OC Political

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Archive for January, 2019

Live from OC GOP Central Committee

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 21, 2019

We are live from OC GOP Central Committee, where the agenda includes the election of officers for 2019-2020, speeches from candidates for California Republican Party Chairman, and the endorsement request submitted by Don Wagner for the special election for the Third District vacancy on the Orange County Board of Supervisors. It is standing room only in a rather large room.

The Central Committee voted to fill a pair of vacancies on the Central Committee with Hon. Alberta Christy (69th District, succeeding Hon. Brett Franklin) and Hon. Jim Cuneen (72nd District, succeeding Hon. Tyler Diep, who had to give up his directly-elected Central Committee seat, as the Republican nominee for the 72nd Assembly District has an ex officio Central Committee seat, and he cannot hold two Central Committee seats). They are sworn in, as are several new alternate members.

The roll is called, and the elected officials present are introduced.

OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker gives opening remarks reflecting upon the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Whitaker discusses the 2018 election, noting that more Republicans turned out to vote than Democrats did, in excess of registration margins. He notes polling indicates more Republicans voted for Democrats than vice-versa in 2018. He urges consolidating early behind candidates to deal with this, noting the Democrats have cleared the Third District Supervisor’s race for Loretta Sanchez and argues that the same should be done by Republicans for Don Wagner. He urges focusing on local issues, de-nationalizing the election, making sure OC volunteers focus on OC rather than calling into other states. He notes Democrats spent $60 million on OC Congressional races while Republicans spent $16 million. He notes $44 million was donated by OC Republicans and only $4 million came back to OC. He discusses how the Republican ballot harvesting pilot program was unsuccessful because Republicans simply do not hand over their ballots the way Democrats and No Party Preference voters do. He notes the Central Committee will vote on a political plan in closed session at the end of the meeting. He notes everyone on the Central Committee is a volunteer. He notes many people are here, yet only few signed up on the volunteer sheets at the entrance.

Central Committee Member Dean Grose calls on the entire Executive Committee to resign (despite the terms expiring today). He urges the elections be delayed to February and voted on one by one. (No one addresses Grose’s controversial past though most are aware.)

Whitaker notes elections for officers have been held every two years in January. He notes the terms expire today.

Former OC GOP Chairman Scott Baugh speaks about 27 Republican Governors, 64 legislative chambers, and other Republican successes. He notes the party controlling the White House typically loses seats in midterm elections, noting 39 Congressional seats lost is typical and that the GOP lost 40 in 2018. He also notes Democrats lost more state legislative seats in 2010 under President Barack Obama than Republicans did in 2018. He expresses concern about local Republicans voting for Democrats. He warns of the threat of Democrats gaining a second seat on the Board of Supervisors. He urges fighting back.

Baugh then makes a motion to nominate candidates for OC GOP Candidates for 2019-2020, seconded by Hon. John Moorlach and Hon. Gene Hernandez:

  • Hon. Fred Whitaker for Chairman
  • Hon. Peggy Huang for 1st Vice Chair
  • TJ Fuentes for 2nd Vice Chair
  • Erik Weigand for Treasurer
  • Steven Nguyen for Secretary
  • Hon. Laurie Davies for Assistant Treasurer
  • Tim Whitacre for Sergeant-at-Arms

Baron Night moves and Hon. Dean Grose seconds for remarks from each of the candidates.

Hon. Anthony Kuo moves and Hon. Brett Barbre seconds to table the motion. The tabling passes easily by voice vote.

The officer nominees are re-elected by voice vote.

Whitaker proposes Hon. Kermit Marsh to the appointed position of Parliamentarian, with at-large Executive Committee appointments going to Jon Fleischman, Mike McClellan, and Hon. Mike Munzing. The committee confirms the appointments by acclamation.

Hon. Mari Barke gives brief remarks on behalf of the California Policy Center.

Whitaker notes the presence of various candidates for Californa Republican Party (CRP) positions by name.

Whitaker then introduces the candidates for CRP Chair.

Steve Frank says he wants to revive the CRP. He says it is a great day in America with Trump as President and 660 days to get him re-elected. He notes 1.7 million Republicans have switched to Decline to State. He says the CRP has not spent a dime on voter registration. He says he does more radio shows in a week than entire CRP Board. He expresses outrage about legislative seats that did not have Republican candidates because of Prop 14. He accuses Travis Allen of supporting Prop 14 and accuses Jessica Patterson of getting 400 proxies to kill Frank’s symbolic resolution opposing Prop 14. He wants to use churches to harvest ballots. He blasts vote fraud. He says over a million people were fraudulently registered to vote in LA County. He says Democrats blocked the seating of a Republican Congressional candidate from North Carolina due to Republican ballot harvesting. He says Republicans should have sought the same with the seven California Democrats who won swing seats. He then gives out his phone number.

Whitaker notes that there is no endorsement vote tonight, but candidates for CRP Chair can go through the endorsement application process.

Jessica Patterson started volunteering for the Republican Party at a local headquarters in Hacienda Heights. She interned for Assemblyman Bob Pacheco and the CRP during the 2003 gubernatorial recall election. She notes most counties do not have County Executive Directors and infrastructure the way Orange County does. She notes her work with the CRP’s program for expanding County Executive Directors. She oversaw the Central Valley for CRP during the Schwarzenegger campaign. She is endorsed by 14 of 20 Republican Assemblymembers, 7 of 10 Republican State Senators, and 6 of 7 California Republican Members of Congress. She says she will not speak ill of other Republicans because she says the real enemies are the Democrats. She notes the endorsements of Darrell Issa, Ed Royce, Mimi Walters, Pat Bates, Ling Ling Chang, Phil Chen, and Don Barnes.

Hon. Travis Allen shouts into the crowd and receives supportive shouts in return. He blasts the Republican establishment for its failures of the past 20 years. He asks the crowd if they want to be light versions of Democrats, to which the crowd shouts against. He notes the conservative leadership that once ran California. He wants to grow the CRP with 100,000 small donors in addition to major donors and pay for voter registration. He wants grassroots street captains and precinct captains to lead Republican voter registration efforts on their streets and precincts. He notes those captains will also serve as a ballot harvesting army during the campaign. He calls Frank a great conservative but questions his plan to create internal committees. He calls Patterson a great Republican and blasts her being paid by Charles Munger and Kevin McCarthy and that she ran the ineffective Trailblazers program. He says she ran proxy drills to control the results of CRP convention votes. He wants to end proxy voting at CRP conventions. Allen has 13 County Party Chairs endorsing him and numerous delegates. He notes he has 500,000 Facebook followers, more than any Californa Republican. He speaks of bringing donors and grassroots together.

Baron Night asks Patterson for specific plans, arguing she is much vaguer than Frank and Allen.

Patterson wants to work on messaging and wants to empower the grassroots. She says she has the support of the donor community who will help fund these activities.

John W. Briscoe asks about whether Patterson will change the proxy rules.

Patterson says each proxy is an active Republican who has given money or time to help Republican groups and candidates. She notes the story of a deployed soldier who successfully got his vote counted because of proxy voting.

Frank supports Allen’s proposal to get rid of proxies but argues Allen missed the deadline to change the bylaws. Frank says he understands the process.

Allen says Munger and McCarthy have gamed the proxy system. He says Patterson was their point person on proxy harvesting.

Hon. John Moorlach asks about Frank’s experience.

Frank chaired Youth for Nixon. He speaks of helping candidates for Congress, State, County, City, and other local offices.

A red-haired woman asks who is going to combat Democrat ballot harvesting and their access to DMV data.

Allen warns of consultants’ political plans that enrich themselves. He calls for grassroots efforts, pointing to his street and precinct captains. He wants to litigate ballot harvesting.

Frank calls for church ballot harvesting. He describes his 15-page plan for the CRP.

Patterson wants to empower County parties and retool messaging. She says growing the party requires year-round outreach to people who are not normally engaged with the party. She blasts grassroots precinct efforts being replaced by paid precinct efforts.

Whitaker thanks the candidates.

Eva, the November Volunteer of the Month, is recognized for her efforts in the 65th Assembly District during the 2018 election. Alexandria Coronado speaks of Eva immigrating legally from a Communist nation. Coronado lists numerous things Eva tirelessly did. Eva gives remarks of thanks, speaks about her immigration, and explains her belief in Republican ideals driving why she worked so hard as an election volunteer. Eva receives certificates from the offices of various elected officials.

Kristin, the December Volunteer of the Month, is recognized for her efforts volunteering on campaigns and at the Registrar of Voters after the election. She gives her remarks of thanks and receives certificates from the offices of various elected officials.

Katie Pringle is nominated and elected as the County Party’s delegate for the vacant 69th Assembly District at the CRP.

Whitaker brings the endorsement for Third District Supervisor.

Hon. Gene Hernandez moves and Mary Young seconds endorsing Don Wagner for Third District Supervisor.

Hon. Deborah Pauly objects.

Hernandez speaks of Wagner’s conservative leadership on union issues, education, and fiscal issues. He speaks of Wagner’s conservative record on the College Board, in the State Assembly, and as Mayor.

Pauly argues that Republicans voted for Democrats for reasons of honor and integrity. She argues Whitaker has a narrow definition of stakeholders. She says endorsing her opponent is a mistake. She claims he is bought and paid for by developers. She says filing has not closed yet, and no one has qualified for the race. She expresses concern about the potential Irvine mayoral vacancy.

By a voice vote, Wagner is endorsed in a landslide.

After his endorsement, Wagner speaks of his 14% victory for Mayor. Wagner shows a posting from Loretta Sanchez. He warns that this election is the first campaign of November 2020. He notes the Mayors of every city in the district are endorsing him, except for Irvine (because he is the Mayor of Irvine) and Anaheim (where Kris Murray is from), but notes he does have the endorsement of the Mayor Pro Tem of Irvine and that Anaheim is only 11% of the Third District.

Various club announcements are made.

The committee adjourns to closed session at approximately 8:50 PM.

Posted in 3rd Supervisorial District, Republican Central Committee | 1 Comment »

Are LAUSD Teachers Underpaid, or Does it Cost Too Much to Live in California?

Posted by Craig P Alexander on January 17, 2019

This is a re-post of an article by Ed Ring (former President of California Policy Center) from CPC’s web site.  Here is a link to the original article.  Given the teachers’ strike at Los Angeles Unified School District – this article is very insightful and timely:

In California, public sector unions pretty much run the state government. Government unions collect and spend over $800 million per year in California. There is no special interest in California both willing and able to mount a sustained challenge to public sector union power. They simply have too much money, too many people on their payroll, too many politicians they can make or break, and too much support from a biased and naive media.

The teachers strike in Los Angeles Unified School District cannot be fully appreciated outside of this overall context: Public sector unions are the most powerful political actor in California, at the state level, in the counties and cities, and on most school boards, certainly including the Los Angeles Unified School District. With all this control and influence, have these unions created the conditions that feed their current grievances?

The grievances leading the United Teachers of Los Angeles to strike center around salary, class sizes, and charter schools. But when the cost of benefits are taken into account, it is hard to argue that LAUSD teachers are underpaid.

According to the Los Angeles County Office of Education, the median salary of a LAUSD teacher is $75,000, but that’s just base pay. A statement by LAUSD in response to a 2014 report on LAUSD salaries challenged the $75,000 figure, claiming it was only around $70,000. They then acknowledged, however, that the district paid $16,432 for each employee’s healthcare in 2013-14, and paid 13.92 percent of each teachers salary to cover pension contributions, workers comp, and Medicare. That came up to $96,176 per year.

The Cost of Benefits is Breaking Education Budgets

This average total pay of nearly $100K per year back in 2013-14 is certainly higher today – even if salaries were not raised, payments for retirement benefits have grown. For their 35,000 employees, LAUSD now carries an unfunded pension liability of $6.8 billion, and their OBEB unfunded liability (OPEB stands for “other post employment benefits,” primarily retirement health insurance) has now reached a staggering $14.9 billion. CalSTRS, the pension system that collects and funds pension benefits for most LAUSD employees, receives funds directly from the state that, in a complete accounting, need to also count towards their total compensation. And CalSTRS, as of June 30, 2017 (the next update, through 6/30/2018, will be available May 2019), was only 62 percent fundedSixty-two percent!

The reason to belabor these unfunded retirement benefits is to make it very clear: LAUSD paying an amount equivalent to 13.92 percent of each employees salary into the pension funds isn’t enough. What LAUSD teachers have been promised in terms of retirement pensions and health insurance benefits requires pre-funding far in excess of 13.92 percent. To accurately estimate how much they really make, you have to add the true amount necessary to pay for these pensions and OPEB. This real total compensation average is well over $100K per year.

To put LAUSD teacher compensation in even more accurate context, consider how many days per year they actually work. This isn’t to dispute or disparage the long hours many (but not all) teachers put in. A conscientious teacher’s work day doesn’t begin when the students arrive in the classroom, or end when they leave. They prepare lesson plans and grade homework, and many stay after regular school hours to assist individual students or coordinate extracurricular activities. But teachers working for LAUSD only work 182 days per year. The average private sector professional, who also tends to put in long hours, assuming four weeks of either vacation or holidays, works 240 days per year – 32 percent more. The value of all this time off is incalculable, but simply normalizing pay for a 182 day year to a 240 day year yields an average annual pay of not $100K, but $132K. Taking into account the true cost of pensions and retirement healthcare benefits, much more than $132K.

This is what the LAUSD teachers union considers inadequate. If that figure appears concocted, just become an independent contractor. Suddenly the value of employer paid benefits becomes real, because you have to pay for them yourself.

California’s Ridiculously High Cost-of-Living

If a base salary of over $70,000 per year, plus benefits (far more time off each year, pensions far better than Social Security, and excellent health insurance) worth nearly as much, isn’t enough for someone to financially survive in Los Angeles, maybe the union should examine the role it played, along with other public sector unions, in raising the cost-of-living in California.

Where was the California Teachers Association when restrictive laws such as CEQAAB 32SB 375 were passed, making housing unaffordable by restricting supply? What was the California Teachers Association stance on health coverage for undocumented immigrants, or sanctuary state laws? What did they expect, if laws were passed to make California a magnet for the world’s poor? Don’t they see the connection between 2.6 million undocumented immigrants living in California, and a housing shortage, or crowded classrooms? Don’t they see the connection between this migration of largely destitute immigrants who don’t speak English, and the burgeoning costs to LAUSD to provide special instruction and care to these students?

From a moral standpoint, how, exactly, does it make the world a better place, when for every high-needs immigrant student entering LAUSD schools, there are ten thousand high-needs children left behind in the countries they came from, as well as less resources for high-needs children whose parents have lived in California for generations?

When you make it nearly impossible to build anything in California, from housing to energy and water infrastructure, and at the same time invite the world to move in, you create an unaffordable state. When California’s state legislature passed laws creating this situation, what was the position of California Teachers Association? Need we ask?

The Union War Against Education Reform

Charter schools, another primary grievance of the UTLA, is one of the few areas where politicians in California’s state legislature – nearly all of them Democrats by now – occasionally stand up to the teachers unions. But why are charter schools so popular? Could it be that the union controlled traditional public schools are failing students, making charter schools a popular option for parents who want their children to have a better chance at a good education?

Maybe if traditional public schools weren’t held back by union work rules, they would deliver better educational results. The disappointing result in the 2014 Vergara vs. California case provides an example. The plaintiffs sued to modify three work rules, (1) a longer period before granting tenure, (2) changing layoff criteria from seniority to merit, and (3) streamlined dismissal policies for incompetent teachers. These plaintiffs argued the existing work rules had a disproportionate negative impact on minority communities, and proved it – view the closing arguments by the plaintiff’s attorney in this case to see for yourself. But California’s State Supreme Court did not agree, and California’s public schools continue to suffer as a result.

But instead of embracing reforms such as proposed in the Vergara case, which might reduce the demand by parents for charter schools, the teachers union is trying to unionize charter schools. And instead of agreeing to benefits reform – such as contributing more to the costs for their health insurance and retirement pensions – the teachers union has gone on strike.

Financial reality will eventually compel financial reform at LAUSD. But no amount of money will improve the quality of LAUSD’s K-12 education, if union work rules aren’t changed. The saddest thing in this whole imbroglio is the fate of the excellent teacher, who works hard and successfully instructs and inspires their students. Those teachers are not overpaid at all. But the system does not nurture such excellence. How on earth did it come to this, that unions would take over public education, along with virtually every other state and local government agency in California?

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Craig Alexander is an attorney, a former elected member of the Orange County Republican Party Central Committee and a former officer in the California Republican Assembly.  His practice is located in Dana Point and his law practice areas include Office/Commercial Leasing, HOA law, Insurance law, Civil Litigation and the California Public Records Act.

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OC’s Five Vacant Seats

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 8, 2019

As a result of the November 2018 elections, there are currently five vacant seats in Orange County.  Here’s a quick run-down on the five vacancies:

  • OC Supervisor, Third District
  • Fullerton City Council
  • Orange City Council
  • Seal Beach City Council, District 1*
  • Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education

*Seal Beach is not actually a vacancy, but there is an election this month (see below)

OC Supervisor, Third District – March 12 Special Election

The highest profile vacancy in Orange County is indisputably the Third District seat on the Board of Supervisors, which Todd Spitzer vacated when he was sworn in as District Attorney yesterday.  The special election has been called for March 12, with candidate filing closing on January 28.  There is no run-off, so whoever wins the plurality of the vote in this election will be Third District Supervisor through the remainder of Spitzer’s unexpired term that lasts until January 2021.  The seat would be up for election again in 2020 for a full four-year term lasting from January 2021-January 2025.  Since the new Supervisor would be filling less than half of Spitzer’s unexpired term, that person could hold the seat for nearly ten years before finally being term limited in the 2028 election.

Declared candidates so far are Irvine Mayor Don Wagner (R), former Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D), and former Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray (R).  Between his Assembly and Mayoral tenures, Wagner has represented 85% of the Third Supervisorial District’s registered voters, the entire district outside of Yorba Linda.  In Congress, Sanchez represented 12% of the Third Supervisorial District.  On the City Council, Murray represented 12% of the Third Supervisorial District.

Wagner was last on the Assembly ballot in 2014, but he has since been on the Mayoral ballot in both 2016 and 2018 in the 37% of the Third District that is the City of Irvine.  Sanchez was last on the ballot for the House of Representatives in 2014, though she did have an ill-fated run for US Senate in 2016, which of course included 100% of the district since it was a statewide race.  Murray was last on the City Council ballot in 2014.

Here are the latest campaign finance numbers for each of the three:

  • Wagner had $35,868 in his Mayoral campaign account as of the October 20 campaign finance report filed with the Irvine City Clerk.  What isn’t shown is how much of this he spent between October 20 and November 6 since he was in a campaign for re-election as Mayor, as that campaign finance report is not due until the end of January.
  • Sanchez had $18,384 in her Congressional campaign account and $18,344 in her US Senate campaign account, as of the September 30 campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission.
  • Murray had $316 in her City Council campaign account as of the June 30 campaign finance report filed with the Anaheim City Clerk.  She had $886 in her Supervisorial campaign account as of the June 30 campaign finance report filed with the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

Wagner and Sanchez’s state campaign accounts have all long been closed.  Neither of their Supervisorial campaign accounts have been open long enough to file campaign finance reports.

Wagner and Murray have each issued December press releases declaring that they have more than $100,000 in their Supervisorial campaign finance accounts.  The next campaign finance reports are due later this month.

Fullerton City Council

In Fullerton, an at-large Council seat was vacated when Jesus Silva (D) was sworn in to the Council seat for District 3 on December 4.  The City Council may either fill the seat by appointment or special election.  It requires 3 votes of the 4 remaining members of the Council to act.  Whether elected or appointed, this person would fill the at-large Council seat for the remainder of Silva’s unexpired term through 2020.  The at-large Council seat will no longer exist after 2020, as it will be replaced by a District Council seat.

At their December 18 meeting, the Council deadlocked 2-2 on whether to make an appointment or hold a special election.  Mayor Silva (D) and Mayor Pro Tem Jennifer Fitzgerald (R) voted to make an appointment while Councilmen Bruce Whitaker (R) and Ahmad Zahra (D) voted for a special election.  They will consider the issue again on January 15.  Even if the Council does opt to make an appointment, they must reach 3 votes on who the appointee is in order to actually do so.  If the Council fails to make an appointment by February 2 (sixty days after the initial vacancy), then it automatically goes to a special election.

Regardless of whether the City Council actively chose to call a special election or simply failed to make an appointment by February 2, a special election would take place on either August 27, 2019 or November 5, 2019, under the statutory dates available to Fullerton.

Orange City Council

In Orange, a City Council seat was vacated when Councilman Mark A. Murphy (R) was sworn in as Mayor on December 11.  As in Fullerton, the Orange City Council may either fill the seat by appointment or special election, and it requires 3 votes of the 4 remaining members on the Council to act.  Whether elected or appointed, this person would fill the Council seat through the remainder of Murphy’s unexpired term through 2020, at which point the Councilmember would be up for election for a full four-year term.

City staff in Orange proactively solicited applications for the vacancy, and 10 people have submitted them.  The application process is not mandatory, and the City Council is not limited to considering those 10 applicants nor is it limited to an appointment.

At its meeting this evening, the Orange City Council will consider whether to make an appointment or hold a special election.  Even if the Council does opt to make an appointment, they must reach 3 votes on who the appointee is in order to actually do so.  If the Council fails to make an appointment by February 9 (sixty days after the initial vacancy), then it automatically goes to a special election.

Regardless of whether the City Council actively chose to call a special election or simply failed to make an appointment by February 9, a special election would take place on November 5, 2019, the only statutory date available to Orange.

Seal Beach City Council, District 1 – January 29 Run-Off Election

In Seal Beach, there isn’t actually a vacancy, but rather, the Seal Beach City Charter requires a January run-off when no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the prior November election.

There is January 29 run-off election between Small Businessman Peter Amundson (R) and Retired Business Owner Joe Kalmick (D) for the District 1 Council seat.  District 1 Councilwoman Ellery Deaton (R) continues in office until the run-off election is certified.  Eight years ago when Deaton was first elected, she too had to go to a run-off election—against none other than Kalmick.

Republicans have a 7% registration advantage in Seal Beach District 1.  The Registrar of Voters began sending out ballots for this election on New Year’s Eve, so ballots started arriving in voters’ mailboxes on January 2.

Santa Ana Unified School District

The lone Republican on the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education, Ceci Iglesias (R), was elected to be the lone Republican on the Santa Ana City Council when she won the District 6 seat, to which she was sworn in on December 11.

At its December 11 meeting, the Santa Ana School Board directed their staff to open an application process to enable the School Board to fill the seat by appointment.  The School Board will meet this evening to conduct the first round of applicant interviews.  They plan to meet again on January 15 to interview the finalists and make the appointment.  They must reach 3 votes on one of the applicants to actually make the appointment.

If the School Board fails to make an appointment by February 9 (sixty days after the initial vacancy), then it automatically goes to a special election.

With a School Board appointment, unlike a City Council appointment, a petition of 1.5% of the registered voters of the school district can overturn the appointment and force a special election.  The petition must be submitted within 30 days of the appointment.  In this case, if anyone objects to the person appointed on January 15, they have until February 14 to submit a petition of 1,223 registered voters in the Santa Ana Unified School District to overturn the appointment and force a special election.  If this were to occur, the appointee would vacate the seat upon certification of the petition, and that person would not be entitled to incumbent status on the special election ballot.

Posted in 3rd Supervisorial District, Fullerton, Orange, Santa Ana Unified School District, Seal Beach | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »