OC Political

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

Posts Tagged ‘labor unions’

1st District Special Election: Do Wins Ballot Order Lottery, Candidate Statements, & Who is Chuyen Van Nguyen?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on December 18, 2014

Supervisor's Chief/Businessowner Andrew Do (R-Westminster), California State Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), Councilmember/Deputy DA Chris Phan (R-Garden Grove), Television News Anchor Chuyen Van Nguyen (NPP-Garden Grove), and Office Specialist Lupe Morfin-Moreno (R-Santa Ana)

Supervisor’s Chief/Businessowner Andrew Do (R-Westminster), California State Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), Councilmember/Deputy DA Chris Phan (R-Garden Grove), Television News Anchor Chuyen Van Nguyen (NPP-Garden Grove), and Office Specialist Lupe Morfin-Moreno (R-Santa Ana)

The Secretary of State conducted the ballot order lottery on Tuesday and transmitted the results to the Registrar of Voters, and Andrew Do was the big winner, so here’s how each candidate will appear on the January 27, 2015, ballot (assuming their designations aren’t challenged in court by December 26):

  • Andrew Do, Supervisor’s Chief/Businessowner
  • Lou Correa, California State Senator
  • Chris Phan, Councilmember/Deputy DA
  • Chuyen Van Nguyen, Television News Anchor
  • Lupe Morfin-Moreno, Office Specialist

Most OC Political readers are familiar with Do, Correa, Phan, and even Morfin-Moreno, but most have expressed little knowledge of Nguyen.  To fill everyone in, let’s take a closer look at each candidate:

  • Andrew Do (R-Westminster), 51 years old

    Do is a partner in a law firm who was a deputy district attorney for eight years and who served as Chief of Staff to former Supervisor Janet Nguyen, who vacated this Supervisor’s seat to become a California State Senator. As an attorney, he has served as President of the Asian Bar Association of California and the Vietnamese-American Bar Association of Southern California.  He is a former adjunct professor at Cal State Fullerton and judge pro tem in the old Orange County Municipal Court.  Fleeing Vietnam as a child, Do grew up in the First Supervisorial District, attending Junior High and High School in Garden Grove.  He is a graduate of Santa Ana College, UC Davis, and UC Hastings.

    Do was elected to the Garden Grove City Council in 2008 and served for three years. (He now lives in Westminster.)

    Do’s candidacy for Supervisor is endorsed by the Republican Party of Orange County, former Supervisors/current Senators Janet Nguyen and Pat Bates, Supervisor-Elect Michelle Steel, Congressmen Ed Royce and Dana Rohrabacher, Congresswoman-Elect Mimi Walters, and Assembly Members Young Kim, Travis Allen, Matt Harper, and Don Wagner.

  • Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), 56 years old (though he will turn 57 on January 24)

    Spending the majority of his career in elective office, Correa was an investment banker and real estate broker before entering the State Assembly.  He is a licensed attorney, though opted to go the banking and real estate route before entering politics.  A native Californian, Correa grew up in the Fourth Supervisorial District, attending K-12 in Anaheim.  He is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton and UCLA.

    After narrowly losing a 1996 Assembly bid by 93 votes, Correa became a State Assemblyman in 1998, termed out in 2004, and then held this same Supervisor’s seat from 2005-2006.  He resigned from the Board of Supervisors in 2006 to enter the State Senate, where he stayed until terming out last month.  His resignation from the Board caused a February 2007 special election, only the second special election for Supervisor in Orange County history.  Janet Nguyen won that special election to fill his old Supervisorial seat and now holds his old Senate seat.

    Correa’s candidacy for Supervisor is endorsed by the Democratic Party of Orange County, Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens, District Attorney-Public Administrator Tony Rackauckas, the Orange County Labor Federation (i.e. association of unions), the Orange County Employees Association (i.e. general public employee union), the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association (i.e. the fire union), and the Orange County Business Council.

  • Chris Phan (R-Garden Grove), 40 years old (though he will turn 41 on January 14)

    Phan has been a deputy district attorney for two years.  He served on active duty in the United States Navy as a Judge Advocate General (anyone remember the TV show JAG?) from 2001-2008.  He was a JAG defense attorney from 2001-2003, JAG prosecutor from 2003-2005, and served generally as a JAG attorney from 2005-2008.  He is currently a lieutenant commander in the Navy reserve.  Fleeing Vietnam as a child, Phan grew up in Indiana and has lived in Orange County for six years.  He is a graduate of Indiana University and Southern Illinois University.

    Phan was elected to the Garden Grove City Council two years ago.  Ironically, Phan holds the exact same seat that Do held for three years.

  • Chuyen Van Nguyen (NPP-Garden Grove), 65 years old

    Nguyen is currently an anchor on VNA-TV (Vietnam America Television), Channel 57.3.  He has previously been an aircraft parts manufacturing supervisor, marketing consultant, newspaper publisher (Tieng-Chuong), and staffer for former State Senator Joe Dunn (D-Santa Ana).  He was a pilot in the South Vietnamese Air Force from 1970-1975 and was a Lieutenant when Saigon fell.  Politically, he was active in various Vietnamese organizations in the early 1990s.  After fleeing Vietnam, Nguyen settled in Texas before eventually moving to Westminster.

    In 1998, Nguyen ran for Mayor of Westminster and came in fourth out of five candidates (Tony Lam won his third election to the City Council in that same election); Mayor Frank Fry was re-elected, beating Mayor Pro Tem Joy Neugebauer by 3.5%.  (He now lives in Garden Grove.)  Considering his poor finish in 1998 when he held greater name ID than he does now and considering he didn’t even have the $2500 to get a ballot statement, he is expected to only play spoiler in this election by splitting the Vietnamese vote.

  • Lupe Morfin-Moreno (R-Santa Ana), 57 years old

    Morfin-Moreno is currently an office specialist with the Orange County Health Care Agency.  Politically, she is best known as an anti-illegal immigration activist and Minuteman.  A former Central Committee member, she lost her Central Committee bids in both 2010 and 2012 (Central Committee members who were elected in 2012 now serve four-year terms, rather than two-year terms due to change in the California Elections Code, so the next Central Committee election is in 2016).  A native Californian, Morfin-Moreno grew up in the First Supervisorial District, attending elementary, junior high, and high school in Santa Ana.

    Morfin-Moreno previously ran for Mayor of Santa Ana in 2012 (coming in fourth out of six candidates), this same Supervisor’s seat in the 2007 special election (coming in ninth out of ten candidates after dropping out of the race), the State Senate in 2006 (losing the primary to Lynn Daucher, who then loss the general election to Correa), the Santa Ana Unified School District in 2002 (missing a seat by 486 votes) and in 2000 (coming in seventh of nine candidates).

Do, Correa, and Phan got ballot statements while Nguyen and Morfin-Moreno did not.

Here’s Do’s statement (assuming it isn’t challenged in court by December 26):

At the urging of many Orange County leaders, I decided to run for County Supervisor. My experience includes:

Orange County Judge Pro Tem; Deputy District Attorney; City Councilman; Small Business Owner; Orange County Supervisor’s Chief of Staff.

As a Deputy District Attorney, I spent eight years fighting to make our community safe, prosecuting violent criminals and sex offenders.

As your Supervisor, I will fight hard for:

Local businesses and job creation, higher educational standards, health care programs, less waste in government, strong public safety, and anti-gang programs. I oppose tax increases.

Serving as Chief of Staff to California State Senator and Supervisor Janet Nguyen gives me valuable experience and an in-depth understanding of issues facing our area. Senator Nguyen urged
me to run for Supervisor.

I have deep family roots in central Orange County, having attended Jordan Jr. High, Bolsa Grande High School and Santa Ana College. I’m a graduate of the University of California, Hastings School of Law.

U.S Representatives Ed Royce and Mimi Walters, Senators Janet Nguyen and Pat Bates, Assembly members Young Kim and Matt Harper and Supervisor Michelle Steel have all endorsed me and I would be honored to receive your vote. Please visit www.AndrewDo2015.com. Thank you.

Here’s Correa’s statement (assuming it isn’t challenged in court by December 26):

It’s been an honor to work for you as your State Senator. Now, I respectfully ask for your support as your County Supervisor.

In the Legislature, my priorities have been jobs, public safety and public education. My work has earned me endorsements from respected leaders and organizations, including:

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas
Orange County Professional Firefighters Association
Orange County Business Council

I helped cut taxes on small businesses and stopped unnecessary regulations. As a result of my work, I’ve been honored by the Orange County Taxpayers Association and named the California Small Business Association’s “Legislator of the Year.”

I’ve made our schools better and safer. I brought more education money and local control back to Orange County. I also co-wrote the new law to protect our children from heinous crimes. That’s why the California School Boards Association made me their “Legislator of the Year”.

It’s been an honor to represent you during these difficult economic times. Now, I’d like to bring my understanding of our communities to work for you as County Supervisor.

No one will work harder. I respectfully ask for your vote.

For more information please visit: www.loucorrea.com

Here’s Phan’s statement (assuming it isn’t challenged in court by December 26):

Embracing our diversity. Uniting our community. Serving our people!

As a former refugee, I am blessed to live the American Dream! I have served our country with honor and pride as a Navy officer for over 14 years. I am currently serving our community as an Orange County Deputy District Attorney and a Garden Grove City Councilmember. I humbly ask for your support to become your 1st
District Orange County Supervisor.

Military experience and public service taught me that our strength lies in our diversity. Orange County is truly a melting pot of culture, background, and ethnicity. As Supervisor, I will work hard to attract businesses to our District, increase employment, provide greater safety for our community, and protect our resources.

Over many months, I have walked and met many of our District’s residents. I have listened, learned, and shared many ideas with our residents so that I will be well-equipped and prepared to serve our County to the best of my ability.

Please learn about my candidacy at www.votechrisphan.com. I would be honored to have your vote and support. Together, we will ensure a brighter future for our County and forge a better tomorrow for our families. Thank you!

(Cue my usual Nguyen disclaimer: Senator Janet Nguyen and candidate Chuyen Van Nguyen are not related to each other, and neither of them are related to me.  The last name Nguyen is held by 36% of Vietnamese people.)

Posted in 1st Supervisorial District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Harris v. Quinn, an Important Limitation on Forced Unionization

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on July 1, 2014

On Monday, June 30, 2014 the United State Supreme Court issued its ruling in the important case of Harris v. Quinn. While the case is limited in its ruling and scope, it is a critical one where the Court boxed in the ever expansionist reach of government employee unions.

Background:

Mrs. Pamela Harris is the mother of a severely disabled adult son who needs constant care due to his disabilities.  A federal Medicaid program funds many state run programs that provides financial assistance by paying caregivers for these individuals who reside at home rather than in a more expensive nursing care facility.  Most often it is a family member who is providing this care and who is being paid to do so under this program.  The State of Illinois has such a program and by law declared these caregivers to be state employees but without any right to benefits, not subject to any control as to their time, place or methods of provision of care services (and provides that the caregiver is solely responsible to and is an at will employee of the customer (the disabled person)) and the State is immune from any liability to the disabled customer for any home caregivers negligence or intentional conduct.

In 2003, first by executive order then legislation, the caregivers were forced to join a union, the SEIU, and pay dues, which the State withheld from their Medicaid payments.  Mrs. Harris and others challenged this forced unionization via this case.  She lost at the federal trial court and intermediate appeals court levels with those courts relying on a past U.S.S.C. court case Abood v. Detroit Bd. Of Ed. 431 U.S. 209 (1977).  The Supreme Court, noting the importance of the factual situation described above, ruled in Mrs. Harris favor.

Limited Ruling:

The Court (Justice Alito) performed a detailed analysis of the reasoning behind the Abood case, which upheld the unionization of full time government employees (there teachers) who were directly the employees of the Board of Education.   Justice Alito and the rest of the majority found that full time direct state employees are vastly different factually to what I would call akin to in-home independent contractors and limited the extent of the Abood ruling to full time direct government employees.  Further to extend the finding in Abood upholding required union membership (or agency fee paying) to this situation was a reach to far.  The Court stated:

“If we allowed Abood to be extended to those who are not full-fledged public employees, it would be hard to see

just where to draw the line, and we therefore confine Abood’s reach to full-fledged state employees.”

Once the Court found the holding in Abood was not controlling in this situation, it then did an analysis of the facts of this situation under “generally applicable First Amendment standards.”  Relying on cases like Knox v. Service Employees 567 U.S. ___ , 132 S. Ct. 2277 (2012), the Court ruled that the justification of preventing “free riders” benefiting from union negotiations for its members applying to those not paying for union dues / expenses, did not apply in the context of the Harris facts (in-home workers as described above).

Once again, the Court noted several significant differences between the regular full time government employee and the in-home caregivers the Illinois statute attempted to force unionization upon.   For example, one justification cited by the unions is “labor peace” in not having conflicting unions vying for membership in the same union shop locations.  The Court noted that in-home caregivers are not in one place but always in the customers’ homes (which are often the caregivers homes’ as well).  Space does not permit me to go through all of the Court’s reasoning here.  The Court ordered that union dues and agency fees can no longer be withheld from a home caregivers’ Medicaid payments if they object.

Implications from this Ruling:

1. The Court effectively blocked forced government unionization of recipients of funds under government programs like Medicaid where the person receiving the payments is not a true “government” worker where the state agency controls the time, method and means of employment.   This is especially true where the legislature declares the “employee” is not entitled to any typical government employee benefits like pension rights.  The Court was very specific about the limited nature of the “employment” between the State of Illinois and the home caregiver.

2. The Harris decision is not banning forced union membership (or agency payments to a union by those who do not join the union) for traditional full time government workers such as public school teachers, CHP officers, firefighters, etc.   This is not a “right to work” decision for all government employees.

3. However, a close reading of the Harris majority’s analysis of the Abood decision notes the current majority’s concerns that the policy and practical implications of Abood’s approval of closed shop laws for government employees.  Thus the majority justices may be open to a challenge from a more traditional full time government employee.

4. Elections matter – the Harris decision and the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case (both critically important First Amendment cases decided on the same day) were five to four votes that included the swing vote of Justice Kennedy.  All of the four “liberal” justices voted in the dissent to uphold the forced unionization of the home caregivers in Harris (and to deny religious expression as argued in the Hobby Lobby case).  Thus the outcomes of the elections in the fall for control of the U.S. Senate and the White House in 2016 are critical as the make up of the Court could be the deciding factor on these important issues one way or another in the near future.

To read the Court’s opinion go to: (Harris v. Quinn).

*   *   *

 Craig P. Alexander, Esq. is an attorney at law who practices in the area of insurance coverage, construction defect, business dispute and general civil litigation.  His office is in Dana Point, California. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Good Guys Win One In Court – Righeimer And Mensinger Defeat Union’s Bogus Legal Ploy

Posted by Greg Woodard on April 14, 2014

[Warning, boring legal stuff ahead, but it is important].  Many OC Political readers are familiar with the plight of Costa Mesa Councilmembers Jim Righeimer and Steve Mensinger as they have failed to back down to aggressive (and allegedly dirty) union tactics.  For those of you unfamiliar, Righeimer and Mensinger have filed a lawsuit against the police union, the union’s former law firm, and an investigator previously used by the law firm, alleging, among other things, that the defendants have engaged in spying, threats, intimidation, assault, and false reports of criminal activity.  Recently, they have alleged that the defendants illegally placed a GPS tracker on Mensinger’s car during the last election.

Apparently, the defendants have been stonewalling Righeimer and Mensinger, including the investigator repeatedly asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during his recent deposition as Righeimer and Mensinger are trying to get to the bottom of who is responsible for the tracking, and other purported illegal activities.

Enter the defendants’ lawyers for another round of delay.  They recently filed what is called an “anti-SLAPP” motion.  In a nutshell, an anti-SLAPP motion alleges that Righeimer and Mensinger have violated the defendants’ right of petition or free speech.  While enacted for good reasons, sadly many lawyers abuse the process because filing an anti-SLAPP motion automatically stays all discovery, preventing Righeimer and Mensinger from getting important facts and documents.  In addition, filing an anti-SLAPP motion early in the case forces the plaintiffs to factually defend their claims, even if the defendants are in possession of the facts and documents needed to proved the case, or risk having the lawsuit dismissed.

The defendants’ motion claimed that the principal thrust of the lawsuit is the 911 call that the investigator made against Righeimer, falsely accusing Righeimer of driving drunk.  The Court rejected that claim, denied the motion, and held that the main thrust of the action is the false and malicious reports of criminal activity by the investigator as an agent for the other defendants.

So what does this mean?  It means that for now, Righeimer and Mensinger can continue with their discovery and hopefully find out whether the law firm, the union, or both, were behind these dirty tactics.  It also means that the Court did not buy the defendants’ bogus claim that their alleged illegal activities are protected.  It also means that Righeimer and Mensinger are as committed as ever to exposing the union and its efforts to shut down any attempts to rein in its power.

Righeimer and Mensinger have had their personal lives put under a magnifying glass because of their efforts against unions.  They have been followed, falsely accused, illegally tracked, and had their families dragged into the fray.  Yet they refuse to be scared or threatened into giving up.  We should applaud these men and their families, support them, and look for other leaders like them in our communities to support and get elected to local, state, and federal positions.  Only then can we begin to make inroads into the unions’ enormous power over California.

Posted in Costa Mesa, Orange County | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tuesday’s Most Important Election

Posted by Chris Nguyen on May 30, 2012

Wisconsin State CapitolSix days from now is Tuesday, June 5, Election Day.

What is the most important election that day?  Is it the CD-47 contest between Alan Lowenthal, Gary DeLong, and Steve Kuykendall?  Is it the Troy EdgarLong PhamTravis Allen fight in AD-72?  Is it AD-69’s Tom Daly vs. Michele Martinez vs. Jose Moreno vs. Julio Perez vs. Paco Barragan battle?  Is it the Third Supervisorial District brawl between Todd Spitzer and Deborah Pauly?

No, the most important election on Tuesday lies 2,000 miles northeast of Orange County.

In Wisconsin, June 5 is Election Day in the recall of Republican Governor Scott Walker.

Labor unions launched the recall after Walker gained the passage of legislation that restricted (but did not eliminate) collective bargaining (requiring annual re-certification of unions via annual member elections, limitations of collective bargaining to salaries rather than benefits) and increased public employee contributions to benefits and pensions, among other things.

This recall election marks a watershed moment in which the power of public employee unions faces off against those who seek to curb the legal prerogatives of those unions.

Wisconsin has an interesting recall procedure.  In California, the question of whether we should remove someone from office is one item on the ballot, with voters casting a “Yes” or “No” vote, and then a separate item on the ballot are all the recall replacement candidates, with the incumbent ineligible to run in the replacement vote.  In Wisconsin, there is no separate question of whether someone is removed: there is a single item in which candidates (including the incumbent) run against each other.  Effectively, when you initiate a recall in Wisconsin, you’re simply calling for an early election for the office, much like a parliamentary by-election or snap election; whereas in California, we vote whether or not to keep the incumbent and separately vote on a replacement.

There was a recall primary on May 8, with Walker winning 97% of the votes in the Republican primary and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett winning 58% of the votes in the Democratic primary (this is a rematch of the 2010 election, as Walker defeated Barrett in that election); the recall general election is this coming Tuesday, June 5.

Both the Real Clear Politics average of polls and the Huffington Post average of polls show Walker leading Barrett by a few percentage points.

A Walker victory will embolden politicians across the country seeking to curb the power of labor unions while a Barrett victory will be a warning from the labor unions that politicians should be wary of trying to reduce the legal prerogatives of public employee unions and trying to reduce the benefits enjoyed by public employees.

Posted in National | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »