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Are LAUSD Teachers Underpaid, or Does it Cost Too Much to Live in California?

Posted by Craig P Alexander on January 17, 2019

This is a re-post of an article by Ed Ring (former President of California Policy Center) from CPC’s web site.  Here is a link to the original article.  Given the teachers’ strike at Los Angeles Unified School District – this article is very insightful and timely:

In California, public sector unions pretty much run the state government. Government unions collect and spend over $800 million per year in California. There is no special interest in California both willing and able to mount a sustained challenge to public sector union power. They simply have too much money, too many people on their payroll, too many politicians they can make or break, and too much support from a biased and naive media.

The teachers strike in Los Angeles Unified School District cannot be fully appreciated outside of this overall context: Public sector unions are the most powerful political actor in California, at the state level, in the counties and cities, and on most school boards, certainly including the Los Angeles Unified School District. With all this control and influence, have these unions created the conditions that feed their current grievances?

The grievances leading the United Teachers of Los Angeles to strike center around salary, class sizes, and charter schools. But when the cost of benefits are taken into account, it is hard to argue that LAUSD teachers are underpaid.

According to the Los Angeles County Office of Education, the median salary of a LAUSD teacher is $75,000, but that’s just base pay. A statement by LAUSD in response to a 2014 report on LAUSD salaries challenged the $75,000 figure, claiming it was only around $70,000. They then acknowledged, however, that the district paid $16,432 for each employee’s healthcare in 2013-14, and paid 13.92 percent of each teachers salary to cover pension contributions, workers comp, and Medicare. That came up to $96,176 per year.

The Cost of Benefits is Breaking Education Budgets

This average total pay of nearly $100K per year back in 2013-14 is certainly higher today – even if salaries were not raised, payments for retirement benefits have grown. For their 35,000 employees, LAUSD now carries an unfunded pension liability of $6.8 billion, and their OBEB unfunded liability (OPEB stands for “other post employment benefits,” primarily retirement health insurance) has now reached a staggering $14.9 billion. CalSTRS, the pension system that collects and funds pension benefits for most LAUSD employees, receives funds directly from the state that, in a complete accounting, need to also count towards their total compensation. And CalSTRS, as of June 30, 2017 (the next update, through 6/30/2018, will be available May 2019), was only 62 percent fundedSixty-two percent!

The reason to belabor these unfunded retirement benefits is to make it very clear: LAUSD paying an amount equivalent to 13.92 percent of each employees salary into the pension funds isn’t enough. What LAUSD teachers have been promised in terms of retirement pensions and health insurance benefits requires pre-funding far in excess of 13.92 percent. To accurately estimate how much they really make, you have to add the true amount necessary to pay for these pensions and OPEB. This real total compensation average is well over $100K per year.

To put LAUSD teacher compensation in even more accurate context, consider how many days per year they actually work. This isn’t to dispute or disparage the long hours many (but not all) teachers put in. A conscientious teacher’s work day doesn’t begin when the students arrive in the classroom, or end when they leave. They prepare lesson plans and grade homework, and many stay after regular school hours to assist individual students or coordinate extracurricular activities. But teachers working for LAUSD only work 182 days per year. The average private sector professional, who also tends to put in long hours, assuming four weeks of either vacation or holidays, works 240 days per year – 32 percent more. The value of all this time off is incalculable, but simply normalizing pay for a 182 day year to a 240 day year yields an average annual pay of not $100K, but $132K. Taking into account the true cost of pensions and retirement healthcare benefits, much more than $132K.

This is what the LAUSD teachers union considers inadequate. If that figure appears concocted, just become an independent contractor. Suddenly the value of employer paid benefits becomes real, because you have to pay for them yourself.

California’s Ridiculously High Cost-of-Living

If a base salary of over $70,000 per year, plus benefits (far more time off each year, pensions far better than Social Security, and excellent health insurance) worth nearly as much, isn’t enough for someone to financially survive in Los Angeles, maybe the union should examine the role it played, along with other public sector unions, in raising the cost-of-living in California.

Where was the California Teachers Association when restrictive laws such as CEQAAB 32SB 375 were passed, making housing unaffordable by restricting supply? What was the California Teachers Association stance on health coverage for undocumented immigrants, or sanctuary state laws? What did they expect, if laws were passed to make California a magnet for the world’s poor? Don’t they see the connection between 2.6 million undocumented immigrants living in California, and a housing shortage, or crowded classrooms? Don’t they see the connection between this migration of largely destitute immigrants who don’t speak English, and the burgeoning costs to LAUSD to provide special instruction and care to these students?

From a moral standpoint, how, exactly, does it make the world a better place, when for every high-needs immigrant student entering LAUSD schools, there are ten thousand high-needs children left behind in the countries they came from, as well as less resources for high-needs children whose parents have lived in California for generations?

When you make it nearly impossible to build anything in California, from housing to energy and water infrastructure, and at the same time invite the world to move in, you create an unaffordable state. When California’s state legislature passed laws creating this situation, what was the position of California Teachers Association? Need we ask?

The Union War Against Education Reform

Charter schools, another primary grievance of the UTLA, is one of the few areas where politicians in California’s state legislature – nearly all of them Democrats by now – occasionally stand up to the teachers unions. But why are charter schools so popular? Could it be that the union controlled traditional public schools are failing students, making charter schools a popular option for parents who want their children to have a better chance at a good education?

Maybe if traditional public schools weren’t held back by union work rules, they would deliver better educational results. The disappointing result in the 2014 Vergara vs. California case provides an example. The plaintiffs sued to modify three work rules, (1) a longer period before granting tenure, (2) changing layoff criteria from seniority to merit, and (3) streamlined dismissal policies for incompetent teachers. These plaintiffs argued the existing work rules had a disproportionate negative impact on minority communities, and proved it – view the closing arguments by the plaintiff’s attorney in this case to see for yourself. But California’s State Supreme Court did not agree, and California’s public schools continue to suffer as a result.

But instead of embracing reforms such as proposed in the Vergara case, which might reduce the demand by parents for charter schools, the teachers union is trying to unionize charter schools. And instead of agreeing to benefits reform – such as contributing more to the costs for their health insurance and retirement pensions – the teachers union has gone on strike.

Financial reality will eventually compel financial reform at LAUSD. But no amount of money will improve the quality of LAUSD’s K-12 education, if union work rules aren’t changed. The saddest thing in this whole imbroglio is the fate of the excellent teacher, who works hard and successfully instructs and inspires their students. Those teachers are not overpaid at all. But the system does not nurture such excellence. How on earth did it come to this, that unions would take over public education, along with virtually every other state and local government agency in California?

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Craig Alexander is an attorney, a former elected member of the Orange County Republican Party Central Committee and a former officer in the California Republican Assembly.  His practice is located in Dana Point and his law practice areas include Office/Commercial Leasing, HOA law, Insurance law, Civil Litigation and the California Public Records Act.

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Voter Recommendations – Poll Voter Edition Including Judge Elections!

Posted by Craig P Alexander on November 3, 2018

This coming Tuesday, November 6, 2018 is Election Day.  While a great many people have already voted by absentee ballot (now known as Mail In Ballot), there is still a strong contingent of people who go to the polling places and vote in person on Election Day.  If you have not voted yet this post is for you.

As I stated in my earlier post on October 1, 2018, there is a stark contrast between what Republican candidates wish to do in Congress and what Democratic candidates wish to do.  Here is a link to that post: What’s at Stake For Orange County Voters This November 6th?

Voting for Democrats is a vote for bigger, larger and more in your face government.  Voting for Republicans is a vote for liberty, personal choice, the current economic boom, less government and less taxation.  In my opinion not voting at all is a vote for Democrats. A few days ago Kathy Tavoularis penned an excellent article (that Chris Nguyen cross-posted here at O.C. Political) entitled:  Are You Willing to Let Your Orange County Vote Be Bought by New York, Boston, and San Francisco?

Kathy’s article is 100% correct, insightful and clearly lays out that a vote for any of the Democratic candidates is really a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and what they stand for –  not a vote against Donald Trump.  If you are on the fence about voting for one of these Democratic candidates (or staying home and not voting), and especially if you are either a Republican or a conservative Independent / Libertarian voter, I highly recommend you read Kathy’s article before you step into the voting booth.

For those who would like to see my recommendations for voters, here is the latest version of my Craig’s Voter Recommendations (which I sometimes call “Craig’s Pics“): Craig’s Pics Nov 2018 Updated 10-31-18

Once you go to that link – you can print them out and take them with you to the polling station (and give your friends copies too).  This final version has recommendations for the judicial races (I get lots of questions about Judge races).

I also recommend you go to Robyn Nordell’s web site www.robynnordell.com. Robyn also publishes a lot of recommendations for races I do not cover / give an opinion on.  Here is Robyn’s Orange County page: Robyn’s Picks for the OC.

Craig Alexander is an attorney, a former elected member of the Orange County Republican Party Central Committee and a former officer in the California Republican Assembly.  His practice is located in Dana Point and his law practice areas include Office/Commercial Leasing, HOA law, Insurance law, Civil Litigation and the California Public Records Act.

 

 

Posted in 38th Congressional District, 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 46th Congressional District, 47th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, Dana Point, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Updated Voter Recommendations And Help With All Of Those Judge Races

Posted by Craig P Alexander on October 17, 2018

Updated 10-17-18 – Judges!?!?

Every election year I put together my “Craig’s Pics” voter recommendations for conservative voters. As with every election, what we as voters do at the polls (who we elect or initiatives we pass / vote down) matter greatly. As you will see in my recommendations this year, I believe there is a stark contrast between electing Republicans versus Democrats.

I posted about this a few weeks ago “It’s Voting Time Again: Absentee Ballot Edition – Here are My Recommendations for Voters!

Since posting my recommendations, I have been getting a lot of folks asking “What about those judges on the ballot?”  Great question!  For judges (they are actually Justices of the Appeals Court and Supreme Court up for a “retention vote”).  For these races I recommend people go to Robyn Nordell’s Orange County page. If you don’t live in Orange County go to: Voter Recommendations then find your county.

Here is the link to my updated recommendations: Craig’s Pics Nov 2018 Updated 10-17-18. My updated Pics have a couple of races I did not have recommendations for a few weeks ago (State Controller and Molton Niguel Water District).

Nancy Sandoval’s web site is Nancy’s Picks.

A few weeks ago I posted here at O.C. Political why I recommend voters vote for Republicans for the Congressional Districts in Orange County (well all over California but I am just focusing on the O.C. Districts). Here is a link to that post: “What’s At Stake…” I suggest you go take a look at my post and consider why voting this year is critical. I will repeat what I stated in that post and in my voter recommendations: “For a Conservative Voter to stay at home (not vote) is to cast a ballot for Democrats.”  In addition for the 49th Congressional District (where I live) I posted about the race between conservative Diane Harkey and resist liberal Democrat Mike Levin.  If you live in the 49th or have friends who live there I recommend that post too.

I hope you find my Updated Voter Recommendations helpful!

Craig P. Alexander is an attorney whose office is located in Dana Point, CA. He practices law in the areas of Office and Commercial Leasing, Business Contracts, Insurance Coverage, HOA law, Civil Litigation and the California Public Records Act (California’s Freedom of Information Act).

Posted in 34th Senate District, 36th Senate District, 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, Board of Equalization, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fullerton, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Moulton-Niguel Water District, Newport Beach, Orange County Sheriff, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Santa Ana, Santa Ana Unified School District, South Coast Water District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Vote for Conservative Diane Harkey for Congress or Liberal Mike Levin (and therefore Nancy Pelosi).

Posted by Craig P Alexander on October 4, 2018

Your Vote  – Huge Consequences!

This November 6, 2018 voters in the 49th Congressional District will have a stark choice between two candidates – one a Conservative Republican and one a Liberal Resist Democrat. Before you go vote consider what each of these candidates stand for and will likely do if elected to Congress.

Diane is being maliciously smeared by the Levin campaign for a lawsuit from which she was dismissed.  I have known Diane for more than 15 years.  She is of the utmost integrity, has a notable list of endorsements and has a solid record of fighting for taxpayers and average citizens.  She advocates common sense solutions for everyday Americans and Californians.  If you wish to see the economy continue to improve and provide opportunity for everyone, vote for Diane Harkey.  If you think Government should run your life, tax you massively for that “service” and force you to pay for ever more government programs, Mike Levin is your candidate.

Harkey = Economic Growth, Freedom and National Security.  Levin = halting the current economic boom, open borders, and more gridlock in Washington, D.C. with endless calls for investigations and impeachment of President Trump (then Pence, then whoever Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters to not like).

One final thought (as I stated in my prior posts on this blog) – if you as a conservative voter stay home (do not vote), in my opinion you are casting a vote for the Democrats.

Visit Diane’s website: www.harkeyforcongress.com if you want to see the issues and where she stands on important topics of the day.

Craig P. Alexander is an attorney whose office is in Dana Point, CA.

Posted in 49th Congressional District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

It’s Voting Time Again: Absentee Ballot Edition – Here are My Recommendations for Voters!

Posted by Craig P Alexander on October 4, 2018

Every election year I put together my “Craig’s Pics” voter recommendations for conservative voters.  As with every election, what we as voters do at the polls (who we elect or initiatives we pass / vote down) matter greatly.  As you will see in my recommendations this year, I believe there is a stark contrast between electing Republicans versus Democrats.

There are some other awesome voter recommendations from people like Robyn Nordell, Nancy Sandoval, Craig Huey and Kathy Dittner.  Robyn has her own web site and very kindly puts my recommendations, Nancy’s, Kathy’s and others one her site.  Part of the fun is we do not always agree!

One common theme for all of us is none of us is paid one penny for our recommendations – none of us is “for hire.”

Here is the link to my Craig’s Pics Nov 2018.

Here is the link to Robyn Nordell’s general web site and her Orange County specific page. That is where you will find my recommendations, Nancy Sandoval’s, Kathy Dittner’s, etc.

Nancy Sandoval’s web site is Nancy’s Picks.

A few days ago I posted here at O.C. Political why I recommend voters vote for Republicans for the Congressional Districts in Orange County (well all over California but I am just focusing on the O.C. Districts).  Here is a link to that post: “What’s At Stake…”  I suggest you go take a look at my post and consider why voting this year is critical.  I will repeat what I stated in that post and in my voter recommendations: “For a Conservative Voter to stay at home (not vote) is to cast a ballot for Democrats.”

I hope you find my Voter Recommendations helpful!

Craig P. Alexander is an attorney whose office is located in Dana Point, CA.  He practices law in the areas of Office and Commercial Leasing, Business Contracts, Insurance Coverage, HOA law, Civil Litigation and the California Public Records Act (California’s Freedom of Information Act).

 

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What’s at Stake For Orange County Voters This November 6th?

Posted by Craig P Alexander on October 1, 2018

What’s at Stake For Orange County Voters This November 6th? Control of the U.S. Congress! Or why you need to vote and get your family and friends to vote!

This year’s election is giving us a stark contrast between the two major political parties Democrat and Republican.  In the two years since Donald Trump’s election to the Presidency we have witnessed a “resistance” movement by Democrats and their allies that has thrown out all sense of bi-partisanship, compassion, respect for differing opinions or compromise on important policy decisions.  The Democratic Party at its highest levels has embraced the following:

 

  1. “Medicare for all” which is government run health care at both the federal and state levels. This would increase your tax burden by at least twice (double) and maybe even three times what you currently pay now. (Fact Check Article &  Bloomberg Article ) All of the local Democratic candidates for Congress support this. Gavin Newsom (the Democratic candidate for Governor) has made it a main goal of his campaign promises to institute this in California, including medical coverage for illegal aliens.     (NY Times ArticleLA Times Article)

 

  1. The abolition of ICE (the federal agency that enforces our immigration laws). Democrats are committed to this dangerous proposal and they have offered no real plan for a replacement for ICE. Locally Democrats have passed laws to restrict our police and local authorities from cooperating with ICE and other federal immigration agencies.  This Sanctuary Law also protects criminal illegal aliens who commit violent crimes against our citizens.

 

  1. Reversal of the Trump Tax Cuts and De-Regulation. After eight years of slow or no growth under Former President Obama (who called it the “new normal”), President Trump and the Republicans in Congress have passed historic tax cuts and abolished reams of business killing regulations. Result: across the board almost all Americans have more money in their pockets, have more opportunities for employment or starting their own businesses and unemployment is down – WAY down.  Unemployment among African Americans and Hispanics is at its lowest levels since those statistics have been gathered.   Democrats say these tax cuts are bad for the economy and for workers their tax cut bonuses are “crumbs” (per Nancy Pelosi).  The facts prove the Democrats are wrong.

 

  1. Judicial Nominations of Constitutionally minded judges stopped. As I write this we are seeing the unfolding of the debacle of the confirmation of Judge Bret Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. Democrats want courts to impose their policy preferences on us via the Court’s (since they can’t do most of them via the legislative process in Washington, D.C.). In addition, one of the main things that caused conservatives (like me) to vote for Donald Trump for President was his promise to appoint only conservative judges to the federal bench – and he has kept that promise.  Democrats want to stop that by blocking those judicial candidates (including smear campaigns by our own Diane Feinstein) not to mention blocking President Trump’s administration appointees.

 

  1. Continued Taxpayer Funding for Planned Parenthood. All of the local Democratic Congressional Candidates believe you should help Planned Parenthood continue abortion practices on your tax dollar.

 

  1. Continued Attitude that anyone who votes Republican and especially for President Donald Trump is a racist “deplorable” or “dregs of society” person. I don’t think I need say more about that. Washington Times – Biden Article

 

  1. Impeach Trump! (then Pence, then Kavanaugh, then anyone else Nancy Pelosi & Maxine Waters dislike). This seems to be the Democrats main rant every time they get the microphone. If the Democrats get control of the House of Representatives, the next two years will be nothing but votes to impeach the President and anyone some Democratic Party leaders don’t like. Maxine Waters Video

8. Keeping Your Gas Taxes (and vehicle registrations) High! They support the irresponsible increase in your gas and registration taxes. (Please Vote YES on Proposition 6 to lower repeal  the Gas Taxes – Yes On Prop. 6 link).  Not only do the Democrats want you to pay more to the Federal government in taxes, they want you to pay more at the pump for gas with a large part of those funds going to the failed high speed rail project.

There are other policy issues and other differences between the Republicans and the Democrats, but with this overview I hope gives you an idea of what is at stake this election.  Move forward with a pro-America and pro-growth agenda or a return to a poor economy and grid lock government. Also, in my opinion, staying at home (and not voting) is a vote for Democrats.

With that introduction I recommendation your and your family vote for U.S. Congress in Orange County:

  

U.S. Congress by District (Orange County):
38th Ryan Downing (https://sites.google.com/site/electryandowning/home)
39th Young Kim (https://www.kimforcongress2018.com/)
45th Mimi Walters  (https://www.mimiwalters.com/)
46th Russell Lambert (https://russlambertforcongress.com/)
47th John Briscoe
48th Dana Rohrabacher   (http://www.rohrabacher.com/)      
49th Diane Harkey (https://www.harkeyforcongress.com/) – Note Diane has my utmost recommendation.  She has a great record of helping taxpayers!

 

Craig P. Alexander is an attorney located in Dana Point, California.  His law practice includes office and commercial leasing, insurance coverage, HOA law and the California Public Records Act.  The opinions expressed herein are his own.

Posted in 38th Congressional District, 39th Congressional District, 45th Congressional District, 46th Congressional District, 47th Congressional District, 48th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

New President Wen

Posted by Brenda Higgins on September 12, 2018

 

The hippocratic oath originally included a pledge not to administer any abortifacient treatments to pregnant women.  How times have changed.

Today, abortion giant Planned Parenthood named physician, Leana Wen to be their new leader.  Her initial statements following the announcement today, signal that the abortion provider intends to step up their rhetoric that they provide ‘health care’ for women.

Planned Parenthood provides over 300,000 abortions each year, making them the single largest abortion provider in the United States.  Also interesting in the initial statement by and about Dr. Wen, is the substantial deviation from their traditonal approach and messaging. 

Cecil Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood was political royalty, the daughter of popular Texas Governor Ann Richards, and well connected to all the deep pockets and the most elite of Washington DC and elsewhere.  Cecile, in her role as the face of the Pro-Choice movement was on every Sunday morning or other political pundit show, and used her platform to laud the importance of a woman’s right to chose.  At this time however, the environment has changed and a more sophisticated electorate as well as more shrewd and aggressive Pro-Life organizations, is prompting Planned Parenthood to modify their approach.

They chose a minority woman to be their new face, who is also a medical doctor, which helps them bolster claims of being a “health care” provider.  It is not clear if they will begin by actually providing screening for breast cancer, if they will provide STI testing at free or no cost or if they will  provide free pregnancy tests, obstetric care,  or ultra sounds for pregnant women.  These services now are either not offered at Planned Parenthood, or they are conditioned upon contracting for an abortion, or are only available at a significant cost.  There are no mammograms happening at Planned Parenthood, that has been established. 

It wil be interesting to see if they are working to make good on their promise of “health care” for women, or if they will continue being primarily a for profit business whose business is abortion.

Dr. Wen will officially join Planned Parenthood in November.  Up until this hiring she has been the Health Direcor of the city of Baltimore.  During the time the Dr. Wen has headed the Baltimore Health Department, she presided over the “B’more for Healthy Babies”, a concerted effort by the Baltimore Department of Health to reduce drastically high statistics of Infant Mortality in the city. 

Dr. Wen was successful in Baltimore, by cutting the infant mortality rate by 38% over five years by using data to assess at the risk women in the city.

Sad and strange.

After years of working hard to save the lives of babies of at risk in minority and poor women, Dr. Wen will now be spearheading the organization that has targeted that at-risk and monority popultion, an organiztion whose founder (Margaret Sanger) embraced eugenics through abortion as a form of population control in minority communties.  

Similarly sad and strange, Dr. Wen, a chinese immigrant, was brought to the U.S. by her parents when she was 8 years old.  China’s forced abortion, one-child policy has resulted in the extermination of nearly a half million Chinese, most of them women.  Fortunately for Dr. Wen, in the U.S. she actually does have a choice, unlike Chinese women and their female babies.

Already, Dr Wen, has couched her view of the work of Planned Parenthood as one of compassion toward women.  Truly compassionate care toward women would address the needs of the whole woman, of her baby, of her ongoing health.  As they continue to distribute abortion pills without follow up or medical supervision, as they begin the process of distributing abortion pills on college campuses without doctors or medical follow up, it is disingenuous and illogical to portray the organization as being concerned about the well being of women.  

It is a new day, of amped up rhetoric and increased deception.  Planned Parenthood is an abortion business, it is not clear yet if the hiring of Dr. Wen is to increase the health care posturing, or if they really will begin offering services consistent with their claims.  There are many, and the numbers are growing every day,  women’s health care clinics that actually do provide health care for women. If Dr. Wen was concerned about women’s health, and serving minority and poor women who are at-risk, she would be partnering with those life affirming pregnancy medical centers.  The most at-risk and under-represented women in America, are the ones who are still residing in their mothers wombs. 

Posted in Orange, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Athletes as “Heros?” Not to Me.

Posted by Craig P Alexander on September 8, 2018

I like some sports like baseball. However I have never been able to like or agree with the idea that sports athletes are “heros” – they are well paid and deserve their private sector salaries. However they do not fit the definition of hero. To me heros are members of the U.S. Military, police, fire fighters, etc. who put their lives on the line for us everyday.

So when I read about the Nike campaign using a washed up former football player with the statement: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. Just Do It!” I automatically think of people like the men who stormed Normandy Beach in France decades ago to free Europe from the Nazi grip and ultimately end WWII. Many of them are still there in cemeteries proving their commitment to freedom. Some came home injured and/or carried the horrible memories of death and destruction for the rest of their lives so we can live with liberty and freedom. Sports players just don’t even come close to their sacrifices. So I will respect an athletes’ accomplishments but I will never call them heros for playing their chosen sport.  

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Craig P. Alexander is an attorney in Dana Point, California.  He practices law in the areas of the California Public Records Act, HOA law, Office and Commercial Leasing, Insurance Coverage and Business Contracts.

 

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Live from OC GOP Endorsements Committee Round 5

Posted by Chris Nguyen on September 5, 2018

We are live from OC GOP Endorsements Committee. The recommendations from tonight’s meeting will be considered on September 17 by the full Central Committee.

On tonight’s agenda are:

  • Anne Figueroa for Rancho Santa Margarita City Council
  • Hon. Wendy Bucknum for Mission Viejo City Council
  • Dom Pham for Coast Community College District, Area 1
  • Robert Nelson for Anaheim City Council, District 3
  • Angie Cano for Santa Ana Unified School District
  • Hon. Don Sedgwick for Laguna Hills City Council
  • Tam (Nick) Lecong for Fountain Valley City Council
  • Steve Shatynski Brea City Council
  • Amy West for Westminster City Council
  • Hon. Cecilia Iglesias for Santa Ana City Council, Ward 6
  • Mark Tettemer for Lake Forest City Council, District 4

Present are Endorsements Committee Chair Peggy Huang and Members Leroy Mills and Erik Weigand. Member Laurie Davies is on the phone. Member Gene Hernandez is en route to the meeting. Member Tyler Diep is absent.

Wendy Bucknum for Mission Viejo City Council

Councilwoman Wendy Bucknum notes there are three Republican incumbents and two challengers, one who is endorsed by the Democratic Party and the other also a Democrat. She speaks to Mission Viejo High School’s civics class every year on behalf of Republicans. She speaks of her family.

Councilman Ed Sachs speaks of working with Bucknum for the past four years and praises her understanding of the demands of the office and her energy in engaging on the issues and with the community. He praises her Republican governing philosophy.

Laurie Davies speaks of Bucknum’s involvement on legislation, highlighting AB 448, the Housing Trust.

Erik Weigand calls this a no-brainer and speaks of her Republican volunteerism.

Peggy Huang asks about the City’s legislative public safety efforts, referencing Bucknum’s efforts.

Bucknum and her colleagues have ensured the City’s advocates are heard in Sacramento, and if necessary having Councilmembers testifying. She keeps residents informed and participates in town halls.

Huang moves and Weigand seconds to recommend Bucknum. The motion passes unanimously.

Anne Figueroa for Rancho Santa Margarita City Council

Councilman Tony Beall speaks on her behalf as she is in Europe celebrating her anniversary. Beall says Anne Figueroa is a Republican activist and entered the race when Councilman Mike Vaughn decided to not seek reelection 10 days before filing closed and asked her to run. She is endorsed by the entire City Council, Congresswoman Mimi Walters, Senator Pat Bates, and Assemblyman Bill Brough, among others. He warns that a Bernie Sanders activist is her top rival among the 7 candidates running for 3 seats.

Erik Weigand calls this an important seat. He notes her volunteerism.

Laurie Davies moves and Erik Weigand seconds to recommend Anne Figueroa.

Peggy Huang asks about the City’s finances.

Beall speaks of the City’s surpluses and fully-funded reserves. He does warn that the increasing costs of the Sheriff’s contract is a long-term spending item on the horizon.

The motion passed unanimously.

Dom Pham for Coast Community College District, Trustee Area 1

Dom Pham is on the phone and hard to hear. He speaks of his current education and his work in compliance for gun stores. His current job is in Congressman Ed Royce’s office. He says he realizes he is a longshot, but wants to ensure Republicans have a choice in this seat.

Leroy Mills expresses concern about the $1,200 raised by Pham.

Pham says he hopes to raise more money. He is still in school.

Laurie Davies expresses concern about his time constraints with both campaigning and managing both his work and school schedules. She urges him to get friend and family to help him precinct walk because it can help overcome funding issues.

Peggy Huang asks if he is involved with the College Republicans.

Pham is not but has tried reaching out to some.

Huang suggests he reach out to Paula Prizio to get assistance.

Erik Weigand applauds Pham for entering the race. He notes John Lewis is Pham’s consultant and Shawn Steel is supporting.

Weigand moves and Mills seconds for Pham. The motion passed unanimously.

Steve Shatynski for Brea City Council

Steve Shatynski is on the phone from the East Coast, specifically at the US Naval Academy because he works on USNA admissions covering North Orange County. He notes there are two incumbent Republicans and an incumbent Democrat in the race for three seats, as well as Republican Bill Hall. He says he is getting campaign help from Young Kim, Councilwoman Cecilia Hupp, and Brea RWF. He has been awarded the Department of the Navy Meritorious Service Award for his work on USNA admissions.

Erik Weigand asks if Hall was a proponent of the failed school bond.

Huang confirms he was. She also confirms Hall has not sought the endorsement.

She asks about Brea’s unfunded liability.

Shatynski believes it is approximately $45 million but does not recall the exact number. He calls it “a huge problem” and notes that John Moorlach called it the second largest per capita of any OC city.

Weigand moves and Davies seconds to recommend Shatynski.

Huang asks about “dynamic and prudent growth” that Shatynski wrote in his questionnaire.

Shatynski praises the construction of the Brea Mall. He speaks of the importance of his children being able to afford to live in the City. He speaks of the need to balance traffic concerns.

The motion passes unanimously.

Robert Nelson for Anaheim City Council, District 3

Robert Nelson told OC GOP staff that he would call in, but he has not done so.

Cynthia Ward says Nelson is trustworthy. She says he is Tom Tait’s appointee to the Public Utilities Board. She says he is involved in the community. She says he ran in 2010 and 2016. She says the other two candidates are Councilman Jose Moreno and Mitch Caldwell, who are both Democrats. She says an outside interest is interested in spending for Nelson.

Huang asks what would be different considering Nelson is running against the same opponent in Moreno and if Tait has endorsed.

Ward says Tait has not endorsed Nelson. She says she hopes he can slip up the middle as the two Democrats fight it out.

Huang asks about the voter registration.

Ward doesn’t remember the number but it is predominately Democrat.

Huang asks if he has any endorsements.

Ward says the California Impact Republicans have endorsed him. She expects the Anaheim Republican Assembly to endorse him soon, as it did in 2016.

Leroy Mills asks why Nelson hasn’t signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Ward says the City needs to allow bonds to go before voters. She argues the Taxpayer Protection Pledge prevents the placement of bonds on the ballot.

Mills clarifies the pledge is about taxes and fees.

Mills also asks why Nelson did not sign the union-free pledge.

Ward does not know.

Weigand moves to recommend Nelson, with the caveat that he sign the pledges by September 10, before it goes before Central Committee.

Ward argues Nelson being in the race forces Democrats to spend in District 3.

Huang notes the two Democrats would spend against each other in District 3. She also argues the Democrats have historically ignored Nelson in his prior races.

Weigand urges getting stronger candidates for seats like this.

Ward agrees that candidate recruitment needs to be improved.

Huang urges mentoring and recruiting qualified candidates even if it means sitting out a cycle to prevent a candidate going too early and gaining the reputation of being unelectable. Huang is concerned Nelson appears to be unready.

Ward says outside money may be spent for Nelson and that he may spend more personal money than he has in the past.

Mills seconds Weigand’s motion.

Davies does echo Huang’s comment that endorsing unready candidates may not be wise.

The motion passed unanimously.

Mark Tettemer for Lake Forest City Council

Committee Member Gene Hernandez arrives.

Mark Tettemer is on the phone. He says there is one seat and his sole opponent is Mayor Jim Gardner. He is a former two-term Councilman. He was on the OCFA Board and served as Chair. He speaks of his community volunteerism. He stepped away from politics to earn his MPA and is now returning.

Mayor Jim Gardner is Deborah Pauly’s alternate on the Central Committee. Gardner speaks in opposition because the OC GOP should not endorse against incumbent Republicans.

Huang asks if Gardner was endorsed by the OC GOP in 2014.

Gardner did not seek it.

Weigand asks if Gardner is seeking the endorsement.

Gardner is not seeking it because there are two Republicans but he would if the Central Committee is considering an endorsement.

Gardner says Lake Forest is debt free and has historically low crime. He says there is online participation in Lake Forest’s Council meetings. He says he holds town hall meeting. He says he attends more events than the rest of the Council combined.

Hernandez asks if this is an application.

Huang says it is not. Weigand notes his question may have caused Gardner’s discussion.

Councilman Scott Voigts speaks on behalf of former Mayor Mark Tettemer. He speaks of Tettemer’s record. He says Gardner violates property rights and has with Adam Nick twice supported the recalls of Andrew Hamilton, Scott Voigts, and Dwight Robinson. Voigts noted CPA Andrew Hamilton got the City to pay down its debt to be debt-free. He urges the committee to recommend Tettemer. He says Gardner attacks Councilmembers publicly and online. He speaks of Tettemer’s involvement in Relay for Life, 2008 endorsement by the OC GOP, and his family’s roots in the community.

Huang asks who else has endorsed Tettemer.

Tettemer lists the founding Mayor and other Councilmembers who have endorsed him.

Mills asks about his lack of fundraising.

Tettemer plans to self-fund as he has in the past but will also fundraise.

Mills moves for neutrality. There is no second.

Gene Hernandez asks Tettemer what he can do to clean up the dysfunctional 3-2 Council.

Tettemer says he has always had good working relationships and a sense of decorum. People reached out to him to run to stop the caustic atmosphere and lack of civility on the Council. He wants to work on good policy to move Lake Forest forward.

Gardner keeps attempting to interject, but Huang says this is the committee’s time for questions.

Weigand expresses concern about Gardner repeatedly supporting recalls that the party has opposed. He suggests allowing Tettemer, Gardner, and Voigts to speak more.

Hernandez expresses agreement with Weigand.

Davies also objects to Republicans recalling Republicans.

Reflecting on the parallels between Yorba Linda and Lake Forest, Huang discusses the resources expended to defend the Republicans against the recall backed by Gardner. She expresses concern that Gardner backed a primary challenger to Congresswoman Mimi Walters, tying up resources that could have gone to other Republicans.

Gardner makes “no apologies for being passionate and fighting for what I believe in.” He says he had no involvement in the second recall. He says their recall was based on a dangerous road being ignored.

Weigand asked if he supported the recall.

Gardner says he supported the recall. He says Hamilton belittled citizens and ended meetings.

Hernandez asked about the philosophy of recall usage. He says it is over illegal, immoral, or unethical conduct.

Gardner argues Hamilton badgered residents in a disgraceful fashion and held timeouts.

Hernandez asks if Gardner would recall President Trump.

Gardner says Trump has accomplished much.

Weigand asks how many recalls there have been in Lake Forest.

Gardner says there were two but only the second succeeded.

Huang asks Gardner if he gathered signatures for either recall or donated money.

Gardner donated money to the second recall but did not collect signatures for it. He did not donate to the first recall but cannot remember if he collected signatures for it. He claims Voigts has made 15 lies from the dais.

Hernandez urges that disagreements should be discussed and are healthy. He opposes attacking at the level of helping recall efforts.

Gardner writes articles on the Lake Forest Patch daily.

Hernandez asks if attacking Councilmembers on the Patch is productive.

Gardner argues Tettemer was a distant second in the recall replacement election.

Gardner accuses Voigts of lying about wearing a wire.

Weigand asks about the effort to elect Dwight Robinson to AQMD.

Voigts says it was at the same time as the recall signature gathering.

Voigts notes Gardner was the largest donor to the first recall. Voigts notes Gardner’s team launched a recall to urge closing a road down before construction was even completed. Voigts notes Gardner was even a signature counter on the recall. Voigts was requested to wear a wire by request of the District Attorney’s office and could not disclose it during an active investigation. He explained the timeout Hamilton called was after warning the disruptive audience three times to stop interrupting the Council meeting.

Davies calls the question and moves to recommend Tettemer. Hernandez seconds.

Weigand asks if there is a way to recommend a debate at the full Central Committee while still recommending Tettemer for endorsement.

Hernandez says there would likely be a debate at the Central Committee anyway given that Gardner is an alternate.

Huang says she could pull the name for discussion at the Central Committee.

The motion to recommend Tettemer passes with a unanimous 5-0 vote.

Weigand notes there is a mountain of evidence that Gardner has worked against the OC GOP. He notes Gardner is only able to speak at the Central Committee of Deborah Pauly steps out of the room during that meeting.

Amy West for Westminster City Council

Amy West is an American who was a Vietnamese refugee. She speaks about the principles of American democracy and the importance of local government. There are 13 candidates for 2 open seats (incumbents are both leaving).

Mills asks West about her lack of funding at just $2000.

West speaks of precinct walking gaining votes for her.

Weigand asks if she is a Central Committee alternate.

West is the alternate of Supervisor Andrew Do.

Jeremy West, her husband, gives his speech to OCDE Trustee Mari Barke. Barke does not use it but says West is an amazing woman who she wanted to recruit for school board but the school board seat is not available until 2020.

Amy West reads a supportive text from Supervisor Andrew Do.

Hernandez asks if she has been endorsed by Tyler Diep or Tri Ta.

West says both have been supportive but neither have formally endorsed.

Weigand asks if Senator Janet Nguyen has endorsed.

West says Nguyen has endorsed another candidate.

Weigand notes the Westminster City Council meeting is in progress, so that is why Tyler Diep is not present. He is concerned about endorsing prematurely in Westminster.

Hernandez argues candidates need to show initiative in getting applications in.

Mills is concerned that endorsing eliminates the opportunity to endorse others.

Davies echoes Hernandez’s comments.

Huang notes the 2016 Huntington Beach debacle in which more Republicans sought an OC GOP endorsement after there were none left.

Huang references West’s questionnaire answer of intending to reign in expenditures while also expanding services.

West says “safety is key” and says streets and parks don’t matter if there isn’t safety. She says Andrew Do runs Orange County and she has spoken to them about battling homelessness. She has spoken to the Police Chief about how to help. She describes pushing for Neighborhood Watch. She says there is much waste including beautifying the Westminster Police Headquarters.

Hernandez asks if West would entertain dissolving the Westminster Police Department and contracting with OC Sheriff instead for cost savings. He notes Yorba Linda saves $2 million.

West is surprised by the suggestion but says she is open to it.

Hernandez notes that her goals are expensive and that she will need to prioritize because there is only so much money.

Hernandez moves and Davies seconds to recommend West. The motion passes unanimously.

Don Sedgwick for Laguna Hills City Council

Don Sedgwick was endorsed by the OC GOP for school board. He speaks of volunteering for various candidates and raising money for them. He is endorsed by all the other candidates and all the incumbents. There are three seats on the ballot. He speaks of his conservative views.

Hernandez works with Sedgwick on the OCFA Board. Hernandez praises his work ethic,diligence, and intelligence on the Board.

Davies echoes Hernandez’s comments. She also notes Sedgwick’s work on strong cross border relations since they are neighboring cities.

Weigand praises Sedgwick’s leadership.

Mills asks about Sedgwick endorsing Ginny Aitken for school board.

Sedgwick says Aitken was more conservative than other Republicans running. She was pro-life and fought the unions. He calls her a Democrat in Name Only. He couldn’t get her to reregister.

Huang asks why so many Republicans seem to be voting for Democrats.

Sedgwick notes that is not happening in Laguna Hills where no Democrat holds elected office. He speculates Republicans are losing young voters. He notes Laguna Hills is an aging community with a rising median age.

Weigand moves and Hernandez seconds recommending Sedgwick. The motion passed 4-0-1 with Mills abstaining due to being bothered by the Ginny Aitken endorsement.

Angie Cano for Santa Ana Unified School District

Angie Cano was 39 votes from being elected in the last election and only 400 votes short in the prior election. She wasn’t going to run this time but decided to do so when union activists from outside Santa Ana convinced the school board to put a bond on the ballot.

Mills asks Cano about shall issue status for California.

Cano would be supportive.

Mills asks if Cano is pro-life.

Cano is pro-life.

Mills asks about a constitutional amendment prohibiting the State government from taking local money.

Cano would support such an amendment.

Hernandez moves and Weigand seconds to recommend Cano. The motion passed unanimously.

Gracey Van Der Mark for Ocean View School District

Gracey Van Der Mark and her husband own a small business and have 7 children; 6 attended OVSD schools. She is running after seeing a lack of transparency when she got on the OVSD bond oversight committee.

Former OVSD Trustee Debbie Cotton speaks in favor of Van Der Mark, praising her work on the bond oversight committee. She speaks of Van Der Mark’s conservative views. She speaks of the attacks Van Der Mark has suffered.

Hernandez asks how much she has raised and if other Republicans are running.

Van Der Mark has raised $3400. She says there are three Republican incumbents.

Cotton notes the incumbents are union backed and that one reregistered today as a Democrat.

Mills asks about sex education being forced on school districts by the State Department of Education.

Van Der Mark agrees with Mills that she would fight these efforts.

Huang asks about how she switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.

Van Der Mark grew up in Los Angeles and was the daughter of Democrats. She opened her own business and became a Republican.

Mills blasts Democrats bullying Republicans. He blasts the movie about the moon landing that leaves out the planting of the US flag on the moon

Mills moves and Davies seconds recommending Van Der Mark. The motion passes unanimously.

The committee adjourns at 8:54 PM.

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Live from OC GOP Central Committee, Round 1

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 30, 2018

We are live from the OC GOP Central Committee, where the first round of endorsements for the November 2018 General Election is being considered for City Council and School Board (plus Sheriff). Congressional and Legislative (plus 4th District Supervisor) were previously endorsed.

On tonight’s docket are:

  • Don Barnes for Orange County Sheriff
  • Garrett Dwyer for Aliso Viejo City Council

    • Hon. Joe Muller for Dana Point City Council
  • Hon. Joe Muller for Dana Point City Council
  • Patrick Harper for Fountain Valley City Council

  • Hon. Erik Peterson for Huntington Beach City Council

  • Hon. Mike Posey for Huntington Beach City Council

  • Hon. Elaine Gennawey for Laguna Niguel City Council

  • Sandy Rains for Laguna Niguel City Council

  • Hon. Diane Dixon for Newport Beach City Council, District 1

  • Hon. Tri Ta for Mayor of Westminster

  • Hon. Peggy Huang for Yorba Linda City Council

  • Carlos Rodriguez for Yorba Linda City Council

  • Hon. Jim Cunneen for Fountain Valley School Board

  • Yes on Proposition 6

  • Yes on Newport Beach Debt Charter Amendment

  • No on Anaheim Minimum Wage Initiative

Konstantinos Roditis delivers the invocation.

An OC GOP intern leads the Pledge of Allegiance.

Committee Member David Shawver delivers the oath of office to the new alternate members.

A whole slew of elected officials and candidates are introduced.

The minutes are approved.

Chairman Fred Whitaker provides remarks on voter registration. He also speaks about the Congressional seats and the NRCC office in Irvine, where this meeting is being held.

Endorsements Committee Chair Peggy Huang delivers the report of the Endorsements Committee.

Committee Member John W. Briscoe moves and David Shawver seconds the entire list.

Committee Member Chris Norby pulls the Anaheim Minimum Wage measure from the list.

Committee Member Robert Hammond pulls Don Barnes for Sheriff from the list.

Committee Member Deborah Pauly seeks to add Ron Sterud for Huntington Beach City Council to the list. He submitted signatures July 20 and is scheduled to be out of town on August 20.

Whitaker states that the bylaws require seven days’ notice in order to be considered.

The list passes unanimously.

Next up is discussion of Don Barnes.

Hammond wants to ask Barnes about arming teachers.

Committee Alternate Anthony Kuo moves and David Shawver seconds endorsing Barnes.

Hammond asks the question, expressing concern that Barnes had previously expressed that it would be difficult to distinguish between armed teachers and the shooter in an active shooter situation.

Shawver says there were two great Republicans running for Sheriff in the primary, and Barnes is the sole Republican to make the runoff. He also says it is up to the school boards to decide if they want armed teachers.

Whitaker permits Barnes to respond to Hammond’s inquiry.

Barnes says OC has 15,000 CCWs, the most in the State. He notes he designed the CCW policy in OC. He is the only candidate in the state to get an A+ from the CRPA. Barnes clarifies he is not opposed to arming teachers, but wants the national best practices model in cooperation with the local school board. Law enforcement needs to be able to distinguish between armed teachers and active shooters.

The vote is unanimous to endorse Barnes.

Chris Norby opposes the OC GOP taking a position against the Anaheim Minimum Wage measure. He blasts the transient occupancy tax subsidy for hotels in Anaheim. He blasts Disney for its revenue on City-owned Anaheim parking. He blasts taxpayer expenses paying high salaries at Disney, like CEO Bob Iger. He says “public subsidies” should be shared with workers.

Peggy Huang speaks in favor of OC GOP opposing the Anaheim Minimum Wage measure. She speaks in favor of the economy and the free market. She warns of the harm to businesses from minimum wage increases. Huang notes Disney already has struck a deal with labor on wages. She speaks of national efforts to impose higher minimum wage and universal basic income. She notes this was thoroughly vetted by the Endorsements Committee.

Whitaker moves and Baron Night seconds to oppose the Anaheim Minimum Wage initiative.

By a voice vote, the motion to oppose the Anaheim Minimum Wage initiative passes well over the required 2/3 supermajority. Indeed, there were only three votes against the motion.

The Committee adjourns at 7:42 PM.

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