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Live from the Sheriff’s Debate

Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 5, 2018

We are live from the Orange County Sheriff’s debate because (cue bad joke) there’s a new sheriff in town at the beginning of the year since Sheriff Sandra Hutchens has announced her retirement at the end of her term. 2 of the candidates running in the June primary to replace her are here tonight: Orange County Undersheriff Don Barnes (R-Lake Forest) and Retired Sergeant/Mayor David Harrington (R-Aliso Viejo). Detective/Senior Investigator Duke Nguyen (D-North Tustin) is not present. The debate is sponsored by Orange County Gun Owners PAC at JT Schmid’s in Anaheim.

6:45 PM: The debate begins as the moderator notes that both candidates served honorably in the Sheriff’s Department. Questions will be asked by Orange County Gun Owners Board Members. The moderator jokes the tough questions will begin with asking for favorite ice cream favors. He then asks for opening statements.

Don Barnes notes he is the second in command at the OCSD. He is the only candidate with law enforcement management. He has been with OCSD for 30 years.

Dave Harrington spent 29 years in the OCSD as a “street cop.” He says he had to make decisions quickly and not follow bureaucratic procedures.

The first question is how did each arrive at his position on CCWs, and does he favor increased CCWs.

Barnes signed a declaration on “good cause” in 2012. After Peruta, he helped issue thousands of CCWs. There are now 14,000 CCWs in OC, the most of any County. He has made CCW processing more streamlined and efficient. He says the declaration was correct in 2012 but is now out of date. He is proud of the increased CCWs since Peruta.

Harrington says he has held his position as a constitutional conservative since the age of 16. He says Barnes attacked the 2nd Amendment in 2012 and that constitutional rights are not subject to data. He says he does not blow with the wind on constitutional rights. He says he does not waffle or pander. He says it is foundational. He tells the story of getting a liberal Democrat to support him.

Barnes, in rebuttal, notes a lot of sheriffs did not change since 2012. He says it is a test of character to admit something was wrong and he is not going to reverse course.

6:55 PM: The next question is about disarming faculty on campus.

Harrington notes 500 armed cops protected actors and actresses at the Academy Awards. He says any school staff member, faculty or not, should be able to carry on campus. He says school campuses should be hardened. He notes someone could have driven a car onto his children’s campus and harmed 100 of them. He noted first contact with an armed person ends most shootings. He asks what would have happened if the football coach in Parkland could have had his gun.

Barnes says students should be taught what to do in an active shooter incident. Fire drills have ensured students no longer die in school fires. He is sponsoring legislation to have active shooter drills in school. He wants to educate kids as to what to do. He has helped seize guns from students. He is concerned about arming staff at will because law enforcement might shoot armed staff incorrectly thinking they’re the active shooter. He wants to increase School Resource Officers from law enforcement.

Harrington, in rebuttal, says he taught active shooter drills in Yorba Linda churches and private schools, which got the public school district to institute the training locally.

Barnes, in rebuttal, says OCSD has been doing active shooter drills before and after Harrington. The legislation would require all schools, including very liberal ones, to participate.

7:02 PM: The next question is about school safety.

Barnes notes Saddleback Valley Unified School District has been resistant to active shooter drills. Once he got them to agree, they found the drills taught the schools a lot, as they made a number of mistakes before the drills. He discusses adding School Resource Officers.

Harrington says active shooter drills can be mandated by local school districts. He calls on public engagement to persuade parents to pressure their school boards to implement drills. He calls for hardening campuses to keep shooters from getting on to campus.

7:06 PM: The next question is about non-security prevention options.

Barnes says OC is the only county in the State with a center that identifies threats. They also have a mobile assessment theme. He says schools do not have uniform training and prevention like law enforcement does. He notes he successfully persuaded a reluctant Saddleback Valley Unified School District to come on board. He says uniform response protocols on active shooters will help save lives, like fire drills and earthquake drills have.

Harrington was a Gang Reduction Intervention Prevention (GRIP) officer. He says GRIP could have identified the Parkland shooter. He calls on teachers identifying at-risk youth and working with law enforcement to steer them to programs.

7:10 PM: The next question is who should be encouraged to apply for CCWs and what would be an acceptable good cause statement.

Harrington says he would encourage everyone to apply. He notes even realtors have risk. He says exercising rights protect rights. He notes they are exercising their First Amendment rights tonight, so the Second Amendment needs to be exercised.

Barnes said half of the people he spoke to at a gun show had no idea that OC issues CCWs. He says OC is as close to shall-issue as California law allows. He says 95% of CCW applications are approved in OC. He notes the 5% are disqualifying everywhere, such as felony backgrounds or mental illness. He says good cause is part of California law. OC is issuing 400 new CCWs per month. He says Sheriff’s deputies will help applicants find a good cause statement. He supports issuing 5-year CCWs.

7:16 PM: The next question asks what is a good cause statement for a faculty member and about national CCW reciprocity.

Barnes is opposed because he feels training needs to be completed and needs to meet the same standards. He says CCW civilians in OC are treated like off-duty peace officers. He says he does not know what the protocols are in other states. He wants everyone to get home safely. If the same standards are applied nationally, then he would support national CCW reciprocity.

Harrington says law enforcement has national reciprocity. He notes every state has different standards, but other states have strong shooting records. He notes this is a constitutional right, and just because people shoot at different levels they shouldn’t lose their right. He notes there are cops who shoot at different levels and some are squirrelly. He says government should not govern rights but instead secure rights.

Barnes, in rebuttal, says issuing 14,000 CCWs is not anti-Second Amendment. He says in a room full of people, it would be a major problem if untrained people started shooting.

7:22 PM: The next question is about the California assault weapons ban.

Barnes says he is in favor of overturning the ban. He says people should be able to own assault rifles. He notes there are not problems in Nevada, Arizona, and other states without bans. He says it is a sad state of affairs that Sacramento is taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Harrington agrees. He says kids are overprescribed pharmaceutical drugs. He is concerned that drugs cause some kids to do squirrelly things, and it is commen sense that they should not have access to guns after due process.

Barnes says any person who already owns a gun should not need another 10-day waiting period to get additional guns. He says communist countries restrict guns.

7:26 PM: The next question is about raising the gun purchasing age to 21.

Harrington says having the ability to vote should allow an 18-year-old to seek a gun like any other adult. He notes very few active shooters are inside the 18-21 age range.

Barnes says if someone is old enough to serve in the military, they’re old enough to own a gun. He notes parents should be able to train their children how to shoot at any age. He trained his own daughter at a young age to handle a gun.

7:28 PM: The next question is about 10-round magazine limits.

Barnes opposes the limits and notes that criminals likely have more rounds than the limit would.

Harrington agrees with Barnes on magazine limits. He then calls for a ban on violent video games.

7:30 PM: The moderator asks about party and ideology. Both state they are conservative Republicans.

The moderator the asks how they will win votes from liberal Democrats in the race for Sheriff.

Harrington says standing up for your beliefs honestly earns the respect of voters.

Barnes notes the Sheriff is a nonpartisan office. He will work with anyone of any stripe to make OC safer. He notes how he worked with Congressmembers Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) and Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) to get over $1 million in anti-terrorism funding. He notes working with Democrats is necessary to win votes on state legislation.

The moderator asks if Harrington is concerned about alienating others.

Harrington compares working across the aisle to Chad Mayes. He opposes working across the aisle and wants to fight for his beliefs. He says people know when you are on the correct side. He notes placing and passing the anti-sanctuary state effort in Aliso Viejo.

Barnes notes he fought SB 54 (sanctuary state) in Sacramento. He spoke to both US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. He sought loopholes on SB 54 and made inmate release dates public. While Becerra threatened to arrest the Sheriff, Governor Jerry Brown said OC was following the law.

7:38 PM: The moderator asks about CCWs from out of state.

Barnes says training done in OC guarantees safety. Someone following a different standard might be mistaken for a criminal in OC.

7:39 PM: The next question asked is if either candidate would hire the other.

Barnes says Harrington is retired but would be evaluated if he sought to return to the OCSD.

Harrington says he would keep Barnes for a one-month transition period. Harrington says he would not return except as Sheriff or not at all.

7:41 PM: The next question asked is if a CCW-holder is involved in a shooting that appears to be improper and how each would respond to the media.

Barnes would argue that Jerry Brown put tens of thousands of murders back on the street, and no one talks about that. He complains that the media bias causes them to always calls the OCSD to ask if the latest shooter had a CCW. He would do a proper investigation and simply follow the facts.

Harrington says the OCSD should not issue no-comment. He says comment in general on how CCW training is done in a positive light, and give statistics about the number of CCW holders who have not acted poorly.

Barnes notes responding in 30 minutes is an act of inexperience. He says first reports are almost always wrong. The truth is only uncovered after lengthy investigation.

Harrington says he would not talk about the actual incident but rather the positives of the CCW program instead.

7:46 PM: The next question is about the effect of clearing the homeless from the Santa Ana Riverbed.

Barnes says it has already been done. He blames Prop 47 and Prop 57. He notes homelessness has soared statewide. He calls on acting methodically while following case law which prevents criminalizing the homeless because they “have to be somewhere,” quoting case law. He says every homeless veteran has been connected to services. He says they cited 500 homeless for other crimes, but Prop 47 prevented keeping them in jail. They went to federal court where Judge David Carter called the OCSD a national model. He says there must be more shelter beds in order to win the federal court case.

Harrington says court cases don’t confront him as a street cop. He blasted the waste left behind on the Santa Ana Riverbed. He calls this a failure of leadership. He says the Sheriff should have seized control of the riverbed and done OCSD’s job 7 years ago. He says, “bureaucrats hide behind case law.” He says the law only requires the availability of resources.

Barnes says Santa Ana, Anaheim, and Huntington Beach have had increases, just like everywhere else in OC. He says it’s not just a riverbed problem. He says Sacramento legislation has caused this by releasing inmates. Barnes says the Harrington approach would have been slapped with injunctions by the federal court. He says Anaheim and Orange forced the homeless onto the riverbed to make it a County problem instead of a City problem.

Harrington says the County failed by not spending $185 million. He says Santa Ana failed to enforce the law. He says he researched the law and understands it, so he would not have been enjoined by the federal court.

7:56 PM: The next question asks for a pledge on gun issues.

Barnes says he would not reverse the gun-friendly policies he has helped implement.

Harrington says he would use the bully pulpit of the Sheriff’s Department to fight for gun rights.

8:00 PM: An audience member asks about fighting gangs in Orange County.

Harrington says GRIP is an early intervention program to prevent gang membership. He calls for an ounce of prevention being worth seven pounds of cure. He says law enforcement cannot just arrest gang members, they must also prevent youth from joining gangs in the first place.

Barnes agrees with Harrington. He notes the OCSD has numerous early intervention programs. He says the federal government must secure the border. He says there is a demand for drugs which means the cartels will supply. He wants to fight drug demand such as opioid addiction. Fighting drug demand reduces cartels’ supply efforts.

8:03 PM: Another audience member asks what is the biggest issue the next Sheriff faces and what they will do about it.

Barnes says hiring, retention, and budget is the biggest issue. He says retention is through the roof. It costs $130,000 to hire a new deputy. $14 million will be saved over the next six years from retaining deputies. He says OC has the lowest property tax allocation of any County. He speaks of cutting spending without cutting services.

Harrington says Sacramento legislation is the biggest issue. He calls for fighting legislation before it passes. He refers to sanctuary state, Prop 47, and Prop 57. He says these programs cost more than any budgetary issue. He blasts the escape of three inmates that cost $10.9 million. He says no one railed against Prop 47 and Prop 57. He says railing against a measure is not standing at a press conference with one camera but standing in front of 200 people at a City Council meeting.

Barnes debated Senator Bob Hertzberg on Prop 57. He fought the sanctuary state legislation in legislative committee hearings before it was passed. He said there were legislators who stated they would rather send Donald Trump a message even if it hurt California residents.

8:09 PM: The third and final audience question asks if a group of CCW holders would be permitted to patrol schools.

Harrington says he would consider it and would consider anything. He says his children’s school is unprotected, as is every school in his city.

Barnes says if there are protocols in place and the people are known to law enforcement with clear protocols in place, he would support it. He would not want law enforcement to misidentify them in an active shooter situation, so protocols would protect them.

8:12 PM: The moderator asks that each candidate give an unapologetic and forceful defense of the 2nd Amendment in Sacramento and in local cities. He calls on training people unfamiliar with guns. He urges the Sheriff whoever it is to only endorse candidates for office who support the 2nd Amendment. He then makes a pitch for audience members to join Orange County Gun Owners PAC.

8:14 PM: The moderator adjourns the debate.

Posted in Orange County Sheriff | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

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 »

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.

Posted in 4th Supervisorial District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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.

Posted in 73rd Assembly District, Orange County Fire Authority | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

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?”

Posted in 48th Congressional District | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Live from OC GOP Central Committee: Endorsements for CD-49, SD-29, and AD-65

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 26, 2018

We’re live from the OC GOP Central Committee meeting, where three endorsements are being considered:

The Coronado endorsement for the 65th Assembly District is expected to be fairly quick since Coronado is the sole Republican challenging incumbent Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton).

Harkey’s endorsement request for CD-49 and Chang’s endorsement request for SD-29 will be hotly contested, as Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) and Supervisor Kristin Gaspar (R-Encinitas) are both running for CD-49 while Councilman Bruce Whitaker (R-Fullerton) is also running for SD-29. Harkey and Chang are on the agenda because a majority of the members of Central Committee signed their petitions to have their endorsement requests heard. In order to actually be endorsed requires a 2/3 vote of the Central Committee.

Gaspar had emailed Central Committee members asking to meet with them individually earlier this month. Michael Schwartz, a San Diego County Second Amendment advocate, had distributed flyers at last week’s Central Committee meeting assailing Gaspar’s record on guns and her campaign contributions. Gaspar responded today with an email arguing the OC GOP should not endorse one Republican over another, noting her success in unseating a sitting Democrat from the Board of Supervisors in a district Hillary Clinton won by 20%, and stating that she is “pro Second Amendment, pro life and as a lifelong Republican I do not contribute to Democrat candidates” along with a link to the opensecrets.org entry for donations by Gaspar, which shows numerous donations to the Republican Party of San Diego County and one each to Congresswoman Mimi Walters and State Senator Bill Morrow. Schwartz responded to Gaspar’s email with an email arguing that the Supervisor Gaspar defeated “had looming employee, sexual harassment, and campaign finance issues” and was easily beatable, that she voted to support a gun ban while she was on the City Council, and listed one contribution to Pedro Nava, six contributions from her company to Democrats at the State and local levels, and her husband’s numerous contributions.

(For those of you subscribed to our posts via email, please visit our web site and hit refresh on this post for updates throughout the meeting. Our software only sends emails for the initial posting.)

7:00 PM: Chairman Fred Whitaker calls the meeting to order and gives the invocation.

7:01 PM: Colin Edwards leads the Pledge of Allegiance.

7:02 PM: Roll call is taken, with 50 people present, far beyond quorum requirements.

7:07 PM: Yorba Linda Mayor Gene Hernandez swears in three new alternates as well as Newport Beach Councilman Will O’Neill, who was appointed to the Central Committee last meeting to fill a vacancy.

65TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT

7:09 PM: Baron Night moves and Municipal Water District of Orange County Board Member Brett Barbre seconds endorsing Alexandria Coronado.

7:10 PM: There is no debate, and ALEXANDRIA CORONADO IS ENDORSED UNANIMOUSLY FOR THE 65TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT.

49TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

7:11 PM: Next up is the endorsement request of Diane Harkey for the 49th Congressional District.

7:12 PM: Each CD-49 candidate is given 3 minutes to speak. Gaspar is not present because she is preparing for her State of the County address tomorrow, according to her campaign manager, Bill Christiansen. Chavez did not send a representative.

Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey speaks first, thanks to the alphabet (and the absence of Chavez and Gaspar). Harkey notes how well the Central Committee knows her. She states she is the only candidate who represents all of CD-49, as she is their Board of Equalization member. She notes she is the first Republican Board of Equalization Chair in 15 years. She speaks of regulatory reform and legislative changes she pursued from the Board of Equalization. She speaks of her electoral history with Dana Point City Council, State Assembly, and State Board of Equalization. She says Congressman Darrell Issa called her and asked her to run before he announced his plans to retire. She initially told him she did not want to run. However, after further consideration, she felt the seat was too important to not seek it. She spoke of her efforts to help other Republican candidates.

San Juan Capistrano Mayor Pro Tem Brian Maryott says he will seek the endorsement if the endorsement is still available after tonight. He notes that he recently retired from the financial services industry. He states he took a day to decide to run for Congress after Issa announced his retirement. He wants to make the biggest impact possible in public service. He wants his three children (14, 10, and 3 years old) to live in a free country with the ability to succeed and prosper. He was also a legislative staffer for three years.

Mike Schmitt is a doctor. He says he is “a statesman, not a politician.” He says he is the only candidate who has worked directly with Congress. He speaks of funding three trips to Iraq while ISIS reigned there. He says he is a patron of conservative groups that lobby Congress. He says he is the only candidate with full-time work in health care and says he is the most educated person in the race. He says health care and national security are the key themes of his campaign. He says he is the best candidate of either party. He says the voters should choose who is the candidate. He says he is “a streetfighter.”

Joshua Schoonover is a patent attorney from Carlsbad. He says he believes the other candidates are unable to earn the Republican vote. He says he is “young, new, and different.” He says “the same old, same old” is too much of a risk. He wants to debate the other candidates. He wants an informed decision. He says the OC GOP should have a candidate forum/debate jointly with the San Diego County GOP.

7:25 PM: Former Assemblyman Chris Norby asks if the candidates will “respect state’s rights” on marijuana.

Harkey says, “the train has left the station” on marijuana legalization. She says she has experience with marijuana regulations from the Board of Equalization. She wants to ensure law enforcement has adequate resources.

Schoonover says he wants marijuana removed from DEA enforcement and handed to ATF regulation instead. He believes in individual freedom.

Maryott opposes marijuana legalization. He does support allowing medical labs to extract the medicinal elements of marijuana.

Schmitt opposes marijuana legalization.

7:29 PM: Kermit Marsh asks the candidates about funds raised excluding loans, campaign manager names, and five most significant endorsements.

Schmitt says he has not raised much but will raise $400,000-$600,000. He says his campaign advisor is Larry Gilbert but is looking for a full-time manager. He has no endorsements. (February 27 Editor’s Note: Gilbert contacted OC Political to state: “Michael Schmitt, one of the candidates running for the 49th CD, misspoke…” Gilbert stated he is not participating in the Schmitt campaign or any other campaign. He stated he met with Schmitt in a fashion similar to how he has met with various candidates over the years to learn more about them and their campaigns.)

Maryott has Rick Frank running his race. He has just begun fundraising. He says endorsements will not win the race.

Schoonover has raised $250,000. His campaign manager is Fred Zestak, who has no campaign experience. He names five businesspeople as his top endorsers.

Harkey has raised $125,000, has another $100,000 coming, and expects to hit $500,000. She also has $100,000 in her BOE account. Her leading endorsers are Congressman Darrell Issa, Congresswoman Mimi Walters, Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Supervisor Michelle Steel, Supervisor Andrew Do, numerous city councilmembers, and the California Association of Taxpayer Advocates. Bryan Shroyer is her campaign manager, and Dave Gilliard is her consultant.

7:34 PM: Anthony Kuo asks how each has helped improve Republican voter registration.

Harkey speaks of a litany of registration efforts she has engaged in that she said faster than this blogger could type.

Schoonover points to his 500 signatures-in-lieu of filing fee. He calls for social centrism.

Maryott says he has championed conservative causes as a councilman. He doesn’t want the party to move toward youth and minorities. He wants them to move toward the party.

Schmitt says he has rabid grassroots people. He says he sponsored a booth in Dana Point. He is planning church registration drives. He says he is “the faith candidate.”

7:38 PM: Yours truly asks the candidates if they live in the 49th Congressional District.

Harkey, Maryott, and Schmitt do. Schoonover does not.

7:39 PM: Former Orange County Board of Education President Robert Hammond asks if the candidates have supported the OC GOP’s Flag Day fundraiser.

Harkey says she has provided financial support to Flag Day in OC and to Lincoln-Reagan Day events in other counties.

The other three have not done so. Schmitt points to his spending in Iraq.

7:40 PM: Nick Wilson asks if the candidates other than Harkey submitted endorsement requests.

Schoonover got 17 signatures, falling short of 21 needed to go to the endorsements committee.

Maryott and Schmitt are seeking signatures.

7:41 PM: Baron Night moves and Dean Grose seconds endorsing Harkey.

7:42 PM: Nick Wilson speaks against endorsing. He notes Issa was already endorsed and “abandoned us.” He wants to leave the field open and likes the idea of organizing a candidate forum.

7:43 PM: Rancho Santa Margarita Councilman Tony Beall says this is an important seat nationally and that Harkey has the experience to win campaigns, having been elected to City Council, the State Assembly, and the Board of Equalization, where she is California’s highest-ranking Republican.

7:44 PM: The voice vote is nearly unanimous to ENDORSE DIANE HARKEY FOR THE 49TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT.

Harkey jumps up and down and expresses her thanks to the committee.

29TH SENATE DISTRICT

7:47 PM: Former Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang speaks of running for SD-29 two years ago and giving up her safe Assembly seat to do so. She precinct walked in the rain and spent $100,000 out of pocket. She noted 80% voter turnout was incredible. She said John & Ken said on the air that she should run. She says people called her with polling data saying she would win. Since 2005, she had never lost a race until 2016. She says she is already endorsed by the LA County GOP, San Bernardino County GOP, the Lincoln Club, and various elected officials. She spoke of fighting tax increases in the Assembly.

7:50 PM: Fullerton Councilman Bruce Whitaker notes 8 terms on the Central Committee, including being on the Executive Committee. He notes the majority of the district is in Orange County. He speaks of knowing the territory well after having worked at the Board of Supervisors and as a district director in the Assembly. He notes Chang lost her own city of Diamond Bar against novice Josh Newman. Whitaker says he will be a champion of low taxes, limited government, and freedom. He says new immigrants will be drawn to that message. He notes surveys show 58% of Californians oppose the gas tax increase. He notes OCBC commended Newman for voting for the tax. He says Newman cost the district more in taxes than he brought back in spending on local projects.

7:54 PM: Dean Grose asks if the candidates supported Trump.

Chang says she was critical of Trump but hated Clinton more. She says Newman sent deceptive ads calling her a Clinton supporter to Republicans and a leader in Trump’s party to Democrats. She did not vote for Trump.

Whitaker called it a “no-brainer” and “proudly voted” for Trump.

7:56 PM: Kermit Marsh asks how much each candidate has raised excluding loans, who is their campaign manager, and who their top endorsements are.

Chang raised millions in 2016 but has $200,000 for this race and will raise more. Jim Nygren is her consultant. Her top endorsements are the LA County GOP, the San Bernardino County GOP, the Lincoln Club, Congressman Ed Royce, and Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey.

Whitaker says the CRP already preferred Chang at the outset. He says Jim Friedman is aiding his campaign. He notes endorsements from the North Orange County Conservative Coalition, Placentia Councilman Craig Green, and Pastor Jim Domen.

7:59 PM: Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter asks about their stance on gun control in light of the mass shooting in Florida.

Whitaker opposes further gun control and blasts the media for blaming inanimate objects. He calls for dealing with mental illness and not letting the mentally ill get guns.

Chang is an NRA member who regularly goes shooting. She says the California Democratic Party attacked her as a “tool of the NRA.”

8:00 PM: Former Assemblyman Chris Norby asks about the candidates’ positions on asset seizure.

Whitaker opposes taking property without due process and opposes asset seizure.

Chang worked with Howard Ahmanson on legislation. She opposes asset seizure in general.

8:01 PM: Sara Catalan asks of ballot integrity and recount efforts in 2016 along with efforts to help pass the recall.

Chang says she donated money and sent people to deal with provisional ballots. She has built coalitions to support the recall. She has brought volunteers from four ethnic groups together. She speaks of recruiting volunteers.

Whitaker praises Carl DeMaio and John & Ken. He circulated petitions for the recall and announced his candidacy first. He notes he has time constraints as a sitting Councilman.

8:04 PM: Lee Lowery asks the candidates about abortion.

Whitaker says, “It’s a child, not a choice.” He supports the “rights of the unborn.” He supports the approach of discussing calmly rather than yelling.

Chang says she is pro-life. She suggests using 4-D technology to show people unborn children.

8:06 PM: Scott Carpenter asks if they would vote for resolutions supporting Roe v. Wade or Planned Parenthood.

Chang says she has.

Whitaker expresses concern about the high moral ground and “situational ethics.” He says he would oppose such a resolution.

8:08 PM: Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter moves and Dean Grose seconds for no endorsement.

8:09 PM: Former Assemblyman Chris Norby says it should not be “Hello, Newman!” but “Goodbye, Newman!” He says either candidate would beat Newman. He says the district is 72% in Orange County. He speaks of Whitaker having been Mayor of Fullerton, the largest city in the district. He says Whitaker worked for him at the County and the State. He says it doesn’t matter which candidate wins since the recall question needs to pass.

8:11 PM: Anthony Kuo is sworn in as Erik Weigand’s alternate.

8:12 PM: Sara Catalan speaks of working for Congressman Ed Royce and then-Senator Jim Brulte. She says there is near-complete overlap between CD-39 and SD-29. She says Royce strongly supports Chang. She says they don’t want to leave the door open for a Democrat to win. She says many people were helping at the Registrar but says she didn’t see Whitaker there (without saying his name).

8:14 PM: Newport Beach Councilman Scott Peotter says he is familiar with recalls, eliciting laughter from Central Committee members who remember that Peotter recently beat back a recall effort against him. He says every candidate will bring supporters who will vote for the recall. He says endorsing would discourage other candidates’ supporters. He notes the Andrew Hamilton recall in Lake Forest passed because so many replacement candidates brought out supporters who voted for the recall.

8:16 PM: Supervisor Andrew Do says Chang has consistently supported the party and gave up her safe Assembly seat to run for Senate. Do met her Chief of Staff at the Registrar when she sent him to the 2016 ballot counting, and Do has since hired that Chief of Staff. Do speaks of having the resources to win a swing seat.

8:18 PM: Paula Prizio is pro-life but not a one-issue candidate. She is Mark Bucher’s alternate and Bucher opposes Chang, citing her voting for a resolution praising Planned Parenthood.

8:19 PM: Chairman Fred Whitaker says he agrees on the issues 100% with Bruce Whitaker. He says an 80% friend is not a 20% enemy. He wants to support the conservative who can best win. He says there must be a unified effort. He says the California Republican Party resources to support the recall need a unified front with Chang. He says Bruce Whitaker cannot be the CRP-endorsed candidate since two other counties have already endorsed Chang.

8:22 PM: Anthony Kuo attempts a substitute motion, but Parliamentarian Kermit Marsh says it is too late.

8:23 PM: The voice vote is unclear, so there is a standing vote.

The vote is 14 for the motion for no endorsement and 36 against.

8:25 PM: Municipal Water District of Orange County Board Member Brett Barbre moves and Jennifer Beall seconds to endorse Chang.

The motion passes by voice vote to ENDORSE LING-LING CHANG FOR THE 29TH SENATE DISTRICT.

8:26 PM: Meeting adjourned.

Posted in 29th Senate District, 49th Congressional District, 65th Assembly District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

SD-34: Villa Park’s Tom Umberg to Challenge Janet Nguyen

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 22, 2018

Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) and former Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D-Villa Park)

Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) and
former Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D-Villa Park)

Yesterday, former Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D-Villa Park) announced his entry into the race to challenge the re-election bid of Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) in the 34th District.  Unfortunately for Umberg, in a case of unlucky timing, the news of his entry was completely drowned out by the news that Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) had introduced a resolution to expel Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia/Buena Park) due to allegations of sexual misconduct against Mendoza.

Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by 23% in the 34th Senate District, and Umberg is already trying to make Trump an issue in the State Senate election by declaring in the second sentence of his announcement: “I am running for State Senate because I believe that our community needs a strong fighter in Sacramento who will stand up to President Trump and his Administration on important issues like health care, immigration, energy, the environment, civil rights, education, and consumer issues.”

Congressman Lou Correa led a list of Umberg’s endorsements by various Democratic elected officials.  Correa was Nguyen’s predecessor in the 34th Senate District seat.  There is no word on if former Councilwoman Gerrie Shipske (D-Long Beach) will continue her bid for the seat or drop out in favor of Umberg.

Umberg’s biography is formidable as a former State Assemblyman, former federal prosecutor, retired Army Colonel, and former Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (under Bill Clinton), and former Co-Chair of the U.S. State Department’s Public Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan (under Barack Obama).

Democrats currently hold a 9% registration advantage over Republicans in the two-county 34th Senate District.  When then-Supervisor Nguyen defeated former Assemblyman Jose Solorio for the seat by 16% in 2014, Democrats held a 5% registration advantage over Republicans.  Additionally, midterm elections have historically resulted strengthened voter turnout for the party opposing the President’s party.  In 2014, with Democrat Barack Obama in office, that produced a bump in voter turnout for Republicans.  In 2018, with Republican Donald Trump in office, that should produce a bump in voter turnout for Democrats.

However, Nguyen is a tough and tireless campaigner, and it is often said in political circles: “Nobody outworks Janet Nguyen.”  Umberg is a daunting opponent, but Nguyen has beaten him before (2007 Supervisorial election, though that seat had dead even political registration with 32.1% of voters registered in each party) and has repeatedly beaten formidable opponents election after election, often as the underdog.  There is no doubt that Umberg will provide a tough challenge, but Nguyen’s experience with arduous campaigns will likely give her a close win in November.

Umberg’s long biography also includes a long record.  The Nguyen campaign likely still has its opposition research file from their 2007 battle with Umberg, who has a voting record of three terms in the State Assembly.  Of course, Umberg is surely assembling a new opposition research file from Nguyen’s 7 years on the Board of Supervisors and 4 years in the State Senate.

Umberg has lost 4 of his last 5 campaigns for office over the last quarter of a century: a 1994 bid for State Attorney General when he lost to incumbent Republican Dan Lungren by 14%, a 2002 bid for the Democratic nomination for Insurance Commissioner when he lost to John Garamendi by 10%, a 2006 bid for the Democratic nomination for 34th Senate District when he lost to Correa by 19%, and a 2007 bid for the 1st Supervisorial District when he came in third by 3% in the legendary Nguyen-Nguyen special election in which Councilwoman Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) defeated School Board Member Trung Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) by the slimmest of margins (Trung Nguyen led by 7 votes after the Registrar’s initial count, Janet Nguyen led by 7 votes after the Registrar’s recount and then by 3 votes after litigation was completed).

Umberg’s sole win in the last 25 years was his 2004 bid for State Assembly, winning by 30% over then-hapless, later controversial Otto Bade.

As of February 5, Umberg was still registered to vote at his home in Villa Park in the district of Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa).

Here’s an excerpt of an Orange County Register story on accusations of Umberg’s carpetbagging from January 2007:

State Sen. Lou Correa, who beat Umberg in the Senate primary and whose vacated supervisor seat Umberg hopes to win, is among those with reservations.

“Everybody seems to think that they can move into central Orange County and they can run for office,” said Correa, who has not endorsed a candidate. “But there are plenty of qualified individuals living in central Orange County that can run for office.”

Nonetheless, Umberg is the best-known candidate, having twice represented much of the district in the Assembly. He’s won the endorsement of the county Democratic Party and four key labor unions.

And many, including some Umberg opponents, downplay residency as an issue.

“I think it is a nonissue,” said veteran consultant Dave Gilliard, who’s representing Umberg opponent Janet Nguyen. “Central Orange County has a history of carpetbagging. There are many better reasons to oppose Umberg.”

There’s also the ever awkward press coverage of his extramarital affair.

Here’s the full text of Umberg’s press release announcing his candidacy:

RETIRED U.S. ARMY COLONEL & FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR TOM UMBERG ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR STATE SENATE

Also Announces Endorsements From U.S. Congressman Lou Correa, State Assemblyman Tom Daly, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, State Senator Betty Karnette (Ret.), and former Long Beach Mayor Robert Foster

SANTA ANA – U.S. Army Colonel (Ret.) & former Federal Prosecutor and State Assemblyman Tom Umberg announced today that he is running for State Senate to represent California’s 34th Senate District.

“I am running for State Senate because I believe that our community needs a strong fighter in Sacramento who will stand up to President Trump and his Administration on important issues like health care, immigration, energy, the environment, civil rights, education, and consumer issues,” said Umberg who previously represented the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and Westminster during three terms in the California State Assembly.

Umberg also announced that his candidacy has been endorsed by U.S. Congressman Lou Correa, State Assemblyman Tom Daly, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, State Senator Betty Karnette (Ret.), and former Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster.

“When Tom served in the Legislature, he was a leader in cutting through partisan bickering to achieve results,” said former State Senator Betty Karnette of Long Beach who served with Umberg in the California Legislature.  “He had an impact.”

Tom Umberg is a retired U.S. Army Colonel who has served in Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division, with NATO forces in Italy, and as a paratrooper with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Special Warfare Center, and XVIIIth Airborne Corp. As a JAG officer, he tried over 50 felony cases in Korea, Italy, and the United States.

He was recalled to active military duty in 2004 as a war crimes prosecutor, and in 2009-10 to lead the U.S. military effort to attack corruption within the Afghan Army and Police, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in a combat zone.

As a federal criminal prosecutor he had a 100% conviction rate, trying numerous white collar, civil rights, and gang cases.  He successfully tried over 100 cases to verdict or judgment, including complex matters involving health care, real estate, work place harassment, construction defects, and protection of employee pension plans.

Tom Umberg served three terms in the California Legislature representing central Orange County.  While in the State Assembly, he successfully authored and secured legislative passage of 76 new state laws, brought more than $563 million in state and federal grant funds into Orange County, and assisted more than 2,500 individuals with government red tape and state bureaucracy problems.

In 1997, Umberg was selected by President Bill Clinton to serve as Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).  In this capacity he was responsible for the development and coordination of United States policy to reduce the supply of illegal drugs, including negotiation and coordination with foreign governments to enhance U.S. counter-drug intelligence and interdiction.  In 2011, he was also appointed Co-Chair of the U.S. State Department’s Public Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan.

Umberg is a founding partner of Umberg Zipser LLP and previously served as a partner at both Morrison & Foerster and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and is Chair of the Veterans Treatment Court Committee.

Tom is married to Brigadier General (Ret.) Robin Umberg.  They met while they were on active duty in Korea.  “Tom and I have been proud to serve our country together for over 60 years combined — in the United States and overseas,” said Robin Umberg.

#####

(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: I am not related to Senator Janet Nguyen or former School Board Member Trung Nguyen. The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

Posted in 34th Senate District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Live from OC GOP Central Committee: Endorsements for BOS-4 & OCBE

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 19, 2018

We’re live from the OC GOP Central Committee meeting, where three endorsements are being considered:

  • Tim Shaw (R-La Habra) for Orange County Board of Supervisors, 4th District
  • Mari Barke (R-Rossmoor) for Orange County Board of Education, Trustee Area 2
  • Lisa Sparks (R-Newport Beach) for Orange County Board of Education, Trustee Area 5

The Barke and Sparks endorsements for County Board of Education are expected to be fairly quick since Barke is the sole Republican challenging incumbent David Boyd (NPP-Costa Mesa) and Sparks is the sole Republican running to replace the retiring Linda Lindholm (R-Laguna Niguel).

Shaw’s endorsement request for Fourth District Supervisor will be the most hotly contested, as Councilwoman Lucille Kring (R-Anaheim) is also running. Shaw is on the agenda because a majority of the members of Central Committee signed his petition to have his endorsement request heard. In order to actually be endorsed requires a 2/3 vote of the Central Committee.

Emails to the Central Committee have already flown back and fourth on the Fourth District. Kring has been accused of breaking her word to the Central Committee by voting for the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT, also known as Hotel Tax) subsidy of $158 million for businesses in the Anaheim resort district and accused of accepting campaign contributions from public employee unions; and even quoting a 2016 OC Register editorial calling Kring “patently dishonest.” Shaw has been accused of supporting a 0.5% sales tax increase and an extension of a 4.5% utility tax (in lieu of an expiring 6% utility tax).

7:00 PM: After the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance, various elected officials are introduced followed by an update from the College Republicans.

7:25 PM Before the endorsements, there are three speakers:

7:54 PM: Speeches are complete. Endorsements will now begin.

7:55 PM: Mark Bucher moves and Chris Norby seconds the endorsements of Barke and Sparks for Orange County Board of Education.

7:56 PM: Scott Peotter moves to call the question when no one says they wish to speak in opposition.

7:57 PM: Both the Peotter and Bucher motions pass unanimously, so BARKE AND SPARKS ARE ENDORSED FOR ORANGE COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION.

7:58 PM: Mary Young moves and Andy Whallon seconds the endorsement of Tim Shaw for Supervisor.

7:58 PM: John Moorlach speaks in favor of endorsing Shaw. He cites Shaw’s service on the La Habra City Council, as Vice Chair of OCTA, and on the Orange County Sanitation District. He argues if Shaw had run for the 29th Senate District in 2016, Shaw would have beat Josh Newman.

7:59 PM: Deborah Pauly speaks in opposition to endorsing Shaw. She speaks to the importance of opposing tax increases. She spoke of 10 years ago how he was supporting a 0.5% sales tax increase in La Habra, which at the time was in the same Assembly District as Pauly’s home of Villa Park. She spoke of his serving as Treasurer of the ballot measure committee to extend the utility tax in La Habra.

8:02 PM: Shaw argues the measure would have lowered utility taxes. He states he was not involved in the sales tax effort.

8:03 PM: Chairman Fred Whitaker notes that there are two Republicans running for the seat: Shaw and Anaheim Councilwonan Lucille Kring.

8:05 PM: Chris Norby says he is personally endorsing Shaw but sees no reason for the Central Committee to endorse one Republican over another. He notes when he was elected to the same Supervisorial seat, the Central Committee endorsed neither Norby nor incumbent Republican Cynthia Coad. He would rather see which one advances to the run-off in November.

8:07 PM: Craig Young asks about the filing deadline and endorsement vote threshold.

8:08 PM: Chairman Whitaker explains that the filing deadline is March 9 but no other Republicans are known to be considering the seat. The endorsement threshold is 2/3 of those present and voting, so abstentions lower the number of votes needed to reach 2/3.

8:09 PM: The voice vote is too close, so a standing vote is called.

8:10 PM: The vote to endorse Shaw is 24-9 (22 is necessary to reach 2/3), so SHAW IS ENDORSED FOR ORANGE COUNTY SUPERVISOR, 4TH DISTRICT.

8:11 PM: In the 74th Assembly District, John Warner announces that Will O’Neill has been recommended by the 74th District Caucus to replace Warner, who is resigning from the Central Committee due to his time constraints as President of the Lincoln Club.

8:12 PM: Jon Fleishman moves and Brett Barbre seconds to confirm O’Neill to the Central Committee vacancy.

8:13 PM: O’Neill confirmed unanimously.

8:14 PM: Various officer reports are presented, including a lengthy discussion and approval of the 2018 operating budget.

8:27 PM: Various club reports are presented.

8:37 PM: Meeting adjourned in memory of Peter Moriarty, founding President of VetsROC.

Posted in 4th Supervisorial District, Orange County Board of Education | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

DA’s Race: Spitzer Outraises Rackauckas While Murdock Can’t Pay Registrar of Voters

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 9, 2018

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (R-San Clemente), Supervisor Todd Spitzer (R-Orange), and former Mayor Brett Murdock (D-Brea)

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (R-San Clemente), Supervisor Todd Spitzer (R-Orange),
and former Mayor Brett Murdock (D-Brea)

In the race for Orange County District Attorney, Supervisor Todd Spitzer (R-Orange) raised $103,953 more than incumbent District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (R-San Clemente) did in the second half of 2017, according to campaign finance reports filed last week.  During the second half of 2017, Spitzer raised $234,077 while Rackauckas raised $130,124.  In the first half of 2017, Rackauckas raised $195,300; Spitzer did not have a DA account yet, but raised $273,284 into his Supervisor account during that time.  When Spitzer closed his Supervisor account, he also transferred $1,272,559 to his DA account.

Rackauckas spent $178,606 while Spitzer spent $139,233 on the DA’s race.  This leaves Rackauckas with $209,513 cash on hand and Spitzer with $1,367,403 cash on hand, or $1,364,903 cash on hand after accounting for one $2,500 unpaid bill.

Former Mayor Brett Murdock (D-Brea) raised 3% of what Rackauckas did and 2% of what Spitzer did.  Additionally, Murdock had no funds raised in prior periods, leaving him even further behind Rackauckas and Spitzer.  With $3,848, Murdock will need to spend $2,680 to pay the DA candidate filing fee to the Registrar of Voters, leaving him with $1,168.  Unfortunately for Murdock, the ballot statement payable to the Registrar of Voters costs $15,536.  In other words, as of the end of 2017, Murdock’s $3,848 cash on hand was only 21% of the $18,216 he needs to pay the Registrar of Voters by March 9.

For visual learners:

Candidate Contributions
(1/1/17-6/30/17)
Contributions
(7/1/17-12/31/17)
Transfers Unpaid
Bills
Expenditures Cash on Hand
(COH)
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills
Tony Rackauckas (R) $195,300 $130,124 $0 $0 $178,606 $209,513 $209,513
Todd Spitzer (R) N/A
($273,284 for Supervisor)
$234,077 $1,272,559 $2,500 $139,233 $1,367,403 $1,364,903
Brett Murdock (D) N/A $4,527 $0 $0 $679 $3,848 $3,848
Note: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.

 

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

Sheriff’s Race: Barnes Raises Three Times as Much as Harrington While Harrington Pursues Slate Strategy

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 8, 2018

Undersheriff Don Barnes (R-Lake Forest) and Mayor Dave Harrington (R-Aliso Viejo)

Undersheriff Don Barnes (R-Lake Forest)
and Mayor Dave Harrington (R-Aliso Viejo)

In the race to succeed retiring Sheriff Sandra Hutchens (R-Dana Point), campaign finance reports for 2017 filed last week show that Undersheriff Don Barnes (R-Lake Forest) has raised three times as much as Mayor Dave Harrington (R-Aliso Viejo) while Harrington has outspent Barnes.  Harrington has reserved 14 slates while Barnes has purchased 2 slates; however, Harrington has only placed deposits on 12 and still needs to finish paying for them.  The Harrington campaign is clearly hoping slates can overpower the near-incumbent strength ballot designation of “Orange County Undersheriff” that Barnes will wield.

In 2017, Barnes raised $233,595 while Harrington raised $70,903.  Harrington also loaned himself $140,000.  While OC Political is usually skeptical of loans since most candidates use them simply to inflate fundraising numbers, this is not the case here, as Harrington has already spent $17,900 of his loan, and if he does pay for his slates in full, he will have spent $101,965 of his loan to his campaign.

In 2017, Barnes spent $57,743 with an additional $18,125 in accrued bills, totaling $75,868.  Harrington spent $88,802, with an additional $84,065 in accrued bills, totaling $172,867.  Harrington paid $18,172 to slates and needs to pay another $83,015 in order to complete his slate payments.  Harrington shows $101,187 (59%) of his spending (including both paid expenditures and unpaid bills) on slates.

By the close of 2017, Harrington has spent more money on slates than he has raised, needing to dip into his own pocket if he wishes to hang on to all the slates.  Barnes ended 2017 with four times as much cash-on-hand as Harrington, once unpaid bills are accounted for.  Harrington’s spending, including both paid expenditures and unpaid bills, is 2.5 times what he has raised while Barnes’s spending is 1/3 of what he has raised.

How much more is Harrington willing to self-fund in his battle against Barnes?  Barnes’s Undersheriff designation is worth a lot more than $101,187, so slates alone will not carry the day for Harrington.  Harrington will need to either step up his fundraising or dig even deeper into his own pocket to be competitive.

Either way, after the June 5 election, once the new term of office commences January 7, there’s a new sheriff in town.

For visual learners:

Candidate Contributions Loans Unpaid
Bills
Expenditures Cash on Hand
(COH)
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills and Loans
Don Barnes (R) $233,595 $0 $18,125 $57,743 $175,851 $157,726 $157,726
Dave Harrington (R) $70,903 $140,000 $84,065 $88,802 $122,100 $38,035 ($101,965)
Note: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.

 

Posted in Orange County Sheriff | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »