Loretta on her plans as Supervisor.


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How might things shift on the Board with not one but two Democrats? (Another historic first!)

A few days ago – a couple days after I wrote my piece announcing Loretta Sanchez’ run for third-district Supervisor – Loretta called me.  I hadn’t spoken to her in a couple of years, had lost her number, and didn’t even know that she had moved up to “Old Town” Orange several years ago.  Apparently some Democrats tried to get her to run against Dana Rohrabacher this year, as well as against Ed Royce (then Young Kim) – but she says, “Vern, I’ve never even voted for a carpetbagger, I’m sure not going to be one.”  But if someone’s gonna call her that now, implying that she moved to Orange in 2014 or so with the fond hope that Spitzer would beat Rackauckas in 2018 and she could run for Todd’s seat … then I just can’t help you.

One thing Loretta has been busy with these last two years is teaching “leadership” courses at Harvard to aspiring politicians.  Also having followed the Carter hearings closely, Loretta has been working on two projects aimed at alleviating our housing/homelessness crisis: 

  • She’s taken the lead in raising $5 million for a 30-“micro-units” permanent supportive housing project – probably in Santa Ana – for unaccompanied homeless women, one of the underserved segments of our homeless population.
  • And due to come on board probably in an Anaheim industrial area within 5-6 months, an ambitious factory project, employing “second chance” young adults (recently released from jail/prison) as well as secondary-school students wanting engineering experience, to build those celebrated “tiny houses” for people’s back yards.

Loretta has been aghast as many of us have, at the current all-Republican Board of Supervisors (over the last many years) – their blithe neglect of the poor and homeless, and their ideologically driven refusal to either ask for, or spend, state and federal money meant to address social issues.  On the Board, not only would Loretta make sure the money gets spent the way it’s intended (not “chipmunked away” in Carter’s popular phrase) but this county gets more of what’s coming to us, from both Sacramento and DC.  Apart from housing and addressing the homelessness crisis, Loretta has three other immediate goals she’d like to pursue on the Board:

  • Auditing and fixing CalOPTIMA, so that it serves its intended purpose of caring for the indigent and working poor.  Loretta will not criticize any politician on the record, but we all know who was most responsible for making CalOPTIMA the administrative and bureaucratic basket case it is now (Vern whispers: “Janet Nguyen!  Janet Nguyen!  Former supervisor and now-defeated state senator!”)  But any fix has to begin with a thorough audit, which Loretta intends to pursue immediately.
  • Orange County’s SOCIAL WORKERS are criminally underpaid – many of them making minimum wage.  Loretta feels these folks are doing a very important job that needs to be remunerated appropriately, and this County can easily afford to do that.
  • FIRE SUPPRESSION is another high priority that she wants to immediately address – particularly for her 3rd district, which has seen most of the County’s recent wildfires.

Do you remember how a Democratic elected official (requesting anonymity) told me that he/she was reluctantly supporting the often undependable Doug Chaffee for the 4th district seat, hoping that a stronger Democrat could be elected into the 3rd district seat, and could act as a positive influence on Doug?  I can see Loretta doing that, more convincingly than some of the other Democrats eyeing the seat.

Before Loretta’s entrance into this race, many of us north OC progressives were supporting the fine and wealthy Yorba Linda progressive Andy Thorburn for the seat, and many still are.  Irvine’s Agran-aligned Democrat Beth Krom is also in the running.  [UPDATE Wed. morning: Beth has dropped out and endorsed Loretta.]  There’s no primary in this race, and we Democrats need to unite behind ONE candidate if we hope to beat Kris Murray, Don Wagner, and the other sketchy GOP’ers, and finally effect some transformation in our county’s governance.  I think Loretta has the best chance of winning, and I’ll be reminding people (as I have in the past) of the good things she did during her years in Congress.

But you can talk to her yourself.  She’ll be attending – if her flight from back east touches down in John Wayne at noon when it’s supposed to! – this Saturday’s Anaheim Democratic Club meeting.  The meeting is at West Anaheim’s Haskett Branch Library (2650 W Broadway, near Magnolia and adjacent to Maxwell Park), and begins at 12:15 – if all goes well, Loretta should be there by 1pm to talk about her campaign and answer all your burning questions!

Possible Board majority after 2020, with Tinajero (or Martinez?) replacing termed-out Do.


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.