Nelson Pointlessly Bares Partisan Fangs in Refusing to Support Irvine Veterans Cemetery


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Shawn Nelson update with vets

Supervisor Shawn Nelson would NEVER promote his own accomplishments in office to the public, even if he thought the cause was just, and certainly would not do so using government resources — right? (Actually, we’d better double-check that and see if he himself lives up to the “Shawn Nelson standard.” And why is he blocking the view of veterans in the Great Park?)

From the Voice of OC, regarding yesterday’s Board of Supervisors meeting:

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk Silva also drew protests from county supervisors for attempting to move a bill authorizing a veterans’ cemetery in Orange County.

Supervisors’ Chairman Shawn Nelson called out Quirk Silva’s efforts as political, given that he had already received political mail at his house regarding her veterans’ cemetery effort.

While these issues would seem like an easy vote for an all-Republican board of supervisors in one of America’s most Republican counties, board members balked on Tuesday.

Regarding Quirk Silva’s bill, supervisors voted 3-1 to support the bill, with Nelson refusing to register a vote. Supervisor John Moorlach voted no, saying he wanted to amend the bill to have the county’s ongoing $73-million tax dispute with the state resolved, which would provide stable funding for such a cemetery.

This is really bad politics.  Shawn Nelson is being a shameful partisan hack in trying to stop what has intentionally been a painstakingly bipartisan effort.  He’s also, if he keeps this up, hurting rather than helping the Assembly campaign of Young Kim against bill sponsor Sharon Quirk-Silva.

I’ll start with a disclosure: I’m a member of the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Committee, which is composed of members such as Bill Cook and Richard Ramirez who have been the driving force to create a a veteran’s cemetery in OC for, in Cook’s case, about 15 years.  I’ve worked many hours, with people of all political perspectives, to advance this project since being brought on board (by Brian Chuchua) in January, because it is so obviously beneficial to Orange County families who, understandably, have avoided making the long trek through nasty traffic to Riverside.  (I’m not a veteran myself, but I am the father of one.)

Most of the OCVMP committee is, so far as I can tell, Republican, although it has a good helping of Democrats.  We have taken considerable pains to avoid partisanship, to reach out to people countywide and specifically within Irvine (where the issue is apparently how much of its immense profit the developer brought in by the City to convert the plans for a “Great Park” into a “Great Tract and Sports Complex” might lose if such plans go through.  Don Wagner, the Assemblyman for the area, has taken a strong leadership role in this effort; I’ve embraced that rather than worry about how much it may boost his political future, because that shouldn’t matter much compared to the politically uniting goal of bringing a cemetery to Orange County — ideally at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.

I don’t get Sharon’s “political mail” here across the city limits, but I do get her emails — and they have been restrained enough, and focused simply on getting the project approved, that I have to wonder exactly what Nelson means by “political mail.”  If it’s “mail designed to activate the public to support this project,” he’s surely right that that exists – as it should right now, because the prospects for the cemetery are in serious doubt and we need to rally people to the cause!  If he thinks that there’s something wrong with Sharon’s working hard to promote her bill against — I know that Nelson may find this unbelievable, but if so that’s his own intentional ignorance – serious opposition, then I’d love to see him set forth the standard he’s using to judge her, because I look forward to judging him by that same standard.

What Nelson’s refusal to support a Orange County veteran’s cemetery does, at this point, is to put pressure on Young Kim to take a position on a cemetery in the Great Park, despite concerns that negative feng shui from living next to a cemetery may theoretically lower the prices that the mainland Chinese capitalist communists (it’s complicated) trying to shunt money out of China to the relative safety of Irvine real estate might be willing to pay.  (Smooth move, Counselor.)

Do I want Sharon to have this as a campaign issue against Young Kim?  NO — I WANT YOUNG KIM ON BOARD, even if it neutralizes this as a campaign issue, because I WANT THE CEMETERY BUILT SO THAT IT WILL BENEFIT ORANGE COUNTY VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES.  And I hope that she’ll support the placement of a cemetery in the Great Park now, while her support can still make a difference, even if it may remove some political advantage from Sharon.  That’s because — and Sharon has been crystal clear about this from the start, as the Republicans from OCVMP can attest – this should not be a partisan issue.

At yesterday’s OCVMP meeting, I had heard that Nelson had abstained on the motion — but I had accepted the explanation circulated that he just didn’t have all of the facts about how it would not cost the county money (or, for the most part, even the state, given the federal grants for such purposes.)  Fine, I could respect that — even though I think that he was remiss in not checking with the people behind the plan prior to his vote, if that was his concern.  But the Voice story puts an entirely new spin on it — he seems to oppose this because he thinks that it would be good for Sharon Quirk-Silva, and that makes it bad.

Back away from your quoted comments, Supervisor Nelson.  They don’t serve you or your preferred candidate well.  If you two are smart, you’ll both climb aboard the train of supporters in time for the April 22 meeting, where an important vote on a site-selection committee will take place.  Stop being so political and join OCVMP in doing what’s right.


About Greg Diamond

Prolix worker's rights and government accountability attorney and General Counsel of CATER. His anti-corruption work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, leading them to work with the Democratic Party of Orange County Chair and other co-conspirators (who had long detested the internal oversight his presence provided) to remove him from the position of DPOC North Vice Chair of in violation of party rules and any semblance of due process. He also runs for office sometimes. Unless otherwise specifically stated, none of his writings prior to that lawless putsch ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. He tries to either suppress or openly acknowledge his partisan, issue, ideological, and "good government" biases in most of his writing here. If you have a question about any particular writing, just ask him about it and (unless you are an pseudonymous troll) he will probably answer you at painful length. He lives in Beautiful Bountiful Brea, but while he may brag about it he generally doesn't blog about it. A family member works as a campaign treasurer for candidates including Wendy Gabriella in AD-73; he doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. He does advise some campaigns informally and (except where noted) without compensation.