Blocking J, Part 1: Tony Bushala Will Pay for a Recount Against NOCCCD’s School Bond Ballot Measure

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Blocking J Part 1

While I’m not rooting for a recount, I’m pretty happy about getting to use the graphic concept that I had in mind for Measure J ever since I learned that the count might be really close. And I think that the long hair looks pretty good on Bushala!

Let the Games begin!

As soon as a recount in the Measure J race became a serious prospect — which was weeks ago by now — I was looking forward to being able to change from the “Blue Jay” theme I’d been using — and you might want to open that link in a new tab now, because you’re likely to be using it — to the “Mockingjay” theme you see here.  But something was always missing — and it wasn’t until today that I realized what it was: the visage of Tony Bushala as the protagonist in the anti-government drama.  Today we finally learned, as Bushala’s close friend and political confidante David Zenger had been hinting here in comments for some time, that a wealthy property owner in the area would be putting up the money for a recount in both LA and Orange Counties.  (Presumably Orange County; wisely, it will start in LA, but the odds of making up the deficit there alone, mooting the need to move to OC, seem remote.)

Let’s get one thing straight — and this is especially important to know if you’re name is Sarah Tully and you are covering this story for the Orange County RegisterMeasure J does not lead by only 15 votes.  Please stop saying that, Ms. Tully, you’re killing me.  Click that link and check your math.  If the goal is to eliminate enough absentees or provisional ballots that the Yes side falls below 55%, Bushala’s team will have to eliminate 34 Yes votes.  And yes, this matters: if we’re talking about errors statistically distributed on a normal distribution here, a net gain of 34 votes is way more than twice as hard to reach than 15.  (Think of it in terms of coin flips.)

Starting in LA alone only makes sense if Bushala is either willing to drop the effort there if nothing much moves in LA, which is unlikely.  Seriously, is the idea that if he gains 1 vote in this 1/40 of the district, he goes on because he can expect to gain 39 more in OC, but if he gains 0 votes then he doesn’t?  If he loses 1 vote in LA, does he give up?  I suppose that it’s a blessing for NOCCCD, though, as it gives them another day to consider their opposition strategy in OC.

Because the OC Registrar of Voters is pretty notorious (in a good way) for not committing errors, the only strategy that might lead to a change — at an obvious political and social cost — would be to selectively challenge ballots in precincts that are predominantly populated by racial and ethnic minorities or by students.  And that would lead to some of the same “Equal Protection” issues that were starting to bubble up in the recount for the Controller’s race earlier this year — covered in excruciating depth in these pages — involving John Perez and Betty Yee.

If that happens, I will certainly call on the Democratic Party of OC to muster its legal help to intervene — and on the OCGOP, if it doesn’t want to be seen as trying to block Hispanic, Asian, or African American votes based on their presumed greater likelihood to support a school bond, to do the same.  So this could be really, really interesting if it’s not done meticulously and fairly.  I have no strong reason to think that it won’t be, and I will hope for the best from Messers Bushala and Zenger, who seem to see themselves as playing politics hard but fair.  If the games are to be fair, then “may the odds be ever in your favor” to both sides, despite the fact that pronouncement of Effie Trinket’s makes no logical sense.

An update will come when I see a copy of how Bushala’s demand is phrased, if not sooner.  Meanwhile, I have to consult with my daughters for a shipload of additional Hunger Games quotes.

UPDATE 12/10:

Here’s the “Recount Notice” in LA:

Here’s the “Recount Schedule” in LA, along with the relevant rules:

In a comment, David Zenger seems to cast doubt on whether it went forward, but he can elaborate when and whether he wishes.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 (in violation of Roberts Rules) 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. Expelled from DPOC in October 2018 (in violation of Roberts Rules) for having endorsed Spitzer over Rackauckas -- which needed to be done. 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. One of his daughters 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.)