OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Posts Tagged ‘Bob Huff’

Breaking News: Brea Councilman Steve Vargas Enters CD-39 Race

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 31, 2018

Steve Vargas

Councilman Steve Vargas (R-Brea)

Councilman Steve Vargas (R-Brea) is entering the race for the 39th Congressional District to succeed the retiring Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), becoming the seventh Republican (and fifth current or former elected official) candidate for the seat.  He faces off against Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson (R-Fullerton), former Assemblywoman Young Kim (R-Fullerton), former Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), Councilman Andrew Sarega (R-La Mirada), retired U.S. Navy Commander Mark Gaouette (R-Chino Hills), and perennial candidate John Cullum (R-Placentia).   There are also seven Democrats in the CD-39 race.

With seven candidates from each party, CD-39 is virtually assured a traditional Republican vs. Democrat match-up in November, though candidates can still choose to enter or withdraw until March 14 for CD-39.  (Filing for most Federal, State, and County offices ends March 9, but for those in which a sitting incumbent is neither seeking re-election nor termed out, filing ends March 14. At this point, for seats that cover portions of Orange County, the March 14 deadline appears to apply to CD-39, CD-49, State Treasurer, Board of Equalization, and County Board of Education Trustee Area 5.)

Six of the seven Republicans live in the 39th District.  The sole exception is Sarega, whose entire city of La Mirada is in the 38th District, which is represented by Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-Whittier).

As a Brea Councilman, Vargas represents 24,000 of CD-49’s 368,000 voters, or 6.5% of all CD-49 voters.  Currently a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Vargas was first elected to the Brea City Council in 1998.  He was defeated for re-election in 2002.  He subsequently lost bids to the return to the Council in 2006, 2010, and 2012.  In 2014, Brea voters finally returned Vargas to the City Council for a second term.  Vargas’s Council seat is up for election in November, so if he made the top two in the CD-39 race, voters would fill his Council seat in the regular election, but if he failed to make the top two, he could choose to run for re-election to the City Council.

While the City of Brea is small, it has punched above its weight before.  There was a pair of Brea school board members who served together in 1992-1994 when one was finishing up her last two years on the school board while the other was starting his first two years on the school board.  One went on to serve six years on the City Council (1994-2000) while the other went on to serve six years on the Board of Supervisors (1996-2002).  Both went on to serve three terms as Republican members of the State Assembly: Lynn Daucher and Todd Spitzer.

Vargas worked on Spitzer’s Supervisorial staff from 1998-2000.  Vargas lost his 2010 election bid to the City Council by 461 votes to Brett Murdock (D-Brea).  Vargas would return the favor by being one of the three candidates who unseated Mayor Murdock from the Council in 2014.  Murdock is now running for District Attorney against Spitzer and incumbent Tony Rackauckas, whom Vargas has endorsed.

Posted in 39th Congressional District, Brea | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 11, 2018

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

The Fast and the Furious

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

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

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

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

The Hunger Games

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

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

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

CD-39/CD-49 Flow Chart

49th Congressional District

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

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

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

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

39th Congressional District

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

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

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

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

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

Board of Equalization

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

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

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

76th Assembly District

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

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

Posted in 39th Congressional District, 49th Congressional District, 4th Supervisorial District, Board of Equalization | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 10, 2018

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

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

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

Original story below:


Sharon Quirk-Silva

Sharon Quirk-Silva

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

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

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

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

CD-39: Which Republican Will Run for Ed Royce’s Seat?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 9, 2018

Cross-posted to OC Daily…

Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton)

Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton)

A political earthquake shook Orange County yesterday afternoon when Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) unexpectedly announced that he would not be running for re-election this year.  First elected to the California State Senate in 1982 and to the United States House of Representatives in 1992, Royce is the longest currently-serving elected official in partisan office in Orange County (and the third-longest currently-serving elected official in the County as a whole*).

There is a running joke in political circles that there must be Royce is secretly twins or triplets because of his ability to be in two or three places at once in his district.  Royce always kept a jam-packed calendar whenever he was returned to the district from Washington, DC.  His hard work in the district managed to allow him to win by double-digit margins in this swing district.  He developed his work ethic from his first election when he won a swing seat in the State Senate.  In every campaign for re-election to Congress, Royce would set up one of the largest campaign apparatuses in Orange County.  Royce also currently has the largest campaign warchest in Orange County, standing at $3.5 million.

So significant is Royce’s strength in the district that when he announced his retirement yesterday, the Cook Political Report moved CD-39 from “Leans Republican” to “Leans Democrat” skipping the “Toss Up” label entirely.

With the unexpected retirement of Royce, an Orange County political institution for over a quarter of a century, North Orange County and Southern Los Angeles County politicians (and perhaps some Chino Hills politicians) from both parties are scrambling to determine if they can run a viable campaign for this seat and if they’re willing to give up their existing seats in 2018.  While six Democrats were challenging Royce for CD-39, none have ever held elected office, so Democrats in elected office in CD-39 are now likely examining the chance to go for an unexpectedly open CD-39.  No Republican elected official was looking at CD-39 since Royce was expected to run for re-election.  Today, let’s look at the Republicans:

Shawn Nelson, Michelle Steel, Bob Huff, Phillip Chen, Ling-Ling Chang, Young Kim

Supervisor Shawn Nelson, Supervisor Michelle Steel, Former Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, Assemblyman Phillip Chen, Former Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang, Former Assemblywoman Young Kim

  • Supervisor Shawn Nelson represents 45% of the voters of the 39th Congressional District.  Of the 367,000 registered voters in CD-39, Nelson represents 166,000 of them, who reside in the 4th Supervisorial District’s overlap with CD-39.  Nelson has deep roots in the district, having grown up in Fullerton, graduated from high school there, and even graduating from law school there.  He’s also a member of countless civic organizations in CD-39.  Nelson won three elections to the Fullerton City Council and two to the Orange County Board of Supervisors (and raised the necessary money to wage those campaigns).  As it happens, he is termed out from the Board in 2018.(The Supervisor who represents the second largest chunk of CD-39 behind Nelson is LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn, representing 82,000 CD-39 voters, or 22% of the district.  Considering that Hahn just left a safe Democratic Congressional district in 2016 to run for Supervisor, there is zero chance she runs for this seat.  Todd Spitzer, Curt Hagman, Hilda Solis, and Michelle Park Steel split the remainder, and no one expects Spitzer, Hagman, or Solis to run for this seat.)
  • Supervisor Michelle Park Steel is well-known in the large Korean-American community in CD-39 as well as in the district’s large Asian-American community.  She represented the Orange County and San Bernardino County portions of CD-39 when she won two elections to the State Board of Equalization.  Additionally, she is one of Orange County’s most prolific fundraisers and would have little trouble raising the significant sums of money needed to wage a campaign in one of the nation’s top swing seats.  (Of course, millions of dollars will pour into this seat on both sides, from IEs/SuperPACs, DCCC, NRCC, DNC, RNC, but it always helps when the candidate can raise significant sums.)  To run for CD-39, Steel would have to abandon her bid for re-election to the 2nd Supervisorial District, setting off a scramble for that seat.
  • Former State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff represented 71% of CD-39 voters, with 262,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters residing in SD-29, which Huff termed out of in 2016.  Huff won three elections to the Diamond Bar City Council, two to the State Assembly, and two to the State Senate.  Diamond Bar is the largest LA County city in CD-39.  Though he lost his bid for the LA County Board of Supervisors, there are less than 200 voters who are in the overlap between CD-39 and that supervisorial district.  As a former Senate Republican Leader, he’s certainly capable of raising funds for this seat.
  • Assemblyman Phillip Chen represents 61% of CD-39 voters, with 225,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters also residing in AD-55.  Prior to his election to the Assembly, Chen won two elections to Diamond Bar’s Walnut Valley School Board.  Chen raised several hundred thousand dollars in his unsuccessful 2014 bid for AD-55 and his successful 2016 bid for AD-55.  However, Chen would be giving up a safe Assembly seat for a swing seat in Congress.  Chen is an Assemblyman because his predecessor gave up this safe Assembly seat for a swing seat in the State Senate.  Chen switching to CD-39 would also set off a scramble for AD-55.
  • Speaking of Chen’s predecessor, former Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang represented the same 61% of CD-39 that Chen does.  71% of CD-39 voters may recall Chang’s bid for SD-29 in 2016, when she narrowly lost to now-Senator Josh Newman.  Before her 2014 election to the Assembly, Chang won one election to the Walnut Valley Water Board and two elections to the Diamond Bar City Council.  She raised several hundred thousand dollars in her successful 2014 bid for AD-55 and a whopping $3 million in her unsuccessful 2016 bid for SD-29.  Chang grew up in Diamond Bar and is a graduate of Diamond Bar High School.  Chang is currently in the midst of her bid to be the replacement if Newman is recalled on June 5.  If Chang switched to the Congressional race, it would leave Fullerton Councilman Bruce Whitaker the leading Republican replacement candidate for Newman.  While legally possible to run in both the recall and the Congressional race, it is politically impossible to do so.
  • Former Assemblywoman Young Kim represented 35% of CD-39 voters, with 95,000 of the 367,000 CD-39 voters residing in AD-65.  However, Kim also holds the unique distinction of having worked for Royce for nearly 20 years before her election to the Assembly.  She had been his Director of Community Relations and Asian Affairs.  In 2014, Kim defeated Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva’s re-election bid, but in 2016, Quirk-Silva avenged herself by defeating Kim’s re-election bid.  Kim is certainly familiar with what a swing seat campaign entails, with her sheer number of volunteers and staff.  She raised $2 million in each of her two Assembly campaigns.  Kim is currently in the midst of her bid to replace the termed out Nelson to represent the Fourth District on the Board of Supervisors.  If Kim switched to the Congressional race, it would leave La Habra Mayor Tim Shaw the sole Republican candidate facing off against Democrat Joe Kerr, a former long-time firefighters’ union president, for Supervisor (other Democrats running for the seat would presumably be eliminated by the voters in the June primary).

Let the games begin!

 

*The longest-serving elected official currently in office in Orange County is Orange County Water District Director Phil Anthony was elected to the Westminster City Council in 1962, Mayor in 1972, County Supervisor in 1976, and water board in 1981, where he’s been ever since.  In second place is Westminster Councilwoman Margie Rice, who was elected to the School Board in 1977, City Council in 1994, Mayor in 2000, and back to the City Council in 2012.

A notable mention is Coast Community College District Trustee Jerry Patterson was elected to the Santa Ana City Council in 1968, Mayor in 1972, and Congress in 1974, but he had a hiatus from elected office from 1984 (when he lost his Congressional seat to Bob Dornan) to 2000 (when he won his current college board seat).  Patterson was elected before Rice and Royce, but his long hiatus places him behind them for years in office.

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

Patricia Bates Becomes 1st CA Senate Republican Leader from South OC

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 15, 2017

Yesterday afternoon, State Senate Republicans in Sacramento unanimously elected Senator Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) as the new Senate Republican Leader, effective April 12.  Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) is stepping down as leader since she will term out of the Senate in 2018.

In the caucus statement announcing her election, Bates said, “It is no secret that Republicans face a challenging political environment in California. But Republicans embrace taxpayers who want a more efficient government, parents who want better schools and safer streets, and citizens who want their constitutional freedoms protected. That is a Republican Party that can attract broad support in California, and I will do everything I can as the next leader to spread that message in every part of the state.”

Prior to her election to the Senate in 2014, Bates was an Orange County Supervisor from 2007-2014 (serving as Chair in 2009 and Vice Chair in 2008 and 2013-2014), a State Assemblywoman from 1996-2004, and on the Laguna Niguel City Council from 1989-1998, including serving as the City’s first mayor after leading the city’s incorporation efforts (she would serve four terms as mayor).  A South Orange County resident for 40 years, she worked as a social worker in Los Angeles County before embarking on a political career.  During her tenure in the Legislature, she has served as Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee in both houses.  She has also been Vice Chair of the Assembly Health Committee and the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee.

Bates is the first South Orange County resident to lead a party caucus in the State Legislature.  She is also the first former Orange County Supervisor to serve as a legislative party caucus leader (Bill Campbell was Assembly Republican Leader before he became an Orange County Supervisor.

Serving as the Republican Leader’s chief of staff is not an unfamiliar position for Kevin Bassett, Bates’s chief of staff.  Bassett had been selected for the role in 2010 by new Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton and continued in that position when Bob Huff became Leader in 2012, departing in December 2014 when he became Bates’s chief of staff.  Bassett had been on the late Senator Dave Cox’s staff for Cox’s entire political career in the Senate, the Assembly, and the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.  He was Cox’s chief of staff during his entire tenure in the Legislature, including when Cox served as Assembly Republican Leader (2001-2004), and the latter part of his time on the Board of Supervisors.

Fuller is the first woman to head a Senate party caucus while Bates will be the second.  No woman has yet led the Senate Democratic Caucus.  (While Gloria Romero and Ellen Corbett have served as State Senate Majority Leader, from 2005-2008 and 2010-2014, respectively, that position is the second-ranking position in the Democratic Caucus behind the Senate President Pro Tem, who has always been a man.)  Three women have served as Speaker of the State Assembly (Republican-Elected-Speaker-by-Democrats-Until-She-Was-Recalled-by-Orange-County-Voters Doris Allen in 1995, followed by Democrat Karen Bass from 2008-2010 and Democrat Toni Atkins from 2014-2016) and three have served as Assembly Republican Leader (Carol Hallett from 1979-1981, Connie Conway from 2010-2014, and Kristen Olsen from 2014-2016).

Bates is the first Orange County legislator since Senator Bob Huff (Fuller’s predecessor from 2012-2015) to serve as the head of a party caucus in either house of the Legislature and the first Orange County resident to do so since Dick Ackerman was Senate Republican Leader from 2004-2008 (while Huff’s district included Orange County, he is a resident of Los Angeles County).  An Orange County legislator has not served as Assembly Republican Leader since Bill Campbell in 2000-2001 or Speaker of the Assembly since Curt Pringle in 1996.

While multiple Orange County residents have served as Senate Republican Leader, Assembly Republican Leader, and Speaker of the State Assembly in recent times, none has ever served as President Pro Tem of the State Senate.  However, Republican R. B. Carpenter of Los Angeles County represented both LA and Orange Counties when he served as Senate President Pro Tem from 1892-1893.  For Bates to become Senate President Pro Tem, she would need to grow her caucus by 61% or somehow get 30% of the Democratic Caucus to vote for her.

Posted in 36th Senate District, California, State Senate | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

County Board of Ed President Robert Hammond to Kick Off Re-Election Thursday

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 26, 2016

Orange County Board of Education President Robert M. Hammond is kicking off his re-election on Thursday at 6:00 PM at the Bluewater Grill in Tustin.

Hammond may well be the first person ever whose endorsements include both former Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante (D) and current State Senator John Moorlach (R).  Moorlach’s challenger for re-election to the Senate, Assemblyman Don Wagner (R), has also endorsed Hammond.

Besides Lieutenant Governor Bustamante, Hammond’s endorsements also include the majority of Orange County’s State Senate delegation, State Assembly delegation, Board of Supervisors, and Countywide officeholders.

hammondkickoff

(In the interest of full disclosure, the consulting firm that owns OC Political ran Hammond’s successful 2012 bid for County Board of Education and is running his 2016 re-election bid.)

Posted in Orange County Board of Education | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Four Qualify for Special Election for North Orange County Community College District

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 16, 2015

Filing has closed for the North Orange County Community College District Special Election to fill the vacancy left when Area 3 Trustee Donna Miller (D) resigned on June 30 just seven months after being re-elected to a four-year term.  Miller had been on the Board for nearly 19 years.

Four people took out papers to run for the seat, and all four returned them and qualified for the ballot.  In alphabetical order, they are (with their party affiliation and ballot designation):

  • Daniel D. Billings (NPP), Contract Manager
  • Stephen T. Blount (R), Member, Cypress School District Board of Trustees
  • Steve Hwangbo (R), Orange County Businessman/Councilmember
  • Alan ‘Al’ Salehi (NPP), Trustee, Buena Park Library District

Exact ballot order will be determined by a lottery by the Secretary of State later this morning.

Daniel D. Billings

Married to a high school science teacher, Billings works for Southern California Edison. He was the appointee to the seat until Salehi overturned his appointment by petition.  A graduate of Fullerton College, he earned degrees from Whittier College and Azusa Pacific University; he also obtained a certificate at UCI.

Billings does not list any endorsements but does note his unanimous appointment by the NOCCCD Board.

Stephen T. Blount

A member of the Cypress School Board since 2010, Blount is a corporate controller.  He was a Democrat until 2014, when he reregistered as a Republican.  He was the Democrats’ nominee for the 67th Assembly District against Assemblyman Jim Silva (R) in 2008.  Holding a certificate from Cypress College, he earned degrees from Biola University and Azusa Pacific University.

He notes endorsements from Coast Community College District Trustee Jim Moreno (D) and Centralia School District Board President Steve Harris (NPP).  Oddly, he also notes endorsements from several appointed staff: Cypress School District Superintendent.  Normally, staff do not endorse in political races because of the neutral position their offices are supposed to hold.

Blount has endorsed Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva’s bid to unseat Republican Assemblywoman Young Kim.

Steve Hwangbo

A La Palma City Councilman since 2010, Hwangbo is a businessman and engineer.  He was the top vote-getter in his 2014 re-election, coming in more than 13% ahead of the second vote-getter.  A community college graduate, he earned a degree at UCLA before going on to USC.

A longtime Republican, he notes endorsements from Senator Bob Huff, Senator John Moorlach, Supervisor Shawn Nelson, and Supervisor Michelle Steel.

How This Special Election Got Started & Info on Alan ‘Al’ Salehi

NOCCCD Trustee Area 3 consists of the entire City of La Palma, most of the City of Buena Park, the City of Cypress north of Orange Avenue, and two portions of Anaheim (one north of Ball Road and west of Beach Boulevard; the other north of La Palma Avenue and west of Magnolia Avenue).

Five people applied to fill the vacancy in Trustee Area 3.  In four rounds of voting on August 25:

  • In the first round of voting, the trustees voted: 3 votes for George O’Hara (R), 2 votes for Daniel Billings (NPP), and 1 vote for Jon Hultman (R).
  • In the second and third rounds, George O’Hara and Daniel Billings each got 3 votes.
  • In the fourth round, the NOCCCD trustees voted to appoint Daniel Billings.

Billings was to hold the seat until November 2016, when the seat would be up for a two-year short-term election.  The seat would then resume a regular four-year term in the November 2018 election.

However, Salehi, who the trustees did not support, then used Education Code 5091 and hired petition circulators to get signatures from 1.5% of registered voters within 30 days of the appointment, which invalidated the appointment (removing Billings from office) and triggered a special election.  (1.5% of registered voters in NOCCCD Trustee Area 3 is 799 valid signatures.)

Salehi is a colorful figure:

  • Last month, the Orange County Register reported that the Orange County Registrar of Voters successfully sued Salehi for $4,248 for not paying for his candidate statement in 2014.
  • The Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot reported that Salehi pulled papers for Laguna Beach City Council and Laguna Beach Unified School District in 2010, but on the last day of filing, he registered to vote in Buena Park and filed to run for the Buena Park Library District, where he realized he would be unopposed, as the second candidate to file for two seats.
  • Salehi has made no fewer than 8 unsuccessful bids for elected office:
    • 1996: Laguna Beach Unified School District (winning 11% and coming in last)
    • 1998: Laguna Beach Unified School District (winning 5.7% and coming in sixth out of seven)
    • 2000: Laguna Beach Unified School District (winning 6.5% and coming in last)
    • 2004: Irvine Unified School District (winning 4.8% of the vote and coming in seventh out of eight)
    • 2010: United States Senate (winning 27% of the American Independent Party vote and coming in last in the AIP primary)
    • 2012: Buena Park City Council (winning 9.5% of the vote and coming in fourth out of eight)
    • 2014: United States Congress, 45th District (winning 2.6% of the vote and coming in last)
    • 2014: Buena Park City Council (winning 12.1% of the vote and coming in fourth out of eight)

Posted in North Orange County Community College District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

No Surprise with OC GOP Endorsements: Chang for Senate, Kim for Assembly, Do for Supervisor

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 2, 2015

The OC GOP Central Committee is convened in a special meeting tonight to consider early endorsements for Assemblyman Ling-Ling Chang for the 29th Senate District (being vacated by the termed out Bob Huff), Assemblywoman Young Kim for re-election in the 65th Assembly District, and Supervisor Andrew Do for re-election in the 1st Supervisorial District.

7:09 PM: Three new alternates were sworn in: J. Minton Brown (for Gene Hernandez), Ceci Iglesias (for Bob Huff), and Sara Catalan (for Ed Royce).

7:10 PM: Roll call began.

7:14 PM: Roll call was completed, and a quorum established.

7:15 PM: Chairman Fred Whitaker spoke about the OC GOP’s priorities in key State and County seats. County GOP endorsements are required before California Republican Party resources can help a candidate. In SD-29, that requires three county parties: Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino. In AD-65, it only requires Orange.

7:20 PM: Steve Sarkis moved and Lake Forest Mayor Scott Voigts seconded the endorsement of Supervisor Andrew Do’s re-election.

7:21 PM: Do spoke of his 43-vote victory over front runner Lou Correa earlier this year. He spoke of the importance of the OC GOP endorsement in the special election against Correa. He spoke of having an all-Republican Board of Supervisors. He spoke of his seat having a 12% Democratic registration advantage. He reminded the OC GOP of union expenditures from the special election. He spoke of his efforts for transparency, fiscal responsibility, and public safety.

7:25 PM: Whitaker asked if there were any questions.

7:26 PM: Supervisor Todd Spitzer praisee Supervisor Do as an excellent and honorable member of the Board of Supervisors.

7:27 PM: Lake Forest Mayor Scott Voigts called the question.

7:27 PM: Fountain Valley Councilman Mark McCurdy asked Do about his efforts on AB 109.

7:27 PM: Do said he works with Probation to keep track of trends and take action when there are spikes in crime in local areas.

7:28 PM: Allan Bartlett thanked Do for his efforts against redevelopment.

7:29 PM: Do endorsed unanimously 45-0.

7:30 PM: Whitaker reads a letter from Congressman Ed Royce that describes how she is an anti-tax, pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment Republican legislator.

7:31 PM: Young Kim thanks the OC GOP for its efforts last year to defeat Sharon Quirk-Silva and break the Democrats’ 2/3 supermajority in the State Assembly. She speaks of fighting against new taxes. She says she cast over 2,400 votes as an Assemblymember. She says she has a pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, and pro-taxpayer record. She says she has an
“A” rating from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. She says she helped stop $30 billion in tax increases. She notes she has to vote to represent her constituents. She warns she is the #1 target set, and Democrats have $16 million for Assembly seats across the State. She warns that Sharon Quirk-Silva has $350,000 cash on hand while Kim has $450,000 cash on hand. Kim spent $2.2 million in 2014 while Quirk-Silva spent $4.5 million.

7:37 PM: Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang asked when did Quirk-Silva began her campaign to unseat Kim.

7:38 PM: Kim stated that the day she was sworn in, the Speaker of the Assembly started seeking an Asian candidate to unseat Kim. In March, the Democrats gave up on finding an Asian challenger and backed a new bid by Quirk-Silva.

7:39 PM: McCurdy criticized Kim’s voting record on vaccinations, redevelopment, and civil asset forfeiture.

7:40 PM: Kim stated vaccinations were a very personal decision. Kim spoke of her daughter’s two brain surgeries and compromised immune system.

She stated on redevelopment, she expressed concern to the redevelopment bill’s author, Assemblyman Luis Alejo, on property rights and eminent domain. Alejo assured her he would fix those items. She voted for the bill based on Alejo’s promise to fix the bill. When the bill returned to the Assembly for a concurrence vote, she did not vote for it because the promise was not kept.

On asset forfeiture, she said she spoke to law enforcement in her district who stated the asset forfeiture bill would make it more difficult for law enforcement to fight crime.

7:44 PM: Alexandria Coronado says she received 26 emails in opposition to Kim on redevelopment and vaccinations. She stated the running theme on the emails was that she was not responsive to their concerns.

7:45 PM: Kim explained that she had scheduled a meeting with the group in question but ran into conflict with the legislative busy period. She tried to reschedule, but the bill vote occurred before this rescheduled meeting could take place during the very rapid end-of-session period when she was required to be in Sacramento and could not get down to the district. She offered to meet with them now and left voicemails with them. 

7:48 PM: Someone named Mike Glenn asked about civil forfeiture and redevelopment.

7:48 PM: Kim explained law enforcement’s needs on civil forfeiture. She reiterated she did not support the redevelopment bill when it returned to the Assembly for a concurrence vote.

7:50 PM: Ed Gunderson asked Kim why she supported the LGBT Pride Month resolution.

7:51 PM: Kim stated the resolution, which did not have the force of law, recognized the contributions of all people, including LGBT individuals. She noted the California Republican Party’s chartering of the Log Cabin Republicans. She stated she voted for tolerance and inclusiveness.

7:52 PM: Allan Bartlett asked about asset forfeiture.

7:53 PM: Kim stated she voted her conscience in the interests of her district.

7:54 PM: Sara Catalan moves and Steve Sarkis seconds an endorsement fof Kim.

7:55 PM: Stanton Councilman David Shawver supported Kim, speaking of how hardworking Kim is. He spoke of the party’s resources, including time, manpower, and money, spent to keep the 65th Assembly District seat. He calls for the party to unify behind Kim to keep the seat. He said she has repeatedly and consistently been a fixture in the district.

7:58 PM: Zonya Townsend proposed delaying Kim’s early endorsement, citing her vote on SB 277, the vaccination bill, preferring a later endorsement. She stated many Democrats left their party over SB 277. Townsend argued the OC GOP resolution was contrary to Kim’s position. She criticized Kim for speaking on the Assembly Floor in favor of SB 277.

8:00 PM: Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang spoke of Kim being the only candidate who could defeat Quirk-Silva. She warned that Quirk-Silva is everywhere and that Quirk-Silva would be a far, far worse vote in the Assembly. She plead for people to look at the bigger picture. She warned that Democrats would spend millions in a presidential election year to capture the 65th Assembly District seat.

8:02 PM: Mike Glenn stated property rights are important. He said law enforcement should not take people’s assets, their property. He stated people should have the right to do what they want with their own body, and cited the vaccination bill. He said eminent domain threatens property rights. He stated he wanted to delay Kim’s endorsement, not oppose it.

8:04 PM: Assemblyman Matt Harper warned that Quirk-Silva is a hard worker who believes she is a little Loretta Sanchez. He called Quirk-Silva a true believer in liberalism. Harper stated Kim is one of the most capable members of articulating conservative positions making liberals wince. Harper stated people are quibbling with literally just a handful of votes.

8:06 PM: Zonya Townsend raised a point of parliamentary inquiry about delaying Kim’s endorsement instead of opposing.

8:07 PM: Supervisor Todd Spitzer raised a point of inquiry about what would a delay accomplish.

8:08 PM: Ed Gunderson said he agreed with Kim on 80%-90% of issues. Gunderson attacked the California Republican Party’s decision to charter the Log Cabin Republicans. He stated his concern of Kim contacting law enforcement on the civil forfeiture bill. He criticized her vaccination vote.

8:10 PM: Lake Forest Mayor Scott Voigts made a point of inquiry noting that 5 votes out of 2,400 means 99.9% of her votes are not being criticized.

8:11 PM: Kim overwhelmingly endorsed for re-election with 43 votes.

8:13 PM: Whitaker described the 29th Senate District, including Democrats moving Sukhee Kang from Irvine to run for the seat.

8:15 PM: Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang spoke of giving up a safe Republican Assembly seat to run for a target Senate seat. She spoke of having reduced legislative tenure under the new term limits by switching houses. She spoke of her conservative record in Sacramento.

8:17 PM: McCurdy asked Chang about her votes on redevelopment and civil asset forfeiture. He asked if she endorsed or contributed to Democrats or if she is pro-life.

8:18 PM: Chang pointed out she voted against the redevelopment bill on concurrence. She stated that due process was still in place on civil asset forfeiture. She stayed she has never endorsed a Democrat in a partisan race and that she is personally pro-life.

8:19 PM: Zonya Townsend asked Chang’s position on abortion and Planned Parenthood.

8:20 PM: Chang reiterated she is personally pro-life, and there are no Assembly votes on funding Planned Parenthood.

8:21 PM: Steve Sarkis moved and Stanton Councilman David Shawver seconded an endorsement for Chang.

8:22 PM: No opposition speakers rise.

8:22 PM: Chang endorsed by voice vote with only McCurdy in opposition.

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District, 29th Senate District, 55th Assembly District, 65th Assembly District, Republican Central Committee | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Education Revolution in Orange County: Part II of III – Parent Trigger Law and Palm Lane Elementary

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 30, 2015

Anaheim City School DistrictLast week, I began my three-part series on the education revolution brewing in Orange County with a post on the rapid increase in the number of charter schools in the county after years of stagnation.

In this second post, I will turn to the use of the Parent Trigger Law at Palm Lane Elementary School in the Anaheim City School District.  My colleague, Craig Alexander, was the first person to break the news when he posted here on OC Political that Superior Court Judge Andrew Banks had ruled in favor of the parents in Ochoa vs. Anaheim City School District when Palm Lane Elementary School families used the Parent Trigger Law to petition for a public charter school.

This is a watershed moment in Orange County education.  Should the judge’s ruling stand, this will be the first successful use of the Parent Trigger Law in Orange County and one of just a handful in California.

Utilizing the Parent Trigger Law allows parents of students in failing schools to take back control of their schools like never before.  For many parents in lower-income areas that have been traditionally pro-union, using the Parent Trigger Law exposes them to the first time to the hostility of the California Teachers Association and the California School Employees Association ̣(and their local chapters, of course).  This is an eye-opening experience that causes many of these parents to turn against these unions that are impeding their efforts to improve their children’s education.

It is no surprise that Anaheim City School District administration are opposed to the use of the Parent Trigger Law because it is essentially an indictment of their failures at Palm Lane Elementary School.  Furthermore, the conversion of Palm Lane Elementary into a charter school weakens the Anaheim City School District administration’s control of the school (and its funding).

Four of the five Anaheim City School District trustees are in their first term on the school board, so they could hardly blamed for the failures at Palm Lane Elementary School, and when the petitions were submitted to the school district, two of the trustees had been in office less than six weeks while a third trustee had not yet even been seated.

Disappointingly, the Anaheim City School District trustees voted unanimously to appeal the judge’s ruling.  Not one trustee stepped back and asked themselves one basic question: “What is so horrible about a public charter school that I’m willing to spend an additional $600,000 to stop one at Palm Lane Elementary?”

The Anaheim City School District contends that only 48.43% of Palm Lane Elementary School parents provided valid signatures for the petition.  The Superior Court found at least 51.57% of signatures were valid, but the judge stopped counting at this point because it was clearly above the 50% threshold.

Even accepting the school district’s lower number, at what point do the Anaheim City School District administration and trustees take another step back and simply say, “Wow.  48% of parents at Palm Lane are so upset that they want to convert it into a public charter school.”  That’s not to say that the other 52% oppose a charter school; they simply did not sign the petition (if we use the school district’s numbers).

So, we now await the Court of Appeal, as the Anaheim City School District continues their battle against the parents of Palm Lane Elementary School.

In the second half of this post, I have excerpted four of the most stunning sections of the ruling by the judge.  The two longer excerpts give a glimpse into the truly offensive way in which the Anaheim City School District has handled this process.

What is the Parent Trigger Law?

Readers familiar with the Parent Trigger Law can skip down to the next section on the scathing court ruling.

In a nutshell, the Parent Trigger Law authorizes parents to petition for one of five types of reforms at their children’s school.  The school must meet legal definitions for a low-performing school for the petition to be valid.  A majority of parents must sign the petition in order to for one of the reforms to be implemented.  Yes, a majority of parents at the school must sign the petition.  This is a very high petition threshold. (Contrast that with ballot measures, a certain percentage far below a majority [varying from 5%-20% depending on the type/jurisdiction of measure] is needed to qualify a measure for an election, and most types of ballot measures pass with a majority vote.  Getting a majority to sign your petition is a much more challenging task than getting a majority to cast their ballots for your proposal.)

One of the five options for reform is launching a public charter school, and that is the route that Palm Lane Elementary School parents opted for in their petition to the Anaheim City School District.

The Parent Trigger Law was passed in 2010 by a bipartisan coalition of Sacramento lawmakers, and I don’t mean that a couple renegades from one party hopped on board with the other party to pass it.  This was authored by former Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero ̣̣(D-East Los Angeles) and Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff (R-San Dimas).  In the Senate, 12 Republicans and 11 Democrats formed the group of 23 Senators who voted to pass the bill; in the Assembly, it was 25 Republicans and 16 Democrats.  These weren’t rogue Democrats who joined the Republicans — this included the Democrats’ top leaders: then-Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, then-Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, and future Assembly Speaker John Perez.

Truly Scathing Court Ruling in Ochoa v. Anaheim City School District

After reading the full text of the judge’s decision that Craig posted, I am amazed that no one has quoted more extensively from it.  In the published sources I’ve seen, the quotes have been limited to the judge’s findings that the Anaheim City School District’s petition “rejection to be procedurally unfair, unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious” and regarding petition verification: “The deficiencies in the process used were substantial; so substantial that it made it an unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious and unfair process.”  (Craig in his original post also quoted “Clearly, the Respondents [the District] did not meet their obligations of good faith cooperation with respect to this issue and as mandated by the Act.”)

I am amazed no one has published more excerpts of the truly scathing court ruling.  As I read the full text of the ruling, I was actually angered and offended by the Anaheim City School District’s behavior.  Below are the four most stunning excerpts, and the two longer ones describe the repugnant fashion in which the Anaheim City School District conducted itself with regard to the petition.  In the court ruling, references to the “respondent” mean the Anaheim City School District while references to the “petitioners” mean the parents suing the school district in defense of the Parent Trigger petition.

Judge Banks noted about the school in question, “This proceeding involves parents of students at Palm Lane Elementary, a school whose performance over 10 of the last 11 years as measured by the legislatively imposed standards can be described as abysmal.”

The Anaheim City School District attempted to argue that the Court lacked jurisdiction because the parents had not completed all administrative remedies since the district had not rejected the petition. This is ludicrous because even the minutes of the school board meeting note that the motion was “to reject the Petition” of the Palm Lane parents. The Court described the school district’s brazen argument as:

The Respondent Board rejected the Petition in Exhibit 16…In the section “Action” the last sentence in relevant part reads “Accordingly the Petition…is rejected.”

Respondents sought to characterize the rejection as something less, arguing in the trial brief and at trial that the action of February 19th was not a final determination on the Petition (Respondent’s Trial Brief at page 1, lines 17-23 and page 25 lines 3-5). They presented their case in part on the theory that the Petition was returned as allowed under 5 CCR Section 4802.1(g)(j) and not rejected.  The language used by the District’s Board plainly says otherwise.  They rejected the Petition they did not return it.

The Respondents also argue that this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear this matter as well as to grant relief because the Petition was not rejected but only returned and therefore Petitioners have failed to exhaust their administrative remedies.  This argument fails because the Respondents rejected the Petition.

I find the rejection to be procedurally unfair, unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.

The school district attempted to argue that Palm Lane did not fit the criteria of a low-performing school for purposes of the Parent Trigger Law, relying on a truly bizarre rationale that the state Department of Education did not issue a 2014 adequate yearly progress report, so Palm Lane could not have “failed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP).”  The Court wrote:

The Respondents [sic] own internal communications admit to the fact that Palm Lane is a subject school subject to the [Parent Trigger] Act and has failed to make AYP.  Exhibits 29, 31, 32,67 and 80 are just some of those communications.

The reliance of the Respondents upon Exhibit 47 and the determination by State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Honorable Tom Torlakson, that no 2014 AYP report for elementary and other schools would be prepared by the California Department of Education did not provide a safe harbor against parents utilizing the Act as the Respondents argue.  Instead, it froze those schools and districts in their status based on prior measured AYP results.  The evidence clearly establishes that Palm Lane failed to make adequate yearly progress.  I therefore find that Palm Lane is a subject school under the Act.

In the Anaheim City School District’s rejection of the Parent Trigger petition, their findings noted that “The Petitioners failed to submit a separate document that identifies the lead petitioners.” The judge rips the school district to shreds for attempting to use this argument:

The evidence on the “lead petitioner list” issue was directly contradictory.  The Petitioners said they provided it when they delivered the signed petitions to the District at the District’s Office on January 14, 2015.  The Respondents said they never got it.  After considering all the evidence I resolve this issue in favor of the Petitioners.  In particular, I find the testimony of Alfonso Flores to be persuasive and he to be the most credible witness on this issue, and probably in the entire case.

I would be remiss however if I left the issue there.  The behavior of the Respondents [sic] personnel in doing absolutely nothing to determine who the lead petitioners were can not go without comment.  Wisely or not, the Act requires the Local Educational Agency (LEA) to work with the lead parent petitioners in the process.  In practical terms it means the Districts must cooperate and work together with the very people who seek to take from the District a school (and its funding etc) and to establish in its place a charter school.  No clearer repudiation of a school district’s performance could be imagined.

I find that the Respondents’ claimed ignorance of the identity of the lead parents and ignorance as to how to learn their identity (feigned and contrived ignorance in the Court’s view) is unreasonable.  They could have looked at the “sign in sheet” for January 14th when the petitions were delivered to see which parents were there – but they did not.  They could have called the name and phone number of the person listed on most of the petitions; which information was listed after the words:

“For more information, all interested persons, the school district, and others should contact:” (emphasis added)

[Name and number omitted by the Court]

And if that was not enough, immediately below the name and phone number of the contact person were the words:

“Supporting organizations”

with the name of two supporting organizations, one of which is headed by Senator Romero, with whom the evidence showed the Respondents were well acquainted.

Any of those acts would have been what a reasonable person would have done and what a reasonable process would have called for.  Instead, they manufactured a continuing state of ignorance as to the lead person identities.

Finally, and not to beat a dead horse, Senator Romero herself wrote to the Respondents and offered to put them in touch with and coordinate between the District and the lead parents (Exhibit 49, page TX 049-003 to 006).  Respondents never responded to her offer.

On July 2, 2015 while testifying before the Court the District Superintendent testified that even on that day she still did not know who the lead petitioners were.  The evidence established that Exhibit 97 (list of petitioning parents, i.e. lead petitioners) was again provided shortly after the District findings were announced on February 19, 2015.  How she could not know the identities is troubling.

Clearly, the Respondents did not meet their obligations of good faith cooperation with respect to this issue and as mandated by the Act.

The Court found the petition signature verification process to be”unreasonable, unfair and incomplete” and with just a few phone calls, the judge himself was able to confirm enough signatures to easily exceed the 50% threshold for the Parent Trigger petition.  Judge Banks brutally dissects the signature verification process:

Under the [Parent Trigger] Act and its related regulations, the Respondents as an LEA may verify signatures on petitions, but they are not required to do so; and if they undertake to do so their efforts must be reasonable. 5 CCR § 4802.1 (b).

I find that the process set up and utilized by Respondents was unreasonable, unfair and incomplete.

The process was developed by a temporary employee (Evelyn Gutierrez) who was given no training or education about the Act, the Regulations or the importance of what she was being asked to do.  She had no background, training or experience in handwriting analysis or comparison.  She was not supervised in any meaningful regard. She received no written procedures to follow.  She had to develop the script she used when calling parents phone numbers.  The deficiencies in the process used were substantial; so substantial that it made it an unreasonable, arbitrary, caprcious [sic] and unfair process.  In fairness it must be noted that Ms. Gutierrez did her best in the situation into which she was placed.

The result of this defective process was that valid signed petitions were not counted.  Ms. Gutierrez testified to several petitions she rejected that on reflection should have been determined valid.  In addition she testified that a number of petitions were placed by her in a “pending” status because she could not reach the parent signatory or for some other reason.  Someone, not Ms. Gutierrez, later decided to improperly classify those petitions as invalid.

A brief description of the signature verification process is in order.  Ms. Gutierrez would call the phone number twice to try and reach a parent signatory.  She called between approximated [sic] 8:30AM and 4:30PM. If she could not reach the person, she would put them in “pending”.  If she reached the parent she inquired about their signing the petition.  Calling only during normal working hours for the parents decreased the probability of making contact.

Some persons reached by phone said they had signed; others said their spouse signed; others said they could not recall if they signed and finally some denied they had signed.

Some children had separate petitions signed by each parent.  If the first petition signature could not be verified there was no attempt to look at the other signed petition to verify the accuracy of the signature on that petition.

In sum, there are numerous deficiencies in the process.  The result of the flawed process was that valid signatures sufficient to reach and exceed the 50% threshold were improperly excluded.

In the interest of brevity I attach and include a list of 29 students and parents utilized in argument and entitled “Improperly Invalidated Petitions (Child/Parent)”.  I have independently evaluated the evidence relating to some but not all of the 29, stopping once a total of 23 additional valid signed petitions were established.  Inasmuch as the Respondents determined and found the Petitioners were 12 valid petitions short there is no need to go further.  The Petitioners needed 367, the Court finds they presented a minimum of 378.  Using the aforementioned chart, the Court determines the following numbers referenced thereon were valid petitions: 1 – 7; 9; 13 -24; 27 -29.  The Court does not reach items 25 and 26.

The Anaheim City School District has much to answer for about the reprehensible way they handled this process.

Key Question for Anaheim City School District Trustees

To reiterate my point from earlier: each Trustee should take a look in the mirror, and then, each should ask and answer this question:

“What is so horrible about a public charter school that I’m willing to spend an additional $600,000 to stop one at Palm Lane Elementary?”

Posted in Anaheim City School District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

No Run-Off, Swearing-In Scheduled: Senator-Elect Moorlach’s Lead Shrinks by Another 25 Votes, But Registrar Virtually Done Counting

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 20, 2015

California State Senator-Elect John M. W. Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)

California State Senator-Elect
John M. W. Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)

The sixth results (yesterday’s count) are in, and the Registrar of Voters actually finished counting all ballots in their possession.  The only remaining ballots are SB 29 ballots that will arrive in the mail today.

2,672 SB 29 ballots were counted, with 2,440 of those arriving on Wednesday and 232 arriving yesterday.  Only a tiny number of SB 29 ballots are expected to arrive today.

This sixth update has the penultimate results, as the seventh update tonight will be the final numbers from the Registrar of Voters:

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Completed Precincts: 248 of 248
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 38,111 50.3%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 33,403 44.1%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 2,619 3.5%
Louise Stewardson (W) 1,695 2.2%

 

Moorlach gained 1,718 votes, Wagner 1,533, Namazi 129, and Stewardson 106.  In other words, Moorlach gained 1,718 of the newly-counted votes (49.3%) while the rest of the field gained 1,768 of the newly-counted votes (50.7%).

Moorlach was ahead of 50% by 247 votes for the last Election Night count, which shrunk by 25 down to 222 votes after Wednesday’s count, and that lead shrunk by another 25 votes, still leaving Moorlach 197 votes above the 50% mark.  I project that the remaining SB 29 ballots left are far, far fewer than 197; I’ll go out on a limb and say there’s probably less than 10 of those ballots out there.

Based on the Election Night returns and trends, OC Political was the first place to call the election in print when we did so on Election Night at 10:31 PM, and we stood by the call even as a number of other places said late ballots would trend away from Moorlach.

Senator Sharon Runner was sworn in yesterday in the State Capitol after winning the SD-21 special election, which was held the same day as the SD-37 special election.  Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff had invited Senator-Elect John Moorlach to be sworn in on the same day, but Moorlach opted to wait and will also take the oath of office in the district.  He plans to be sworn in on Sunday at 4:00 PM in the Chapel at the Orange County Rescue Mission’s Village of Hope at 1 Hope Drive in Tustin.

Posted in 37th Senate District | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »