The North Orange County Conservative Coalition held a meet the candidates night last night in Anaheim Hills. By my quick crowd estimate, I believe 75-100 people were present.
Desare’ Ferraro organized the meeting which was guest emceed by Orange County Register writer Brian Calle. Calle also brought the students from the “Mass Media Ethics” course he teaches at Cal State Fullerton.
Deborah Pauly and John Webb were crowd pleasers. Todd Spitzer sent a video camera to film Pauly.
I was shocked to see John Leos speak.
Here’s a run down of the remarks by various candidates (please note that I am paraphrasing what the candidates said; I haven’t run a fact-check on the numerical data several of them asserted; also, I was attempting to write as fast as candidates spoke, so apologies to any candidates for incorrect transcriptions; please feel free to comment below with corrections).
Oddly, candidates for the Republican Party Central Committee did not get a chance to speak. They were only introduced by Calle, stood as a group at the front, and then sat back down.
The Central Committee candidates present were:
- Jim Domen
- Desare’ Ferraro
- Connie Lanzisera
- Robert Lauten
- Brenda McCune (our OC Political blogger)
- Dennis R. White
- James Brownfield
- Deborah Pauly
- Nick Wilson
There was a 12th candidate present, but I did not catch the candidate’s name, and the candidate failed to sign in on the NOCCC’s candidate sign-in sheet.
Yorba Linda City Council
After the Central Committee mass introduction, the first speakers were candidate for the Yorba Linda City Council.
Incumbent Councilwoman Nancy Rikel spoke first. She spoke of her successful efforts on Measure B (any major zoning change that exceeds housing densities in Yorba Linda’s current zoning and/or General Plan must be approved by a majority vote), her battles against eminent domain, and her efforts to pass an ethics measure. In response to a question from the audience, she described the process to determine Yorba Linda’s police contract.
Candidate Jim Domen spoke second. He spoke of his co-founding of NOCCC. He also described how he became President of his homeowners association. He felt it was analogous to government: before his presidency, the HOA kept raising dues, similarly to the government raising taxes; during his presidency, he opposed raising dues and used his business experience to cut spending, as government should cut spending instead of raising taxes. He also spoke of his background as a Yorba Linda native and his international business and economics education. In response to a question from the audience, he stated that he supported doing price comparisons between different police agencies in determining the Yorba Linda police contract.
Placentia City Council
Incumbent Councilman Jeremy Yamaguchi (currently serving as Mayor) made a joke about his council service giving him gray hair (he’s 23), and then spoke of his record fighting for fiscally conservative policies, protection of private property, reduction of business regulations, and holding the line against unions. He noted his battle against a strange proposal to regulate Placentia garage sales and against borrowing money for a parking structure for the Placentia train station for a train that doesn’t yet exist. In response to a question from the audience, he stated the only Councilmember to not vote for forming an Economic Development Commission was Connie Underhill, who he noted had been on the Placentia City Council for nearly his entire life.
Fullerton Recall Candidates
Greg Sebourn, who is running in the race to replace Don Bankhead, spoke of the illegal water fee that spiked residents water bills by 10%, which went to the general fund. He stated that 80% of the general fund goes to employee pensions, salaries, and benefits.
Barry Levinson, who is running in the race to replace Pat McKinley, spoke of how ill-prepared recall targets Bankhead, McKinley, and Dick Jones seem at meetings; it seems to him that the trio don’t even read their council agendas before showing up to meetings. He spoke of a Stanford study that found Fullerton’s unfunded pension liability is $500 million. He spoke of Fullerton being targetted by a dozen lawsuits that could cost the city $100 million, thanks to McKinley (police chief until shortly before he ran for Council) and the Fullerton Police Department. He noted those two figures totaled $600 million, while Fullerton’s general fund is $65 million.
Rick Alvarez, who is running in the race to replace Don Bankhead, spoke of his family’s immigrant background. He said he is running as a uniter not a divider. He also noted he is a Planning Commissioner and Traffic Commissioner.
Anaheim City Council
Brian Chuchua spoke of his opposition to the plan to permit the GardenWalk Hotel to retain $158 million (80%) of the transient occupancy tax (TOT) the hotel collects while the City does not allow any other hotel to do the same. He stated the transient occupancy tax is 43% of Anaheim’s general fund. He said he was removed as an Anaheim Chamber Ambassador due to this position on this issue. In response to a question from the audience, he said he is opposed to the high-speed rail project.
I was shocked by who spoke next.
John Leos opened with, “Talk about walking into the lion’s den.” He noted that his family immigrated to Anaheim 100 years ago. He graduated from Canyon High School (author’s note: Emami and I are also Canyon grads), which is literally a block away from the site of the NOCCC meeting. He stated he is a labor union member, and labor is very divided on the $158 million GardenWalk Hotel TOT plan, but that Leos himself opposed the plan.
Third District Supervisor
While being filmed by a representative of the Todd Spitzer campaign, Deborah Pauly spoke to the NOCCC. She stated the Board of Supervisors needs “at least one limited government fiscal conservative who represents the people.” She then noted the cameraman, stared straight into the camera and declared her opponent to be a “retread, big government, special interest career politician.” She pointed to Spitzer’s brochure which has the word integrity right under his picture and stated his consultant believed Spitzer has an intergrity problem. She stated Spitzer waves around a flyer showing he got an “A” rating from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association during his tenure in the Assembly, but she stated Spitzer sent a $1000 check to to get their endorsement, but the check was refused, as the HJTA “cannot be bought.” She then showed a letter from HJTA endorsing her, not Spitzer, for the Third Supervisorial District seat. She noted in December 2001 that Spitzer not only voted for 3%@50, but he actually made the motion to pass 3%@50 during his previous stint as Supervisor. She disputed his statements that no one understood the costs of 3%@50 at the time, as she pointed to a November 2001 actuarial report that was in the Board of Supervisors agenda that she stated warned about the costs of implementing 3%@50.
In response to a question from the audience about the well-known video of her speaking in Yorba Linda, Pauly said she was not speaking about “peaceful moderate Muslims” but of two specific men from the Muslim brotherhood, including Malik Ali.
In response to a question from the audience, she noted that Supervisors John Moorlach and Shawn Nelson had not endorsed either candidate in the Third Supervisorial District and that Supervisors Pat Bates and Janet Nguyen endorsed Spitzer because “apparently, they like money.”
In response to a bizarre question from the audience about the Republican Party equalizing funding for candidates to stop multimillionaire candidates (author’s note: I think the audience member mistakenly thought the $1 million Spitzer warchest was Spitzer’s personal wealth rather than the fact that Spitzer raised all of that money and is not independently wealthy), Pauly stated Scott Baugh was “falling all over” himself to endorse Spitzer. Pauly noted that voters don’t like the feeling of being purchased in an election. She praised the Stop Special Interest Money Now ballot initiative.
In response to a question from the audience, Pauly stated she has not decided on Laura’s Law, as there needs to be a balance between helping people with great need and the potential to abuse the law with false mental health allegations.
Spitzer’s cameraman spoke next, stating he’s a volunteer. He spoke of Spitzer helping his family on a crime issue. He stated that he (the cameraman not Spitzer) is a Coptic Christian and that the Muslim Brotherhood is in Egypt not the United States. He stated Spitzer was speaking at the Mission Viejo Tea Party on Monday (a Tea Party Patriot organizer in the audience shouted out it was a false tea party) and invited NOCCC to attend. The cameraman also invited the audience to attend Spitzer’s open house on Tuesday.
In response to a question from the audience, the cameraman could not confirm or deny if Spitzer would serve a full four-year term.
In response to a question from the audience, the cameraman stated Spitzer was not present due to a scheduling conflict with a long-scheduled open coffee in Irvine.
45th Congressional District
John Webb spoke of his goal of changing the tax structure, restraining the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and supporting energy independence to ensure “no more wars for oil.”
In response to a question from the audience, Webb said he is personally opposed to the California Air Resources Board, calling it a bad idea from the 1960s when “we smoked dope.” He, however, stated he was for states’ rights, implying Congress should not interfere with CARB.
In response to a question from the audience, Webb stated that if elected, he would be the sole member of Congress from Orange County who has combat experience. He cited his military record, his record as a robbery/homicide detective, and his business record. He stated President Barack Obama has committed impeachable offenses.
In response to a question from the audience, he stated the differences between himself and incumbent Congressman John Campbell is that Campbell voted fro TARP, Cash for Clunkers, and Sarbanes-Oxley expansion while Webb would have voted against those actions. Webb also stated Campbell was one of only two Congressmen to vote against the STOCK Act. Webb also said he heard a rumor that Campbell introduced legislation to control the type of bait used in Montana.
In response to a question from the audience, Webb said he would do not just town hall meetings but would go to voters’ homes.
In response to a question from the audience, Webb said he would fly on commercial airlines between Washington, DC and Orange County if elected, very likely on Southwest Airlines.
Robert Lauten spoke about wanting to revive the Glass-Steagall Act, to declare U.S. debt fictional, to implement a Hamiltonian economic system, and wanting to abolish the Federal Reserve. He also accused “State Treasurer Richard Citron” of causing the 1994 Orange County bankruptcy (author’s note: for the record, it was County Treasurer-Tax Collector Robert Citron).
The audience looked at Lauten like he was completely nuts.
All of the above was done in 90 minutes. The program was slated for 60 minutes and was running on schedule until the Third Supervisorial District and 45th Congressional District ran over time and took up nearly half the program.
(Disclaimer related to Fullerton recall section above: In the interest of full disclosure, I should note my day job is working in the Fullerton office of Assemblyman Chris Norby, who served on the Fullerton City Council from 1984-2002. One of my co-workers in the office is Fullerton City Councilman Bruce Whitaker, who was elected in 2010 and is not a target of the recall.)