Why Did Tony (“Yes on W”) Bushala Just Start a “No on W” PAC? Proud Cynicism!

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Bushala on Measure W

I’ve heard two contradictory reports about the mailer put out by Tony Bushala’s newly created Political Action Committee: “Citizens for Open Space” — to which he apparently contributed $6,000 to promote the “No on W” efforts that seek to block the construction of over 750 homes by Chevron, despite that Tony himself is “Yes on W”:

(1) That the mailer promotes Barry Levinson, who received some support (nowhere near what Kiger received) in the recall election.

(2) That the mailer promoted both Levinson and Jane Rands, who along with Kitty Jaramillo have been the most outspoken “No on W”  candidates for City Council.

These two possibilities suggest very different strategies for Tony in these last few days of the election — where, let’s recall, Tony only really cares about two things: Chris Norby’s race against Sharon Quirk-Silva and promoting Bruce Whitaker (who will win regardless of what Tony does) and Travis Kiger (who won’t unless Tony helps out a lot) for the Fullerton City Council.

If the mailer (or mailers — we’ll see, won’t we?) promote Barry Levinson, then their goal is clear: Tony has (apparently without Levinson’s knowledge or acquiescence, but in what I’m sure is still a welcome gesture) decided that Levinson ought to be people’s third vote in the City Council elections.  This would be fine with Tony– except for the possibility that the more independent-minded Levinson could finish third while Kiger finishes fourth — and out of the money.  Levinson’s abrasive and conservative — but, unlike Kiger, he’s not Tony’s factotum.

But if the mailers — as I’ve been told by one person who received them — promote both Levinson and Rands — then they’re impressively cynical even for the likes of the wily Bushala.

Why?  Because you can’t vote for four candidates with only three open seats!

That’s impressive cynicism!  Tony wants everyone to vote for Whitaker and Kiger.  That means that can only add one name — if that (and I’ll bet that Tony’s own ballot will have only two names on it.)  People differ on their views of this race, but I think that Whitaker and Flory are going to be the top two vote-getters.  The race, therefore, is for third place — and for Tony that means that it’s “Kiger vs. Everybody Else.”

The obvious strategy?  Split the vote!  Get “No on W” people voting for Levinson and Rands — hell, get Ackermanite conservatives to waste their votes on Don Bankhead! — so long as they don’t coalesce around a third candidate with a real chance of beating Kiger.

Who does have a chance of beating Kiger for the third spot (if Flory exceeds his total)?  It’s an odd bit of coalition building to consider.

Traditional Republicans (Ackerman types): A lot will vote for Jennifer Fitzgerald.  Following FPOA and the Fire Fighters, though, a lot will also (or instead?) vote for Rick Alvarez.  Inattentive ones may also vote for Don Bankhead.

Democrats:  Mostly they’ll be voting for Flory and Jaramillo — some also following FPOA to support Ackerman Alvarez, some voting for Rands, some for no one but these two.

Libertarian Republicans:  Some voting for Levinson as a third choice, some for Rands, some for no one but Whitaker and Kiger.

As I feared when I first said that there should be an anti-FFFF coalition spanning the spectrum up against Tony’s candidates, we haven’t seen voters coalesce around a single opponent to edge out Kiger and join Flory and Whitaker in the winner’s circle.  The most likely outcome thus seems to be a Kiger victory — but he’s done a lot to prevent that.  I could imagine Fitzgerald, Alvarez, Jaramillo, Levinson, or even Rands having been able to cobble together a coalition, out of the public eye, to edge out.

For my part, I think that Measure W ought not to be what determines whom one supports for City Council.  I oppose Measure W, but I respect those people who support it because they legitimately believe that the deal with Chervon, negotiated over many years, is the best deal that could have been achieved.  I think that they’re wrong — but being wrong isn’t being evil.  (Many other proponents of Measure W don’t give a damn about the environment and just like seeing Chevron win — which is being evil, at least in political terms.)

At the Candidates’ Meet and Greet this past week, Jan Flory gave a cogent enough answer that I think that opponents of Measure W should still feel comfortable voting for her.  She supports it — but she’s not likely to do anything underhanded on Council (as Bushala’s current majority did) to promote it unfairly.  Rick Alvarez’s answer was much less impressive.

I’d like Jaramillo to take that third seat — and it’s interesting to note that, as an opponent of Measure W, she was NOT on that flyer!  Maybe that means that Tony is afraid that she could edge out Kiger — or that he thinks he can get away with using his fortune to tell people to vote for four candidates for three seats (only two of which he actually cares about — but that five candidates would be a bridge too far.)

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)