OC Political

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

Archive for March, 2019

3 Weeks, 3 More Vacant Seats: Irvine, Santa Ana, and Stanton

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 14, 2019

In January, I wrote about OC’s Five Vacant Seats: OC Supervisor for the Third District, Fullerton City Council, Orange City Council, Seal Beach City Council District 1, and Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education.

Well, in the last three weeks, three more vacancies have developed in Orange County.

Irvine

The most well known vacancy is the one in Irvine that will result when Supervisor-Elect Don Wagner (R) vacates the Mayor’s seat.  However, there are numerous misconceptions about which vacancy in Irvine will result.

Some candidates claimed during the Supervisorial election that if Wagner won, there would be a special election for Mayor.  That is false.  Some press accounts claimed that the Council would appoint the new Mayor.  That is based on out-of-date information.

Under current Irvine ordinances as authorized by the Irvine City Charter, Mayor Pro Tem Christina Shea (R) will automatically succeed Wagner as Mayor once he vacates the Mayor’s seat.

The vacancy in Irvine is for Christina Shea’s Council seat.  Under the Irvine City Charter, the City Council has 60 days to appoint a new Councilmember after Shea vacates her Council seat (i.e. after she becomes Mayor after Wagner resigns).  If the Council fails to appoint a person to fill the vacancy, then there will be a special election.  Whether appointed or elected, Shea’s successor will serve through the November 2020 election.

Santa Ana Ward 4

The next most well known vacancy is in Santa Ana.  Ward 4 Councilman Roman Reyna (D), who was just elected in November, resigned effective March 1 as part of a settlement agreement in a lawsuit that challenged his eligibility to run for the Council seat in the first place.

Under the Santa Ana City Charter, the City Council has 30 days to appoint a new Councilmember to serve through the November 2022 election.  If the Council fails to appoint a person by March 31, then there will be a special election on November 5, which will be consolidated with the Santa Ana Unified School District special election.

Six people met Tuesday’s deadline for applications.  The Council is scheduled to interview the applicants next Tuesday, March 19.  The applicants are:

  • Phil Bacerra (D), a former Santa Ana Planning Commissioner who lost the Council election to Reyna and was the plaintiff in the lawsuit that led to Reyna’s resignation
  • Kenneth Khanh Nguyen (NPP), a Santa Ana Planning Commissioner
  • Jennifer Oliva (D), a Santa Ana Arts and Culture Commissioner
  • Gale Oliver, Jr. (NPP), a Baptist bishop
  • Phillip Ortiz, Jr. (NPP), an Internet installer
  • Maricela Vallejo (NPP), a Santa Ana Personnel Board Member

Stanton

The least publicized vacancy is the one in Stanton.  Mayor Pro Tem Al Ethans (R) resigned effective February 28 after more than 22 years on the Stanton City Council.

As Stanton is a general law city, the City Council has 60 days to appoint a new Councilmember to serve through the November 2020 election.  If the Council fails to appoint a person by April 29, then there will be a special election on November 5.

Applications for the seat are due at 5:00 PM today.  A City Council subcommittee is scheduled to meet with the applicants the last week of March, and the Council is slated to meet on April 23 to vote on a potential appointee.

Status of OC’s Eight Vacancies

Here’s a quick run-down on every vacancy in Orange County since the November 2018 general election.  There are 2 completed elections (Supervisor and Seal Beach), 1 appointment completed (Fullerton), 2 pending special elections (Orange and Santa Ana School Board), 2 pending appointments (Santa Ana and Stanton), and 1 pending vacancy (Irvine).  All of these seats are up for election again in 2020, except for Santa Ana and Seal Beach which will be up for election again in 2022:

Posted in 3rd Supervisorial District, Irvine, Santa Ana, Stanton | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Election Day in BOS-3: $1.2 Million+ in Spending Ends Today

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 12, 2019

Moments ago, the polls opened in the Third Supervisorial District, as voters decide who will fill the seat vacated by now-District Attorney Todd Spitzer for the remaining 22 months of his unexpired term.  In 51 weeks (i.e. 1 week short of a year), voters in the Third District will return to the polls for the primary election for the same seat for the next four-year term.

Ballots Received

While the polls close at 8 PM tonight, it is widely expected that vote-by-mail (absentee) ballots will comprise the overwhelming supermajority of the votes.  As of yesterday, 46,632 ballots had been received by the Registrar of Voters.  Of those, 5,466 arrived yesterday, and party breakdown on those ballots is not yet available.  Of the other 41,166 ballots that had arrived by Friday, 44.7% were from Republicans, 32.6% were from Democrats, 20.1% were from No Party Preference (NPP) voters, and the remaining 2.6% were from third party voters.

The 46,632 ballots received are 19.8% of the 236,026 vote-by-mail ballots issued by the Registrar.  That number will of course climb as more ballots arrive in the mail today at the Registrar’s office, additional vote-by-mail ballots are delivered directly to polling places, and still other vote-by-mail ballots are mailed today to arrive at the Registrar’s office by Friday’s receipt deadline under state law.

There are 341,809 registered voters in the Third District.  Those 46,632 vote-by-mail ballots received are 13.6% of registered voters, but of course that turnout number does not include any of the poll voters (myself included) who only began casting ballots moments ago nor does it include the various vote-by-mail ballots not yet received that I described above.

Campaign Spending

Over $1.2 million was spent in this election between the candidates, political parties, and independent expenditures, with over $500,000 in support of Loretta Sanchez (D), over $400,000 in support of Don Wagner (R), and over $100,000 in support of Kris Murray (R).  Additionally, more than $63,000 was spent attacking Wagner by the Orange County Employees Association, the County’s largest labor union, and over $54,000 was spent attacking Murray by multimillionaire Howard F. Ahmanson and his Fieldstead & Company.

Deborah Pauly (R) spent just over $10,000, and the other three candidates (Republicans Larry Bales, Kim-Thy “Katie” Bayliss, and Katherine Daigle) spent nothing.  There were no independent expenditures for or against Pauly, Bales, Bayliss, or Daigle.  Bayliss and Daigle’s campaigns seem to only exist on the ballot and in cyberspace, as neither candidate has spent any money, appeared at any candidate forums, or submitted a candidate statement for the sample ballot.

The campaign finance reports for the IEs are largely complete, but those for the candidates are only complete through February 23.  After February 23, the only information we have from the candidates are regarding contributions received totaling $1,000 or more.

Here’s the campaign finance chart for the candidate’s campaigns:

Candidate Contributions
Through 2/23
Loans Unpaid
Bills
Expenditures Cash on Hand
(COH)
COH
Minus
Unpaid Bills
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills
and Loans
Through 2/23
$1,000+
Contributions
After 2/23
Don Wagner (R) $187,760 $100,000 $120,366 $232,279 $184,747 $64,381 ($35,619) $54,000
Loretta Sanchez (D) $193,846 $100,000 $0 $138,321 $256,652 $256,652 $156,652 $25,900
Kris Murray (R) $50,512 $52,000 $1,150 $97,797 $49,974 $48,824 ($3,176) $18,000
Deborah Pauly (R) $6,275 $10,500 $0 $10,269 $6,506 $6,506 ($3,994) $0
Katie Bayliss (R) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Katherine Daigle (R) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Larry Bales (R) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.

Here’s the chart of the independent expenditures (excluding spending by the Democratic Party of Orange County and the Republican Party of Orange County):

Independent Expenditure Pro-Sanchez Pro-Wagner Anti-Wagner Pro-Murray Anti-Murray
Orange County Employees Association $243,770 $0 $63,418 $0 $0
Orange County Attorneys Association $99,605 $0 $0 $0 $0
Engage OC $0 $55,300 $0 $0 $0
Howard F. Ahmanson / Fieldstead & Company $0 $0 $0 $0 $54,497
California Women’s Leadership Association $0 $0 $0 $31,037 $0

My father received an IE mailer from the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association, but I have been unable to find an IE report from the firefighters union on either the County Registrar of Voters’s web site or the Secretary of State’s web site.

Here are the member communications from the respective political parties:

  • Republican Party of Orange County: $133,317 (supporting Wagner and opposing Sanchez)
  • Democratic Party of Orange County: $45,122 (supporting Sanchez and opposing Wagner)

What That Spending Looked Like to Voters

Here’s a glimpse of what all that campaign activity looked like to two different houses in the Third District: my parents’ house and my house.

Phones

My parents received 6 phone calls from either Don Wagner’s campaign or the Republican Party of Orange County in support of Wagner.  My NPP father also received a robocall from Deborah Pauly that emphasized her support of Donald Trump.

Mail

My parents were kind enough to let me have all their mail from the special election, so the first picture is what it looked like when I spread all of their special election mail on my living room floor, and the second picture is all of my special election mail spread out on the same portion of my living room floor:

My Republican mother and NPP father received 32 pieces of mail for this special election from candidates and independent expenditures

I received 14 pieces of mail for this special election from candidates and independent expenditures

Comparing my mail as a Republican voter with the mail sent to my Republican mother (or to both my parents) finds fairly similar compositions.  The radical difference is the mail sent to my NPP father.  He received more pro-Sanchez mail than my mother or I received from all sides in this election.  While all pro-Sanchez forces pushed hard for my father’s vote, OCEA pushed the hardest, producing the majority of all the pro-Sanchez mail my father received.

None of the candidates’ campaigns directly attacked their opponents in the mail, with all the attacks either coordinated through the political parties or done separately by independent expenditures.

As an NPP voter, my father was rather annoyed at how the majority of the pieces addressed to him were overtly partisan.  Of the 28 pieces of mail addressed to either my father alone or to my father with my mother, a full 16 pieces praised the political party endorsements of the candidates: 9 pieces touting Sanchez’s Democratic Party endorsement and 7 pieces touting Wagner’s Republican Party endorsement.

For those of you who care about the details, here’s the breakdown of the mail in two Nguyen households…

The 14 pieces of mail I received at my home consisted of 5 pro-Wagner pieces, 2 more pieces supporting Wagner and opposing Sanchez, 1 pro-Sanchez piece, 3 pro-Murray pieces, and 3 anti-Murray pieces.  They were:

  • 3 pieces from Wagner’s campaign
  • 3 pieces from Murray’s campaign
  • 3 anti-Murray IEs from Howard F. Ahmanson/Fieldstead & Company
  • 4 member communications from the Republican Party of Orange County
    • 2 pro-Wagner
    • 2 pro-Wagner/anti-Sanchez
  • 1 pro-Sanchez IE from the Orange County Attorneys Association

Of the 32 pieces of mail my parents received at their house, 19 were addressed to my NPP father, 4 to my Republican mother, and 9 to both of them.

The 19 pieces of mail addressed solely to my NPP father consisted of 13 pro-Sanchez pieces, 2 pieces supporting Sanchez and attacking Wagner, 3 anti-Wagner pieces, and 1 anti-Murray piece.  They were:

  • 3 pieces from Sanchez’s campaign (2 in English, 1 in Vietnamese)
  • 11 IEs from the Orange County Employees Association
    • 6 pro-Sanchez
    • 3 anti-Wagner
    • 2 pro-Sanchez/anti-Wagner
  • 3 pro-Sanchez IEs from the Orange County Attorneys Association
  • 1 pro-Sanchez IE from the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association
  • 1 anti-Murray IE from Howard F. Ahmanson/Fieldstead & Company

The 9 pieces addressed to both my parents consisted of 5 pro-Wagner pieces, 2 pieces supporting Wagner and attacking Sanchez, and 2 pro-Sanchez pieces.  They were:

  • 3 pieces from Wagner’s campaign
  • 4 member communications from the Republican Party of Orange County
    • 2 pro-Wagner
    • 2 pro-Wagner/anti-Sanchez
  • 1 piece from Sanchez’s campaign
  • 1 pro-Sanchez IE from the Orange County Attorneys Association

The 4 pieces addressed to my Republican mother consisted of 3 pro-Murray pieces and 1 anti-Murray piece.  They were:

  • 1 piece from Murray’s campaign
  • 2 pro-Murray IEs from the California Women’s Leadership Association
  • 1 anti-Murray IE from Howard F. Ahmanson/Fieldstead & Company

Results

The polls close at 8:00 PM, and the first results will be released online at 8:05 PM by the Registrar of Voters.  Those 8:05 PM results will consist of the vote-by-mail ballots already received by the Registrar.

When the count is completed (which will likely be next week) and certified, whoever gets the plurality of the votes will be sworn in as Supervisor two weeks from today, on Tuesday, March 26.

Posted in 3rd Supervisorial District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Really? Attacking a Candidate for the Passage of Things He Fought Against?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 1, 2019

As longtime readers know, as the publisher, I generally don’t write posts rebutting what other bloggers on OC Political write (and there’s no pre-approval process for our writers), as each writer’s opinion is their own, but last night’s blog post accusing Supervisorial Candidate Don Wagner of not being pro-life based on his record in the State Assembly is beyond the pale.

During his Assembly tenure, Wagner had a 100% on the legislative scorecards of both the California Pro-Life Council and the Life Priority Network, scoring identically to then-Assemblywoman/now-Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) and to the right of even then-Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), for example.

I’m going to quote last night’s blog post and then note the reality below it.

“AB777 [Actually, this was AB775] – Required Pro Life medical clinics and Pregnancy Resource centers to promote and provide referrals to Abortion providers.  (This legislation was so reprehensible that the Supreme Court struck it down last year, Nifla V. Becerra)”

Wagner so vigorously fought AB 775 (Chiu and Burke, 2015) that the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) of California took a clip of Wagner in committee and put it on YouTube under the title “Autumn Burke responds to anti-choice legislator at AB 775 hearing” and there was an article in the national liberal web site Jezebel that referred to him as “anti-abortion California Assembly member Donald P. Wagner” and quotes the video.

“AB154 – Nurse Practitioners, Midwives and Physicians Assistants can perform abortions. The purpose of this is obvious, to employ more professional who will perform abortions because less doctors are willing to participate in the procedure which make it difficult for the abortion cartel to expand their business.”

Wagner fought vigorously against AB 154 (Atkins, 2013) as well, such that NARAL California again took a clip of Wagner in committee and put it on YouTube, this time under the title “California Legislator Wants to Know Where the Underserved Women Are” and there was an article in MSNBC that attacked Wagner for his fight against this bill.

“AB980 – Cloaked as a building codes revision, this law makes it easier for buildings to be converted into surgical abortion facilities by reducing the standards for plumbing and patient treatment rooms.  Because abortion is a surgical procedure that produces medical waste (i.e. dead babies) and because it potentially involves a life threatening complications, there should be safety, health considerations and ability to transport a patient or for emergency personnel to obtain access to a patient.  These parameters however, can become expensive for a clinic to bring a facility up to those standards.  The way the California legislature responded the the Planned Parenthood sponsored bill, was the lower, rather than raise, those standards for abortion clinics.”

Wagner voted against AB 980 (Pan, 2013) FOUR times in the Assembly.

“SB128 [SB128 failed but was reintroduced as ABx2-15] Assisted Suicide – this appears to have survived it’s court battle.  It was passed in a “special session” in 2015 that was supposed to be dealing with budgetary issues only, this euthanasia law was pushed forward anyways. It passed, was signed by the governor, and faced legal challenges shortly after.  The law seems to have survived the court process, as of 2018.”

Wagner was the only opponent of ABx2-15 (Eggman, 2015) who was quoted by the article on the bill in the San Francisco Chronicle that was headlined “Assembly passes assisted-dying bill after emotional debate

On another note, last night’s blog post stated, “No one seems concerned or bothered by the fact that he vacates the seat he just ran for and will leave his city in a special election lurch, but yay for fiscal responsibility.”  Well, that’s not the case: Irvine City ordinances specifically say that the Mayor Pro Tem becomes Mayor if the latter seat is vacated (and then the City Council appoints a person to fill the subsequent vacancy on the Council).

Finally, the premise of last night’s blog post was that the writer received “a forwarded email yesterday from someone who called herself, Dr. Something-or-other, Ph.D.” who provided a “representation that [Wagner] is the only ‘Pro Life’ Third District candidate is not only untrue, because there are two other ‘Pro Life’ Republicans in the race…”  It is rather unseemly to launch an attack on a candidate based on receiving a forwarded email originally penned by some random emailer.  I’m a resident of the Third District, and I’ve not seen a single mailer, social media posting, article, or press release from Wagner (nor from any independent expenditure) claiming that Wagner is the only pro-life candidate.  Indeed, until last night’s blog post, I had not seen a single mention of abortion from any candidate literature or independent expenditure, nor was there any mention of abortion at the Third District candidate forum.

Posted in 3rd Supervisorial District | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »