OC Political

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

Posts Tagged ‘George Runner’

BOE: Cavecche & Bilodeau Exploring Candidacies

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 12, 2018

Carolyn Cavecche & Denis Bilodeau

Carolyn Cavecche and Denis Bilodeau

With Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) ending her BOE re-election bid in order to run for the 49th Congressional District seat after Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) announced his decision not to seek re-election, former and current elected officials across Orange, San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial Counties are contemplating whether to launch bids to replace Harkey in the massive BOE district that covers 1/4 of California’s population.

Multiple sources inform OC Political that Orange County Taxpayers Association President and CEO Carolyn Cavecche (R-Orange) is examining whether she will launch a bid for BOE, the nation’s only elected tax board, since Harkey switched to CD-49.  Cavecche previously won a 2001 special election and 2002 regular election to the Orange City Council and then won three elections for Mayor of Orange in 2006, 2008, and 2010, terming out as Mayor in 2012.  Cavecche would bring a formidable ballot designation of “Taxpayer Association President,” “Taxpayer Association CEO,” or “Taxpayer Advocate.”  Harkey used “Taxpayer Advocate/Assemblywoman” as her ballot designation and defeated former Assemblymembers Van Tran and Shirley Horton.  My long-ago former employer, George Runner, won a hotly-contested BOE race in 2010 with a 10% margin of victory, using “Senator/Taxpayer Advocate” as his ballot designation, defeating Acting Equalization Board Member (and former Assemblywoman) Barbara Alby and former Assemblyman Alan Nakanishi.

Sources have also stated that Orange County Water District Board Member Denis Bilodeau (R-Orange) is pursuing a slate mailer strategy for the BOE race since Harkey switched to CD-49.  Bilodeau won two elections to the Orange City Council in 2006 and 2010, terming out of the Council in 2014.  He also won five elections to represent Orange, Villa Park, and portions of Tustin on the water board in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016.  Bilodeau is also Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson’s Chief of Staff.  Bilodeau is reportedly making slate reservations for BOE, following the strategy that put Businessman/Corporate Controller Claude Parrish into the BOE seat in 1998.  Both of his successors, Michelle Steel and Diane Harkey, also used an aggressive slate strategy.

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.

The four most recent people to have held this seat and their current positions are:

Harkey and Steel used the combined ballot designation and slates strategy to win the seat. In 2014, Harkey bought up most of the slates and used a ballot designation of “Taxpayer Advocate/Assemblywoman” to defeat former Assemblymembers Van Tran and Shirley Horton after forcing Senator Mark Wyland out of the race.  In 2006, Steel used a ballot designation of “Equalization Boardmember’s Deputy” and bought up most of the slates to defeat Assemblyman Ray Haynes.

With Cavecche holding down the best ballot designation, if Bilodeau does hoover up all the slates, this will be the most closely-contested BOE race since 1998.  Lacking a great ballot designation in 1998, Parrish bought up every possible slate to defeat the formidable ballot designation of “Equalization Boardmember’s Deputy” Craig Wilson.  Parrish beat Wilson by a tiny margin of 0.7%.

Posted in Board of Equalization, Orange, Orange County Water District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

California Republican Party Adopts County-Centric Endorsement Procedure for Primary Elections

Posted by Chris Nguyen on October 6, 2013

CAGOPThis morning, delegates at the California Republican Party (CRP) Convention in Anaheim voted to adopt the County-centric endorsement procedure for primary elections proposed by Mike Spence and Deborah Wilder, with the adoption of amendments incorporating portions of the Adam Abrahms procedure.  (See the original proposals in OC Political’s Friday report on the convention.)  These endorsement procedures apply to partisan offices (i.e. federal and state offices, but not local offices).

Under the new rules, for races for the U.S. House of Representatives, the State Senate, and the State Assembly, any Republican who is the sole Republican on the ballot is automatically endorsed by the California Republican Party, but if there is more than one Republican on the ballot, the following will apply:

  1. With at least five days’ notice, a meeting will be held with all Republican candidates in the affected race will appear before a County Central Committee, and that County Central Committee will vote to endorse a candidate by a 2/3 vote.
  2. If each County Central Committee that has at least 5% of the registered Republicans who can vote on a race endorses the same candidate, then the State Board of Directors may be a 2/3 vote endorse that candidate on behalf of the California Republican Party.  Any one County Central Committee that has at least 5% of the registered Republicans who can vote on the race may issue a veto by making an explicit 2/3 vote of “No Endorsement” in that race.

At the urging of Board of Equalization Member George Runner, the above procedure was applied to Board of Equalization endorsements except the endorsement votes from County Central Committees representing 95% of registered Republicans in the BOE district (instead of County Central Committee that has at least 5% of the registered Republicans who can vote on that race since in vast BOE districts, there are numerous County Central Committee that do not have at least 5% of the registered Republicans since there are dozens of counties in many BOE seats).

Jon Fleischman’s proposal to adopt a fusion of CRP delegates and County Central Committee members vote on endorsing statewide candidates was tabled.

In other convention news, Tony Krvaric of San Diego was re-elected to a two-year term as Vice Chair for the South Region (Orange, San Diego, and Imperial Counties).  Adam Abrahms of Santa Monica was re-elected as Vice Chair for Los Angeles County, and Adele Harrison of Temecula was re-elected Vice Chair for the Inland Empire (Riverside, San Bernardino, Inyo, and Mono Counties), .

Aaron Ginn of San Francisco defeated Liz Kolstad of Fresno for the Associate Representative position, also a two-year term. This position is unique among Board of Director positions, as only the Associate Delegates can vote for this position.  All other positions are elected by the regular Delegates.  (For those less familiar with the state party structure, Associate Delegates are effectively alternates to the voting members.  While there are specific formulas for the number of Delegates that can exist, there is no limit on the number of Associate Delegates.)

Posted in California | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New California Tax Policy – Retroactive Tax for Five Years WITH Interest

Posted by Cicero on March 26, 2013

Despite unanimous opposition from newspapers up and down the state, the Franchise Tax Board continues to stick by its decision to retroactively tax small businesses owners back five years for investing in California businesses. These are the people who are creating jobs and California is literally chasing them away.

One group of individuals is taking stand against the policy though – California Business Defense. The group will meet in San Diego next week and is specifically looking for more individuals who will be directly impacted by the policy. More information on the group and the status briefing in San Diego is available on the group’s website at www.cabusinessdefense.org.

Since 1993, small business owners and investors have been able to take advantage of a tax incentive that California actively promoted. The policy allowed stockholders who sold their share in a California business to reduce their tax liability by up to 50 percent or even 100 percent if the money from the sale was reinvested in a California business. The policy basically made it attractive for entrepreneurs to invest in small businesses and create jobs because it significantly reduced the tax liability for doing so.

Now though a court decided that this policy violated the commerce clause in the Constitution because it discriminates against out of state businesses. The FTB decided to embrace the court’s decision by retroactively taxing all the small business owners and investors who took advantage of the policy for the last five years. And not only that, but charge the tax WITH interest! The horrendous policy is expected to earn the state an easy $120 million.

But stop to think about what California is doing and the significance of what it means it could do in the future. These investors did exactly what they were asked to do by risking their own capital and investing in businesses in California. California promoted the tax break because it meant people were creating jobs and more people working. After receiving that benefit for two decades, California now wants to retroactively tax the very people that made the job growth possible. Some of those investments worked out and some of them did not but the FTB does not care and the tax will apply to all individuals even if they lost everything taking a risk to create jobs for California.

This policy has is so shocking that it has made national headlines on Fox News and Fortune, but the FTB stands by the decision. It has been likened to California changing the speed limit back down to 55 mph on highways, and then sending speeding tickets to everyone who drove over 55 for the last five years. That is exactly what is happening, and this decision by the FTB is the tipping point for many individuals, who can no longer justify the expense and risk of doing business in California. What message does it send to people considering starting a business if California can decide years down the road to penalize them for doing so?

Fortunately, Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo and Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance have stepped up in a bi-partisan effort to right the wrongs of the FTB. SB 209 would prohibit the state from charging interest and penalties in similar situations in the future.

At least one member of the FTB recognizes that this is a bad policy. In a letter to State Controller John Chiang, Board of Equalization Chairman Jerome E. Horton, and Director of Finance Ana J. Matosantos, Board Member George Runner urged them to reverse their decision to implement the policy. Despite the missive, no response has been seen from any of them.

California doesn’t need more laws to correct this policy. It needs needs policy makers with common sense. And this is another unfortunate example of exactly what is wrong with this great state.

 

 

Posted in Board of Equalization | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Former Cypress Councilwoman’s Husband Files for Council Seat

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 23, 2012

Lydia Sondhi

Former Cypress City Councilwoman Lydia Sondhi

Cypress City Council Candidate Jay Sondhi

Lydia Sondhi (R-Cypress) served on her City Council from 1998 until terming out in 2006.  Councilmen Phil Luebben and Todd Seymore are termed out this year, creating the first open seats on the Cypress Council since Sondhi, Frank McCoy, and Mike McGill all termed out in 2006.

Sondhi’s husband, Jay Sondhi, pulled papers for Council on the first day papers could be pulled, Monday, July 16, and then filed them on Friday, July 20.

The Law Offices of Jay Sondhi are located in Cypress. Sondhi graduated from the University of Missouri Law School and was admitted to the California Bar in 1986.  He was a corporate attorney who spent two decades in insurance.  He’s now a legal consultant for insurance companies.  Sondhi is a Cypress Chamber Board Member, the Treasurer of the Cypress Police Foundation, the President-Elect of the Cypress Kiwanis, and a former President of the Cypress Boys & Girls Club.

Lydia Sondhi was Mayor Pro Tem of Cypress in 2001 and Mayor in both 2002 and 2006.  (She was on the Cypress Council during the City’s effort to seize land owned by Cottonwood Church to give to Costco, but she did not vote on the issue due to a conflict of interest from her home’s proximity to the land in question.)  She came in third out of ten candidates for three council seats when Frank McCoy, Mike McGill, and she all won their first council terms in 1998 (future Councilman Todd Seymore came in ninth out of ten).  She came in third out of eight candidates for three council seats when McGill, McCoy, and she were all re-elected in 2002.  She has been a Professor of Consumer Affairs at California State University Long Beach since 1986 and previously served on the executive board of the California Faculty Association, the CSU professors’ union.

It looks like Sondhi will be downplaying his wife’s prior council tenure during the campaign, as the press release announcing his candidacy only made this brief half-sentence mention of his wife: “Jay Sondhi is married to Lydia Sondhi and has lived in Cypress for 26 years.”

Sondhi likely realizes Orange Countians aren’t exactly keen about electing spouses of living elected officials:

  • In 2010, Sandra Crandall didn’t even mention her husband’s name in her campaign biography in her successful bid for the Fountain Valley School Board.  Her husband, Larry, has been on the Fountain Valley City Council since 1998 and was on the school board from 1990-1998.
  • In 2009, Linda Ackerman made an unsuccessful bid for the State Assembly.  The press coverage of that race repeatedly mentioned her husband, former Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman.
  • In 2006, Dianne Harman made an unsuccessful bid for the State Assembly.  The press coverage of that race repeatedly mentioned that the incumbent, Tom Harman, was her husband.
  • In 2004, Gayle Pacheco made an unsuccessful bid for the State Assembly.  Bob Huff came in first in all three counties but Pacheco came in third in Orange County while coming in second in both Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties.  (Villa Park Councilman Bill MacAloney came in second in Orange County and third in the other two.)  Her campaign’s press releases repeatedly mentioned that the incumbent, Bob Pacheco, was her husband.
  • In 1980, Beverly Nestande made an unsuccessful bid for the State Assembly seat vacated by her husband, Bruce, when he won a seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

(Widows and widowers are rarely tested, as relatively few Orange County officials have died in office in seats where special elections were held to fill the vacancies; OC’s dead elected officials have generally held offices where vacancies are filled by appointment.)

While a number of political spouses have been successful in California politics (George and Sharon Runner, Tony and Audra Strickland, Judy Chu and Mike Eng, and Ted and Beth Gaines), few have been successful in Orange County.

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