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Posts Tagged ‘Sharon Runner’

No Run-Off, Swearing-In Scheduled: Senator-Elect Moorlach’s Lead Shrinks by Another 25 Votes, But Registrar Virtually Done Counting

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 20, 2015

California State Senator-Elect John M. W. Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)

California State Senator-Elect
John M. W. Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)

The sixth results (yesterday’s count) are in, and the Registrar of Voters actually finished counting all ballots in their possession.  The only remaining ballots are SB 29 ballots that will arrive in the mail today.

2,672 SB 29 ballots were counted, with 2,440 of those arriving on Wednesday and 232 arriving yesterday.  Only a tiny number of SB 29 ballots are expected to arrive today.

This sixth update has the penultimate results, as the seventh update tonight will be the final numbers from the Registrar of Voters:

STATE SENATOR 37th District, Short Term
Completed Precincts: 248 of 248
Vote Count Percentage
JOHN M. W. MOORLACH (REP) 38,111 50.3%
DONALD P. WAGNER (REP) 33,403 44.1%
NAZ NAMAZI (REP) 2,619 3.5%
Louise Stewardson (W) 1,695 2.2%

 

Moorlach gained 1,718 votes, Wagner 1,533, Namazi 129, and Stewardson 106.  In other words, Moorlach gained 1,718 of the newly-counted votes (49.3%) while the rest of the field gained 1,768 of the newly-counted votes (50.7%).

Moorlach was ahead of 50% by 247 votes for the last Election Night count, which shrunk by 25 down to 222 votes after Wednesday’s count, and that lead shrunk by another 25 votes, still leaving Moorlach 197 votes above the 50% mark.  I project that the remaining SB 29 ballots left are far, far fewer than 197; I’ll go out on a limb and say there’s probably less than 10 of those ballots out there.

Based on the Election Night returns and trends, OC Political was the first place to call the election in print when we did so on Election Night at 10:31 PM, and we stood by the call even as a number of other places said late ballots would trend away from Moorlach.

Senator Sharon Runner was sworn in yesterday in the State Capitol after winning the SD-21 special election, which was held the same day as the SD-37 special election.  Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff had invited Senator-Elect John Moorlach to be sworn in on the same day, but Moorlach opted to wait and will also take the oath of office in the district.  He plans to be sworn in on Sunday at 4:00 PM in the Chapel at the Orange County Rescue Mission’s Village of Hope at 1 Hope Drive in Tustin.

Posted in 37th Senate District | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 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.

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

Molly Munger Files Suit Over Ballot Measure Placement; Judge Halts Numbering Until 7/9

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 2, 2012

On June 27, the State Senate passed AB 1499 on a near-party-line 24-15 vote (Democrat Joe Simitian of Palo Alto joined the Republicans in voting against the bill, with Republican Sharon Runner of the Antelope Valley not voting), the State Assembly passed the bill on a party-line 50-24 vote (with three Republicans, two Democrats, and one Republican-turned-independent Nathan Fletcher not voting), and the Governor signed the bill into law.

So what exactly does AB 1499 do?  It changes the order that ballot measures appear on the ballot.  Because this bill was a budget trailer bill, it has already become law, rather than waiting until January 1, like the average bill.

Under the law as it existed on June 26, this was the order of how measures appeared on the ballot:

  1. Bond measures proposed by the Legislature
  2. Constitutional amendments proposed by the Legislature
  3. Other measures proposed by the Legislature
  4. Initiative measures
  5. Referenda

However, AB 1499, which is now the law of the land, changed the order thusly:

  1. Bond measures (regardless of whether they were put there by the Legislature or initiative)
  2. Constitutional amendments (regardless of whether they were put there by the Legislature or initiative)
  3. Measures proposed by the Legislature that aren’t bonds or constitutional amendments
  4. Initiative measures that aren’t bonds or constitutional amendments
  5. Referenda

Molly Munger (a Democrat and the sister of Republican Charles Munger, Jr.) has filed suit to stop AB 1499 from affecting the November 2012 election.

Why is she doing this?

Well, take a look at my previous post (which went online just hours before AB 1499 made its way through the Legislature) that noted the likely order of the ballot measures.  Then, take a look at what the order will be if AB 1499 is allowed to move forward unfettered:

Proposition 30 – Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2012 (This was the water bond deal of 2009 authored by then-Senate Republican Leader Dave Cogdill that the Legislature put on the 2010 ballot before moving it to the 2012 ballot.)

Proposition 31 – Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. (This is Governor Jerry Brown’s tax measure.)

Proposition 32 – State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. (This is the two-year budget measure.)

Proposition 33 – Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute. (This is best known as Stop Special Interest Money Now.)

Proposition 34 – Changes Law to Allow Auto Insurance Companies to Set Prices Based on a Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 35 – Death Penalty Repeal. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 36 – Human Trafficking. Penalties. Sex Offender Registration. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 37 – Three Strikes Law. Sentencing for Repeat Felony Offenders. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 38 – Genetically Engineered Foods. Mandatory Labeling. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 39 – Tax for Education and Early Childhood Programs. Initiative Statute. (This is Molly Munger’s tax measure.)

Proposition 40 – Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 41 – Redistricting. State Senate Districts. Referendum.

(Any initiatives or referenda that qualify now are too late for the November 2012 ballot and will have to wait for another election.  However, the Legislature can still add measures to the ballot or remove the Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2012 from the ballot, which would alter the numbering of the propositions.)

See what happened in the ballot measure sequence because of AB 1499: Molly Munger’s tax measure is buried near the bottom of the ballot while Governor Jerry Brown’s tax measure will be either first or second on the ballot (depending on if the Legislature removes the water bond from the ballot).  Without AB 1499, the two measures would be neighbors on the ballot.

Munger obtained a temporary restraining order from Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley preventing Secretary of State Debra Bowen from officially numbering the ballot measures.  But for Frawley’s order, she would have done so today.  However, Frawley blocked her from officially numbering the ballot measures until after Frawley holds a hearing on Munger’s suit on July 9.

Not only does Munger challenge the applicability of AB 1499 to the November 2012 ballot, but she also challenges the order of qualification, asserting that the Registrars of Los Angeles and Alamenda Counties improperly validated petitions for Brown’s ballot measure before they validated petitions for her ballot measure, as they are required by law to validate petitions in the order received (yes, Munger’s signatures were turned in before Brown’s).

Should Munger achieve a total victory on July 9 (a week from today), then this will be the ballot order for November:

Proposition 30 – Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2012 (This was the water bond deal of 2009 authored by then-Senate Republican Leader Dave Cogdill that the Legislature put on the 2010 ballot before moving it to the 2012 ballot.)

Proposition 31 – Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute. (This is best known as Stop Special Interest Money Now.)

Proposition 32 – Changes Law to Allow Auto Insurance Companies to Set Prices Based on a Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 33 – Death Penalty Repeal. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 34 – Human Trafficking. Penalties. Sex Offender Registration. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 35 – Three Strikes Law. Sentencing for Repeat Felony Offenders. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 36 – Genetically Engineered Foods. Mandatory Labeling. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 37 – Tax for Education and Early Childhood Programs. Initiative Statute. (This is Molly Munger’s tax measure.)

Proposition 38 – Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. (This is Governor Jerry Brown’s tax measure.)

Proposition 39 – Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 40 – State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. (This is the two-year budget measure.)

Proposition 41 – Redistricting. State Senate Districts. Referendum.

Why does ballot order matter?

Sadly, location on the ballot actually affects odds of passage.  The earlier on the ballot a measure appears, the higher its chances of passing.  I don’t have the figures for ballot measures, but there are studies that have shown being the first person on the ballot in a long list of candidates can boost a person’s vote by as much as 5%.  (This is why candidates appear on the ballot in a random ballot lottery rather than alphabetically.)

To people who vote “yes” on ballot measures because they appear earlier and “no” because they appear later, please for the love of democracy, leave your vote on ballot measures blank!  Your ballot still counts even if you don’t fill out every slot.  If you just want to vote for Obama or Romney, your vote will still count even if you leave the rest of your ballot blank.  Let informed voters who have studied the issues cast their votes for the propositions on the ballot.  While I’m here, if you don’t know anything about candidates in down-ticket races, do not automatically vote for the candidate who appears first or has the longest name.  Let informed voters who have studied the candidates cast their votes for offices on the ballot.

Alas, there is no point to the admonition above since people who read political blogs (like you, dear reader) are not the people causing this problem, as you’re the ones actually seeking information on the issues.

(In the interest of full disclosure, Custom Campaigns has done some consulting work for Stop Special Interest Money Now, tentatively Proposition 33 under AB 1499, or Proposition 31 if AB 1499 is prevented from taking effect for the November 2012 ballot.  For the record, we do not accept payments for blogging and require disclosures when a blogger has a potential conflict of interest in a blog post, unless it’s something really obvious, like a blogger blogging about their own candidacy for office.)

Posted in California | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Has AD-69 Candidate Jose Moreno Violated Federal Law?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 9, 2012

U.S. Senator Carl Hatch (D-NM)

U.S. Senator Carl Hatch (D-NM), author of the eponymous Hatch Act

In a rather unfortunate turn of events, it appears AD-69 candidate Jose “Joe” Moreno may have violated federal law. (Remember, this Jose Moreno should not be confused with Anaheim City School District Trustee Jose F. Moreno.) The explanation for this lies in a Fresno County Assembly district.

On Friday, the Fresno Bee reported that Republican Geof Lickey withdrew from the AD-31 race against incumbent Democrat Henry Perea. The Bee indicated Lickey had indeed met the March 9 filing deadline and qualified for the ballot before his withdrawal; this March 23 list of candidates who qualified for the ballot from the Secretary of State also confirms this. Lickey was able to remove himself from the ballot, as this April 4 list from the Secretary of State indicates Perea is the sole candidate in AD-31.

The Bee reported, “The Hatch Act bars federal employees from using government resources for partisan purposes. But Lickey was told it also prohibited him from running for partisan political office — even though he doesn’t work for a federal agency.”

The Hatch Act, named after its author, U.S. Senator Carl Hatch (D-NM), was adopted to reduce the usage of federal government jobs to advance partisan political ends after Works Progress Administration officials were found to be using their positions to win votes for Hatch’s party.  Hatch was outraged by this corruption from his own party and wrote the Hatch Act.  Two attempts to have the act overturned on free speech grounds were rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court, who held that the Hatch Act is constitutional.

Among other things, the Hatch Act prohibits covered employees from being “candidates for public office in a partisan election.”

Potential candidates covered by the Hatch Act should act with caution before entering partisan politics. Indeed, when speculation surrounded a potential State Senate candidacy by California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board Member Sharon Runner in 2010, she refused to even comment on whether she would enter the race due to the Hatch Act. Only after Runner resigned from the CUIAB did she announce that she was running for the State Senate (which she went on to win).

Moreno selected “Orange County Eligibility Technician” as his ballot designation, and that, of course, is his actual job. What does an Eligibility Technician at the County of Orange do? Well, here’s the County’s job description.

So how does the federal Hatch Act apply to a county employee like Moreno?

Well, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel states, “The Hatch Act restricts the political activity of individuals principally employed by state or local executive agencies and who work in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by federal loans or grants.”

According to the County’s job description, part of Moreno’s job is: “explaining and administering laws and policies pertaining to Federal/State/County assistance programs.”

(If you’re wondering why partisan elected officials aren’t banned from running for re-election, elected officials are exempted from the Hatch Act if their elected post deals with federal dollars and their elected post would be the sole cause for a Hatch Act conflict. It would be kind of funny, though, if the Hatch Act prevented every Governor in the country from running for re-election because states administer many federally-funded programs.)

As I mentioned above, the Hatch Act prohibits covered employees from being “candidates for public office in a partisan election.”

In light of Prop 14, is a race for the Assembly still a partisan election since candidates are no longer nominated by political parties?

Under the Hatch Act FAQs: “if a candidate solicits or advertises the endorsement of a partisan political party or uses a political party’s resources to further his or her campaign, these actions may rebut the presumption that an election is nonpartisan, and thus, indicate that the election is a partisan one. While each case is fact specific, the Board has consistently held that it is less about the title used, and more about the actions of the candidate.”

More definitively, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel issued an advisory opinion in 2001 stating, “For purposes of the Hatch Act, an election is deemed partisan if political party designations appear on a ballot next to candidates’ names.”

Moreno listed himself on the ballot as a Republican. He also told the Orange County Register that he had sought financing from the Republican Party to pay the filing fee to run for Assembly.

It looks like the Hatch Act may put an end to the Moreno candidacy for AD-69.

Posted in 69th Assembly District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments »