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AD-73: Mayor Sachs Completes Filing to Challenge Assemblyman Brough

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 10, 2018

Mayor Ed Sachs (R-Mission Viejo)

Mayor Ed Sachs
(R-Mission Viejo)

After pulling papers on Tuesday, Mayor Ed Sachs (R-Mission Viejo) has completed filing to challenge the re-election bid of Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) in the 73rd District.  The only other candidate to complete filing for AD-73 was Business Services Director Scott Rhinehart (D-Mission Viejo).

On the one hand, Mission Viejo is the largest of the 8 cities in AD-73.  Despite that, on the other hand, Mission Viejo has only 1/5 of AD-73’s voters.

In 2014, Assembly Republican Nominee Brough had endorsed Sachs’ bid for City Council.  In 2016, Councilman Sachs had endorsed Assemblyman Brough’s bid for re-election.

As of the last campaign finance reporting period, Brough had over $200,000 cash-on-hand for his re-election bid.  Currently Chairman of the Orange County Fire Authority, Sachs has not yet opened a campaign account for his 2018 Council re-election bid nor for his bid for AD-73 against Brough.

However, Sachs is a retired corporate executive who largely self-funded his own $25,000 campaign for City Council in 2014.  Specifically, he is the former President of the Pioneer Electronics USA, the American division of the massive Japanese multinational conglomerate.  Unfortunately, the Form 700’s ranges are quite broad, so Sachs’s Form 700 reports an enormous range for his possible stock holdings, somewhere between $114,000-$1.12 million.

With two Republicans and one Democrat running, this race will largely resolve itself in the primary election, with Democrat Rhinehart advancing to the general election with one of the Republicans, either Assemblyman Brough or Mayor Sachs.

AD-73 is literally the safest Republican Assembly seat in the entire state, with Republicans holding a 17% registration advantage over Democrats.

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

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 26, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Schmitt opposes marijuana legalization.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maryott and Schmitt are seeking signatures.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chang says she has.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8:26 PM: Meeting adjourned.

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

AD-72 Fundraising: Diep $455K, Lowenthal $313K, Haskin $13K

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 1, 2018

72nd Assembly District Candidates: Tyler Diep (R-Westminster), Greg Haskin (R-Fountain Valley), Josh Lowenthal (D-Huntington Beach)

72nd Assembly District Candidates:
Tyler Diep (R-Westminster), Greg Haskin (R-Fountain Valley), and Josh Lowenthal (D-Huntington Beach)

With Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) leaving the Legislature to run for Governor, Democrats are making a play for the 72nd Assembly District seat that Allen is vacating.  Campaign finance reports for all candidates were released yesterday for the period ending December 31, 2017.  Josh Lowenthal (D-Huntington Beach), son of Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) and former Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), raised $313,247 in three months since entering the race in October.

Vice Mayor Tyler Diep (R-Westminster) has ample resources to battle Lowenthal and defend the seat for Republicans, as Diep brought in $455,140 in spendable dollars for this Assembly account in five months since entering the race in July, raising $206,223 and transferring $248,917 from his City Council account.  However, one of Diep’s challenges will be determining how much to expend to battle Pepsi Government Affairs Senior Director Greg Haskin (R-Fountain Valley), which would drain precious campaign dollars that Diep could otherwise save for his campaign to keep the seat in Republican hands against the Lowenthal bid to seize the seat for Democrats.

A former Executive Director of the Orange County Republican Party and District Director to former Congressman Chris Cox (R-Newport Beach), Haskin raised $12,770 in two months since entering the race in mid-November.  Haskin also loaned his campaign $100,000.  OC Political has long separated $100,000 loans from contributions and transfers, with this five-year-old article giving our most comprehensive explanation of why candidates use $100,000 loans to inflate campaign finance figures, and OC Political has even been quoted by the San Gabriel Valley Tribune regarding these loans.

Diep spent $18,848 with a $350 bill to be paid, leaving him with $435,942 cash-on-hand.  Lowenthal spent $41,204 with two bills to be paid totaling $6,900, leaving him with $265,143 cash-on-hand.  Haskin spent $12,324 with a $100,000 loan, leaving him with $446 cash-on-hand.  If we credit his loan to his cash-on-hand, Haskin’s $100,446 would still be less than half of Lowenthal’s cash-on-hand and less than a quarter of Diep’s cash-on-hand.  If we don’t credit the loan, Diep has 977 times Haskin’s cash-on-hand while Lowenthal has 594 times Haskin’s cash-on-hand.

Lowenthal, the ex-brother-in-law of former Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) and the brother of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Daniel Lowenthal, is the President of FreeConferenceCall.com.  FreeConferenceCall.com is a prolific service: I myself was on a conference call yesterday that used a FreeConferenceCall.com number and am scheduled to be on a conference call today also using a FreeConferenceCall.com.  These two conference calls were both set up by other people, both calls only have Republican participants, and the two calls have completely different participants other than me.

There is a 36% overlap between CD-47 and AD-72, with 85,000 of AD-72’s 239,000 voters living in the overlapping area.  With Congressman Alan Lowenthal on the ballot at the same time as Josh Lowenthal’s Assembly candidacy, expect an unprecedented amount of re-election mail and other expenditures for Congressman Lowenthal in an effort to boost his son’s name ID.  Congressman Lowenthal has already given the maximum contribution to his son’s campaign under law, and the Congressman’s campaign has also given the maximum contribution to his son’s campaign.  By spending a significant amount of his Congressional campaign money in the overlap with the Assembly District, Congressman Lowenthal has the ability to use an unclosable loophole to help his son (you can’t ban the man from running for re-election to block him from helping his son since they have the same last name).

Not to be forgotten is Republicans hold only a 4.5% registration advantage over Democrats in AD-72.  Diep’s cross-over ability in attracting votes from Vietnamese Democrats would help buffer that small registration advantage.  In addition to his name ID from the Westminster City Council, Diep is also a prolific presence on Vietnamese language television as an on-air television personality.

Diep has built his own name ID as a City Councilman and through his work on Vietnamese language television.  Lowenthal has built-in name ID, courtesy of his father, the sitting Congressman running for re-election.  Haskin will need to spend significant sums of money to build his own name ID in the face of his two better-known opponents.

Of Haskin’s $12,770, he only raised 9% from his district: a single $1,200 contribution from his wife.  In fact, including his wife’s contribution, he only raised 22% from Orange County ($2,850) donors.  More starkly, 60% of Haskin’s fundraising ($7,600) has actually come from out-of-state donors.  While OC Political rarely notes the geographical origins on contributions, when a candidate only has 12 donors, it makes it rather easy to do a geographic analysis.

A closer look at Lowenthal’s campaign contributions reveals this frightening fact for Republicans: Lowenthal hasn’t raised any union money yet.

For visual learners:

Candidate Contributions Transfers Loans Unpaid
Expenditures Cash on Hand
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills
COH Minus
Unpaid Bills and Loans
Tyler Diep (R) $206,223 $248,917 $0 $350 $18,848 $436,292 $435,942 $435,942
Josh Lowenthal (D) $313,247 $0 $0 $6,900 $41,204 $272,043 $265,143 $265,143
Greg Haskin (R) $12,770 $0 $100,000 $0 $12,324 $100,446 $100,446 $446
Notes: Figures may be off by one dollar due to rounding.


Posted in 72nd Assembly District, Westminster | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fountain Valley’s McCurdy Becomes 4th OC Councilman to Resign in 4 Months

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 15, 2018

Mark McCurdy, Josh Wilson, Steve Hwangbo, Jerry Slusiewicz

Recently resigned City Councilmen Mark McCurdy (R-Fountain Valley), Josh Wilson (R-Los Alamitos), Steve Hwangbo (R-La Palma), and Jerry Slusiewicz (R-Laguna Niguel)

In a continuing exodus of Orange County’s City Councilmen, Mark McCurdy (R-Fountain Valley) resigned this afternoon, becoming OC’s fourth City Councilman to resign in as many months.  Josh Wilson (R-Los Alamitos) announced his resignation on October 30, Steve Hwangbo (R-La Palma) resigned on November 30, and Jerry Slusiewicz (R-Laguna Niguel) announced his resignation on December 7.

Running a few months ahead of this group of resignations, Bert Hack (D-Laguna Woods) resigned on May 23 after suffering a stroke, and the Laguna Woods City Council appointed Joe Rainey (R-Laguna Woods) to fill the remainder of his term, which expires in November.  Hack had served on the City Council since the founding of Laguna Woods in 1999.   Additionally, voters recalled Andrew Hamilton (R-Lake Forest) on January 2 and elected Tom Cagley (R-Lake Forest) to fill the remainder of his term, which expires in November.  Hamilton had been first elected to the Lake Forest City Council in 2014.

Today: Mark McCurdy of Fountain Valley

In an email released by the City, McCurdy cited a new job outside of the area, writing:

“At this time, I find it necessary to secure employment outside the area, and having no other option, to effective immediately, step down from my position serving on the City Council. It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Fountain Valley and, for that I will always be grateful.”

Just six weeks ago, McCurdy had been passed over for Mayor by his Council colleagues despite the Fountain Valley City Council’s long tradition of seniority dictating that it was McCurdy’s turn to be Mayor; he had similarly been passed over for Mayor Pro Tem the year before.   McCurdy had previously served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2012 and Mayor in 2013.  First elected to the Fountain Valley City Council in 2010, McCurdy had been the top vote-getter in 2014 (which broke his tie in seniority with Councilman Michael Vo, who became Mayor six weeks ago).

The Fountain Valley City Council will decide whether to appoint a replacement Councilmember or hold a special election to fill the remainder of McCurdy’s term, which expires in November.

October 2017: Josh Wilson of Los Alamitos

In October, Wilson resigned from the Los Alamitos City Council citing a new job as a credit union executive in Montana.  Wilson had been first elected to the Council just 11 months earlier when he had been the top vote-getter, surpassing two incumbents and unseating Councilman Dean Grose.  In a statement released by the City, Wilson said:

“Reaching the decision to leave Los Alamitos was difficult. I am sincerely appreciative of the community’s support and I am proud of my service to the city. I have the utmost confidence that Los Alamitos will continue to thrive under the leadership of the City Council and the dedication of the city staff.”

The Los Alamitos City Council appointed Mark Chirco (NPP-Los Alamitos) in December to replace Wilson.  Chirco will serve until the November election, when voters will elect a replacement to serve the remainder of Wilson’s term, which expires in 2020.

November 2017: Steve Hwangbo of La Palma

First elected in 2010, Hwangbo was the top vote-getter in his 2014 re-election to the La Palma City Council.  A rumored Republican candidate for the 65th Assembly District to challenge Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton), Mayor Pro Tem Hwangbo instead resigned from the City Council in November exactly one year to the day before term limits would have ended his Council service.  Hwangbo cited “personal reasons” according to a City press release.  He had been Mayor in 2013 and had been widely expected to become Mayor in 2018.  In an email to the Orange County Register, Hwango wrote:

“It was truly an honor and privilege to represent and serve fellow La Palma citizens for last seven years.”

The La Palma City Council appointed Kathy Flachmeier (NPP-La Palma) two weeks ago to replace Hwangbo.  She will be sworn into office tomorrow and will serve the remainder of Hwangbo’s term, which expires in November.

December 2017: Jerry Slusiewicz of Laguna Niguel

First elected to the Council in 2012, Slusiewicz had just been re-elected in 2016.  This year, Mayor Slusiewicz had challenged the legitimacy of a $410,000 contract overrun while he himself was accused of abusing his power as Mayor of Laguna Niguel to intimidate City staff and residents.  Consequently, the City Council threatened to remove Slusiewicz as Mayor.  Instead, he stepped down as Mayor in August but planned to remain on the Council.  However, in December, Slusiewicz resigned from the Laguna Niguel City Council after a bizarre incident in which his office window was damaged by an unknown object, possibly a bullet.  In a statement released by the City, Slusiewicz said:

“Serving the citizens of Laguna Niguel has always been a tremendous privilege and I am grateful to the taxpayers who twice elected me as their advocate. Yet my greatest commitment has always has been to my family and my highest honor serving as a husband and a father. Their safety is my top priority, and this has shaken us to the core. Considering the events of the last 48 hours, we have decided as a family that it would be unwise for me to remain on the City Council.”

Two weeks after Slusiewicz’s resignation, the Laguna Niguel City Council appointed former Mayor and current Orange County Board of Education Trustee Linda Lindholm (R-Laguna Niguel) to fill Slusiewicz’s seat until the November election, when voters will elect a replacement to serve the remainder of Slusiewicz’s term, which expires in 2020.  Planning to retire from public office by the end of 2018, Lindholm has already stated she will not be a candidate for either the Council seat or her Board of Education seat.

Posted in 65th Assembly District, Fountain Valley, La Palma, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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: Eight Republicans Cross Aisle to Vote for Cap-and-Trade, Quirk-Silva Crosses Aisle to Vote Against Cap-and-Trade

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 17, 2017

California State CapitolTonight, the State Legislature passed AB 398, the legislation extending cap-and-trade, passed the Senate 28-12 and the Assembly 55-22. The bill required 27 votes in the Senate and 54 votes in the Assembly.

Governor Jerry Brown will definitely sign the bill, considering his active efforts to lobby for cap-and-trade, his rare testimony in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee in favor of cap-and-trade, and his ebullient press conference tonight celebrating cap-and-trade’s passage.

All 27 Senate Democrats voted for cap-and-trade. 48 out of 54 Assembly Democrats voted for it. Eight Republicans in the Legislature voted for cap-and-trade: one Senator and seven Assemblymembers.

Most of the Orange County legislative delegation voted along party lines, with Republicans voting against cap-and-trade and Democrats voting for it.  The sole exception was Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) who crossed the aisle to join the Republicans in voting against cap-and-trade.

Here are the eight Republicans who joined with most of the Democrats to vote for cap-and-trade:



Posted in 65th Assembly District, California, State Assembly, State Senate | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

AD 72: Mayor Pro Tem Diep Becomes Early Frontrunner in Race to Replace Assemblyman Allen

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 11, 2017

Mayor Pro Tem Tyler Diep (R-Westminster)

Mayor Pro Tem Tyler Diep (R-Westminster)

Cross-posted to OC Daily

As reported by OC Daily in English and Viet Bao in Vietnamese, Westminster Mayor Pro Tem Tyler Diep has officially thrown his hat in the ring for the 72nd Assembly District, finally confirming rumors that had swirled since mid-June.  The seat is being vacated by Assemblyman Travis Allen, who is running for Governor.

Diep comes out of the gate wielding a $260,000 City Council warchest that he can easily transfer to his Assembly race.  Diep also wields the most useful endorsement for this seat: the incumbent, Travis Allen.  The endorsement of the current occupant of the seat being sought is always uniquely helpful in a campaign, but Allen’s endorsement has an extra degree of usefulness in 2018 due to his increased name ID from his bid for Governor.

The two dominant population centers of AD-72 are Little Saigon and Huntington Beach.  In these two areas, Diep has locked up the endorsements of nearly anyone who could run against him.  He has sought to not only clear the field but win the support of the field.  It is difficult to launch a bid against someone when you have already endorsed them.

Diep quickly rounded up the endorsements of all three rumored candidates from Huntington Beach: Councilmembers Barbara Delgleize, Mike Posey, and Patrick Brenden.  (Posey is so popular that he was rumored for AD-72 despite being a resident of AD-74.)

Diep has locked down the endorsements of nearly every Vietnamese-American elected official in AD-72: Westminster Mayor Tri Ta, Westminster Councilwoman Kimberly Ho, Fountain Valley Mayor Pro Tem Michael Vo, Garden Grove School Board Members Dina Nguyen and Lan Quoc Nguyen, and Westminster School Board Members Frances Nguyen and Khanh Nguyen.  (In fact, Diep has the endorsement of every Vietnamese-American school board member in AD-72.)

The only other Republican Vietnamese-American City Councilmember in AD-72 (or actually, in all of Orange County) is Phat Bui of Garden Grove.  However, Bui was so badly bloodied in the First Supervisorial District race last year in which he came in third behind Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez and Supervisor Andrew Do that an AD-72 bid by Bui would be quixotic.  The Democrats’ sole Vietnamese-American City Councilmember is Thu-Ha Nguyen, who was just elected last year, but the AD-72 seat will remain in Republican hands and Councilwoman Nguyen occupies a small district seat since Garden Grove switched to by-district elections last year, so her name ID is confined to a small portion of Garden Grove.

At this point, it is difficult to see any viable opponent to Diep since virtually any viable candidate for AD-72 has endorsed Diep.

In my conversations with other people about the Diep candidacy before he officially announced, I commented that Diep appeared to be borrowing a page from the Mimi Walters strategy, and his official announcement bears that out.  In June 2013, when Congressman John Campbell announced that he would not seek re-election in 2014, Walters came barreling out of the gate with a large warchest and a slew of endorsements that included nearly every potential opponent.  The strategy worked well for Walters who won her seat and worked to help elect so many other Republicans that she was quickly elected by freshmen Members of Congress to serve as their representative in the House Republican leadership after the 2014 election and then again as the sophomore representative after the 2016 election.

And, yes, Walters has endorsed Diep.

Here’s the full text of the Diep’s announcement:

Councilman Tyler Diep Launches Campaign for 72nd Assembly District
Diep Enters Race with Significant Momentum: $260k COH & Key Endorsement

(Westminster, CA) – Westminster Councilman Tyler Diep announced today that he is running for State Assembly.

The announcement comes after 72nd District Assemblyman Travis Allen opted to vacate the seat in 2018 to run for Governor. Allen has endorsed Diep’s campaign to succeed him in the Assembly.

“Tyler is the right person to represent us in the State Assembly,” said Assemblyman Allen. “He is a dedicated public servant and has a proven record of fighting higher taxes and job killing regulations.”

Councilman Diep will begin the campaign with significant campaign resources – he will transfer approximately $260,000 from his council campaign account to his assembly race.

“I am passionate about public service, my community and fighting to make Orange County a better place to raise a family and start a business,” said Diep. “I look forward to taking my experience in Orange County to Sacramento and between now and election day I’ll work hard to earn the vote of every neighborhood in the 72nd district.”

The 72nd District includes all of Westminster, Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, a portion of Huntington Beach and the unincorporated county island of Midway City.

Axiom Strategies will serve as general consultants for Diep’s campaign, John Bovee of Capital Development Strategies will assist Diep with fundraising, and Lysa Ray will serve as his treasurer.

Diep was first elected to the Westminster City Council in 2008.  He has been a strong taxpayer advocate, is committed to job creation and supporting small businesses by keeping taxes low, and has prioritized hiring more police officers and road repair while on the city council.  He also serves as Director of the Midway City Sanitary District and works for the State Board of Equalization where he helps small businesses navigate through the bureaucracy of the IRS and Franchise Tax Board.

To learn more about Diep and his campaign, please visit: www.TylerDiep.com


(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: I am not related to Garden Grove Councilwoman Thu-Ha Nguyen, Garden Grove School Board Member Dina Nguyen, Garden Grove School Board Member Lan Quoc Nguyen, Westminster School Board Member Frances Nguyen, or Westminster School Board Member Khanh Nguyen.  The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

Posted in 72nd Assembly District, Westminster | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Live from OC GOP Central Committee on Efforts to Stop the Car Tax

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 19, 2017

wpid-ocgop-logo-1_400x400.jpgWe are live from the OC GOP Central Committee, where the committee is considering a resolution of support for Assemblyman Travis Allen’s effort to repeal the gas tax via his plan to qualify a statewide ballot measure to repeal SB 1 in the next statewide general election (in November 2018). After the Attorney General issues the title and summary of the proposed measure, Allen will need the signatures of 365,880 California voters to put the measure on the ballot. Upon reaching the ballot, the measure needs a simple majority of voters to pass.

Tonight, however, to get the resolution of support for the proposed ballot measure, Allen needs 2/3 of the Central Committee members to vote in favor of the resolution.

Before that, general Central Committee business must be completed.

OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker gives opening remarks.

RNC Western Regional Political Director Alexis Valdez-Darnell explains her role, the RNC’s efforts in Orange County, and what they can do to help the OC GOP.

Chairman Whitaker recognizes each of the local elected officials present.

OC GOP Secretary Peggy Huang recognized the OC GOP Volunteer of the Month for April: longtime activist Joyce Van Schaack, who also received certificates from Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, the office of Assemblyman Bill Brough, the office of Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates, the office of Board of Equalization Chair Diane Harkey, the office of Assessor Claude Parrish, the Laguna Niguel Republican Women Federated, the Orange County Federation of Republican Women, and OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker, joined by his father, former LA GOP 41st Assembly District Chairman Fred Whitaker, Sr.

OC GOP Secretary Peggy Huang recognized the OC GOP Volunteer of the Month for May: college student Thea Dunlevie, who also received certificates from Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, the office of Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates, the office of Assemblyman Bill Brough, the office of Congressman Darrell Issa, the office of Board of Equalization Chair Diane Harkey, the NextGen Republicans, and OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker.

Chairman Whitaker discusses the work of First Vice Chairman John Warner for Saturday’s Flag Day dinner, as Warner is out ill.

Second Vice Chairman TJ Fuentes, Treasurer Erik Weigand, and Assistant Treasurer Laurie Davies 

Sergeant-at-Arms Tim Whitacre and Parliamentarian Kermit Marsh had no report.

Assemblyman Allen speaks in favor of the urgency. He describes the measure’s provisions repealing the gas tax and car tax.

Chairman Whitaker speaks against the urgency. He states that Carl DeMaio, who is leading the recall effort against Senator Josh Newman, is not yet on board with this measure because DeMaio may be drafting another one.

Committee Member Mike Munzing asks if it is possible to endorse Allen’s now and then endorse the other if it materializes.

Chairman Whitaker states it is possible but not advisable.

Committee Treasurer Erik Weigand asks if a special meeting is possible.

Parliamentarian Marsh express concern about the ability to get quorum.

Committee Member Taylor Strand asks if a special meeting would be timely to meet Assemblyman Allen’s measure deadlines.

Parliamentarian Marsh states it is possible to call an electronic meeting.

Chairman Whitaker suggests July 10 or July 12 for a special meeting.

Committee Member Baron Night asks about the timeline for the measure.

Allen explains that title and summary will be released in early July and signatures due in early December.

Allen states the special meeting would be fine for endorsement but he requests the resolution of support tonight.

Because Whitaker is the only speaker in opposition to declaring an urgency regarding the repeal of the gas tax and car tax, Allen is the only speaker in favor allowed to speak despite others wanting to speak in favor.

Committee Member Deborah Pauly asks about getting quorum at a special meeting.

Parliamentarian Kermit Marsh notes that quorum is easy to attain because Central Committee members can appoint and remove alternates at will.

Committee Member Anthony Kuo asks if the Central Committee action will affect signature gathering.

Allen explains that the endorsement would be helpful in getting donations and volunteers for the ballot measure signature gathering effort.

Committee Member Jennifer Beall asks if any other measure has actually been filed. She notes Allen is a member of the OC legislative delegation and therefore, a member of the Central Committee.

Chairman Whitaker is unsure.

Allen says no other proposed measure has been filed.

Committee Member John W. Briscoe asks if it would be possible to pass the resolution now and the endorsement in July.

Chairman Whitaker says it would be possible.

Committee Member Jennifer Beall asks about resolutions of support and opposition in the past two months on various recalls.

Chairman Whitaker states they were general resolutions of support, not endorsements.

The vote is 31 in favor of declaring an urgency and 19 against declaring an urgency. The urgency fails to achieve 2/3. With 50 people voting, 34 votes in favor were needed to declare an urgency. Consequently, the resolution will not be considered tonight.

The committee goes to club reports.

The committee adjourns at 8:48 PM.

Posted in 72nd Assembly District, California, Orange County, Republican Central Committee | 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 »

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 »