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So what did taxpayers get from CUSD’s financing of Former Trustee Lynn Hatton-Hodson’s Financial Conflict of Interest defense? Nothing! Part Two of Two.

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on August 28, 2017

In Part One we outlined how the taxpayers came to pay for Former CUSD Trustee Lynn Hatton-Hodson’s conflict of interest non-disclosure legal defense. In Part Two we find CUSD is blocking the public’s access to what the taxpayer dollars were spent for and a long list of serious unanswered questions.

Even More Taxpayer Education Dollars to The Olson Law Firm and the Blocked Entries of the Descriptions of Services

In December the Board authorized a $10,000 increase in the allowed cost for the Olson firm (for total legal fees of $25,000.00).  [12-6-16 More Money for Olson Authorization]. Then in February 2017 the FPPC closed its file.  The Olson firm did not submit another invoice to CUSD until April 30, 2017 for $937.50.  When CUSD finally disclosed this invoice in late July (after several requests by CPC) it contained the similar redactions as in the 10/31/16 invoice. [4-30-17 Olson Invoice]

As an attorney myself I understand and value the need for the attorney client communication privilege.  However in this case we have taxpayer funds being spent for the legal defense of a  financial disclosure filing which is normally privately funded by the politician themselves.  Therefore it would be proper for the taxpayers to know what they received for their money.  CUSD could waive the Attorney Client Privilege and give us un-redacted invoices.  But it has refused to do so.

Just What Did the Olson Firm Do For The Money?

With all of the Olson’s firm’s billing activity as of October 31, 2016 we would expect there to be letters and e-mails going back and forth between the Olson firm and the FPPC.

But in the responses to CPC by CUSD and the FPPC not one letter or e-mail was apparently exchanged between the Olson firm and the FPPC.  Not. One. Letter. Or. E-mail. Nothing!  And none between the FPPC and the Orbach or Werksman firms either. The FPPC advised me that if they had “phone notes” of any conversations with the Olson firm, those would have been turned over in response to our Public Records Act request.  None were disclosed.

Serious Questions Remain

So after obtaining everything in writing from CUSD (and the FPPC) that they would disclose, many serious questions remain:

Why are there be no written communications or telephone notes of conversations between the Olson law firm and the FPPC?

Why would the Olson firm not bill the District for the time put into the case between Nov. 1st and Feb. 28th until April 30, 2017?

Just what did this Olson firm do for the $16,274.50 taxpayer’s dollars it was paid?

Are there other matters the Olson firm is being paid taxpayer money for by CUSD?   There is an investigation by the Orange County District Attorney’s office into this same matter involving Ms. Hatton-Hodson.  That District Attorney investigation is not mentioned in the 9/26/16 Olson retainer agreement with CUSD.

Is the Orbach firm working for CUSD / Hatton-Hodson on the District Attorney’s investigation?  Why else would they hire the $750 per hour Werksman firm which advertises itself as “Tenacious. Proven. Criminal Trial Attorneys“?  The Werksman firm’s total invoicing (per the records CUSD disclosed) on this matter is $13,972.50 to date.  $2,175.00 for work done in March 2017 AFTER the FPPC closed its file in February 2017.

Why would the Olson law firm retained to assist the former trustee by the District not list Trustee Hatton-Hodson as the Client rather than the District? After all the District did not fail to file the Disclosure form correctly – Lynn Hatton-Hodson apparently failed to do this.  Why were there no written waivers of the obvious potential conflict of interest in the file disclosed to CPC?

What did the Orbach firm do for CUSD that the Olson firm was not already doing after the Board of Trustees hired Olson in late September 2016?

Here is the breakdown of the taxpayer dollars spent on lawyers in the Lynn Hatton-Hodson matter to date:

Olson              $16,274.50

Orbach           $11,728.00

Werksman     $13,972.50

Total              $41,975.00

Who Received What Benefits For The Public’s $41,975.00 Tax Dollars?

What did the taxpayers get for this expenditure of public funds?  Apparently absolutely nothing except dollars that could have been used in the class room are now in the possession of attorneys.  In fact, three sets of attorneys!

What did CUSD and the children it is supposed to service get for this expense?  Nothing.

What did former Trustee Lynn Hatton-Hodson receive? A free taxpayer funded legal defense before the FPPC (and maybe for the District Attorney’s investigation as well).

Perhaps the real question here is what did the other Trustees get for this expenditure of their constituents’ money!  Apparently the comfort of knowing that if in the future they are caught with their proverbial hands in the financial cookie jar they will have taxpayer dollars to defend their actions and mistakes as political candidates.

Craig Alexander is an attorney who represents requestors of information under the California Public Records Act. He is also volunteer General Counsel for the California Policy Center, Inc. a policy think tank that advocates for transparency in government. He is a former candidate for CUSD’s Board of Trustees. Craig can be reached at craig@craigalexanderlaw.com.

Posted in Capistrano Unified School District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

So what did taxpayers get from CUSD’s financing of Former Trustee Lynn Hatton-Hodson’s Financial Conflict of Interest defense? Nothing! Part One of Two

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on August 24, 2017

Former CUSD Trustee Hatton-Hodson’s Undisclosed Financial Conflicts Of Interest And The FPPC

Last fall it was discovered that elected CUSD Trustee Lynn Hatton-Hodson had an undisclosed financial conflict of interest due to her ownership interest in a vendor to Capistrano Unified School District. She apparently did not disclose this conflict in her required filing with the County known as a Form 700 (Statement of Economic Interest). A citizen made a complaint to the FPPC (the Fair Political Practices Commission) about Ms. Hatton-Hodson’s failure to disclose the obvious conflict.

Normally the filling out and defending of a Form 700 is completely on the shoulders of the person who files it – whether a successful candidate for office like Ms. Hatton-Hudson or the losing candidate who is not elected to office.  In this case the CUSD Board of Trustees had an attorney opine that filling out a Form 700 was an official act of a Trustee and any challenge regarding the form entitles the Trustee to a taxpayer funded defense by attorneys who specialize in this field.

Trustee Hatton-Hodson’s Undisclosed Financial Conflicts of Interest and the FPPC

In September 2016, the Board of Trustees voted 6 to 0 (Ms. Hatton-Hodson did not vote) to retain the law firm of Olson, Hagel & Fishburn, LLP of Sacramento to defend their colleague before the FPPC.  The Board of Trustees authorized the District to spend $15,000.00 of taxpayer money to defend her.

The Olson firm was specifically requested by Ms. Hatton-Hodson in a letter addressed to CUSD’s general counsel Mr. David Huff of the law firm of Orbach, Huff, Saurez & Henderson, LLP. [Hatton-Hodson ltr to Huff].  Interestingly the fee agreement between the Olson firm and the District identified the District as the Client not Ms. Hatton-Hodson. [9-28-16 Professional Services Agreement]. Yet they apparently defended Ms. Hatton-Hodson, not the District, before the FPPC.

Conflict of Interest – What Conflict of Interest!

The California Policy Center, Inc. sent Public Records Act requests to CUSD and the FPPC after the FPPC closed its file in this matter in late February 2017.

Most of the time a contract between a client and an attorney firm is required under Business and Professions Code section 6148.  CUSD disclosed to CPC the agreement between itself and the Olson firm. Again, oddly, this agreement identifies the District not Trustee Hatton-Hodson as the Client of the firm.  The FPPC complaint was the sole scope of work listed for the Olson firm.

In addition, an attorney is not allowed to represent clients with conflicting interests. Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3-310.  The attorney may represent two clients where the conflict of interest between them is only a potential one.  But the attorney should obtain a written Waiver of the Potential Conflict of Interest.  Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3-310 (c).

A potential conflict of interest is something that is very foreseeable in this situation and where the interests if the District and Ms. Hatton-Hodson could become adverse requiring the attorney to withdraw from the representation at any time.  However when we received the documents from CUSD, while the 9/26/17 Agreement was produced, no signed off letters or notices to either the District or Ms. Hatton-Hodson of the Potential Conflict of Interest for the Olson firm were disclosed.  Thus it appears no written waiver was obtained even though one Trustee apparently understood this and brought it to the attention to the Superintendent. [9-26-16 E-mail].

Public Records Act requests by CPC to CUSD and the FPPC – Surprise: Three Law Firms for One Matter!

When CPC sought records under the Public Records Act the requests included attorney fee invoices related to the FPPC matter from CUSD.  In documents disclosed by CUSD we received invoices from not one but three law firms.  Importantly there was one invoice from the Olson firm dated October 31, 2016 for just over $15,000 – the entire amount authorized by the Board of Trustees just one half of one month earlier. [10-31-16 Olson Invoice].

But there were two other firms sending CUSD invoices for this matter: The Orbach firm apparently to give legal advice that the Board could spend taxpayer funds to defend Trustee Hatton-Hodson and presumably to watch over the Olson firm.  Also billing on this matter was the law firm of Werksman, Jackson, Hathaway & Quinn acting as an expert to the Orbach firm.  The hourly rate for the Werksman firm’s senior partner is $750 per hour!  [Werksman Invoices]. All three law firm’s invoices were heavily redacted (blocked out) so that we could not read what these law firms did for Ms. Hatton-Hodson’s defense.  We asked CUSD to give us un-redacted versions of these invoices and it refused.

In Part Two of Two – More Public Money for Attorneys, And for What?  Plus Serious Questions Remain from this Episode. 

Craig Alexander is an attorney who represents requestors of information under the California Public Records Act. He is also volunteer General Counsel for the California Policy Center, Inc. a policy think tank that advocates for transparency in government. He is a former candidate for CUSD’s Board of Trustees. Craig can be reached at craig@craigalexanderlaw.com.

Posted in Capistrano Unified School District, Orange County District Attorney's Office, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

March 2, 2017 – A Very Important Day for Californians

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on March 18, 2017

While not getting front page news status – on March 2, 2017 two very important decisions were handed down by the Courts affecting Californian’s right to obtain documents from their government.

Two California courts on a single day broadened the public’s access to government documents via a California Public Records Act (“CPRA”) request.

In one case (City of San Jose v. Superior Court (Smith)), the California Supreme Court unanimously declared on March 2 that public officials’ e-mails and texts are in fact public documents, even when they are sent over personal devices.

In a related case on that same day, a state appeals court in Los Angeles declared that the public is allowed to seek “discovery” in lawsuits filed by requestors of public documents to enforce their rights in Court under the CPRA statute.

Both cases are widely seen as a victory for transparency, and a reaffirmation of the state’s Watergate-era California Public Records Act.

To read the rest of my post on this go to this link: One One Day in Two Decisions…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Speaking Truth To Power – Teacher Union Power

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on March 12, 2017

In Sunday’s OC Register  (Unions to Blame) is a powerful opinion piece by Cecilia Iglesias, one of the five Trustees for the Santa Ana Unified School District.  Recently the Board of Trustees voted 4 to 1 (with Trustee Iglesias as the sole dissenting vote) to send layoff notices to 287 teachers.  Why?  As Trustee Iglesias points out, the District has had declining enrollment since 2002 and is continued to have this for years to come.  What did the teachers’ union and their paid for board majority do in response to this situation: raise teacher pay and ignore basic mathematics.  Over the last four years teacher pay in SAUSD has risen over 16% while the projected enrollment figures continued to slide.

Remember – schools receive their money from the state (and the federal) government based on enrollment.  So even using Common Core math could not save the teachers’ union and their paid for Trustees from fiscal reality – they don’t have enough money to pay all of their teachers (and other staff too) at the current levels.  So they voted to lay off 287 teachers (the actual figure may be less come this fall – but still a significant number).  What will happen from this lay off?

First there will be fewer teachers to staff the classrooms.  Result: pack the children into more crowded classrooms putting more pressure and responsibility on those teachers that remain.  So for example a class with 25 students will grow in size to 30 or 35 students with one teacher.  And which teachers will be laid off?  The union contract with the school has a “last in, first out” clause – meaning the younger teachers will lose their jobs while older ones keep theirs.  And there is absolutely no ability for the District, under this contract, to take into account a teacher’s performance (or lack thereof) in choosing which teachers to lay off.

So who wins in this situation?  Obviously union bosses who keep their positions. Older teachers who may be great teachers but there is still no way to judge if all of them are the best performers or not.  The four union elected (paid for) Trustees who owe their seats to unions who underwrote their election efforts.

Do parents and students win – Not by any reasonable measure.  In fact it can be correctly argued that the District and the union are balancing the books on the backs of the children.  The teachers who are laid off?  The only way they “win” in this situation is if they find a job in another District that has Trustees that look out after students and parents more than teacher union bosses.  Only if that District cares more about teacher performance than seniority.  I wish all those teachers who are laid off well and that they find better replacement employment quickly.

How will the parents win in this situation?  Very simple – put better Trustees on the board to join Ms. Iglesias to form a pro-student, parent and teacher majority that returns the focus of the District to the best education possible rather than catering to the desires of union bosses.

Posted in Santa Ana Unified School District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Pay to Play – Turns Out To Be A Very Good Return On Investment

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on December 7, 2016

A few weeks ago, just prior to the election, I posted about California Policy Center’s study of some local Orange County school bond tax measures and who is financing the yes campaigns (Pay to Play in School Bond Measures in the OC).   Of the 10 school bond tax measures on the ballot in Orange County, 8 passed.  Only 2 failed.  That means the organizations (architectural, engineering and construction firms that build projects for the Districts) and the attorneys who support those efforts will be awash in bond tax money as they get contracts from these local districts.

But Orange County is not unique in voters giving mismanaged school boards bail outs in the form of bond tax measures. Californian’s have just voted overwhelmingly to place themselves, their children and grandchildren in debt for many years to come.  The amount: approximately $5 Billion additional taxes per year.  All. Voter. Approved.

In California Policy Center’s Union Watch web site’s latest article Californians Approve $5.0 Billion per Year in New Taxes, Ed Ring notes that:

“With only a couple of measures still too close to call (TCTC), as can be seen, 94% of the 193 proposed local bonds passed, and 71% of the proposed local taxes passed. Two years ago, 81% of the local bond proposals passed, and 68% of the local tax proposals passed.”

I am sure on election day in the offices of these yes on bond tax measure supporters (as well as on Wall Street for bond issuers) the champaign bottles were being uncorked to celebrate the passage of billions of dollars in bond tax measures.  They will reap the benefits in the form of millions of dollars of contracts from their small $1,000 and $1o,000 yes campaign investments for many years to come – all at the expense of the citizens who will be paying these bond taxes for 30 or 40 years to come.

Mr. Ring goes on to note that this is a house of cards and financial reality will set in when market corrections eventually occur.

“Despite the increase in consumer confidence since the surprising victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election, the stock and asset bubble that has been engineered through thirty years of expanding credit and lowering rates of interest is going to pop.”

When that happens who will be left holding the bag of debt?  Naturally the taxpayers who must foot the bill for this debt spending spree.  The school board politicians who passed these taxes?  Since they will have moved on by that time, probably not.  The bond issuers / holders?  Only if the school board is not able to pay its debts and files Chapter 9 bankruptcy – that is what happened to most of the bond issuers / holders in the City of Stockton bankruptcy.  They received much less than 100 cents on the dollar owed them. I have no sympathy for them.

But the entities that financed the yes campaigns – the architects, engineers and attorneys who made huge profits from these projects?  Nope – they will be happily counting their profits from their multimillion dollar contracts for these projects.  All from their small yes campaign investments.

Not a bad return on your investment!

I commend this article to you and suggest you subscribe to Union Watch’s e-mail list.

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Pay to Play In School Bond Measures in the OC

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on November 2, 2016

Ever wonder who finances the campaigns to pass school bond measures in Orange County? A study performed by the California Policy Center of five school districts has shown that many of the same attorneys, construction contractors and design firms have contributed to the campaigns to pass these measures.  In Construction Firms Fund Orange County School Bond Campaigns CPC reviewed the funders of school districts in Anaheim, Orange, Ocean View, Brea and Fountain Valley school districts.  Of course this pay to play campaign contributions is not confined to these five districts.  In Capistrano Unified School District’s Measure M (the Billion Dollar Bond Tax), many of the same players have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the yes on M campaign.  Who is heading up the Yes campaign?  CUSD Trustee Gary Pritchard.

As the report found (partial quote):

“Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Rudd & Romo (AALRR) is a law firm with eight offices across California. AALRR has donated $2000 to Anaheim Elementary School District’s bond measure, $12,000 to Orange Unified School District and $1000 to Fountain Valley School District. AALRR claims to represent nearly half the school districts in California and has previously represented both districts.

Bernards Builders Management Services is a general contractor located in San Fernando. Bernards has donated $2000 to Anaheim Elementary’s bond measure and $5000 to Brea-Olinda Unified School District’s measure. Bernards has worked with Brea-Olinda before on the Brea-Olinda High School and Olinda Elementary School. The subcontracted architecture firm for the Brea projects, LPA, has donated $10,000 this election cycle to Orange’s bond measure.”

These attorneys, contractors and others stand to make millions of taxpayer funded bond tax money if these measures pass.  The same is true of Proposition 51 – the $9 Billion school facilities bond tax before the voters next week.  The report notes:

“The California Building Industry Association has donated over $1,500,000 to Proposition 51, a statewide measure that would allow the state of California to issue $9 million in bonds for the State School Facilities Fund. The builders are the second-largest contributor in support of the proposition.”

 There are ten school bond measures on the November 8th ballot in Orange County alone.  If only a few pass, these firms stand to make millions on contracts to build these projects.  Not a bad return on their campaign contribution investments – at taxpayers’ expense.

Posted in Anaheim City School District, Anaheim Union High School District, Brea Olinda Unified School District, Capistrano Unified School District, Fountain Valley School District, Ocean View School District, Orange Unified School District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Free Voter Guides Available at Robynnordell.com

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on October 21, 2016

Are you looking for voter recommendations from people that do not get paid from politics (i.e. consultants and slate cards)?

Are you looking for voter recommendations from people that do not accept money to give a proposition, a ballot measure or a candidate the thumbs up (or down)?

Are you looking for advice on national, state wide and local races that include all of the state wide and local ballot propositions / measures?

Then you should go over to Robyn Nordell’s web site for Voter Recommendations from Robyn and some of her friends like myself.

Her general web site is: Robyn Nordell.

Her Orange County page is: Robyn Nordell Orange County.

Finally my favorite page at her site is Craig’s Pics my voter recommendations which Robyn kindly allows to be published there.

She also has information on some other counties in California.

Who is Robyn Nordell?  She is an Orange County homeschool mother and advocate, a pastor’s wife, a tireless advocate for open and transparent government, a social and fiscal conservative and one of the most talented, honest, brightest and kind persons I know.  Robyn does not get paid one penny for her work in researching candidates and ballot propositions / measures, putting together her voter recommendations and publishing them on her web site.  Plus she is gracious to publish others voter recommendation lists (like my own) even when we make recommendations different from her own. She is a Patriot!

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The Sacramento Leftist Elite’s Culture War Against All Dissent Continues – SB 1146

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on June 25, 2016

Meanwhile off the Presidential campaign trail, the California legislature continues to prove it is controlled by people who will not stand for any dissenting opinions even from religious colleges.  Recently the State Senate passed SB 1146 (Lara – D) the so called Equity in Higher Education Act (at the time of this post, SB 1146 is pending in the Assembly).  This bill vastly trims down exemptions from anti-discrimination laws for private religious colleges from, among other things, the LGBT agenda.  In other words, a religious college cannot require students and employees to adhere to a code of conduct that is in conformity with its faith based belief system unless that school is only a seminary preparing students to be ministers.  While this law is currently tied to Cal. Grant funds, the real issue is the heavy hand of government attempting to stamp out any dissenting opinions or beliefs.  Constitutional protections like Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Assembly, etc.?  Nope those are all subservient to the demands of liberal elite’s to agree with their viewpoints – which in this instance is the LGBT agenda and practices.

Andrew T. Walker of the National Review has an excellent article on this: California’s Culture War against Religious Liberty

Here is an excerpt:

“Tacked onto existing law, the proposed amendment to the state’s Equity in Higher Education Act attempts to stigmatize and coercively punish any religious belief system that might dare to offer a difference of opinion about sexuality and gender. The bill strong-arms religious schools into an untenable position: Either compromise their religious identity or risk losing access to grants and government-backed financial assistance like Cal Grants. How so? According to the legislation, any religious school that made admission decisions or laid out student-conduct expectations based on religious criteria that were at odds with the bill’s protected classes would risk losing access to state funds unless they affirmed the highly contestable categories of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” – categories at odds with views about marriage and sexuality in many religious traditions.”

I commend the rest of Mr. Walker’s article to your reading.  Another very good and short read on the implications of SB 1146 is by John Gerardi of California Family Council (See Update).

There is an argument that Christian schools should not take Cal. Grants and other government monies.  There are two problems with this argument. First if our tax dollars can go to schools that the government says it approves of its message but not those that do not, that is viewpoint discrimination by a government entity.  Plus that is forced public funding of one viewpoint over another.  Another problem with this argument is it is a ruse.  Today it is the application of this law to schools that accept Cal. Grant and similar college funding programs.  Tomorrow it will be to remove their tax exempt status for not conforming to the demanded viewpoint of the legislative majority (in other words the right to exist as a religious institution). And that logic can be applied without pause to churches. No room for dissent allowed and the U.S. and California Constitutional protections for Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Association will be rendered historical footnotes.

Of course, the legislature also goes out of its way to state that the bill does not seek to impair any student’s right to file a lawsuit against the college for discrimination.

Will these Christian colleges and the churches whose pulpits they fill engage the culture and stand against this publically?  The colleges are expressing their opposition to the legislature now with the help of organizations like the California Family Council and Pacific Justice Institute.  But if Senator Lara (the bill’s author) and his fellow travelers in Sacramento pass SB 1146 and the Governor signs it, will they file lawsuits and organize a referendum campaign to stop it?  Will they engage the voters in a healthy debate over the role of religious belief and practice in public life, in education and the proper limits under the U.S. and California Constitutions on a government that tries to dictate belief systems?  Or will they just engage real estate agents in Texas to find new locations for their campuses?

I pray it is the former and not a retreat to Texas.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why I am still voting for Ted Cruz for President of the United States

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on May 9, 2016

2016-05-08 18.50.45

Today (Monday, May 9, 2016) vote by mail ballots will be sent to voters in California. I will be voting for Senator Ted Cruz for President of the United States for the Republican primary of June 7th. I am also encouraging other Republicans to do the same. Why am I doing this when Sen. Cruz suspended his campaign? The reasons are several fold:

Senator Cruz (who will be listed first on our ballots) is still in my opinion the best candidate for President of the United States due to his long history of fighting for the U.S. Constitution and his willingness to take on the Washington, D.C. establishment on both sides of the isle. Ted Cruz is a proven and tested Constitutional leader. I recommend you go to: Senator Cruz’ web site to find out more.

In addition, Donald Trump has not earned my vote or support. His positions on issues (as much as can be understood of any position he may take) such as supporting transgender bathrooms and locker rooms, eminent domain abuse by having government take other people’s property then selling it to developers for them to build private property projects for their own profit and many other causes over the years are on the opposite side of what I believe in. Another example is he still loves Planned Parenthood. In addition, his tactics during the campaign including, but not limited to, going after people’s wives and children, alleging Ted Cruz’ father was in league with Lee Harvey Oswald in the assignation of JFK and other similar personal attacks have not convinced me The Donald has the temperament to be President. It is Mr. Trump’s job to sell me on supporting him and he has not do so.

Some have said a vote for anyone but Trump is a vote for Hillary Clinton. I disagree. June 7th is a closed Republican Primary not the general election. No matter who any Republicans vote for in the primary that will have zero effect upon the Democrats nominating Hillary Clinton or any other person as their candidate for President. Also, in the general election in California we Republicans will be outnumbered by Democrats and others who will vote for the Democratic nominee so our votes for anyone in the general election will likely not matter in liberal California (and there is no way I will vote for the Democratic nominee).

Some might argue that if enough people vote in the primary for Ted Cruz rather than Donald Trump, Mr. Trump might not get the necessary 1237 delegates to achieve the Republican nomination on the first ballot resulting in a contested convention. Then someone like Ted Cruz could still obtain the nomination on the second, third or a later ballot. If this were to occur and Ted Cruz became the nominee my response would be that old Christian hymn / doxology:

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen!

That would be a result I would be very happy with. Now if Mr. Trump does obtain the 1237 delegates to lock up the nomination, then he should be the nominee even if I do not like the result. That does not mean I will vote for or support him in the general election for all of the reasons above. But he will have won the nomination by doing obtaining 1237 delegates and maybe he can convince me he is a better candidate than I have seen to date before the November 8th election.

If you wish to see my “Craig’s Pics” voter recommendations go to: Craig’s Pics. I also recommend going to Robyn Nordell’s site and review Robyn and other conservatives’ excellent voter guides.

The sign in my front yard for Ted Cruz in the picture above I just put up last night (Sunday, May 8, 2016).

For those that may disagree with my recommendation I ask one thing: Please state facts for your arguments, not emotion, guilt or insults.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Letter: Vote No on Dana Point Measure H, the Empty Lots Initiative

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on May 9, 2016

Recently the Dana Point Times published my Letter to the Editor.  In it I stated my opposition to Measure H which I call the Empty Lots Initiative.

Below is a part of that Letter:

By Craig Alexander, Dana Point

I have lived in Dana Point since 1999. One of the first things I realized is property development is a hot button issue. Another thing I noted in 1999, which continues to today, are the numerous empty lots and sometimes rundown buildings in downtown Dana Point. Over the years, there have been several studies and many public meetings about how to create a better downtown Dana Point to attract visitors and make it a nice place for residents to enjoy a wonderful shopping and dining experience.

A few years ago, a prior city council led by now Assemblyman Bill Brough, spearheaded the city finalizing what is now called the Lantern District plans after dozens of public hearings at which all citizens of Dana Point were allowed to participate. The plan passed via city council votes, and the city has already spent over $18 million, plus millions of ratepayer dollars from the South Coast Water District, to implement the Lantern District improvements. Part of the Lantern District plan is to recoup part of those funds via development fees and increased property taxes.

Now, unhappy with a few development decisions by the City Council, some members of our community want to implement a ballot box zoning law called Measure H that would have the effect of halting development in the Lantern District. I call this the “Empty Lots Initiative,” because it would make development there so restrictive that no project could financially work, thus the empty lots would stay empty. An obvious result would be the city not receiving back many of the millions of dollars it spent under the Lantern District Plan from development fees and increased property tax revenue. This ballot box zoning measure is like taking a sledge hammer to a problem that needle nose pliers can fix. You might get the result you want but you will also destroy the object you are trying to fix.

If you do not like the City Council and their property development decisions, change the City Council. That is why we have elections every two years in November and term limits as well.

At the very least, before making such a drastic decision, I encourage my fellow Dana Point residents to go to the city’s website (http://www.danapoint.org/) and click on the link to the Town Center Initiative Impact Report. You will find valuable information in that report, which I recommend you seriously consider prior to casting your vote for or against Measure H.

Here is the link to the full Letter to the Editor (Vote No On H, the Empty Lots Initiative)

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