OC Political

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

Posts Tagged ‘Van Tran’

BOE: Cavecche & Bilodeau Exploring Candidacies

Posted by Chris Nguyen on January 12, 2018

Carolyn Cavecche & Denis Bilodeau

Carolyn Cavecche and Denis Bilodeau

With Board of Equalization Chairwoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) ending her BOE re-election bid in order to run for the 49th Congressional District seat after Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) announced his decision not to seek re-election, former and current elected officials across Orange, San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial Counties are contemplating whether to launch bids to replace Harkey in the massive BOE district that covers 1/4 of California’s population.

Multiple sources inform OC Political that Orange County Taxpayers Association President and CEO Carolyn Cavecche (R-Orange) is examining whether she will launch a bid for BOE, the nation’s only elected tax board, since Harkey switched to CD-49.  Cavecche previously won a 2001 special election and 2002 regular election to the Orange City Council and then won three elections for Mayor of Orange in 2006, 2008, and 2010, terming out as Mayor in 2012.  Cavecche would bring a formidable ballot designation of “Taxpayer Association President,” “Taxpayer Association CEO,” or “Taxpayer Advocate.”  Harkey used “Taxpayer Advocate/Assemblywoman” as her ballot designation and defeated former Assemblymembers Van Tran and Shirley Horton.  My long-ago former employer, George Runner, won a hotly-contested BOE race in 2010 with a 10% margin of victory, using “Senator/Taxpayer Advocate” as his ballot designation, defeating Acting Equalization Board Member (and former Assemblywoman) Barbara Alby and former Assemblyman Alan Nakanishi.

Sources have also stated that Orange County Water District Board Member Denis Bilodeau (R-Orange) is pursuing a slate mailer strategy for the BOE race since Harkey switched to CD-49.  Bilodeau won two elections to the Orange City Council in 2006 and 2010, terming out of the Council in 2014.  He also won five elections to represent Orange, Villa Park, and portions of Tustin on the water board in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016.  Bilodeau is also Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson’s Chief of Staff.  Bilodeau is reportedly making slate reservations for BOE, following the strategy that put Businessman/Corporate Controller Claude Parrish into the BOE seat in 1998.  Both of his successors, Michelle Steel and Diane Harkey, also used an aggressive slate strategy.

Former Councilman John F. Kelly (R-Tustin) had pulled papers to run against Harkey.  He won only 11% of the vote when he ran against her in 2014.  A former long-time tobacco shop owner, Kelly does have an odd boost in name ID now, thanks to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.  Former Tobacco Shop Owner Kelly served one term on the Tustin City Council from 1986-1990, having been elected to office at the age of 24 and defeated for re-election at the age of 28.  He also made an ill-fated bid for Congress in 1988 for the seat eventually won by Chris Cox (who was succeeded by John Campbell who was succeeded by Mimi Walters).  No word on if Kelly will continue his campaign, now that Harkey is out.

The four most recent people to have held this seat and their current positions are:

Harkey and Steel used the combined ballot designation and slates strategy to win the seat. In 2014, Harkey bought up most of the slates and used a ballot designation of “Taxpayer Advocate/Assemblywoman” to defeat former Assemblymembers Van Tran and Shirley Horton after forcing Senator Mark Wyland out of the race.  In 2006, Steel used a ballot designation of “Equalization Boardmember’s Deputy” and bought up most of the slates to defeat Assemblyman Ray Haynes.

With Cavecche holding down the best ballot designation, if Bilodeau does hoover up all the slates, this will be the most closely-contested BOE race since 1998.  Lacking a great ballot designation in 1998, Parrish bought up every possible slate to defeat the formidable ballot designation of “Equalization Boardmember’s Deputy” Craig Wilson.  Parrish beat Wilson by a tiny margin of 0.7%.

Posted in Board of Equalization, Orange, Orange County Water District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Vote for me, because I am one of you

Posted by Brenda Higgins on February 18, 2014

Last night the OCGOP Central Committee held it’s monthly meeting and on the agenda were some requests for early endorsements in upcoming partisan races.  There has been some confusion over recent changes in the bylaws and how the timing, request and filing requirements of endorsements will be affected, but that is not the topic here.  (Frankly, I’m a pretty smart person, and I am still struggling to understand the amendments and why we made them)  Here, I want to discuss the future future of the party in California in a post Prop 14 world.

The only endorsement that garnered any discussion is the one sought by Diane Harkey for the California State Board of Equalization.  There were unanimous endorsements for Shari Freidenrich and Tony Rackaukas.  I don’t believe that Shari is challenged and given the circumstances surrounding prior challenges, it’s not likely that TRack will see any challengers until he is blind and walking with a cane and willing to step down, none of which seem to be in his future.

Diane Harkey has announced her candidacy for the State Board of Equalization. In that race also, are Republicans Van Tran and Mark Wyland.  As a matter of procedure (which was not at any time clear what exactly the procedure should have been) the candidates were allowed to speak.  It was fairly impromptu, and did become something of a debate, although the Chairman continued to remind us that this was not a debate.  The end of the story is that the Committee voted by a narrow, (3 votes) to endorse Diane Harkey at this early stage, per her request.  She was immensely grateful, and indicated it was going to make it so much easier for her to raise money and obtain support.

Although I am not well acquainted with any of these candidates,  I did receive a phone call quite some time ago from Diane requesting my support.  I have also had contact from her campaign requesting the same, so kudos to her for hitting the ground running.  I have seen her at every Central Committee meeting in recent months, pressing the flesh, making her presence and ambitions known. She certainly has gotten out early and often, doing the work.  However, I am not certain that an “A” for effort necessarily entitles a candidate to essentially eviscerate opportunities for the other Republicans before the campaign has even started.

To clarify, since Prop 14 we have ‘open’ primaries in California.  Any number of candidates from any party may enter a race.  In this race, we will have at least 3 Republicans and 1 Democrat in what has been described to as a ‘safe’ Republican seat.  In the last election we saw the first glimpse of what is to come of this in the form of Republican on Republican fundraising and rhetorical violence.  How we will deal with it continues to be of concern and debate amongst our ranks.

The best idea of the evening was in the form of a motion made by Deborah Pauly to “table” this discussion until the filing had closed for this office, i.e. postpone this discussion and endorsement until after the ‘official’ filing deadline with the Registrar of Voters has passed, because in theory, someone could walk in there today and decide to be a candidate for this office.  In the morass of procedural clarifications throughout the meeting, that motion somehow got lost, which was disappointing.  The vote on the endorsement and the debate from the members proceeded nevertheless, the endorsement was granted, without any significant consideration of the implications and seriousness of the problems this new post Prop 14 lay of the land provides for the party.

The lack of strategy and agenda for addressing this problem having been noted, here is what has and is developing from this new early endorsement approach.  A veritable game of “gotcha” seems to be arising, in that if a candidate gets there early, and another worthy candidate is in the wings, unaware of the procedure for an endorsement, if and when the political insider, the one who knows the ropes, the one who has been in an office and aware of these procedures, gets there first, he or she will be the one who will get the endorsement.  Will this stop the blood bath of Republican on Republican campaigning in the early races?  That remains to be seen, but it seems it could really exacerbate it.

Now with the OC giving the nod to Harkey, it is likely that San Diego will give the nod to it’s hometown hero, Wyland.  A comment was made last night that VanTran has “no chance” and should bow out now, which of all the incredible and offensive things I heard last night, that was certainly one of them.  It was only a few years ago that Van Tran was the great party hope to unseat Loretta Sanchez. Now he is disregarded like road kill, ‘nothing to see here folks, move along’.  Wow.

The veritable stepping over Van Tran, is magnified though when viewed in light of the discussion that occurred.  Strangely, in the lengthy questioning of the candidates, not only were there no questions related to the actual duties of the position, there was no discussion of the agenda that either candidate would bring to the office.  What there was, were a number of questions that could be easily rephrased as “How Republican are you?”  We heard quite a lot from Harkey about how involved she has been in the party, how she is highly rated in her State Assembly performance by conservative groups, and all the conservative principles she has fought for in the State Assembly.  Nothing other than she really wants “this” (new) job, to explain to us what exactly she will do at the Board of Equalization.

It should be noted that Wyland, even though he was invited to engage in the discussion, did NOT seek the party endorsement.

In addition to being light on substance related to the actual office, (again, these candidates were not noticed that they would be speaking) Harkey was over all, shrill in her presentation. She was a tad histrionic, condescending and rude at times.  I did not care for the eye rolling at some of the comments from Wyland, and her body language, including but not limited to the manner in which she snatched the microphone from Mr. Wyland.

I have said before, this is a tough room.  Politicos of every ilk, well versed in the issues and public figures who in their own varied roles, must verbally address the public on a regular basis.  If you are coming here, you should be prepared to bring your A-game.  Ms. Harkey, as she pointed out, has a long career of public service and has run many a successful campaign. She as much as anyone, should not take any of this for granted.  The impression she gave last night is that she does.  She was indignant that Wyland was there, or in the race or really toward almost anything he had to say. He is also an elected official, coincidentally, higher ranking than Ms. Harkey. Regardless, her disrespect was uncalled for.  Her anticipation of the automatic nature of the endorsement of this important body, also uncalled for.  I would have been far more impressed had she been dignified, respectful and acquiescing to the right of her opponent to be heard.

I am disappointed that the Committee took this action when there were other options, to simply not endorse, or table it for a short, or even indefinite time.  I am disappointed at the narrow margin by which this important endorsement was gained.  I would have voted for the motion to table this to the next meeting or anytime AFTER the filing deadline had passed so that we could be certain exactly WHO will be in this race, but that’s not the way it went.  I fear now, that this will be a fundraising and propaganda blood bath, in what could have and should have been a quiet race for a “safe” seat.  Ms. Harkey indicated that this early endorsement will avoid exactly that which I and others fear, in that SHE will have an easier time raising money and obtaining important support.  I’m not the campaigning pro that she is, and I seriously hope she is right, it just doesn’t make any logical sense to me.

A letter I received from Mark Wyland dated February 13, 2014, stated, “My view has always been that the best role for the party is to stay out of Republican on Republican races, and to help unify everyone after the June vote.  ……With that in mind, I would ask the Orange County Republican Party not pick favorites between three Republicans.  Speaking for myself, I can’t think of anything I have done over the years to deserve having my party endorse against me.  …. I do not request my party’s endorsement and would deeply appreciate it if my party would not endorse against me.”

In this post Prop 14 world, I keep having this recurring thought, it is a good thing we Republicans are so pro-gun because we need to keep re-loading to shoot ourselves repeatedly in the foot.

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

OC Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen Fundraiser, Thursday, October 3

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on September 24, 2013

This came over the wire from the Hugh Nguyen for Clerk-Recorder 2014 campaign…

Hugh Nguyen

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

Live from OC GOP Endorsements Committee

Posted by Chris Nguyen on October 1, 2012

Republican Party of Orange County

All of the recommendations of the Endorsements Committee tonight must be ratified by the Central Committee on October 15. (The Central Committee can and does overturn recommendations from the Endorsements Committee.)

The OC GOP Central Committee confirmed a set of early endorsements in August and regular endorsements in September.  Here are those endorsements, so far.

Tonight, the OC GOP Endorsements Committee meets to make recommendations to the OC GOP Central Committee for late endorsements to be made at the October 15 OC GOP Central Committee meeting.

These late endorsements were either because the candidates submitted late applications or the decision was delayed by either the Central Committee or the Endorsements Committee (San Clemente’s Jim Dahl and San Juan Capistrano’s Sam Allevato and Ginny Kerr were delayed while the rest were late applications).

6:27 PM – The committee gains a quorum 27 minutes late.  Thank you, traffic.

San Juan Capistrano City Council

6:29 PM – Candidate Kim McCarthy says she’s 51 after briefly struggling to remember her age.  She states that incumbent Sam Allevato voted for a $30 million bond that increased property taxes and has needlessly borrowed money to pay for city expenses that should have come from reserves.  She worked at the Pontiac Motor Plant to work her way through Wayne State University.  After Wayne State, she worked on commission basis.  McCarthy says she wants respect for constituents’ money.  She says she will not vote for bonds nor for any grants, matching or non-matching.  She says she wants to help raise property values.

6:32 PM – Candidate Roy L. Byrnes is a physician by training has lived in Orange County since 1959 and was elected to the San Juan Capistrano City Council in 1972 and voluntarily retired in 1976 to spend more time teaching at UCI and on his medical practice.  He expresses his concern about the leftward shift of City Councils in San Juan Capistrano, most recently led by Sam Allevato.  Byrnes urges the committee to not “take the easy way out” by refusing to endorse.  He says the city’s residents are 40% Democrats, and the Democrats do not bother to field a candidate because they’re happy with Allevato.  (OC Political fact check: 26.6% of San Juan Capistrano’s registered voters are Democrats.)  He says if the OC GOP fails to endorse, the Democrats will win.

6:35 PM – Central Committee Member Norm Dickinson says McCarthy supported and contributed to Democrat Laura Freeze.

6:37 PM – A resident says there is hostility to religion on the City Council with the effort to tax religious schools and requiring these religious schools offer scholarships and build trails, which is an intrusion of government upon the school.  He cites the City Council’s requirement that only councilmembers can give the invocation, which “sounds like a state religion.”

6:39 PM – San Juan Capistrano Planning Commissioner Rob Williams speaks in opposition to Kim McCarthy because he says she only says negative things about the city even when he says the facts contradict her.  He says McCarthy not only contributed money but also walked precincts for Democrat Laura Freeze, who unseated Joe Soto, the CRA/OCGOP-endorsed candidate.

6:41 PM – A resident speaks of the high water rates in San Juan Capistrano.  He says there’s a $100 million debt, including a water department with a now-$6 million debt (previously $8 million).  He says he voted for Democrat Freeze because her supporters hoodwinked him into thinking she was a fiscal conservative and that Freeze fooled many others.

6:43 PM – McCarthy states she gave two $250 checks to Freeze, who had told her she was a fiscal conservative with a financial background.  McCarthy notes she’s endorsed by SOCRA and Family Action PAC, as is Byrnes.  She says she would never support or vote for Freeze again.

6:45 PM – Byrnes says he and McCarthy are not politicians, just Republicans trying to do the best they can.  He says that “evil triumphs” when the good do nothing, and that’s the reason the OC GOP should endorse in this race to prevent the Democrats from capturing one of the Council seats.

6:47 PM – Endorsements Committee Member Mary Young expresses her concern about candidates who simply attack their opponents but do not explain what they will do as Councilmembers.  Young expresses her concern that McCarthy failed to disclose her support for Freeze on the endorsements questionnaire in the section that asked about support of Democrats.

McCarthy accused Young of making her mind up before the meeting.

Endorsements Committee Chair Mark Bucher cuts off both McCarthy and Young.

6:48 PM – Endorsements Committee Member Thomas Gordon asks how Planning Commissioner Williams had voted on the religious school taxation issue.

After dodging the question for a while, Williams says he voted for the tax.

6:49 PM – Endorsements Committee Member Mary Young speaks and Candidate Kim McCarthy starts shouting over her, with each demanding that the other show respect.  Young states and McCarthy shouts about how hard they work on the Central Committee and as a candidate, respectively.  (OC Political wishes we had a camera going.)  McCarthy rises out of her seat as the male Endorsements Committee members have facial expressions of concern about a potential physical confrontation.

6:50 PM – Endorsements Committee Member Mary Young makes a motion to endorse nobody.  It dies for lack of a second.

6:51 PM – Endorsements Committee Member Thomas Gordon expresses his disappointment in the fighting.  He says he received numerous phone calls from legislators and other elected officials, and that he is insulted that Allevato couldn’t show up for the meeting when he requested the endorsement while Gordon drove 60 miles from his office to be here.

6:53 PM – Endorsements Committee Member Chandra Chell says a first-time candidate does not have a voting record, so we can only take a candidate at their word.

6:54 PM – Discussion ensues as the committee notes several people who gave money to Democrats were endorsed by the OC GOP Central Committee.

6:55 PM – Endorsements Committee Chair Mark Bucher expresses his disappointment at the way McCarthy conducted herself toward Endorsements Committee Member Mary Young.  However, Bucher says he is completely unimpressed with McCarthy’s opponents who were absent despite saying they would be present.  Bucher also expresses his concern about the need for elected officials to show restraint.  Bucher expresses concern about Allevato’s support of the impact fee imposed on religious schools, which Bucher says is simply a tax by another name.

6:56 PM – Endorsements Committee Member Thomas Gordon echoes Bucher’s disappointment about McCarthy’s treatment of Young, but he still plans to vote to recommend McCarthy for endorsement and hopes she wins the election.  He says if she gets the endorsement, she represents the Republican Party, and she hopes to represent the people of San Juan Capistrano.  If she reacts like that to Young, she may do the same to constituents, which will reflect badly upon both the Republican Party and the City of San Juan Capistrano.

6:58 PM – The vote is 2-1-1 (Gordon and Chell in favor, Young against, and Bucher abstaining) to recommend the endorsements of McCarthy and Byrnes.

I don’t know what they said, but McCarthy and Young spoke and shook hands after the vote.

Laguna Niguel City Council

6:59 PM – At the urging of Endorsements Committee Member Chandra Chell and Central Committee Member Norm Dickinson, the committee unanimously recommends Jerry McCloskey for endorsement, noting McCloskey’s endorsements by myriad conservatives, including Laguna Niguel Councilman Robert Ming.   (McCloskey isn’t here, as he has a scheduling conflict with a city commission.)

San Clemente City Council

7:00 PM – Jim Dahl notes he is a 16-year City Councilman and speaks of his family, including his son in the USMC and granddaughter who is on the TV show Parks & Recreation.  He speaks of his roles on the OC Vector Control District Board, OC Fire Authority, and Transportation Corridor Agencies.  He says he is endorsed by Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, Supervisor Pat Bates, Supervisor Bill Campbell, and the Lincoln Club of Orange County.  He notes his city’s AAA bond rating, parks and beaches.  He closes, “We wish San Juan would give us more sand.”

7:02 PM – Endorsements Committee Member Mary Young asks about how many people are running for how many seats.

7:02 PM – Dahl says there are two slots with five candidates.

7:03 PM – Central Committee Alternate Jennifer Beall notes Dahl endorsed John Alpay in the 2010 Capistrano Unified School District recall and again in this 2012 general election.  Beall notes Alpay is an official endorsement against Prop 32.  She says Dahl has “spit in the face” of the party for twice backing Alpay against OC GOP-endorsed candidates.

7:05 PM – Central Committee Member Norm Dickinson speaks in favor of Dahl, citing his property rights record as the only council member backing the CA GOP position on a San Clemente ballot measure.

7:06 PM – Dahl says he considers Alpay a friend and considers it a matter of honor and will not withdraw his endorsement of Alpay.

7:07 PM – Endorsements Committee Member Chandra Chell asks how can Dahl reconcile being a fiscal conservative with endorsing Alpay (the only candidate running for his trustee area in the 2010 CUSD recall).

7:08 PM – Endorsements Committee Chair Mark Bucher says the target of the 2010 CUSD recall was the OC GOP-endorsed candidate.

7:09 PM – Endorsements Committee Member Mary Young speaks of Beall being the top Republican activist in the CUSD.

7:10 PM – Endorsements Committee Member Thomas Gordon expresses concern about Dahl endorsing Alpay against the OC GOP-endorsed candidate in both 2012 and 2010 (and implicitly for the 2010 recall).

7:11 PM – Endorsements Committee Chair Mark Bucher says a 2012 endorsement of Alpay might be forgivable, but a 2010 endorsement is not.

7:11 PM – No one makes any motion regarding Dahl, so the Committee moves on.

Mesa Consolidated Water District, Division 1

7:12 PM – Endorsements Committee Member Chandra Chell speaks in favor of Eric Bever based on his record as a Costa Mesa Councilman and his role as part of Righeimer’s team.  The committee votes unanimously to recommend Bever for endorsement.

Municipal Water District of Orange County, Division 6

7:13 PM – Incumbent Jeffrey Thomas praises the work of the Endorsements Committee and of OC GOP Executive Director Scott Loenhorst.  He says they should never be yelled at.  Thomas was appointed to the seat three years ago when his predecessor had been flown to a board meeting on a Metropolitan Water District of Southern California plane from his La Quinta home (far outside MWDOC).  Thomas was appointed to replace the carpetbagger.  Thomas won a two-year term in 2010 and is up for re-election this year.  He fought the state’s $13 billion water bond and will fight the 2013 water bond that will likely be $14 billion.

7:15 PM – The Endorsements Committee votes unanimously to recommend Thomas for endorsement.  Thomas pledges not to stay an argue.

Huntington Beach Union High School District, Full Term

7:16 PM – Candidate John Briscoe speaks against a $250 million bond in the Ocean View School District, a $27 million technology bond in Fountain Valley School District, and a $927 million bond in the Coast Community College District that doesn’t build any schools.  He says the incumbents are “tiny-R” Republicans who brag about their endorsements by the unions, and the unions will spend $100,000 to buy those two seats.

7:19 PM – Endorsements Committee Member Thomas Gordon asks if Briscoe is endorsed by Huntington Beach City Councilman (and former Huntington Beach Union High School District Board Member) Matt Harper.

7:20 PM – Briscoe says Harper would have endorsed him had he run for the short-term two-year seat instead of one of the two full-term four-year seats.  He says he is endorsed by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Assemblyman Jim Silva, and former Assemblymen Van Tran and Chuck DeVore.

7:20 PM – The Endorsements Committee votes unanimously to recommend Briscoe for endorsement.

Irvine City Council

7:20 PM – In response to an inquiry from Central Committee Alternate Scott Peotter, Endorsements Committee Chair Mark Bucher notes that because Christina Shea and Lynn Schott are already endorsed for the two Council seats in Irvine, so the Endorsements Committee has no ability to take action on Evan Chemers.  Bucher says there is also inadequate notice.  He says a Chemers endorsement can be considered by the whole Central Committee who can endorse more candidates than spots and who would have adequate notice.

7:22 PM – The Endorsements Committee adjourns.

Posted in Huntington Beach Union High School District, Laguna Niguel, Mesa Consolidated Water District, Municipal Water District of Orange County, Republican Central Committee, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »