City Council Candidates (and Some Analysis)

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Top row (l-r): Dr. Jose Moreno (Anaheim), Sunny Youngsun Park (Buena Park), Cynthia Ward (Anaheim, Mayor), Sal Tinajero (Santa Ana), Bottom row: (l-r) Roman Reyna (Santa Ana), Arlis Reynolds (Costa Mesa), Tiffany Ackley (Aliso Viejo), Jesus Silva (Fullerton).

For most cities, filing for City Council ends on August 10.  For some, it ends today, August 9; sorry this couldn’t be finished further in advance of that deadline for those of you in those cities.  Most cities seem to have the same “AEIOU” clause as the state has, where if Any Eligible Incumbents Opts to Unserve (i.e., doesn’t file for re-election), filing is extended by five calendar days for anyone except that incumbent.

Incumbents are designated with an “(i)”.  Candidates with names in purple have completed filing; those in magenta have not.  As it takes more than a day to make the rounds of all 38 cities, some information may not be current; if it matters to you, check it yourself.

UPDATE: Now all of the City Council races in OC can be looked up here, laboriously, one by one.  Or, you can read on!

Aliso Viejo City Council

Two positions are open, with terms expiring for … (well, that link is where the candidates should be listed, but I don’t see any link to them.  Can any Old Alisan out there offer guidance?)  (UPDATE: Aliso Viejo’s list of candidates was still not up as of early Thursday morning.  UPDATE 2:  Nor was it up as of 11 p.m. on Thursday 8/16.)

8/17, 10:50 a.m.  I’ve given in and asked for an email.  Took several minutes just to get through to the City Clerk, and then I had to give my name prior to having my call connected.  Sorry, but this is ridiculous. … OK, here is the list.  I’m removing email addresses and phone numbers to respect candidates’ privacy; if any want to see that information included, they can post it in a comment.

Garrett Dwyer (“Businessman/Sales”)
Tiffany Ackley (“Environmental Attorney”)
David Harrington (i)
Gary P. Pritchard (“Governing Board Member, Capistrano Unified School District, Trustee Area 5”)
Jason Spielfogel (“Director of Product Management”)

Analysis: The Council split has been 3-2 Republican, so the outcome here is wide open.  I know that Democrat Phil Tsunoda is retiring; Incumbent Mayor Dave Harrington is running for re-election.  Republicans have endorsed Garrett Dwyer for one seat; Tiffany Ackley and Gary Pritchard will presumably both receive the Democratic endorsement next Monday.  If David Harrington can’t muster up a free ballot designation — such as “Mayor of Aliso Viejo,” which he is — I don’t think he’s in great shape.  I think that one can make an argument based on the above for anyone except Jason Spielfogel: not that there’s anything wrong with being a “Director of Product Management,” but I suspect that that term will creep out voters.  

Anaheim City Council

Mayoral candidates, ballot designations, and candidate statements:

Ashleigh Aitken Consumer Protection Attorney Statement
Lorri Galloway Non-profit Executive Director Statement
Rudy Gaona Small Business Owner Declined
Tony D. Martin   Declined
H. Fuji Shioura Educator Declined
Harry Sidhu Anaheim Business Owner Statement
Jessie Stuckey Realtor  
Cynthia Ward Cemetery District Trustee Statement
Robert Williams Emergency Medical Technician Declined

District 2:

Jordan Brandman  Local Businessman/Educator Statement
Donald Bruhns  Accounts Receivable Director Declined
Duane Roberts  Teacher Statement
Robert Trimble  Licensed Private Investigator Declined
James Derek Vanderbilt*  Anaheim City Councilmember Statement

District 3:

Mitch Caldwell  Businessman/Roofing Tradesman Statement
Jose F. Moreno*  Councilmember/University Professor Statement
Robert R. Nelson  Aircraft Mechanic/Boardmember Statement

District 6:

Patty Gaby Teacher/City of Anaheim Commissioner Statement
Grant Henninger  Anaheim Business Owner Statement
Trevor O’Neil  Orange County Small Businessowner Statement
Analysis: The Democratic Party doesn’t like to admit it, but traditional party politics doesn’t really apply in Anaheim.  Instead, the main rift is between the pro-Disney subsidy faction, including the Building Trades, and the fiscally prudent “people’s” faction including popular Republican Tom Tait, Democrat Jose Moreno, and UNITE-HERE (hotel and restaurant employees), which has introduced the Living Wage measure to this year’s ballot.  Mayoral candidates Sidhu (R) and Galloway (D) have historically been in the Disney camp, Cynthia Ward (R) has been a reformer, and no one’s entirely sure where Aitken (D) will end up (She doesn’t seem like a Disney captive, but it’s unclear how devoted she’d be to the Tait legacy.)  Gaona (former conservative D, new R) and Williams (conservative D, sounding like R), will all likely have some support as well; Martin, Shioura, and Stuckey seem likely to trail the pack.
In District 2, Brandman is, next to his good friend Kris Murray, the quintessential Disney candidate; Vanderbilt is moderate but leans towards reform; and Roberts is a reform firebrand (but has a history of collecting little money or votes.)   Bruhns and Trimble don’t seem like factors.   In District 3, two Democrats lead: Moreno is a quintessential reform candidate and Caldwell is a Disney/SOAR supporter with an upcoming Curt Pringle fundraiser(!)  Nelson is a moderate there to pick up Republican votes that don’t go to Moreno.  In District 6, Henninger and O’Neil are both Disney supporters (one from each party), while Gaby has strong support from the Taits.  All three seats up are currently held by reformers, Barnes being the fourth, so reformers must not lose more than one contest (including Mayor) to retain what control they have.  Lucille Kring and more amiable Disney supporter Steve Faessel will remain on the Council for the next two years, now that Murray is termed out.

Brea City Council, 2018

Three seats are open; incumbents are designated with an “(i)”.  The election for City Treasurer next occurs in 2010.

Bill Hall (“School Boardmember/Businessman”)
Cecilia Hupp (i) + (“Business Owner”)
Glenn Parker (i) + (“Fire Inspector”)
Blake Perez (“Justice Policy Analyst”)
Steve Shatynski (“Businessman/Parks Commissioner”)
Sean Thomas (“Insurance Executive”)
Steve Vargas (i) + (“Military Officer”)

Analysis: All three incumbents filed for reelection; Parker is a moderate (NPP, last I recall); Hupp is an Establishment Republican and Vargas is a Tea Party Republican.  Hall is coming off of the School Board.  I don’t believe that Perez, Shatynski, or Thomas have held office.  (It’s not easy to check; I believe that ballot statements are up somewhere on the City’s site, but there’s no link to them or it on this page.) Whether incumbents are safe or not depends on what Bigfoot local donor Dwight Manley wants to do, which is why he gets pretty much whatever he wants from Brea.

Buena Park City Council

District 1

Sunny Youngsun Park (“Buena Park Business Owner”)
Waldemar “Val” Sadowinski (“Retired Medical Doctor”)
Virginia Vaughn (i) + (“Business Owner”)

District 2

Jae Chung (“Appointed Planning Commissioner”)
Ian MacDonald (“Buena Park Nonprofit Director”)
Elizabeth “Beth” Swift (i)

District 5

Connor Traut (“Governing Board Member, Centralia Elementary School District”)
Adonay Gutierrez (“Community Volunteer”)

Analysis:  Candidate statements don’t seem to be linked to online, which is scheduled to be my new pet peeve.  District 1 os highly Korean, and one would think that that favors Sunny Park.  Virginia Vaughn, though, has the “Mayor” designation.  Sadowinski is a gadfly, but also a non-factor, especially given a close and consequential race.  The exclusion of Asians from leadership was a main spur towards districting, so a strong campaign by the congenial Park ought to win it.  District 2 is less Asian, giving less of a boost to Chung, but her being a Commissioner may make up for that.  Swift is a current Councilmember, while Macdonald as a non-profit director will likely take his share — although the question is “from whom?”  District 5  pits Democratic Golden Boy Traut against Community Volunteer Gutierrez; this seems likely to be a rout.

Costa Mesa City Council


Katrina Foley (i) + (“Businesswoman/Attorney”)
Sandy Genis (i) + (“Land Planner”)

District 3

Brett Eckles (“Costa Mesa Parent/Businessman”)
Andrea Marr (“Professional Mechanical Engineer”)

District 4

Steve Chan (“Businessman”)
Manuel Chavez (“Funding Coordinator”)
Michelle Figueredo-Wilson (“Realtor/Businesswoman”)

District 5

Allan Mansoor  (i)
Arlis Reynolds (“Engineer/Businesswoman/Commissioner”)
Rebecca Trahan (“Finance Executive”)

Analysis: If you’ve been following our comments section, you’ll know that Jim Righeimer cajoled Genis into the Mayor’s race after Foley had arguably treated her high-handedly.  (But is she therefore now Riggy’s puppet?  That’s the question.)  My hope is that (1) Foley has learned a lesson about tending one’s relationship with coalition partners, and (2) if Genis wins, she will leave Riggy flat.  In District 3, one of our anonymous commenters like Andrea Marr.  In District 4, she likes Manuel Chavez.  In District 5, she likes Arlis Reynolds (which from what I can tell I do too.)  I’m going to see if maybe Geoff West would do a guest post here on these candidates; maybe Greg Ridge as well. 

Now here’s something horrifying:  Costa Mesa’s site not only doesn’t post candidate statements online, but you can only see them through August 20 in the City Clerk’s office.  Seriously, this is what it says:


Candidate Statements are available for public examination in the City Clerk’s office, City Hall 1st Floor, 77 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA

Am I misinterpreting this, or is that crazy?

Cypress City Council

The terms of incumbents Stacy Berry, Paolo Morales, and Jon Peat expire this year.  That’s all I can tell you, because nothing about current candidates, possibly including these incumbents, is on their website.  [UPDATE: Cypress’s lack of information even about who is running should be an embarrassment to the city.  I’ll try to get them to email a list of candidates and information about their statements, which I’ll post here, but I shouldn’t have to do this and others shouldn’t have to reply on my doing it.  It stinks.]  OK, had to wait for the ROV on this one!

Jon Peat (i)
Frances Marquez (“College Professor”)
Paulo Morales (i) 
Steven D. Bradley (“Retired CFO/CPA”)
Nettie Bryan (“Community Volunteer”)
Stacy Berry (i)

Dana Point City Council

Their list of candidates is up, but I’m omitting their contact information here:

District 1

Joseph “Joe” Jaeger (“Retired Financial Executive”)
Joe Muller (i)
Amy Foell (“Workforce Development Director”)

District 2

Mark L. McGinn (“Engineering Sales Manager”)
Richard A. Viczorek (“Mayor/Marine/Attorney”)
J. Scott Schoeffel (“Attorney”)

District 3

Jamey Federico (“Businessman/Retired Marine”)
Charles Payne (“Police Lieutenant/Businessman”)

Links to their candidate statements may be found here.

Fountain Valley City Council

No information is as yet posted as of early Thursday morning.  [UPDATE: nor by Thursday 8/16 at 11 p.m.]

I tried calling Fountain Valley Friday morning, and they are closed on alternate Fridays, including today.  Hey, there’s a good reason to put the information on the city’s website?  You can call them at 714-593-4400 to find out who’s running for office on Monday.  I may — or I may just endorse against all incumbents.

Kim Constantine (“Businesswoman”)
Tam “Nick” Lecong (“Small Business Owner”)
Patrick Harper (“Certified Public Accountant”)
Michael Vo (i)+(“Business Owner”)
Tom Nguyen (“Fountain Valley Business Owner”)
Patrick Tucker (“Business Executive”)
Dave Osborn (“Business Owner”)
Glenn Grandis (“Businessman”)

Fullerton City Council

District 3

Greg Sebourn (i)
Jesus Silva (i) + (“Teacher”)
Nickolas Wildstar (“Recording Artist”)

District 5

John Ybarra (“Broker/Business Owner”)
Paulette Marshall Chaffee (“Attorney/Nonprofit Boardmember”)
Ahmad Zahra (“Educational Media Businessman”)
Dr. Vicki Calhoun (“Counselor/Educator”)
Sabrina Narain (“Attorney at Law”)
Jose Trinidad Castañeda

[NOTE: Castañeda has not qualified at this point, but has filed a ballot challenge to get his final disputed signature counted, allowing him to get onto the ballot.  I’m representing him in that action.  If we don’t win, he plans to run as a write-in.  He’d be the only Latino Democrat in a 60% Latino District — Ybarra is Republican — so don’t count him out even then.  Oh, you think that Chaffee will obviously win?  Faithful Reader, stay tuned.]

Analysis: Just a reminder that we have the combination of the owner of the Slidebar (who wanted to divide up Downtown Fullerton to reduce the regulatory power of its own neighborhood) and the Council majority to thank for gerrymandering its two incumbents into the same district to make space for outgoing Councilman Doug Chaffee’s wife to parachute into a new district.  (It’s one reason why Dem volunteers are not knocking down walls to knock on doors for Chaffee in the Supervisor’s race.)  District 3 is going to be a brawl between incumbents Sebourn and Silva; I won’t even handicap it.  District 5 might seem to belong to wealthy Paulette Chaffee, wife of former Mayor Doug, but she has some serious negatives related to residency — although she technically did probably move into her new condo, where she claims to live alone, just hours under the wire.  (More on that in time.)  I had thought that Paulette Chaffee was a shoo-in; I no longer do.  If Castaneda gets onto the ballot, I think he — as the only Latino Democrat in a 60% Latino district — has an inside track.  Zahra has a lot of support from party Democrats, Ybarra probably from what Republicans reside here, and Calhoun has run here before.  Chaffee has effectively unlimited money, but if she wants to go deeply negative on her Latino, African-American, and Muslim opponents, her husband’s Supervisorial campaign will suffer for it.  (It’s also not the most attractive look for an Anglo carpetbagger.)

Garden Grove

GG doesn’t list candidates, but invites you to weed through campaign finance filings and statements of intention and figure out the lineup by yourself.  This is a terrible, terrible system.  I couldn’t figure out who’s actually in or out — and much of it turned out to be misleading.  I offer no analysis yet.


Steve Jones (i)
Donald Taylor (“Retired”)

District 1:

Roger Flanders (“Retired Police Officer”)
George S Brietigam III (“LAPD Master Sergeant”)
Adam Degner (“Business Owner/Longshoreman”)
Gerry Serrano (“Police Sergeant III”)
Joshua Kramer (“Legal Fellow”)

District 3

Thu-ha Thi Nguyen (i) + (“Research Scientist”)
Duy Nguyen (“Business Owner/Benker”)

District 4:

Phat Bui (i)
Joe Dovinh (“Small Business Owner”) 
Mark Anthony Paredes (“Healthcare Manager”)

Huntington Beach City Council Deadline Aug. 10, 2018

City Attorney: Michael Gates (i)

Four open Council seats:

Brian Burley (“Information Technology Analyst”)
Kim Carr (“Businesswoman/City of Huntington Beach Commissioner”)
Barbara Delgleize (i)
Darren Ellis (“Business Owner”)
Kevin Fockler (“Teacher”)
Amory Hanson (“Student”)
Dan Kalmick (“Businessowner/Planning Commissioner”)
Don Kennedy (“Business Development Consultant”)
Shayna Lathus (“Teacher/Businesswoman”)
Billy O’Connell (i) (“Huntington Beach Businessowner”)
Erik Peterson (i) + (“Businessman”)
Mike Posey (i) + (“Businessman”)
Charles Ray (“Attorney/Small Businessowner”)
Michael Simons (“Governing Boardmember Huntington Beach Union High School District”)
Ronald A. Sterud (“Financial Advisor/Commissioner”)

Analysis: It is Vern’s province, not mine, to opine on candidates and prospects in this town of my youth, but I will make two observations: (1) with four Council incumbents running with a dozen opponents, municipal democracy is absolutely thriving in Huntington Beach.  (Well, it is presuming that those candidates do finish filing.)  (2) Cities that don’t post daily updates of your website — take a look at the absolutely beautiful and functional Huntington Beach website, promptly updated daily, because this is what YOU should be doing too! Maybe so many people run because they can so easily tell who else is running! 

Irvine City Council (Mayor plus two open seats)

Mayor (with links to ballot statements):

Donald Wagner (i)  — anti-ARDA
Katherine Daigle  (“Small Business Owner”) — anti-ARDA?
Ing Tiong — (“Software Engineer/Healthcare”) unknown?
Ed Pope  — (“Retired Educator”) Agranista


Kev Abazajian — (“University Professor/Scientist”) alleged spurned Agranista 
Gang Chen — (“Architect”) anti-ARDA
David Chey — (“Self-Employed/Entrepreneur”) had his mother beg
Lauren Johnson-Norris — (“Irvine Commissioner/Businesswoman”) Team Fox
Farrah N. Khan — (“Nonprofit Director/Businesswoman”) DPOC Vice-Chair

Anthony Kuo — (“Irvine Commissioner/Businessman”) anti-ARDA
Frank McGill — (“Retired Urban Planner”) Agranista
Mark Newgent — (“Retired Army Captain”) good partner for Daigle
Carrie O’Malley — (“Commissioner/Taxpayer Advocate”) Republican-endorsed
John Park — (“Entrepreneur/Company President”) not scandalous
Liqing Lee Sun — (“VP/Engineer/Attorney”) anti-homeless zealot
Jaci Woods —  (“Businesswoman/Broker/Realtor”) Agranista

Supplemental Analysis, 8/15: I’m told that Lynne Schott has good reason not to run for re-election, but who anticipated Jeff Lalloway’s choice not to run for anything this year?  Closer Irvine watchers than OJB might have (and many who didn’t may not claim to have), but I’m truly surprised.

Pope, McGill, and Woods — is that is the most mediocre Agranista slate ever?

Previous (and standing) analysis:

The mystery of who Agran will be running for Mayor has been solved, and it’s a candidate that I had laughed aside when it was suggested to me: Agran pawn Ed Pope, who “led” the “No on B” campaign against the swap to the  Strawberry Fields site.  To say that Pope “is not his own man” is to understate things.  What is going to be more interesting is what happens if Pope tries to implement his campaign promise — to interpret the No on B vote (achieved by duplicity and confusion of the public) as a requirement that the veterans cemetery must now be built on ARDA!  For many reasons — that it will face promising and extended litigation by Five Point, that a better proposal now exists to substitute the “planned golf course” site (which, unlike ARDA, actually is IN the Great Park), that Assemblyman Steven Choi will almost surely bottle up any attempt to fund the decontamination (which Irvine cannot afford itself), that actual veterans groups now oppose it, that it does not that a better site has turned up in Anaheim,  etc. — that ain’t going to happen.  In fact, the most likely effect of Pope’s entry into the race is to galvanize Asian voters and give a big boost to the Council campaigns of Gang Chen and Anthony Kuo, which is probably not what Agran wants.  Pope’s candidate statement is rife with misstatements that are ripe for challenge, so don’t be surprised if one candidate — presumably Wagner — goes to court this week to have the document trimmed down to something accurate (and thus much, much shorter.)   Except for a wildcard fourth candidate who is invisible to radar, this lineup has almost exactly the same players as appeared in the last Mayoral election — Republicans Wagner and Daigle, with Pope being a far inferior replacement for Mary Ann Gaido — and Agran botched that election, as he had his own and Beth Krom’s campaigns in previous years.  Democrats didn’t flock to Gaido then; they have even less reason to flock to Pope now.

(Final  Mayoral thought: I haven’t spoken to Melissa Fox or her associates , but if she prefers Wagner to Pope — I expect she would — then she might run as a write-in: she wouldn’t win, but every Democratic vote she took would be one that would probably otherwise go to Pope, so Wagner would likely appreciate it.   A Fox write-in campaign would likely freeze any movement towards a DPOC endorsement of Pope, although it would probably fail anyway.  Having no Mayoral candidate but Pope would be bad news for Democratic Council candidates, her write-in would particularly boost Johnson-Norris.  The argument against is that then she has a loss on her record, but I think that it would be pretty easily explained away in the future.)

Several of the Council candidates logically line up in pairs for two seats.  (I’m told that bullet voting is generally not a good plan in Council races because people tend to use all of the votes they’re given.)  This is especially beneficial if you can line up with a candidate for Mayor.  (Agran is all about slates.)  So I’d expect McGill and maybe Woods to line up with Pope; Kuo and Chen to team up and possibly line up with Wagner (which would be betraying Melissa Fox, who is promoting Lauren Johnson-Norris, but politics ain’t beanbag) if he doesn’t slate up with GOP-endorsed Carrie O’Malley; if Wagner does smile upon the Asian team aligned with Five Point then perhaps O’Malley line sup with someone who will get fewer votes than her but perhaps more than they would otherwise (Mark Newgent? John Park?  Anti-homeless activist Liqing Lee Sun?) and perhaps Katherine Daigle for Mayor (explicable to RPOC because he  would have betrayed her first).

On the Democratic side, we have too much of a good thing: three comparably viable candidates.  The logical pairing to me would be for the two strongest, who represent different factions, to pair up: Johnson-Norris and Farrah Khan.  (This is what I’ll plan to promote at the DPOC meeting.)  Neither may be interested, though: this is similar to what I proposed in the last election, where I was begging Fox to cross-endorse with Khan.  She didn’t do it perhaps in part because she’d likely be delivering more of her voters to Khan than vice-versa and (in my interpretation) was concerned about Khan edging her out for the second seat against Christine Shea.  Johnson-Norris may feel similarly … or Khan may be nursing resentment against Fox for that move and feel ill-disposed to helping her protege.  Either or both of them might consider trying to slate up with Kev Abazajian — a scientist (who really should have run for Water Board against Steve Sheldon, but it occurred to us too late) who seems competent, but who would also be the junior partner in either relationship.  Frankly, I think it’s going to be tough for any of the three to win this year thanks to O’Malley, Chen/Kuo, and Agran likely demanding fealty for his support that Khan would be ill-advised to give.  Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before bouncing back up — and maybe Irvine needs one more Agran electoral fiasco before Democrats decide not to follow this Ahab down to the bottom of the sea.

I wish that Poopak Taati would have run for Mayor; I would have endorsed her without a second thought.

Original Analysis: This is a startling list– though it may become less so once the Agranistas play their cards.  For Mayor, I don’t know who Ing Tiong is (and I see no evidence of any campaign beyond filing), but Don Wagner and Katherine Daigle are both Republicans, respectively of establishment and the Moorlach/reform factions.  No Democrat running — at all?  Perhaps (we haven’t spoken) that might be why  Farrah Khan has not yet completed her filing: that Mayor’s race may be ripe for a blue entry.  (Or might Melissa Fox consider a run for Mayor, during her “off year,” to improve the odds for her protege Johnson-Norris to get onto Council?  No inside info here council!)  A rival publication claims that unnamed Democrats are supporting Anila Ali to run for Mayor, about which I’ll spare unnecessary comment.

For Council, no incumbent is running.  Lynne Schott apparently has health issues of which we shall not speak here — but is Jeff Lalloway really sitting this election out?  Or could he — in an irony of ironies for those of us with memories of more than two years — become Larry Agran’s Mayoral candidate, bonded in antipathy for Five Point?  Jaci Woods, a “No on B” proponent, received a loving write-up in Agran’s newspaper recently (“a servant’s heart!”) and seems likely — though a bit oddly so  — to gain his faction’s support for Council; if they have one Council more candidate, that would free up Lalloway to run for Mayor.  Who could that be?

Mark Newgent lists no endorsements from any faction, though his website shows pictures with Fox and Wagner.  Farrah Khan?  Possibly, but it would be a wrenching shift from her neutrality in the factional battles.  Oh, here’s a likely one: Kev Abazajian  has the endorsement of Agranista stalwart Mary Ann Gaido (as well as plenty of others, including Kev De Leon and climate hawks 314 action).  There you go!  Unless the Woods story is a feint — there’s always that! — or the Gaido endorsement is a feint, take odds if you can get them on Lalloway for Mayor with Agran backing.  (Better yet, time travel to 2014 and get the billion-to-one odds you could get on that.)

(Note: ok, I’m mostly just trying to make Irvine election handicapping more interesting to myself here, so it won’t nauseate me as badly.)

Carrie O’Malley is a Commissioner endorsed by Steve Choi, Pat Bates, Lisa Bartlett, and Mimi Walters — a poor fit for Agran (not due to party but due to Choi.)  O’Malley recently survived a grilling to gain the unanimous RPOC Endorsement Committee’s nod; on its face, she’d be an obvious favorite in a city with a functioning Republican Party — but politically Irvine isn’t that city anymore.  (Politically, today’s Irvine is not any city that it’s been in decades, or maybe ever, anymore.)

The other thing that strikes me about the chart is the large proportion of East Asian candidates — Gang Chen and Anthony Kuo, who at least used to be aligned (no idea now), but (while I’m guessing here) David Chey (about whom, um, this), Liqing Lee Sun (about whom, um, this) and John Park (about whom … nothing lurid) as well.  Is this some intentional dilution of an ethnic bloc voting going on?  Is the presence of two new South and Central Asian names — Kev Abazajian and Poopak Taati (who seems quite impressive, by the way) — intended to dilute the vote that might go to Khan? (OK, that’s probably far-fetched — but it’s Irvine: clever, even crazy, tricks may be in play.)

La Habra City Council (two seats)

Michael Blazey (i) + (“Professor Emeritus”)
James Gomez (i) + plus (“Businessman”)
Jose Medrano (“District Attorney Investigator”)

La Palma City Council (two seats)

Nitesh Prit Patel (“Entrepreneur/Executive”)
Garrett Wada (“Optometrist/Businessman”)
Michelle Steggell (i) + (“/Realtor”)

The five Council members (though not their terms or biographies) are on the website, but it’s unclear whose terms are up and what candidates are running.  Calling the clerk was of no avail.

Laguna Beach (three seats)

The seats of Kelly Boyd, Rob Zur Schmiede, and Toni Iseman are expiring.  Beyond that, nada.  [Update, 11 p.m., 8/16: still nada]

Elizabeth (Liz) Bates (“Realtor/Mom”) (No Candidate Statement)
Peter Blake (“Art Gallery Owner”) (Has Candidate Statement)
Ann Christoph (“Landscape Architect”) (Has Candidate Statement)
Sue Marie Connolly (“Business Owner”) (No Candidate Statement)
Toni Iseman (i) (Has Candidate Statement)
Sue Kempf (“Retired Company President”) (Has Candidate Statement )
Cheryl Kinsman (“Accountant/MBA/CPA”) (Has Candidate Statement)
Lorene Laguna (“__”) (Has Candidate Statement)
Judie Mancuso (“Businesswoman/Nonprofit CEO”) (Has Candidate Statement)
Allison Mathews (“__”) (Has Candidate Statement)
Paul Merritt (“Businessman”) (Has Candidate Statement)
Rob Zur Schmiede (i) (Has Candidate Statement )

Analysis: I’m guessing that the two incumbents have an advantage here, which is perhaps why ten others are scrambling for the right to run as an incumbent in 2022.  Animal rights advocate Judie Mancuso ran in 2016 and I’m guessing may have a leg up on the competition this year.  No, I don’t know whether Lorene’s surname is really “Laguna,” but I have a covert opinion on that.  Note that of the ten non-incumbents, eight are women!  

Laguna Hills (three seats)

Lordy, a breath of fresh air from South County!  Laguna Hills does it right — even with ballot designations and links to candidate statements, here linked to their names!

Len Herman (Realtor/Business Owner)
Mark Jones  (Business Owner/Realtor)
Christina “Chris” Mackey (Community Volunteer)
Erica Pezold (Small Business Owner)
David Robbins (Business Executive)
Don Sedgwick (Incumbent)
David “Dave” Wheeler (Retired Rocket Scientist)

Analysis: The odds are that at least one Business Owner or Executive will win — but who can resist a rocket scientist?  That is to say: more to come, perhaps.

Laguna Niguel (two 4-yr seats, one 2-yr seat)

Full-term seats:

Fred Minagar (i)
Elaine Gennawey (i)

Short-term seat: (click names for statements):

Sandy Rains (“Laguna Niguel Small Businesswoman”)
Bhajan “John” Singh Dhaliwal (“Businessman”)
Deborah Townes (“Registered Nurse”)

Analysis: Rains has the Republican establishment endorsements.  Dhaliwal is a native of India who owns dessert restaurants.  Towns is a nurse who wants good government.  Towns should win; Rains will.

Laguna Woods (two seats)

(No information on filing status of candidates named below)  [Update, 11 p.m., 8/16: the site has no update.]
William “Joe” Rainey (i)
Carol Moore (i)
Judith P. Troutman (“Community volunteer”)

Analysis: I will seek information from my woody sources

Lake Forest (Three seats open: newly created Districts 2, 3, and 4
NOTE: Selling Poll Site Corporate Sponsorships

District 2:

Neeki Moatazedi (“Project Manager”)
Sonny Morper  (“Retired School Principal”)

District 3: 

Scott Voigts (unopposed)

District 4:

Jim Gardner (i)
Mark Tettemer (“Public Agency Manager”)

Analysis: Whoever buys the most poll site corporate sponsorships will win.

Los Alamitos (four seats, 4th-place winner serves only two years)

Mark Chirco (i) + (“Attorney”)
Tanya Doby (“Commissioner/Business Owner”)
Gisele “GiGi” Finch (“Student/Mother”)
Dean Grose (“Business Consultant/Semiretired”)
Shelley Hasselbrink (i)
Warren Kusumoto (i) + (“Engineer”)

Analysis: Candidate statements are not available online, so it’s hard to say much about the candidates other than that three of them are incumbents and at least one (Grose) is a disgraced former one.  Hopefully, Doby or Finch (or both) will outpoll Grose.

Mission Viejo (three seats for two year terms)

(In 2020 it’s either district elections or cumulative voting!)

Wendy Bucknam (i) + (“Businesswoman”)
Ed Sachs (i) + (“Businessowner”)
Greg Raths (i) + (“Retired USMC”)
Mahmoud El-Farra (“Marketing/Financial Intern”)
Michael McConnell (“Attorney”)

Analysis: Hard to oust incumbents, right?

Newport Beach

District 1:

Diane Dixon (i)
Mike Glenn (“Small Business Owner”)

District 3:

Duffy Duffield (i)
Tim Stoaks (“Business Person”)

District 4:

Roy Englebrecht (“Fight Promoter/Businessman”)
Kevin Muldoon 

District 6:

Joy Brenner (“Business Person”)
Scott Peotter (i)

Analysis: Having actually filed and not being named “Peotter” gives Brenner an edge.  Not having the RPOC endorsement helps out Glenn.  Must ask the Winships for advice here.



Mark Murphy (“Councilman/Businessman”)
Doug Vogel (“Nonprofit Executive”)
John Russo (“Sales/Youth Coach”)


Kimberlee Nichols (i) + (“Business Owner”)
Daniel Correa (“Planning Commissioner City of Orange”)
Zachary Collins (“Cost Estimator”)
Marilyn Rollins (“Retired Public Supervisor”)
John Dumitru (“Orange County Firefighter Coordinator”)
Beatriz “Betty” Valencia (“Business Executive/Finance”)
Chip Monaco (“Businessman/Orange Parent”)
Adrienne Gladson (“Planning Commissioner/Businesswoman”)

Chris Nguyen’s piece informs that RPOC Chair Fred Whitaker is termed out and is endorsing as his replacement Chip Monaco, whom I’m certain is a real person and not the protagonist of a romance novel where he competes with Blackjack “Dice” Vegas for the affection of goergous but innocent showgirl Reno Roulette.  (Just kidding around, Chip; welcome to politics.  Tell your city to create a better elections website in two years.  Call Huntington Beach if you want to know how.)


District 2

Craig Green (i) + (“Retired Businessman”) (unopposed)

District 4 

Chad Wanke (i) + (“Businessman”)
Richard Nichols Jr. (“Entrepreneur/Father”)

City Clerk

Patrick Melia (i) (unopposed)

Analysis: The refusal to post information about who was filing for what office while people could still decide to run seems sort of scandalous, doesn’t it?

Rancho Santa Margarita

Jerry Holloway (i)
Brad McGirr (i)
Anne Figueroa (“Businesswoman/Planning Commissioner”)
Chris McLaughlin (“Technical Support Supervisor”)
Shawn Gordon (“Businessman/Entrepreneur”)
Roger Ballard (“CEO/Businessman”)
Wendy Braun (“Community Volunteer”)

Three seats.  No other info — not even as to whose terms are expiring.

San Clemente

Kathy Ward (i)
Gene James (“Adjunct Professor”)
Mikii Rathmann (“Local Business Owner”)
Jake Rybczyk  (“Community Volunteer”)
Tiffany Joy Robson Leet (“Homemaker/Mom/Attorney”)
Laura Ferguson (No designation)
Jackson Hinkle (“Energy Policy Advisor”)
Ed Ward (“Businessman”)
Bernie Wohlfarth (“Local Business Owner”)
Wayne Eggleston (“Marine Monument Director”)
Dan Bane (“Business Owner”)
Don Brown (“Planning Commissioner”)

Three seats.  Nada mas.

San Juan Capistrano

  • hat-tip to Michael Laux
  • For candidate statements, if any, click on candidate’s name

The City of San Juan Capistrano has transitioned from at-large to by-district elections. City Council Members will be elected “by district,” instead of from across the city.  For the November 6, 2018, General Municipal Election, members of the City Council will be elected from Districts 2, 3 and 4. Please refer to the District Map to verify your district.  Candidates must be registered voters and reside in either District 2, District 3 or District 4 in San Juan Capistrano.  For more information regarding the City’s “by-district” elections, please visit the Districting webpage or contact the City Clerk’s Office at (949) 493-1171.

District 2 

Troy Bourne   (“Businessman”)
Kim McCarthy (“Newspaper Co-Publisher”)

District 3 

Joyce Anderson (“Office Administrator/Businesswoman”)
Kerry Ferguson  (i) (“Educator/Businesswoman”)
Cody Martin (“Student”)
Pam Patterson  (i) +(“Constitutional Attorney”)
Derek Reeve  (i)

District 4

John Taylor  (“Small Business Owner”)
Jeff Vasquez (“Photographer/Filmmaker”)

Santa Ana

(Not available online.  I obtained it more effortfully.)


  • Sal Tinajero (“Teacher/Santa Ana Councilmember”)
  • Miguel Pulido (i)

Ward 2

  • Alfonzo Ceja-Villa (“Affordable Housing Coordinator”) (no ballot statement)
  • Miguel “Mike” Gonzalez (“Public Safety Consultant”)
  • Irma Macias (Community Volunteer””)
  • Sandra Sarmiento (“Teacher/Arts Commissioner”)
  • Paul Gonalez (“Financial Services Manager”)
  • David Piñaloza (“Engineer/Educator”)

Ward 4

  • Phil Bacerra (“Small Business Owner”)
  • Roman Reyna (“Planning Commissioner/Coordinator”)

Ward 6

  • Cecilia Iglesias (“Governing Board Member, Santa Ana Unified School District”)
  • Mirna Velasquez (“Businesswoman/Educator”)
  • Nelida Mendoza (“College Boardmember/Teacher”)

Analysis: Tinajero, who is termed out, has long been the strongest potential Council candidate against Mayor Pulido, who is termed out in 2020, so it’s good to see him finally run .  (I hope he has a good field game.)  But the biggest change for Santa Ana is likely coming with the  complete turnover of every seat held by a reformer (or in the case of Michele Martinez, 51%-reformer) on Council except for Vince Sarmiento.  With Pulido allies Jose Solorio and Juan Villegas remaining on the Council, along with reformer Vince Sarniento, even one pickup for Pulido’s allies returns control to “the Small Dark Lord,” who would then face only the threat of Tony Rackauckas no longer being in the OC District Attorney’s office to protect him.

No familiar figures in east-central Ward 2, where Michelle Martinez is leaving.  DPOC will endorse in this race next week, so I’ll learn more about the candidates then.

Former Council member Reyna will oppose developer’s friend Bacerra in south-central Ward 4: an interesting match-up between the business (Pulido/Police) and popular (“Council Reformers”) factions.  This has been David Benavides’s district, and would probably the most likely to switch to Pulido aside from the strength of the candidates — but former incumbency is an advantage.

In southwestern Ward 6, from which Sal Tinajero is departing, Mirna Velasquez got the Labor Fed endorsement in 2014 against Martinez in Ward 2, while Nelida Mendoza is a (respected, so far as I know) Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustee, and perennial candidate Ceci Iglesias is a conservative Republican (in effect, regardless of her registration.)  If Labor sticks with Velasquez, the two Democrats might be competing for many of the same votes, finally rendering Iglesias viable.   But Mendoza got the DPOC endorsement without an evident struggle.

Seal Beach

District 1

Peter Amundson (“Small Businessman”)
Scott Levitt (“Attorney/Business Owner”)
Joe Kalmick (“Retired Business Owner”)
John Waller (“Entrepreneur/Securities Trader”)

District 3

Mike Varipappa (i) (unopposed)

District 5

Sandra Massa-Lavitt (i) (unopposed)

The seats up this year — districts 1, 3, and 5 — are occupied respectively by Ellery A. Deaton, Mike Varipapa, and  — who between them have been Mayor for each of the past five years — but there no indication on the city’s website of whether they or anyone else is currently running — until it was too late.  Two unchallenged incumbents in the first year of districting is surprising and sad.



No one.

Literally: no one filed.  (Or at least no one qualified for the ballot.)  This will likely be won by a write-in candidate with as few as a handful of votes.  That’s a beautiful example of why cities should keep the public informed with a running tab of who has filed.

District 1

Rigoberto Ramirez (i)

District 3

Gary Taylor (“Stanton Planning Commissioner”)
Ramona Macias (“Secretary”)
James Michael Scott (“Businessman/Counselor”)
Loreen Berlin (“Photo Journalist”)

Do you think that maybe one or two of these candidates for District 3 would have run for Mayor if they knew that no one had filed (or at least qualified) for the office?

Analysis: I’d like former Mayor Sal Sapien to run a write-in campaign for Mayor.  The City needs a steady hand right now — someone who can tell the Clerk how to run a website.  I hope that Rigoberto Ramirez is good.  In District 3, I’d think that Taylor has the inside track.


No information on the website during filing about who filed.  It  looks like only Al Murray’s and Rebecca Gomez’s seats are up.

Barry Cooper (“Businessman/Commissioner”)
Austin Lumbard (“Tustin Commissioner/Businessman”)

Analysis: This race may finally tell us whether people prefer “Commissioner” to come before, or after, “Businessman” in a ballot designation, and whether people want a designation to mention their city.

Villa Park

Nada on the website during the filing period.  But it’s sort of hard to care, isn’t it?  Anyway, four candidates are running for three seats.

Robert Collacott (i)
Diana Fascenelli (i)
Chad Zimmerman (“Technologist”)
Crystal Miles (“Business Woman/Biologist”)

Analysis: Pointless.  Sure would be nice to have candidate statements right about now.  (Collacott didn’t even file one.  That’s confidence!)



Tri Ta (i)
Christopher Ochoa (“Journalist”)


Anita Rice (“Westminster Planning Commissioner”) (Has statement)
Mark Lawrence (“Westminster Resident”) (No statement)
Khai Dao (“Non-Profit Organization Director”) (No statement)
Tai Do (“Police Officer/Businessman”) (Has statement)
Jamison Power (“Governing Board Member, Westminster School District”) (Has statement)
Randy Young (“Clinical Applications Professional”) (No statement)
Chi Charlie Nguyen (“Director, Midway City Sanitary”) (Has statement)
Frances The-Thuy Nguyen (“Board Member, Westminster School District”) (Has statement)
Samantha Bao Anh Nguyen (“Businesswoman”) (Has statement)
Amy West (“Westminster Business Owner”) (Has statement)
Visual William (“Businessman”) (No statement)
Andy Quach (“Businessman/Legislation Consultant”) (Has statement)

Mayor Tri Ta, Tyler Diep, and Margie Rice’s Council seats are expiring this year.  Voters will elect a Mayor and two Council members.  You’ll find out who’s running after it’s too late to do anything about it.

Analysis: My guess is that the Mayor’s race is not going to be especially competitive — this is without my having checked campaign finance reports, of course — in which case the determining factor is likely to be Tri Ta’s endorsement.  (Then again, maybe not.  That Voice of OC story is wild!)  Beyond that, we can probably rule out anyone who doesn’t have a candidate statement — it’s not that expensive in Westminster, and if you can’t afford that you probably can’t afford much — so that takes out Dao and three of the four Anglo-surnames males.   (Both Angl0 surnamed women do have statements, so make of that what you will.  Visual William still wins, in a way, because he made you read his name — twice now! — so you’ll recognize it, but probably won’t remember from where.)  Of the eight remaining, the best ballot designations go to Rice, Power, and F. Nguyen, with C. Nguyen a runner-up.  Unless powerful endorsers decree otherwise, I think that the two winners will come from that group.  Former Councilman Quach also has a following, of course — but it has too often included cops with light bars on stopping him for a DUI.

Yorba Linda

Two seats open.

Peggy Huang (i)
Carlos Rodriguez (“Chief Executive Officer”)
Lourdes Cruz (“Professor/Contract Management”)

Analysis: Huang — an OCGOP heavyweight — will presumably win.  As for the second seat: Cruz is a great candidate and centrist enough to be acceptable in YL; if a Democrat can win there, she’s the one.  Rodriguez, though, is endorsed by seemingly every Republican official around, so Cruz will face a challenge.  Note that Republicans aren’t splitting the vote this year; Cruz’s supporters will have to remember to “bullet vote.”  Maybe someone should offer up their name as a write-in to take the second Democratic slot..

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.)