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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 »

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 »

Total Chaos: Harkey & Chavez Running for CD-49; Nelson, Kim, & Huff Running for CD-39; Who’s Running for BOE & AD-76?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 11, 2018

The unexpected announcements in a three-day period by Congressmen Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and Darrell Issa (R-Vista) that they would not be running for re-election in two of the most hotly-contested Congressional seats in the country set off a game of musical chairs that has unleashed total chaos in the Southern California political world, particularly in Orange County and even in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties.

The Fast and the Furious

In a three-day span, two Congressional races, a Board of Equalization race, an Assembly race, and a supervisorial race were turned upside down.  Former and current elected officials have been switching campaigns faster than the speed of street racers living a quarter-mile at a time.

On Monday, Royce announced he would not be running for re-election in the 39th Congressional District.  The next evening, former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) entered the CD-39 race the with Royce’s endorsement and dropped out of the race to succeed Fourth District Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton).  Less than 3 hours later, Nelson entered the race for CD-39, abandoning plans to wait for an open judicial seat.  Within 20 minutes of Nelson’s entry, former State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) entered the CD-39 race.

On Wednesday, Issa announced he would not be running for re-election in the 49th Congressional District.  Two hours later, Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) entered the CD-49 race with the endorsements of both Issa and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), ending her re-election bid for the State Board of Equalization.  Four hours after Harkey’s entry, Assemblyman Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside) entered the CD-49 race, ending his re-election bid for the 76th Assembly District.  Inexplicably, both the San Diego Union-Tribune and Los Angeles Times reported that Chavez was the first to enter the race despite Harkey announcing first.

The rapid Royce and Issa retirements set off so many rumors that Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and Ken Calvert (R-Corona) both felt compelled to issue statements yesterday confirming that they were continuing their re-election campaigns.  Calvert said, “I look forward to campaigning in 2018 to represent the 42nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives…” (full statement here). Rohrabacher said, “I am unequivocally running for re-election and confident that my views reflect the values and the needs of my constituents here in Orange County…” (full statement here).

The Hunger Games

Kim’s entry into the CD-39 race shook up the 4th Supervisorial District race to succeed Nelson, for she was the candidate with the highest name ID and largest warchest.  Harkey’s entry into the CD-49 race has now created a race for BOE that otherwise would have been a near-certain re-election for her.  Similarly, Chavez’s entry into CD-49 race has now created a race for AD-76 that otherwise would have been a probable re-election for him.

In all of this, it cannot be forgotten: CD-39 and CD-49 are both key swing seats that could help determine party control of the United States House of Representatives.  With that in mind, since the Democratic fields for both districts has stayed steady, we’re focusing on the completely-transformed Republican fields for both districts.

A picture (or flow chart) is worth 1,000 words for the first few days of our local version of The Hunger Games.  There can only be one victor in each seat, as various elected officials hope the odds are ever in their favor:

CD-39/CD-49 Flow Chart

49th Congressional District

I promise: no more gratuitous movie references in this blog post.  In the 49th Congressional District race to succeed Issa:

Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) represents all of CD-49, as her massive BOE district includes the entirety of Orange, San Diego, Imperial, and Riverside Counties, as well as portions of San Bernardino County.  She won one election to the Dana Point City Council and then three elections to the State Assembly representing portions of South Orange County and North San Diego County.   Harkey raised $600,000 for her BOE campaign.  She raised $259,000 for her 2012 Assembly re-election, $189,000 in 2010, and $299,000 in 2008.

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez represents 63% of CD-49 voters.  Of the 387,000 registered voters in CD-49, Chavez represents the 244,000 who reside in the AD-76 overlap with CD-49.  He won two elections to the Oceanside City Council and then three elections to the State Assembly representing North San Diego County.  In the most recent election in 2016, he made an awkward bid for US Senate, in which he dropped out live on air on KOGO-AM in the opening minutes of a Republican Senate debate.  He had raised $117,000 for his US Senate campaign.  Chavez raised $198,000 for his 2016 Assembly re-election, $256,000 in 2014, and $258,000 in 2012.

There are currently four Democrats running for CD-49, none of whom hold elected office, and three of whom have raised over $500,000 (and the fourth entered after the last campaign finance reporting period).  If no other Republican enters, and none of the Democrats drop out, it is entirely possible a CD-31 2012 scenario could play out, and we could see Harkey vs. Chavez in the November general election.  (CD-31 was a highly competitive swing seat in 2012, but Congressman Gary Miller and State Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton faced off in the general election because four Democrats split the vote, allowing Miller and Dutton to slip into the top two spots.)

39th Congressional District

Here are excerpts of OC Political’s analysis from Tuesday in relation to Nelson, Huff, and Kim before their entries into the 39th Congressional District race to succeed Royce:

Supervisor Shawn Nelson represents 45% of the voters of the 39th Congressional District.  Of the 367,000 registered voters in CD-39, Nelson represents 166,000 of them, who reside in the 4th Supervisorial District’s overlap with CD-39.  Nelson has deep roots in the district, having grown up in Fullerton, graduated from high school there, and even graduating from law school there.  He’s also a member of countless civic organizations in CD-39.  Nelson won three elections to the Fullerton City Council and two to the Orange County Board of Supervisors (and raised the necessary money to wage those campaigns).  As it happens, he is termed out from the Board in 2018.

Former State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff represented 71% of CD-39 voters, with 262,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters residing in SD-29, which Huff termed out of in 2016.  Huff won three elections to the Diamond Bar City Council, two to the State Assembly, and two to the State Senate.  Diamond Bar is the largest LA County city in CD-39.  Though he lost his bid for the LA County Board of Supervisors, there are less than 200 voters who are in the overlap between CD-39 and that supervisorial district.  As a former Senate Republican Leader, he’s certainly capable of raising funds for this seat.

Former Assemblywoman Young Kim represented 35% of CD-39 voters, with 95,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters residing in AD-65.  However, Kim also holds the unique distinction of having worked for Royce for nearly 20 years before her election to the Assembly.  She had been his Director of Community Relations and Asian Affairs.  In 2014, Kim defeated Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s re-election bid, but in 2016, Quirk-Silva avenged herself by defeating Kim’s re-election bid.  Kim is certainly familiar with what a swing seat campaign entails, with her sheer number of volunteers and staff.  She raised $2 million in each of her two Assembly campaigns.  Kim is currently in the midst of her bid to replace the termed out Nelson to represent the Fourth District on the Board of Supervisors.  If Kim switched to the Congressional race, it would leave La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw the sole Republican candidate facing off against Democrat Joe Kerr, a former long-time firefighters’ union president, for Supervisor (other Democrats running for the seat would presumably be eliminated by the voters in the June primary).

At the moment, there are six Democrats and two independents (though a seventh Democrat is reportedly looking at the seat).  Five of the Democrats have raised over $100,000 (one has hit $400,000), and four of them have self-funded in amounts ranging from $111,000-$2,000,000.  A CD-31 2012 scenario is tougher here than in CD-49 (though not out of the question) with three Republicans, six or seven Democrats, and two independents.  However, if one of the three Republicans drops out, a CD-31 2012 scenario becomes much more likely with that large Democratic Party field.

Board of Equalization

Lost in the Congressional races has been the fact that the Board of Equalization race is now wide open since Harkey will be running for CD-49 rather than seeking re-election.

Former Councilman John F. Kelly (R-Tustin) had pulled papers to run against Harkey.  He won only 11% of the vote when he ran against her in 2014.  A former long-time tobacco shop owner, Kelly does have an odd boost in name ID now, thanks to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.  Former Tobacco Shop Owner Kelly served one term on the Tustin City Council from 1986-1990, having been elected to office at the age of 24 and defeated for re-election at the age of 28.  He also made an ill-fated bid for Congress in 1988 for the seat eventually won by Chris Cox (who was succeeded by John Campbell who was succeeded by Mimi Walters).  No word on if Kelly will continue his campaign, now that Harkey is out.

Sources have stated that Orange County Water District Board Member Denis Bilodeau (R-Orange) is examining whether he will enter the BOE race since Harkey switched to CD-49.  Bilodeau won two elections to the Orange City Council, serving from 2006 to 2014, when he termed out.  He also won five elections to represent Orange, Villa Park, and portions of Tustin on the water board.  Bilodeau is also Shawn Nelson’s Chief of Staff at the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

76th Assembly District

Oceanside Councilman Jerry Kern was running for AD-76 in 2016 until withdrawing when Chavez dropped out of the US Senate race.  Kern is currently running for San Diego County Supervisor in the Fifth District but sources indicate he is preparing to switch back to AD-76 in 2018 since Chavez is now running for CD-49.  Kern had raised $184,000 for AD-76 in 2016 until Chavez’s return forced Kern out of the race.

Strangely, no Democrat has ever run for AD-76 since the implementation of the top two primary.  Chavez has only run against other Republicans for Assembly.

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, Board of Equalization | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Quirk-Silva Denies Supervisorial Run in Response to Our Story: “Breaking News: Quirk-Silva to Run for Supervisor, Husband for Assembly”

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 10, 2018

9:46 PM update: Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva denies our story, tweeting: “A lot of discussion about Congressional Seat 39, and 4th District Supervisor Seat, in OC.I am honored to get so many requests to run for Congress or Supervisor. A blog just posted false information that I am s [sic] candidate for Supervisor. I am running for re-election to

Reacting to this denial, two of our sources continue to insist that Quirk-Silva made a number of phone calls to potential donors and potential endorsers today about a Supervisorial run.

10:19 PM update: AD-65 challenger Alexandria Coronado responded to Quirk-Silva’s tweet: “it’s good 2 know u stand by your terrible gas tax vote, and want another 2 years to vote more – I am going to change that! ” and “Assembly, Congress, Supervisor, or any office you run for – the taxpayers will hold you responsible!

Original story below:

Sharon Quirk-Silva

Sharon Quirk-Silva

Multiple sources report to OC Political that Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) is preparing to launch a bid for Fourth District Supervisor to succeed the termed out Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton), who announced yesterday that he is running for the 39th Congressional District seat held by Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), who announced his retirement unexpectedly on Monday.  Quirk-Silva is entering the Fourth Supervisorial District race after former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) left the race yesterday in order to run for Royce’s seat.  Former Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) also entered the race for Royce’s seat yesterday.

No word yet on whether Quirk-Silva will clear the field of other Democrats running for Fourth District Supervisor: former firefighters’ union president Joe Kerr, La Habra Councilwoman Rose Espinoza, and La Habra School Board Member Cynthia Aguirre.  La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw remains the sole Republican candidate, but rumors abound of other potential Republican candidates.

Fewer (but still multiple) sources also report that Councilman Jesus Silva (D-Fullerton) will run to replace his wife in the 65th Assembly District.  Silva’s council seat expires in 2020, so if he wins the AD-65 swing seat, the Fullerton Council will appoint his replacement, but if he loses the AD-65 race, then he remains on the Council for at least two more years.  Former Orange County Board of Education President Dr. Alexandria Coronado (R-Cypress) is the only Republican running for AD-65.

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, 65th Assembly District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Breaking News: Young Kim Enters CD-39 Race with Royce Endorsement

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 9, 2018

Young Kim

Young Kim

Cross-posted to OC Daily…

Less than 36 hours after Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) unexpectedly announced his retirement after 13 terms in Congress, former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton) has entered the race to succeed Royce and dropped out of the race to succeed termed out Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton).

As OC Political noted this morning in our analysis of potential candidates for CD-39:

Former Assemblywoman Young Kim represented 35% of CD-39 voters, with 95,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters residing in AD-65.  However, Kim also holds the unique distinction of having worked for Royce for nearly 20 years before her election to the Assembly.  She had been his Director of Community Relations and Asian Affairs.  In 2014, Kim defeated Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s re-election bid, but in 2016, Quirk-Silva avenged herself by defeating Kim’s re-election bid.  Kim is certainly familiar with what a swing seat campaign entails, with her sheer number of volunteers and staff.  She raised $2 million in each of her two Assembly campaigns.  Kim is currently in the midst of her bid to replace the termed out Nelson to represent the Fourth District on the Board of Supervisors.  If Kim switched to the Congressional race, it would leave La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw the sole Republican candidate facing off against Democrat Joe Kerr, a former long-time firefighters’ union president, for Supervisor (other Democrats running for the seat would presumably be eliminated by the voters in the June primary).

The switch to Congress was so quick that Kim’s campaign committee does not yet have a Federal Election Commission (FEC) ID number, as seen by the disclaimer at the bottom of her web site:

Paid for by Young Kim for Congress. FEC ID# C00XXXXXX

In endorsing Kim, Royce said:

“We have an opportunity to elect an outstanding community leader to Congress – Young Kim. I can attest to Young’s dedication and abilities because she worked for me for almost 20 years, serving as a key advisor and community liaison. She knows our district, its people and its needs. She is a tireless and dedicated public servant. In Congress, Young will be an effective voice for middle class families and for policies that keep our country secure, grow jobs and increase economic opportunities for the people of our 39th district.”

The question now is: will Kim clear the field of any other Republicans, or will another formidable Republican jump in?  Conventional wisdom would have Republicans coalesce behind one candidate.  However, with the top-two primary, there is a scenario where two Republican candidates could work well.

In CD-31 in 2012, with four Democrats and two Republicans running, the top-two primary allowed Congressman Gary Miller and State Senator Bob Dutton to advance to an all-Republican run-off in a tough swing seat.  In CD-39 in 2018, there are currently six Democrats running.

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Full Text of Spitzer’s Candidacy Announcement for District Attorney

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on July 14, 2017

Here is the full text of the press release that came over the wire Monday from the Todd Spitzer for District Attorney 2018 campaign…


Spitzer pledges to replace the “Rudderless Ship” in the District Attorney’s office, fight crime and serve as a champion for victims’ rights. His campaign begins race with massive spending advantage of $1,261,925 Cash On Hand. New poll indicates voters feel less safe under DA’s watch.

Orange County, CA – July 10, 2017 – Supervisor Todd Spitzer announced his candidacy for Orange County District Attorney challenging Tony Rackauckas. Orange County has seen murderers’ sentences reduced and violent criminals released into our communities early because of the District Attorney’s inept safeguarding of public safety. A former reserve Los Angeles Police Department officer, Supervisor Spitzer served for nearly ten years as an Orange County Deputy District Attorney and Assistant District Attorney handling cases at nearly every level. He has real hands on experience handling thousands of cases including nearly 100 jury trials to verdict.

Todd Spitzer has received numerous commendations and honors for his work such as Orange County Prosecutor of the Year (chosen by his peer line prosecutors), Victims’ Advocacy Lifetime Achievement Award from Crime Survivors, Inc., Victims’ Advocacy Recognition from Parents of Murdered Children, Outstanding Prosecutor by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), Legislator of the Year by Crime Victims United California and Legislator of the Year by California State Sheriffs’ Association.

Spitzer has a track record of utilizing modern tools to fight crime. While in the State Legislature as an Assemblyman he was the Statewide Chairman for Marsy’s Law for California (Prop. 9, Nov. 2008), the most comprehensive Victim’s Rights Constitutional protection in the Nation, and Joint Authored Megan’s Law on the Internet (AB 488, Parra and Spitzer) that created an on-line database for the public to search for registration and residency information for convicted sex offenders.

Spitzer launches his campaign with a significant lead over his opponent, Tony Rackauckas, announcing more than $1,261,925 cash on hand compared to the last filing by Rackauckas showing $44,844 cash on hand.

Supervisor Spitzer stated, “I refuse to stand by as Tony Rackauckas destroys the District Attorney’s office and uses it as his own personal fiefdom for he and his cronies while the public’s safety suffers. I’m proud to announce my campaign for District Attorney and pledge to always uphold the rule of law, put people’s safety first and work tirelessly to make certain justice is served for victims and their families. We must restore faith and trust in our law enforcement and justice system.”

Supervisor Todd Spitzer pledges not to accept any endorsements from current elected officials. “First we have to clean up the corruption in the DA’s office and be fearless in the pursuit of public corruption wherever it exists. That’s why I will not accept endorsements from any current elected official. The DA must be impartial and beholden to no one.” Tony Rackauckas’ own Chief District Attorney Investigator, before he was fired by Rackauckas, alleged that Rackauckas interfered in political corruption investigations to help his political friends. Rackauckas’ history has repeatedly shown that he fires staff who reveal Rackauckas’ misuse of office for his own political and personal gain.

“As a former prosecutor and current Chairman of the Orange County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, I know what it takes to get justice for victims and work with the community to solve crimes and ensure violent felons stay behind bars. But we also must work to stop crime before it starts. As a former high school teacher and School Board Trustee and business owner, I know that solutions to complex crime problems begins by solving critical issues like homelessness, our kids’ broken education system and ensuring that our economy is growing to provide job opportunities for everyone. As Supervisor, I’ve already pioneered policies in our County to help address these issues and make our communities safer. It’s time to focus on rebuilding the DA’s office, including modernizing it by bringing the latest in crime fighting tools to our hard-working prosecutors. “

“Rackauckas has been in office for 20 years. This breeds corruption, complacency and a public failure of leadership. 20 years is long enough. While crime rates rise and the DA’s absence of leadership is causing cases to be botched and murderers to be let free, the real tragedy is that victims and their families are not getting justice. I’m running for District Attorney to be an advocate for every victim that has been let down by Tony Rackauckas. Every community deserves protection from criminals,” Spitzer said.

When weighing whether to run for District Attorney, Todd Spitzer tested in a June 2017 poll if public safety was listed as one of top three concerns. More than 1/4 Orange County voters feel LESS safe than a few years ago. Voters likely feel less safe because in fact, they are.

Under Tony Rackauckas’ failed watch as Orange County District Attorney crime rates have skyrocketed 23 percent in 2015 and there are over three times as many crimes per square mile just in Santa Ana as the rest of California, where shootings alone are up 556% since 2012. Even in cities like Brea and Westminster violent crime is up over 50%, while it spiked over 60% in usually low crime Rancho Santa Margarita.

Spitzer’s Chief Strategist, John Thomas, said, “As Tony Rackauckas approaches over 20 years in office it’s time for a new DA. Someone with the integrity and experience of a top prosecutor but also the understanding to know that we need to stop crime before it starts by focusing on proven and effective prevention methods like after-school activities and job training programs. Todd Spitzer is a battle-tested prosecutor who has the right priorities to restore faith in the DA’s office and get back to the business of fighting crime.”

Thomas continues, “Finally, the voters have a choice to replace Tony Rackauckas who has let down Orange County long enough. We look forward to running an aggressive campaign to hold DA Rackauckas accountable for the misconduct, misdeeds and mistruths that he continues to spread. We are not as cynical about voters as Rackauckas and his handlers. We know people are paying attention to the news and are disappointed that Orange County’s top prosecutor is out of touch and unethical.”

“Laziness, misconduct, abuse of power, failure to report political donations and outside employment, rampant sexual harassment–Rackauckas seems to believe the DA’s office is auditioning for an episode of Animal House or Shark Tank rather than a premier public safety agency.”

“Supervisor Spitzer begins the race for District Attorney with substantial advantages including his lifelong dedication to victims, a proven record on public safety, and a massive war chest to engage the voters. Meanwhile the OC Grand Jury refers to the District Attorney Tony Rackauckas as running the office with a “failure of leadership” and practicing as a “a lazy law firm”. (Orange County Grand Jury, June 2017) The void in leadership has blown up in scandals that continue to implode the District Attorney’s Office threatening the integrity of our justice system and maligning the great work of the employees who want to be proud again of their public agency.”

Supervisor Todd Spitzer has dedicated his life to keeping families safe and was inspired to dedicate his career to public service as an Orange County Supervisor and former California State Assembly Member. A champion for public safety, Supervisor Spitzer is recognized as an expert on security issues, whose reputation as an advocate for victims’ rights is respected nationally.

Supervisor Spitzer Chaired the groundbreaking campaign for Proposition 9, Marsy’s Law, the nation’s most comprehensive Victims’ Bill of Rights, and served as Statewide Co-Chair for Proposition 83, the nation’s toughest sex offender punishment and control law as well as Proposition 69, which requires the collection of DNA samples from all felons. Fighting to protect our community, he joint -authored Megan’s Law on the Internet, the landmark legislation requiring the release of public information related to sex offenders and as a former deputy and assistant district attorney he handled complex criminal matters while managing line prosecutors.

In his current term as Third District Supervisor, he secured Orange County’s first year-round, supportive housing shelter for the homeless, established an Ethics Commission, gained passage of pension reform measures and strengthened public safety oversight by expanding the Office of Independent Review.

Spitzer earned his Bachelor’s degree from UCLA (1982), a Master’s degree in Public Policy from UC Berkeley (1989), and a Law Degree from UC Hastings School of Law (1989). While at Hastings, Spitzer was awarded the George Moscone Fellowship, for the law student dedicating his career to public service.

Spitzer is a former high school teacher and reserve police officer assigned to DUI enforcement and patrol duties. He is a doting father of a son and daughter and a dedicated husband to Judge Jamie Spitzer, Presiding Judge of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.


Posted in 3rd Supervisorial District, Orange County District Attorney's Office | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

During Homeless Crisis, Councilwoman Michele Martinez Charged Taxpayers for European Junket, Trip to Vegas, and $3000 Per Hour Phantom Meetings

Posted by Brenda Higgins on October 28, 2016

Is Michele Martinez traveling again? Maybe she went golfing?

Is Michele Martinez traveling again? Maybe she went golfing?

While the City of Santa Ana was experiencing a “public health and safety homeless crisis,” Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez was charging taxpayers for stays in five-star hotels in London and Milan, a party in Las Vegas, and dubious per diem payments for phantom meetings of the city’s housing authority.

A review of expense reports, travel records, and emails shows a shocking pattern of Michele Martinez living large at the public’s expense, raising questions whether the Councilwoman has violated government travel policies, state disclosure rules or state ethics laws.
This July, as local law enforcement agencies were training judges and courthouse staff how to safely navigate downtown Santa Ana, Councilwoman Michele Martinez was checking in to London’s five-star Mondrian Hotel, rated the third best bar in the world.
$53,340 Trip to London and Milan
Martinez’s three nights in London were followed by three nights in Milan at NH Collection Milano President Hotel. The estimated cost to taxpayers for Martinez’s flights, hotels, and meals was $4,500.
It’s just one of the many perks Martinez has received as Santa Ana’s representative on regional boards and commissions. Organized by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), a multi-governmental agency tasked with solving regional issues, the summer trip to Europe cost taxpayers $53,340.
The European junket appears to have violated SCAG’s own travel policies. According to a May 5, 2016 report from SCAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata, “Per SCAG Travel Policy, foreign travel requires Regional Council approval.” However, a review of meeting minutes shows no evidence that the trip was approved by the Regional Council.
But London and Milan weren’t Martinez’s only taxpayer-funded trips in 2016. As a member of the Metropolitan Water District Board, Councilwoman Michele Martinez arranged two taxpayer-funded junkets, including one to Las Vegas.
$15,551 Trip to Las Vegas
Travel records obtained from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California show Martinez arranged a taxpayer-funded trip for herself and nearly two dozen friends at a $15,551 cost to taxpayers. The previous year, Martinez arranged a trip for 32 people to tour the state water project at a $26,059 cost to taxpayers.
“I am certain the pairs I choose will be good roommates,” Martinez wrote in one email to water agency staff. “The good news is that I know almost everyone attending but one person.”
Martinez micro-managed every detail of the trip – right down to the snacks, which included “M&Ms, Snickers and Cookies.”
Although Martinez found time to pick out snacks on her taxpayer-funded trips, she couldn’t find time to attend the Metropolitan Water District’s meetings.
As Santa Ana’s representative on the regional water board, Michele Martinez skipped 35 meetings, including 14 meetings of the district’s important Finance Committee. Martinez showed up on-time for just a single meeting of the Water Planning and Stewardship meeting, which is responsible for drought planning and conservation. After months of absences and tardiness, Martinez’s colleagues voted to remove her from that Committee after serving for less than a year.
$3,000 Per Hour at Phantom Meetings
Santa Ana City Councilmembers, who are seeking a 700 percent raise next month, earn $125 per council meeting, health benefits, and a $500 monthly car allowance. Yet, Martinez and her colleagues on the city council have also found creative ways to boost their salaries with phantom housing authority meetings.
Michele Martinez and her colleagues have collected an additional $50 in per diem payments from the city’s Housing Authority. Most meetings have lasted less than 2 minutes.  Some meetings lasted less than 30 seconds – providing councilmembers with the equivalent of $3,000 per hour for their work.
This year, the City of Santa Ana’s Housing Authority has met for 15 minutes – not per meeting, that’s the total time for the first 10 meetings of 2016. In the past six years, Michele Martinez has spent 3 hours and 40 minutes participating in Santa Ana Housing Authority meetings. That’s the cumulative total of meetings that Martinez has attended over the past 6 years. 
Less than 4 hours. That’s how much time Martinez has spent on housing in the past 6 years. Since 2011, Martinez has attended 56 Santa Ana Housing Authority meetings that lasted 2 minutes or less. Only 6 meetings lasted more than 5 minutes. Martinez was absent from another 13 meetings. 
At these phantom meetings, councilmembers have ignored the Housing Authority’s charter of finding solutions to the city’s affordable housing crisis. “We need to figure out how we permanently house people,” Martinez told the Orange County Register. Maybe she should have taken time to review her city’s annual housing plan.
  • In 2011, the Santa Ana Housing Authority approved the annual housing plan at a 1-minute-long meeting.
  • In 2012, the Santa Ana Housing Authority approved the annual housing plan at a 1-minute-long meeting.
  • In 2013, the Santa Ana Housing Authority approved the annual housing plan at a 1-minute-long meeting.
  • In 2014, the Santa Ana Housing Authority approved its annual report in low income housing at a 1-minute-long meeting.
  • In 2015, the Santa Ana Housing Authority approved its 5-Year Housing Plan at a 1-minute-long meeting.
  • In 2016, Martinez was absent at the meeting, where the Santa Ana Housing Authority reviewed its annual housing plan.
European junkets. Parties in Vegas. $3,000 per hour for phantom meetings. All billed to the taxpayer. Perhaps Michele Martinez is right about one thing: “We have a priority problem,” she told the Voice of OC

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, Santa Ana | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Lead Changes Galore: CD-46 (Nguyen), AD-68 (Choi), Sup-1 (Martinez), and Central Committee (Munzing)

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 14, 2016

(Top l-r): Bao Nguyen, Steven Choi, Michele Martinez, Mike Munzing (Bottom l-r): Bob Peterson, Harry Sidhu, Andrew Do, Roberta Turbow

CD-46 Candidate Bao Nguyen (D), AD-68 Candidate Steven Choi (R), Sup-1 Candidate Michele Martinez (D), Central Committee Candidate Mike Munzing (R)
CD-46 Candidate Bob Peterson (R), AD-68 Candidate Harry Sidhu (R), Supervisor Andrew Do (R), Central Committee Candidate Roberta Turbow (R)

This is cross-posted to OC Daily.

Yesterday was a crazy day in vote counting saw that saw lead changes in four different races.  It was definitely a good day for mayors, with Bao Nguyen (Garden Grove), Steven Choi (Irvine), and Mike Munzing (Aliso Viejo) each climbing into the last available spot in their races.  Additionally, Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez took first place in her race.  These races largely remain too close to call with an 87,000 ballots still uncounted countywide.

After Friday’s counts, Sheriff’s Commander Bob Peterson (R) was leading Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen (D) by 236 votes for the second spot to advance to the run-off in the 46th Congressional District against former State Senator Lou Correa (D).  After yesterday’s counts, Nguyen surged forward by 814 votes and now leads Peterson by 578 votes for the right to challenge Correa’s march to Congress.



On Friday, former Anaheim Councilman Harry Sidhu (R) was leading Irvine Mayor Steven Choi (R) by 608 votes for the second spot to advance to the run-off (and victory in the general election) in the 68th Assembly District against Attorney Sean Jay Panahi (D).  After yesterday’s results, Choi swung 640 votes and now leads Sidhu by 32 votes for the run-off slot.  With results this close, both campaigns are gearing up with attorneys and ballot watch teams.


Friday’s results showed Supervisor Andrew Do (R) with an 836-vote lead over Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez (D) in his bid for a full four-year term after winning last year’s special election for a two-year term.  With a massive 1,689-vote swing, Martinez now leads Do by 853 votes.  Who finishes first is mostly about perception by donors, parties, volunteers, etc., as Do and Martinez will face each other in the November run-off regardless of which is first or second, as Garden Grove Councilman Phat Bui (R) is a distant third.


Finally, in the forgotten close race for Republican Central Committee in the 73rd District, Friday’s numbers had Small Business Owner Roberta Turbow ahead of Aliso Viejo Mayor Mike Munzing by 234 votes for the sixth and final spot on the Central Committee from AD-73. A 343-vote swing now has Munzing leading Turbow by 109 votes.


With 87,000 uncounted ballots left in Orange County, there’s still a whole lot of counting left and a whole lot of nail-biting.

(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: I am not related to Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen.  The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 46th Congressional District, 68th Assembly District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Democrats Cast More OC Primary Election Votes Than Republicans for First Time Ever

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 8, 2016

Republican Presidential Nominee
Donald Trump

This is cross-posted to OC Daily.

In numbers that should scare Republicans across Orange County (and probably California, and maybe the United States), for the first time ever, more Orange County Democrats cast primary election ballots than Orange County Republicans did. Even in 2012, when Mitt Romney had sewn up the presidential nomination, more Republicans cast primary election votes than did in 2016. Even in the 2008 battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Democrats could not surpass Republicans in primary election ballots cast.

Party 2008 2012 2016
Democrat 317,859 (67.8%) 139,316 (27.5%) 231,638 (49.5%)
Republican 373,587 (52.2%) 234,396 (34.5%) 205,988 (36.9%)

The 2012 general election was a bloodbath for Republicans:

  • Democrats captured 2 Assembly seats from Republicans.
  • Democrats captured 3 Senate seats from Republicans.
  • Romney beat Obama by just 6.3% in Orange County.

Gerrymandered districts likely saved Republicans in 2008.  The 2016 elections will be conducted under the same district lines that were first contested in 2012.

2016 threatens to be worse than 2012.  Nowhere in Orange County is that more evident than in AD-65.  Here is how Assemblyman Chris Norby did against challenger Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva in the 2012 primary:

Vote Count Percentage
CHRIS NORBY (REP) 29,917 58.8%

Here is how Assemblywoman Young Kim did against challenger ex-Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva last night:

Vote Count Percentage
YOUNG KIM (REP) 25,575 47.0%

Norby led Quirk-Silva by 17.6% in the 2012 primary before losing to her in the general election by a 52%-48% margin.  Kim is behind in the 2016 primary by an even larger margin than Norby lost in the 2012 general.  Republicans will need to marshal massive financial and human resources in order to save the AD-65 seat.

Things look even bleaker in a swing seat that neighbors Orange County, where 66th District Assemblyman David Hadley is at 45.6% and trails ex-Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi:

Vote Count Percentage
AL MURATSUCHI (DEM) 36,832 48.3%
DAVID HADLEY (REP) 34,773 45.6%
MIKE MADRIGAL (DEM) 4,659 6.1%

The tri-county SD-29 is a good news, bad news situation for Republicans:

Vote Count Percentage
LING LING CHANG (REP) 52,131 44.8%
JOSH NEWMAN (DEM) 34,013 29.2%
SUKHEE KANG (DEM) 30,280 26.0%

As of the last reporting period ending May 21, Chang had $369,770 cash on hand, Newman had $21,835 cash on hand, and Kang had $173,086 cash on hand.  The good news is that Chang now faces a weaker, underfunded opponent for a key Senate target seat.  The bad news is Chang only got 44.8% of the vote in the primary.

Other scary numbers for Republican incumbents in Orange County last night:

  • Assemblyman Travis Allen has just 50.9% of the vote.
Vote Count Percentage
TRAVIS ALLEN (REP) 35,062 50.9%
NAM PHAM (DEM) 13,723 19.9%
  • Supervisor Andrew Do (R) is headed to a run-off with Michele Martinez (D), who he beat by 0.3% or 200 votes.
Vote Count Percentage
ANDREW DO 20,730 35.8%
PHAT BUI 11,026 19.1%
STEVE ROCCO 5,582 9.6%
  • Assemblyman Matthew Harper joins Assemblywoman Young Kim (who we discussed above) as the only two incumbents in Orange County who were not in first place.
Vote Count Percentage
KARINA ONOFRE (DEM) 33,570 42.5%
MATTHEW HARPER (REP) 30,614 38.7%
  • Orange County Board of Education President Robert Hammond (R) is breathing a sigh of relief that County Board of Education races are winner-take-all in June with no runoff, for he beat Beckie Gomez (D) by 1.9% or 961 votes:
Vote Count Percentage
ROBERT M. HAMMOND 21,100 42.4%
PAUL ZIVE 8,479 17.1%

There’s also the implications of California’s U.S. Senate race:

Vote Count Percentage
KAMALA D. HARRIS (DEM) 2,044,347 40.4%
LORETTA L. SANCHEZ (DEM) 939,107 18.5%
DUF SUNDHEIM (REP) 405,730 8.0%

With the top Republican vote-getter for U.S. Senate, Duf Sundheim, finishing a distant third, that means for the first time in California history, the November ballot for U.S. Senate will not include a Republican. Instead due to the top-two primary, only two Democrats will be on the U.S. Senate ballot in California.

Republicans face a tall order this fall to overcome the Democratic surge.  Republicans will have to unify behind Republican candidates.  The Republican Party must organize volunteers and raise significant funds.  The OC GOP must strengthen its financial and human infrastructure in order to defeat Democrats.  Otherwise, 2016 will be a bleak year indeed.

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 29th Senate District, 65th Assembly District, 72nd Assembly District, 74th Assembly District, California, Orange County Board of Education | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

First Supervisorial District: Do Doubles Martinez’s Fundraising, Quintuples Bui’s Fundraising

Posted by Chris Nguyen on May 2, 2016

Andrew Do, Michele Martinez, Steve Rocco, and Phat Bui

Supervisor Andrew Do (R-Westminster), Councilwoman Michele Martinez (D-Santa Ana), Steve Rocco (NPP-Santa Ana), and Councilman Phat Bui (R-Garden Grove)

In the First Supervisorial District race, Supervisor Andrew Do (R-Westminster) raised $105,412, more than all of his opponents combined.  Do raised more than double the $48,186 raised by Councilwoman Michele Martinez (D-Santa Ana) and quintuple the $20,832 raised by Councilman Phat Bui (R-Garden Grove).  Former Orange Unified School District Trustee Steve Rocco (NPP-Santa Ana) signed the Form 470 declaring he would not raise or spend more than $2,000 beyond the candidate filing fee.

Do also outspent all of his opponents combined, spending $167,427, about double Bui’s spending of $84,719 and nearly ten times the $17,334 that Martinez spent.

Do also has double the cash-on-hand of all his opponents combined, with $101,971, which is more than triple Martinez’s $30,853, and more than seven times Bui’s $13,113.

Do loaned his campaign the most with $107,000, but he’s only touched about $5,000 of that.  Bui loaned his campaign $77,000, spending 91% of that (nearly $64,000).  Martinez loaned her campaign nothing.

Martinez could transfer money from her City Council account, but that was only $8.16.  Bui’s City Council campaign finance reports are unreadable.  Rocco has never had a campaign account open for any office he has ever run for.

For visual learners:

Candidate 12/31/15
Cash Balance
Loans Expenditures Cash on Hand
Do $113,786 $105,412 $107,000 $167,427 $101,971
Martinez $0 $48,186 $0 $17,334 $30,853
Bui $0 $20,832 $77,000 $84,719 $13,113
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »