OC Political

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Live from OCGOP Endorsements Committee: Round 2A

Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 2, 2014

We’re live from OCGOP Endorsements Committee tonight as they hold the first of two meetings to make recommendations for the September Central Committee meeting’s endorsements.

On tonight’s docket are:
Angie Cano – Santa Ana School District
Timothy Surridge – Orange Unified School District, Trustee Area 5
Jim Cunneen – Fountain Valley School District
Sandra Crandall – Fountain Valley School District
Tracy Pellman – Ocean View School District
Rick Ledesma – Orange Unified School District, Trustee Area 7
John Briscoe – Ocean View School District
Measure H – AUHSD Bond (No)
Measure I – FJUHSD Bond (No)
Measure J – NOCCCD Bond (No)
Measure K – OUSD Bond (No)
Measure Z – RSM Zoning (Yes)
Andrew Hamilton – Lake Forest City Council
Elaine Gennawey – Laguna Niguel City Council
John Jennings – Laguna Niguel City Council
Shawn Dewane – Orange County Water District Division 7
Ron Amburgey – Mesa Water District Division 4
Chuck Perry – Director Costa Mesa Sanitary
Brad McGirr – Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
Michael Vaughn – Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
Jesse Petrilla – Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
Laurie Biehl – Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
Don Chadd – Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
Jerry Holloway – Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
Kris Murray – Anaheim City Council
Gail Eastman – Anaheim City Council
Douglas Pettibone – Anaheim City Council
James Vanderbilt – Anaheim City Council
Tony Capitelli – Costa Mesa Council
Kevin Muldoon – Newport Beach City Council
Scott Peotter – Newport Beach City Council
Duffy Duffield – Newport Beach City Council
M.J. Noor – Fullerton Joint Union High School District

6:11 PM: SAUSD Candidate Angie Cano is a UCI student who graduated from SAUSD and was an English Language Learner. She opposes Common Core. She notes SAUSD has three Democrats and two Republicans. A Democrat is retiring.

6:14 PM: OUSD Trustee Timothy Surridge speaks about his background in education as a teacher. He speaks about being a conservative. OUSD is one of the most fiscally sound districts in OC. He has fought for music education. His opponent is a liberal union lawyer.

6:16 PM: FVSD Candidate Jim Cunneen is concerned about district spending. He has five children in public schools. He’s attended every school board meeting over the last two years. He serves on a city commission. He notes he is one of only two Republicans in the race.

6:17 PM: FVSD Trustee Sandra Crandall speaks of the challenges of finding a new fiscally conservative superintendent, local control agebcy funding, and various other conservative stances.

6:19 PM: OVSD Trustee Tracy Pellman is absent due to a medical emergency with her husband.

OVSD Trustee John Briscoe notes that Pellman has received significant union IEs.

6:20 PM: OUSD Trustee Rick Ledesma speaks about his budgetary experience, increasing OUSD test scores, and the Republican majority on the OUSD Board, including his efforts to help elect more conservatives to the Board.

6:21 PM: OVSD Trustee John Briscoe says he’s the only independent voice on his Board. He was first elected in 2006, but two unions united to try to oust him from office in 2010. He speaks about the lay of the land of the candidates for OVSD, including likely significant union spending. He apologizes for an error on his questionnaire.

6:25 PM: The committee has pulled everyone except Briscoe for discussion.


6:26 PM: Committee Member Mark McCurdy asks Cano about her non-support of a constitutional amendment to protect local government from losing money to the state. Cano says she made a mistake on the form.

McCurdy asks about her non-support of shall-issue gun permits. Cano says she misunderstood the question.


6:27 PM: Jeff Matthews asks Crandall and Cunneen why they marked both yes and no on supporting Common Core. Crandall says they both support strong academic standards and are concerned about implementation. Cunneen speaks about supporting local control but is open to the Common Core standards.


6:32 PM: Thomas Gordon asks Surridge and Ledesma about voting to put a bond on the ballot.

Mark Bucher suggests waiting to discuss the bonds before discussing Surridge and Ledesma.

6:34 PM: Jeff Matthews asks for a neutral recommendation on all the bonds. He says the committee needs to understand the details of each measure and the arguments of both sides before voting on a ballot measure.

6:35 PM: Thomas Gordon questions how the party can have a taxpayer protection pledge and not take a stand on the bonds.

6:36 PM: Peggy Huang expresses concern about districts adding more debt and the lack of State matching funds. She says there needs to be a strong justification for a bond. She asks to stay neutral on Measure Z, the Rancho Santa Margarita zoning measure.

6:37 PM: McCurdy supports Huang’s position.

6:38 PM: There are no speakers for or against Measure H, the Anaheim Union High School District bond.

6:39 PM: Superintendent George Giokaris speaks in favor of Measure I, the Fullerton Joint Union High School District Bond. He speaks of meeting the OCTax criteria. He says it’s a brick and mortar bond. He says their schools are excellent. He speaks of the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce endorsement. He urges support or neutrality.

6:41 PM: Councilman Bruce Whitaker speaks against Measure I as a tax increase that provides no specifics. He notes there was a bond in 2002. He praises the schools with the existing funds. He says this is an effort to finance run of the mill expenses in order to free up funds for pension liabilities. He says he appreciates the FJUHSD but limiting government is the right ideology. He says many of the official proponents are Democrats.

6:44 PM: Huang asks about various taxpayer protection language provisions.

6:45 PM: Giokaris says they will have a taxpayer oversight committee as required by Prop 39.

6:45 PM: Gordon asks about OCTax and PLA.

Giokaris says it meets the criteria of OCTax but that OCTax does not support bonds. He says there is no PLA because it is necessary to meet the OCTax criteria.

6:46 PM: Mark Bucher asks about whether it’s a tax increase.

Giokaris says it will be $19 per $100000.

6:47 PM: Gordon moves to recommend opposing Measure I, the Fullerton Joint Union High School District bond. McCurdy seconds.

Gordon questions about the failure of districts to set aside maintenance money.

Bucher cites Whitaker’s argument.

NO MEASURE I RECOMMENDED BY A 4-0-1 VOTE. (Mathews abstaining.)

6:49 PM: Bucher solicits and Gordon moves to oppose Measure H, the Anaheim Union High School District bond.

NO ON MEASURE H RECOMMENDED BY A 3-0-2 VOTE. (Matthews and Huang abstaining.)

6:50 PM: Councilman Bruce Whitaker speaks against the size of Measure J, the NOCCCD bond.

NO MEASURE J RECOMMENDED BY A 4-0-1 VOTE. (Mathews abstaining.)

6:52 PM: Todd Spitzer urges the committee to stay out of Orange Unified’s Measure K. He points to the poor state of El Modena and other schools. He points to conservatives like Fred Whitaker supporting the bond. He says he’d be happy to pay the bond.

6:53 PM: Tim Surridge speaks about the Napa earthquake. He speaks about student safety and outdated facilities.

6:54 PM: Deborah Pauly notes this is the largest bond ever proposed by a K-12 school district. She says the Taj Mahal plan would cost three times as much as the bond. She notes about the failure of the district to put enough money for maintenance.

6:55 PM: Robert Hammond speaks about finding better ways to fund repairs to the schools like his alma mater, Orange High School. He is concerned about the bond debt of a $296 million bond, which would be approximately $540 million to pay off.

6:57 PM: Thomas Gordon moves to recommend opposing Measure K, the Orange Unified School District bond. He speaks about fiscal mismanagement.

6:58 PM: Bucher speaks about fiscal mismanagement of school districts.

NO MEASURE K RECOMMENDED BY A 4-0-1 VOTE. (Mathews abstaining.)

7:00 PM: Joe Dychen speaks in favor of Measure Z in Rancho Santa Margarita. He says it is an issue of property rights. He says personality conflicts are the only reason they didn’t get the rezone.

Dick Ackerman speaks of the Council using confiscatory zoning.

Steve Baric expresses concern about Republican elected officials taking zoning awry.

7:02 PM: Carol Gamble speaks against Measure Z. She hands out a document showing car dealers do wish to locate I Rancho Santa Margarita.

Tony Beall points to a myriad of arguments by the proponents of Measure Z that were ruled false by a court. He speaks about the proponents failing to form an FPPC committee and disclosing their expenses.

7:04 PM: Gordon asks how this is not a property rights issue.

Beall states the zoning existed before the property owner bought it and that the property owner knew it going in.

7:05 PM: Bucher asks a question about the number of dealerships.

Beall describes the number.

Dychen describes the physical locations of the dealerships.

7:07 PM: Huang asks Dychen why did he buy it if he knew what it was zoned for.

Dychen says they had met with the City and expected to be rezoned like the neighboring parcels.

7:08 PM: Gordon asks if the opponents are fine with leaving the site as-is.

Beall says Toyota of Rancho Santa Margarita is willing to buy the land with the current zoning.

7:09 PM: Mathews moves for neutrality on Measure Z in Rancho Santa Margarita.

He says they should not be taking a position on something with strong arguments on both sides.

Peggy Huang says this should be a local control issue and that the residents should decide this for themselves without the party taking a position.

Gordon asks why Dychen hasn’t taken the Toyota deal.

Dychen says he didn’t receive the offer until this morning.

McCurdy wants to stay out.


7:12 PM: Rick Ledesma explains he has served on the Board for years and is a financial analyst. He opposed the bonds in 2004. He could not find a way to fund maintenance without the unions scooping out the money. He reminds the committee that he is the only Republican running in his Trustee Area and that Surridge is the only Republican running in his Trustee Area.

Huang asks about his efforts to cut spending.

Ledesma speaks about his efforts to sell off surplus properties. He speaks about the cities inhibiting the full surplus property value.

Gordon asks if Ledesma opposes PLAs.

Ledesma says yes.

7:17 PM: Gordon moves to endorse Ledesma and Surridge. He is concerned about their liberal opponents. He urges them to continue opposing PLAs and to oppose future bonds.

Huang supports the motion and urges Ledesma and Surridge to act prudently if the bond passes and creatively if it fails.

Bucher says this is a tough one. He fears the unions are trying to run schools into the ground and get conservatives to vote for higher taxes.


7:20 PM: Lake Forest Council candidate Andrew Hamilton is Chairman of the Planning Commission. He speaks about his fiscal conservatism and his endorsements from Senator Mimi Walters and Mayor Dwight Robinson.

Since no other candidate is seeking the endorsement:

7:23 PM: Laguna Niguel Council candidate Elaine Gennawey speaks of her service to the city, her efforts for cityhood, and her Citizen of the Year award. She speaks of her work for Republican candidates. She speaks of her fiscal conservatism. The crowd is impressed that she used exactly her alloted time.


7:25 PM: Laguna Niguel Council candidate John Jennings speaks of his service to the city. He speaks of his efforts to help Republican candidates. He speaks of his various Republican endorsements.


7:27 PM: OCWD Director Shawn Dewane speaks of his experience with water. He speaks of his conservative endorsements including Rohrabacher, Righeimer, and Mensinger. He draws positive laughter when he notes his opponent is Wendy Leece.


7:28 PM: Mesa Water District candidate Ron Amburgey speaks about his fiscal conservatism and notes the incumbent’s use of taxpayer funded limousines.


7:30 PM: CMSD incumbent Chuck Perry is difficult to hear. This blogger is able to hear that Perry is endorsed by Righeimer and Mensinger.


7:33 PM: The Rancho Santa Margarita onslaught begins.

Councilman Brad McGirr notes his previous endorsement by the OC GOP in 2010. He speaks of the City’s low crime and strong public safety. He speaks of the balanced budget and large reserve. He supports Prop 13 and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. He speaks of his work for numerous Republican candidates and his numerous Republican endorsements. He goes on a tangent on Measure Z having good conservatives on both sides.

Mike Vaughn speaks of his service to the city. He speaks of his service to the school district. He speaks to quietly to be heard well.

Joe Dychen speaks against them because of nanny state attitudes by these two candidates. He criticizes McGirr supporting a woman’s call for a police investigation of her child’s preschool. He accuses them of using liberal tactics against their opponents.

Carol Gamble speaks on behalf of McGirr’s knowledge and experience and Vaughn’s community volunteerism.

Mike Safranski speaks against McGirr, citing zoning and Measure Z. He also cites McGirr’s nanny state bullying ordinance.

Jennifer Beall says McGirr and Vaughn have built grassroots coalitions of volunteers helping to carry 50,000 pieces in support of Prop 32.

7:41 PM: Councilman Jesse Petrilla thanks the Party for endorsing him in 2010. He opposes tax increases. He speaks of the balanced budget and budget surplus. He speaks of his military service, his small business, and his new baby.

Laurie Biehl speaks of being a mother, businesswoman, and volunteer. She says she is the only woman applying for the endorsement in Rancho Santa Margarita and is the only one with no political experience. She speaks of her community volunteerism. She speaks about her business.

Don Chadd says he is a Reagan Republican. He helped in the cityhood movement. He says he is not an insider. He says he is concerned about property rights. He signed the ballot argument in favor of Measure Z. He is concerned about the current Council majority.

Councilman Steve Baric says Petrilla’s behavior as a 17 year old is irrelevant. He points to Petrilla’s conservative voting record on the Council and his service in the military.

A woman speaks in favor of Biehl and her numerous community activities.

Mike Safranski speaks of serving with Chadd on numerous Boards and being a consensus builder.

Tony Beall speaks against Petrilla due to his felony convictions. He says Petrilla lied about his convictions during his Assembly race. He notes six statements in the argument in favor of Measure Z had six statements struck by a court. He says Biehl is a court reporter working for Dychen’s lawyer’s firm, which she denies.

Carol Gamble says Petrilla rarely shows up at Council events. She says she’s never seen Biehl anywhere near city government.

Jennifer Beall says Chadd is a double dipper with two pensions.

7:51 PM: Jerry Holloway speaks of his city experience and his efforts on behalf of Republican candidates.

No one speaks in favor of or against Holloway.

7:53 PM: Gordon asks if Tony Beall refused to vote to cut Council compensation after Jennifer Beall passed out the document about Chadd’s pension. Beall doesn’t recall the vote. Baric argues Beall did vote against it. Debate ensues.

7:55 PM: Huang asks if anyone has received money from Dychen. Both McGirr and Petrilla have.

Lots of cross-talk ensues.

Petrilla, Chadd, and Biehl support Measure Z. McGirr, Vaughn, and Holloway oppose Measure Z.

Jennifer Beall says Petrilla’s Planning Commissioner dissented in a 4-1 vote on the underlying issue in Measure Z. She says Petrilla dissented in a 3-1-1 vote (Baric was absent).

McGirr says his antibullying ordinance was only conceptual for discussion after a girl committed suicide after cyber bullying.

Petrilla talks about a 3-2 vote on cutting Council defined contribution programs (Petrilla and Baric wanted to cut them). Beall says he has no Council defined benefit plan.

8:00 PM: Matthews motions for neutrality because there are six people applying for endorsements with only three seats on the ballot.

Huang seconds the motion. She says the residents of Rancho Santa Margarita need to determine whether to pass or defeat Measure Z. She says she wishes Petrilla was more forthright about his felony convictions but she cites her experience as a Deputy Attorney General in forgiving him and protecting the rights of juveniles.

Gordon agrees with Huang on the felony issue. He is disgusted that a crime committed as a juvenile keeps being brought up. He cites Petrilla’s exemplary adult life including his military service. He says Measure Z has clouded the city when they should be fighting for Republicans. He’s inclined to endorse Petrilla and Petrilla alone.

McCurdy says there’s plenty of documentation.

Bucher leans toward the Matthews-Huang position. He prefers neutrality. He has no problem with Petrilla’s behavior as an adult.


8:07 PM: Costa Mesa candidate Tony Capitelli speaks about working for Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman Buck McKeon, and Supervisor Mike Antonovich. He speaks of needing to attract younger voters to the Republican Party. He warns that Costa Mesa is in danger of becoming a city with more Democrats than Republicans.

Matthews notes two candidates have already been endorsed by the party for Costa Mesa City Council (Jim Righeimer and Lee Ramos) with only two seats.

Capitelli doesn’t understand why the Central Committee overruled Desare’ Ferraro’s effort to delay the Ramos endorsement until Capitelli could be considered.

Bucher suspects the endorsement of Jim Righeimer carried the day for Lee Ramos.

Capitelli calls it cronyism and urges the committee to rescind its Ramos endorsement.

Bucher says the Endorsements Committee can’t do that, but the Central Committee can. Bucher says it would be an uphill battle though.

Capitelli doesn’t understand the difference between Rancho Santa Margarita and Costa Mesa on the endorsements.

Matthews suggests Capitelli apply for a city commission or committee.

8:14 PM: The Anaheim City Council chaos begins.

Doug Pettibone notes his longtime residence in Anaheim. He worked for the Orange County Register. He says it is tough for a first time candidate to get the endorsement. He notes Ronald Reagan was a first time candidate when elected Governor. Pettibone says he is endorsed by Mayor Tom Tait, who was endorsed by the OC GOP. He urges an endorsement for Tait, Pettibone, and Vanderbilt. He says endorsing Tait, Murray, and Eastman would send an inconsistent message.

James Vanderbilt speaks about his military service and his conservative record on the Anaheim City School District Board. He has fought against fee increases. He has refused taxpayer-financed benefits since his election to the school board in 2004.

Tom Tait speaks in favor of Pettibone and Vanderbilt. He says he disagrees with the other side’s fiscal policies, including tax giveaways and failure to support pension reform.

8:19 PM: Bucher notes that neither Councilwomen Kris Murray nor Gail Eastman have signed the union-free pledge. Bucher says they cannot be endorsed under the rules because of that.

Murray says they have passed pension reform, balanced the budget, and restored city services. She has led efforts to bring employers and the jobs they bring. She has cut the cost of doing business. She has worked on law enforcement issues to improve public safety, citing banning sex offenders from parks and fighting medical marijuana disoensaries. She says she worked for the Republican Party in Washington, DC. She notes various Republican elected official endorsements.

Eastman says she has already received union support. She says they have achieved as much pension reform as possible. She says she and Murray have been Republicans in good standing who have pushed conservative values for the past four years on the Council. She says she defends the free market. She says the split with Tait is overblown by the media.

8:25 PM: Alexandria Coronado says she opposed the Anaheim Union High School District Measure Z bond in 2002. She says Vanderbilt supported that bond and served on the oversight committee that lost a quarter-billion dollars. She says Vanderbilt also supported an Anaheim City School District bond.

Vanderbilt says he was put on the Anaheim Union High School District oversight committee after the Grand Jury report came out and that he has actually helped clean up the mess that Coronado described. He also says the Anaheim City School District bond has had no problems.

Jennifer Fitzgerald says the committee would be inconsistent for endorsing the incumbent Mayor but not the incumbent Councilmembers. She says they have implemented pension reform which she says is the point of the union-free pledge.

Sam Han representing Assemblyman Don Wagner asks for neutrality citing pension reform.

8:30 PM: Jeff Matthews questions what is a Republican in good standing. He urges neutrality when there are more Republicans in good standing than spots available. He wonders if Murray and Eastman are not Republicans in good standing due to their refusal to sign the union-free pledge.

Peggy Huang moves for neutrality. She credits Murray and Eastman for being honest enough to not sign the pledge as opposed to lying by signing the pledge and then breaking it. She praises Anaheim’s pension reform but urges taking more steps to protect taxpayers. She says all four are good candidates.

Gordon is concerned that people who have accepted union money are urging neutrality simply as a way to block people who abided by the union-free pledge.

Bucher asks if Murray signed the union-free pledge in 2010 when she was endorsed.

She says she did. She has since accepted union contributions.

Bucher asks Tait about the pension reform debate.

Tait says the State allowed a 60% pension for new public safety employees. He lost on a 4-1 vote where they instead backed an 82% pension.

Murray says Tait voted for 3% at 50 as a Councilman. Murrays says she voted to cut the 3% at 50 pension formula to 2.7% at 57 for public safety employees. She agrees with Huang that there needs to be more steps for pension reform.

Tait says the Council majority voted for the highest public safety pension formula permitted under PEPRA.

8:40 PM: Gordon asks if Vanderbilt endorsed Tom Daly for Assembly in 2012.

Vanderbilt says Daly was the business Democrat running in 2012 against union Democrats.

Gordon asks about Murray’s level of union support.

She says she is being attacked by unions across the County who are trying to impose districts in Anaheim.

Bucher asks a followup to Gordon’s question.

Murray says she received thousands of dollars in union support.


8:43 PM: The committee takes an intermission.

8:53 PM: The committee returns. There’s a discussion about Newport Beach City Council applications being submitted at different times and an impression that the party was going to be neutral.

Bucher suggests having OCGOP Chairman Scott Baugh send all the Newport Beach City Council candidates for consideration at the full Central Committee instead.

8:57 PM: Newport Beach City Council candidate Duffy Duffield speaks about his father’s staunch anti unionism and conservatism. He speaks of now running his family business of Duffy boats.

His opponent, Councilman Rush Hill, has not submitted an application despite being endorsed four years ago.


Candidate Scott Peotter expresses frustration with the Bucher proposal because he and Kevin Muldoon submitted timely applications while Mike Toerge and Tim Brown submitted late applications. Peotter proposes getting a thumbs up from the Endorsements Committee for Peotter and Muldoon but allow Toerge and Brown to be considered at Central Committee.

Thomas Gordon asks Brown if he supported a dock fee.

Brown says he was not on the Council, but Gordon asks if he publicly supported it, which he did.

9:04 PM: Scott Peotter speaks about his help for numerous Republican candidates. He speaks about his business and his family. He opposes the dock tax. He opposes the “Taj MaCity Hall.”

Scott Hart notes that Peotter had only moved back to Newport Beach within the last year from Irvine. He says Toerge has lived in Newport Beach for 39 years and serves on a City commission.

Gordon asks to see Toerge and Brown’s applications.

Huang moves to recommend Peotter for endorsement. McCurdy seconds.

Matthews asks if Toerge and Brown had simply not submitted because they had thought there’d be no endorsement.

Gordon notes Muldoon and Peotter submitted their applications in June. Toerge and Brown submitted in August.

McCurdy warns that waiting for an October endorsement is not good for any of the candidates.

Gordon says Brown signed the anti-fee pledge yet supports the dock fee.

Matthews submits a substitute motion to hear all the candidates tomorrow. He withdraws the substitute motion because there has not been enough time to notice the candidate for the meeting.


Kevin Muldoon has been a Republican activist. He opposes fee and tax increases.

Huang moves to endorse Muldoon. Gordon seconds. Nearly everyone says ditto on their comments though Gordon again expresses concern about Brown’s position on the dock fee.


9:22 PM: Last candidate of the night.

Fullerton Joint Union High School District candidate MJ Noor grew up in Boston. She graduated from Harvard Law and worked for the United Nations. Her children graduated from public schools. She is running because she is concerned that there are three incumbents who have voted to put the Measure I bond on the ballot, that the three have served over 30 years each, that the three are implementing Common Core, and that Planned Parenthood is trying to get into Fullerton high schools.

Robert Hammond would like to have a conservative on the Fullerton Joint Union High School District Board. He notes the Orange County Board of Education voted 5-0 to examine Common Core.

Bucher interrupts to say even one election has consequences.

Hammond continues urging the committee to recommend Noor for endorsement.

Matthews asks if Noor opposes Measure I and if anyone else has applied for the endorsement.

She opposes Measure I and no one else has applied.


9:29 PM: Committee adjourns.

6 Responses to “Live from OCGOP Endorsements Committee: Round 2A”

  1. Chris. Thanks for the details of last night’s committee meeting. It amazes me how quickly you transcribe the discussions. In your next career move I am going to recommend you for a job as court reporter.

  2. […] Rather than regurgitate the proceedings, Chris Nguyen’s live-blogging of the meeting is a good re-cap, which you can read here. […]

  3. […] Chris Nguyen burning up the lines with news of the OC Republican Party’s tentative endorsements, I just thought […]

  4. […] Live from OCGOP Endorsements Committee: Round 2A […]

  5. […] of endorsements to decide on the recommendations of the Endorsements Committee, which we covered here and here. Please recall that the OC GOP Central Committee already made official early endorsements […]

  6. […] September 2, 2014: Andrew Hamilton recommended for Lake Forest City Council as one of six Republicans running for three seats […]

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