Vern’s March 2019 Letter to Anaheim Democrats


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Happy March, Anaheim Democrats … except … have you heard about the State of Emergency?

No, I’m not referring to President Trump’s stupid racist power-grab/prank. (We Democrats have to spend more time thinking locally.) I’m talking about us having only THIRTEEN MORE DAYS to help get Loretta Sanchez onto the Board of Supervisors.

We Democrats don’t think enough about how important the BoS is to the everyday life of all of us in this huge County. They establish policy and approve the annual budget for the OC, overseeing 18,000 employees, 24 departments, and a $6 BILLION annual budget, and they do much more.

Throughout history nearly all our Supervisors have been Republicans, with the occasional very conservative Democrat. Over the decades they’ve established a matchless record of corruption and complacency, complete indifference to their constituents except the very most rich and powerful, and mainly using their posts as a springboard to higher office. They’ve:

  • allowed our homelessness crisis to metastasize to the clusterfuck it is now,
  • made a basket case of CalOptima (thanks Janet Nguyen),
  • regularly rejected or refused to request available state and federal money for their own goofy ideological reasons,
  • not spent the money they do get on the people who need it but “chipmunking it away,”
  • pushed crooked and destructive projects all over the County,
  • declared war on Orange County’s immigrants,
  • fought transparency and free speech at every opportunity, and
  • regularly rewarded campaign contributors with fat contracts.

And if we let either racist Trump-loving rightwinger Don Wagner or local kleptocrat Kris Murray beat Loretta, it’ll just be more of the same.

Loretta Sanchez as Supervisor would be much different:

  • Far from rejecting Obamacare money as a political stunt, she helped PASS Obamacare, and even tried to make it better, with a robust public option.
  • She’s been spending her last two years out of office working on several innovative projects focusing on housing and the homeless.
  • Two other of her immediate priorities are fixing CalOptima’s problems, and fire suppression in the Hills.
  • She would be much better than these anti-government Republicans, with their mutual hostility to Sacramento, at getting our share of both state and federal funds.
  • Many of us think she would also be a good influence on new Supervisor Doug Chaffee, causing him to vote like a good Democrat.

And then in Presidential Year 2020 when Supervisor Andrew Do is up for re-election we should easily be able to take the majority, in the heavily Democratic First District (Santa Ana, Garden Grove).  I’m not at liberty yet to tell you who is 90% likely to run for that seat until she’s ready to announce, but lately she has been fighting police union greed in Santa Ana, and also recently told me that she is “disgusted by the negligence of CalOptima and the County over homeless deaths.  These could have been avoided.”

So that’s our emergency – helping Loretta between now and March 12 is the first step to a greatly more progressive and less corrupt Orange County.  Make sure you do your part, Anaheim Democrats!  Sign up HERE if you haven’t already!   There are THREE places you can help Loretta on the morning of Saturday March 2, BEFORE our can’t-miss 12:15 meeting – in Anaheim Hills, Yorba Linda, and Tustin – and there will surely be more opportunities to help as March 12 gets even closer.

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Did I mention…

Our Can’t-Miss March 2 Meeting

Our greatly beloved and missed State Senator-in-Exile Josh Newman will be the keynote speaker this Saturday as he announces the beginning of his campaign to take back his rightful seat from the lightweight usurper Ling-Ling Chang next year.

Now you may say, if you think like me, we Democrats already have super-majorities in both houses in Sacramento, do we really need more?  Do we want to live in a one-party state?  Well, the answer is:  This is Josh Newman we’re talking about, not just any Democrat, but one of the best Democrats we have.

Unusually smart, honest, and humble, both a progressive Berniecrat and fiscally responsible, he got a lot of votes when he first ran in 2016 from rogue Republicans who were impressed with his straight talk, his record as a veteran who helps veterans, and how he had prevailed in the primary against  the Democratic establishment.

During his two years in office he obtained $20 million over 4 years for a North OC task force on homelessness, $5 million a year to augment support for veterans on campus (working with my brother Terence), and created “district of choice” where parents could have their kids moved to better PUBLIC schools in neighboring districts – something that pulled the rug out from under private charter schools.  He successfully authored and passed 18 bills.

But his most fateful vote, which turned many former Republican supporters against him, was for SB 1, the “gas tax.”  This vote gave ammunition to a few Republican thugs to launch a recall against him, and they lied to voters that the recall of Josh would somehow repeal the tax.  So they succeeded last year in recalling him and replacing him with the utterly useless Ling-Ling Chang.  But within months popular resentment against the tax had melted away, as witness the failure of Prop 6.

Josh still stands by his vote for SB 1, which was the best of very few bad options for fixing the state’s crumbling infrastructure.  And he conditioned his vote on the passage of HIS constitutional amendment affirmed by the public also last year, in Prop 69, which ensured that the gas tax money would go to what it was intended for – vital transportation infrastructure repairs – and not be diverted to other purposes as Sacramento has always tended to do.  Specifically no gas tax money can go to the High Speed Rail boondoggle.  (It also can’t be used for toll roads or toll lanes.)

How has SB 1 helped Anaheim?  It’s provided us with $9 million SO FAR to accelerate capital improvements, including:

  • La Palma corridor repaving
  • Sewer and gutter improvements in the northern Colony
  • Long-needed work on Beach Boulevard, and
  • Work on the west side off Orange between Euclid and Beach.
  • And that’s just the beginning!

Josh was and is one of our best Democratic politicians, the only OC Democrat to support meaningful police reform (along with Republican Senator Moorlach.)  Once Loretta is safely on the Board of Supervisors, getting Josh back into the Senate should be one of Anaheim Democrats’ highest priorities.  Come Saturday and ask him whatever you want.

We’ll also have another visit from our favorite Anaheim Councilman, Dr. Jose Moreno, who has been doing his best to fight for good government and progressive values in a small council minority, usually joined by (R) Denise Barnes, and very occasionally by (D) Jordan Brandman, but always outvoted.  Some things he’ll talk about Saturday, along with answering all your burning questions:

  • Updates on the very secretive Angels “negotiations” as the Sidhu majority tries every trick it can think of to give away the prize jewel of our stadium. Latest news is they’re threatening to go to LONG BEACH if they don’t get what they want; there are many reasons this is not a credible threat.
  • The upcoming study of rents in Anaheim, agendized by Jose – we are not yet talking about “rent control” or “rent stabilization,” but let’s see what this study looks like.
  • The general dynamics of the new Sidhu council, its impacts on community engagement, and why there are less and less attendees and speakers at council meetings.
  • The upcoming Maxwell Dog Park, and the upcoming budget discussions.

So make sure to help Loretta Saturday morning, and then tell her people that you gotta be at the Anaheim Democratic Club meeting at 12:15 at Haskett Branch Library – see you there!


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer 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.