Live from OC GOP Central Committee: Endorsements Round 3
Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 19, 2016
We’re live from OC GOP Central Committee where the third round of endorsements are being considered. The endorsements from the first two rounds are listed here.
In this third round, the contests were considered at the Endorsements Committee on Friday. They are listed below (those recommended by the Endorsements Committee are marked with an asterisk) and will be considered by the full Central Committee tonight:
Aliso Viejo (3 seats)
- Bill Phillips*
Cypress (2 seats)
- Rob Johnson*
Garden Grove, District 3
- Clay Bock*
Huntington Beach (3 seats)
- Edward Pinchiff*
Los Alamitos (2 seats)
- Josh Wilson
Newport Beach City Council, District 2
- Brad Avery
San Clemente (2 seats)
- Steven Swartz*
San Juan Capistrano, District 5
- Brian Maryott
- Ronda Mottl
Santa Ana, Ward 3
- Josh Mauras*
Villa Park (2 seats)
- Vincent Rossini*
- Tri Ta*
- George Ullrich*
- Kevin Larson
- Scott Nelson
Irvine Unified School District (3 seats)
- Mark Newgent*
Ocean View School District (2 seats)
- Kathryn Gonzalez*
- Norm Westwell*
Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (3 seats)
- Susi Khan
- Helen Kingsbury
- Irene Yezbak
Municipal Water District of Orange County, Division 7
- Evan Chaffee*
Orange County Water District, Division 3
- Roger Yoh
Yorba Linda Water District, Recall Replacement Candidates (2 seats)
- Eileen Barme*
- Robert Wren*
Community College Districts
Coast Community College District, Trustee Area 2
- Vong Nguyen
Guest speakers tonight are Assemblymen Matt Harper and Bill Brough, followed by Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley.
Harper and Brough spoke of conservative victories in the liberal-dominated Legislature. They also spoke of the importance of winning swing seats, local races, and ballot measures.
Kelley speaks of the conflicts between the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns. He shows a trailer of a documentary about his office that will air on PBS Independent Lens. He discusses voter turnout by party in the primary. He discusses the growth of Vote-by-Mail ballots and the size of this year’s ballot. He notes same-day registration will be in place by the 2018 primary though late registrants must appear at the Registrar’s office. He describes the Vote Center model proposed by SB 450, which is sitting on the Governor’s desk. He notes AB 1461, which makes motor voter an opt-out system rather than opt-in. He notes Orange County has more voters than 18 states, including Iowa and New Hampshire. In Orange County, women turn out more than men. Anaheim, Irvine, and Huntington Beach have the most registered voters. Villa Park and Laguna Woods have the highest voter turnout while Santa Ana and Stanton are the lowest. Ballots are required to be translated into eight languages other than English, four by federal law and four more by state law. He speaks of online voter registration. 70% of new registrations are online. Serial numbers and barcodes prevent duplicate vote-by-mail ballots from being counted.
In response to a question from Gene Hernandez, Kelley explains the federal threshold to require additional language ballots is 10,000 registrants.
In response to a question from Baron Night, Kelley explains electronic rolls at vote centers will replace paper rolls at polling places to prevent duplicate voting.
In response to a question from Tim Whitacre, Kelley explains Lou Correa’s bill allowing stray marks, drawings, etc. to be counted. He also explains ballot challenges.
The Volunteer of the Month is former Orange Coast College student and new Cal State Fullerton student Chris Boyle. Presenting certificates are Assemblyman Matt Harper, Rhonda Rohrabacher on behalf of her husband, and Tim Whitacre on behalf of Supervisors Michelle Steel and Andrew Do. Josh Recalde presented an Officer of the Year Award to Boyle on behalf of the Orange Coast College Republicans.
We’ve now reached endorsements at 8:12 PM.
Fuentes delivered the report of the Endorsements Committee.
The entire list is a consent calendar. The following people pulled for separate discussion:
Based on heavy discussion by Central Committee members, Chairman Fred Whitaker pulls:
- Huntington Beach City Council
- San Juan Capistrano City Council, District 5
- Brea City Treasurer
- Placentia – Yorba Linda Unified School District
Dennis White pulls
- Yorba Linda Water District
Brett Barbre pulls
- Orange County Water District, Division 3
The consent calendar passes unanimously with Kermit Marsh choosing to recuse himself on Ocean View School District candidate Norm Westwell, as Westwell is a client of Marsh’s law firm.
Due to a technical glitch, Huntington Beach will be added later to the liveblog. However, the vote was 11 to endorse Pinchiff, 25 opposed.
Tim Whitacre moves and Deborah Pauly seconds to remain neutral on San Juan Capistrano City Council, District 5. The motion passes unanimously.
Brea City Treasurer is continued to the next meeting. Incumbent Rick Rios had made a timely request for an endorsement but was missed due to an OC GOP email glitch.
Irene Yezbak speaks of her roots in the Yorba Linda community and her leadership of Faithful Christian Servants. She raises various education items she oposses: permission slips to say the Pledge of Allegiance, students dissecting aborted fetus brains, students at camp sleeping in the same bunk beds with transgendered students, and the invasion of privacy from the California Healthy Kids Survey.
Susi Khan speaks of her father’s service in World War II. She speaks of her lifelong Republican volunteerism. She speaks of her leadership of Faithful Christian Servants. She gives various examples of inappropriate questions on the California Healthy Kids Survey. She blasts unfunded mandates, which is causing “bond-a-palooza” in Orange County. She wants teachers to teach, not just follow scripts.
Helen Kingsbury speaks of being a lifelong Republican. She speaks of Common Core in her son’s homework. She asked questions and got no answers from her principal or the school district. She argues for local control and opposes federal control of education. She wants parental voices to be heard in the school district.
Peggy Huang asks the candidates about the 2014 city council recall and the 2016 water board recall. She notes all the recall targets are Republicans.
Yezbak says the water board recall is about higher rates. She says she did not sign the city council recall petition.
Khan says she did not remember if she signed the city council recall petition. She says the voters should decide. She attacks about increase water rates, but she did say she previously vote for a special water assessment on herself.
Kingsbury says she signed both petitions. She says she wants to bridge the gap between voices of the party. She says everyone can come together on education.
Jennifer Beall asks what percentage of the PYLUSD budget is salaries and benefits.
Yezbak does not specify a specific percentage but says much of the money goes to that. When pressed by Beall, Yezbak does not know.
Khan does not know either.
Deborah Pauly asks about the school bond in PYLUSD.
Yezbak says the incumbents used taxpayer dollars to determine messaging for the bond, referencing the Orange County Register expose on the bond. She notes PYLUSD has some of the highest bond debt in California.
Khan notes the $22 million bond will cost $281 million with interest.
Rhonda Rohrabacher expresses shock about the incumbents supporting the bonds.
Alexandria Coronado asks the candidates if they signed the recall against the city council in 2014.
Khan says she does not remember.
Yezbak says she is not sure.
Kingsbury says she probably did but is unsure.
Tony Beall asks a follow up to clarify whether the candidates’ answers tonight are consistent with the answers at Endorsements Committee.
Fuentes says they said they signed and gave reasons why they did.
Huang says she specifically asked that and Yezbak signed it because she opposed 12 developments in Yorba Linda, but Huang had to correct it to 2, no 12. Huang says Khan says she signed it but did not recall her vote. Huang says Kingsbury was unsure.
Mark McCurdy moves and Zonya Townsend seconds to endorse all three.
Dennis White says Ken Williams has endorsed the three candidates. He says this is a school issue. He did not oppose the party endorsing the water board candidates.
Huang says they have tried to recall Republican incumbents in good standing. She notes they tried to recall Republicans who had a deep respect for private property rights.
Whitaker announces that incumbent Eric Padget has applied for the endorsement.
Jennifer Beall moves and Alexandria Coronado seconds to continue the item to October.
Beall argues that this should be continued. She points to the example of Brea City Treasurer earlier tonight. She speaks of the candidates needing to do more research.
Gordon argues about fiscal issues. He argues against water rate increases. He says the focus should be on the school board.
21 are in favor of continuing while 16 oppose continuing PYLUSD to October. PYLUSD is continued to October.
Roger Yoh speaks of his service on the Orange County Water District. He clarifies that he does not oppose desalination; he simply opposed the term sheet that was unfavorable. He mentions that Ling-Ling Chang is a longtime friend and speaks of partnering with her on state legislation. He says he is not a Yorba Linda resident, but he encouraged his colleagues to file an amicus brief on behalf of the YLWD in referendum litigation.
Whitaker notes La Palma Councilman Peter Kim filed an endorsement request for the same seat.
Fuentes asks Yoh about flipping his party registration from Republican to independent while considering a job at Caltrans in 2015.
Yoh states he was considering applying for Caltrans Deputy Director of External Affairs for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
Dennis White asks if water rate increases are regressive and if costs should be cut first.
Yoh says OCWD is the wholesaler, and that OCWD groundwater is magnitudes cheaper than imported water or desalination.
Brett Barbre moves and Scott Peotter seconds to endorse.
Huang moves and Gordon seconds to continue to October for consistency in light of Kim’s application.
Huang argues for consistency to consider both candidates’ applications.
Peotter argues that October 17 is almost irrelevant for the election. He says there should be a deadline. He says stragglers should not control the timeline.
Gordon argues for consistency.
Barbre argues that this is different because there is an incumbent in good standing. He concurs with Peotter on October 17 being too late considering absentee ballots go out October 10.
18 vote in favor of continuing while 18 vote against continuing. The continuance fails.
Thomas Gordon moves and Tony Beall seconds for neutrality in Orange County Water District, Division 3.
A lengthy parliamentary discussion ensues.
In response to an inquiry from Erik Weigand, Fuentes explains the Endorsement Committee recommendation was because of Kim’s application, Yoh’s answers on desalination, and Yoh’s party switches.
Gordon argues for neutrality on the basis of Yoh’s registration, arguing that bosses don’t normally ask for registration changes, and on the basis on Kim’s application.
Barbre argues that Yoh is an incumbent in good standing with excellent technical and engineering skills. He argues water is a highly complex area.
Huang argues Yoh was not a Republican a year ago. She says protecting the brand is important. She argues she is a registered Republican working for the State Department of Justice. She expresses her concern that Yoh voted with the Democrats on desalination.
Peotter argues that Republican incumbents in good standing should be endorsed. He argues Yoh’s “brainfart” of becoming an independent should not be an impediment since Yoh was elected as a Republican and is currently a Republican. Yoh explains he has been a Republican since 1994 except for a several month stint from late 2015 to early 2016.
Fuentes asks if Yoh would have stayed independent if he got the job.
Yoh says he would have switched back to Republican.
17 vote for neutrality while 18 vote against neutrality.
The vote on an endorsement for Yoh fails, with 20 in favor and 17 against. The Yoh endorsement fails.
Brett Barbre moves and Thomas Gordon seconds to endorse Eileen Barme and Bob Wren for Yorba Linda Water District recall replacement.
Dennis White moves and Steve Sarkis seconds for neutrality.
White argues he did not oppose the committee endorsing the incumbents last month. He argues that the party endorsed Measure QQ to repeal the Stanton sales tax. He argues the water rate increase is regressive.
Barbre argues the party already took a unanimous vote against the recall. He argues Barme and Wren are the backup candidates for “No on the Recall.” He says recalls should be for malfeasance.
5 vote for neutrality while 26 vote against neutrality.
33 vote to endorse Barme and Wren while 3 vote against. Barme and Wren are endorsed.
9:48 PM: Endorsements Round 3 are complete. Round 4 will be taken up in a subsequent meeting.
9:53 PM: Meeting adjourned.