Harkey Hall of Shame continued: The Endorsers-of-Diane Wing.


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harkey diane newYou may or may not remember that my last piece about the criminal power couple Dan and Diane Harkey wasn’t quite completed, through no fault of my own.  That story detailed how, two years after being ordered to pay $11.6 million to their elderly fraud victims, they have, by hook and by crook, managed to pay them nothing, while wife Diane, muttering sometimes about an eventual divorce, has been rewarded by being elected to the powerful State Board of Equalization, after an entire skyrocketing career funded by ill-gotten gains. (Where she may, ironically, be having her wages garnished at least.)

Finding the sight of such villains being elevated by the public to be somewhat dispiriting, I ended my piece with a bitter “Hall of Shame” list of those responsible for rewarding Diane and Dan.  I began with our useless DA Tony Rackauckas, for not only allowing Dan to continue flouting the law but also serving on Diane’s campaign committee;  I continued with the OC GOP for “making Diane their darling,” the voters of OC for generally not caring;  the Democratic Party for not coming up with a credible candidate, and the two opposing candidates themselves for refusing to bring up the couple’s criminality;  then I was going to conclude with all the (mostly) Republican politicians who ENDORSED Diane in 2014 despite these crimes, but I ran into a hurdle – DianeHarkey.com is now possessed of a dangerous VIRUS and I couldn’t find a list of her endorsers anywhere else.

So I was just gonna leave it at that.  But hold your horses!  One of Diane’s victims/plaintiffs had printed the list off and mailed it to me.  So here we go.  It’s way too long though to type out or bore you with – six pages, hundreds of individuals and groups, and it’s only a “partial list!”   Yes, the list includes NEARLY every Republican politician in not only OC, but the other counties Diane was running in.  There were a few in this list that I was actually surprised to see endorsing an unrepentant financial criminal.  It made me wonder how much thought these Republicans put into the act of endorsing before an election – is there a list every two years with boxes they can check, with the option on top to “select all?”  I began to picture their form looking something like this:

endorsement checklist of OC crooks

Who was I surprised at, on this long list of Harkey endorsers?  Well, being the honest guy that I am, I have to start with one of my favorite OC Republicans, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait.  What were you thinking when you endorsed this lady, I asked him today.  He told me that he wasn’t aware at the time of the legal trouble the Harkeys had been in, and their flouting of the judgment against them.  (Funny, I thought he read my blog all the time, but he must have missed this.)  tait-dalyHe says, “As I remember, she called and asked for my endorsement, and I knew her to have a good conservative record, so I said okay.”  Oh well, that could be true, I know he doesn’t take much interest in what happens outside of Anaheim.  I hope Tom and everyone else starts doing a little more due diligence in the future.

Then the other Tall White Mayor Tom from Anaheim, Assemblyman Daly.  “Wait,” you might say, “Isn’t Tom Daly a Democrat?”  A question heard Daily, and a good one.  I’m not comfortable calling Mr. Daly to see what the hell he was thinking endorsing a criminal Republican politician over a harmless-enough Democrat, but this – allowing Diane to claim “bipartisan support” – will be be filed under “bad things Tom Daly JUST KEEPS DOING,” along with … right, another list too long to write today.

ALL Republican Congresspeople in the area;  nearly all Republican state legislators and councilpeople;  all our Supervisors except for…  Hey, you know what will be more interesting and easier?  How about the VERY FEW OC Republican electeds who had the guts, conscience, took the time and thought, to SAY NO to Harkey?  A MUCH shorter list:

NOT in Harkey Hall of Shame!

NOT in Harkey Hall of Shame!

Notable in his absence from his colleagues Nelson, Spitzer, Campbell, Bates and Nguyen, was our old friend John Moorlach, who is now a state Senator, and takes my calls!  Why did you refrain from endorsing Diane Harkey last year, sir?

And the distinguished Sasquatch hemmed and hawed:  “Why do you always put me in such difficult positions, Vern?  I’m a Senator now, and I need to get along and work with all my fellow electeds, including the Board of Equalization.”  Okay, but I happen to know that one of the Harkeys’ victims got in touch with John last year, which I’m guessing outraged him into doing the right thing.  Then he directed me to his blog post of May 1, 2014, where, in the process of not endorsing any of the Republicans then running for that office, he noted:

I have worked with Assemblymembers Diane Harkey and Van Tran over the years of my tenure. Van Tran brings a law degree to the position and Diane Harkey is still enduring recession-related negative legal and media attention from her family business affairs.

Well, actually, John, even that is giving the Harkeys too much credit;  the planned failures of Dan’s junk loans had nothing to do with the 2008 recession, the vast bulk of it happened BEFORE THAT, when the economy was booming.  (The recession is an excuse THEY like to use.)  Still, thanks for not endorsing Diane Harkey, you are NOT in the Hall of Shame.

Whitaker - not Hall of Shame material.

Whitaker – not Hall of Shame material.

Also, in contrast to his two GOP colleagues on Fullerton council (tsk-tsk, Sebourn), I see no Bruce Whitaker.   A notably honest and independent dude, and something of a friend, I gave him a call tonight.  “Actually she didn’t ask me for my endorsement, and I was glad – I dodged a bullet – I knew about what she and her husband had done and would have had a real problem endorsing her.  Sometimes the Party comes down on you really hard when you don’t endorse the way they want.”  (Jeez, I wonder, who would want to be in a Party like that?  Are OC Democrats that bad?)  “When you see people conduct their personal lives in such a crooked way, you can be pretty sure you’ll have similar trouble with them in political office.  I try to put a lot of thought into WHO I endorse, so that my endorsement really MEANS something.”  That’s what I’m SAYING, I don’t think most of these people bother with that!

I also note the absence, among (I think) all other San Diego County GOP legislators, of maverick Oceanside assemblyman Rocky Chavez on the list – I don’t know him well enough to ask him why, but I’ve always had a pretty good impression of him.  Isn’t he running for US Senate now or something else foolish? Good luck to him, but I wish the hemp advocate would stay in the assembly.

Pauly, the strongest of the Harkeys' OC GOP critics.

Pauly, the strongest of the Harkeys’ OC GOP critics.

And then there’s for SURE one lady – former Villa Park Councilwoman Deborah Pauly – who definitely doesn’t belong in this Hall of Shame.  Deb and a little group of her OC GOP adherents were OUSPOKEN against endorsing Harkey, for exactly the right reasons (and now Harkey has returned the favor, coming out for Deb’s opponent Steven Choi in the 68th Assembly district race.)  Deb writes me on Facebook:

You’re right, I did not endorse her. I did not endorse her opponent either. I had NO ENDORSEMENT listed on that race in my election PAULY’S PICKS that I have been putting out for over a decade now. I did provide a link to a rather damning write-up by another conservative election recommendation blogger.

As a matter of fact, I was THE voice on the floor of the OC GOP Central Committee speaking AGAINST endorsing Harkey over Wyland. Mark Wyland was there and we tried to block the endorsement, but to no avail. It was hideous. Reminded me of when I watched the GOP endorse Carona. (That’s what inspired me to pull papers and run for Central Committee in the first place.)

So… maybe this whole post is silly, because endorsements are NOT all that important.  But don’t you think these politicians, especially the Republican ones, should put in a little more thought and research before checking off EVERYONE their party bosses tell them to, before clicking “Select All” if that’s how it works.  Then their endorsements WILL mean something.  As it stands now, both our chief law enforcer (Rackauckas) and the most likely frontrunner to be his successor (Todd Spitzer) are on record endorsing a scofflaw senior swindler’s trophy politician wife, and that’s on them.

I know what you’ll say, forget it Vern, it’s Orange County.  Sigh…

forget it jake its chinatown


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist 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 vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.