OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Live from OC GOP Endorsements Committee Round 5

Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 5, 2018

We are live from OC GOP Endorsements Committee. The recommendations from tonight’s meeting will be considered on September 17 by the full Central Committee.

On tonight’s agenda are:

  • Anne Figueroa for Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
  • Hon. Wendy Bucknum for Mission Viejo City Council
  • Dom Pham for Coast Community College District, Area 1
  • Robert Nelson for Anaheim City Council, District 3
  • Angie Cano for Santa Ana Unified School District
  • Hon. Don Sedgwick for Laguna Hills City Council
  • Tam (Nick) Lecong for Fountain Valley City Council
  • Steve Shatynski Brea City Council
  • Amy West for Westminster City Council
  • Hon. Cecilia Iglesias for Santa Ana City Council, Ward 6
  • Mark Tettemer for Lake Forest City Council, District 4

Present are Endorsements Committee Chair Peggy Huang and Members Leroy Mills and Erik Weigand. Member Laurie Davies is on the phone. Member Gene Hernandez is en route to the meeting. Member Tyler Diep is absent.

Wendy Bucknum for Mission Viejo City Council

Councilwoman Wendy Bucknum notes there are three Republican incumbents and two challengers, one who is endorsed by the Democratic Party and the other also a Democrat. She speaks to Mission Viejo High School’s civics class every year on behalf of Republicans. She speaks of her family.

Councilman Ed Sachs speaks of working with Bucknum for the past four years and praises her understanding of the demands of the office and her energy in engaging on the issues and with the community. He praises her Republican governing philosophy.

Laurie Davies speaks of Bucknum’s involvement on legislation, highlighting AB 448, the Housing Trust.

Erik Weigand calls this a no-brainer and speaks of her Republican volunteerism.

Peggy Huang asks about the City’s legislative public safety efforts, referencing Bucknum’s efforts.

Bucknum and her colleagues have ensured the City’s advocates are heard in Sacramento, and if necessary having Councilmembers testifying. She keeps residents informed and participates in town halls.

Huang moves and Weigand seconds to recommend Bucknum. The motion passes unanimously.

Anne Figueroa for Rancho Santa Margarita City Council

Councilman Tony Beall speaks on her behalf as she is in Europe celebrating her anniversary. Beall says Anne Figueroa is a Republican activist and entered the race when Councilman Mike Vaughn decided to not seek reelection 10 days before filing closed and asked her to run. She is endorsed by the entire City Council, Congresswoman Mimi Walters, Senator Pat Bates, and Assemblyman Bill Brough, among others. He warns that a Bernie Sanders activist is her top rival among the 7 candidates running for 3 seats.

Erik Weigand calls this an important seat. He notes her volunteerism.

Laurie Davies moves and Erik Weigand seconds to recommend Anne Figueroa.

Peggy Huang asks about the City’s finances.

Beall speaks of the City’s surpluses and fully-funded reserves. He does warn that the increasing costs of the Sheriff’s contract is a long-term spending item on the horizon.

The motion passed unanimously.

Dom Pham for Coast Community College District, Trustee Area 1

Dom Pham is on the phone and hard to hear. He speaks of his current education and his work in compliance for gun stores. His current job is in Congressman Ed Royce’s office. He says he realizes he is a longshot, but wants to ensure Republicans have a choice in this seat.

Leroy Mills expresses concern about the $1,200 raised by Pham.

Pham says he hopes to raise more money. He is still in school.

Laurie Davies expresses concern about his time constraints with both campaigning and managing both his work and school schedules. She urges him to get friend and family to help him precinct walk because it can help overcome funding issues.

Peggy Huang asks if he is involved with the College Republicans.

Pham is not but has tried reaching out to some.

Huang suggests he reach out to Paula Prizio to get assistance.

Erik Weigand applauds Pham for entering the race. He notes John Lewis is Pham’s consultant and Shawn Steel is supporting.

Weigand moves and Mills seconds for Pham. The motion passed unanimously.

Steve Shatynski for Brea City Council

Steve Shatynski is on the phone from the East Coast, specifically at the US Naval Academy because he works on USNA admissions covering North Orange County. He notes there are two incumbent Republicans and an incumbent Democrat in the race for three seats, as well as Republican Bill Hall. He says he is getting campaign help from Young Kim, Councilwoman Cecilia Hupp, and Brea RWF. He has been awarded the Department of the Navy Meritorious Service Award for his work on USNA admissions.

Erik Weigand asks if Hall was a proponent of the failed school bond.

Huang confirms he was. She also confirms Hall has not sought the endorsement.

She asks about Brea’s unfunded liability.

Shatynski believes it is approximately $45 million but does not recall the exact number. He calls it “a huge problem” and notes that John Moorlach called it the second largest per capita of any OC city.

Weigand moves and Davies seconds to recommend Shatynski.

Huang asks about “dynamic and prudent growth” that Shatynski wrote in his questionnaire.

Shatynski praises the construction of the Brea Mall. He speaks of the importance of his children being able to afford to live in the City. He speaks of the need to balance traffic concerns.

The motion passes unanimously.

Robert Nelson for Anaheim City Council, District 3

Robert Nelson told OC GOP staff that he would call in, but he has not done so.

Cynthia Ward says Nelson is trustworthy. She says he is Tom Tait’s appointee to the Public Utilities Board. She says he is involved in the community. She says he ran in 2010 and 2016. She says the other two candidates are Councilman Jose Moreno and Mitch Caldwell, who are both Democrats. She says an outside interest is interested in spending for Nelson.

Huang asks what would be different considering Nelson is running against the same opponent in Moreno and if Tait has endorsed.

Ward says Tait has not endorsed Nelson. She says she hopes he can slip up the middle as the two Democrats fight it out.

Huang asks about the voter registration.

Ward doesn’t remember the number but it is predominately Democrat.

Huang asks if he has any endorsements.

Ward says the California Impact Republicans have endorsed him. She expects the Anaheim Republican Assembly to endorse him soon, as it did in 2016.

Leroy Mills asks why Nelson hasn’t signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Ward says the City needs to allow bonds to go before voters. She argues the Taxpayer Protection Pledge prevents the placement of bonds on the ballot.

Mills clarifies the pledge is about taxes and fees.

Mills also asks why Nelson did not sign the union-free pledge.

Ward does not know.

Weigand moves to recommend Nelson, with the caveat that he sign the pledges by September 10, before it goes before Central Committee.

Ward argues Nelson being in the race forces Democrats to spend in District 3.

Huang notes the two Democrats would spend against each other in District 3. She also argues the Democrats have historically ignored Nelson in his prior races.

Weigand urges getting stronger candidates for seats like this.

Ward agrees that candidate recruitment needs to be improved.

Huang urges mentoring and recruiting qualified candidates even if it means sitting out a cycle to prevent a candidate going too early and gaining the reputation of being unelectable. Huang is concerned Nelson appears to be unready.

Ward says outside money may be spent for Nelson and that he may spend more personal money than he has in the past.

Mills seconds Weigand’s motion.

Davies does echo Huang’s comment that endorsing unready candidates may not be wise.

The motion passed unanimously.

Mark Tettemer for Lake Forest City Council

Committee Member Gene Hernandez arrives.

Mark Tettemer is on the phone. He says there is one seat and his sole opponent is Mayor Jim Gardner. He is a former two-term Councilman. He was on the OCFA Board and served as Chair. He speaks of his community volunteerism. He stepped away from politics to earn his MPA and is now returning.

Mayor Jim Gardner is Deborah Pauly’s alternate on the Central Committee. Gardner speaks in opposition because the OC GOP should not endorse against incumbent Republicans.

Huang asks if Gardner was endorsed by the OC GOP in 2014.

Gardner did not seek it.

Weigand asks if Gardner is seeking the endorsement.

Gardner is not seeking it because there are two Republicans but he would if the Central Committee is considering an endorsement.

Gardner says Lake Forest is debt free and has historically low crime. He says there is online participation in Lake Forest’s Council meetings. He says he holds town hall meeting. He says he attends more events than the rest of the Council combined.

Hernandez asks if this is an application.

Huang says it is not. Weigand notes his question may have caused Gardner’s discussion.

Councilman Scott Voigts speaks on behalf of former Mayor Mark Tettemer. He speaks of Tettemer’s record. He says Gardner violates property rights and has with Adam Nick twice supported the recalls of Andrew Hamilton, Scott Voigts, and Dwight Robinson. Voigts noted CPA Andrew Hamilton got the City to pay down its debt to be debt-free. He urges the committee to recommend Tettemer. He says Gardner attacks Councilmembers publicly and online. He speaks of Tettemer’s involvement in Relay for Life, 2008 endorsement by the OC GOP, and his family’s roots in the community.

Huang asks who else has endorsed Tettemer.

Tettemer lists the founding Mayor and other Councilmembers who have endorsed him.

Mills asks about his lack of fundraising.

Tettemer plans to self-fund as he has in the past but will also fundraise.

Mills moves for neutrality. There is no second.

Gene Hernandez asks Tettemer what he can do to clean up the dysfunctional 3-2 Council.

Tettemer says he has always had good working relationships and a sense of decorum. People reached out to him to run to stop the caustic atmosphere and lack of civility on the Council. He wants to work on good policy to move Lake Forest forward.

Gardner keeps attempting to interject, but Huang says this is the committee’s time for questions.

Weigand expresses concern about Gardner repeatedly supporting recalls that the party has opposed. He suggests allowing Tettemer, Gardner, and Voigts to speak more.

Hernandez expresses agreement with Weigand.

Davies also objects to Republicans recalling Republicans.

Reflecting on the parallels between Yorba Linda and Lake Forest, Huang discusses the resources expended to defend the Republicans against the recall backed by Gardner. She expresses concern that Gardner backed a primary challenger to Congresswoman Mimi Walters, tying up resources that could have gone to other Republicans.

Gardner makes “no apologies for being passionate and fighting for what I believe in.” He says he had no involvement in the second recall. He says their recall was based on a dangerous road being ignored.

Weigand asked if he supported the recall.

Gardner says he supported the recall. He says Hamilton belittled citizens and ended meetings.

Hernandez asked about the philosophy of recall usage. He says it is over illegal, immoral, or unethical conduct.

Gardner argues Hamilton badgered residents in a disgraceful fashion and held timeouts.

Hernandez asks if Gardner would recall President Trump.

Gardner says Trump has accomplished much.

Weigand asks how many recalls there have been in Lake Forest.

Gardner says there were two but only the second succeeded.

Huang asks Gardner if he gathered signatures for either recall or donated money.

Gardner donated money to the second recall but did not collect signatures for it. He did not donate to the first recall but cannot remember if he collected signatures for it. He claims Voigts has made 15 lies from the dais.

Hernandez urges that disagreements should be discussed and are healthy. He opposes attacking at the level of helping recall efforts.

Gardner writes articles on the Lake Forest Patch daily.

Hernandez asks if attacking Councilmembers on the Patch is productive.

Gardner argues Tettemer was a distant second in the recall replacement election.

Gardner accuses Voigts of lying about wearing a wire.

Weigand asks about the effort to elect Dwight Robinson to AQMD.

Voigts says it was at the same time as the recall signature gathering.

Voigts notes Gardner was the largest donor to the first recall. Voigts notes Gardner’s team launched a recall to urge closing a road down before construction was even completed. Voigts notes Gardner was even a signature counter on the recall. Voigts was requested to wear a wire by request of the District Attorney’s office and could not disclose it during an active investigation. He explained the timeout Hamilton called was after warning the disruptive audience three times to stop interrupting the Council meeting.

Davies calls the question and moves to recommend Tettemer. Hernandez seconds.

Weigand asks if there is a way to recommend a debate at the full Central Committee while still recommending Tettemer for endorsement.

Hernandez says there would likely be a debate at the Central Committee anyway given that Gardner is an alternate.

Huang says she could pull the name for discussion at the Central Committee.

The motion to recommend Tettemer passes with a unanimous 5-0 vote.

Weigand notes there is a mountain of evidence that Gardner has worked against the OC GOP. He notes Gardner is only able to speak at the Central Committee of Deborah Pauly steps out of the room during that meeting.

Amy West for Westminster City Council

Amy West is an American who was a Vietnamese refugee. She speaks about the principles of American democracy and the importance of local government. There are 13 candidates for 2 open seats (incumbents are both leaving).

Mills asks West about her lack of funding at just $2000.

West speaks of precinct walking gaining votes for her.

Weigand asks if she is a Central Committee alternate.

West is the alternate of Supervisor Andrew Do.

Jeremy West, her husband, gives his speech to OCDE Trustee Mari Barke. Barke does not use it but says West is an amazing woman who she wanted to recruit for school board but the school board seat is not available until 2020.

Amy West reads a supportive text from Supervisor Andrew Do.

Hernandez asks if she has been endorsed by Tyler Diep or Tri Ta.

West says both have been supportive but neither have formally endorsed.

Weigand asks if Senator Janet Nguyen has endorsed.

West says Nguyen has endorsed another candidate.

Weigand notes the Westminster City Council meeting is in progress, so that is why Tyler Diep is not present. He is concerned about endorsing prematurely in Westminster.

Hernandez argues candidates need to show initiative in getting applications in.

Mills is concerned that endorsing eliminates the opportunity to endorse others.

Davies echoes Hernandez’s comments.

Huang notes the 2016 Huntington Beach debacle in which more Republicans sought an OC GOP endorsement after there were none left.

Huang references West’s questionnaire answer of intending to reign in expenditures while also expanding services.

West says “safety is key” and says streets and parks don’t matter if there isn’t safety. She says Andrew Do runs Orange County and she has spoken to them about battling homelessness. She has spoken to the Police Chief about how to help. She describes pushing for Neighborhood Watch. She says there is much waste including beautifying the Westminster Police Headquarters.

Hernandez asks if West would entertain dissolving the Westminster Police Department and contracting with OC Sheriff instead for cost savings. He notes Yorba Linda saves $2 million.

West is surprised by the suggestion but says she is open to it.

Hernandez notes that her goals are expensive and that she will need to prioritize because there is only so much money.

Hernandez moves and Davies seconds to recommend West. The motion passes unanimously.

Don Sedgwick for Laguna Hills City Council

Don Sedgwick was endorsed by the OC GOP for school board. He speaks of volunteering for various candidates and raising money for them. He is endorsed by all the other candidates and all the incumbents. There are three seats on the ballot. He speaks of his conservative views.

Hernandez works with Sedgwick on the OCFA Board. Hernandez praises his work ethic,diligence, and intelligence on the Board.

Davies echoes Hernandez’s comments. She also notes Sedgwick’s work on strong cross border relations since they are neighboring cities.

Weigand praises Sedgwick’s leadership.

Mills asks about Sedgwick endorsing Ginny Aitken for school board.

Sedgwick says Aitken was more conservative than other Republicans running. She was pro-life and fought the unions. He calls her a Democrat in Name Only. He couldn’t get her to reregister.

Huang asks why so many Republicans seem to be voting for Democrats.

Sedgwick notes that is not happening in Laguna Hills where no Democrat holds elected office. He speculates Republicans are losing young voters. He notes Laguna Hills is an aging community with a rising median age.

Weigand moves and Hernandez seconds recommending Sedgwick. The motion passed 4-0-1 with Mills abstaining due to being bothered by the Ginny Aitken endorsement.

Angie Cano for Santa Ana Unified School District

Angie Cano was 39 votes from being elected in the last election and only 400 votes short in the prior election. She wasn’t going to run this time but decided to do so when union activists from outside Santa Ana convinced the school board to put a bond on the ballot.

Mills asks Cano about shall issue status for California.

Cano would be supportive.

Mills asks if Cano is pro-life.

Cano is pro-life.

Mills asks about a constitutional amendment prohibiting the State government from taking local money.

Cano would support such an amendment.

Hernandez moves and Weigand seconds to recommend Cano. The motion passed unanimously.

Gracey Van Der Mark for Ocean View School District

Gracey Van Der Mark and her husband own a small business and have 7 children; 6 attended OVSD schools. She is running after seeing a lack of transparency when she got on the OVSD bond oversight committee.

Former OVSD Trustee Debbie Cotton speaks in favor of Van Der Mark, praising her work on the bond oversight committee. She speaks of Van Der Mark’s conservative views. She speaks of the attacks Van Der Mark has suffered.

Hernandez asks how much she has raised and if other Republicans are running.

Van Der Mark has raised $3400. She says there are three Republican incumbents.

Cotton notes the incumbents are union backed and that one reregistered today as a Democrat.

Mills asks about sex education being forced on school districts by the State Department of Education.

Van Der Mark agrees with Mills that she would fight these efforts.

Huang asks about how she switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.

Van Der Mark grew up in Los Angeles and was the daughter of Democrats. She opened her own business and became a Republican.

Mills blasts Democrats bullying Republicans. He blasts the movie about the moon landing that leaves out the planting of the US flag on the moon

Mills moves and Davies seconds recommending Van Der Mark. The motion passes unanimously.

The committee adjourns at 8:54 PM.

2 Responses to “Live from OC GOP Endorsements Committee Round 5”

  1. Robyn Nordell said

    Thanks, Chris!

  2. Jim Garder lied to the committee about his involvement in the recall. Emails that have been released by Lake Forest Council Wacth price that Gardner was deeply involved, to the Lou t that he was spending time validating signatures. I hope the committee members will do their homework and reject Garder and his acolytes.

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