DAIR Endorsements for CA-46 Area (Democrats & Allied Independents for Reform)

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I believe that the Democratic Party has the responsibility to lead — and to guide its members and would-be voters about the most critical races in the county, even when no Democrat qualified for the Top Two runoff.  The Democratic Party abdicated that responsibility with respect to the OC District Attorney’s race — thus denying important aid to our excellent candidate in the OC Sheriff’s race — and so as of Nov. 1 I have resigned from the DPOC’s governing “Executive Committee” and am going to do my best to fill the vacuum that the rest of the party’s leadership have left.

[Note that while this is being composed on Nov. 2, it is dated October 13 for technical reasons I won’t get into.]

Here are the selected (limited due only to space) endorsements of DAIRDemocrats and Allied Independents for Reform, a creation of the blog I own, “The Brean.”  The background story will continue after that.

Rationales for these endorsements

(Reminder: when you get tired of reading, skip down to the last paragraph to see what YOU can do!)

The first endorsement stands in for all of Santa Ana.  Sal Tinajero has long been the best Councilmember in Santa Ana — by the way, I don’t think that we have ever had even a single personal or proxy interaction, so this is the opposite of a “coordinated with a candidate or campaign” and he may even hate it — aligned with some of other more relatively decent ones such as Vince Sarmiento and (much of the time) Michele Martinez.  As the great Voice of OC reports, this year Santa Ana pretty much divided into two tickets, one owned by the police unions and the other by reformers.  Tinajero is the Mayoral candidate for reformers against the self-dealing and double-dealing 24-year Mayor Miguel Pulido, but the rest of the reform ticket — Sandra Pena Sarmiento in District 2, Roman Reyna in District 4, and Nelida Mendoza in District 6 — also deserves your support.  Tinajero’s going to need plenty of support if he’s elected Mayor — and he’s not going to get it from the likes of reprehensible Jose Solorio and his sidekick Juan Villegas — so he also needs to be spared sitting with would-be police union stooges Mirna Velasquez, Phil Bacerra, and David Penalosa.

The second endorsement stands in for all of Anaheim.  Dr. Jose Moreno — one has to specify the honorific to distinguish him from the other Jose “Joe” Moreno who has often run for office in and around Anaheim — is the leader (with his ally Mayor Tom Tait being termed out) of the reform faction of the City Council.  They’re hardly firebrands: what has brought Tait, Moreno, Denise Barnes and James Vanderbilt together is simply a desire not to fork over Anaheim’s future general fund to Disney, the Angeles, and (to a lesser extent) the Ducks.  It’s not that they don’t like these organizations; it’s that the organizations are experiencing something like a cocaine psychosis (that’s only a metaphor) where they are so imbued with feelings of unlimited power that they will try to grab for everything they can get.  “Reform” means saying no — supporting Dr. Moreno over putrid crass millioning Pringle pupper Mitch Caldwell.  It’s a shame for Democrats that the two leading reformers in Districts 2 and 6 are Republicans — James Vanderbilt in 2 and Patty Gaby in 6, who will respectively be splitting votes with  anti-Democratic leftist Duane Roberts and Grant Henninger.  All I’ll say here is that in District 6 we need to beat Republican Disney shill Trevor O’Neill and in District 2 the Democratic Party should never have endorsed Brandman — which has undercut our credibility far beyond this race.  Meanwhile, in the Mayor’s race, we have one inarguable Tait-style reformer in Cynthia Ward and one likely reformer in Ashleigh Aitken.  The two of them seem to get along well and neither has criticized the other, despite that by some accounts they are the two leading candidates right now.  (I look forward to whoever loses becoming a major player in the administration of the other.)  The Disney puppet in this race is Houdini Harry Sidhu, who can wriggle out of the chains of straightforward answers to questions and escape from the bounds of logic themselves, and poor Lorri Galloway, who allowed herself to be bought by anti-reformist puppetmaster Curt Pringle at a critical moment and sadly can never be trusted again.

Duke Nguyen is a Detective in the Public Integrity section of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department — which already tells you that he has more guts than anyone in the Sheriff’s Department in OC, especially his opponent Don BarnesSandra Hutchens’s assistant for running the jails.  He wants a moral, ethical, and effective Sheriff’s Department — go to his Facebook page to see just how awesome he is.

Todd Spitzer has done some things I disagree with as Supervisor (although his explanations of his positions on homelessness make more sense than his credits would admit — even if they listened to him), but this election is for District Attorney, not Supervisor, and he may be the only person in OC who could effectively clean the corruption out of the OCDA’s office.  He pledges to run an office that does not protect friends and persecute enemies and that will not lay waste to the Constitution in a way that not only costs the county money and leads to the release of felons convicted for crimes up to murder, but he also wants his attorneys to seek justice rather than the high conviction rate you can get when you obtain a guilty plea by threatening to introduce the snitch that housed next to them to give a fake story about how they confessed to the crime (among other sickening tricks.  It took the efforts of two extraordinary and bold men — a judge, Thomas Goethals, and an public defender, Scott Sanders, to bring the “snitch scandal” to light (among other abuses, like conspiring to hide records of it) so that we could cast an intelligent vote this month.  We need to stop the casual and evil subversion of the criminal justice system, now that we know about it.  You may not like Todd Spitzer otherwise — and if you don’t you can join the OC Republican Party in trying to get rid of him in four years.  But for now, it is literally a moral imperative to vote for Todd Spitzer this year so that the fumigation of the OCDA’s office — and the attorneys who have had to bend to corruption in order to maintain their careers — can begin.  I care a great deal about flipping Congress blue, and I’m supporting all of the OC Democrats that I can stomach and keeping mum about the rest, but be clear: THIS is actually the most important vote that Orange Countians will cast this year.

The backstory:

I submitted a resolution to the DPOC on Democratic Principles on Criminal Justice Administration in well-enough time for the party to act upon it.  It didn’t.  (In my experience, Democratic Party organizations can move at the speed of lightning when they wish to and at the speed of chilled molasses when they don’t — and we’re looking at molasses speed here.)  The Democratic Party of Orange County is, I’m told, likely to pass the resolution I wrote presenting Democratic Principles on Criminal Justice Administration — at our next meeting right around Thanksgiving.

On its face, that’s absurd.  But when you drill down, though, it makes a certain kind of rotten sense.

The clear concern of the DPOC leadership is that, while they claim to join our party’s endorsed candidate for Sheriff Duke Nguyen in supporting the principles that I’ve espoused, there’s a bit of a problem with saying so before the election.  One of the candidates for District Attorney, Todd Spitzer, has also accepted many of those reform principles, adopted them into his platform, and received the endorsement of our endorsed primary candidate Brett Murdock after having done so.  That’s a problem because we can’t endorse Republicans — something that I’ve never ASKED the DPOC to do.  The fear is that acknowledging that one candidate for District Attorney has endorsed some of our principles while the other one is busy tearing the Fourth through Eighth Amendments to the Constitution into small bits and stuffing them down the throats of the accused and convicted, and is now campaigning on villainizing the ACLU for trying to stop him from committing these crimes, would be inappropriate for the local party, especially since the candidate that Democrats could more proudly support is hated with the fire of a thousand expletives by party power Florice Hoffman.

I’ve had enough of this craziness.  If the party won’t stand up for what Democrats believe in and make its position clear to voters before an election — something that is critical to Nguyen’s performance in the Sheriff’s race, as well as generally smart to do because now is when voters are paying the most attention to our message — because if they don’t like Todd Spitzer (and perhaps  do like that the miserably corrupt incumbent Tony Rackauckas has been willing to protect at least SOME prominent Democrats, along with MANY prominent Republicans, from the consequences of their actions), then I will, as a Democrat, do what I can provide the leadership that they won’t.

I don’t think that it’s reasonable for me to expect to be able to do so as a member of the DPOC’s Executive Committee — so I’ve just today resigned my position on that body.  I am not giving up my position on the DPOC’s larger (but less powerful in fact, if not by law) Central Committee — and if they want to kick me out of that body (while they kept Dan Chmielewski) over my supporting civil liberties, civil rights, honesty, reform, and the ACLU, BEFORE A HUGE ELECTION rather than AFTERWARDS … well, that’s a fight that I expect to relish.

I’ve set up an organization called “Democrats and Allied Independents for Reform.”  It’s nothing formal — technically, it would be an informal association. meaning that all share responsibility for each others’ actions, so I’m reluctant to throw open membership to just anyone.  Its purpose will be to speak the truth to Democrats when the local Party is too pusillanimous to do so — starting now.

Its purpose will be to fill the vacuum left by DPOC leadership and to put forth endorsements of good Democrats and non-Democrats running against other non-Democrats — so no endorsing Autumn Browne over Tom Daly, despite that I know which one I’d vote for if I were in that district — which the party cannot do and (despite my recollection of Frank Barbaro pushing us to individually support his nephew Travis Allen over Troy Edgar back in the day.)  That proscription apparently now means that we won’t do even slightly and implicitly, the way for example one might have preferred John Huntsman over Donald Trump at some point and noted that the former was more consonant with Democratic values, without technically endorsing, unless I suppose the real leaders of the party decide to make an exception.

Well, SOMEONE is going to have to tell Democrats which DA candidate is trying to end practices that violate the sanctity of attorney-client communications, and lead to the conviction of innocents using likely perjurious testimony from well-compensated “snitches”– and if it won’t be any other Democrat in OC then it will be me.  If anyone from DPOC tries to balance me out by supporting Rackauckas, that would be absolutely delicious and I honestly hope that it happens, so that people acting shamefully in private can wear their shame more publicly.  I presume that they will be standing in the dock with me, if push comes to shove.

I’ve broken the county down by OC’s six congressional districts (leaving out CA-38 — sorry, La Palma!), presenting two (or in one case three) endorsements in other races in that district and then in all cases ending up with endorsements in the countywide races of Nguyen and Spitzer.  (There are plenty of other races where I’d like to endorse, but I don’t have space.)  This is intended for an audience of Democrats and Independents (No- and Third-Party Preference); Republicans can figure out what they want to do on their own.  The graphics are copyrighted but licensed for reproduction and retransmittal by anyone else who wants to do it.  If anyone who spends money on anything — which I am NOT doing, to avoid the need for an FPPC number and filing requirements, given that Facebook is free — they should obviously be sure to report it.  I’m not going to be responsible for what you individuals with this published material on their own.

I’ll have six stories published here and on The Brean — one per congressional district — each of which should propagate on Facebook with the appropriate graphic for each district.  Republicans, you’re probably not going to want to share then, because I’m endorsing four out of the six Democratic Congressional candidates here — you can guess which two I’m leaving out.  If you want to share something, though you’ll probably find the CA-46 one — which besides Nguyen and Spitzer supports Sal Tinajero for Mayor of Santa Ana and Dr. Jose Moreno for Anaheim City Council — acceptable to share.  (This is a good time to note that NO campaign — including Nguyen’s and Spitzer’s — knows that I’m doing this, and (as an obvious consequence) none has given permission.  (Even though this involves no expenditure other than my talents and volunteer time, I’m treating it in that respect as if did.)  It’s even possible that some candidates endorsed — SQS, maybe? — will wish that they weren’t; if so they can contact me and I’ll see what I can change.  (But frankly, when you run for office you can’t stop people from endorsing you.)

Trying and failing to get Orange County Democrats to take a stand here — hell, I’d have been fine with passing my resolution AND one criticizing steps that Spitzer has taken on homelessness, even though Rackauckas is no better on that issue — has been especially bitter.  But if the DPOC is going to leave a leadership vacuum for the county’s Democrats in these two critical races, then it should recall that nature abhors a vacuum and something is bound to rush in.  Happy to be of service.

[A note, before I conclude, to the members of the Democratic Party leadership: I’m not taking your calls until after the election, and possibly not even then.  (Don’t come see me in person, either.)  Please be forewarned that any emails, other written communications, or voice messages or that you send me — not only may not be read or listened to — but will be considered to be on the record and may be published.  If I inadvertently accept your phone call because you used a masked number or something, I hope that you will understand why I hang up.  I understand the sort of pressure that you’re under to conform, but this time you should have resisted it.  And please, if you go public with stories about how I didn’t do what I had to to get the resolution considered, that will simply force me to tell the truth about what happened that, as a courtesy, I am not telling here.]

What you can do:

The images of these lists are available for the public to copy and save.  So long as they are not altered, they are licensed to be shared — ideally to Orange Countians in our various Congressional Districts, for which I’ve made an individually tailored endorsement list — through social media or however else you’d like.  I neither ask nor expect that anyone will spend even a dime on this; if you do so, then you may occur liability for late independent expenditures to a degree I can’t even estimate.  I offer no guidance in that respect.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 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. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. 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. A family member 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.)