OC Political

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

Archive for March, 2013

County recorder’s office doesn’t need another politician

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on March 29, 2013

This was published in the Orange County Register yesterday in support of Hieu Nguyen for Clerk-Recorder…

County recorder’s office doesn’t need another politician

By Dale Dykema For The Register
I’ve been told that the Orange County Board for Supervisors has a tough staffing decision to make. They will be interviewing 11 candidates for the position of county clerk recorder and selecting one over the next few weeks.

If I were able to vote, it would be an easy decision.

My company deals with county recorders all over the country. We’ve been using county recorders for almost 50 years. We’ve seen good ones, and we’ve seen bad ones. Since we moved our business to Orange County in 1972, we’ve had two outstanding recorders and two who would have been fired from their jobs had they been in the private sector.

Gary Granville was one of the two outstanding ones. Gary was simply interested in providing the best possible service to the public and to the various real estate-related businesses that rely on the recorder. Those businesses cannot adequately serve their customers without an efficient recorder’s office.

Gary was also a leader in automating systems. He was at the forefront of electronic recording. He ran the office as if it was his own business and did things in the most cost-effective and efficient manner.

As you read this, you may wonder why I’m writing about someone who was the recorder a decade ago. Here’s the reason:

Gary’s chief deputy for over eight years was Hieu Nguyen. Hieu was Gary’s right hand when Gary was upgrading the recorder’s functions and installing new systems. Hieu continued to work for Gary’s successor until he was promoted to another position with the county.

Hieu is one of the candidates the supervisors will be interviewing. He is the most qualified candidate. He, like Gary Granville, is not a retired politician or someone who is interested in running for higher office.

Had Hieu been elected when he ran for the office in 2010, the recorder’s office would not have provided an income to the city council candidate who did practically nothing to earn that money.

He would not have purchased a completely unnecessary building with funds that legally could not be used for that purpose. That building sits unused today and will require millions for renovation before it can be used.

We don’t need another politician to run the recorder’s office.

We need a dedicated professional who will provide the best service to the citizens and businesses of Orange County.

That professional is Hieu Nguyen.

Dale Dykema is founder and chairman of T.D. Service Financial.

Posted in Orange County Board of Supervisors, Orange County Clerk-Recorder | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Board of Supervisors Can Do Better Than Hieu Nguyen as Clerk-Recorder

Posted by OC Insider on March 29, 2013

Long-time GOP donor Dale Dykema had an op-ed in yesterday’s Orange County Register asking the Board of Supervisors to appoint Hieu Nguyen (or is it Hugh Nguyen?) to the OC Clerk-Recorder vacancy.

Dykema doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to promoting county bureaucrats with political ambitions. His last pick was Carlos Bustamante.

Hieu Nguyen is a family man, not a serial adulterer. But Dykema has a blind spot. He writes that “We don’t need another politician to run the recorder’s office,” a slap at both former Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly and former Sen. Dick Ackerman, one of Nguyen’s competitors for the appointment. He’s wrong. Hieu Nguyen is a politician. He just hasn’t been able to get elected to anything.

The Clerk-Recorder’s office would operate fine under Hieu Nguyen, but the same can be said of all the candidates. If the Supervisors want a Clerk-Recorder who is squirrelly and evasive, whom they can never quite be sure is being candid with them, they should appoint Hieu Nguyen.

Nguyen ran for OC Clerk-Recorder in 2010 and tried using “Assistant Orange County Clerk” as his ballot title. Daly sued him and won. Nguyen’s real job title was “Assistant Clerk, Files Management/Administration Division.”

The judge ruled Nguyen was misleading voters: “‘Assistant Orange County Clerk’ is deceptive in that, in the context of the Clerk-Recorder election, it connotes second in command to the incumbent Daly and experience in the office.”

There was also a legal challenge to his using the Americanized “Hugh ” on the ballot, since that was not his legal name. The challenge was withdrawn because Nguyen said he was in the process of legally changing his name to “Hugh.” Three years later, he’s still going by Hieu, not Hugh.  The story keeps changing.

Nguyen states in his application for the C-R post that he has been Assistant Clerk for almost seven years, writing that he worked for the C-R’s office until “June 2006, when I was promoted to Assistant Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, which is my current position at the County of Orange.”

Nguyen said something different on his 2010 campaign website, writing he had that job only since 2008: “For the past two years, I have worked at Orange County in the position of Assistant County Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.” Which is it?

Nguyen used to promote himself as a fiscal conservative in the 2010 campaign by saying he voluntarily reduced his work hours to do his part in easing the county’s budget crunch. He was reducing his work hours, but not for the reasons he gave the public. The real reason is he was/is partners in a Lee’s Sandwiches franchise and was reducing his county work hours so he could work at his sandwich shop.

Hieu Nguyen working counter at his Lee's Sandwiches franchise.

Hieu Nguyen working counter at his Lee’s Sandwiches franchise on a Monday afternoon.

It’s not disturbing that Nguyen would take some time off to start a small business. That’s hard work. What’s disturbing was the phony cover story about reducing his hours to save the county money, instead of being candid. And if he could meet his county work duties on a less than full-time basis, how vital could his Assistant Clerk job be?

It’s an open secret that in the Hall of Administration, Hieu Nguyen is believed to be the author of the anonymous letter last summer claiming Daly was sexually harassing employees and that Renee Ramirez knew all about it and did nothing. The claims were debunked. Since the letter was sent to the Board after Daly won the Assembly primary, it was obvious the real target was Ramirez, and the purpose was to knock out a rival for the C-R appointment.

The Board of Supervisors have several qualified candidates to choose from. But if they are looking for something different, for a Clerk-Recorder who will give them straight answers, Hieu/Hugh Nguyen is not the person for the jo.

Posted in Orange County Clerk-Recorder | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Sanitation Fees Are Going UP!!!

Posted by OC Insider on March 29, 2013

The Orange County Sanitation District had a vote a couple of days ago that should anger all taxpayers over the huge rate increase that they have placed on the Orange County taxpayers. I was at the meeting and spoke about the increase and how it violated Proposition 218. The next day I made a records request from the Orange County Sanitation District and found out exactly how each voter cast their vote at the meeting so I could post it here. Just to further outrage Republicans I used the database that one of the Chrises created to show the party affiliation of each voter using colors.


Cities / Agencies Name
(YORBA LINDA) John Anderson
(LA HABRA) Tom Beamish
(SANTA ANA) David Benavides
(COSTA MESA SD) James Ferryman
(GARDEN GROVE) Steve Jones
(ANAHEIM) Lucille Kring
(SEAL BEACH) Michael Levitt
(BREA) Brett Murdock
(PLACENTIA) Constance Underhill*
(TUSTIN) John Nielsen
(VILLA PARK) Brad Reese
(STANTON) David Shawver
(BUENA PARK) Fred Smith
(ORANGE) Teresa Smith
(IRWD) John Withers


Cities / Agencies Name
(IRVINE) Steven Choi
(LA PALMA) Peter Kim
(CYPRESS) Prakash Narain
(BOARD OF SUP) Janet Nguyen
(FULLERTON) Greg Sebourn

Posted in Orange County Sanitation District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Councilman Gets Convicted In DUI Case

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on March 28, 2013

In the final story I will be running in the Peter Herzog saga he was convicted on Tuesday and although he did not end up receiving any jail time, this puts a major damper on any re-election chances that he may have had.

Lake Forest has recently had a trend of tossing out incumbents over the past two elections with Richard Dixon, and Marcia Rudolph both losing in re-election bids. Mark Tettemer who was the third Councilmember to leave over the past couple of elections chose to leave.

We will have to see what happens in the upcoming election and who jumps in.


Here is the press release from the office of the Orange County DA.


NEWPORT BEACH – A Lake Forest City Council member was convicted and sentenced for driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol content of .18 percent, more than twice the legal limit. Peter Alan Herzog, 57, Lake Forest, pleaded no contest on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, to one misdemeanor count of driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more. Herzog was sentenced to first time standard minimum DUI probations of three years of informal probation, fines, and required to participate in a 3-month first offender alcohol program.

At approximately 8:15 p.m. on Nov. 17, 2012, Herzog made a left turn from Portola Parkway onto Lake Forest Drive and drove on the wrong side of the road. Herzog drove over the center median to get back on to the westbound lanes. Herzog then made a wide left turn from Lake Forest Drive onto Regency Lane and hit the right side of the curb. Herzog crossed into the opposing lane of traffic and swerved back and forth across lanes until he arrived at his home.

Motorists reported the driving to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who investigated this case, and arrested Herzog at his home. Herzog displayed objective signs of intoxication including bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech, a strong odor of alcohol, and unsteady balance. At approximately 10:30 p.m., Herzog had a blood alcohol content of .18 percent.

Posted in Lake Forest | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

By the Numbers: Stats on the Partisan Affiliations of Local Elected Officials

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 28, 2013

In case you missed it, OC Political compiled this database of the partisan affiliations of every single local elected official in Orange County last week, updating our prior three databases herehere, and here, from October and November 2012.

Some readers had contacted us, expressing interest in us parsing this data on a more macro scale, so here we go.

The overwhelming majority of Orange County’s 509 local elected officials are Republicans, with 350 each, followed by 111 Democrats, 38 with no party preference, 3 from third parties, and 7 current vacancies (County Auditor-Controller, County Clerk-Recorder, County Public Administrator, three seats on the Capistrano Bay Community Services District, and one seat on the Surfside Colony Community Services District).  Republicans hold 69% of the seats while Democrats hold 22%.  (To move the needle up to 70% for Republicans or 23% for Democrats, the respective parties would need to gain 4 of the 7 vacancies.)



Looking at the County offices, it’s pretty one-sided.  In case you were wondering, the No Party Preference is County Assessor Webster Guillory.  Republicans hold all of the other non-vacant county posts, including all five seats on the County Board of Supervisors and all five seats on the County Board of Education:



Turning to the City Councils, there are 135 Republicans out of 176 City Council members, with 34 Democrats and 6 NPPs.  The Reform Party member is Gerri Graham-Mejia of Los Alamitos.  Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Santa Ana have seven-member councils while all other OC cities have five-member councils.



Inherently, all City Councils are multi-member entities, so let’s take a look at party majorities on the Councils.  Out of 34 City Councils:

  • 11 have only Republicans on them
  • 13 City Councils have Republican supermajorities (6 out of 7 for Newport Beach, and 4 out of 5 for the other 12)
  • 8 City Councils have a one-seat Republican majority (4 Republicans and 3 Democrats in Huntington Beach, with the other 7 being Councils with 3 out of 5 Republicans; it’s not all R/D, as Brea has 3 Republicans and 2 NPPs while La Habra has 3 Republicans, 1 Democrat, and 1 NPP); this includes the recently-recaptured Irvine City Council
  • Laguna Woods has three Democrats and two Republicans
  • Santa Ana has Orange County’s only City Council that is comprised entirely of Democrats



Five OC cities have elected city clerks (Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Orange, Placentia, and San Clemente).  Of these, Laguna Beach’s Lisette Chel-Walker and San Clemente’s Joanne Baade are the two Democrats while the other three (Huntington Beach’s Joan Flynn, Orange’s Mary Murphy, and Placentia’s Patrick Melia) are Republicans.



There are six elected City Treasurers, with 3 Republicans (Huntington Beach’s Alisa Cutchen, Orange’s Helen Walker, and Placentia’s Craig Green), 1 Democrat (Brea’s Glenn Parker), 1 NPP (Laguna Beach’s Laura Parisi), and 1 Libertarian (San Clemente’s Mark Taylor, OC’s only Libertarian elected official).

TreasurerChart TreasurerPie

I’m not creating a chart for Huntington Beach Republican Jennifer McGrath, Orange County’s only elected City Attorney.

Moving on to the Community College Districts, which clearly march to a different drum, they are the pride of the OC Democratic Party and the shame of the OC Republican Party.  Of the 26 community college board members, 15 are Democrats, 8 are Republicans, and 3 are NPPs.

CollegeBoardChart CollegeBoardPie

It’s much more stark when you look at party majorities:

  • South Orange County Community College District has five Republicans and two NPPs.
  • Rancho Santiago Community College District has five Democrats, one Republican, and one NPP.
  • North Orange County Community College District has six Democrats and one Republican.
  • Coast Community College District has the only five-member board, with four Democrats and one Republican.

CollegeMajChart CollegeMajPie

Moving on from the one type of office Democrats control (the community college boards), we head on to school boards. Out of 148 school board members, 92 are Republicans, with 40 Democrats, 15 NPPs, and 1 American Independent (John Ortiz from the Ocean View School District).

SchoolBoardChart SchoolBoardPie

By party majorities, the school boards are much more tenuous, as there are:

  • 3 unanimously Republican school boards (Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Fullerton [Elementary] School District, and Tustin Unified School District)
  • 7 Republican supermajorities (Newport-Mesa Unified has 6 Republicans on a 7-member board, Brea-Olinda Unified and Orange Unified each have 5 Republicans out of 7 school board members, while four other school districts have 4 Republicans out of 5 board members)
  • 10 boards wield a single-seat Republican majority (4 out of 7 in Capistrano Unified are registered Republicans [whether they vote like Republicans is a different story] while the other nine have 3 Republicans on 5-member boards; the minority are not always Democrats, they may be NPPs or AIP).
  • 6 boards wield an actual even split (each of these boards has exactly 2 Republicans, 2 Democrats, and 1 NPP)
  • 2 boards each have 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans (Cypress [Elementary] School District and Westminster [Elementary] School District)

SchoolMajChart SchoolMajPie

…and finally OC’s very special districts.  Of the 129 elected special district board members, 94 are Republicans, 19 are Democrats, 12 are NPPs, and 4 are actually vacancies.

SpecialDistChart SpecialDistPie

When you look at party control of the boards of each special district, the extent of Republican majorities is quite clear:

  • 7 special district boards have only Republican members
  • 6 special district boards have Republican supermajorities (6 out of 7 on the Orange County Water District and 4 out of 5 members on the other five boards)
  • 8 special district boards have one-seat Republican majorities (2 Republicans and 1 Democrat on the Surfside Colony Stormwater Protection District Board, 3 Republicans and 2 Democrats on the boards of the Rossmoor Community Services District and the El Toro Water District, 3 Republicans and 1 Democrat with 1 vacancy on the Surfside Colony Community Services District Board, and 4 other boards have 3 Republicans, 1 Democrat, and 1 NPP).
  • Democrats wield a one-seat majority on the Buena Park Library District Board, with 3 Democrats, 1 Republican, and 1 NPP
  • Under “other,” I’ve placed the Sunset Beach Sanitary District (2 Republicans, 2 NPPs, and 1 Democrat) and the Placentia Library District (2 Democrats, 2 NPPs, and 1 Republican)
  • Finally, there is the curious case of the Capistrano Bay Community Services District Board, which has 2 Republicans and 3 vacancies; does anyone know how these seats would be filled when the majority of the board seats are vacant?

SpecialMajChart SpecialMajPie

Posted in Democrat Central Committee, Orange County, Republican Central Committee | 3 Comments »

Irvine Fires City Attorney, Hires Interim & Other Tidbits

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on March 27, 2013

In what was a rather interesting meeting yesterday at Irvine City Hall the new Irvine majority City Council continues to make some changes on the administrative side of things. I am quite pleased with the direction that Irvine is heading and am impressed with the fact that the current Irvine City Council majority is trying to cut costs wherever possible. City_of_Irvine_Official_City_Seal_svg

Mayor Steven Choi, Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Lalloway, and Councilwoman Christina Shea have already  (as the OC Great Park Board) decided to eliminate a contract that was in place with Newport-based Forde & Mollrich. According to an article published in the Orange County Register:

Forde & Mollrich had been paid $100,000 a month until it was reduced to half that, or up to $600,000 a year. In the contract, the firm also was allowed to be called on for up to $300,000 worth of miscellaneous services a year, according to Lalloway’s memo.

At the recent March 21st City Council meeting the decision was made on a 3-2 vote to terminate the contract with City Attorney Rutan & Tucker. This would obviously create a vacancy that needs to be filled. This brings me to the meeting last night and at the meeting last night Irvine had a couple of interesting items on the agenda including item 2.1 which was in the agenda as follows:



1) Authorize the Mayor to execute the agreement attached to  the staff report with the law firm, Jones & Mayer, LLP to serve as  Interim City Attorney.

2) Direct the City Manager to prepare and distribute a  request for proposals for city attorney services so that the Mayor and City  Council may subsequently consider the resulting proposals when selecting a  law firm to provide permanent city attorney services.

3) Authorize the City Manager or his designee to compensate  Rutan & Tucker for work performed by the firm to complete existing work  assignments and enable the transition of assignments to be performed by the  successor attorney(s).

If for whatever reason you are a glutton for punishment and want to read the entire report on this item you can click here. The report is in all honesty pretty important to understand if you want to follow the issue closely.

The other item that I found interesting was expansion of the infamous iShuttle that travels throughout Irvine. This was item 5.1 on the agenda and read as follows:


City Council discussion and direction.

I recognize that this description is useless so I have also included the staff report on that item here as well.

The meeting was not on my radar to begin with until I read about it taking place on Facebook. After watching some highlights of the Council meeting on video this morning I was able to get to some of the highlights in order to give brief and somewhat incomplete synopsis of the actions taken last night and a couple of other observations. At the beginning of the meeting it was discussed that the interim law firm in place will be charging fees at a rate that matches that of the previous law firm with the exception of paralegal fees which will be decreased.

The actual vote on approving the new interim law firm was 4-1 which surprised since Agran voted with the majority to go this way, and as you may have guessed Krom was the lone dissenting vote on this. Jeff Lalloway made it very clear that this contract would be put out to bid, which is always good to hear in the name of transparency and open government.

For some reason which I did not catch Beth Krom left the meeting early and was not around for the end of the meeting discussion on the iShuttle expansion. After reading the staff report it was obvious that Agran was the one pushing this item. Agran initially made the motion to move the item and ironically without Krom he had nobody to second his motion. After watching this meeting it is clear that Councilman Larry Agran & Councilwoman Beth Krom do not like being in the minority, Agran did come around on item 2.1 though to appoint the interim city attorney.

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

New California Tax Policy – Retroactive Tax for Five Years WITH Interest

Posted by Cicero on March 26, 2013

Despite unanimous opposition from newspapers up and down the state, the Franchise Tax Board continues to stick by its decision to retroactively tax small businesses owners back five years for investing in California businesses. These are the people who are creating jobs and California is literally chasing them away.

One group of individuals is taking stand against the policy though – California Business Defense. The group will meet in San Diego next week and is specifically looking for more individuals who will be directly impacted by the policy. More information on the group and the status briefing in San Diego is available on the group’s website at www.cabusinessdefense.org.

Since 1993, small business owners and investors have been able to take advantage of a tax incentive that California actively promoted. The policy allowed stockholders who sold their share in a California business to reduce their tax liability by up to 50 percent or even 100 percent if the money from the sale was reinvested in a California business. The policy basically made it attractive for entrepreneurs to invest in small businesses and create jobs because it significantly reduced the tax liability for doing so.

Now though a court decided that this policy violated the commerce clause in the Constitution because it discriminates against out of state businesses. The FTB decided to embrace the court’s decision by retroactively taxing all the small business owners and investors who took advantage of the policy for the last five years. And not only that, but charge the tax WITH interest! The horrendous policy is expected to earn the state an easy $120 million.

But stop to think about what California is doing and the significance of what it means it could do in the future. These investors did exactly what they were asked to do by risking their own capital and investing in businesses in California. California promoted the tax break because it meant people were creating jobs and more people working. After receiving that benefit for two decades, California now wants to retroactively tax the very people that made the job growth possible. Some of those investments worked out and some of them did not but the FTB does not care and the tax will apply to all individuals even if they lost everything taking a risk to create jobs for California.

This policy has is so shocking that it has made national headlines on Fox News and Fortune, but the FTB stands by the decision. It has been likened to California changing the speed limit back down to 55 mph on highways, and then sending speeding tickets to everyone who drove over 55 for the last five years. That is exactly what is happening, and this decision by the FTB is the tipping point for many individuals, who can no longer justify the expense and risk of doing business in California. What message does it send to people considering starting a business if California can decide years down the road to penalize them for doing so?

Fortunately, Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo and Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance have stepped up in a bi-partisan effort to right the wrongs of the FTB. SB 209 would prohibit the state from charging interest and penalties in similar situations in the future.

At least one member of the FTB recognizes that this is a bad policy. In a letter to State Controller John Chiang, Board of Equalization Chairman Jerome E. Horton, and Director of Finance Ana J. Matosantos, Board Member George Runner urged them to reverse their decision to implement the policy. Despite the missive, no response has been seen from any of them.

California doesn’t need more laws to correct this policy. It needs needs policy makers with common sense. And this is another unfortunate example of exactly what is wrong with this great state.



Posted in Board of Equalization | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Clerk-Recorder Resumes, In-Depth Bios, and Schedules

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on March 26, 2013

Update 11:28 PM– Corrections made for brief synopsis of Chris Norby & Larry Bales.

This just in from the Orange County Board of Supervisors website. We now have access to resumes and schedules for the interview process. I initially posted a list of OC Clerk-Recorder candidate bios along with statistics and occupations. Yesterday it appears staff at the County decided to take it a step further by posting each applicants resume among other things into a packet that is preparing us all for the epic meeting on Tuesday April 2nd.330px-Seal_of_Orange_County,_California_svg

In case you were wondering I will be down at the County of Orange on the day of interviews providing our readers with a live blog of every single interview from start to finish. After that hold onto your hats for a live blog of deliberations leading up to the new OC Clerk-Recorder getting selected. Stay tuned for a potential interview with the new OC Clerk-Recorder in our new audio post format if I can snag them after the meeting.

Here is the schedule for Tuesday April 2nd:

9:00 AM-9:10 AM  Opening of Meeting
9:10 AM-9:40 AM  Larry Bales
9:45 AM-10:15 AM  Chris Norby
10:20 AM-10:50 AM  Hieu Nguyen
10:55 AM-11:25 AM  Richard Ackerman
11:30 AM-12:00 PM   Bruce Peotter
12:00 PM-1:00 PM  Lunch
1:00 PM-1:30 PM  Harry Sidhu
1:35 PM-2:05 PM  Michael J. Fox
2:10 PM-2:40 PM  Steven Madoff
2:45 PM-3:15 PM  Steven Rosansky
3:20 PM-3:50 PM  Roy Reynolds
3:55 PM-4:25 PM  Renee Ramirez
4:25 PM-TBA  Deliberation & Selection

Here is a list of candidates in interview order with a link to their packet that they submitted to the OC Board of Supervisors. My thoughts after the links.

Larry Bales
Chris Norby
Hieu Nguyen
Dick Ackerman
Bruce Peotter
Harry Sidhu
Michael J. Fox
Steven Madoff
Steven Rosansky
Roy Reynolds
Renee Ramirez

This was an interesting read to go through all of these applications, cover letters, and resumes in order to figure out how these applicants are angling themselves for the position. Here area few items from the different resumes that stood out.

Larry Bales– He works for used to work for the County of Orange for over 30 years in the office of the Orange County Assessor.

Chris NorbyHe puts OC Supervisor as his position as opposed to CA Assemblyman He lists OC Supervisor as his previous employment with Orange County and mentions that he heard about the job from a County employee/friend. I find it interesting that he listed Supervisor Shawn Nelson (1 of the 5 votes) as another one of his references.

Hieu Nguyen– Other than Renee Ramirez he appears to be the only individual other than Renee Ramirez who has experience working in the OC Clerk-Recorders office. He also heard of the position from a County employee/friend. The one think I liked about his packet was that he included letters of reference from supporters including the very well-known businessman Dale Dykema.

Dick Ackerman– He says that he learned of the job through Newspaper/Magazine and has a number of references he lists including OCGOP Chairman Scott Baugh, CRP Chairman Jim Brulte, OC Supervisor (Ret) Bill Campbell, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, and Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway.

Bruce Peotter– As I have stated before he is one of my personal favorites for this position along with Hieu Nguyen. I must admit though that I was surprised with his experience in the office of Public Administrator/Guardian that he applied for Clerk-Recorder instead. His resume/cover letter was the cleanest out of all applicants in terms of formatting and shows that he is extremely qualified for this position.

Harry Sidhu– This one will be tough as long as Shawn Nelson is still a Supervisor next week. In his cover letter he focuses on his private sector experience. In his resume he includes not only his Anaheim City Council experience but also his background as a mechanical engineer, real estate broker, and a business owner.

Michael J. Fox– I was totally hoping to read a filmography on this one but alas my dream was crushed. He learned about the position through Newspaper/Magazine and has a long list of cases he sites as being involved in that shows his background in law is solid.

Steven Madoff– He along with many others in the list learned about the position through Newspaper/Magazine. He is on my list of the most interesting applicants to sit down and have lunch with based on the stories he must have from his years of working for Paramount.

Steven Rosansky– Something is off with this application as he used a totally different application than everybody else that applied for the position. In terms of his cover letter and resume nothing specifically stood out to me other than his experience in Newport Beach as a Councilman, real estate broker, and business owner.

Roy Reynolds– He also states that he learned about the job through Newspaper/Magazine. He included an article that he wrote in the OC Register that referred to his firm conducting polling on behalf of the Costa Mesa Taxpayers Association. Apparently he does his political consulting business as a separate entity from his personal rapid transit consulting which I was unaware of.

Renee Ramirez– In my opinion she went from being the frontrunner to a longshot in a matter of months. She does mention her current occupation as being in the office of OC Clerk-Recorder. She has been employed at the office of the OC Clerk-Recorder since 1991 if I am reading her resume correctly. 2 of her most notable references include former Santa Ana City Manager/Police Chief Paul Walters and Yorba Linda Water Board Member Phil Hawkins.

Posted in Orange County, Orange County Board of Supervisors, Orange County Clerk-Recorder | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »

Do Justice Kennedy’s Prior Rulings Tell Us What He’ll Do in the Prop 8 and DOMA Cases?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 26, 2013

I usually loathe reposting old stories from our blog, but in light of the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry (Prop 8 case) today and United States v. Windsor (DOMA case) tomorrow, I thought I would repost the story I wrote back on February 8, 2012, after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Prop 8.  (OC Political was a mere nine days old at that point, with our first post going up on January 31, 2012.)  The Supreme Court will likely issue its ruling in June.

Everyone expects Justice Anthony Kennedy to be pivotal in deciding what will happen in these two cases.

Here’s what I wrote on February 8, 2012:

After yesterday’s ruling from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Prop 8 supporters jeered, and Prop 8 opponents cheered.  The news showed jubilant same-sex marriage supporters celebrating the ruling and resolute traditional marriage supporters vowing to appeal.

In the May 2009 California Supreme Court ruling in Strauss v. Horton, the result was the opposite, with Prop 8 upheld.  The August 2010 U.S. District Court ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger struck down Prop 8.  Yesterday’s ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Perry v. Brown upheld the District Court.  Prop 8 proponents have 90 days (well, technically, 89 as of this morning) to decide whether to appeal to an 11-judge en banc panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals or to appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If there’s any lesson to be learned from all the court battles involving Prop 8, it’s that it doesn’t matter what a particular court rules, the side that wins hails the ruling as a historic victory in defense of the legal concepts they support while the side that loses vows to go to another court.  The only way this cycle ends is to take this to the highest court in the land: only the United States Supreme Court can decide this issue once and for all.

In all likelihood, U.S. Supreme Court Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito will vote to uphold Prop 8 while Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan will vote to strike down Prop 8.  This means that whether marriage means one man and one woman or whether it means two people of any sex in California and in America rests in the hands of one man: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

There’s a certain irony that Kennedy will be the key to this issue, since Prop 8 comes from California, and Kennedy is a native Californian who spent the majority of his life in this state and was appointed to the Supreme Court by fellow Californian Ronald Reagan.  A Catholic educated at Stanford University and Harvard Law School, Kennedy was a lawyer in private practice and has been a law professor at McGeorge School of Law during his time as a lawyer and continuing to the present day.

Kennedy’s judicial track record does not make it clear how he’d come down on this issue.

In Beller v. Middendorf (1980), Kennedy (a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge back then) wrote the decision that upheld the ability of the U.S. Navy to discharge sailors for “engaging in homosexual acts.”  In Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Group of Boston (1995), he joined a unanimous Supreme Court opinion allowing the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to exclude an Irish gay group.

In Romer v. Evans (1996), Kennedy wrote the decision invalidating a Colorado ballot measure prohibiting sexual orientation from becoming a protected class (protected classes include race, religion, etc.).  In Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000), Kennedy voted to uphold the right of the Boy Scouts of America as a private organization to exclude gay men from being scoutmasters.

Both sides of the issue can find favorable parts of Lawrence v. Texas (2003), where Kennedy wrote, “the Texas [anti-sodomy] statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual” but also wrote that the case “does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter.”  So Lawrence v. Texas tells us that Kennedy opposed attempts to regulate the conduct of consenting adults but also wanted to make clear that the decision did not affect marriage.

In Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (2010), Kennedy joined a court decision that allowed a public school to refuse recognition to a student group that wished to exclude gay members.

Kennedy’s dizzying array of court decisions leaves little clarity as to how he will rule.  However, there is little doubt that the fate of Proposition 8 and of the definition of marriage in California and America rests in the hands of one Californian above all others: Anthony Kennedy.

Of course, we mustn’t forget that Chief Justice John Roberts could somehow determine that traditional marriage, same-sex marriage, all forms of marriage, Prop 8, or DOMA is a tax, and comes up with a ruling that surprises everyone (see excerpt of June 28 post below), but then again there is the marriage penalty:

The second opinion of the day was the one everyone was waiting for: in a 5-4 decision in National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the entire health care law officially known as the Affordable Care Act but often called Obamacare.  The individual mandate was held unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause but was upheld under the power to tax.  The shocker: swing voter Anthony Kennedy was in the dissent.  It was conservative Chief Justice John Roberts who not only voted with the four liberal justices but who wrote the opinion.

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Consultant Mails Knife to Retired NYPD Officer

Posted by Honest Abe on March 25, 2013

As the OC Political correspondent that lives and works in Washington DC I do not generally have time to write any articles for what has been called a local blog. This story which is being talked about in DC has some local Orange County ties. When I first heard the story while at lunch it sounded so preposterous that I figured peopled had been watching to many mafia movies. Once I got sent the Daily Caller link I was stunned.

The title I intended to use for the post although it was longer than would fit in the box was: “Never Bring a Knife to an Ideas Fight… The California Connection to Another Unprofessional and Brand Harming Campaign Consultant.

It appears local political consultant Jason Roe who is well-known in DC and his campaign firm in which he is a partner (Revolvis) is involved in a bit of controversy stemming from a primary election campaign in which he is involved. The heated race is taking place in Florida’s 7th Congressional District between Sandy Adams and John Mica. Both campaigns are making accusations against each other but rarely do the consultants get involved. In order for you to be able to follow along Roe is working on the Adams campaign.

It appears to have started when the Adams campaign levied accusations of threats from the Mica campaign. After the accusation was made the Mica campaign dropped a bombshell which has far more credibility because they named names.

Asked to comment on the alleged threats, Mica, through a spokesperson, told  TheDC that the claims are “a total fabrication, and the only campaign who has  threatened supporters is hers, when her paid political consultant, Jason Roe,  sent a knife through the U.S. mail to one of our supporters.”

This is a really bad idea to send a knife in the mail to anyone, especially a police officer. Police officer Jim Bomford who was the recipient of the knife might be willing to pursue this in a legal forum against Roe although that is not for certain.

Here is the part of the story with some background on Bomford:

The recipient of the knife was retired New York police officer Jim Bomford,  the president of the Republican Assemblies of  Florida.

Bomford, who provided a photo of the knife to TheDC, explained that both Mica  and Adams were members of his organization. He knew that Mica planned to run for  re-election in the newly redistricted 7th District, but was waiting to announce  it until the redistricting map was final. When Adams, who was redistricted into  the 7th said that she, too, would run in that district – instead of running in a  different district with no incumbent – Bomford said he spoke with her to try to  convince her not to face off against Mica.

It is not illegal to mail knives through the United States Postal Service since they do not explode, catch fire, or cause any direct threat to those handling the parcel. The real issue that Roe faces is the charges made of issuing threats against a police officer.

I have personally met Jason before and he was very cordial with me and I was never familiar with any “recklessness” that he may have taken part in on any of the other campaigns that I have seen from afar. Bomford is not somebody that runs in the same circles as me in DC but he apparently feels otherwise about Roe.

“I advised her that Jason tends to be reckless,” Bomford said. He explained  that he knew Roe from long before this campaign “because I represent retired  police officers on .” Roe previously worked as chief of  staff to Florida Rep. Tom Feeney.

Roe resigned his position as deputy campaign manager to in 2007, Hotline On-Call reported at the time, after the FBI asked  questions of his former boss, Feeney, regarding a golf trip he took with  superlobbyist to Scotland in 2003.

The part that really bothered me was the next portion of the article which reminded me of the Godfather scene where a fish is mailed to the Corleone family indicating that Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes. I am not a consultant but this could be construed as a threat on one’s life even if the recipient does not mention that to the press:

“I said I just want to keep this between us,” Bomford told Adams.

“Instead of keeping it to herself, she apparently immediately ran back to  Jason … and told Jason what I had said,” Bomford alleged. “Three days later I  had the knife in the mail.”

With the knife, he said, was “a subtle warning, you know, ‘you’re stabbing  your friends in the back.’”

“I never interpreted it as a threat on my life … my feeling was that he was  basically telling me that in the future anything I do [on ] is going to be interfered with,” Bomford said.

Bomford called it “a really dumb thing to do,” and said that it proved his  point that Roe was “reckless.” “This is what I was concerned with Sandy,” he  said.

Bomford said he went to Adams and asked her why she had told Roe what he  said. According to Bomford, Adams responded, “that’s not my problem.” At which  point, he said, he told her that his organization would not be supporting her in  any way.

The admins at OC Political requested that if I was going to write the article I had to include the response from the campaign where the knife came from, so here is how they responded and I do agree that the candidate should not be held responsible for what mistakes that the campaign team makes:

The Adams campaign tells the story differently.

“Mr. Bomford refused to show Sandy the letter, after several requests. She  encouraged him to file a police report,” said Lisa Boothe, Adams’ communications  director.

But ultimately, she said, the incident “has nothing to do with the campaign.  He never showed her the letter, he never filed a report, and this continues to  stay between the two of them [Bomford and Roe].”

Bomford provided TheDC with photographs of the pocket knife and the envelope it came in – which has a return address of Revolvis Strategies, Roe’s consulting firm. He did not provide a picture of the note.

When Roe was asked by The Daily Caller to give a statement I give him credit for having the guts to not deny the charges of mailing the knife but gave a totally different story about what set him off to mail the knife along with the fact that he did not intend it as a threat:

Roe did send the knife, he confirmed to TheDC, but he explained that it was  certainly not meant in a threatening way, and said that the note he wrote made  that clear.

“That would be quite a variation on the reality,” he said, when presented  with Bomford’s account of the story.

Roe said he met Bomford while working as chief of staff for Rep. Feeney, and  described him as a “political gadfly … who was, what I would call, a constant  troublemaker, and part of my job was to minimize the trouble that he could cause  for the office.”

“We never had a hostile relationship, we actually developed at least a good  working relationship,” Roe said.

All of this was before Roe was brought on as a consultant by Adams.

The way Roe explained it, “at some point [Bomford] approached Sandy and  handed her a letter in which he accused me and my wife of being corrupt.” Roe  assured TheDC that it was a letter, not a conversation, as Bomford had said.

“Needless to say, it kind of caught me by surprise that this happened … I was  pretty aggravated by it. It was kind of uncalled for, he and I did not have an  adversarial relationship, and I was kind of annoyed by it,” Roe said.

In response, Roe said, “I sent him a handwritten note that said, ‘Dear Jim,  Sandy relayed to me what you said about me. I was disappointed and in the midst  of it I extracted this knife from my back so you can use it on one of your other  quote unquote friends. Sincerely, me. P.S. by the way, I hear you slandered my  wife as well, who I’m pretty sure you’ve never even met.”

“He then, went on to tell everyone that I sent him a threat, which is not  anywhere near the reality … the knife was making a point, I pulled this from my  back,” Roe explained, saying that the fact that Bomford had not yet produced a  note completely undermined his story.

“So I did send him a knife, and I unequivocally will say it was not a  threat,” Roe said.

“Incidentally, if we’re going to go tit for tat on threats,” Roe said. “Mica  has had lobbyists call me and tell me that if I stay with Sandy, that I will  regret it and I will get no more clients out of Washington,” Roe alleged. He  declined to give the name of any of the lobbyists who had called him.

Whether it is fair or not I picture that some mailers with knives will be landing in some mailboxes in Florida sometime soon.

In the effort of full disclosure I have done no lobbying work on behalf of anybody mentioned in this story.

Posted in National, Orange County, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

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