council calling them the “Four Stooges.”
Schott states she is unfamiliar with what is happening in Costa Mesa. She states she supports a two-tier pension plan and a defined contribution plan. She says she wants to pay police and fire as much as possible without bankrupting the city.
Committee Chair Mark Bucher expresses his grave concern about Rodgers attacking Righeimer, who Bucher calls a hero. Bucher asks if Schott would consider removing Rodgers as his alternate.
Schott says she got Rodgers to agree to back off on his criticisms of Righeimer. She says she disagrees with Rodgers’s position on this. She says the attempted framing of Righeimer is a deplorable attempt to intimidate City Council Members.
Committee Chair Mark Bucher expresses his grave concern about her unwillingness to remove Rodgers.
Committee Member Matt Harper urges Schott to forgive what happened in 2010 and mend fences with other Republicans.
The committee votes 5-1 to recommend to Central Committee Schott’s endorsement (Bucher dissenting).
Cypress School District
8:56 PM – Alexandria Coronado describes her electoral history in two sentences.
The committee votes quickly and unanimously to recommend Coronado’s endorsement.
San Clemente City Council
8:56 PM – Michael Mortenson speaks of his record as a Republican activist since childhood.
Norm Dickinson stands in for Councilman Jim Dahl who is at a Council meeting. Dickinson speaks of the fiscally conservative finances of San Clemente and Dahl’s conservative record and promises.
Committee Member Chandra Chell asks if Dahl has ever endorsed John Alpay. Dickinson doesn’t know.
Committee Member Matt Harper asks if Mortenson has ever endorsed Alpay. Mortenson says he has not.
Committee Member Ray Grangoff moves to recommend endorsement of both.
Committee Member Matt Harper moves to divide the motion.
The committee quickly and unanimously votes to recommend endorsement of Mortenson.
Committee Member Ray Grangoff states that Dahl has a record of activism backed by Dickinson.
Committee Members Thomas Gordon and Mary Young express concern about Dahl’s stance on off-shore drilling.
After Dickinson reaches Dahl by phone, Dahl says he did not endorse Alpay.
The committee decides quickly and unanimously votes to delay Dahl to the October meeting.
The committee adjourns at a shockingly early 9:03 PM.