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Archive for the ‘Capistrano Unified School District’ Category

Capo Unified School District’s newest Bond Tax attempts: An Expensive Bad Idea!

Posted by Craig P Alexander on January 10, 2020

For the March 3, 2020 ballot Capistrano Unified School District is pushing two bond tax measures on the voters. Measure H for San Clemente (except Talega) and Capo Beach property owners and Measure I on the rest of Dana Point, all of Laguna Niguel and Aliso Viejo owners. If passed both measures would obligate voters to pay (with interest) an additional SEVEN HUNDRED TWENTY FOUR MILLION DOLLARS ($519,000,000.00 for Measure I plus $205,000,000.00 for Measure H) on top of all of the other taxes and bond taxes we already pay.

In this article I will set forth why these bond taxes are NOT a good idea. My knowledge of this subject comes from when I ran for the CUSD Board of Trustees in 2014, being part of a group that opposed CUSD’s Measure M in 2016 and the research I and others have done regarding past and present bond tax attempts. I wish to make three points.

The first is taxes. Or I should say taxes, taxes and more taxes. California residents are already among the highest taxed in the nation.

In 2012 voters passed new “temporary taxes” (Proposition 30) promoted by the teacher unions with a promise these taxes would provide billions of dollars for the school system.  Then in 2016 the same unions and their fellow travelers were successful in passing Proposition 55 resulting in most of the Prop. 30 “temporary taxes” being extended for twelve years.

Again voters were promised this was for public education. These higher income taxes have given California the dubious distinction of having the HIGHEST state income tax rates in the nation. This is in addition to gasoline taxes (second highest in the nation then, as of July 1, 2020, the highest) (Gas Taxes), higher sales and utility taxes, higher DMV fees, etc. with most of these taxes’ deductibility being limited by Federal tax law. It is reported that the state expects a $22 billion operating surplus and to have $20.59 billion in reserves this year. (CalTax ) Voters have every right to ask – where are those tax dollars we have already paid?

CUSD mismanages its funds!

There is one bond tax CUSD would apparently like for voters to forget about – CUSD’s Measure A bond tax passed in 1999. It’s on your current property tax bill and we are still paying for this bond tax (millions are still owed).  Importantly, as part of the 1999 Measure A pitch to the voters, the District listed as reasons for that bond tax the need for asbestos removal/roof repairs/earthquake retrofitting/renovating science laboratories.  Yet for Measures H & I CUSD is still listing these same items as needing repair!  So what did CUSD do with the bond tax money from Measure A?

Why are we being asked to pay twice for the same repairs?

CUSD constantly states it has no money of its own and it is slated via this bond tax to put zero of its own funds into these projects.  Where are our tax dollars CUSD currently receives going?  Over 86% of the District’s funds are spent on salaries and benefits of adult employees of the District.  Thus over the years it does not manage our tax money wisely to plan for building upkeep and maintenance.  For example:

2018 Salary & Benefits:                Regular Salary  & Benefits           Other Pay        Total

Superintendent Kristen Vital:       $333,267.00                                  $91,999.00      $425,266.00

Deputy Supt. Clark Hampton       $241,556.00                                  $58,755.86      $300,331.86

Gov. Edmond Brown, Jr.               $192,442.68                                  $92,730.31      $285,172.99

Thus the Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent each are paid more than the Governor of the State of California!  (Source: http://www.TransparentCalifornia.com).  And in December 2019 everyone at CUSD, including the Superintendent, received raises retroactive to July 1, 2019.

CUSD is a declining enrollment District!

CUSD’s own documents (Declining Enrollment) confirm the District itself knows this. Yet it wants to use these new bond taxes to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into school building projects.   The District, at pages B-3 (Measure H) and B-3 & B-4 (Measure I) list ALL of the existing schools implying all are slated for new construction from bond taxes.  So this raises the question: Why is the District asking the taxpayers to pay for improvements to school sites it will likely need to close over the next few years?  Or is the District not planning to spend the bond tax funds on some of these schools it will be forced to close due to declining enrollment?  If this is the case what is it really planning to do with these taxpayer funds?  Voters deserve straightforward answers on what CUSD intends to do with their bond taxes before they vote to place additional 30 year tax liens on their properties.  Either the District is not planning properly or it is not being forthright with its constituents!

Residents and taxpayers deserve better stewardship of their tax dollars! They deserve transparency from their local government school Trustees and education bureaucrats.   Please vote No on Measures H & I!

For more information go to Capo Kids First! on Facebook.  Learn more by attending the combined Chamber of Commerce Forum on this subject on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at the City of Laguna Niguel’s Community Room (30111 Crown Valley Pkwy, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677).

Craig Alexander is a Dana Point resident, property owner and an attorney. This post is adapted from a guest column that appears in the Dana Point Times and the San Clemente Times.

Posted in Capistrano Unified School District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

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 »

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!

Posted in 38th Congressional District, 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 46th Congressional District, 47th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 55th Assembly District, 65th Assembly District, 68th Assembly District, 69th Assembly District, 72nd Assembly District, 73rd Assembly District, 74th Assembly District, Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Anaheim City School District, Anaheim Union High School District, Board of Equalization, Brea, Brea Olinda Unified School District, Buena Park, Buena Park Library District, Buena Park School District, California, Capistrano Bay Community Services District, Capistrano Unified School District, Centralia School District, Coast Community College District, Costa Mesa, Costa Mesa Sanitary District, Cypress, Cypress School District, Dana Point, East Orange County Water District, El Toro Water District, Emerald Bay Service District, Fountain Valley, Fountain Valley School District, Fullerton, Fullerton Joint Union High School District, Fullerton School District, Garden Grove, Garden Grove Unified School District, Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach City School District, Huntington Beach Union High School District, Irvine, Irvine Ranch Water District, Irvine Unified School District, La Habra, La Habra City School District, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach Unified School District, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Los Alamitos Unified School District, Lowell Joint School District, Magnolia School District, Mesa Consolidated Water District, Midway City Sanitary District, Mission Viejo, Moulton-Niguel Water District, Municipal Water District of Orange County, Newport Beach, Newport-Mesa Unified School District, North Orange County Community College District, Ocean View School District, Orange, Orange County, Orange County Cemetery District, Orange County Sanitation District, Orange County Water District, Orange Unified School District, Placentia, Placentia Library District, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, Rancho Santa Margarita, Rancho Santiago Community College District, Rossmoor, Rossmoor Community Services District, Rossmoor/Los Alamitos Area Sewer District, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Santa Ana Unified School District, Santa Margarita Water District, Savanna School District, Seal Beach, Serrano Water District, Silverado-Modjeska Recreation and Park District, South Coast Water District, South Orange County Community College District, Stanton, State Assembly, State Senate, Sunset Beach Sanitary District, Surfside Colony Community Services District, Surfside Colony Storm Water Protection District, Three Arch Bay Community Services District, Trabuco Canyon Water District, Tustin, Tustin Unified School District, Uncategorized, Villa Park, Westminster, Westminster School District, Yorba Linda, Yorba Linda Water District | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

OC GOP Endorsements So Far

Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 1, 2016

wpid-ocgop-logo-1_400x400.jpgThe Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee met on August 15 and August 31 to consider endorsements for local offices and ballot measures. Further endorsements will take place on September 19 (and possibly more after that).

OC Political live-blogged the August 15 meeting and the August 31 meeting, but by popular demand here is the list of endorsements so far:

  • City Councils and Mayors
    • Aliso Viejo City Council: Mike Munzing
    • Anaheim City Council, District 4: Lucille Kring
    • Anaheim City Council, District 5: Mark Lopez
    • Costa Mesa City Council: Allan Mansoor, Steve Mensinger, Lee Ramos
    • Dana Point City Council: Michelle Brough
    • Fountain Valley City Council: Steve Nagel
    • Fullerton City Council: Larry Bennett, Bruce Whitaker
    • Garden Grove Mayor: Steve Jones
    • Huntington Beach City Council: Patrick Brenden, Joe Carchio, Lyn Semeta
    • Irvine Mayor: Don Wagner
    • Irvine City Council: Anthony Kuo, Christina Shea
    • La Habra City Council: Tom Beamish, Dawn Holthouser, Tim Shaw
    • Laguna Hills City Council: Janine Heft
    • Laguna Niguel City Council: Laurie Davies, John Mark Jennings, Jerry Slusiewicz
    • Lake Forest City Council: Francisco Barajas, Dwight Robinson
    • Los Alamitos City Council: Dean Grose
    • Newport Beach City Council, District 5: Lee Lowrey
    • Newport Beach City Council, District 7: Will O’Neill
    • Orange City Council: Mark Murphy
    • Rancho Santa Margarita City Council: Tony Beall, Carol Gamble
    • San Clemente City Council: Dan Bane
    • Tustin City Council: Allan Bernstein, Austin Lumbard, Charles Puckett
    • Westminster City Council: Kimberly Ho
    • Yorba Linda City Council: Tara Campbell, Gene Hernandez, Craig Young
  • College Districts
    • North Orange County Community College District, Trustee Area 7: Ryan Bent
    • Rancho Santiago Community College District, Trustee Area 5: Steven Nguyen
  • School Districts
    • Capistrano Unified School District, Trustee Area 1: Wendy Shrove
    • Capistrano Unified School District, Trustee Area 2: Jim Reardon
    • Capistrano Unified School District, Trustee Area 3: Laura Ferguson
    • Capistrano Unified School District, Trustee Area 5: Jake Vollebregt
    • Santa Ana Unified School District: Angie Cano
  • Water Districts
    • Orange County Water District, Division 6: Cathy Green
    • Mesa Water District, Division 2: James R. Fisler
    • Moulton Niguel Water District, Division 6: Duane Cave
    • Yorba Linda Water District: Ric Collett, Andy Hall
    • No on the Yorba Linda Water District Recall of Directors Bob Kiley and Gary Melton
  • Ballot Measures
    • No on Measure J – Anaheim Elementary School District $318 Million Facilities Bond
    • No on Measure K – Brea-Olinda Unified School District $148 Million Facilities Bond
    • No on Measure M – Capistrano Unified School District $889 Million Facilities Bond
    • No on Measure N – Centralia Elementary School District $49 Million Facilities Bond
    • No on Measure O – Fountain Valley School District $63 Million Facilities Bond
    • No on Measure P – Garden Grove Unified School District $311 Million Facilities Bond
    • No on Measure Q – Huntington Beach City School District $159.85 Million Facilities Bond
    • No on Measure R – Ocean View School District $169 Million Facilities Bond
    • No on Measure S – Orange Unified School District $288 Million Facilities Bond
    • No on Measure T – Westminster School District $76 Million Facilities Bond
    • Yes on Measure U – Anaheim 2/3 Vote of the Council to Propose Taxes (Instead of Simple Majority)
    • No on Measure Y ­ Costa Mesa initiative to amend Municipal Code to require voter approval of certain changes in land use, retroactive to July 17, 2015
    • No on Measure HH – Fountain Valley 1% Sales Tax Increase (from 8% to 9%)
    • No on Measure JJ – La Palma 1% Sales Tax Increase (from 8% to 9%)
    • No on Measure LL – Laguna Beach 2% Hotel Tax Increase (from 10% to 12%)
    • Yes on Measure MM – Newport Beach 5/7 Vote of the Council to Propose Taxes (Instead of Simple Majority)
    • No on Measure OO – San Clemente 3% Hotel Tax Increase (from 10% to 13%)
    • No on Measure PP – Santa Ana 700% Pay Raise for City Council (from $125/mtg to $1000/mo for Council and $200/mtg to $1000/mo for Mayor)
    • Yes on Measure QQ – Stanton 1% Sales Tax Repeal (from 9% to 8%)
    • No on Measure SS – Westminster 1% Sales Tax Increase (from 8% to 9%)

Posted in Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Anaheim City School District, Brea Olinda Unified School District, Capistrano Unified School District, Centralia School District, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fountain Valley School District, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Garden Grove Unified School District, Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach City School District, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Mesa Consolidated Water District, Moulton-Niguel Water District, Newport Beach, Ocean View School District, Orange, Orange County Water District, Orange Unified School District, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Santa Ana, Santa Ana Unified School District, Stanton, Tustin, Westminster, Westminster School District, Yorba Linda, Yorba Linda Water District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Complete List of OC GOP Early Endorsements

Posted by Chris Nguyen on August 18, 2016

wpid-ocgop-logo-1_400x400.jpgThe Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee met on Monday night to consider endorsements for local offices and ballot measures.

OC Political live-blogged the meeting, but with the back and forth motions to modify the list, many readers were confused by what the endorsements were, so by popular demand here are the list of early endorsements (most non-early endorsements will be considered on September 1):

  • Aliso Viejo City Council: Mike Munzing
  • Costa Mesa City Council: Allan Mansoor, Steve Mensinger, Lee Ramos
  • Fullerton City Council: Bruce Whitaker
  • Irvine City Council: Anthony Kuo, Christina Shea
  • Laguna Niguel City Council: Laurie Davies, John Mark Jennings, Jerry Slusiewicz
  • Lake Forest City Council: Dwight Robinson
  • Orange City Council: Mark Murphy
  • Rancho Santa Margarita City Council: Tony Beall, Carol Gamble
  • Tustin City Council: Allan Bernstein, Austin Lumbard, Charles Puckett
  • Westminster City Council: Kimberly Ho
  • Yorba Linda City Council: Tara Campbell, Gene Hernandez
  • Capistrano Unified School District, Trustee Area 1: Wendy Shrove
  • Capistrano Unified School District, Trustee Area 2: Jim Reardon
  • Capistrano Unified School District, Trustee Area 3: Laura Ferguson
  • Mesa Water District, Division 2: Jim Fisler
  • Moulton Niguel Water District, Division 6: Duane Cave
  • No on Measure K – Brea-Olinda Unified School District $148 Million Facilities Bond
  • No on Measure M – Capistrano Unified School District $889 Million Facilities Bond
  • No on Measure N – Centralia Elementary School District $49 Million Facilities Bond
  • No on Measure O – Fountain Valley School District $63 Million Facilities Bond
  • No on Measure S – Orange Unified School District $288 Million Facilities Bond
  • No on Measure T – Westminster School District $76 Million Facilities Bond
  • No on Measure HH – Fountain Valley 1% Sales Tax Increase
  • No on Measure JJ – La Palma 1% Sales Tax Increase
  • No on Measure SS – Westminster 1% Sales Tax Increase

Posted in Aliso Viejo, Brea Olinda Unified School District, Capistrano Unified School District, Centralia School District, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Fountain Valley School District, Fullerton, Irvine, La Palma, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mesa Consolidated Water District, Moulton-Niguel Water District, Orange, Orange Unified School District, Rancho Santa Margarita, Republican Central Committee, Tustin, Westminster, Westminster School District, Yorba Linda | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Still Time to Run: 20 Races Where Incumbents Didn’t File for Re-Election

Posted by Chris Nguyen on August 15, 2016

BeatTheClockUnder California law, the deadline for filing for most offices was this past Friday, August 12.  However, in races where there is an eligible incumbent who chose not to file for re-election, non-incumbents received an extra five days to file. Consequently, the deadline for non-incumbents to file has been extended until 5:00 PM on Wednesday, August 17 for 20 races for college board, school board, and special districts. None of these require nomination signatures, so a prospective candidate could literally pull and file papers in the final minutes before 5:00 PM on August 17.

Three of these contests actually have more seats than candidates.  In other words, there aren’t enough candidates for these races, so anyone who files will go unopposed, but at this point, if no one else files, these three districts will have vacancies:

There’s an additional five contests where the number of seats equal the number of candidates.  In other words, if no one else files, all of these candidates will be elected unopposed:

Looking at the list below, some of you may be wondering why Rancho Santiago Community College District, Trustee Area 1 is not listed.  In that case, incumbent Jose Solorio (D) actually resigned from the seat, so there is no incumbent.  When there’s no incumbent at all, there’s no extension.

For those of you who are curious

Here’s the complete run-down on the 20 contests where filing has been extended to 5:00 PM on August 17 because at least one incumbent failed to file, giving non-incumbents an extra five days to file:

  • North Orange County Community College District, Trustee Area 2
    • Incumbent Leonard Lahtinen (D) did not file for re-election, opting instead to run for Anaheim City Council.  Three candidates have pulled and filed papers to replace him so far:
      • Centralia School District Trustee Art Montez (D), who was on the Centralia Board from 1998-2010, when he was defeated for re-election, lost a 2012 bid to return to the Board, and then finally returned to the Centralia Board in the 2014 election, but he’s already looking for another office just two years later
      • College Educator Ed Lopez (?)
      • Businesswoman/Student Ann-Marie Stinson (D)
  • North Orange County Community College District, Trustee Area 7
    • Incumbent Tony Ontiveros (R), the only Republican on the North Orange County Community College District Board, did not file for re-election.  Only one candidate has pulled papers to replace him:
      • Attorney Barry Wishart (D), who served on the North Orange County Community College District Board from 1985 until his resignation in December 2001, three years into his fourth term
  • Capistrano Unified School District, Trustee Area 3
    • Incumbent John Alpay (R) did not file for re-election, opting instead to run for South Orange County Community College District.  Only one candidate has pulled papers to replace him:
      • Public Information Officer Laura Ferguson (R), who is the PIO for the City of San Clemente
  • Irvine Unified School District
    • There are three incumbents up for re-election: Paul Bokota (D), Lauren Brooks (R), and Michael Parham (R).  Bokota and Brooks filed for re-election, but Parham did not.  In addition to Bokota and Brooks, four other candidates have pulled and filed papers:
      • Irvine Businesswoman/Parent Betty Carroll (NPP)
      • Army Captain/Parent Mark Newgent (?)
      • Irvine Businesswoman/Parent Naz Hamid (D)
      • Attorney Geri Zollinger (D)
  • Laguna Beach Unified School District
    • There are two incumbents up for re-election: William Landsiedel (R) and Jan Vickers (D).  Vickers filed for re-election, but Landsiedel did not.  In addition to Vickers, two other candidates have pulled and filed papers:
      • Constitutional Lawyer/Author Howard Hills (R)
      • Community Volunteer Peggy Wolff (D)
  • Orange Unified School District, Trustee Area 6
    • Incumbent Mark Wayland (R) did not file for re-election.  Three candidates have pulled papers to replace him:
      • Child Care Supervisor Nicole Baitx-Kennedy (NPP), the only one who has filed papers so far
      • Realtor Jeremy Wayland (R), the retiring incumbent’s son
      • Danielle Jacobs (R), who is director of operations for Sheldon Development, LLC, run by Orange County Water District Director Steve Sheldon (R)
  • Saddleback Valley Unified School District
    • There are three incumbents up for re-election: Ginny Fay Aitkens (D), Amanda Morrell (R), and Suzie Swartz (R).  Morrell and Swartz filed for re-election, but Aitkens did not.  In addition to Morrell and Swartz, five other candidates have pulled papers:
      • Retired Educator Edward Wong (NPP)
      • Teacher Bill Yarrington (R)
      • Water Agency Manager Mark Tettemer (R), a former Lake Forest City Councilman who retired in 2012 after two terms to pursue a Master of Public Administration
      • School Maintenance Specialist David Johnson (?)
      • Businessman Theo Hunt (D)
  • Santa Ana Unified School District
    • There are three incumbents up for re-election: Jose Hernandez (NPP), Cecilia Iglesias (R), and Rob Richardson (R).  Iglesias filed for re-election, but Hernandez and Richardson did not.  In addition to Iglesias, seven other candidates have pulled papers:
      • Recreation Program Coordinator Gloria Alvarado (D)
      • Attorney/Santa Ana Commissioner Bruce Bauer (D)
      • Teacher/Parent Rigo Rodriguez (?)
      • Supervising Social Worker Alfonso Alvarez (D)
      • Congressional Liaison/Parent Bea Mendoza (D), who works for Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D)
      • Educator/Santa Ana Commissioner Mark McLoughlin (NPP), a former Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee
      • Santa Ana Businesswoman/Economist Angie Cano (R)
  • Huntington Beach City School District
    • There are two incumbents up for re-election: Bridget Kaub (R) and Brian Rechsteiner (R). Kaub filed for re-election, but Rechsteiner did not.  In addition to Kaub, three other candidates have pulled papers:
      • Retired Elementary Principal Ann Sullivan (AI)
      • Rob Fishel (NPP)
      • Elementary Teacher/Parent Karrie Burroughs (R)
  • Ocean View School District
    • There are two incumbents up for re-election: Gina Clayton-Tarvin (D) and Debbie Cotton (R). Clayton-Tarvin filed for re-election, but Cotton did not.  In addition to Clayton-Tarvin, only one other candidate has pulled and filed papers:
      • Social Worker Amalia Lam (D)
  • Westminster School District
    • There are two incumbents up for re-election: Jamison Power (D) and Amy Walsh (R). Power filed for re-election, but Walsh did not.  In addition to Power, two other candidates have pulled and filed papers:
      • Attorney/Business Owner Karl Truong (?)
      • Educator/Entrepreneur Frances Nguyen (R), a former President of the Westminster Chamber of Commerce
  • Capistrano Bay Community Services District
    • No one has pulled papers for these two seats!  There are two incumbents up for re-election: Ambrose Mastro (R) and Stephen Muller (R), the two Republicans on a board with one Democrat and two NPPs.  Neither Mastro nor Muller filed for re-election.
    • At this point, anyone who pulls and files papers will walk into elected office unopposed.  If fewer than two people file for these two seats, the Orange County Board of Supervisors will appoint people to fill the vacancies.
  • Emerald Bay Service District
    • There are two incumbents up for re-election: William Hart (R) and John Marconi (R). Marconi filed for re-election, but Hart did not.  In addition to Marconi, only one other candidate has pulled and filed papers:
      • Real Estate Investor Phil De Carion (NPP)
  • Surfside Colony Community Services District
    • Incumbent Michael Farrell (NPP) did not file for re-election.  Two candidates have pulled and filed papers to replace him so far:
      • Retired Business Owner Rudy LaLonde (R)
      • Linda Garofalo (NPP), ex-wife of former Huntington Beach Mayor Dave Garofalo (R)
  • Three Arch Bay Community Services District
    • No one has pulled papers for the third seat!  There are three incumbents up for re-election: Alan Anderson (R), Elizabeth Gapp (R) and Gary Rubel (R).  While Anderson and Rubel filed for re-election, Gapp did not.  Only Anderson and Rubel have pulled and filed papers.
    • At this point, anyone who pulls and files papers will walk into elected office unopposed.  If a third person does not file for these three seats, the Orange County Board of Supervisors will appoint someone to fill the vacancy.
  • Silverado-Modjeska Recreation and Park District
    • There are two incumbents up for re-election: John Olson (D) and Chay Peterson (NPP). Neither Olson nor Peterson filed for re-election.  Four candidates have pulled and filed papers:
      • IT Consultant Steven Duff (D)
      • Retired Educator Tara Saraye (D)
      • Realtor/Artist/Parent Heidi Murphy-Grande (?)
      • Dion Sorrell (D)
  • Surfside Colony Storm Water Protection District
    • No one has pulled papers for the second seat!  There are two incumbents up for re-election: John Cahoon (L) and Stephen Rowe (D).  While Rowe filed for re-election, Cahooon did not.  Only Rowe has pulled and filed papers.
    • At this point, anyone who pulls and files papers will walk into elected office unopposed.  If a second person does not file for these two seats, the Orange County Board of Supervisors will appoint someone to fill the vacancy.
  • South Coast Water District
    • There are three incumbents up for re-election: Dick Dietmeier (NPP), Rick Erkeneff (R), and Wayne Rayfield (D).  Erkeneff and Rayfield filed for re-election, but Dietmeier did not.  In addition to Erkeneff and Rayfield, four other candidates have pulled papers:
      • Retired Business Owner Bob Moore (R), a former South Coast Water District Director who lost a 2014 re-election bid after foolishly using a non-incumbent ballot designation
      • Retired Project Manager Bob Oakley (R)
      • Civil Engineer Douglas Erdman (NPP), who appears to be the son of South Coast Water District Director Dennis Erdman (R)
      • Former South Coast Water District Director Richard Gardner (D), who lost a 2012 re-election bid seeks a return to his old seat after losing a 2014 bid to reclaim a seat on this board (or he might not seek a return since he has also pulled papers for Municipal Water District of Orange County, Division 7)
  • Yorba Linda Water District
    • There are two incumbents up for re-election: Michael Beverage (R) and Ric Collett (R).  Collett filed for re-election, but Beverage did not.  In addition to Collett, only one other candidate has pulled and filed papers:
      • Retired Business Advisor Benjamin Franklin Parker (R)
    • Incumbent Susan Hinman (R) did not file for re-election.  Three candidates have pulled papers to replace her so far:
      • Moulton-Niguel Water District Director Donald Froelich (R)
      • Business Owner/Consultant Evan Chaffee (R)
      • Registered Professional Engineer Raymond Miller (R)
      • Former South Coast Water District Director Richard Gardner (D), who has also pulled papers for South Coast Water District

Posted in Anaheim, Capistrano Bay Community Services District, Capistrano Unified School District, Centralia School District, Emerald Bay Service District, Huntington Beach City School District, Irvine Unified School District, Laguna Beach Unified School District, Moulton-Niguel Water District, Municipal Water District of Orange County, North Orange County Community College District, Ocean View School District, Orange Unified School District, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Santa Ana Unified School District, Silverado-Modjeska Recreation and Park District, South Coast Water District, South Orange County Community College District, Surfside Colony Community Services District, Surfside Colony Storm Water Protection District, Three Arch Bay Community Services District, Westminster School District, Yorba Linda Water District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees to Vote Tonight to Duck Class Size Issue

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on January 28, 2015

Class size has been a hot topic at Capistrano Unified School District for many years now. The issue was recently in the news regarding CUSD’s having too many children in classrooms: Channel 4 News.

Dawn Urbanek has posted an excellent article at the San Juan Capistrano Patch about a vote tonight (1-28-15) by the Board of Trustees at CUSD to allow the District and Unions to make class size decisions rather than the Board. Here is the link to Dawn’s article: Class Size.

I predict the Board will vote in favor of this partly because the teacher’s union wants it (and the union got elected all but one of the seven Trustees) and so the Board can duck responsibility for the decisions being made. I highly recommend this article to your attention.

Posted in Capistrano Unified School District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Julie Collier: Parents need more school choice

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on January 18, 2015

Last fall when I ran for CUSD’s Board of Trustees, my friend Julie Collier also ran for the Board (in another Trustee area). In getting to know Julie more I discovered a wonderful fellow citizen who is a true champion of education for children and their parents.

The OC Register has published an insightful column by Julie about school choice – how parents can and should be able to help their child leave behind a failing school – failing to give a child the excellent education he / she deserves. I highly recommend Julie’s excellent column to you. It is not behind the Register’s pay wall.

Here is the link: Parents Need More School Choice

Posted in Capistrano Unified School District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »