OC Political

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

Posts Tagged ‘Police Contract’

Puppets and Puppeteers in local politics

Posted by Brenda Higgins on September 19, 2014

Much has already been written about the Orange County Sheriff and the contract they won a short time ago to take over policing the city of Yorba Linda. While I opposed this effort, the world seems not to have ended. As a conservative, I believe that if things are not broken, you don’t fix them. Although there have been no serious issues with the department change and the transition, and the OCSD is really pleasant to deal with, there is no credible argument that citizens “saved” money. Accounting tricks are not savings, and all the new stuff that came with the sheriff moving into town, was paid for by someone, even if it did not get reflected in a line item in the contract.

The lingering question is though, was it really pay to play, and were the politicians acting on behalf of a Union who “scratched” their back?

The IE’s (Indepedent Expenditures) in the 2012 Yorba Linda City Council election, made it the most expensive in our city’s history. Our telephones and our mailboxes were bombarded with propaganda about what bad guys Gene Hernandez and Craig Young were.  In 2010, John Anderson’s words (Which I will never forget) related to the hit piece on Jan Horton, “I did not write that piece”, were just the beginning of a very ugly trend. Those hit pieces were paid for (and apparently authored by) the YLRRR. Of Course they were tremendously helpful to Tom Lindsey and John Anderson. Fast Forward to 2012, THEN we have the Police contract in play, the YLRRR hit pieces looked like child’s play compared to the big budget union coming into our town and our political process. In addition to the big budget slick mail campaign on behalf of their friends,  the union president and his wife, showed up to council meetings, repeatedly singing the praises of their favorite candidates, and never once disclosing their conflict of interest.

Those 2012 hit pieces, against newcomer Gene Hernandez, were for the specific purpose of returning to office the incumbents, Mark Schwing, and ….you guessed it, Nancy Rikel, Queen apparent of the current recall effort.

The issue of policing aside, is being in bed with the Union, something we should all be concerned about? Yeah, ya think?!? Additionally, I thought it interesting that Ms. Rikel did not seek the endorsement of the OCGOP in her current bid to return to office. The OCGOP, has been clear that candidates taking money from Unions will not receive an endorsement from the party. The additional problem that neither Ms. Rikel or Schwing have answered is the implication of their own legislative baby, Measure Y. The Yorba Linda ETHICS ordinance which PROHIBITS any candidate from taking any more that $250 from anY CONTRACTOR with the city. Hello? Anyone besides me bothered by this? The largest contract in the history of the city was awarded to the entity that employs the UNION who provided more financial support to the Schwing/Rikel campaign, as to make it the costliest election in the cities history.

“Well, what does that have to do with 2014?”, you say.

The Union President’s wife is a chiropractor. Yes, this is the same couple, with different last names, who appeared at the city council meetings related to the policing contract, and encouraged the council to approve the OCSD contract, signing the praises of John Anderson as “one of the good guys”. As it turns out, there has been a really nifty relationship with her and the union in her receipt of direct referrals of deputies injured on the job. You’ll be hearing about it soon enough and thankfully one of our supervisors are courageous enough to be undertaking an investigation. I am certain he will be issuing a press release sometime soon. It’s probably a safe bet, that it is not Sp. Spitzer. The point being, Yorba Lindans, wake up. Density is not, nor has it ever been the issue. The pandering and exchanging of favors in this organization seems to run far and wide.  Nancy Rikel and Mark Schwing  are eager to get their life time bene’s and keep making sure that contracts for things like policing the city and legal representation, get awarded to their buddies. You have fallen for the smoke screen. They knew you would. In the YL we so easily fall for their repeated carrot and the stick of the evil developers. Who really has their hand in your pockets, citizen? The time has come to wake up and look around.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Thugs and the illusory promise of a free press

Posted by Brenda Higgins on November 6, 2012

Jim Drummond writes a column for the Yorba Linda Star. He is and has been the only political commentator on Yorba Linda Politics. Well, that is, until I started writing for this blog.

In 2010, when I was a candidate for Yorba Linda City Council, Mr. Drummond approached me at one of the candidate forums and made clear that he did not like me, that he did not like my consultant and that I would receive no favorable treatment in his column. He made good on that promise and on several occasions printed information about me that was completely inaccurate, without contacting me at anytime to verify anything.

A list of his recent columns appears here. http://jimdrummond.blogspot.com/

Notably absent from this list is any mention of the mammoth expenditures made in this recent election by the AOCDS. The union of our newly contracted police service, the Orange County Sheriff.

In spite of the overwhelming support of the Yorba Linda voters for Measure Y the “Ethics”ordinance, in spite of the overwhelming support of many citizens for keeping the Brea PD, and in spite of his alleged “objectivity” in the process as a ‘journalist’, an expenditure that dwarfs the spending of many individual campaigns, in not worthy of mention during this election cycle.

Voters in Yorba Linda should look very carefully at who is running their city, because it is clearly not the voters.

Posted in Yorba Linda | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Politics and Policing in Yorba Linda; Election 2012

Posted by Brenda Higgins on October 19, 2012

I saved the seven pieces of mail I have received so far related to the Yorba Linda City Council race. Here are the two that I found most disturbing.

These pieces are sent by the “Association of Orange County Sheriff’s Independent Expenditure”.

These pieces make the same claim that the contract with OC Sheriff will save the city $10 million dollars. This is over the course of the five year contracted term and based upon the proposal which was approved several months ago. The claims go on to state that the new contract, at the lower rate will give Yorba Linda a “full service police station” for the first time, give Yorba Linda a Chief of Police, provide greater protection and hire displaced Brea Police officers. The veracity of all of these claims have been widely debated in my earlier blogs here and in several other (mostly sponsored) forums. The soundness of the bid, the assertions of nearly magical outcomes and historic savings are not the issue in this election.

Citizens of Yorba Linda, if you were not certain before, now that you have received your ballots and sample ballots, this issue is not, has not, will not, be put to you the voters for a vote. Your council, Schwing, Rikel and Anderson, voting en masse as they do (Your other two representatives are also not part of this discussion as they are irrelevant) have already decided this issue for you, and the train has left the station. The transition is set to occur by May 2013.

As this situation developed and unfolded, in the Spring of 2012, it was covered on a regular basis, here on OC Political.

With that resounding victory behind them, our council could turn their attention to more pressing matters, their re-election.

You may recall, that in 2010, a MEASURE Y appeared on your ballot. It involved ethics of City officials and essentially prohibited any candidate from accepting any donation from ANY contractor with the city. This was targeted at that time at specific organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, that had in the past, ventured so far as to endorse business friendly candidates. It was a witch hunt environment that surrounded the 2010 City Council election and the Measure (which was identical to a City Ordinance that had already passed and been made law) and certainly chilled the free speech of many in our city and discouraged involvement in the process.

The supporters, again Schwing, Rikel, Anderson, of Measure Y, promoted it as a measure that was consistent with the overall approach of the Republican party, locally and statewide to reel in candidates whose campaigns may be funded by Government Employee Unions.

Of the Majority Three, only Anderson was up for re-election in 2010.

In 2012, both Schwing and Rikel are facing re-election.

Following their granting of the $10 million dollar policing contract to the Orange County Sheriff Department, it was nice of the Union to repay them with the two very large (8×10 glossy, 2 sided) mail pieces that went to voters in Yorba Linda.

“The fiscal conservative team we can trust”…..Yep. So long as your definition of ‘fiscal conservative’ means union hack. “Leaving no stone unturned to root out government waste”, when you define government waste as 40 years of institutional knowledge. Well they’ve certainly rooted out something, and I can only wonder if and when Yorba Linda voters are going to stand up to the charade.

These incumbents, in their other mailers, boast prolifically about their “endorsements”. I can not speak to the process by with Assemblyman Hagman and Congressman Royce made their decision to endorse these incumbents, but I was present for the Orange County Republican Party Endorsement approval.

On such races, there is no discussion in and among the Central Committee of the Orange County Republican Party. These candidates were the only ones who turned in their requests for endorsements on time, and this is not unusual in small city races. Inexperienced candidates, often with no political professionals to advise them, do not realize the early filing date, and the rapid fire manner in which the endorsements are granted. There were only the two applications for this race. They are Republican. They are incumbents. There was not discussion, no vetting.

However, because the Orange County Republican party is very concerned about fiscal issues, making sure we help true fiscal conservatives to get elected, and not usher in more special interest lackeys, there is an application. Four pages of fairly extensive, Republican ideal quizzing. On Page One, the applying candidate must sign the following “Union-Free” pledge:


I’m not sure how Mr. Schwing and Ms. Rikel want to explain this, because their application would not have ben processed by the Central Committee without it all complete. Perhaps they will say the mailers were a “spontaneous protest” and not a “pre-planned strategic strike”. Are the pledge and the policies to mean anything? Not to mention the outright violation of their own law. I fully anticipate their argument about semantics will be that these mailers were not ‘contributions’ processed by their campaigns. We will soon know what the voters have to say about it all.

Posted in 3rd Supervisorial District, 55th Assembly District, Brea, Republican Central Committee, Uncategorized, Yorba Linda | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

If only I were the wagering type…

Posted by Brenda Higgins on April 25, 2012

Not good news for fans of the Brea Police Department. 

In a not surprising alignment, Winder-Lindsey voted in favor of renewing with Brea PD, Anderson-Schwing-Rikel voted to begin a new contract with OCSD.  If anyone reading this is surprised by this result, I have some ocean front property in Arizona I’d love to speak to you about. 

Many things were not considered in the evaluation of the bids.  The overall sensibility seems the most overlooked.  A new station is needed, new squad cars, new equipment, guns radios, phones, desks, copy machines for any agency that replaces Brea PD …..and the OSCD per their proposal is going to staff up and set up all of this at a reduced cost, saving the city of Yorba Linda $1 Million dollars each year, $5 Million over the life of their contract.  That is more than $80,000.00 per month, less than the department who has been providing this service for 42 years, and they are fully equipped and staffed up.  That’s fantastic, and the county officials who developed this bid and business model should really be consulting in private industry because in this economy, we could all use some advice on how to do that kind of magic. .

Anaheim was never realistically in the running, which is sad, because they had a great presentation, and a sensible, believable bid.   They impressed with their availability of services, special teams and technology, as well as their knowledge and shared geography with Yorba Linda.  I can not imagine why it was never proposed that Anaheim be awarded a partial contract for East Yorba Linda.  The response time for Brea PD to East Yorba Linda has been an ongoing complaint.  There are many occasions that Brea and Anaheim jurisdiction and enforcement overlap, why not apportion service geographically?  The Anaheim station on Wier Canyon road is not realistically a good match  for the West side of Yorba Linda given the long, so why not split it? This was not considered.  A wholesale replacement of the entire contract was the only consideration.  No kind of holistic approach, reworking or restructuring the relationship with Brea was undertaken.  I assume, as many residents do, that it is because the contract was destined to go to OCSD.  The public opinion on keeping the contract with Brea seems, as with many issues, to have been largely ignored by the 3 majority council.  

I am saddened and at the same time inspired that 50 residents had the wherewithal to stay till the 3am vote,  God bless them for their stamina, but I’m surprised they thought that their opinion mattered. 

I wish I had different news to report.  I wish I had written this blog a week, a month, a year ago, because I could have. (or even 6 years ago, Brea, who was passing out the Koolaid then?)  No  surprise of any kind here.  Democracy  and due process have died a slow painful death in Yorba Linda.  Every resident has the option to be active, get involved, and vote in the next election. Each time I see this Kangaroo court convene I hope that this is the time that the mainstream residents in Yorba Linda become aware of the situation at City Hall and the utter dominance of one special interest group by virtue of their ownership of three seats.  Nothing will change, the status quo will easily be maintained if the voting public continues to show apathy and fear of the YLRRR, which was so pervasive  in the 2010 election.

Posted in Yorba Linda | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Plaintive wail of Civility

Posted by Brenda Higgins on April 11, 2012

Disclaimer: I was a candidate for Yorba Linda City Council in 2010. THIS is an opinion piece, intended for entertainment and reality checks. I am an equal opportunity offender, read at your own risk.

I have a great deal of respect for only one of the members of the current city council in Yorba Linda and that is Jim Winder. He has served, and resided in this city for decades. His service has come to us at great personal cost to him. He has been disrespected, unfairly accused and periodically ridiculed without cause. Yet he shows up consistently, is polite, prepared and concerned for the well being of our city. These things can not be said about any of the other council members.

John Anderson’s mean spirit and agenda of personal vendettas has never been well hidden. Nancy Rikel and Mark Schwing answer to and for him. Their public discussions consistently appear unnatural or rehearsed. The clear impression is that they are Anderson’s mouth pieces. They all portray themselves as “fiscal conservatives”, they have given that term a foul sound and connotation. If fiscal conservative means that they only agree to spend money on their pet projects or the pet projects of their friends and supporters, then okay, they are fiscal conservatives. However their pattern of spending would embarrass many a democrat. They vote together, they were elected together, they have each others back in a twisted and dysfunctional way.

The mayor in Yorba Linda is voted in on a traditional rotating basis by the council, generally in order of when they were elected. Not so since Anderson has controlled the council. On each occasion that it would have been the turn of a Council member who was “not-one-of-us”, that council member was stepped over in favor of “one-of-us”. In 2008 that was Jan Horton. As the councilmember next in line, she was passed over in favor of John Anderson. By 2008 Jan had already become the “not-one-of-us” and was on the hit list. She was deprived of the opportunity to be mayor and that also enabled Mr. Anderson to be able to run against her for re-election as Mayor Anderson. In 2012, it was Jim Winder, whose turn it was to be mayor, but Anderson’s majority passed him over in favor of Schwing. Mark Schwing will now be running for re-election as Mayor Schwing. In his last year, after many decades of service to this community, the Anderson lackeys could serve up one final dose of indignity to Jim Winder and deprive him of his last tenure as Mayor. Winder is termed out, and will not run again. All it really accomplished was to confirm that they are pandering jerks.

Tom Lindsey portrays himself as the “true” conservative. That would be highly relevant if any issues of social import or civil rights issue come before the council, but that’s not likely. The majority of Andersons’ council has abandoned Lindsey and he is left to align with the lame duck portion of the council alongside Jim Winder. Lindsey’s view on fiscal or any issue is rendered largely irrelevant,. A difficult lesson to learn for Lindsey, as he aligned with Anderson in the eleventh hour before the 2010 campaign began. They ran as a “slate”. During the 2010 campaign, when questioned about the ugly hit pieces and robo-calls directed towards Jan Horton, both Lindsey and Anderson diverted their eyes from the crowd when they answered. Mr. Anderson’s “I did not write that piece”, may essentially, technically, be true, but it clearly made him uncomfortable to say those carefully chosen words. Lindsey, for whom the 2010 campaign was his second try for a council seat, was intent on being elected. I have not asked him how he’s feeling now in 2012, with 20/20 hindsight, about his 2010 choice to align with Anderson. I have observed him to suffer the same punishment that Jan Horton and then Hank Weeda did. If you run with “them” and then acquire any different view or opinion, you are ostracized. So much for the fantasy that once we’re elected we can have collegial respect for differing view points.

Jan Horton is not a member of the council at this time, but her effect is no less pertinent than those seated. She is a regular attender, proclaiming accountability, tranparency and spewing her point of view of the incompetence and lack of ethics of the current council. The existing situation, with the Anderson wing, disrespectful of Winder, and indignant for Lindsey and his turn coat antics, is smoldering fire anyway. Then Jan shows up and brings the gasoline in the form of her vitriole, her repetitive and shrill allegations, her husband with a camera, and her allies. She shows little in the way of tact and self control and she manages to stoke the flames of contention, discord and animosity on every issue, and at each council appearance or online discussion.

The counterpart to Jan is Ed Rakochy. Unelected, regular attender, but “One-of-us” along with the regular appearance of other YLRRR (Yorba Linda Residents for Responsible Representation) members. The vigilante group that originally got Jan Horton and John Anderson elected, (yes as with any true rivalry, they began and friends and cohorts), has its regular and scripted attenders, commenting favorably on the moves of the Anderson majority, standing on their soap boxes and waving their flags, pretending this is even handed democracy, and proclaiming how ‘fiscally conservative’ the current majority council are.

I have rarely been able to stomach a whole meeting of this circus atmosphere, it’s a charade and not open democratic discourse. The pontification goes on for hours.

I am acquainted in some fashion with each of these individuals who are driving the toxicity in our city government, and this I know. Each and every one of them believes firmly that he/she is doing the “right thing” for the city. My opinion and observation is that they are each blinded by their own adrenaline rush from this ongoing combat. The salient point that they keep missing, is that the majority of the residents of the city are not “one-of-us”, and are also not the constantly contentious “one-of-them”. I don’t see any of these regular players stepping away from their entrenched positions long enough to have a healthy discussion on points upon which they might actually agree.

This is not good for anyone. This is not good for our city. I can only hope that voters refuse to get caught up in the rhetoric, that good and independent, unaligned candidates step forward in the next election. Politics is like square dancing, if you get too attached to your partner or your moves, you’ll eventually step on your own toes and get kicked out of the dance. We can only hope.





Posted in Yorba Linda | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

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