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Posts Tagged ‘Kim Bernice Nguyen’

Live from the 1st Supervisorial District Debate

Posted by Chris Nguyen on February 20, 2020

We are live from the 1st Supervisorial District Debate, hosted by Resilience Orange County (a youth nonprofit) and Latino Health Access, and moderated by Voice of OC Publisher Norberto Santana.

Participating in the debate are:

It is nice that for once, an organization called their event a debate, rather than a candidate forum.

7:19 PM: The debate is called to order, with representatives of Resilience Orange County and Latino Health Access welcoming the audience. They note they are 501(c)(3)s and cannot endorse any candidates. They also promote participating in the 2020 U.S. Census. They discuss the new Vote Center model. Resilience Orange County announces a plan to alert people of ICE is present in the streets of Santa Ana.

7:24 PM: Santana is introduced. He explains the debate will be a bit of an open forum. Homelessness, open space, ICE coordination, health care, the County budget, and the County jail/law enforcement will be the main topics.

While there is a nameplate for Do, he does not appear to be here.

7:26 PM: Santana asks what funding priorities in the County budget each candidate has.

Nguyen criticizes the cuts for public health that she says were used to fund $151 million in pay increases for Sheriff’s deputies. She calls for an external auditor to find ways to save money in the County budget.

Contreras says he would spend mental health and housing money rather than hoarding it. He wants to work with cities on housing. He wants to invest in workforce investment to prepare the workforce for growing industries, like health care and IT.

Pulido says the County fears controversy, which then causes the 1st District to suffer. He notes that criminals are arrested in other supervisorial districts and then simply released into the 1st District. He calls on mental health care services be offered in other districts, not centralized in the 1st District because he argues that there has not been strong representation for the 1st District on the Board of Supervisors.

7:30 PM: Santana apologizes for skipping opening statements.

Nguyen is a 28-year-old daughter of a Vietnamese refugee and a Mexican immigrant. She has lived in OC since the age of 10. She discusses her college degree. She has been working on Medi-Cal for the past 7 years. She is the youngest and first Latina on the Garden Grove City Council.

Contreras was born and raised in OC, as the son of an immigrant janitor. He worked as Disneyland for 10 years liked his father. He discusses his college degree. He discusses representing the diverse city of Westminster.

Pulido was born in Mexico City and came to the U.S. at the age of 5, speaking only Spanish. He took the bus to school. He went to school not knowing English but eventually learned. He discusses his college degree. He ran for Council when the City of Santa Ana threatened his family’s muffler shop, quipping, “I fought City Hall. I beat City Hall. I became City Hall.” He notes his record as Mayor.

Santana explains Do was invited but could not attend.

7:35 PM: Audience question states there were $151 million in Sheriff’s deputy raises with $110 million coming from the General Fund. He says $39 million was cut from the health care budget and $59 million added to the Sheriff’s department. He asks if the candidates would have supported this.

Contreras calls for increased funding for health care and social services. He calls for getting more money from Sacramento and spend more of CalOptima’s money on public health.

Nguyen blasts Contreras’s CalOptima plan, noting she had worked there, and the money is restricted by state and federal sources. She says the money Contreras is citing are restricted for one-time grants for nonprofit groups.

Pulido worked with Judge Carter on homeless services. He argues CalOptima should be more aggressive in assisting the homeless. He notes two Supervisors sit on the CalOptima Board and the Supervisors appoint the rest of the CalOptima Board. He notes what cities have done with the homeless. Pulido wants Sheriff’s deputy pay to be competitive but not at the expense of public health. He wants the unfunded liability to be refinanced and stabilized.

7:41 PM: Santana asks about the Sheriff cooperating with ICE.

Pulido opposes the Trump Administration’s targeting sanctuary cities. He worked with Congressman Correa to literally get people off ICE vans. He notes Santa Ana is a sanctuary city. He argues Santa Ana has a low crime rate due to trust from the community.

Contreras says the County has enough work to do that it shouldn’t be doing the federal government’s job. He wants more community policing.

Nguyen’s mother’s green card expired today. They are trying to figure out how to keep her here. She says she would drop the lawsuit against SB 54 [the Sanctuary State law]. She demands more rigorous Truth Act forums on immigration, calling the existing format “BS.”

7:45 PM: The Resilience OC Executive Director asks if they support Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s bill banning local government transfers to ICE

Contreras would sign on.

Pulido would sign on and would support hiring lawyers to assist potential deportees at hearings.

Nguyen says her stance is clear.

7:47 PM: Santana notes the Sheriff is independently elected, so what would the candidates do to “confront” him?

Nguyen would fill the Office of Independent Review and institute an Oversight Committee on immigration and jails. She would call for an external audit of the Sheriff’s department.

Contreras notes the Board controls the budget and can use the power of the purse.

Pulido agrees with the power of the purse. He says not funding overtime or other activities would restrict them. He says he wishes Nguyen, Contreras, and Pulido could be on the Board of Supervisors together. He speaks about Santa Ana’s lawsuit against cities sending criminals to Santa Ana that the Sheriff to see the precedent and stop doing that as well.

7:51 PM: Santana asks about homelessness and housing.

Nguyen says she is neither rich nor poor. She rents an expensive apartment, has student loans, and just paid off her car. She says Garden Grove has made good progress on issuing Section 8 vouchers and tenant housing assistance but still need to do more. She calls for wraparound services in addition to housing solutions.

Contreras speaks of living in one-bedroom multigenerational housing as a child. He speaks of updating Westminster’s general plan. They’ve built 150 affordable housing units and could build more if there were County support. He notes the average resident needs to make $31 per hour to afford housing. He says permanent housing is necessary, not just temporary shelters. He calls for workforce development and says the Board of Supervisors needs to work more with cities.

Pulido speaks of getting a bowl cut at home from his dad because they couldn’t afford the barber. He speaks of participating in food drives as a child to only realize his family were the recipients. He says South County doesn’t even want to see homeless people, yet Central County has a heavy share that he sees driving home. He speaks of shelters, services, and housing. He says moving the homeless off the riverbeds just sent them to Central County. He says the Civic Center homeless were cleared out and simply moved into local neighborhoods.

7:57 PM: Santana asks about mental health treatment.

Nguyen speaks about the current situation of the mentally ill being arrested and treated in jail. She notes she is the only elected with professional public health experience in the district. She is a regulatory auditor for a health agency.

Contreras speaks of constituents asking for help, and even his own staff struggling to navigate the process to help the constituents. He calls for spending, not hoarding, mental health money for mental health services.

Pulido says a bed is necessary, facilities to treat the mentally ill. He points to up to 1,000 beds at Fairview in Costa Mesa if it is converted into a mental health facility, but there should be at least 200 beds there. He praises Orange for building 60 beds. He says services can be allocated but there needs to be facilities to house the mentally ill. He calls for the money to be spent.

8:02 PM: An ACLU representative says too many people are being incarcerated instead of getting mental health services. She says the County is planning to expand the Musick Jail to house the mentally ill. She asks if the candidates would stop the jail expansion and form a taskforce to find other ways to handle the mentally ill.

Contreras says the existing mental health money needs to be spent. He calls for working with local agencies to provide humane treatment of the mentally ill. He says there needs to be Supervisors advocating for spending the money.

Nguyen says there needs to be Supervisors who want to spend the money correctly. She blasts the closing of the County hospital years ago because it leaves the County reliant on private hospitals. She blasts the deaths of the mentally ill in County jails.

Pulido says there should be a reduction on the revolving door of mentally ill people in jail. He says there need to be jobs and job training for the homeless to reduce the revolving door. He says jailing more people is not the solution. He says the County has both jails and health services. He says South County should have facilities to ensure they do their fair share.

8:08 PM: Santana asks about preventative health services, particularly for immigrants.

Nguyen says CalOptima has 338,000 members, with Anaheim, Santa Ana, and Garden Grove home to the largest share of members. She says there needs to be more affordable health care, so people can use more of their income spending in cities, generating revenue. She speaks of her work that contributes to expanding health care access. She claims, “I could literally solve this problem.”

Contreras says there needs to be a Latino on the CalOptima Board, as there are none now. He notes 42% of the CalOptima population are Latinos, and there needs to be more cultural sensitivity from CalOptima.

Pulido wants more nonprofit organizations to help people navigate the labyrinth systems of government health programs. He argues nonprofits are being blocked by CalOptima because the latter argues the nonprofits are trying to do CalOptima’s job. He speaks of various services provided by nonprofits. He says responsibility is to the community, not to turf wars.

8:14 PM: Santana notes that Central County has the least open space aned asks what candidates would do to rectify it.

Pulido says Santa Ana is the 4th most dense city in the country. He calls for more programming because people can’t be kicked out to make open space. He argues County park money could be used to bring services to City or School facilities. He points to schools in Santa Ana that are converted into parks after school lets out for the day or the weekend.

Contreras values open space having grown up in a one-bedroom apartment. He calls for investing in existing parks and opening pocket parks. He calls for school playgrounds to be open in off-hours.

Nguyen calls for better coordination of the “branches of government:” federal, state, county, and city. She has the most Latino district in her city. She points to ways Garden Grove has innovated to bring people to parks. She speaks of programs in Garden Grove that temporarily close streets for temporary parks on select occasions.

8:20 PM: An audience question from a group called Rise Up Willowick notes 1% of Garden Grove and 4% of Santa Ana are open space versus 25% of Irvine. She asks about using OC Parks money in relation to Willowick Golf Course.

Contreras helped create the Mendez v. Westminster trail and park. He says OC Parks money should be used to make Willowick a County park.

Nguyen says she is restricted from going detail because of closed session on this issue since Garden Grove owns Willowick. She says the County has plenty of money for parks that needs to be used in District 1.

Pulido notes Garden Grove owns Willowick, yet it’s located in Santa Ana. He says there is litigation involving Willowick and ultimately, a judge controls its fate. He appoints to the new Surplus Land Act amendments that just came into law on January 1. He calls for more affordable housing and notes Santa Ana has more than any other city in OC.

8:25 PM: Santana begins the lightning round of yes/no answers.

Would you support transferring certain county land to private land trusts?

All say yes.

Would you support building a County Library in District 1.

All say yes.

Do you support an alternative to policing for youth?

All say yes.

Who are you supporting for President?

Nguyen: Undecided, but not Trump

Contreras: Undecided, but leaning Sanders

Pulido: Undecided, but not Trump. He’s worked with Biden and Bloomberg. He praises them, Warren, and Sanders, as well as Buttigieg, who he met at Conferences of Mayors.

Would you accept endorsements from police unions or the Sheriff’s deputies union?

Nguyen: Not sought them in this race.

Contreras: Had police union support in past.

Pulido: Had police union support in past but notes Do has Sheriff’s deputies’ union support.

Do you support a $15 minimum wage?

All say yes.

Do you support the Poseidon desalination plant?

Nguyen and Pulido say no.

Nguyen wants to ascertain the environmental impacts.

Pulido notes there are better plans for increasing the water supply and jobs that are more effective than the Poseidon plan.

Contreras says yes because he believes in expanding the water supply. He wants to ensure any such plan does not have an adverse impact on communities of color.

Do you support rent control?

Nguyen says yes.

Contreras says it’s already law.

Pulido says no.

Do you support a bond to raise $2.2 billion for housing?

All say yes.

Would you support a feasibility study to connect JWA with ARTIC and ONT?

Pulido says the study’s already been done, pointing to CenterLine.

Nguyen and Contreras don’t have enough info.

Would you support the Irvine energy JPA?

All say yes.

Would you support increasing government whistleblower protection?

All say yes.

Nguyen says they need to figure out what to do when whistleblower helped cause problem.

Would you put more County homeless shelter beds in Santa Ana?

All say no.

Would you support increasing the Board of Supervisors to 7 members?

All say yes.

Do you support abolishing ICE?

All say yes.

Do you support immigration reform?

All say yes.

Do you support the Proposition 13 school bond on the March 3 ballot?

Nguyen is still researching it.

Contreras describes a different ballot measure.

Pulido is still researching it.

8:38 PM: Santana announces closing statements.

Contreras thanks audience. He says half the voters don’t know anything about the Board of Supervisors. He says there is no knight in shining armor who will fix everything. His experience in City government and the school district have prepared him for the Board. He works at United Way on many of the issues he argues the County should be working on. He says there should be representation from someone who actually lives in the district. He knows what it is like to be on the losing end of a 4-1 vote but still speak for the community.

Nguyen asks to receive the sword to go to the Board. She speaks of change and leadership and notes she is the only one who isn’t a career politician, as Contreras and Pulido have had a combined 45 years in office. She is accessible to constituents by cell phone and social media. She works hard on Council.

Pulido thanks Santana and the audience. He says Do doesn’t live in the First District. Pulido speaks out his deep roots in the community since he was 13. He speaks of dramatically lowering the crime rate, the safest city in America of its size. He speaks of a low 3% unemployment rate. He speaks of building schools. He says the County is not engaged and needs to work with cities. He has the will, experience, and vision, he says. He speaks out his experience at OCTA and getting them to vote for the Santa Ana streetcar.

8:45 PM: Santana thanks the candidates, hosts, and audience. The debate is concluded.

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DISTRICTS SHMISTRICTS!

Posted by James Madison on November 16, 2016

Two big cities in Orange County switched to district elections this year due to lawsuits filed by Hispanic activists to force the creation of Hispanic-leaning districts. How’d that work out?

In Anaheim, two districts were designated as “Hispanic” districts. Jordan Brandman beat Hispanic activist Jose Moreno in one of them, and Lucille Kring slaughtered leftwing Arturo Ferreras in the other. The upshot – Anaheim will now have seven Caucasians on its council, and no Hispanics.

In Garden Grove, two districts were also designated as “Hispanic”. In one, 23-year old Kim Bernice Nguyen beat Rickk Montoya, who had been the plaintiff in the districting lawsuit. In the other, white neighborhood activist Stephanie Klopfenstein beat LULAC-favorite Demian Garcia-Monroy. Bottom line: Garden Grove goes from a council of three Vietnamese and two Caucasians, to a council of four Caucasians and three Vietnamese, and still, no Hispanics.

In the meantime, in the cities of Westminster and La Habra, which have no district elections, Sergio Contreras and Rose Espinoza were easily reelected.

Just goes to show, if you have good candidates you can win anywhere, while if you have lousy candidates, you can’t force-feed them to the voters anywhere.

By the way, lawsuits to force district elections may soon be a thing of the past. They are all based on the California Voting Rights Act, which virtually demands that cities create districts by race. When new Trump justices join the Supreme Court, the Court could well rule the California Voting Rights Act to be unconstitutional as an illegal intrusion of race into the line drawing process. Are you paying attention, Fullerton and Costa Mesa????

Posted in Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Garden Grove, La Habra, Westminster | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »