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Archive for March, 2014

Live from OC GOP Endorsements Committee

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 31, 2014

We’re live from the Republican Party of Orange County Endorsements Committee meeting. Four candidates are on the docket tonight: Eric Woolery for Auditor-Controller, Robert Ming for 5th Supervisorial District, Kevin Haskins for Superior Court Judge Office Number 14, and Jeff Ferguson for Superior Court Judge Office Number 35.

All recommendations of the Endorsements Committee must be approved by a 2/3 vote at the April 21 Central Committee meeting before becoming official endorsements.

The Endorsements Committee consists of Chairman Mark Bucher and members Thomas Gordon, Jeff Thomas, Peggy Huang, Mark McCurdy, and Mary Young. A seventh unidentified member is absent.

(6:15 PM): Chairman Bucher calls the meeting to order and explains the procedure.

He also explains his philosophy of not endorsing one good Republican over another one. He says he may even oppose the party endorsing someone that he personally supports.

(6:19 PM): Chairman Bucher calls an intermission to confer with OC GOP Executive Director Scott Loenhorst.

AUDITOR-CONTROLLER

(6:20 PM): Orange Treasurer Eric Woolery talks about voting for Ronald Reagan the year he turned 18. He served as Second Vice Chair of the OCGOP under Tom Fuentes. Woolery speaks about owning his own business, being a CPA, and managing the Riverside District Attorney’s budget. He says he has a balance of public and private sector experience.

(6:22 PM): Orange Mayor Pro Tem Fred Whitaker says Democrat Jan Grimes has mismanaged the Auditor-Controller’s office and that she could not explain her department’s deficit.

(6:23 PM): Chairman Bucher asks if any of Woolery’s opponents are present. (None of them are here.)

(6:23 PM): Mary Young moves and Mark McCurdy seconds his endorsement.

(6:24 PM): Thomas Gordon notes that Mike Dalati is Karina Onofre’s fiancee, to the laughter of the entire room.

(6:25 PM): Woolery wins the unanimous recommendation of the Endorsement Committee.

WOOLERY RECOMMENDED UNANIMOUSLY.

SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE OFFICE #14

(6:26 PM): Assistant District Attorney Kevin Haskins speaks about his family and living in Orange County for 40 years. He resides in Laguna Niguel. He first joined the DA’s office in 1986, was in private practice, and returned to the DA’s office. He says he’s practiced on both sides of the Counsel table. Haskins says he believes in treating all people in court with respect and dignity while holding people accountable for their actions. He says he will follow the law not make law. He says it is important for the party to weigh in with an endorsement, especially in obscure races.

(6:29 PM): Orange Mayor Pro Tem Fred Whitaker speaks of the legal community’s respect for Haskins. He notes that Haskins has been both a prosecutor and a defense attorney. He says Republicans believe in law and order and believe in liberty.

(6:31 PM): Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway says Haskins is someone we need on the bench. He acknowledges this blogger, and then he notes Haskins will be a good judge who will fairly apply the law. He notes that Haskins has the balance of the public and private sector.

(6:33 PM): Jeff Mathews asks if any of Haskins’s opponents have requested the endorsement. (None have.)

(6:34 PM): Peggy Huang asks how Haskins will handle the various arenas of law since judges do not necessarily get to choose their assignments.

(6:35 PM): Haskins responds about his time in private practice and his experience teaching law.

(6:35 PM): Huang asks about his LLM (Master of Laws) degree.

(6:35 PM): Haskins speaks about the breadth of academic legal experience he has.

(6:36 PM): Mark McCurdy asks about Haskins’s period of time as a decline-to-state.

(6:36 PM): Haskins says he was a decline-to-state because he started prosecuting high-profile sex crimes. He says during this time, he wanted to maintain neutrality and avert giving the defense any ammunition, so he registered decline-to-state. Haskins says as a candidate for judge that it is important that voters know he holds Republican viewpoints.

(6:39 PM): McCurdy asks about Haskins declining to answer most of the questions on the OCGOP questionnaire.

(6:40 PM): Haskins gives a lengthy discussion about judicial ethics preventing him from answering the questionnaire.

(6:41 PM): Thomas Gordon asks about Haskins’s perspective on the Second Amendment.

(6:42 PM): Haskins says judges are obligated to uphold the Constitution and laws. He says this includes the Second Amendment. He says he will obey U.S. Supreme Court rulings like Heller.

(6:43 PM): McCurdy asks about AB 109 prison realignment.

(6:44 PM): Haskins speaks about the detrimental effects of AB 109.

(6:45 PM): Huang moves and Young seconds a motion to recommend Haskins. The vote is unanimous to recommend the endorsement of Haskins to the Central Committee.

HASKINS RECOMMENDED UNANIMOUSLY.

SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE OFFICE #35

(6:45 PM): Chairman Bucher suggests that in the future, a separate judicial questionnaire be developed without the political questions that most candidates have to answer.

(6:46 PM): Senior Deputy District Attorney Jeff Ferguson speaks about his experience in the DA’s office, including clearing heavy felony backlogs with DNA collection and preparing the policies for AB 109 implementation. He speaks about his family. He’s lived in Orange County for 52 years. He went to UCI and was an assistant editor for the old OCGOP magazine. He worked on George Murphy and Ronald Reagan’s campaigns. Judge Jim Rogan encouraged Ferguson to run for judge.

(6:49 PM): Craig Alexander speaks about Ferguson’s experience and his CRA endorsement. He says Ferguson and Haskins will follow the law and not make law.

(6:50 PM): Adam Probolsky speaks in favor of neutrality because both candidates for the seat are good Republicans. He speaks about Carmen Luege’s experience and urges the committee stay neutral.

(6:51 PM): Carmen Luege speaks about fleeing Communist Cuba as a teenager. She learned English and about the Constitution in high school. She speaks about wanting to become a lawyer because of her awe of the American judicial system. She speaks about having been a federal prosecutor and now a Superior Court Commissioner.

(6:53 PM): Ferguson says he is endorsed by Congressman Ed Royce, the CRA, and several Assemblymembers. He speaks about having the respect of judges and attorneys, along with his background as a Republican volunteer.

(6:54 PM): Jeff Mathews asks if Luege is seeking the OCGOP endorsement.

(6:55 PM): Luege says she has missed the deadline, so she will not apply. She notes that she is endorsed by Senator Bob Huff and Mayor Steven Choi.

(6:56 PM): A procedural discussion breaks out.

(6:57 PM): Huang asks Ferguson the question she asked Haskins about various legal fields and judges’ assignments.

(6:58 PM): Ferguson speaks about his experience with various arenas of criminal law, including forfeitures. He says he worked in graphic design and journalism before becoming a lawyer, so he has had some experience dealing with non-criminal law.

(7:00 PM): Huang asks if Ferguson has any civil experience.

(7:00 PM): He compares forfeitures to civil cases.

(7:01 PM): Huang asks if he’s endorsed by any judges.

(7:01 PM): He lists nine judges by name and notes that he’s endorsed by various other judges.

(7:02 PM): Gordon asks if Luege will seek the endorsement.

(7:02 PM): She says she would apply for a late endorsement.

(7:04 PM): Gordon says he is inclined not to endorse anyone since the two Republicans are the only candidates in the race and that Luege will apply.

(7:05 PM): Huang agrees with Gordon and supports delaying until Luege’s application is in.

(7:05 PM): Bucher describes this as a likely case of two good Republicans running against each other, though he’d like to see Luege’s questionnaire to be sure. He predicts the committee will table and probably will stay neutral. He suggests the two candidates mutually agree to withdraw from the endorsement process.

(7:07 PM): Gordon moves and Huang seconds tabling until next month. The vote to table is unanimous.

SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE OFFICE #35 TABLED UNANIMOUSLY.

5TH SUPERVISORIAL DISTRICT

(7:08 PM): Robert Ming speaks about being Mayor and Councilmember in Laguna Niguel. Ming says it is important for the party to endorse in this race. He says it’s important for parties to stand for something to prevent registration erosion. He speaks about scoring 100% on the Liberty First scorecard while his two opponents scored in the 60s. He speaks of his efforts walking precincts and doing youth outreach.

(7:11 PM): Robert Hammond speaks about Ming’s efforts to help expose unfunded mandates at the OC Board of Education. He speaks of Ming’s efforts to help a citizen obtain field space with 24 hours after being contacted.

(7:12 PM): Lisa Bartlett notes she is running against Ming. She says she opposes the endorsement because there are three good Republicans who are fiscally conservative, believe in local control, and hold ACC-OC leadership positions. She urges neutrality.

(7:14 PM): Maribel Marroquin speaks about Robert Ming being the first elected official to speak to her youth outreach group and getting young people to become Republicans. She says young people view him as a mentor.

(7:15 PM): Frank Ury notes that he is running against Ming. He urges neutrality because there are three good Republicans. Ury speaks about having been OCGOP Local Elected Official of the Year and a Central Committee member. Ury speaks about his effort over the last 20 years on behalf of Republican causes and having had his blood drawn (figuratively) for conservative causes.

(7:17 PM): Ming says the three have distinct voting records. He says he is in the trenches and helping move the party forward. He says people in the trenches should be endorsed.

(7:18 PM): Mary Young says there is nothing she dislikes about Ming. She notes there are three good Republicans. She says Ury was very involved in the party in the past.

(7:19 PM): Peggy Huang asks Chris Emami about Liberty First.

(7:19 PM): Emami explains how it scored City Councilmembers on personal freedoms, property rights, and fiscal responsibility.

(7:20 PM): Huang asks Ming about why he formed ACC-OC.

(7:20 PM): Ming says they wanted to make good public policy that did not necessarily agree with policies advanced by the League of Cities.

(7:21 PM): Thomas Gordon thanks Ming for his efforts with Marroquin’s youth outreach group in Santa Ana because these efforts have forced Democrats to spend time trying to hold registration in Santa Ana.

(7:22 PM): Marroquin notes Ming is one of only three elected officials to actively help the youth outreach group.

(7:23 PM): Gordon asks about eminent domain.

(7:23 PM): Ming opposes it except for truly public purposes.

(7:24 PM): Mark McCurdy asks about redevelopment.

(7:24 PM): Ming says they do not have it in Laguna Niguel, and he generally opposes it. He would only support it in very limited circumstances with far greater oversight.

(7:25 PM): Gordon supports tabling the endorsement until next month to hear from all three candidates.

(7:26 PM): Huang agrees with Gordon.

(7:27 PM): Mathews agrees with Huang and Gordon.

(7:27 PM): Gordon moves and Young seconds tabling the endorsement. The tabling motion passes unanimously.

5TH SUPERVISORIAL DISTRICT TABLED UNANIMOUSLY.

(7:28 PM): Committee adjourns.

Posted in 5th Supervisorial District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Auditor-Controller Race: Frank Davies Loses “Deputy Auditor-Controller” Ballot Designation, Will Use “Property Tax Director” Instead

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 31, 2014

There have been five lawsuits related to the June Primary election ballot for Orange County. The meat of this article is after the bullet list. The bullet list just recaps the prior cases.

  • In the Second Supervisorial District, Allan Mansoor successfully sued the Registrar of Voters to change Michelle Steel‘s ballot designation of “Taxpayer Advocate/Businesswoman” and she is now required to use “Board of Equalization Member” instead. This case was covered here on OC Political, in an article in the OC Register, and in an article in the Daily Pilot.
  • In the Clerk-Recorder’s race, Troy Edgar‘s lawsuit against the Registrar of Voters to get on the ballot was rejected by the Orange County Superior Court. Edgar’s lawsuit against the Registrar of Voters also sought to toss Assessor Webster Guillory and Superintendent of Schools Al Mijares from the ballot, and this effort was also rejected by the Superior Court. Consequently, Edgar fails to make the ballot while Guillory and Mijares stay on the ballot. Here’s OC Political’s coverage, including the only online copy of the full text of the judge’s ruling. The judge’s sweeping ruling used “failed” or “fails” six times in reference to Edgar and even uses “without merit” in reference to one of Edgar’s arguments.
  • In the 73rd Assembly District, Mission Viejo resident Dale Tyler sued the Secretary of State to challenge a sentence in AD-73 Candidate Anna Bryson‘s ballot statement, “On the school board, I returned $59 million to taxpayers.” Tyler sought to have the sentence struck entirely, but the Sacramento County Superior Court judge issued a compromise, so it now reads, “On the school board, I voted to save taxpayers approximately $59 million.” Here’s OC Political’s coverage, and here’s the text of the judge’s ruling.
  • In the Auditor-Controller’s race, candidate John Wayne Willard sued the Registrar of Voters in an unsuccessful effort to challenge Eric Woolery‘s “Orange Treasurer/CPA” ballot designation. Consequently, Woolery remains “Orange Treasurer/CPA” on the ballot. Here’s OC Political’s coverage, including the only online copy of the full text of the judge’s ruling. When the judge includes strong language along the lines of “The evidence is undisputed that Woolery was appointed to the position of Treasurer…” you know it’s a sweeping ruling.
  • Oddly, the fifth lawsuit has yet to have any coverage anywhere despite being the first case to be completed, having been resolved way back on Tuesday, and it’s also likely the most significant case in terms of impact on a race. That case will be the focus of this article.
Auditor-Controller Candidates Eric Woolery, John Wayne Willard, Frank Davies, and Mike "Mike" Dalati.  OC Political was unable to find a photo of James T. Benuzzi.

Auditor-Controller Candidates Eric Woolery, John Wayne Willard, Frank Davies, and Mike “Mike” Dalati.
OC Political was unable to find a photo of James T. Benuzzi.

Laguna Niguel resident Todd Nugent challenged the ballot designation of Auditor-Controller candidate Frank Davies. Davies requested the ballot designation of “Deputy Auditor-Controller” for his bid for Auditor-Controller.

Nugent challenged it on the grounds that this was an effort by Davies to game the system by playing working title musical chairs, as he was not the Chief Deputy Auditor-Controller. Denise Steckler held both the job classification and working title of “Chief Deputy Auditor-Controller” before the candidate filing period. Frank Davies held the job classification of “Administrative Manager III” and the working title of “Director, Property Tax” during that time. Then in the middle of candidate filing, after Davies had pulled papers for Auditor-Controller and shortly before he filed them, all four Directors at the Administrative Manager III level in the Auditor-Controller’s office had their working titles switched from “Director” to “Chief Deputy Auditor-Controller” instead (while still remaining in the job classification of “Administrative Manager III”). Chief Deputy Auditor-Controller Denise Steckler then switched to the working title of “Chief of Staff” (while still remaining in the job classification of “Chief Deputy Auditor-Controller”).

Nugent filed suit in Superior Court and succeeded in having “Deputy Auditor-Controller” dumped as Davies’s ballot designation. Consequently, Davies is now “Property Tax Director” on the ballot.

In an obscure down-ticket race like Auditor-Controller, having a ballot designation of “Deputy Auditor-Controller” would have made Davies the frontrunner. Nugent’s challenge was critical in putting Orange Treasurer/CPA Eric Woolery back in the driver’s seat for the Auditor-Controller’s seat. Defeating Willard’s challenge was also critical for Woolery’s frontrunner position.

Here’s how the candidates will appear on the ballot:

(No, that’s not a mistake. Mike “Mike” Dalati is how he requested to be on the ballot. His fiancée, Karina “Karina” Onofre, is a Democratic candidate for AD-74. I have no idea why this couple decided to double-state their first names on the ballot.)

The three strongest ballot designations belong to Woolery, Benuzzi, and Dalati while the two weakest ballot designations belong to Willard and Davies. However, Benuzzi and Dalati failed to obtain ballot statements. Woolery is the only one of the five to wield both a ballot statement and a good ballot designation.

Woolery also bought up most of the slate mailers and wields the most aggressive online presence. He also has the highest name ID having been a former member of the Orange County Board of Education and the current Orange Treasurer. Additionally, he has residual name ID from his wife, Lisa Woolery, a former member of the Rancho Santiago Community College District Board. Eric Woolery also dominates the endorsement arena, wielding the endorsements of the Orange County Taxpayers Association, the California Republican Assembly, and numerous elected officials.

With tens of thousands of dollars, Woolery also has a larger warchest than all of his opponents combined with $50,200. He spent $38,701, on a combination of the ballot statement, candidate filing fee, slate mailers, campaign literature, and consulting fees.

Davies spent his entire $16,476 on the ballot statement and candidate filing fee.

Willard has $16,438, which was presumably spent on the ballot statement and candidate filing fee (he filed a Form 497, but not a Form 460); presumably the other $38 was wiped out by signatures-in-lieu.

Benuzzi raised $2,400 from Anthony Benuzzi and Ronald Benuzzi but had to refund $200 to Anthony Benuzzi when they discovered they had exceeded the campaign contribution limit; with his remaining $2,200, he paid the candidate filing fee and $280 of campaign literature.

Dalati did not file a campaign finance report for the January 1-March 17 reporting period.

In the interest of full disclosure, Woolery is a client of Custom Campaigns, the consulting firm that owns this blog.

Posted in 2nd Supervisorial District, 73rd Assembly District, Orange County Auditor-Controller, Orange County Clerk-Recorder | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Breaking News: Auditor-Controller Candidate John Willard’s Ballot Designation Challenge Rejected By Judge

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on March 28, 2014

When it rains it pours. OC Political has broken the story of Troy Edgar being rejected from the ballot today and broken the story of Anna Bryson having part of her ballot statement being declared false and misleading by a judge. These two posts are now part of a trifecta with the latest ballot designation case results being announced. We now can report that Orange County Auditor-Controller candidate John Willard, who challenged the ballot designation of opponent Eric Woolery has had his claim denied by a judge. Willard opposed Woolery using Orange Treasurer/CPA as his designation and was rejected on the grounds that Woolery is in fact the Orange Treasurer and does in fact have a CPA license. On an interesting side note the Willard case was heard by the same judge that heard the Edgar case.

330px-Seal_of_Orange_County,_California_svg

Woolery is the likely front-runner in this election and with his ballot designation being approved by a judge continues his momentum towards June.

Here is the judge’s opinion on the case:

HEARING ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDATE

Hearing held. The Court hears oral argument and denies John Wayne Willard’s petition for writ of mandate. The Court informs counsel that the Court will issue a minute order that more fully sets forth the reasoning behind the Court’s ruling.

Later same date, the Court issues the following.

Petitioner John Willard’s Petition for a Peremptory Writ of Mandate ordering Respondent Registrar of Voters not to print ballots with Real Party in Interest Eric Woolery’s designation as “Orange Treasurer/CPA” is denied. Petitioner contends that the “Orange Treasurer” portion of the foregoing designation is misleading and contrary to law (Election Code § 13107 and 2 Cal. Code Regs. (CCR) § 20710 et seq.) on the theory that Woolery’s “principal” occupation is Deputy Director of Administration for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

The evidence is undisputed that Woolery was appointed to the position of Treasurer of the City of Orange in 2013 and that he is still serving in that position. (Woolery Decl. ¶ 2) It also is undisputed that Woolery spends approximately 10-15 hours per week fulfilling the duties of that office. (Id.) Because this amount of weekly work is more than “nominal” as that term is used in 2 CCR § 20714(b), it is an “activity [which] is one of the primary, main or leading professional, vocational or occupational endeavors of the candidate.” 2 CCR § 20714(b) Thus, Woolery’s position of Orange Treasurer qualifies as a principal occupation under Election Code § 13107(a)(1). The fact that Woolery may have another job that also is a primary occupation and requires him to work longer hours per week and/or is his main source of income does not preclude the Orange Treasurer designation under the applicable statute and regulations. Andal v. Miller (1994) 28 Cal. App. 4th 358, 366; 2 CCR § 20714(e)(1) (“A candidate may engage in multiple principal professions, vocations or occupations.”). Accordingly, because Petitioner has not established by clear and convincing proof that the designation of “Orange Treasurer/CPA” is misleading, the request for a writ is denied.

Court orders clerk to give notice.

Willard is not in good position to finish in the top two on June 3rd and this definitely does not help his case. It will be interesting to see what the impact of this is on his campaign, he is one of three candidates to purchase the ballot statement. However, he does have the ballot designation of Assistant Director HR, which is probably one of the bottom two designations out of the field of five candidates.

This has been quite a news day in Orange County politics and I am definitely looking forward to catching my breath a bit this weekend.

Full Disclosure: Custom Campaigns is doing the consulting on the Woolery for Auditor-Controller race.

Posted in Orange County Auditor-Controller | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

AD-55 Watch: Biographies Scrutinized

Posted by Allen Wilson on March 28, 2014

image

The Orange County Register published an article scrutinizing the Assembly candidates biographies, but candidate Ling-Ling Chang education claims gets top grilling.

The view of the article is behind a firewall, which requires payment to have reading privileges.

It has been reported in previous campaign materials, publications and city of Diamond Bar website that Chang earned a degree in Biology from UC, Riverside and attending Harvard.

However, the article explains on the contrary that Chang has no degree in biology, which means she dropped out of UC Riverside and Chang explained that she is doing her studies “online” for a degree from Harvard.

Sadly, Chang offers no apologies for attending Harvard, but she should be reminded that attending an Ivy League university physically on campus is totally different than one taking courses behind a keyboard.

Unfortunately, Chang faults the inaccuracies to the City of Diamond Bar Public Information Officer, which is an insult to the professionalism of a municipal employee that is of high regard in and out of Diamond Bar City Hall.

If an Assembly candidate spends all of the time going to meetings as a councilmember on the taxpayers dime should have gone to night school and gotten a degree instead of polishing a political résumé for far too long.

It is ironic that an Assembly candidate is using SCA 5 on a campaign platform who only holds a high school diploma.

We are in a midst of a campaign season and candidates should be grilled until Election Day.

As for one candidate to embellish education claims brings bad taste who is being endorsed by high profile Republican elected officials such as Rep. Ed Royce and Senate Minority Leader Senator Bob Huff.

The voters in the 55th Assembly District deserves the truth as to who will be their next Assemblymember.

It is good to know now than with regrets for the constituents who could be stuck with a legislator for the next 2 or 12 years.

Posted in 55th Assembly District, Brea, California, La Habra, Orange County, Placentia, State Assembly, Yorba Linda | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Breaking News – Sacramento Judge Rules A Portion of Anna Bryson’s Ballot Statement is False and Misleading

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on March 28, 2014

Today Judge Shelleyanne W.L. Chang ruled that 73rd Assembly candidate Anna Byrson made a false and misleading statement in her campaign statement.  The judge ruled that the statement “On the school board, I returned $59 million to taxpayers” was false and misleading and ordered the statement stricken and re-written.  In this type of ballot challenge the burden of proof the person challenging the statement is “clear and convincing” not the easier to prove “preponderance of evidence” standard.  The petitioner, Mission Viejo resident Dale Tyler, via his attorney Chad Morgan, was successful in submitting clear and convincing evidence that Ms. Bryson’s statement was both false and misleading to voters.

Ms. Bryson, as part of her opposition, submitted a declaration by her fellow CUSD Trustee John Alpay wherein he stated (among other things) that Ms. Bryson was “instrumental” in returning $59 million to taxpayers.  Yet the Court still found the statement false and misleading!  I represented Greg Powers in his challenge to Mr. Alpay’s ballot statement when he challenged former Trustee Mike Winston in the recall election of 2010.  The Court at that time struck two statements contained in Mr. Alpay’s ballot statement as being false and misleading.  So it is no surprise to me that Judge Chang found Mr. Alpay’s declaration in support of Ms. Bryson to not be convincing either.

Full disclosure: I am supporting 73rd Assembly candidate Bill Brough  (who currently serves on the Dana Point City Council).  I was a supporter of Ms. Bryson in the past, but not any longer due to her voting record: Why to the Teachers Unions Love Anna Bryson?   Check out Bill’s web site at Bill Brough for Assembly.

Posted in 73rd Assembly District, Capistrano Unified School District, Dana Point | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Breaking News: Troy Edgar Will Not Be On The Ballot

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on March 28, 2014

Updated 10:33 AM- Here is the judge’s opinion from the case:

Ruling on the Merits

Petitioner Troy Edgar’s Petition For Writ of Mandate is denied in its entirety on the basis that Petitioner failed to meet his burden to show that Respondent Kelley’s actions of (i) refusing to qualify Petitioner as a candidate for the office of Clerk-Recorder; and (ii) qualifying Real Party In Interest Al Mijares as a candidate for the 06/03/14 election was in violation of the Elections Code or the Constitution. The evidence shows that Petitioner did not have the signatures of at least 20 registered voters who signed his nomination papers in his possession by the 5:00 p.m. March 7, 2014 deadline imposed by Elections Code § 8020(b).

Writ relief is available for an error or omission in the placing of a name on the ballot pursuant to Election Code 11314. In order to obtain writ relief, Election Code Section 13314(a)(2) requires the moving party to show both “(A) that the error, omission, or neglect is in violation of this [Election] code or the Constitution, [and] (B) that issuance of the writ will not substantially interfere with the conduct of the election.”

Election Code § 8020(a)-(b) requires the following items “to be delivered” to the Registrar of Voters by 5:00 p.m on the 88th day prior to the election (March 7, 2014 here): (1) a Declaration of Candidacy, and (2) Nomination papers “signed by signers.” Significantly, the statute does not require that the documents be filed by that deadline, only that they be “delivered.” While the statute does not specifically require the Declaration of Candidacy to be filled out and signed by the candidate by 5:00 p.m., it would make no sense if the submission of a totally blank form was deemed to comply with this requirement. According to the Supplemental Declaration of Kelley, the practice of the Registrar’s office is to generate a customized Declaration of Candidacy (with preprinted name and office of the candidate) at the time a candidate “pulls papers” (i.e., fills out a candidate information sheet and obtains nomination forms), and then hold that Declaration until the required nomination signatures are submitted. (Kelley Supp. Decl. ¶ 5-6) Respondent asserts that the Declaration of Candidacy is considered “delivered” as of that time. (Id.)

According to Respondent’s evidence, it is the practice of the Registrar of Voters to lock the doors to the office at 5:00 p.m. on the deadline filing date, “but to continue to process completed nomination documents for the individuals who are waiting in line at the time the doors are locked.” (Kelley Decl. ¶ 3) This practice is in compliance with Section 8020 since it limits processing to those candidates who presumably have met the requirements of delivering the mandated forms to the office by 5:00 p.m., i.e., the forms have been completed and are physically in the office by that time. As to the Declaration of Candidacy form, the Registrar’s stated practice of holding onto these forms until the nomination papers are received and verified comports with Election Code § 8028(a) which (with one exception) prohibits a candidate from removing this form from the Registrar’s office. Significantly, there is nothing in the statute or in case law that prohibits the Registrar’s office from considering the Declaration of Candidacy “delivered” as of the time a customized form is generated even though that form has not been signed off under oath by the candidate.

Here, the evidence establishes that Petitioner did not have his nomination papers completed and in the Registrar’s office by 5:00 p.m. Elections Code § 8062(a)(3) requires that at least 20 registered voters sign nomination papers such as those at issue here. The provisions of Election Code § 8062(b) are mandatory, not discretionary, and no nomination paper shall be deemed sufficient that does not comply with this section. As it is undisputed that several of Petitioner’s 20 registered voters did not sign the nomination papers by the 5:00 pm deadline, Respondent did not have discretion to take any act other than to disqualify Petitioner as candidate for Clerk-Recorder.

Petitioner contends that his late delivery of nomination papers should be excused given that he was in the Registrar’s office shortly after 4:00 p.m., and that due to the last-minute rush he was forced to wait until about 4:45 p.m. to obtain the required forms to be filled out. The implication that the Registrar’s office is to blame for his missing the deadline fails to take into account Petitioner’s decision to submit his paperwork at the absolute last hour of a 25-day period. (See Election Code § 8020(b)) Having previously run for election in Orange County (Edgar Decl. ¶ 7), Petitioner knew about the 5:00 p.m. deadline, but assumed he could complete the process in less than an hour.

Obviously, he failed to take into account the possibility of many other candidates also showing up at the last minute.

Given the express statutory mandate, the doctrine of substantial compliance is not applicable here, and Petitioner fails to cite any authorities that have allowed the use of the doctrine in circumstances similar to those at bar. Indeed, in the case most similar to the situation at hand, a court of appeal held that a lower court acted improperly in granting a writ directing a registrar of voters to accept a ballot argument submitted five hours past the statutory deadline. Barnes v. Wong (1995) 33 Cal. App. 4th 390. As stated by Barnes: “The doctrine of substantial compliance does not apply. Cases specifically dealing with statutory deadlines for election filings that are couched in language requiring documents to be filed ‘not less’ than or ‘not later’ than a given number of days before a designated time have insisted on strict compliance with the deadlines.” Id. at 396.

More to the point, the problem with a substantial compliance argument as it applies to time deadlines is that it chips away at a rule designed to level the playing field for all candidates. Without a hard and fast deadline, the possibility of inconsistent (and potentially unfair) administration of preelection procedures is greatly increased.

Likewise, Petitioner’s claims based upon Constitutional equal protection arguments are without merit, as Petitioner failed to present any evidence that the Respondent certified the candidacy of any other candidate that lacked the required number of registered voter signatures by the 5:00 pm deadline. Thus, he cannot show that he received unequal treatment by Respondent. Evidence presented by Respondent tends to show that any candidate who did not have the required number of signatures by the deadline would be treated exactly the same as Petitioner.

As to Real Party in Interest Mijares, the fact that the clerk did not administer the oath required in connection with his Declaration of Candidacy until after 5:00 p.m. on March 7 does not change the result. Mijares testified that he delivered all required nomination papers as well as a signed Declaration of Candidacy well before 5:00 p.m. (Mijares Decl. ¶ 9) Indeed, his statement that he “delivered” the Declaration on February 20 is consistent with the procedure described in the Kelley Supplemental Declaration, as is the fact that it is signed under oath only after the nomination papers have been delivered and verified by the Registrar’s staff. (Kelley Supp. Decl. ¶ 9-10; Mijares Decl. ¶ 13-15) Administering the oath, which is done by the Registrar, is considered part of the processing of election papers that Respondent apparently routinely did after the deadline.

Petitioner also failed to present any evidence whatsoever that issuance of the requested writ will not substantially interfere with the conduct of the upcoming election. Evidence presented by Respondent tends to show that the requested relief substantially interferes with the election.
In short, Petitioner’s application for writ of mandate is denied in its entirety, and the Alterative Writ issued Court orders clerk to e-mail these minutes to all counsel and to give written notice.

I was just informed that the judge has made the ruling that Troy Edgar will not be ops part of the Orange County Clerk-Recorder race. I suppose he could run as a write in candidate, but if his consultants couldn’t even get him on the ballot it is highly unlikely that he will pursue this any further.

EdgarTroy[1]

At this time we are awaiting more information as to what the judge’s opinion said. After the recent redesign the Orange County Superior Court website is terrible and very hard to navigate. As more information becomes available we will post it.

Posted in Orange County Clerk-Recorder | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Republican Party of Orange County Endorses Mayor Linda Lindholm Over Incumbent Republican

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on March 28, 2014

This came over the wire from the Linda Lindholm for Orange County Board of Education campaign moments ago…

Linda Lindholm for OC Board of Ed

Republican Party of Orange County Endorses
Mayor Linda Lindholm Over Incumbent Republican

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2014
Contact: Chris Emami
chrisemami@custom-campaigns.com

ORANGE COUNTY, CA – The Republican Party of Orange County has endorsed Laguna Niguel Mayor Linda Lindholm for Orange County Board of Education, Trustee Area 5.  The party’s Central Committee voted unanimously to endorse Lindholm over the objections of the 32-year incumbent, who is a Republican.  Mayor Lindholm, the leading candidate for the Orange County Board of Education’s Trustee Area 5 seat, is quickly setting herself apart as a consensus builder amongst education officials, organizations, taxpayers, parents, and teachers.

“The Republican Party of Orange County endorses Linda Lindholm as the best choice to represent taxpayers on the Board of Education,” said Republican Party of Orange County Chairman Scott Baugh. “Linda Lindholm has a proven record of advancing fiscal responsibility and personal freedoms by supporting low taxes, balanced budgets, battling overregulation, and preventing wasteful bureaucracy.”

“I am grateful that the Republican Party of Orange County has endorsed my campaign to help improve the education of our children,” Lindholm said. “My promise to promote transparency, fiscal accountability, and a better education for all students has been a message that has resonated with people from all ends of the political spectrum.”

A businesswoman, Mayor Lindholm has served as the President of the Saddleback College Foundation Board, as President of the Beta Foster Care Advisory Board, and as the City Liaison on the Laguna Niguel Youth Committee.  She has also served on the Capistrano Unified School District Instructional Materials Review Committee and the Prevent Child Abuse – Orange County Advisory Board.

Professionally, Lindholm has taught college students as a university instructor and worked with school districts on developing programs for teachers of children with physical and learning disabilities.  She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree from Colorado State University and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas.   Lindholm and her husband, Wayne, have three children.

###

Paid for by Lindholm for Board of Education 2014.  ID# 1363994

Posted in Orange County Board of Education, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

AD-73: Petrilla Has Double Cash-on-Hand of All Opponents Combined, Bryson & Brough Nearly Tied, Glaab Deep in Debt

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 27, 2014

I’m pretty much going to quote my opening paragraph from my January post on the AD-73 race because it serves to remind us of this chaotic year:

Next up in OC Political’s ongoing in-depth analysis of campaign finance figures is the race for the 73rd Assembly District seat being vacated by the termed out Diane Harkey, who is running for the Board of Equalization seat being vacated by the termed out Michelle Steel, who is running for the Second District Supervisor’s seat being vacated by the termed out John Moorlach, who is running for the 45th Congressional District seat being vacated by John Campbell, who voluntarily retired.  (That incredibly long sentence demonstrates a recurring theme in 2014…)

Republican AD-73 Candidates: Jesse Petrilla, Anna Bryson, Bill Brough, Paul Glaab

The four Republican AD-73 Candidates: Jesse Petrilla, Anna Bryson, Bill Brough, Paul Glaab

I’ll also quote the second paragraph from my January post:

There are four announced Republican candidates in AD-73: Rancho Santa Margarita Councilman Jesse Petrilla, Dana Point Councilman Bill Brough, Capistrano Unified School District Trustee Anna Bryson, and former Laguna Niguel Councilman Paul Glaab.  One Democrat, Attorney and Irvine Valley College Professor Wendy Gabriella, has announced for the race.  Gabriella’s entry in the race virtually guarantees a Republican vs. Democrat general election, with the Republican winning handily and spareing South County Republicans an AD-73 general election intraparty bloodbath.

What can I say?  Conditions in AD-73 have been fairly stable.  The announced candidates are exactly the same candidates who qualified for the ballot.  Now on to the latest numbers, which really haven’t moved all that much…

Petrilla’s fundraising slowed in this reporting period ($15,824, second behind Bryson), but his dominant lead ($104,839) from 2013 maintained his position as the AD-73 candidate with the most money raised, with $120,663.  He was the only candidate who raised more than he spent in this reporting period with his $15,228 in expenditures. This brings his total overall spending to just $23,410, and his tight-fisted spending has him actually fourth in expenditures.  Consequently, he has nearly $100,000 cash-on-hand, once loans and unpaid bills are accounted for, with $97,577, to be exact.  Republican Bryson, Republican Brough, and Democrat Gabriella have a combined $49,561 in that category (about half Petrilla’s figure), though adding the deeply-in-debt Republican Glaab leaves Petrilla’s opponents at a combined $14,550, which would mean Republican Petrilla has almost seven times the combined cash-on-hand of his opponents.  It’s not unreasonable to leave Glaab out and note that Petrilla has twice the combined cash-on-hand of his non-indebted opponents.  The biggest question is: why is Petrilla hoarding his money?  I think the most logical conclusion is that Petrilla plans to dominate the AD-73 direct mail.

Bryson raised more than her opponents this reporting period with $29,822, but she spent more than she took in, spending $32,514.  She also has $14,279 in unpaid bills.  Plus, she still lags behind Petrilla in overall funds raised.  She spent half her money on her consultants.  It’s not that her consultants are charging exorbitant rates – it’s simply that she has numerous consultants.  She’s raised $114,965 overall but already spent $75,224; after accounting for that $14,279 in unpaid bills, Bryson is left with just $25,463 cash on hand, assuming she has no plans to spend her $69,600 loan.  Her consulting fees are quickly eating up her once-sizeable warchest.

Bob Dole with AD-73 Candidate Bill Brough

Bob Dole with AD-73 Candidate Bill Brough earlier this month

Brough raised $10,297 this reporting period, bringing his total funds raised to $61,240.  He spent $18,084 this reporting period, bringing his total spending to $39,744.  He has a healthy mix of spending, with no one area jumping out to dominate his spending. He remains the candidate with the smallest loans, by far, at just $100.  He, Petrilla, and Gabriella have no unpaid bills.  Among AD-73 candidates, Brough definitely has the most interesting campaign contributor, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, who was the Republican nominee for President in 1996.  The Brough campaign had announced the Dole endorsement two weeks ago, and Dole gave Brough’s campaign $500.

Glaab raised $8,899 this reporting period, bringing his total funds raised from other people to $36,985.  However, he also donated $22,000 to his campaign in 2013 (not loaned, but truly donated), bringing his total funds raised up to $58,985.  He spent $40,053 this reporting period, bringing his total expenditures to $90,072, the highest level of expenditures of any candidate in AD-73.  While Glaab has a mix of spending, he has spent a fortune on slate mailers.  With the least raised and most spent among the Republican candidates (even after accounting for his self-contribution of $22,000), Glaab is deeply in debt, to the tune of $35,011.  He’s clearly banking on the slate mailer strategy for this race, but he didn’t secure all the slates.

On slates, in my January post, I said, “Glaab secured the vast majority of slate mailers.  There are five major slate vendors, with Glaab grabbing three of them, including the two vendors who produce the most slate mailers.  Bryson grabbed one vendor.  It appears the fifth vendor is up for grabs still.”  Well, Brough has since nabbed the fifth vendor.  Slate mailers are now divided in this race, with three candidates nabbing the major slates, though Glaab has the lion’s share.

Nothing new regarding loans or candidate self-funding, so here’s the paragraph from my January post on that:

Here at OC Political, we’ve railed repeatedly against the $100,000 paper tiger loans.  (These loans of $100,000 or less are frequently used by candidates to artificially inflate their warchest numbers.  While OC Political has many posts about those, this one is probably the seminal post on the issue.)  I will give Paul Glaab credit for actually spending his own money. Glaab put his money where his mouth is, and donated $22,000 to his own campaign beyond the $100,000 loan he made to his campaign.  State campaign finance regulations put that $22,000 forever out of Glaab’s reach; it is nonrefundable, and he must spend it on the campaign.  Glaab was well aware of this regulation and properly reported the $22,000 as a contribution, not a loan.

Democrat Wendy Gabriella raised $4,592 this reporting period, bringing her total funds raised to $16,703.  She spent $9,507 this reporting period, bringing her total expenditures to $14,089.  (Interestingly, top fundraiser Petrilla’s spending is so low that his expenditure levels are closer to dead-last fundraiser Gabriella’s than to any of his Republican opponents.)  With no unpaid bills and a candidate loan of $1,196, Gabriella’s cash-on-hand is $2,614.

Here’s the chart:

Candidate 2013
Contrib.
1/1/14-
3/17/14
Contrib.
Candidate
Contrib.
Total
Contrib.
Candidate
Loans
Unpaid
Bills
2013
Expend.
1/1/14-
3/17/14
Expend.
Total
Expend.
Cash-
on-Hand
(COH)
COH
Minus
Unpaid
Bills
COH
Minus
Unpaid
Bills &
Loans
Petrilla $104,839 $15,824 $0 $120,663 $3,500 $0 $8,182 $15,228 $23,410 $101,077 $101,077 $97,577
Bryson $85,143 $29,822 $0 $114,965 $69,600 $14,279 $42,710 $32,514 $75,224 $109,342 $95,063 $25,463
Brough $50,943 $10,297 $0 $61,240 $100 $0 $21,660 $18,084 $39,744 $21,584 $21,584 $21,484
Glaab $28,086 $8,899 $22,000 $58,985 $100,000 $3,925 $50,019 $40,053 $90,072 $68,914 $64,989 -($35,011)
Gabriella $12,111 $4,592 $0 $16,703 $1,196 $0 $4,582 $9,507 $14,089 $5,693 $5,693 $2,614
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.

Campaign finance reports for January 1-March 17, 2014 were due Monday.

Posted in 73rd Assembly District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

BREAKING NEWS: Complaint Filed With Office Of The District Attorney Against Brett Barbre

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on March 26, 2014

OC Political was tipped off today by an anonymous source that a complaint was filed with the office of the District Attorney against Brett Barbre. Barbre who is one of the consultants working on the Troy Edgar campaign is accused of falsely signing that he gathered nomination signatures on a document that somebody else circulated. Here is a copy of the letter that was sent to the Office of the District Attorney:

Barbre_Complaint

We will report more on this story along with the pending lawsuit to get Troy Edgar back on the ballot as soon as we get more information.

 

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

AD-74: Curry Dominates Fundraising, Patrascu Distant Second, Harper Spends All on Slates

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 26, 2014

Well, it’s that time of the election cycle again: campaign finance reports are out. OC Political will be doing our in-depth analysis to help you get past the campaigns’ spin on the numbers.  First on the docket is the race for AD-74 to replace Allan Mansoor, who is leaving the Assembly to run for the 2nd District Supervisor’s seat, being vacated by the termed out John Moorlach.  AD-74 consists of Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach, the southern half of Huntington Beach, and portions of Irvine.

Harper, Curry, Patrascu

The three Republican candidates in AD-74: Matthew Harper, Keith D. Curry, and Emanuel Patrascu.

There are three declared Republican candidates in AD-74: Huntington Beach Mayor Matthew Harper, Businessman/Newport Beach Councilman Keith D. Curry, and Assemblyman Travis Allen’s District Director Emanuel Patrascu, an Orange County business owner.  H&R Block Franchise Associate Karina Onofre pulled papers as a Republican but filed them as a Democrat, so she’s on the ballot as a Democrat. Middle School Teacher Anila Ali, who has been a Democrat since she became a U.S. citizen in 2008, will also be on the ballot.  (For those wondering, Onofre was a Republican for 20 months, from July 2012-March 2014.  She has been a Democrat for years, other than during those 20 months.)

When OC Political analyzed the numbers for the end of the 2013 reporting, AD-74 was called the “Land of Small Warchests” in the post. Since then, Curry put his foot on the gas, and Patrascu stepped it up a bit, so those two are posting much stronger numbers (though still far behind races in other Assembly districts, but at the end of the day, to win this race, AD-74 only needs to worry about AD-74).  The other three candidates’ warchests remain rather small, however.

Before I start in on the numbers, it’s time to attack the $100,000 paper tiger loans.  We’ve been attacking the fiction of the $100,000 loans for months on OC Political.  (This July post is probably the seminal post on the issue, though it wasn’t until this August post that the paper tiger name was attached.)  In essence, these $100,000 paper tiger loans are loans candidates make to artificially inflate their campaign finance numbers to impress donors and scare opponents.  The reason $100,000 is the figure used is that’s the most a candidate can loan their own campaign and still get the money back.  Any amount the candidate gives above $100,000 is forever donated to the campaign under state law.  In AD-74, Republican Curry and Democrat Onofre gave their own campaigns $100,000 paper tiger loans.  It also appears Republican Patrascu gave his campaign a smaller paper tiger loan of $29,700.  Republican Harper has actually spent his negligible $4,100 loan.

Curry had a slow start to 2013, but of course he declared his entry in the race just three weeks before Christmas.  In the prior post on AD-74 warchests, I asked, ” If Curry can continue his pace of $21,200 per month, he will quickly amass the largest warchest in AD-74.  However, many candidates find their fundraising slows down after an initial burst after their campaigns launch when they pick up their low-hanging fruit donors; can Curry defy the odds?”  The answer is yes, he defied the odds.  In this latest reporting period, Curry raised $32,871 per month.

Curry added $83,768 this reporting period to his $21,200 from 2013, making him the first AD-74 candidate to break the $100,000 barrier in funds raised, with $104,968 in the course of his campaign.  Curry transferred a negligible $6,490 from his city council campaign account in 2013, but transferred nothing this reporting period.  He also gave himself one of those $100,000 paper tiger loans that we expect he won’t spend.  Curry spent $32,271 on a healthy mix of items, including campaign literature, slate mailers, fundraising, ballot filing fees, and consultant fees.  He has no unpaid bills.  Even after subtracting out his loans, Curry still has $78,506 cash-on-hand.

Patrascu added $25,679 in this reporting period to his $35,395 haul from 2013, bringing his total contributions to $60,974.  He made no transfers.  He has $29,700 in loans.  He was incredibly tight-fisted with his expenditures, spending only $5,098, all of went to fundraising expenses, campaign treasurer expenses, and ballot filing fees.  He has no unpaid bills.  After subtracting out his loans, Patrascu still has $54,021 cash-on-hand.

Harper only raised $2,150 in this reporting period ($1,900 from Rainbow Disposal and $250 from attorney Dave Bartels), adding to the $4,100 he raised in 2013 from Karen Harper last year, leaving Harper with $6,250 raised.  He transferred in $11,150 from his City Council account into his Assembly account, all during this reporting period.  He loaned himself $4,100.  He spent $15,674, with $13,700 going to Jim Lacy’s Landslide Communications slates, $1,906 going to his treasurer Dave Bauer for either campaign literature or treasurer fees, and $68 in small unitemized expenditures.  He has $17,763 in unpaid bills, with $13,700 on his credit card to pay for Lacy’s Landslide slates, $4,028 on his credit card to pay ballot filing fees, another $1,927 in small unitemized unpaid bills, and $35 on his credit card to pay for small office expenses.  After subtracting out the loans and accounting for his unpaid bills, Harper is $19,940 in debt.

The Democrats are easy to summarize.  Ali has not yet hit the $25,000 mark to require online campaign finance filing.  Onofre gave herself a $100,000 paper tiger loan.  She spent nothing and transferred nothing.  She has a single $100 contribution from Republican CD-45 candidate Greg Raths; from the date of the contribution, Onofre was still a Republican at the time.  I imagine Raths will be asking for his $100 back since Onofre has become a Democrat.

For visual learners:

Candidate 2013
Contributions
1/1/14-3/17/14
Contributions
Total
Contributions
Transfers Candidate
Loans
Unpaid
Bills
Expenditures Cash on Hand
(COH)
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills
& Loans
Harper $4,100 $2,150 $6,250 $11,150 $4,100 $17,763 $15,674 $1,923 -($15,840) -($19,940)
Curry $21,200 $83,768 $104,968 $6,490 $100,000 $0 $32,271 $178,506 $178,506 $78,506
Patrascu $35,295 $25,679 $60,974 $0 $29,700 $0 $5,098 $83,721 $83,721 $54,021
Onofre $100 N/A $100 $0 $100,000 $0 $0 $100,100 $100,100 $100
Ali N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.

Campaign finance reports for January 1-March 17, 2014 were due Monday.

Posted in 74th Assembly District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »