Live from OC GOP Endorsements Committee: Round 4
Posted by Chris Nguyen on October 12, 2016
We are live from the OC GOP Endorsements Committee, who will make recommendations to the full Central Committee for endorsements on October 17. Endorsements Committee Members present are:
- Chair TJ Fuentes
- Peggy Huang
- Baron Night
- Mary Young
- Jeff Matthews (delayed in traffic)
Endorsements Committee Members Thomas Gordon and Jeff Lalloway are not present.
On tonight’s docket are:
- Brea City Council
- Marty Simonoff (incumbent)
- Fountain Valley City Council
- Patrick Tucker
- Garden Grove City Council, District 5
- Stephanie Klopfenstein
- Brea City Treasurer
- Richard Rios
- Ocean View School District
- Patricia Singer
- Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District
- Eric Padget
- Santa Margarita Water District
- Charles Gibson (incumbent)
- Costa Mesa Sanitary District
- Gary Monahan
- Jim Fitzpatrick
First up is Brea City Council.
Marty Simonoff has been on the Council for 20 years, having been first elected in 1996 after moving to the city in 1981. He says Brea was one of the first to require employees to pay into their pensions and that Brea has kept pay down. Simonoff attacks the former city manager’s use of community facility districts (Mello-Roos) as an end-run around Prop 13. Simonoff is a retired police captain and says that informs his perspective in remembering that his actions have significant impacts on the lives of others.
Baron Night asks about his involvement in the Brea downtown.
Simonoff says that was all done (including redevelopment and eminent domain) by the time he was elected.
Night asks how he would have voted had he been on the Council at the time.
Simonoff points to having only voted for eminent domain for a water tower where the owner cooperated.
Peggy Huang asks about Brea’s pension liability.
Simonoff says it is $81 million. He speaks of $6 million being set aside for this. He is looking to put other funds in upcoming budgets.
Mary Young moves and Night seconds to recommend Simonoff for endorsement.
SIMONOFF RECOMMENDED FOR ENDORSEMENT 5-0-2 FOR BREA CITY COUNCIL (Gordon and Lalloway absent).
Next up is Fountain Valley City Council.
Patrick Tucker says he is a conservative who opposes tax increases and supports property rights, but he then speaks of his opposition to electronic billboards. He believes in the sanctity of life. He has run for city council before when he was endorsed by the Orange County Register. He is endorsed by the Lincoln Club, Fountain Valley Councilman Mark McCurdy, and Huntington Beach Councilman Erik Peterson.
Night asks Tucker about wanting to increase city hall hours and how he will pay for it.
Tucker suggests changing the city to 10/80 instead of 9/80 should have minimal cost changes.
Night asks about the sales tax increase.
Tucker is opposed to the sales tax increase.
Huang asks about whether Tucker would consider changing fire providers.
Tucker gives a lengthy answer describing the importance of keeping costs under control. He speaks of doing a study to determine if it makes sense to retain FVFD, switch to OCFA, or switch to HBFD. He lists various items that would need to be in the study.
Fuentes ask Tucker why he should be endorsed over the incumbent Republicans.
Tucker blasts the incumbents for putting the sales tax increase on the ballot. He is concerned about pension liability increases. He rattles off lots of numbers about Fountain Valley’s budget.
A lengthy discussion ensues about the 5 Republican incumbents voting 4-1 to put the sales tax increase on the ballot.
Night moves and Young seconds recommending Tucker for endorsement.
Matthews asks if the fact that Republican incumbent Cheryl Brothers supports the tax increase and did not apply for the endorsement as enough grounds to recommend endorsing her opponent.
Night and Young do feel that is sufficient. Night points out that there is a strong likelihood that Brothers has a flawed record, considering she didn’t seek the endorsement.
The committee is displeased that it appears endorsed incumbent Steve Nagel is campaigning for the sales tax increase instead of his actual answer to the Endorsements Committee of supporting it going on the ballot but not personally supporting it.
The motion to recommend Tucker fails on a 2-3-2 vote (Night and Young for the motion, Gordon and Lalloway absent).
Fuentes moves and Huang seconds recommending neutrality.
NEUTRALITY RECOMMENDED FOR TUCKER 5-0-2 (Gordon and Lalloway absent).
Stephanie Klopfenstein is a city commissioner, neighborhood association board member, and downtown business association board member. She is a volunteer at CHOC. Her family has lived in Garden Grove since the 1800s. She is concerned about public safety, homelessness, the budget deficit, and economic development.
Klopfenstein is the only Republican running for District 5.
Night asks Klopfenstein why she wrote that she is somewhat undecided on pension reform in the OC GOP questionnaire.
Klopfenstein says she opposes eliminating existing pensions because employees should have retirement plans. She says she is generally unfamiliar with public pensions.
Night advises her to study more about pensions.
Night asks about her stance on marijuana.
Klopfenstein opposes marijuana legalization and argues Mayor Bao Nguyen is just supporting it to further his own political career.
Huang asks about how she plans to fund public safety in light of the $4 million budget deficit.
Klopfenstein wants to attract more business and tourism to increase revenues. She points to the Harbor corridor in Garden Grove near Disneyland. She speaks of two specific projects that would generate enough revenue to not only wipe out the deficit but also grow revenue to hire more police.
Huang advises that she should study more about pensions.
Matthews moves and Fuentes seconds to recommend Klopfenstein for endorsement.
Night asks about her endorsement by the Garden Grove fire union.
Klopfenstein speaks of being close to Scott Weimar of the fire union. She says Janet Nguyen, who endorsed her, was also endorsed by the fire union. She states she has accepted campaign contributions from the fire union.
Night moves to recommend neutrality. He expresses concern that she is new to politics and unfamiliar with pensions, considering the role of the fire union in pensions.
Matthews is concerned that she signed the no-union-money pledge.
Huang is concerned an endorsement recommendation would be inconsistent with Central Committee directives.
NEUTRALITY RECOMMENDED FOR GARDEN GROVE CITY COUNCIL, DISTRICT 5 BY A 5-0-2 VOTE (Gordon and Lalloway absent).
Next up is Brea City Treasurer.
Richard Rios is the incumbent. He speaks of his long record of conservative activism. He speaks of his record on city finances. He speaks of his career. He is worried about the explosion of government spending.
Huang asks about the Placentia embezzlement issue and what reforms he has pursued.
Rios says the Brea City Charter limits the Treasurer’s powers. He can only recommend investment changes to the City Council. He does oversee investments to ensure the safety of the city’s investment pool. He is advocating that the Treasurer’s office be involved in the budget process because it would create a better plan for investing for the long term if he is involved in the budget planning. He notes his opponent also supports that. He says his opponent is experienced primarily in Real Estate Investment Trusts, which are not suitable for city investments while his own experience is more pertinent, being in stocks and bonds.
Matthews moves and Young seconds recommending Rios for endorsement for re-election.
RIOS RECOMMENDED FOR ENDORSEMENT FOR RE-ELECTION 4-0-3 (Gordon, Lalloway, and Night absent).
Next up is Ocean View School District.
Patricia Singer speaks of her conservative family. She is a wife, mother, and real estate agent who is active in the PTO. She says schools improve property values. She supports smaller class sizes. She supports the school bond. She says OVSD has never passed a bond before.
Young asks about the bond.
Singer argues that one bond is acceptable, not three or four like neighboring districts.
Matthews asks about alternatives to bonds.
Singer argued the asbestos issues ducked up all the facilities money that the bond would replace.
Matthews suggests getting a bank loan instead of a bond.
Singer says that was already done for one school, but it is not an option for the other 12 schools.
Huang asks Singer about the four unions endorsing her.
Singer confirms she is endorsed by the OC Labor Federation and other unions. She says she has not take union money.
Huang asks what solutions Singer would have if the bond fails like in 2012.
Singer says she would pursue greater cuts.
Huang asks why isn’t that the solution first.
Singer argues it is a last resort option because the district is in a dire position.
Fuentes asks about the endorsement by Democrat Gina Clayton-Tarvin.
Singer argues Clayton-Tarvin is a conservative Democrat (Editor’s Note: I’ve never heard anyone call Clayton-Tarvin a conservative before). She argues the two Republicans endorsed already are a liberal and someone who came out of nowhere.
Fuentes moves and Huang seconds to recommend neutrality.
NEUTRALITY RECOMMENDED FOR SINGER 4-0-3 (Gordon, Lalloway, and Night absent).
Next up is Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District.
There are no applicants since Padget withdrew his application (three other Republicans withdrew their applications several weeks ago).
Next up is Santa Margarita Water District.
Incumbent Chuck Gibson speaks about his long record of Republican service, going back to his work for Republican LA City Councilmembers and Congressman Dan Lungren. Gibson got the water district to develop its first CAFR and hire its first CFO. He speaks of installing solar panels to save $500,000 per year for the water district.
Matthews moves and Fuentes seconds recommending Gibson for endorsement.
GIBSON RECOMMENDED FOR ENDORSEMENT FOR RE-ELECTION 4-0-3 (Gordon, Lalloway, and Night absent).
Last up is Costa Mesa Sanitary District.
Jim Fitzpatrick is running with Gary Monahan (who is absent because he is working at Skosh Monahan’s) and supports consolidating Costa Mesa Sanitary District with the Mesa Water District, having pushed for it since 2011. He has been the Chairman of Costa Mesa Planning Commission. He says the 28-year incumbents are backed by big labor and support the team of candidates for Council that is running against the OC GOP-endorsed Council team.
Matthews moves and Young seconds recommending Monahan and Fitzpatrick for endorsement.
MONAHAN AND FITZPATRICK RECOMMENDED FOR ENDORSEMENT 4-0-3 (Gordon, Lalloway, and Night absent).