OC Political

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

Archive for November, 2012

John Hrabe: Quirk-Silva Received $292K in 18 Days via Democratic Central Committees from Blue Shield, Disney, AEG, Aecom, Tom Daly, CSEA, AFSCME Local 685, UDW, CAHP, CDF Firefighters, SW Regional Council of Carpenters, or How AD-65 Really Was Won

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on November 29, 2012

John Hrabe published this piece on his blog and republished it on the Flash Report.

Regardless of your opinion on the propriety of these donations, it’s clear Quirk-Silva’s monetary infusion led to her victory.  $292,000 via Democratic Central Committees overwhelmed $50,000 via Republican Central Committees.

(Note: This article may be republished, provided it is attributed to the author, John Hrabe, with a link to its original url.)

Democrat committees funneled special interest money to O.C. candidate

Special interest groups circumvented state campaign finance laws by using Democrat Party committees to funnel more than a quarter-million dollars to a crucial Orange County assembly candidate, an investigation has found.

In a span of 18 days, late in the campaign, six Democratic county central committees contributed $292,200 to the Assembly campaign of Sharon Quirk-Silva, who defeated Assemblyman Chris Norby, R-Fullerton, by fewer than 5,400 votes. The hundreds of thousands of dollars in last-minute campaign funds secured Quirk-Silva’s election and helped Democrats gain their first super-majority in both houses of the state legislature since 1883.

Irony Alert: Quirk-Silva accused Norby of supporting special interests.

The county party committees made the contributions to Quirk-Silva’s campaign within days and, in some cases, within hours of accepting contributions from the state’s most powerful special interest groups, including labor unions, corporations and a Los Angeles development group.

The Quirk-Silva campaign denies any wrongdoing or coordination of campaign finances between special interest groups and county party committees.

“The Sharon Quirk-Silva for Assembly campaign never requested more than the legal limit from any donor,” said Jason Mills, Quirk-Silva’s campaign manager. “The campaign had no discussions with any of the outside groups listed seeking to arrange contributions larger than what is required under California state law.”

State Campaign Finance Law Allows Parties to Serve as Cash Conduits

Individuals and businesses are limited each election to a maximum contribution of $3,900 per candidate. However, political party committees can accept substantially more than state candidates — $32,500 per election. Political parties can also transfer unlimited funds to state candidates. This system of campaign finance regulations allows parties to function as the middleman for interest groups seeking to support state campaigns.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission, which is responsible for enforcing the California Political Reform Act, has described this strategy as “money laundering” in a similar case involving two Republican legislators. In October, the FPPC alleged that Tom and Bill Berryhill circumvented state campaign finance rules by transferring funds through two Republican central committees during the 2008 campaign.

An FPPC spokeswoman said that the agency “cannot comment on a specific situation,” but confirmed no complaints have been received in the Quirk-Silva case.

Quirk-Silva’s victory has been called the “key to achieving the coveted supermajority” for state Democrats. When asked by the Voice of OC about the significance of Quirk-Silva’s upset, Assembly Democratic spokesman Steven Maviglio said, “This was the prize that made it happen.”

Given the state’s strict campaign finance limits, how could Democrats funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to a candidate in the final weeks of the campaign?

Same-Day, Same-Dollar Contributions to Central Committees

Campaign finance records show a pattern of large campaign contributions from special interest groups to party committees that were quickly transferred to Quirk-Silva.

On November 2, healthcare giant Blue Shield of California sent $25,000 to the Del Norte County Democratic Central Committee. The very same day, the party transferred the same amount, $25,000, to Quirk-Silva’s campaign.

On October 17, the Del Norte committee also accepted a $25,000 check from PACE of CA School Employees Association, a labor union that represents 215,000 bus drivers, janitors and other school employees. On October 19, the Del Norte Democratic Party sent $10,000 to Quirk-Silva’s campaign.

Could there have been coordination between the school employees’ union and Blue Shield to send $50,000 to the same Democratic central committee?

Del Norte Contribution: Blue Shield, School Employees Shared Lobbyist

In September, the Los Angeles Times reported that both the school employees association and Blue Shield share the same influential Sacramento lobbyist, Dave Low. At the time, health advocates questioned whether Low’s dual role posed a conflict of interest.

“The question is, does Blue Shield have access to insider information through these unions?” Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research told the Times. “It doesn’t look right.”

According to state campaign finance records, the Del Norte County Democratic Central Committee had accepted $204,524 in campaign contributions from January 1 to October 20. Based on this figure, the combined Blue Shield and school employees’ contributions represented a quarter of the committee’s total annual receipts. Yet, 70 percent of the funds were immediately transferred to a candidate more than 750 miles away.

Neither Low nor the Del Norte County Democratic Central Committee responded to email requests for comment.

Same-Day, Same-Dollar Donation from Disney to Democrats

In addition to the Del Norte County Democratic Central Committee, another county party processed same-day, same-dollar contributions. On October 19, the same day that Del Norte Democrats sent funds to Quirk-Silva, Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. contributed $10,000 to the Democratic Party of Orange County. The very same day, the party contributed the exact same amount, $10,000, to Quirk Silva’s campaign. The state’s campaign finance laws would have precluded Disney from making a five-figure contribution directly to Quirk-Silva.

Representatives for Disney and the OC Democratic Party deny that there was any coordination of campaign contributions for Quirk-Silva’s benefit.

“There was in no way any coordination regarding this contribution and to my knowledge Disney did not support or endorse Sharon Quirk-Silva’s race for Assembly,” said Nick Anas, executive director of the Democratic Party of Orange County. “Disney Worldwide Services was a platinum sponsor for the 2012 Annual Truman Awards Dinner on Monday, September 17th, in which they agreed to a Platinum sponsorship of $10,000, which is detailed in our program book.”

A Disney spokeswoman corroborated the OC Democratic Party’s version of events— that the funds were for an event more than a month earlier. Anas added that the county party also contributed $10,000 on October 19 to the Yes on Measure BB campaign in Irvine, which passed and allowed city funds to go toward schools. And Anas said that on the same day the party also kicked in $10,000 to the campaign opposing Measure V in Costa Mesa. Measure V would have made the city a Charter City, allowing more leeway in limiting union power. Measure V lost. However, he confirmed, “No funds were earmarked.”

A.E.G. Had Financial Incentive to Defeat Libertarian Norby

More campaign finance irregularities can be found with a Los Angeles development group’s contributions to two Democrat central committees.

Anschutz Entertainment Group Inc., the Los Angeles-based sports and entertainment mogul that owns the Staples Center, contributed $25,000 to the Los Angeles County Democratic Party on October 18. Four days later, on October 22, the Los Angeles party sent a check for the same amount, $25,000, to Quirk-Silva’s campaign.

A.E.G. wasn’t limited to one county party committee contribution. On October 19, the day after it sent $25,000 to the L.A. County Democrat Party, the party sent the same amount, $25,000, to the Kern County Democratic Central Committee. On the same day, the Kern County party committee sent $15,000 to Quirk-Silva in Orange County.

“There was no coordination,” claimed Candi Easter, the chair of the Kern County Democratic Central Committee. “We did not even know of the AEG contribution until after we had approved the donation to the Quirk-Silva Committee.”

Why would a Los Angeles-based company contribute thousands of dollars to party committees in the Central Valley and Los Angeles, which would in turn benefit an Orange County candidate? The answer may be found with redevelopment reform.

Norby, Quirk-Silva’s libertarian-minded opponent, has been a vocal critic of redevelopment agencies, which commonly benefit wealthy development companies at the expense of taxpayers and small businesses. In 2011, Norby was one of only a handful of state legislators to oppose SB 292, which was hurried through in the final days of the legislative year. The legislation created a special process for reviewing environmental challenges to a privately financed Los Angeles stadium, a project that would financially benefit the Anschutz Entertainment Group.

Los Angeles County Democratic Party: A Reliable Campaign Conduit

The Los Angeles County Democrat Party proved to be a reliable conduit for special interest contributions. Within days of accepting $137,250 in campaign contributions from seven special interest groups, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party distributed $127,200, or 93 percent of these received contributions, to Quirk-Silva’s campaign.

On October 10, the L.A. County Probation Officers Union, AFSCME Local 685, contributed $10,000 to the Los Angeles County Democratic Party. One week later, the Los Angeles County central committee contributed $11,700 to Quirk-Silva’s campaign in Orange County.

On October 17, Aecom Technology Corporation, a Los Angeles-based technical support services firm that specializes in environmental services, contributed $10,000 to the Los Angeles County Democratic Party. The day prior, the party contributed the same amount, $10,000, to Quirk-Silva’s campaign.

On October 24, the California Association of Highway Patrolmen contributed $25,000 to the Los Angeles County Democrat Party. Five days later, on October 29, the party delivered $10,500 in campaign funds to Quirk-Silva.

On October 26, the CDF Firefighters, which represents the state’s 4,000 members of the state’s firefighter union, contributed $25,000 to the Los Angeles County Democrat Party. Three days later, on October 29, the party contributed $30,000 to Quirk-Silva’s campaign.

On October 31, the L.A. County Firefighters Local 1014 gave $25,000 to the LA County party, a contribution that was followed two days later by a $17,250 contribution from the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters. On November 2, the Los Angeles Democratic Party sent a $40,000 check to Quirk-Silva’s campaign.

The incoming contribution from the carpenters’ union was filed on the same disclosure report as the outgoing funds to Quirk-Silva’s campaign. And 95 percent of the combined contributions from the firefighters and carpenters unions made their way to Quirk-Silva’s campaign via the Los Angeles Democratic Party committee.

State Candidates Funded Party Committees

In addition to financial transfers by special interest groups, state candidates provided cash infusions to both Quirk-Silva and Norby via party committees. In one instance, campaign funds were sent from one Orange County legislative candidate to Marin County and then back to a different Orange County candidate, all within seven days.

According to state campaign finance records, the Norby campaign accepted a $50,000 contribution from the California Republican Party on the same day that the party accepted a $50,000 contribution from state Senator Bill Emmerson’s campaign committee.

This mailer accused Norby of supporting big business.

That contribution mirrors a legislative transfer to the Quirk-Silva campaign.

On October 24, Orange County Assembly candidate Tom Daly contributed $32,500 to the Democratic Central Committee of Marin County. On October 26, the party funneled $15,000 back to Orange County for Quirk-Silva’s campaign.

The Quirk-Silva campaign believes that the transaction by the California Republican Party proves there were no financial irregularities in the race.

“It can’t be a ‘finance irregularity’ as you allege, if our opponent was receiving similar contributions,” Mills said.

Both the Daly and Emmerson contributions, unlike the other party central committee transfers, were not preceded by five-figure contributions from special interest groups. State law precludes legislative candidates from accepting such contributions.

However, another Marin County Democratic Party contribution raises questions.

The same day that O.C.’s Daly sent funds to Marin County Democrats, the United Domestic Workers of America, which is based more than 500 miles away in San Diego, sent a $25,000 contribution to the same committee. Once again, the Marin County party held the funds for less than a week before sending it back to Southern California. On October 31, the Marin County party sent $30,000 to Quirk-Silva.

Ironically, all of this special interest money helped fund negative attacks on Norby. The charge: Norby has “special interest donors.”

(Note: This article may be republished, provided it is attributed to the author, John Hrabe, with a link to its original url.)

Posted in 65th Assembly District, Democrat Central Committee, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Assemblyman Norby’s “Farewell” Newsletter “Norby Notes”

Posted by Allen Wilson on November 28, 2012

Assemblyman Chris Norby (R-Fullerton, District 72) penned his last and final “Norby Notes” to his constituents in the North Orange County Assembly District:

“Thank You, 72

My representation of the 72nd District in the California State Assembly will soon end. After this Friday, further communication to me should be by telephone: 714-990-2064, or personal email: pocalver@yahoo.com.

My old 72nd District included all of Fullerton, Brea and Placentia, along with parts of Anaheim, La Habra, Orange and Yorba Linda, to which I was first elected in a special election in 2009 and re-elected in 2010.

Redistricting made my re-election more difficult, and I was overwhelmed by a tidal wave of money and negative mail that narrowly ended my bid to continue to serve. What I missed most in the recent campaign was the exchange of ideas, the give-and-take of public forums, rather than just the hit mail from special interest PACs.  So be it. Life goes on. Some doors close-others open.

My three-year stint in Sacramento followed 18 years on the Fullerton City Council and 7 years as Orange County Supervisor. I thank you all for the opportunity to serve and represent you, whether at the municipal, county or state level.

Throughout my political career, fortune and circumstance have blessed me-until this year. It was especially fortuitous to have been in the Assembly when California’s redevelopment agencies were shut down. Following my initial 1995 publication of “Redevelopment: The Unknown Government” (now in its ninth and final edition), I’ve been part of a statewide coalition opposed to the eminent domain abuses, corporate welfare, crony capitalism, land use distortions and public waste that the agencies had become.

As a Fullerton City Councilmember, I warned my regional colleagues that the sales tax shell game of outbidding each other for big-box retail and auto malls was not sustainable.  As an Orange County Supervisor, I met with Gov. Schwarzenegger and told him personally to look to the agencies to meet the state’s obligation to education-which he did.  When Gov. Brown convinced his reluctant fellow Democrats that redevelopment’s annual $7 billion property tax diversion was unsustainable, I enthusiastically joined them, and provided enough other Republicans to get the two-thirds vote needed.  With over $100 billion in debt still to pay off, it will be years before all the revenue can be restored to our schools, counties, special districts and municipal general funds. But being part of this decisive phase of the process has been the capstone of my political career.

That’s what made the mountain of campaign money spent against me by the public employee unions disheartening, as I’d spent my political career trying to restore redevelopment funds to public services, schools and public safety.

Other issues in which I felt I made a difference included ELL education programs and marijuana policy.

Among my own children, I could see that the whole $1.5 billion annual English Language Learner program (previously known as English as a Second Language) has become a giant trap for students and parents, costly in public dollars and wasted student time. Designated as “limited English” while entering kindergarten, these kids (70% of whom are US-born) lose valuable class time with costly testing and tedious remedial help most do not need. Many students never escape the program, a fact my colleague Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) and I heard confirmed during our recent ELL Hearing in Santa Ana. Our office research, hearings and reform legislation has helped place this arcane program into the limelight of future legislative scrutiny.

As for marijuana, I was happy to provide bipartisan support to legalize the growing of industrial hemp, and for more rational laws in dealing with its recreational use. The War on Drugs has become a war on people-especially poor people. It costs billions in incarceration and in broken lives of those whose only crime was ingesting a substance into their own bodies. Is this a criminal issue or health issue? Consensual, non-violent adult activity should not be subject to our costly criminal justice system or militarize our relations with other countries.

Republican leaders love to blast the over-intrusive “nanny state,” yet for cultural reasons most shy away from advocating common sense drug laws. Some have not shied away: influential columnists William F. Buckley and George Will, Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), Rep. and Sen.-elect Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), and former Secretary of State George Shultz. Where are the Democrats? The current presidential administration has raided more medical marijuana dispensaries than its Republican predecessor.

Immigration is not a state issue and the state legislature has no power to change federal policies. However, the emotional issue of immigration lies just beneath the surface of many legislative debates. My attitude has always been an inclusive one. Our state is far better off when people-whatever their status-are studying, driving and working legally rather than living in the shadows. I’m hopeful a new consensus will emerge from Congress to provide the changes we need.

I have tried to judge every law, every program, every expenditure not through their intentions, but their unexpected consequences. We need fewer laws-not more. Government must do a few things-public safety and services-and do them well.

So, thank you, 72, for the opportunity to serve you; a rare opportunity when the state’s ongoing financial crisis has forced the discussion of long-overdue changes.

The dual-life of spending half my time in Sacramento took away from my time with my wife and the four kids still at home-especially my little Johnny, now 18 months old. Now I have returned, a full-time dad.

Old doors close. New ones open, if we have only the wisdom and patience to see them. I am open to new doors, and welcome old friends who may know of any.

I thank, too, my loyal staff: District Director Bruce Whitaker, just re-elected as the top vote getter among twelve Fullerton City Council candidates; Jackie Filbeck, Chris Nguyen and Connor Duckworth for their outstanding work in the district office and community outreach; and I thank my Capitol staff, including Chief of Staff Bryan Lanza and Nikos Leverenz. They will all be valuable assets wherever they land.

We all gave it our best.”

You were a voice of reason who held your convictions and principles.

You didn’t belittle your colleagues on the Assembly floor.

Be proud of your accomplishments of the last three short years that many career politicians tried to do in 30 years.

Assemblyman Norby, Thank you for your years of public service.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Government Powers Overreached?

Posted by Allen Wilson on November 25, 2012

Tonight, I went to the Vons store in La Verne, which is located in eastern Los Angeles County, which I was encountered a signage affixed to the store’s window “Notice of Overcharge Conviction” from the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures:

“Inspectors with the Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures Department conducted a price accuracy inspection on May 1, 2012.  The store charged more than its lowest posted/advertised price on ONE item.  The overcharge amounted to $5.40.

As a result of that inspection, the store was found to be violation of Business and Professions Code section 12024.2 (a).  Vons #2832 was fined a total of $2,190.00.  It was further ordered to pay $550.00 in investigation costs.  Hearing was held in Pomona Superior Courthouse, Case #2PK03190 before Judge Geanene M. Yriate in Division 002.”

Then, it prompted me to read what the Business and Professions Code says on this issue:

12024.2.  (a) It is unlawful for any person, at the time of sale of
a commodity, to do any of the following:
   (1) Charge an amount greater than the price, or to compute an
amount greater than a true extension of a price per unit, that is
then advertised, posted, marked, displayed, or quoted for that
   (2) Charge an amount greater than the lowest price posted on the
commodity itself or on a shelf tag that corresponds to the commodity,
notwithstanding any limitation of the time period for which the
posted price is in effect.

On the surface, the fine of $2,740 imposed on Vons seems pretty harsh over $5.40 for ONE ITEM, which begs the question:  Is government powers overreached?

It will be argued that government powers have reached its zenith, because retailers like, Vons, makes every attempt to ensure the prices on the shelf will reflect when it rings up at the cash register.

The Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures Department have the ability to impose administrative fines rather than tying up the court docket on a $5.40 overcharged item.

Consumers should be protected from retailers ripoffs.

Retailers should have the ability to survive in a tough economy that provides jobs and tax base for local economies.

Let’s hope that government bureaucrats will not become overzealous with their powers and such regulations should be reviewed and checked by the state legislature.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Half are Republicans, Half are Democrats, and Other Random Stats on Orange County’s Directly-Elected Mayors

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 20, 2012

The New Republican Irvine City Council Majority:
Councilman Jeff Lalloway, Councilwoman-Elect Christina Shea, and Mayor-Elect Steven Choi

Partisan Breakdown

Since 2004, Republicans have held a 4-2 advantage among Orange County’s directly-elected mayors:

  • Anaheim: Tom Tait (since 2010), Curt Pringle (2002-2010)
  • Garden Grove: Bill Dalton (2004-2012)
  • Orange: Carolyn Cavecche (2006-2012), Mark Murphy (2000-2006)
  • Westminster: Margie Rice (Republican 2004-2012; Democrat 2000-2004)

The two Democrats were:

  • Irvine: Sukhee Kang (2008-2012), Beth Krom (2004-2008)
  • Santa Ana: Miguel Pulido (since 1994)

Anaheim’s Tait has Orange County’s only four-year mayoral seat, so he was not up for election this year. Major changes were in store with three mayors termed out (Garden Grove’s Dalton, Irvine’s Kang, and Orange’s Cavecche) and one mayor voluntarily retiring (Westminster’s Rice), leaving only Santa Ana’s Pulido seeking re-election this year.

While Steven Choi captured the Irvine mayoral seat for the Republicans, Bruce Broadwater of Garden Grove and Tita Smith of Orange captured their respective mayor’s posts for the Democrats.

The Republicans are:

  • Anaheim: Tom Tait (term limit: 2018)
  • Irvine: Steven Choi (term limit: 2016)
  • Westminster: Tri Ta (no term limit)

The Democrats are:

  • Garden Grove: Bruce Broadwater (term limit: 2020)
  • Orange: Tita Smith (term limit: 2018)
  • Santa Ana: Miguel Pulido (term limit: 2020)

It could be worse though, like the 2000-2002 line-up of directly-elected mayors, which had Orange’s Mark Murphy as the sole Republican:

  • Anaheim: Tom Daly (1992-2002)
  • Garden Grove: Bruce Broadwater (1994-2004)
  • Irvine: Larry Agran (2000-2004)
  • Orange: Mark Murphy (2000-2006)
  • Santa Ana: Miguel Pulido (since 1994)
  • Westminster: Margie Rice (2000-2004 as a Democrat; 2004-2012 as a Republican)

2012 Demographics

An odd sidenote about 2012: in an election that saw Asian Americans vote 3-1 for Barack Obama, Orange County’s Asian American directly-elected mayors went from consisting of one Democrat (Kang) to consisting of two Republicans (Choi and Ta).

While Cavecche was replaced by Smith in Orange, women lost ground as Rice was replaced by Ta in Westminster.

Term Limits

Anaheim, Garden Grove, and Santa Ana have eight-year term limits (two four-year terms in Anaheim and four two-year terms in Garden Grove and Santa Ana).  Orange has a six-year term limit (three two-year terms).  Irvine has a four-year term limit (two two-year terms).  Westminster has no term limits (two-year terms).

Santa Ana’s mayoral term limit is the newest, having been adopted this month.  Irvine’s mayoral term limit is the oldest, taking effect in 1991.

Anaheim has the toughest term limit on Councilmembers who want to be Mayor.  A first-term Councilmember running for Mayor may only serve one mayoral term.  A second-term Councilmember may not run for Mayor.

Excluding Westminster’s non-limit, Garden Grove and Irvine have the most generous term limit for Councilmembers who want to be Mayor.  In both of those cities, when Councilmembers term out, they can run for Mayor, and when they term out as Mayor, they can run for Council, in a never-ending merry-go-round.


After the 2012 election, the mayoral median age is 60.5 with a mean age is 59.3:

  • Garden Grove: Bruce Broadwater (74)
  • Irvine: Steven Choi (68)
  • Orange: Tita Smith (65)
  • Santa Ana: Miguel Pulido (56)
  • Anaheim: Tom Tait (54)
  • Westminster: Tri Ta (39)

Before the 2012 election, the mayoral median age was 58 with a mean age of 62.3:

  • Westminster: Margie Rice (83)
  • Garden Grove: Bill Dalton (69)
  • Irvine: Sukhee Kang (60)
  • Santa Ana: Miguel Pulido (56)
  • Anaheim: Tom Tait (54)
  • Orange: Carolyn Cavecche (52)

The biggest age change was in Westminster, where Margie Rice was replaced by Tri Ta, who is 44 years younger than her.  The smallest age change (excluding Tait and Pulido, for obvious reasons) was in Garden Grove, where Bill Dalton was replaced by Bruce Broadwater, who is 5 years older than him.

While Westminster had a dramatic age decrease for mayor, Garden Grove, Irvine, and Orange all had age increases for mayor.

The Democrat median and mean ages both increased from 58 to 65.

The Republican median age decreased from 61.5 to 54 while the Republican mean age decreased from 64.5 to 53.7.

Posted in Anaheim, Garden Grove, Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Westminster | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

2012 School Board Party Affiliation Post

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on November 16, 2012

As promised, I have now put together a database for the School Board members and their party affiliation based on who will be serving post election. Based on results in a couple of races being close, this list may change before it goes up on the website permanently.

If anybody reading this finds an error (like the situation where I thought Wendy Leece ran unopposed for NMUSD) please let me know so I can fix it.

Here is the database: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Anaheim City School District, Anaheim Union High School District, Brea Olinda Unified School District, Buena Park School District, Capistrano Unified School District, Centralia School District, Coast Community College District, Cypress School District, Fountain Valley School District, Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Fullerton School District, Garden Grove Unified School District, Huntington Beach City School District, Huntington Beach Union High School District, Irvine Unified School District, La Habra City School District, Laguna Beach Unified School District, Los Alamitos Unified School District, Lowell Joint School District, Magnolia School District, Newport-Mesa Unified School District, North Orange County Community College District, Ocean View School District, Orange County Board of Education, Orange Unified School District, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, Rancho Santiago Community College District, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Santa Ana Unified School District, Savanna School District, Tustin Unified School District, Westminster School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

OC’s Closest Races: Still Too Close to Call

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 15, 2012

There are seven races in Orange County where less than 0.5% separates two candidates for the last spot in office. Countywide, there are 73,719 ballots remaining to be counted (9,371 absentee ballots, 64,217 provisional ballots, and 131 Election Day paper ballots).  In all seven of these races, fewer than 500 votes separate the last winner and the first runner-up.  These range from the 442-vote margin for the Santa Ana Unified School Board to the 4-vote margin (yes, just four votes) for Fullerton City Council.

In the Santa Ana Unified School Board race, incumbent Jose Alfredo Hernandez (D) is hanging on to a 442-vote (0.5%) lead over challenger Valerie Amezcua (D).  In an unusual situation for Santa Ana, two Democrats are fighting for the third place spot and the board’s last seat while Republicans occupy the top two slots, with challenger Ceci Iglesias ahead of incumbent Rob Richardson.

Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 89 of 89
Vote Count Percentage
ROB RICHARDSON 17,465 21.2%
VALERIE AMEZCUA 14,198 17.3%
MYRIAM TINAJERO 12,836 15.6%
ROBERT ALLEN 5,330 6.5%


In the Mission Viejo City Council race, Councilwoman Cathy Schlicht (R) is clinging on to a 270-vote (0.4%) lead over challenger Wendy Bucknum (R).  Bucknum ran on a slate with Councilman Frank Ury (R) while Schlict ran on a slate with Ed Sachs (R).  If Schlicht hangs on, the voters will have split the baby by picking the incumbent from each slate leaving the status quo in place with a Council majority of Trish Kelley (R), Dave Leckness (R), and Ury versus a Council minority of Rhonda Reardon (R) and Schlicht.  If Bucknum overtakes Schlicht, then the Council majority will grow to 4 members.

CITY OF MISSION VIEJO Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 71 of 71
Vote Count Percentage
FRANK URY 18,051 27.4%
CATHY SCHLICHT 15,247 23.1%
WENDY BUCKNUM 14,977 22.7%
ED SACHS 9,642 14.6%
DESI J. KISS 3,532 5.4%


In the Westminster City Council race, challenger Diana Carey (D) has seen her lead over incumbent Councilman Tyler Diep (R) dwindle to 200 votes (0.4%).  In 2008, Diep was behind Penny Loomer (D) by 1,500 votes on Election Night and ended up winning the election by edging out Loomer by 49 votes.  On Election Night 2012, Diep was behind Carey by 709 votes.  Can Diep pull off the late surge again?

CITY OF WESTMINSTER Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 57 of 57
Vote Count Percentage
DIANA CAREY 8,471 19.8%
TYLER DIEP 8,271 19.4%
KHAI DAO 2,477 5.8%
AL P. KRIPPNER 2,372 5.6%


In the Huntington Beach City Council race, former Councilman Dave Sullivan (R) wields a 264-vote (0.1%) lead over Barbara Delgleize (R).  Regardless of whether Sullivan or Delgleize wins, the conservative majority has already been reduced to a minority with the election of Jill Hardy (D) and Jim Katapodis (R).

Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 158 of 158
Vote Count Percentage
JILL HARDY 26,161 14.1%
JIM KATAPODIS 23,875 12.9%
DAVE SULLIVAN 23,470 12.6%
DEVIN DWYER 18,609 10.0%
ERIK PETERSON 17,203 9.3%
TIM RYAN 13,616 7.3%
BRUCE J. BRANDT 6,600 3.6%
BOB WENTZEL 3,456 1.9%


In the Costa Mesa City Council race, Councilman Gary Monahan (R) has a 131-vote (0.1%) lead over challenger John Stephens (D).  At stake is the conservative Council majority, with Jim Righeimer (R), Steve Mensinger (R), and Monahan.  If Monahan holds on, the 4-1 Council majority will shrink to 3-2, as former Councilwoman Sandy Genis (R) captured the seat of termed-out conservative Councilman Eric Bever (R).  If Stephens overtakes Monahan, the conservative Council majority will become the minority.

CITY OF COSTA MESA Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 71 of 71
Vote Count Percentage
SANDRA L. “SANDY” GENIS 15,732 17.9%
STEVE MENSINGER 13,998 15.9%
GARY MONAHAN 13,743 15.6%
JOHN STEPHENS 13,612 15.5%
COLIN MCCARTHY 13,254 15.1%
AL MELONE 3,591 4.1%
JAMES RADER 2,411 2.7%


In the Yorba Linda City Council race, challenger Gene Hernandez (R) has a 114-vote (0.1%) lead over incumbent Councilwoman Nancy Rikel (R).  At stake is the Council majority.  If Rikel can overtake Hernandez, the YLRRR majority of Mark Schwing (R), John Anderson (R), and Rikel will maintain control of the Council.  If Hernandez hangs on, the majority of Tom Lindsey (R), Craig Young (R), and Hernandez would push YLRRR into the minority, with Schwing and Anderson.

CITY OF YORBA LINDA Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 47 of 47
Vote Count Percentage
MARK SCHWING 14,709 18.8%
CRAIG YOUNG 14,156 18.1%
NANCY RIKEL 13,132 16.8%
TODD P. COOPER 7,211 9.2%


In the Fullerton City Council race, former Councilwoman Jan Flory (D) has a 4-vote lead over incumbent Councilman Travis Kiger (R). If Flory wins, the Fullerton City Council will have two liberal Democrats (Doug Chaffee and Flory), two libertarian-leaning conservative Republicans (Bruce Whitaker and Greg Sebourn), and one more traditional conservative Republican (Jennifer Fitzgerald).  If Kiger can overtake Flory’s 4-vote lead, he would cement the results of the June recall and maintain Orange County’s most libertarian council.

CITY OF FULLERTON Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 3
Completed Precincts: 88 of 88
Vote Count Percentage
BRUCE WHITAKER 15,269 13.9%
JAN M. FLORY 12,670 11.6%
TRAVIS KIGER 12,666 11.6%
RICK ALVAREZ 11,200 10.2%
JANE RANDS 8,769 8.0%
DON BANKHEAD 7,229 6.6%
MATTHEW HAKIM 4,149 3.8%
ROBERTA REID 1,778 1.6%


Posted in Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, Santa Ana Unified School District, Westminster, Yorba Linda | 1 Comment »

Norby Concedes Assembly Seat, Democrats Presumptively to get 2/3rds Majority

Posted by Scott Carpenter on November 14, 2012

With the OC Registrar of Voters releasing the latest election results today Assemblyman Chris Norby again lost ground and now trails challenger Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva by about 3,000 votes.  Upon news breaking Assemblyman Norby conceded the race in a statement to the Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Report.

This news is sad for me personally as I have several friends on Assemblyman Norby’s staff, including OC Political editor Chris Nguyen.  I also think it is a loss for North Orange County and California as a whole because Assemblyman Norby served both well in the Legislature.  Assemblyman Norby and his staff were always attentive to district needs and focused on real solutions for California.  However, redistricting and a popular Mayor in the district created the perfect storm for Democrats to score an upset and seize control of the vital 2/3rds majority.

Though they won 2/3rds, they won’t be able to govern with that majority quite yet as John Hrabe details in the FlashReport,  two Democratic legislators won congressional seats causing them to vacate their current seats.  Of course it is very likely that those two newly vacant seats will be filled by Democrats upon a special election.

What is bizarre however is that the California legislature routinely receives extremely low approval ratings and cannot figure out a way to balance the state budget responsibly, yet the electorate refuses to change course of who they send to Sacramento.  Now that the Democrats have the power to completely set the agenda and tax levels for California they have no one to blame but themselves for the state’s continued mismanagement.  There is a saying in politics, and life in general at times, that things must get worse before it gets better.  We may be facing that scenario with the Republican Party and governance in California after the results of last Tuesday.

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments »

2012 City Council Party Affiliation Post

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on November 14, 2012

Chris Nguyen did a great job putting together a local database of all party affiliations for candidates running for local office. I thought that I would take the time to expand on his post and show a database of all Orange County Councilmembers (Also OC Board of Supervisors) that will be serving on City Councils starting next month and what party they are affiliated with.

Please note that a couple of races could potentially change based on a close finish and not all votes being counted. This post will be added to our website in a permanent tab that we will be creating at the top of the site.

Here is the database: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 2nd Supervisorial District, 3rd Supervisorial District, 4th Supervisorial District, 5th Supervisorial District, Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Orange County Board of Supervisors, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, Yorba Linda | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Investigator Tied To Union Law Firm Admits To Trying To Set Up Costa Mesa Council Member Gary Monahan In Sexual Sting (Updated)

Posted by Greg Woodard on November 13, 2012

While many of us conservatives are still licking our wounds from Tuesday, we get more information about the vile attacks those on the left will resort to in an effort to further tighten their grip on our wallets, our government, and our future.  Case in point – Frank Mickadeit reported last week in the Orange County Register about the thuggish tactics that the opposition in Costa Mesa to the City Council majority (now consisting of Jim Righeimer, Gary Monahan, and Steve Mensinger) will use.  Many of you will remember the harrowing story a couple of months ago where Righeimer was tailed home from Skosh Monahan’s by Chris Lanzillo, an investigator who worked for a law firm that represented the Costa Mesa police union, as well as many other public employee unions in the state.  Lanzillo appears to have made a false police report claiming that Righeimer stumbled out of Skosh Monahan’s and was driving erratically on his way home.  The police took the unprecedented step of going to Righeimer’s home and conducting a sobriety test.  Righeimer passed with flying colors, since all he had at Skosh’s was a diet coke (he had the receipt to prove it).  However, the damage was done as Righeimer’s young daughters had to watch in horror, wondering if their dad was going to be arrested.

As if that were not bad enough, Righeimer was not even the investigator’s target.  As Mickadeit reports, Lanzillo was hired by someone (he wouldn’t say who) to try to catch Gary Monahan, Skosh’s owner, in a compromising position with a woman who had been sent to entrap Monahan, who is married.  The woman appeared to be in her 30s, she wore a low-cut top, and she was flirting with Monahan.  Nothing came of the event, but Lanzillo got his “bonus” when Righeimer showed up.

Lanzillo also admitted that he was hired to dig up dirt on Mensinger and Colin McCarthy, who ran with Mensinger and Monahan but fell short of his City Council bid.  McCarthy responded to the article, saying “that these kind of dirty tricks keep good citizens from running from local office.  It definitely  has a chilling effect on our democratic process.  I hope the DA prosecutes this guy.”

The District Attorney is investigating the event, and hopefully the shameless thugs who did this will be revealed and prosecuted.  While Lanzillo will not admit who hired him, anyone who does not think it will tie in somehow with the unions, well I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would love to sell you.


The plot thickens.  To answer Dan Chmielewski, a crime may have been committed by Lanzillo and others.  Tony Saavedra reported in the Orange County Register today that county prosecutors are investigating Lanzillo on a “conspiracy to file a false police report” with the possibility of more serious charges to come.  The investigation has expanded to include another private investigator who works for Lanzillo.  Both men had their houses searched and cell phones, computers, and other electronics were taken for analysis.  In addition, prosecutors have a search warrant for the cell phone records of police union lawyer Dieter Dammeier, who has employed both investigators in the past.

Saavedra also noted that there is a separate investigation in El Monte, where the former city manager filed a police report last year that said he was followed for days by a car similar to the one Lanzillo owns.  Lanzillo would not confirm or deny that he is the one who followed the city manager.

Stay tuned as this story does not seem to be going away any time soon.

Posted in Costa Mesa | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

How Well Did the OC Register’s Endorsements Go?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 13, 2012

This year marked the first time that The Orange County Register endorsed candidates for office.  While the paper has endorsed for or against ballot measures on a regular basis, this was the paper’s first foray into endorsing City Council candidates.

So here’s who they endorsed, and whether the candidate won or loss (I should note these numbers are subject to change pending further results from the Registrar of Voters, as there are several close races, including, but not limited to, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, Tustin, and Yorba Linda):

Aliso Viejo (1-2)
W: William “Bill” Phillips
L: Greg Ficke
L: Don Garcia

Anaheim (1-1)
W: Lucille Kring
L: John Leos

Brea (1-1)
W: Marty Simonoff
L: Steven Vargas

Buena Park (1-0)
W: Fred Smith

Costa Mesa (2-1)
W: Steve Mensinger
W: Gary Monahan
L: Colin McCarthy

Cypress (0-0)
No endorsement

Dana Point (1-1)
W: Carlos N. Olvera
L: Ed Stevenson

Fountain Valley (1-1)
W: Steve A. Nagel
L: Patrick Tucker

Fullerton (3-0)
W: Bruce Whitaker
W: Jennifer Fitzgerald
W: Travis Kiger

Garden Grove (0-0)
No endorsement

Huntington Beach (1-2)
W: Dave Sullivan
L: Erik Peterson
L: Barbara Delgleize

Irvine (2-1)
W: Steven S. Choi (Mayor)
W: Christina Shea
L: Lynn Schott

La Habra (0-0)

La Palma (1-2)
W: Peter Kim
L: Robert Carruth
L: Sylvia Colannino Smith

Laguna Beach (1-0)
W: Steve Dicterow

Laguna Hills (1-1)
W: Andrew Blount
L: Raghu P. Mathur

Laguna Niguel (2-1)
W: Jerry McCloskey
W: Laurie Davies
L: Brad Barber

Laguna Woods (3-0)
W: Cynthia S. Conners
W: Milton W. Robbins
W: Noel Hatch

Lake Forest (1-1)
W: Dwight Robinson
L: Jim Gardner

Los Alamitos (1-0)
W: Richard D. Murphy

Mission Viejo (1-1)
W: Frank Ury
L: Wendy Bucknum

Newport Beach (0-0)

Orange (1-2)
W: Tita Smith (Mayor)
L: Ray Grangoff
L: Richard Callahan

Placentia (3-0)
W: Jeremy Yamaguchi
W: Scott Nelson
W: Constance “Connie” Underhill

Rancho Santa Margarita (3-0)
W: Tony Beall
W: Carol Gamble
W: Brad McGirr

San Clemente (0-2)
L: Jim Dahl
L: Mike Mortenson

San Juan Capistrano (1-1)
W: Roy L. Byrnes
L: Kim McCarthy

Santa Ana (0-1)
L: Charles Hart

Seal Beach (0-0)

Stanton (2-0)
W: Carol Warren
W: Al Ethans

Tustin (2-1)
W: John Nielsen
W: Charles E. “Chuck” Puckett
L: Tracy Worley Hagen

Villa Park (0-0)

Westminster (0-3)
L: Ha Minch Mach (Mayor)
L: Charlie Nguyen Manh Chi
L: Helena Rutkowski

Yorba Linda (2-1)
W: Mark Schwing
W: Eugene J. “Gene” Hernandez
L: Nancy Rikel

The Register went 39-27 in Council races (2-1 in mayoral races if you count those separately from Council races), endorsing the winner 59% of the time.

On ballot measures, here’s what happened with The Register’s endorsements:

Ballot Measure OC Register OC Voters Statewide Voters
Proposition 30 No No Yes
Proposition 31 No No No
Proposition 32 Yes Yes No
Proposition 33 Yes Yes No
Proposition 34 No No No
Proposition 35 Yes Yes Yes
Proposition 36 Yes Yes Yes
Proposition 37 No No No
Proposition 38 No No No
Proposition 39 No Yes Yes
Proposition 40 Yes Yes Yes
Measure M (Coast Community College District – Needs 55% to Pass) No Yes
Measure N (Fountain Valley School District – Needs 55% to Pass) No No
Measure O (La Habra City School District – Needs 55% to Pass) No Yes
Measure P (Ocean View School District – Needs 55% to Pass) No No
Measure Q (Rancho Santiago Community College District – Needs 55% to Pass) No Yes
Measure S (Tustin Unified School District – Needs 55% to Pass) No Yes
Measure T (Brea) No Yes
Measure U (Brea) No No
Measure V (Costa Mesa) Yes No
Measure W (Fullerton) Yes No
Measure X (Fullerton) Yes Yes
Measure Y (Garden Grove) No Yes
Measure Z (Huntington Beach) Yes No
Measure AA (Huntington Beach) Yes Yes
Measure BB (Irvine) No Yes
Measure CC (Laguna Beach) No No
Measure DD (Los Alamitos) No Yes
Measure EE (Newport Beach) No Yes
Measure FF (Orange) Yes No
Measure GG (Santa Ana) No Yes
Measure HH (Tustin) Yes Yes

On statewide ballot measures, The Register went 10-1 (91%) with Orange County voters but 7-4 (64%) with California voters.

On local ballot measures, The Register went 7-14 (33%) with the voters.

I’ll still be number crunching over the next days and weeks, but despite what looks like a dismal endorsement record, it appears The Register was actually middle of the pack on their endorsement success rate in Orange County.

Posted in Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, California, Coast Community College District, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fountain Valley School District, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Habra City School District, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Ocean View School District, Orange, Orange County, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, Rancho Santiago Community College District, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Tustin Unified School District, Villa Park, Westminster, Yorba Linda | 3 Comments »

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