ADEM Recommendations & Forum for AD-68


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Ideally, you will have read the introductory post first — but if you’re here to “cut to the chase,” that’s fine.  I mean, we’re not going to do that, but you can skip down if you want to be left confused.  We’ll see you when you come back up here.

This ADEM has 24 female candidates and 20 male candidates (the actual terms are “self identified as female” and “not [that]”), which is … a lot.  I know of two slates: one that seems to be more of an establishment slate (though it contains some leftish progressives) called “Orange to Blue,” which contain Loretta Sanchez and is endorsed by Katie Porter, and one with the initials UPD (I think that’s for “United Progressive Democrats”) that is promoted (though not endorsed) by the Courage Campaign,  I find worthy candidates (and some less so) in both slates, so my choices will be a mix of them and some independents.  You may end up wanting to read some of their statements — and you can do so at this link.  (Just navigate to District 68 from the drop-down menu.)

As noted in the introductory post: the first principle that applies given the attack on the ADEM leg of the three-legged stool, discussed in the introductory post, is that if someone can easily get an appointment from a PLEO (party leader or elected official), and if that won’t compromise their positions, then that’s the leg of  stool where they belong — not this one.  Here, they’re edging out someone likely tied to the electoral grassroots, which is what the party needs.  There, they’re just going to enjoy the convention and vote as their candidate’s Chief of Staff directs.  That’s not what we need on the DSCC (Democratic State Central Committee — the governing board of the state party.)

Men:

Avinder Chawla, Doug Elliot, Eugene Fields, Felipe Macias, Grant Henninger, Jeff David, Joe McLaughlin, Ken Warfield, Lee Fink (EB), Mani Kang, Michael Lekawa, Mike Stern, Nicolas Pedreira, Patrick Fuscoe, Paul Lucas, Ryan Friesen, Stephen Banta, Steve Newman, Victor Garcia, and William Derr.

The first question is: is there anyone here who is really NOT from the grassroots, but really belongs as an appointee of a PLEO?  There’s one suspect in this group, Obama Administration lawyer Lee Fink, but he is running for E-Board, for which the most straightforward track is to be elected as an ADEM.  So I don’t disqualify him based on the high likelihood that he could be appointed by a PLEO if he did not prevail in this race.  (To state my interest: Fink and I have worked together on a case, but aside from giving me respect for his intellect I don’t think that affects me.)  (Is he an ally, a skeptic, or a foe, in the drive to make electeds more responsive to grassroots activists?  I honestly don’t know — let’s ask him!)

Fink is on the Porter-endorsed slate; I think he’s an obvious choice — particularly because of his interest and expertise in voter protection, which will be an issue as Republicans try to claw back Democratic gains in 2020.

Other males on Porter’s slate are Chawla, Henninger, Kang, Lekawa, and Pedreira.  Mani Kang has been a DPOC activist for many years and is knowledgeable and reform-minded; he’s the other obvious male choice from this slate.

Henninger is a moderate pro-business type.  He’s the only one in this group who I think is far closer to the electeds than the grassroots, and I see also no change that he could not find an out-of-district PLEO appointment.  I fully expect to see him in DSCC regardless, which is fine, but it ought to be on the electeds’ leg of the stool.  Correa would be one of many a likely appointees.  (Porter would, I think, look elsewhere; Henninger doesn’t seem like a Warren type.)  So he’s off of the list.

The UPD slate’s male choices are Elliot, Fields, McLaughlin, Warfield, and Fuscoe.  They all have good stories to tell.  In choosing the cream of this crop, I’d go with Doug Elliot (who has been a consistently involved and incisive online commenter) and Joe McLaughlin, of whom I was unaware before reading his statement, but who made a powerful impression of knowing his stuff.

Those independent of slates are Macias, David, Stern, Friesen, Banta, Newman, Derr, and Lucas.  Yes, CDP needs some Paul Lucases in its midst, and Lucas happens to be one.  The others seem nice, but not automatic picks.

So where does that leave us?

Avinder Chawla, Doug Elliot, Eugene Fields, Felipe Macias, Grant Henninger, Jeff David, Joe McLaughlin, Ken Warfield, Lee Fink (EB), Mani Kang, Michael Lekawa, Mike Stern, Nicolas Pedreira, Patrick Fuscoe, Paul Lucas, Ryan Friesen, Stephen Banta, Steve Newman, Victor Garcia, and William Derr.

From the 14 in plain-face type, we get to pick two.  Hmm.  Not easy.

I’ll tell you what: I’ll do half of the work for you.  The seven of these who impressed me most, based on their statements, are Chawla, Fields, Warfield, Leskawa, Stern, Pedreira, and Macias.  That’s three O2B, two UPD, and two independents.  (I made my picks blind to their status)  You should certainly consider the other seven if you’re disposed, but if you want the field narrowed down, there you go.

From his self-description, I think that Pedreira seems like a good candidate for appointment by Rep. Porter (or a negotiated outside appointment arranged by Porter.)  I do have two that I think I’d pick, but I’d prefer to leave it up to you to read those statements and make up your own mind based on what you value.  You can also leave one slot blank in case Henninger is elected (not unlikely.)

So here’s where I end up:

  • Doug Elliot, Joe McLaughlin, Lee Fink, Mani Kang, Paul Lucas

and one or two from:

  • Avinder Chawla, Eugene Fields, Ken Warfield, Felipe Macias, and Nicolas Pedreira.

None of the others really frightened me, though.  It’s a good batch!

Women:

Ashleigh Aitken, Branda Lin, Bridget McConaughy, Danielle Serbin, Deborah Wilson-Ozima, Diana Guerini Bolt, Gina Onweiler, Jane Hartley, Karen Cohn, Kris Erickson, Loretta Sanchez, Louise Adler, Marissa Waldman, Melanie Weir, Naz Hamid, Patty Yoo, Rachel So, Ronni Stewart, Sadaf Agha,, Samantha Simon (EB), Sherri Loveland (EB), Tammy Kim, Tina Arias Miller, Vicky Schulte

First order of business — is there anyone who should be tossed out to the PLEO pile?  I see four possibilities: Loretta, Aitken, Adler, and Loveland.

Loretta should drop out of the race — and she should do so immediately before she screws up her candidacy for Supervisor.  You probably could not find a more obvious PLEO appointee than Loretta Sanchez: not only did she give Kamala Harris a run for her money in the Senate race, but her sister is still a powerful Member of Congress, who could appoint her outright or arrange for her appointment by anyone right up to Gavin Newsom or DiFi.  (OK, maybe not Nancy Pelosi!)  The only outcome of her running for ADEM is to take away one spot that would otherwise go to one of the activists you see in that list above!  How does that help her win her Supervisorial race?  It’s just a mind-bogglingly stupid insult to the party’s grassroots — and it’s exactly the sort of dunderheaded striving to please to boys in power that make me worry that she is going to be a disaster in office.  And I want her to win!  So, please — save Loretta from herself and don’t vote her in as an ADEM.

Sherry Loveland should stay in the race anyway, given that she’s running for E-Board, but she’s on this list because the contacts she’s made as Chair of the National Women’s Political Caucus means that she would get consideration all over the place.  Or maybe I’m overestimating her fame.  Either way, she stays.

For those who don’t know, Louise Adler is the widow of longtime Democratic heavy hitter Howard Adler.  If she wants to be on the DSCC she could almost certainly receive a PLEO appointment — and honestly, I wish she would.  I get the sense that she’s more progressive than her former husband, the co-founder of the Democratic Foundation with Richard O’Neil and a couple of others, so this is not about her taking pride in her work on behalf of Hillary Clinton.  The problem is that she’d make it onto the DSCC anyway and the woman whom she will edge out of a delegate position will likely be a good activist with strong ties to the grassroots — and taking that woman’s spot is both unnecessary and a shame.  On a personal basis, I don’t like having to endorse against someone of the stature and character of Louise Adler, as I’ll have to do here, because she is an impressive activist and deserves better than that.  But the grassroots leg of the stool is under attack, and anyone who has an alternative route to the DSCC should take it.  (If you didn’t read the introduction, this is where you realize that you should’ve!)

Finally, let’s consider Ashleigh Aitken.  Should she stand aside?  Nope — she is, quite literally, too good for that.  By “too good,” I mean that she’s taking positions on Anaheim matters that could pose a problem for whoever appointed her.  If appointing her would be an act of courage, then there’s certainly a possibility that it wouldn’t happen at all.  I find it incredible to imagine that this narrowly defeated Mayoral candidate with ties to Orange County Democratic political royalty might seriously be better off being answerable to the people, rather than held on a leash by an appointee, but watching the insanity taking place in Anaheim it certainly seems to be a possibility.  So, yes, she should run — and whoever she edges out can take solace that they lost to a caring reformer.

So this revision of the list will not be a surprise:

Ashleigh Aitken, Branda Lin, Bridget McConaughy, Danielle Serbin, Deborah Wilson-Ozima, Diana Guerini Bolt, Gina Onweiler, Jane Hartley, Karen Cohn, Kris Erickson, Loretta Sanchez, Louise Adler, Marissa Waldman, Melanie Weir, Naz Hamid, Patty Yoo, Rachel So, Ronni Stewart, Sadaf Agha,, Samantha Simon (EB), Sherri Loveland (EB), Tammy Kim, Tina Arias Miller, Vicky Schulte

Five spots left; 19 names to choose from.  Oy.

Let’s separate them by slate:

  • The establishment-ish O2B candidates, besides Aitken and Sanchez, are: Serbin, Cohn, Waldman, Erickson, and Schulte.
  • The grassrootsy UDP candidates, besides Loveland, are: Hamid, Kim, Yoo, Onweiller, Weir, and … Adler?!  (OK, maybe so, but still: confusing.  I still think that she should seek a PLEO appointment.)
  • The independents are: Lin, So, Bolt, Hartley, Agha, Stewart, Miller, McConaughy, Wilson-Ozima.

I didn’t know anything about them other than the four placed in or out above, plus Serbin and Hamid.  But I read their statements, blind to what slate they were in, and here are the ones that impressed me the most:

  • FROM O2B: Karen Cohn, Melissa Waldman, Vicki Schulte
  • FROM UDP: Naz Hamid, Patty Yoo, Tammi Kim
  • INDEPENDENT: Bridget McConaughy

So choose five from that list!  (I think that Naz Hamid should be one of them, so I filled her name in for you: now it’s choosing four of six.)

Again, this equal outcome was totally blind to slate!  McConaughy was the one on the bubble, so she’s the one who can be replaced.  I presume that it will be harder for her to win as an independent anyway, but: she sounds impressive.  So did many of the ones I didn’t choose; again, no horror shows in the group, but some further from the grassroots.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

MEN:

  • Doug Elliot, Joe McLaughlin, Lee Fink, Mani Kang, Paul Lucas

and one or two (depending on whether you want to allow for a Henninger win) from:

  • Avinder Chawla, Eugene Fields, Ken Warfield, Felipe Macias, and Nicolas Pedreira.

WOMEN:

  • Ashleigh AitkenSherri Loveland, Naz Hamid
  • Two to four (depending on whether you want to make room for Loretta and Louise Adler likely winning) of the following six:
    • FROM O2B: Karen Cohn, Melissa Waldman, Vicki Schulte
    • FROM UDP: Patty Yoo, Tammi Kim
    • INDEPENDENT: Bridget McConaughy

Like I said: you’re probably going to want to read some candidate statements!

E-BOARD: Lee Fink and Sherri Loveland both have good claims to the position.  Let’s see if we can lure them here to discuss their hopes and plans.

RESULTS

No vote totals is bad. No indication of who won the two alternate spots is worse.

By name (OJB-endorsed candidates in bold)

MALE:

  1. Lee Fink (Also E-Board)
  2. Mani Kang
  3. Mike Stern
  4. Nicolas Pedreira (“2 0f 5” group)
  5. Michael Lekawa
  6. Avinder Chawla (“2 0f 5” group)
  7. Grant Henninger

FEMALE:

  1. Loretta Sanchez
  2. Ashleigh Aitken
  3. Kris Erickson
  4. Vicky Schulte (from “2-4 of 6” group)
  5. Danielle Serbin
  6. Marissa Waldman (from “2-4 of 6” group)
  7. Karen Cohn (from “2-4 of 6” group)

So: 3 we wanted and 4 we could accept.  Sadly, our second-best result of the day.


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.)