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Archive for March, 2018

Live from the 39th Congressional District Debate

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 29, 2018

We are live from the 39th Congressional District debate sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the North Orange County Chamber of Commerce at the Fullerton Community Center, which has a parking lot that is ill-equipped to handle this large a crowd though there is plenty of seating inside the venue. The debate is moderated by Rick Reiff, host of Inside OC and editor-at-large of the Orange County Business Journal.

There are six candidates participating:

  • Small Business Owner Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), a former State Senate Republican Leader
  • Clean Energy Businessman Sam Jammal (D-Fullerton), whose original ballot designation of “Civil Rights Attorney” was subjected to litigation
  • Small Business Owner Young Kim (R-Fullerton), a former State Assemblywoman
  • Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton)
  • Nonprofit Advisor/Businessman Andy Thorburn (D-Villa Park), whose original ballot designation of “Healthcare Educator/Entrepreneur” was subjected to litigation
  • Doctor/Mother/Teacher Mai-Khanh Tran (D-Yorba Linda)

The debate organizers did not indicate how many candidates were invited.

6:42 PM: Opening Statements

Bob Huff notes his list of elected offices as Senate Republican Leader, Assemblyman, and City Council. He wants to keep a strong military, secure borders, and cut the fat from the budget. He says his record shows he has fought taxes and kept a lid on tax increases when he was a Senator.

Sam Jammal notes he grew up in the district. He says people are being cut out of the definition of being American. He is the son of immigrants. He talks about living the American Dream. He speaks of working in a La Habra restaurant, the Brea Mall, and the Obama Administration. He wants a more welcoming America.

Young Kim says she has lived the American Dream as an immigrant from South Korea. She worked in the private sector after college. Then she went to work for Ed Royce. She notes that she represented the district working for Royce. She notes her election broke the Democratic supermajority in the Assembly. She says she has a pro-business record and agenda.

Shawn Nelson notes Fullerton is his hometown. He speaks of working with Sharon Quirk-Silva to build the building the debate is being held in. He notes that he served on the City Council and is now Supervisor. He speaks of his record with the Bridges at Kraemer Place homeless shelter and freeway improvements. He wants to reinforce American values. He proposes making education expenses fully tax deductible.

Andy Thorburn says high ethics and an orderly administration are American values that are lost. He wants an inclusive society. He has been a teacher, union organizer, and international businessman. His business is a member of the US Chamber of Commerce. He was a speaker at a Chamber conference in Belgrade. He has owned a business since he was 28. He went through paying student loans and going through bankruptcy.

Mai-Khanh Tran is running because of her two daughters. She was a refugee who came to a country that was warm, receiving, and caring. She fears that is not the current America. She built her own medical practice. She wants to provide health care for all.

6:54 PM: Rick Reiff asks the candidates to state their position on the tax reform bill in 90 seconds.

Jammal would have opposed the bill for increasing the deficit, targeting large corporations instead of small businesses, and removing the individual health care mandate. He would have proposed a small business and middle business tax cut plan instead.

Kim said it was a step in the right direction. It had child care tax credits. It is already bringing businesses back from overseas. It cut taxes for all people. She would have removed the limitation on the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction and made the middle class tax cuts permanent. She says the plan will help provide jobs and help the middle class.

Nelson says corporate tax reform was necessary to bring companies back to the U.S. from overseas. He notes the pay raises and bonuses that companies are giving out. He says it is unfortunate California has such high state and local taxes. He would have had the SALT limit indexed, so it would at least increase from inflation.

Thorburn would have opposed the tax bill. He says 2/3 went to high earners and corporations with only 1/3 going to middle and low income earners. He says it increased the deficit. He says it lowered tax rates on the highest earners. He says it increased the estate tax exemption to $22 million.

Tran says the bill benefited large corporations disproportionately over working families and small businesses. She says the SALT limit burdens state and local governments, threatening education, public safety, and housing programs. She says California is disproportionately affected by the mortgage interest deduction limit.

Huff says the bill was good for the nation overall and improved the economy, averting a downturn. He notes big corporations employ people, and they gave raises and bonuses. Huff says he would have opposed the tax reform bill because it harmed California too much. He points to the mortgage interest deduction. He wanted a slightly higher tax on corporations.

7:04 PM: Reiff asks about tariffs, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and NAFTA. 90 second answers.

Kim is a trade proponent and fears a trade war. She notes American allies are retaliating due to the tariffs. She wants us to work with our allies, not fighting them. She says she is very pro-trade and wants to trade with other nations.

Nelson says free trade requires fairness. He says the U.S. has been too willing to be a punching bag and look the other way to avoid trade wars. He blasts international economic espionage. He argues the U.S. needs to argue from a position of strength, not weakness. He says Trump is an unusual negotiator but is an effective one. He says people are already backing off on tariffs, and China will negotiate with the U.S.

Thorburn says international trade is complex. He says the administration has dealt with U.S. allies completely wrongly. He calls for resuming multilateral trade, instead of bilateral trade agreements. He notes steel tariffs harm 5 jobs for every 1 job saved. He calls for reducing trade barriers and engaging with other countries. As an international businessman, he sought amicable agreements, not threatening those he would trade with.

Tran says free trade is a key part of America’s economic growth. She opposes starting a global trade war and says Trump’s tariffs would harm the U.S. She notes the stock market has fallen since the announcement of the tariffs.

Huff notes many jobs have moved from California to Mexico. He says NAFTA should be revisited periodically, like all business agreements. He opposes the steel tariffs for harming more people than it helps. He agrees pushing China on intellectual property theft but would have tried diplomacy first.

Jammal says he worked in the Obama Administration but TPP was negotiated in secret and was only for large corporations. He wants trade agreements to include small businesses. He says three candidates would not stand up to Trump. He says he would not support TPP.

7:15 PM: Reiff asks about Trump’s rollback of regulations and Obama executive orders. 60 second answers.

Nelson says cutting regulations is the second most impactful thing Trump has done other than appointing a Supreme Court Justice. He wants low barriers to entry. He wants government to get out of the way of business to innovate and invent.

Thorburn calls for neither more or less regulation but rather efficient regulation. He wants government to protect clean air, safe drugs, and safe food. He opposes Trump environmental regulation rollbacks.

Tran wants to effectively provide her services, take care of her employee wages and benefits, and make a profit. She supports regulations that help that mission and opposes those that do not. She supports Thorburn’s efficient regulation philosophy.

Huff applauds Trump because regulations stifle creativity, innovation, and job creation. He speaks of Silicon Valley’s innovation relatively free of regulations. He says regulations are cumbersome.

Jammal calls for smart regulations, like clean air and water. He says regulations are about leadership to update old rules. He says neither party would update old regulations for fear of angering business. He says three candidates have never said no to lobbyists.

Kim says California is over-regulated and heavily taxed. She served on the jobs and economic development committee in the Assembly. She worked with the Democratic chair and found that businesses felt they were overregulated. She wants a business-friendly environment.

7:24 PM: Reiff asks the candidates about what one idea they each have for infrastructure.

Thorburn calls for more infrastructure spending via a segregated fund consisting of all the new tax revenue from companies returning from overseas and via savings from a Medicare for All plan. He says GDP is wasted on health care in our current system.

Tran wants to repair crumbling infrastructure, which would also create jobs. She says Trump’s proposal is infeasible. She wants to cut departmental waste. She wants to close military bases recommended by the Department of Defense. She wants to do more audits of government spending.

Huff says spending is a statement of priorities. Infrastructure needs to be a priority, not an excuse for tax increases. He blasts the California gas tax and VLF increase. He notes transportation money was being used for non-transportation purposes. He wants California to stop being a donor state and would bring federal dollars back to California.

Jammal blasts the deterioration of Fullerton roads. He blasts three candidates for presiding over that. He says they need to fix the 57/60 interchange. He wants a modern electrical grid, electric car chargers, and cybersecurity. He would also cities what they need. He would stop buying F18 fighter jets. He would look for efficiencies in government.

Kim served on the Assembly Transportation Committee. She blasts high-speed rail. She says Sacramento and Washington spend too much, including grabbing transportation dollars for pet projects, like high-speed rail. She says high-speed rail money should be redirected for roads instead. She would use public-private partnerships.

Nelson notes serving as a member and Chairman of OCTA. He notes OC has the best freeway system in California. He says OCTA has spent efficiently and expanded every freeway in OC in the last eight years. He notes Orange County Water District has a AAA credit rating. He calls for government loans for infrastructure.

7:34 PM: Reiff asks if the candidates support high-speed rail: yes or no.

Thorburn, Tran, Jammal: Yes

Huff, Kim, Nelson: No

7:35 PM: Reiff asks for 90 second statements on immigration.

Tran notes she is an immigrant and that immigrants are part of the fabric of America’s culture and economy. She wants a pathway to citizenship for DACA. She wants comprehensive immigration reform. She wants to streamline legal immigration, including family reunification. She wants to expedite visas. She wants to secure the border without a wall.

Huff says there is a big distinction between “legal and undocumented immigration.” His wife is an immigrant. He calls for more secure border controls, similar to those on roads and at airports. He noted September 11, guns, drugs, and other things that resulted from porous borders. He wants a solution for DACA that does not include deportation.

Jammal says undocumented immigration from Mexico is decreasing. He does not want to demonize immigrants. He blasts Nelson for the Board of Supervisors vote on the sanctuary state lawsuit. He notes that immigrants are a key part of society and the economy. He wants a path to citizenship. He believes the border crisis is a fictional crisis.

Kim notes she is an immigrant. She wants a DACA fix. She does not want them to live in fear of deportation. She says DACA beneficiaries are making America great by creating jobs and bringing diversity. She wants a humane solution. She wants to revisit broken immigration laws humanely. She does not want to demonize immigrants. She wants a pathway to citizenship.

Nelson says the U.S. is a nation of immigrants and a nation if laws. He says Obama provided a smaller DACA solution than Trump did. He says the U.S. should not tolerate a porous border. He says no nation should tolerate that. He noted the 1980s amnesty failed to secure the border. He wants strict border controls with more generous legal immigration. Nelson notes the Board of Supervisors action dealt only with incarcerated illegal immigrants.

Thorburn says 4-5 candidates are calling for comprehensive immigration reform. He says Democrats need to take control of the House because Republicans control all branches of government. He opposes demonizing immigrants. He opposes banning Muslims. He wants a thoughtful manner with planning. He says immigrants contribute to the economy and commit fewer crimes. He says the immigration crisis is fictional. He says the border needs minor adjustments.

7:47 PM: Reiff asks if the candidates favor a DACA fix. All six raise their hands.

Reiff asks if the candidates support the Board of Supervisors action on the sanctuary state lawsuit. Huff, Kim, and Nelson raise their hands.

7:48 PM: Reiff asks about the Affordable Care Act, universal health care, and single-payer health care.

Huff says Obamacare was flawed with rising costs and higher deductibles. He calls for insurance portability and medical bill simplification. He opposes the individual mandate as unaffordable for young people. He calls for Health Savings Accounts.

Jammal says Medicare works. He wants to preserve what works. He says the tax reform has a trillion dollar deficit and that Paul Ryan is threatening Medicare and Social Security. He believes in Medicare for All. He wants to lower the Medicare age. He wants to fix ACA with lower prescription drug prices and allow generic drugs. He wants to reduce spending for advertising drugs on TV.

Kim says Obamacare is full of broken promises. He says premiums have increased. He says Medicare for All is a fringe proposal that has no pull in Sacramento or Washington. She calls for fixes but will not support an Obamacare repeal unless there is a comprehensive replacement.

Nelson says Obamacare is based on everyone paying in. He says young people have to pay in to pay for the elderly for it to work. He says young adults, like his children, are overwhelmed and cannot fund the massive Baby Boomer generation. He says you cannot cut services for people who do not use them: young people do not use most health services.

Thorburn says Western Europe is not bankrupt but covers all people. He says the U.S. is inefficient and overpriced. He says 18% of U.S. GDP goes to health care but we have the developed world’s lowest life expectancy and highest infant mortality while Europe spends 12%. He calls for a single-payer system.

Tran notes she is a physician and businesswoman. She said premiums soared as she tried to provide health insurance to her employees until the ACA lowered these costs. She wants to improve the ACA by making sure access, affordability, and quality are protected.

7:58 PM: Reiff asks which candidates would support single-payer health care in the long run.

Jamal, Thorburn, and Tran raise their hands.

7:59 PM: Reiff asks about the national debt and notes 2/3 of the budget is entitlements. He prohibits fraud and waste from being answers.

Jammal says the tax reform bill added $1 trillion to the deficit. He says roads and veterans will have less funds. He says climate change is adding costs. Jammal would oppose any cuts to Medicare or Social Security. He calls for government modernization. His bureau saved $1 million by printing on both sides of the paper. He wants to repeal the tax reform bill.

Kim says there is a spending problem in Sacramento and Washington. She wants to cut regulations to allow business to grow and deliver more tax revenue. She says veterans deserve to be taken care of.

Nelson says it is not an easy fix. He says it is infeasible to have an immediate balanced budget without unacceptable cuts. He proposes spending freezes instead. He opposes the U.S. borrowing money to give money to other nations. He compares it to maxing out credit cards to give gifts to friends.

Thorburn says the tax bill is borrowed money funded by bonds and is being given to corporations. He says stimulus spending generates a one-year deficit increase but long term deficit decreases. He notes Clinton was the last budget surplus. He wants to repeal the tax reform bill.

Tran says the tax reform bill gave too much to corporations. She says the elderly, the sick, and children are shouldering it. She wants to shift priorities away from war and military spending. She wants to make cuts in the Department of Defense. She wants to shift priorities from the military to seniors and education.

Huff says the deficit will be shouldered by the next generation if action is not taken. He believes a balanced budget amendment is necessary. He calls for Congress to not be paid if they do not pass the budget timely, like the Legislature. He notes while Republicans in Congress are being accused of being the problem, he notes it was Democrats in the Legislature.

8:09 PM: Reiff asks for environmental hand raises.

Jammal, Thorburn, and Tran feel California needs to do more to promote green energy.

Huff, Nelson, and Kim feel environmental regulations are too strict and would also support nuclear energy.

8:11 PM: Closing Statements

Kim says she represented the district for two decades first with Royce and then in the Assembly. She promises to listen to all concerns and represent her district. She wants to give back to the country.

Nelson says Royce’s retirement was a surprise for Republicans. He had to make a rapid decision to run. He did not want a coronation. He worked with all sides to make improvements for Fullerton in 8.5 years on the City Council. He says he has done the same at the County and will do so at the federal level. He calls for nonpartisanship, noting his friendship with Congressman Lou Correa.

Thorburn says he has been both labor and business. He wants inclusion, high ethics, and democracy, which he says the administration is attacking. He wants everyone to have a chance and opportunity.

Tran speaks of her two daughters. She says she is running for families needing health care and women facing sexual violence. She wants to improve ACA and emphasize education. She says she has never run from challenges. She wants to fight for the America she knows and loves for her children.

Huff says local government is nonpartisan, where he served for nine years. He found partisan state government could also work by searching for solutions without poking people in the eye. He plugs his web site.

Jammal grew up in the district, which had good roads and affordable college. He blasts the tax bill. He calls for new leadership. He calls for health reform. He plugs his website.

8:18 PM: Reiff adjourns the debate.

Posted in 39th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Unholy Aliances: Body Parts trafficking in the Land of Gracious Living

Posted by Brenda Higgins on March 28, 2018

 

DaVinci Biosciences and related company, DVB, became part of the national exposure of Planned Parenthood and its distribution and sale of fetal body parts. David Daleidin and The Center for Medical Progress exposed these Planned Parenthood practices and a congressional investigation followed. The report that came from that investigation recommended prosecution and further investigation, into more than a dozen entities. Orange County District Attorney followed thorough with prosecution of the body parts traffickers found here, but many authorities and jurisdictions have not. New Mexico, whose university and interconnectedness with Planned Parenthood were some of the largest offenders, has elected to take no action.

DaVinci and DVB were formed in 2007 and 2009 respectively. Both for-profit corporations, both located at the same physical location in Savi Ranch area of Yorba Linda. OCDA stated that the companies were nearly indistinguishable, sharing employees and the same location, and both companies are owned and operated by several members of the Isaias family from Ecuador.

The Isias family migrated from Ecuador amid much controversy. In 2012, the Isaias’s were convicted in Ecuador, in absensia, for bank fraud. The conviction alleged that they falsified records of their bank, Filanbanco, in order to obtain more than $600 million in their government’s bailout funds. Presumably, the funds they bilked from the Ecuadorian government provided the foundation for the DaVinci companies, as well as their ‘media” venture in Florida, Fyre TV, an on-demand porn platform. The Isaiases are also rumored to have extensive real estate holdings, and have been reported to have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to political cadidates, like Marco Rubio, Barrack Obama, the DNC, and Senator Robert Menendez. In 2016, they gave $300,000 to the DNC.

Several members of the Isaias family encountered immigration difficulties after being caught smuggling ‘maids’ into the US. Both Senator Robert Menendez, and the Clinton State Department intervened on their behalf. The Obama administration refused to cooperate with Ecuador in extradition of the Isaiases. Linda Jewell, the American ambassador in Ecuador, indicated that the intervention of Senator Menendez and apparent favorable treatment by the State Department was “substantially beyond the usual level of interest.”

A direct link to the U.S. government favoring Ecuadorian convicts, and the Ecuadorian embassy in London harboring Julia Assange, has not been established. However, it is not a stretch to see retribution and discord in the actions of both nations. The Obama administration relationship with Ecuador was strained at best.

When the House Select Panel began its investigation in 2016, DaVinci was slow to produce the records of its donations to Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties (PPOSBC). The report form the Select Panel ultimately concluded though, that the DaVinci group was brazen in its effort to market and profit from the fetal tissue it was procuring from PPOSB. The report showed that DaVinci had a sales force and extensive marketing plan, product brochures, a website and bulk discounts for their best customers. They also offered financing on approved credit, holiday discounts and free samples.

Stem Express and Advanced Biosciences are other California based fetal body parts traffickers who were investigated by the House Select Panel. Stem Express paid Planned Parenthood a per-shipment fee, while Advanced Biosciences paid a monthly procurement fee. DaVinci Made some tax deductible donations totalling nearly $4,000.00 between 2008 and 2011, but nothing in the investigation showed that they were paying a procurement fee. DaVinci provided the containers and picked up the specimens. Planned Parenthood obtained the consent, procured and collected the tissue, transferred them to the containers provided and notified DaVinci when they were ready for pick up.

The OCDA found that the DaVInci profits on each vial of tissue, after incurring nominal preparation costs, were ranging form $100 – $300 per vial. The profit on the sale of fetal or cadaveric tissue is prohibited by California state as well as Federal law.

The DaVinci Companies were ultimately closed down in 2017, pursuant to a settlement agreement with the OCDA. That agreement, in addition to closing them down, provided for DaVinci to pay fines and pentacles of about $7million, and to donate to an educational institution, all of their remaining inventory and equipment.

Posted in Orange County District Attorney's Office, Yorba Linda | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Let’s Set the Record Straight …

Posted by Greg Woodard on March 26, 2018

Walter Myers recently posted a story on this site titled “Personal Thoughts on Scott Baugh’s Run for the 48th Congressional District.” In the article, Myers makes many inaccurate statements, and in my opinion, inaccurate comments or implications about myself and Scott Baugh. I am the person appointed to the 71st Assembly District Central Committee in 2011 who Myers said “had not been involved in or served in the party in the slightest.” To set the record straight, he are the actual facts:

  1. I was appointed in January 2011 to replace Jack Anderson, not John Williams as Myers states. John Williams was not on the Central Committee in 2011 as he had finished 10th in the 2010 June election. That means that Myers could not have been Williams’ alternate in 2011 since he was not on the Committee. Jack Anderson was from Mission Viejo and he moved out of California following his June 2010 Central Committee election, opening a spot of the Committee. Scott Voigts, a friend and fellow conservative, approached me and asked me if I was interested in seeking appointment in Anderson’s place. Voigts knew of my conservative roots, and I was from Mission Viejo (as Anderson was). Voigts believed Mission Viejo needed representation on the Central Committee because of the size of the city in the district. With Voigts’ help, I launched a mini-campaign where I went to the sitting Committee members and made my pitch for why I should be appointed (the sitting members were to vote to appoint Anderson’s replacement). Apparently, I made a better argument as I won on a close vote over Myers. I also ran for election in 2012 and won a seat to remain on the Central Committee, finishing 6th out of 22 candidates (Myers finished 17th out of 18 candidates in his race that year).
  2. I was involved a bit more in the party than Myers states. At the time of my appointment, I was involved in the Republican party on several fronts. I was active in the CRA. I helped defeat a ballot-box initiative in Mission Viejo that would have severely restricted landowners’ ability to develop their land. I attended several fundraisers for local and state candidates. I was active in local influential political groups like Family Action PAC and Atlas PAC. I was also involved in the campaign for a Mission Viejo City Council candidate. While I do not care how Myers styles my political experience, I think most would agree that this qualifies as more than not being involved “in the party in the slightest.”
  3. Contrary to Myers’ implication, Scott Baugh had nothing to do with my appointment. I did not even meet Baugh until after I was appointed. As I said, I took the time and effort to explain to the sitting Committee members why I felt like I should earn their vote. I did enough to warrant the appointment over Myers.

Those are the facts, that cannot be changed or modified, no matter how hard Myers tries. These are my opinions on the rest of Myers’ post:

  1. Myers’ intimation that Baugh is racist is sad and unsupported, based on my experience. I was on the Committee when the Lincoln Club and OCGOP teamed up for an outreach to registered Democrat Latinos in Santa Ana. Baugh consistently lauded the program and made sure to recognize all of us who walked precincts at the Committee meetings. Over the years, I came to know Baugh better. He consistently offered me support and advice, and without his leadership, the party would never be in the place it is now. His fundraising and support for true conservative candidates cannot be challenged. I am glad that the party continues under the excellent leadership of Fred Whitaker, and I hope that outreach to all voters, regardless of color, gender, etc. will continue to be one of the party’s primary efforts going forward.
  2. Myers’ ad hominem attacks on Jon Fleischman and Marcia Gilchrist are irrelevant and odd. Fleischman has been one of the most staunch conservatives we have in the party and Gilchrist was always pleasant during the time I served with her on the Committee. Myers’ singling out of these two smacks of pettiness and has no place in his post, or anywhere else for that matter.
  3. Myers is better than his race-baiting post. Following my appointment, I met Myers a few times at Family Action PAC meetings, and other meetings. I found him to be a pleasure to talk to, and dedicated to bringing more minorities into the conservative fold. That makes his remarks on race all the more disappointing. According to Myers, he should have garnered the Committee appointment over me simply because he is black and I am white, not based on our conservative credentials. This is not a conservative view as we believe people should be judged based on their merits, not the color of their skin. His passive-aggressive attack on Baugh is equally troubling. Myers takes pains to state he is not branding Baugh a racist, but the implication in his post is clear. Again, that is not the way conservatives should act. True conservatives care about smaller government, lower taxes, national defense, the rights of unborn babies, etc. Race is not an issue because true conservatives are color-blind. I have seen nothing from Baugh to indicate that he is anything but a true conservative.

I did not win re-election to the Committee in 2016 and I am grateful for my 6 years’ served where I had the opportunity to help the party and make a lot of great friends along the way (many of the same singled out by Myers and I agree, they are outstanding people). It is sad that Myers has apparently been nursing these wounds so many years later. I just wish he had chosen to address them with Baugh personally, rather than use his bully-pulpit on here to make unfounded, and false accusations.

I have done considerable research to make sure my facts are accurate. However, I am far from infallible, so if I have made any mistakes, I welcome the opportunity to address them.

Posted in 73rd Assembly District, Mission Viejo, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

An Open Letter to Walter Myers on Scott Baugh’s Run for the 48th Congressional District

Posted by Mark Bucher on March 23, 2018

Walter,

I read your post about feeling slighted by Scott Baugh as Chairman of the Orange County Republican Central Committee when you were not chosen as the replacement for Jack Anderson (not John Williams), who resigned from the Committee because he was moving. You and I recall these events very differently. I remember well that you were upset, but Chairman Baugh had little involvement in that event. And it was not, as you claim, driven by race, racial insensitivity, or anything else about you personally.

When a Central Committee member resigns, the by-laws of the Central Committee require the remaining five members of that district (in this case, Jon Fleischman, Marcia Gilchrist, Tony Beall, Todd Spitzer and me) to select and recommend a replacement. After Mr. Anderson notified us that he was resigning, a fellow Central Committee member recruited Greg Woodard to replace Mr. Anderson and lobbied for him to be appointed.

The decision regarding whom to recommend was‬ not made in a vacuum – these were tumultuous times‬ on the Central Committee. As treasurer, I had been falsely accused of committing financial crimes involving the Party’s books by Francis Akhavi and others who were supported by her. (We now know why she was convinced I was cooking the books – Akhavi recently went to prison for stealing and keeping separate books. That irony is rich.) At the time, Jon Fleischman and I, and others in our assembly district caucus, wanted to make sure the replacement was somebody we knew and was not part of Akhavi’s scheme. We knew Mr. Woodard well, and simply did not know for sure where you stood. It is as simple as that. I do not recall then Chairman Baugh playing any substantial part in the decision. In fact, Mr. Woodard will confirm for you that he never even met Chairman Baugh until after he was sworn in as a new member. Nonetheless, Chairman Baugh followed the by-laws and put our recommendation to a vote of the entire Central Committee for approval.

Walter, if there is anyone you should be upset about for not being appointed to the Central Committee, it is Jon Fleishman and me, or even the entire Central Committee who voted for Mr. Woodard instead of you. But it is simply wrong for you to claim these circumstances constitute ethnic insensitively by Chairman Baugh.

With respect to your other claims that Chairman Baugh had no interest in minority outreach or is ethnically insensitive, nothing could be further from the truth. On many occasions Chairman Baugh championed ethnic outreach, including recruitment of candidates reflecting the great ethnic diversity of Orange County. He has been a fierce supporter of then Supervisor and now Senator Janet Nguyen, and stood up to powerful elements within the party to do so. He recruited and was an early supporter of Assemblywoman Young Kim, helped elect Michelle Steel and held her first fundraiser at his home when she was running for Supervisor, and led the Central Committee to an early endorsement of Andrew Do that helped lead to his election. In Santa Ana, Chairman Baugh was a leading advocate for Cecilia Iglesias for the School Board and he personally recruited Maribel Marroquin for the Central Committee in 69th Assembly District. He was also a leading proponent with the Lincoln Club for outreach to Santa Ana with Teresa Hernandez by walking precincts in an off election year to hear the concerns of the residents of Santa Ana, and even led the charge to have two Central Committee members removed who circulated racist materials.

I could go on and on recounting other efforts undertaken by Chairman Baugh, but I think the point is clear – Chairman Baugh was not responsible for you not being on the Central Committee, and has been a champion to be praised and emulated with respect to outreach to minority and ethnic communities.

Walter, you and I are friends, and I sincerely hope you are not offended by what I am saying. I just know for certain that the claims you are making against Scott Baugh are not true, and I felt it is important to set the record straight.

Mark Bucher

Elected Orange County Republican Central Committee Member
Former Treasurer, Orange County Republican Central Committee

Posted in 48th Congressional District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Personal Thoughts on Scott Baugh’s Run for the 48th Congressional District

Posted by Walter Myers III on March 22, 2018

I am keenly aware this post may ruffle some feathers, but it was a post I felt compelled to write. I am not supporting anyone in particular in the 48th Congressional District, but I am opposing Scott Baugh. A number of years ago during Baugh’s reign as Chairman of the OCGOP in the 2007 timeframe, I was an alternate on the OCGOP Central Committee for former Central Committee member John Wiliams. At the time, I believe the only Black (or African-American for some) persons involved in Central Committee were myself and Emily Sanford. My hope was that the party would recognize the need to get serious about outreach to the growing minority communities in Orange County, or at least be more welcoming.

At a barbecue hosted by John Moorlach one Saturday morning sometime in 2008, I asked Baugh about his thoughts on minority outreach as Orange County was making early moves towards being a purple county instead of continuing to be solidly red as in the past, particularly due to so many Republicans leaving the party to register as “Decline to State” (or DTS). Scott told me clearly that minority outreach was not much of a concern for him because politics had its cycles and even though Orange County may be trending away from the Republican Party, the pendulum would eventually swing the other way.

A couple of years later, in 2011, John Williams resigned from Central Committee due to apparent impropriety in his role as public guardian, for which he was fired by the Board of Supervisors. As John’s long-serving alternate who was active in the party working on minority outreach with then-coordinator Jack Wu, I saw this as an opportunity to be appointed to Central Committee so I could further this work.  This was a vibrant community that was lauded when former and now deceased Tom Fuentes was Chairman, but was only tolerated with Baugh at the helm.

I was given the cold shoulder by Baugh as well as the committee members of my district, with the exception of Todd Spitzer who felt I had value to offer the party. Instead, a person was appointed who had not been involved in or served in the party in the slightest. It was, to say, a low point in my life and a clear repudiation of the party wanting to be inclusive of minorities, at least in my district. I will never forget the disdain exhibited towards me particularly by Marcia Gilchrist and Jon Fleischman. Todd Spitzer later asked me to be his alternate, which I accepted. I am forever grateful for his support at a time when I felt rejected by the party of Lincoln.

After becoming Todd’s alternate, I later took leadership of the OCGOP minority outreach effort as coordinator. With much wrangling with the Executive Committee, I was able to establish an ad hoc committee that was highly active in the minority community, attending many cultural events and establishing a presence the party didn’t have before. I recall working with some truly outstanding people such as Craig Alexander, Deborah Pauly, Cuong Cao, Desare Ferraro, Zonya Townsend, and others. This continued for about a year or so, and then we had the redistricting in 2012 that changed the district maps for California. So I decided at that time to run for Central Committee as a full member.

I learned of a mailer going out for the June primaries that Baugh was directing from someone Baugh had already solicited to join the mailer, asking if I was on it. I replied I knew nothing of the mailer. I informed Baugh that I was interested in running for Central Committee based on my work as an alternate with an active committee reaching out to minority communities, and asked if he would support me by allowing me to participate in the mailer. Scott said he had no involvement in the mailer, which I knew to be false. Again, Scott demonstrated he had no desire to include minorities in the party and had no intentions of growing the party through outreach efforts. For a party that had and continues to have such a bad reputation with minorities, I don’t know why my work would not be a priority for him if his intention was to grow the party. It was becoming increasingly clear to me that I simply wasn’t welcome in the party. Thus, I ceased operations of my committee and divorced myself of all involvement in the party ever since. I am, however, encouraged by the work of the current party Chairman, Fred Whitaker, so perhaps I will reconsider in the future.

What I’m not attempting to do is to call Baugh a racist, but to note what I viewed as an unwelcome attitude, at least towards me. While I am by no means poor and am in the top 5% of earners nationwide in the high tech industry, he didn’t know that and I believe viewed me in a completely different light from someone who is white and known to have considerable financial resources. Many whites, to this day, make false assumptions about blacks and believe we have little to offer. So what I am attempting to show is Baugh’s insensitivity and indifference (which is by no means limited to Baugh) during his days as Chairman of the party, and thus I feel he is the wrong person to represent the 48th Congressional District of California which, while almost 57% white, also has a constituency that is 17% Asian, 21% Hispanic, and 1% Black. In my view, the minority population of the 48th Congressional District will not have an advocate in Scott Baugh.

Posted in 48th Congressional District | 7 Comments »

BOS-4: Fullerton Mayor Chaffee Makes Six Candidates

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 10, 2018

Candidates for 4th Supervisorial District: Mayor Doug Chaffee (D-Fullerton), Retired Fire Captain Joe Kerr (D-Brea), Councilwoman Lucille Kring (R-Anaheim), Mayor Tim Shaw (R-La Habra), Councilwoman Rose Espinoza (D-La Habra), and School Board Member Cynthia Aguirre (D-Brea)

Candidates for 4th Supervisorial District: Mayor Doug Chaffee (D-Fullerton), Retired Fire Captain Joe Kerr (D-Brea), Councilwoman Lucille Kring (R-Anaheim), Mayor Tim Shaw (R-La Habra), Councilwoman Rose Espinoza
(D-La Habra), and School Board Member Cynthia Aguirre (D-Brea)

The free-for-all in the Fourth Supervisorial District finally has an official candidate field, with six people running to succeed the termed out Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton), who is running for the open seat in the 39th Congressional District.  Mayor Doug Chaffee (D-Fullerton) pulled papers on Monday and filed Thursday to become the final candidate in the race.  With that, the six candidates are:

  • Budget Analyst Cynthia Aguirre (D-Brea), who is an elected La Habra City School District Board Member, pulled papers on December 27 and filed on Wednesday
  • Mayor, City of Fullerton Doug Chaffee (D-Fullerton) pulled papers on Monday and filed on Thursday
  • Councilmember Rose Espinoza (D-La Habra) pulled papers on Wednesday (though she had announced in February) and filed on Friday
  • Retired Fire Captain Joe Kerr (D-Brea), who was the founding President of the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association, pulled papers on February 13 and filed on March 2
  • Anaheim Councilwoman/Businesswoman Lucille Kring (R-Anaheim) pulled papers on February 16 and filed on Monday
  • Mayor/Professor Tim Shaw (R-La Habra) pulled papers on January 22 and filed on Thursday

Kring and Chaffee represent the two largest cities in the district.  Anaheim has more registered voters than any other 4th District city, but once voter propensity is taken into account, Kring’s home of Anaheim and Chaffee’s home of Fullerton have are almost dead even in high-propensity voters, with Anaheim slightly ahead of Fullerton (the City of Anaheim is split between two supervisorial districts, with the highest-propensity voters in the 3rd District).  The homes of the other candidates, Brea and La Habra, are far, far behind, as Anaheim and Fullerton voters combined form the majority of the six-city 4th District.

In the last 100 years, the 4th District has only had Supervisors from 3 Cities: Anaheim, Fullerton, and Orange, but Orange has been redistricted to the 3rd District.  Fullerton has the two most recent Supervisors: Shawn Nelson and Chris Norby.  Anaheim had 3 of the 4 Supervisors before that: Cynthia Coad, Don Roth, and Ralph B. Clark (the 1 they didn’t have was Orange’s Bill Steiner).  Orange had the four Supervisors before the Anaheim streak: William H. Hirstein, Willard Smith, Leon O. Whitsell, and Nelson T. Edwards.

Kerr is the only candidate who has never held elected office, but he also sits atop the largest campaign warchest.  As of the last campaign finance reporting period ending December 31, he had $90,627 cash-on-hand, though with $12,576 in unpaid bills, his cash-on-hand came down to $78,051.  While the other five candidates also wield deep roots in the district, Kerr will have to contend with allegations of carpetbagging, as he only became a Brea resident in 2017 after having resided in Coto de Caza for years.

Shaw had $62,196 cash-on-hand, though with $4,353 in unpaid bills, his cash-on-hand came down to $57,843.

Espinoza had $3,514 cash-on-hand, though she had loaned her campaign $10,000, so her campaign was $6,486 in debt.  I’m surprised she used only “Councilmember” as her ballot designation, as “Councilmember/Non-Profit Director” would have enhanced her designation, especially since she has used variations of it in prior bids for Supervisor and City Council.  She is the Executive Director of Rosie’s Garage, a non-profit serving at-risk and underprivileged children.

Despite opening a campaign account for Supervisor in 2017, Aguirre did not file a campaign finance report for 2017.  I am at a loss as to why Aguirre picked “Budget Analyst” as her ballot designation.  I have no idea why she thought that was a better ballot designation than her elected office.  Even if she wanted to stick with Budget Analyst, I don’t understand why she didn’t use “Orange County Budget Analyst” since she is a budget analyst for the County government.

Kring and Chafee entered the race after the last campaign finance reporting period.  Each picked a ballot designation with the names of their cities, so they clearly each hope to use their large home cities as bases to propel them into the top two spots for Supervisor.

The Big Four of this race (in alphabetical order) are: Chaffee, Kerr, Kring, and Shaw.  Chaffee and Kring have the biggest name ID while Kerr and Shaw got a head start in fundraising.  Aguirre and Espinoza have neither.

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AD-73: Mayor Sachs Completes Filing to Challenge Assemblyman Brough

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 10, 2018

Mayor Ed Sachs (R-Mission Viejo)

Mayor Ed Sachs
(R-Mission Viejo)

After pulling papers on Tuesday, Mayor Ed Sachs (R-Mission Viejo) has completed filing to challenge the re-election bid of Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) in the 73rd District.  The only other candidate to complete filing for AD-73 was Business Services Director Scott Rhinehart (D-Mission Viejo).

On the one hand, Mission Viejo is the largest of the 8 cities in AD-73.  Despite that, on the other hand, Mission Viejo has only 1/5 of AD-73’s voters.

In 2014, Assembly Republican Nominee Brough had endorsed Sachs’ bid for City Council.  In 2016, Councilman Sachs had endorsed Assemblyman Brough’s bid for re-election.

As of the last campaign finance reporting period, Brough had over $200,000 cash-on-hand for his re-election bid.  Currently Chairman of the Orange County Fire Authority, Sachs has not yet opened a campaign account for his 2018 Council re-election bid nor for his bid for AD-73 against Brough.

However, Sachs is a retired corporate executive who largely self-funded his own $25,000 campaign for City Council in 2014.  Specifically, he is the former President of the Pioneer Electronics USA, the American division of the massive Japanese multinational conglomerate.  Unfortunately, the Form 700’s ranges are quite broad, so Sachs’s Form 700 reports an enormous range for his possible stock holdings, somewhere between $114,000-$1.12 million.

With two Republicans and one Democrat running, this race will largely resolve itself in the primary election, with Democrat Rhinehart advancing to the general election with one of the Republicans, either Assemblyman Brough or Mayor Sachs.

AD-73 is literally the safest Republican Assembly seat in the entire state, with Republicans holding a 17% registration advantage over Democrats.

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CD-48: Baugh Completes Filing to Challenge Rohrabacher

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 9, 2018

Former Assembly Republican Leader Scott Baugh (R-Huntington Beach)

Former Assembly Republican Leader Scott Baugh (R-Huntington Beach)

After pulling papers on Wednesday for the 48th Congressional District against incumbent Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), former Assembly Republican Leader Scott Baugh (R-Huntington Beach) completed and submitted all the paperwork necessary to qualify for the ballot this afternoon just a few hours before the close of filing.

As of the last campaign finance reporting period ending December 31, Rohrabacher reported $713,000 cash-on-hand while Baugh reported $545,000 cash-on-hand.  A former Chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, Baugh had raised nearly all of his funds in 2016 (raising just $3,000 in 2017), as he suspended fundraising activities in 2017.  Baugh had previously stated that he was raising the money to prepare a bid for CD-48 after Rohrabacher retired.

I had previously written about the possibility of a Republican vs. Republican general election in CD-39 and CD-49, but Baugh’s entry now makes this a legitimate possibility in CD-48.  Democrats are targeting all three seats in their hopes of capturing the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.  However, a Republican vs. Republican general election would literally guarantee a seat staying in Republican hands, especially since Prop 14 precludes write-in candidates from the general election.  Prop 14’s creation of the Top-Two primary election could well stop the Democrats’ effort to seize the House.

This scenario actually happened in CD-31 in 2012 where four Democrats split the vote, and two Republicans went to the general election in a seat that was supposed to be a swing seat.

In their articles about Baugh pulling papers, the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles Times, and the Nooner all wrote of the possibility of the all-Republican general election due to California’s Top-Two primary election and the large number of Democrats running against Rohrabacher and Baugh.

Analyst Scott Lay of the Nooner wrote:

[Baugh is] in a competitive position and has the Dems worried.

Polling done for Fight Back CA PAC, which is focused on flipping 7 seats for the Democrats, finds that, with Baugh in the race, there’s a distinct possibility of another competitive district with two Republicans advancing to November. Three Democrats are shown to be competitive and each have plenty of dough–Hans Keirstead ($490k), Harley Rouda ($847k), and Omar Siddiqui ($540k).

In the polling, Rohrabacher leads, and Baugh is basically tied with the top two Democrats, and he hasn’t done any campaigning.

For that reason, I’ve moved the district from Leans Democrat to Toss-up, although Leans Republican might be more appropriate–of just a “Top-Two WTF?”

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Are We Still A Nation of the Rule of Law? A Serious Question – Part III

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on March 5, 2018

A few weeks ago I published two posts about the FISA Gate scandal of the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice apparently using the false and politically motivated “Steel Dossier” to obtain a FISA warrant on one time Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. Here are links to them: Link 1  & Link 2. At the time of publication the “Nunes” or Republican memo had just been de-classified and released while we were awaiting the Democrats or “Schiff” memo’s release.  The Schiff memo has now been released (with some redactions) and it confirms one thing I stated in my prior posts – the American people deserve to see the entire Carter Page FISA application and the three renewals that were presented to the FISA court.  This has all become too much of a partisan back and forth.

First here is a link to the Schiff Memo: hpsci_redacted_minority_memo.  Then here is a link to an excellent analysis by Andrew McCarthy of the National Review in which he debunks most of the claims made by Adam Schiff and his Democratic friends.

However all of the partisan rankling over the memos does not answer or resolve an extremely important problem – the FBI and the DOJ were apparently willing to break the law and their own rules before a Federal Court Judge (or Judges) to obtain a warrant to surveil (spy on) an American citizen who had been previously part of an opposing political campaign.  As Mr. McCarthy pointed out, the FBI did not need to get a FISA warrant to surveil Mr. Page.  He had previously cooperated with the FBI in a prior investigation of an alleged Russian spy and they could have gone back to him again and asked him about what he knows.  Since he apparently had cooperated and helped them in the past, what did they believe had occurred by 2016 that forestalled their going to Mr. Page again before getting a FISA warrant?  For a full impact / understanding of this read Mr. McCarthy’s article linked above. As Mr. McCarthy explains, this point is very critical and is another reason why the public needs to be allowed to see the application and renewals to the FISA Court.

With the atrocious massacre at the high school in Florida, the school safety and gun control debate this has started and now the President’s trade tariff announcement it is natural for people to have “moved on” from FISA Gate.  But this violation of the 4th Amendment is a critical issue – if law enforcement at the highest level of our country can lie to a Federal Court judge(s) to get a warrant like it did here and it is allowed to go unanswered and unpunished, what is the stop them from doing this again and again and again?

What’s next?  I suspect the next shoe to drop in this scandal will be the report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz.  When will that come out?  I do not know but not fast enough for me.  When it does I will publish a Part IV here.  It would be far better for the country for the FISA application and renewals to be released to the public now.

Craig P. Alexander is an attorney and principal of the Law Offices of Craig P. Alexander in Dana Point, California.  A large part of his legal practice is regarding the California Public Records Act to obtain documents from state and local governments (the state version of the Freedom of Information Act to obtain documents from the Federal government).

 

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