Daly’s sole opponent, Joe Moreno, hounded out of race. Hatch Act and Prop 14 both suck ass.


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Well, SORRY, to any of you who live in Santa Ana or central Anaheim who kinda wanted to have a choice of who to vote for to represent you in the Assembly.

That choice is made for you!  There’s only one name on your ballot now, the Anointed One, the choice of Big Oil, Big Insurance, and Anaheim’s Hotel industry, the Whitest Man in Orange County, Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly.   Yes, even as we await the results of the investigation into his long-rumored boinking and promotion of multiple female County underlings, Tom Daly IS your Assemblyman.

For the threats to family man Joe’s employment with the County, based on an over-strict interpretation of the Hatch Act and driven by unnamed complainants apparently including The Liberal OC [*see their denial below] – the threats that have been dangling over him like the Damocles sword since the spring, have come to a head:  He was ordered this week to choose between losing his job and dropping out of the race.

And for the father of six, this was no choice.  Joe Moreno’s name will still be on your ballot, but will only count as a protest vote.  And there would be plenty to protest that way:  the installation of the most corporate-friendly Democrat by staggering independent expenditures from unsavory and out-of-state special interests, the failure of Daly to denounce any of the lying mailers these interests sent out on his behalf, the Machiavellian machinations of Jose Solorio and others to install the quintessential DINO, the imposition of this dazzling caucasian on the most Latino district in the state, and the latest example of the Hatch Act run amok as a political weapon.

For was the Hatch Act really intended to keep guys like Joe from running for offices like state assembly?  Why should someone whose current employer gets Federal dollars be barred from running for STATE office anyway?   Taken strictly and literally it is an absurd and undemocratic law trampling on the civil rights of way too many people, and pending reform it should only be applied sparingly.  Ironically, as Joe pointed out back in April,

… I have absolutely not politicized my employment position to benefit my campaign. I do not have the ability to award jobs, government contracts, grant pay raises or give any other special favors in exchange for political support yet my main opponent, who is a County official, has done so and he is continually allowed to do so with no repercussions.

While some might say that this is business as usual, I say it is wrong regardless of one’s political point of view.  This extrajudicial attempt to end my candidacy will not end government corruption, nor will it strengthen our democracy, instead it only serves to undermine our electoral process.

Well, whatever, right – just replace Joe with the third-place runner-up, the worthy Julio Perez, or have the OC GOP quickly replace Joe with another Republican candidate.  Right? NOT.  This is the new, Prop 14, Top-Two universe, which you can blame on Abel Maldonado all you like, but the VAST MAJORITY OF YOU CHUMPS VOTED FOR IT TWO YEARS AGO.  You’re stuck with Daly and nobody else, just as – if the case against Mimi Walters stands – you Newport-area Republicans are gonna be stuck with Senator Steve Young for four years.  (*snicker*)

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And this desmadre hits the fan just as I’d been preparing an article on what a great guy Joe Moreno was, and how – even if he had had the proverbial snowball’s chance – I would have happily voted for him had I lived in the 69th AD.

I already knew that he was an honest, thoughtful person – when we met in the Spring he described to me his opposition to Anaheim’s TOT giveaway, and how his initial reaction was all tax breaks are good, until he thought about it a little more and realized that Anaheim’s wealthiest and most powerful forces were merely passing along the cost of necessary services to the average taxpayer, while the local government also “chose winners and losers.”  I.E. a non-corporatist conservative in the mold of Tom Tait, Cynthia Ward, Brian Chuchua and Tim Whitacre.

But I still would have been reluctant to send a Republican to Sacramento, where all the Republicans do is obstruct anything Democrats try to do, until I met with Joe earlier this month.  He emphasized that he was strongly opposed to Republican obstructionism in Sacramento and Washington, that he would happily work with both sides and be beholden to neither Party or special interests.  He mentioned his great admiration for Nathan Fletcher (who was unfortunately driven to leave the GOP) as a “citizen legislator rather than a Party legislator.”  Joe could have conceivably become the most important guy in the Assembly, someone who would’ve needed to be courted by the Democrats and convinced of the fiscal responsibility of each of their ideas.

Joe did not want to see taxes raised on those who couldn’t afford it, but was eager to get necessary revenue from those who could:  Specifically he would have been an enthusiastic vote for an Oil Extraction Tax as long as it was ensured the cost would not be passed on at the pump.  It’s unclear if Tom Daly with his six-figure Big Oil contributions would be allowed to do that.

Joe was happy to not be indebted to Unions, and fully supportive of reasonable pension reform, but he also opposes Prop 32, seeing clearly that it kneecaps the voice of working people while offering buku loopholes for the corporations that fund it.

Joe didn’t want me to make a big deal out of this, but now why shouldn’t I – in the spirit of Mayor Tait’s slogan “Fiscal responsibility, freedom and kindness,” he supports marriage equality.  He supports the Dream Act and is driven crazy by his Party’s hostility to Latinos and immigrants.  I’m pretty sure he told me he opposes the stupid, failed Drug War (correct me if I’m wrong on that one, Joe.)  But he stays a Republican, in the fond hopes of helping to make it a better Party.

I could go on and on, but what’s the point.  I would have been proud to endorse and vote for Joe Moreno, but now he is a private citizen.  With a job and kids.

Best wishes to Joe Moreno, condolences to democracy, and let us try to get on with Tom Daly, who may very well be representing us in Sacramento for many years – Let us hope he proves to be a far better Assemblyman that we would expect from his campaign and his supporters!

*Dan C calls and Chris also writes, to protest that the Liberal OC had nothing to do with getting Joe busted.  If they say so.  You can read these words of their mysterious “Joe Hill” yourself and see if it sounds like innocent inquiry or impatient advocacy:

LiberalOC asked the Social Services Agency [Joe's employer] whether they had sought an opinion from the U. S. Office of Special Counsel regarding the possible violation of the Hatch Act by Moreno, they declined to answer because they “do not comment on personnel issues.” When asked whether the Agency was aware of the Hatch Act, Social Services Agency spokesperson TerryLynn Fisher said; “the Agency is acutely aware of the Hatch Act.”


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County. Performs regularly with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem, and at regular concerts at the Huntington Beach Central Library.