Sharon Quirk-Silva: SO much better than Young Kim.

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It’s not even close.  We’ve already established – although it bears repeating – that 65th Assembly District challenger Young Kim is a classic carpetbagger, popping up in Fullerton last year like a toadstool:  The longtime La Habra resident and 20-year Ed Royce staffer had been considering moving to Diamond Bar to run for assembly there, but was instead convinced by Royce to come run against Sharon Quirk-Silva instead.  Well, now we learn that her lease in Fullerton is only till the end of this November, when presumably if she doesn’t win (or maybe even if she does?) she’ll split back to her familiar turf.  The PTA at Troy High School where she claims to be a “community leader” has yet to see her face.  How’s all that for putting down roots in a community?

We’ve also noticed, a while back, that she is obsessed with race and certain that the ticket to her success is the fact that she’s Asian, Sharon is (sort of) hispanic, and Asians vote in a lot bigger numbers than hispanics.  Now she’s been going around saying that the first bill she passes when she gets into the assembly will be regarding The Sea of Japan, which South Koreans thinks should be called “The East Sea.”  No doubt this will be some saber-rattling resolution with no teeth – will this really excite the Korean-Americans of the district, and is it really the sort of thing our state legislators should be spending their time on?  Please contrast with all the bills (some listed below) that the very productive Quirk-Silva has passed, which actually help the people and businesses of the district.

We’ve got a little problem with her ballot designation of “small business owner” as well (although Sharon’s folks couldn’t convince the court.)  For twenty years she’s worked for Royce, as his “Director of Community Relations and Asian Affairs,” and that’s certainly how she makes her living – but apparently last year she re-started some consulting “business” she’d had back in the 90’s, “YK Connections,” and as she HAD received at least one check from that, she got to keep the designation.

Perhaps it’s unfair – Sacramento and Washington Republicans notoriously don’t believe that government can do anything right (beyond jailing and killing us) and when they get into office they work hard to prove that belief.   And Young Kim fits that profile comfortably.  She doesn’t believe in a minimum wage.  She doesn’t think we should have legislation addressing the pay disparity between women and men, but instead tells MSNBC that if more women just owned “small businesses” like her, the problem would take care of itself.

Conversely, Sharon totally believes in the power of government to help the people and businesses in the area she serves.  As of early this month she had eight worthy bills on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature.  Readers of this blog are well aware of her fight – signed and so far successful – to get an Orange County Veterans’ Cemetery in Irvine’s “Great Park.”  Some negative wags have suggested that Sharon “should try helping out LIVING veterans.”  Well, maybe those wags should be quiet and learn something:  Since becoming chair of the Veterans Committee, she has managed to get $3 million a year to help veterans with their continuing education.

Some of what she’s accomplished in the legislature is not in the form of legislation, but in her various advocacy up in Sacramento.  For example, she prevailed against Governor Brown when he wanted to dole out Prop 30 funds unequally to different school districts, based on the ones he determined were more in need.  Sharon insisted that since everyone was paying the temporary higher taxes, EVERY school district should benefit from them … and her argument carried the day!

Having gotten into the assembly soon after Redevelopment funds were yanked away from cities, she has proven adept at reprocessing funds so that the cities in her district got their investments back.  Early on, the city of Buena Park approached her on behalf of their Wax Museum – it’s thanks to her work retrieving the city’s redevelopment investment that the Museum was able to bring us two spectacular shows recently – the Titanic exhibition and “Bodies in Motion.”  (Ribbon cutting to the right.)  Her help was similarly invaluable to Buena Park’s “Premiere Chevrolet” (ribbon cutting below.)

As Young Kim rings the tired alarm about an (exaggerated) exodus of businesses from California to Texas due to our supposedly onerous taxes and regulations, Sharon actually does something about it – with her just-signed-by-the-governor California Competes Tax Credit.

I had asked her a few months ago what she’d do in her second term that she didn’t feel able to do in her first;  and she told me she’d think about that, but I forgot to follow up.  She does know I’ve been critical and impatient with her cautiousness on the Drug War and police reform, and she’s now promised to meet with me and others on those issues soon after she wins re-election.  (Paul Lucas?  Jonathan Taylor?  Up for it?)  But she did want me to know about one bill she’s passed that was specifically inspired by her involvement in the Kelly Thomas murder – AB 1733 would establish a fee waiver for people experiencing homelessness that need to obtain a certified copy of their birth record from the Department of Public Health or a state identification card from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

I say, another term for Sharon Quirk-Silva! – and then we are going to expect and demand even bigger and braver things from her.  Public opinion is progressing in the direction of loosening up the Drug War, legalizing pot, requiring police body cameras, civilian review boards … and votes along those lines shouldn’t be considered “dangerous” next year!

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.