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Archive for April, 2016

Anti-Choice Teachers Unions Want to Take Control of the OC Board of Education

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on April 27, 2016

Everyone agrees that education for our children is a critical pathway for those children to grow into adults who are ready to earn a living and become responsible members of our society. Unfortunately labor unions including teachers unions have a different focus – to benefit their union bank accounts with your tax dollars more than the quality and success of students in those schools.  Often to balance a school district’s books the union elected Board of Trustees will give raises to District employees and increase class sizes (with layoffs of younger teachers with less seniority).  How does this help children in these schools?  Not at all.  In fact classroom overcrowding and teachers kept due to seniority instead of quality and student progress is detrimental to their education.

Let me pause and say there are many great teachers in the public school system.  It is not their actions that are the problem.  It is their unions who want to hold onto power who are the problem.

Many parents choose to send their children to private schools or choose to homeschool their children to assure that they are doing everything they can to provide a quality education for their child. But there is another route parents can take: public charter schools.  The success of public charter schools is beyond refutation. The fact is that public charter schools, with the freedom to not unionize their staffs and focus on children’s academic progress rather than just seniority in teacher evaluations, have resulted in long waiting lists for children to gain entrance into good public charter schools.  What is the response to this by government employee unions?  To block public charter school applications at every turn.  First via the Board of Trustees at the local level.  Then with a rubber stamp Orange County Board of Education that denied charter school application appeals routinely. That changed two years ago when Linda Lindholm joined Trustees Robert Hammond and Ken Williams to form a pro public charter school majority.  Since then charter schools that formerly were routinely denied appeals have had their appeals granted and more charter schools opened to the benefit of children, parents, teachers who work there and ultimately all of us as these children graduate with a quality education.

This June 7th voters in Orange County will have an opportunity to re-elect Trustees Hammond and Williams to keep that pro-charter school majority in place.  The teacher unions are running Tustin Councilmember Rebecca Gomez and Irvine School Board member Michael Parham against Hammond and Williams to replace the current majority with a board majority that will bring the OC Board back to the days when charter school application appeals are routinely denied no matter the quality and demand by parents for a viable alternative to sometimes failing public schools their children are enrolled in.

Former State Senator Gloria Romero has an excellent opinion article in the Orange County Register (Teachers unions trying to take back O.C. board). Follow the link to her article where she has set forth how this is a deceptive campaign by the unions to smear Trustee Hammond and Williams to place their handpicked Trustees on the board.

Here is a part of her article:

“The name “Teachers for Local Control” undoubtedly was poll tested and determined to be a resonant mantra with Orange County voters.     What backers probably won’t reveal is that Teachers for Local Control is a chameleon group for the Santa Ana Educators Association, a local affiliate of the powerful Sacramento-based California Teachers Association, which has fought virtually every public education reform and law granting parental school choice in California.

In fact, the legal phone number for Teachers for Local Control provided to the California Secretary of State’s Office is the same number as for the Santa Ana teachers union office.

Whoops.”

Teacher unions what to give parents less choice in the education of their children by opposing public charter schools. Trustees Hammond and Williams want to preserve choice and excellence in education.   Voters will have an important choice regarding education in Orange County on June 7th.

Re-elect Robert Hammond and Dr. Ken Williams to the Orange County Board of Education.

For more about former Marine Robert Hammond go to: http://www.robertforocbe.com/

For more about Dr. Ken Williams go to: http://www.williamsforocbe.com/

For more about public charter schools in general go to: http://www.ccsaadvocates.org/ and Parents Advocate League.

 

 

Posted in Orange County Board of Education, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Live from OC GOP: Wagner vs. Philips and Other Endorsements

Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 18, 2016

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We’re live from the OC GOP Central Committee, where endorsements for the June 2016 Primary Election in the 47th Congressional District and Superior Court Judge Office No. 3 are being considered. A very early endorsement request for the November 2016 re-election bid of Santa Ana Unified School District Trustee Cecilia Iglesias is also being considered.

Prior endorsements for the June 2016 Primary are available here.

The 69th Assembly District Republican candidate, Ofelia Velarde-Garcia, spoke about her priorities of jobs, public safety, and education.

Volunteer of the Month was Paula Prizio.

47TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

First up is the 47th Congressional District where Andy Whallon and Sanford Kahn are seeking the OC GOP endorsement in their bids to advance to the November General Election against Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach).

Whallon says he was the only Republican who stepped forward in 2014 to run against Lowenthal. As a first-time candidate in 2014, Whallon got 44% of the vote. He has consistently attended Central Committee meetings in both Orange and Los Angeles Counties as an ex officio member of both. He pledges to vote only for balanced budgets and is willing to donate his entire Congressional salary to charity if the budget is not balanced.

Kahn says he ran for Congress in 2012 and several times before that. He is a mechanical engineer. He says this is not a complicated age: there is choice between a set of economic-political policies that empowers individuals and a set of economic-political policies that empowers government. He wants to replace the tax code with a 15% flat tax. He does not believe education needs more funding – he believes education needs competition, and he supports vouchers.

Anthony Kuo asks the candidates where they live and for how long.

Kahn has lived in Long Beach since 1969 while Whallon has lived in Long Beach since 1985.

Baron Night asks the candidates how long they have attended Central Committee meetings.

Kahn does not believe he has ever attended an OC GOP Central Committee meeting. Whallon has regularly attended both OC GOP and LA GOP Central Committee meetings for the last two years.

Dennis White asks what philosophy drives each candidate.

Kahn points to individual empowerment while Whallon points to Atlas Shrugged.

Scott Voigts asked if they have been involved in any other candidates’ campaigns.

Neither has.

John Warner asks how much each has raised and who has endorsed them.

Kahn has tried to avoid FEC filing by not raising more than $5000. He is self-funding. He only has the endorsement of voters.

Whallon has raised $20000 and is also self-funding. Scott Voigts, Mike Munzing, David Shawver, and Al Ethans have endorsed him.

Jeff Lalloway asks why each should be endorsed over the other.

Kahn says he has an economic background and supports vouchers, a flat tax, Congressional term limits, and the elimination of the estate tax.

Whallon is working to bring new voters into the Republican Party.

Alexandria Coronado states redistricting took many cities out of Ed Royce’s seat and into the seat now held by Alan Lowenthal.

Mike Munzing asks about the repeal of Obamacare.

Whallon states instant repeal does not work because millions of Americans are enrolled in it. He wants to replace Obamacare instead.

Kahn says people should be able to buy health insurance across state lines. He believes cafeteria style plans are preferable. He suggests a healthcare voucher.

Tim Whitacre asks if they’ll support the other if they lose the primary.

Each agreed to endorse the other if he loses the primary.

Thomas Gordon moves and Baron Night seconds endorsing Whallon.

No one wishes to speak for or against the motion.

Whallon wins the endorsement by voice vote with only a smattering of verbal opposition.

SANTA ANA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Without discussion, Anthony Kuo moves and Steve Sarkis seconds the endorsement of Cecilia Iglesias for Santa Ana Unified School District.

With no debate, Iglesias is endorsed by unanimous voice vote.

SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE OFFICE NO. 3

Megan Wagner says she is the kinder, gentler Wagner. She notes her education and her 20+ years as an attorney in private practice representing businesses. She has been a prosecutor since 2011. She says Orange County needs judges who deal with criminals in a serious way and who understand business. She is endorsed by the Lincoln Club unanimously, the CRA, every County-level elected official, and 50 Superior Court judges. She notes the Democrat running, Andrew Stein, is a resident of Los Angeles.

Philips is a Marine veteran. He earned his law degree while an active duty Marine. He opened a private practice while a reservist JAG. He notes his endorsements from numerous average voters. Philips points to an OC Weekly article accusing Wagner of prosecutorial misconduct via improperly obtaining records.

Steve Sarkis asks Wagner to respond to Philips’s accusation.

Wagner says she is not allowed to comment on the specifics of an ongoing case. She says defendants frequently make accusations about prosecutors. She points to the OC Weekly’s political agenda.

Kermit Marsh speaks of the great expense of a Countywide race for Judge. He asks how much each candidate has raised.

Philips does not want campaign contributions because he will campaign via social media.

Wagner locked up slates a year ago and has received contributions from a number of candidates. She suggests Philips look up Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment.

Scott Voigts asks about each candidate’s endorsements.

Philips says he wants the endorsements of only the voters.

Wagner lists numerous organizations and elected officials.

Baron Night asks Philips about his military experience and legal experience.

He reiterates his military service and speaks of trying numerous civil trials.

Thomas Gordon asks about Wagner’s endorsements from Joe Dunn, Tom Daly, and Claudia Alvarez.

Wagner says Judge is a nonpartisan position.

Mike Glenn asks about the rule on Democrat endorsements.

Parliamentarian Kermit Marsh notes the rule applies to Republicans endorsing Democrats, not Democrats endorsing Republicans.

Philips’s closing statement notes that he is often asked about his stances but is required to set aside his opinions to apply the law as it is, not as he thinks it should be.

Wagner keeps it short noting the long evening. She notes her endorsement by 50 Superior Court Judges.

Scott Voigts moves and Gene Hernandez seconds an endorsement for Megan Wagner for Superior Court Judge Office No. 3.

Fred Whitaker speaks in favor of the motion. He points to the importance of conservative members of the judiciary, pointing to Justice Antonin Scalia. He says it is critically important to vote for judges who are conservative and exercise judicial restraint. He warns of the threat of a liberal Democrat trial attorney, Andrew Stein.

Thomas Gordon speaks against the motion. He would like the application sent to Endorsements Committee instead due to the pending investigation.

With only two “No” votes, Wagner is endorsed by voice vote.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Live from the 46th Congressional District Candidate Forum

Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 14, 2016

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Candidate Forum Audience Survey

We’re live from the 46th Congressional District Candidate Forum, sponsored by Connect-to-Council, Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce, Garden Grove Chamber of Commerce, Fountain Valley Chamber of Commerce, Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce, and Santa Ana College. The 46th Congressional District Candidate Forum began after a 15-minute Intermission after the 1st Supervisorial District Candidate Forum concluded.

Only three candidates are present:
*Orange County Sheriff’s Commander Bob Peterson (R-Orange)
*Mayor Bao Nguyen (D-Garden Grove)
*Educator/Business Owner Lynn Schott (R-Irvine)

Frontrunners Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) and Joe Dunn (D-Santa Ana) are not present nor are the myriad of minor candidates.

Former Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee Mark McLoughlin (D-Santa Ana) is the moderator.

Lynn Schott notes she and her family attended class at Santa Ana College. She was born and raised in the 46th District. She says she understands the district and that job creation should be the top priority. She says she will bring leadership.

Bao Nguyen greets the audience in Spanish and Vietnamese. He speaks of being an immigrant as an infant. He says he grew up and went to high school in Orange County. He is the Mayor of his hometown of Garden Grove. He says established politicians taking campaign contributions from corporations and SuperPACs harken back to the Communist regime his parents fled. He speaks of expanding Spanish and Vietnamese programs in schools. He states he started Heroes Hall Veterans Foundation. He says he is fighting corruption locally and will do so in Washington, DC.

Peterson states he was homeless as a 14-year-old in Orange County. He went to Loara High School and was inspired by two Sheriff’s deputies to join the Sheriff’s Department. He started washing laundry at the County jail and would return 22 years later to command the jail.  He believes in serving the public, regardless of party or national origin.

McLoughlin asks about federal support for community college.

Nguyen notes he is a product of public schools. He speaks of K-14 education, including community college. He wants to prioritize education funding but opposes federal policies controlling local schools.

Peterson notes he is an adjunct professor at both Santa Ana College and Brandman University. He speaks of his family’s student loan debt, both his and his wife’s as well as his children’s. Both of his children are in graduate school currently with heavy debt loads. He wants to reduce the federal loan burden on students.

Schott paid her way through college. She wants to send federal money to states to support community colleges.

McLoughlin asks about communities at risk in the district due to poverty and high unemployment.

Peterson wants to fight crime to make the community safe for business to encourage entrepreneurs to open businesses in these communities, bringing new jobs.

Schott rattles off the unemployment rates in each city in the district. She particularly emphasizes the unemployment rate among 18- and 19-year-olds.  She wants to encourage a better business climate with increased opportunities for youth, including encouraging youth to open their own businesses.

Nguyen wants to provide jobs by improving roads. He wants to expand apprenticeship programs with labor. He wants to provide infrastructure jobs.

McLoughlin asks what two existing federal programs each candidate would eliminate.

Nguyen wants to eliminate mass deportation. He speaks of his family’s separation during their immigration process. He wants immigrant children to have a chance at the American Dream like he did. Nguyen wants to end government mass surveillance and points to his father’s house arrest in Communist Vietnam.

Schott doesn’t want to eliminate any agencies. However, she wants to examine the Environmental Protection Agency to determine if each regulation is worth the economic cost. She says she would do the same examination in other agencies.

Peterson states it is important to understand the lay of the land. He opposes constantly reinventing federal education mandates. He questions Common Core, the EPA, and immigration policies.

An audience question asks about immigration reform.

Schott wants to secure the border and enforce existing laws.

Nguyen wants comprehensive immigration reform. He blasts separation of families under current immigration laws. He speaks of his family being separated when they came to the United States.

Peterson speaks of closing his windows and locking his doors at home and not letting strangers walk into his home without permission, but clothing and feeding those he invites into his home. He analogizes it with the need to enforce immigration laws and showing both compassion and common sense with immigrants. He wants to bring immigrants out of the shadows.

The audience asks another question about immigration.

Nguyen speaks of the economic value and power of immigrants in the billions of dollars. He speaks of bringing immigrants out of the shadows and being endorsed by California’s first “undocumented immigrant lawyer.”

Schott speaks of immigrants being part of America’s tapestry. She wants to encourage people to come with legal documents to achieve the American Dream. She wants to be careful with the number of visas. She wants college educated Americans to have jobs rather than importing international students into the U.S.

Peterson notes the United States is a melting pot, which is what makes the country great. He wants to secure the border and have a fair way to immigrate into the country. He says the current system is broken. He notes the 1986 immigration deal required securing the border but that was not enforced. He says reasonable people need to work together to fix the immigration system.

McLoughlin asks about getting more federal tax dollars back to California since California is a donor state.

Schott calls for examining potential tax reforms to let people keep more of what they earn.

Peterson states even Orange County is a donor county. He would like to examine entitlement programs pulling resources away from California. He notes California has a larger population than Canada. He is concerned about jobs going overseas.

Nguyen says Orange County does not make enough noise. He wants to fight for Orange County and use his background as a community organizer to get money invested in local education, public safety, and infrastructure. He speaks of making noise at least four times.

An audience question asks about ending the War on Drugs.

Peterson states it is not known how many lives are saved by a traffic signal. He speaks of his brother dying of drug-related cancer just two months ago. Peterson says he never tried drugs himself because of the War on Drugs. He does not want to give up on the War on Drugs.

Nguyen wants to decriminalize marijuana. He speaks of an incident from last year of a Santa Ana Police raid where the officers kicked down the door and partook of some of the marijuana products. He says studies show legalizing drugs works.

Schott calls for a balance. She is concerned about drug laws being enforced unfairly in minority communities and wants the laws enforced evenly. She wants to look at budget priorities on creating jobs, improving the business climate, and strengthening education.

An audience question asks about Alzheimer’s research and care.

Nguyen says there needs to be more federal funding for research for all diseases. He wants to restrict pharmaceutical companies’ prices. He doesn’t want pharmaceutical companies to own patents for drugs developed with research paid for by federal funds.

Schott wants to straighten priorities. She wants to reduce regulations on business and instead fund agencies providing senior services.

Peterson speaks of the challenges of caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia. He wants to end wasteful research like studies on goldfish intoxication and alligator races to instead fund research into diseases and to fund senior services.

McLoughlin asks about crime and gun control.

Schott attacks Prop 47 for causing increases in crime.

Peterson states Prop 47 is the root of crime not a lack of gun control. He says the Sheriff’s Department was forced to release 600 inmates because of Prop 47 and rhetorically asks where they went. He blasts Prop 47 being named the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.”

Nguyen criticizes the prison-industrial complex. He says Orange County leaders need to fight for Prop 47 dollars. He says Orange County needs to bring more money rather than attacking Prop 47. He blasts the United States for having more inmates than Communist China.

McLoughlin calls for closing statements.

Nguyen says Washington is broken, and he can fix it. He says the candidates who did not show up are just playing the game. He blasts candidates for abstaining on votes and suing over personal problems. He blasts corporate contributions.

Peterson notes he is not a politician, just an average guy. He has served on school district committees and in public service in the Sheriff’s Department. He calls for an end to fear-mongering. He wants people to listen to what people are saying instead of hype.

Schott states she is not a career politician or a tool of special interests. She wants to solve the challenges of the 46th District. She wants to invest in the dignity of the community. She states she will take action.

The forum ends after about one hour.

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Live from the First Supervisorial District Candidate Forum

Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 14, 2016

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Candidate Forum Audience Survey

We’re live from the 1st Supervisorial Candidate Forum, sponsored by Connect-to-Council, Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce, Garden Grove Chamber of Commerce, Fountain Valley Chamber of Commerce, Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce, and Santa Ana College. The 46th Congressional District Candidate Forum will begin after the 1st Supervisorial District Candidate Forum concludes.

Three of the four candidates are present:
*Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do (R-Westminster)
*Councilman/Business Owner Phat Bui (R-Garden Grove)
*Retired Educator/Writer Steve Rocco (NPP-Santa Ana)

Oddly enough, Councilwoman Michele Martinez (D-Santa Ana) is not present despite the forum being held in Santa Ana (in fact, it is less than a mile from Martinez’s Council ward).

The moderator is former Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee Mark McLoughlin (D-Santa Ana). The focus will be on economic development and jobs.

Phat Bui delivers his opening statement. He notes that he has lived in the district since 1984. He speaks of founding his company in 1996, which has contracts with both private sector business and government agencies. He has been a Councilman since 2014. He says the First District is going in the wrong direction in animal care, transportation, and public safety. He complains about the County promoting the Tet Festival. He says he wants to work on homelessness and affordable housing.

Andrew Do speaks of his 14 months on the Board of Supervisors. He has worked to increase the Sheriff’s budget by $24 million. He blasts rising crime due to AB 109 and Prop 47. He speaks of County Sheriff and Probation working with local police departments. He won unanimous support on the Board of Supervisors to create a homeless czar to help those who cannot help themselves. He is working on crisis stabilization units among other items related to mental health.

Steve Rocco says he graduated from Santa Ana College with seven degrees and worked tech in the same auditorium that the forum is being held in. He blasts the snitch scandal as a fabrication. He says the true gang is “Rackauckas and his boys.” Rocco says Rackauckas controls the Board of Supervisors. He claims Rackauckas was illegally appointed Public Administrator. He says OC citizens are being murdered because of Rackauckas being appointed Public Administrator.

McLoughlin asks about County efforts to help workforce development and find qualified workers for open jobs via the Workforce Investment Board.

Do points to the outreach effort that got 1500 job seekers and 50 employers to the job fair, the highest participation ever.

Rocco says he would need to do his homework to understand the question. He attacks the Board of Supervisors for paying for buildings and Sheriff’s personnel. He claims he was prevented from writing a ballot argument against Measure A on a County Ethics Commission.

Bui says he wants to creat an environment empower employees and train them so they will be qualified for County jobs.

McLoughlin asks for each candidate’s top two priorities.

Rocco says the top priority is to get rid of District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. He says people are being murdered and kidnapped. He blasts the Orange County Register. He says Rocco himself is better than an Ethics Commission.

Bui says he wants to stop wasteful spending. He attacks Supervisors for sending mailers out. He attacks County mailers promoting a free income tax workshop. Bui states he wants transparency without hiding anything.

Do says he wants to tackle crime because property crime has increased by 23% and violent crime has increased in Santa Ana. He wants to work with law enforcement to fight crime, particularly due to AB 109 and Prop 47. Do states the homeless czar will be able to begin tackling homelessness by using metrics to determine effectiveness and with care programs, including mental health issues.

McLoughlin asks about homeless services.

Do states County departments are working in silos in their efforts to battle homelessness. He speaks of the homeless czar position coordinating all the different departments and care programs to address homelessness.

Rocco says the first person who signed his nomination papers for any office was a homeless person named Ray who Rocco next saw at ICU. He states he always saves a certain proportion of his nomination signatures for the homeless. He states the Public Administrator causes homelessness by taking people’s homes.

Bui states in Garden Grove, he is on the homeless task force. He says homelessness is out of control and the homeless in Garden Grove live in sewers. He states that charities need to be engaged with the County to brainstorm how to develop a comprehensive solution to homelessness.

An audience question asks each candidate how they differ from each candidate.

Bui says Do “is a disaster” as Supervisor. He says there is wasteful spending and rising crime.

Rocco says no one cares if Do or Bui will be elected. Rocco says people will care if he is elected. He states it was national news when he was elected to the Orange Unified School District Board. He states he will get the job done as Supervisor.

Do points to his experience and track record. He notes he is a former prosecutot, a former Chief of Staff to a Supervisor, and a sitting Supervisor. He states the Board of Supervisors has entrusted him with leadership positions on homelessness, public safety, and County building infrastructure.

McLoughlin asks about the County’s capital improvement program, with many buildings in the First District and how it helps

Rocco states that the existing buildings are relatively new and that there is no air conditioning for the homeless.

Bui states money should not be spent on buildings, but instead on transportation and public safety.

Do notes the average age of County buildings in the Civic Center is 47 years. He notes there is an average of 300 square feet of space per employee back in the days of paper files. In the digital era, that can be reduced to 150 square feet per employee. He notes there is 700,000 square feet of leased space in the Civic Center due to building inefficiency that could be solved with the capital improvement program.

McLoughlin asks about ICE involvement in County jails.

Do notes that this is the purview of the elected Sheriff under the Constitution.

Rocco accuses the Sheriff of killing a man in Los Angeles County. He says the Board of Supervisors should cut funding to the Sheriff.

Bui says there needs to be trust in law enforcement experts.

McLoughlin asks about the OC Strategic Plan for Aging.

After asking for three repetitions of the question, Bui states the elderly do not have enough to live on. He wants to speak to the federal government to seek more funding for health care and affordable housing.

Do suggests creating new work programs and work schedules that take advantage of the experience of older residents while respecting their reduced work.

Rocco notes three of the leading presidential candidates over age 65. He would not support any social service programs because they are dangerous to people’s health.

McLoughlin asks about mismanagement at 500,000-member CalOptima.

Do states CalOptima has 800,000 members. He is on the CalOptima Board and has restructured the Board to reduce insider control. He has helped expand the number of eligible providers.

Rocco notes Supervisor Todd Spitzer would never, ever want Rocco on the CalOptima Board. Rocco says he knows more about the medical system than anyone else. He says there was money laundering in the 2012 election.

Bui wants to remove County Supervisors from the CalOptima Board and worries about the influence of campaign contributions on CalOptima.

McLoughlin asks about creating more parks and green space in the park-poor First District.

Bui says there is no hope of creating more parks. He wants to make existing parks more efficient. He says County spending on the Tet Festival is wasteful.

Do states that equating green space with parks needs to be reduced. He wants to pursue joint-use agreements with school districts to use school open space.

Rocco blasts Jessica’s Law for banning sex offenders from parks. He says parks are underutilized. He says parks need to be safe.

An audience question asks about whether the current Supervisorial districts are gerrymandered. He states a complaint were filed by Latinos with the Justice Department regarding the Supervisorial districts.

Bui states he is unfamiliar with the issue. He states districts must represent all people without favoring one group over another.

Rocco states the Orange Unified School District gerrymandered him out of a seat. He states gerrymandering is part of politics. He blasts at-large voting.

Do states the legal analysis required knowing the motive. He states he would oppose gerrymandering.

McLoughlin calls for closing statements.

Bui states he has a passion for service. He thanks the audience for attending and asks for their vote.

Do thanks the organizers and the audience. He speaks of his experience, qualifications, and track record of getting meaningful results.

Rocco states he has gotten 158,000 votes over the years. He states he is not Vietnamese, Latino, Republican, or Democrat. He states he is not a lawyer, but “one of you.” He wants to get things done.

With that, the forum ends in under an hour.

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

OC House Member’s Chief of Staff Indicted for Crimes Under Prior Congressional Boss

Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 7, 2016

David Bowser has been indicted for spending $43,750 in taxpayer money from then-Congressman Paul Broun‘s government office to pay a campaign consultant fro 2012-2014 for Broun’s successful 2012 re-election bid and his ill-fated primary election bid for United States Senate from Georgia.  Bowser currently serves as Chief of Staff to OC Congresswoman Mimi Walters, who was elected to the House in November 2014, six months after Broun came in fifth place in the Georgia primary for Senate.  Broun is currently attempting to return to the House in a neighboring district by challenging an incumbent Congressman Doug Collins in the Republican primary.

Bowser has been indicted by the United States Department of Justice on eight counts:

  • Theft of government property (one count)
  • Obstruction of proceedings (one count)
  • Concealment of material facts (one count)
  • Making false statements (five counts)

Most of the charges seem to indicate the “cover-up is worse than the crime” adage.

Brett O’Donnell of O’Donnell & Associates joined Broun’s Congressional office in June 2012.  Bowser allegedly instructed O’Donnell to begin helping Broun for “political debates, drafting and practicing campaign speeches and advising on campaign messaging” for the Broun’s 2012 Congressional reelection and his 2014 Senate bid.  O’Donnell & Associates was not paid by Broun’s campaign, only by his taxpayer funded office.  O’Donnell was fired in March 2014 fired when Georgia television reported about his role with Broun.

Emails from Bowser indicated O’Donnell’s campaign role.

  • In June 2012, Bowser wrote (from his government email account) to O’Donnell: “As we discussed last week, there was a potential for a debate which has now turned into a scheduled event on June 22nd on television from 9:30 – 10:30 run in studio…The Congressman would like to schedule a couple of hours later that afternoon for debate preparations so we are going to hold from 3-6pm on our schedule and secure a conference room at the NRCC for this purpose…”
  • In January 2014, Bowser wrote (from his personal email account) to Broun’s Press Secetary (while cc’ing O’Donnell), complaining that O’Donnell was missing Broun’s first U.S. Senate debate to do charity work in Africa: “Since our debate consultant actually abandoned us on our first debate for a bunch of Ethiopians who don’t pay him, I may need to send you to Adel[, Georgia] this weekend if you are able to go?”
  • In February 2014, O’Donnell wrote, “You hired me to coach the candidate. I won’t make ads, write mail pieces, manage the online program or the campaign, but lets trust each other to play the roles we were hired to do…”

O’Donnell reached a plea deal with the Justice Department in September and claimed (among other things) that Bowser instructed O’Donnell to tell the Office of Congressional Ethics to “f*** themselves” when OCE began to investigate.

The Justice Department states that “Bowser allegedly attempted to obstruct the investigation by, among other things, delaying and failing to produce relevant documents; influencing the testimony of witnesses; and falsely stating that O’Donnell was solely hired to provide official services…”

While the Justice Department indictment is not yet available online, the 46-page report of the House Ethics Committee on this case is available here.

Posted in 45th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »