Weekend Open Thread: Some Old Orange Business

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Remember when life was simpler and this scene didn’t make you (and Giuliani’s now ex-wife) want to projectile vomit?

It’s no secret: this has been a hard year for OJB, with Vern spending most of it on the sidelines, Ryan moving to the Confederacy, and Greg hobbled both by health and the fact that the goddamned site would not approve existing reader’s comments, which are often (I say with mock sadness) some of the most fun parts of the game.

But let’s take stock: the year’s only about 80% over, and it’s had some highlights — by which, holiday theme’s picture aside, I don’t mean Giuliani possibly getting the electric chair.  I’m talking about Orange highlights — not the Orange man in DC or his Grima Wormtongue, but Orange County and Orange Juice highlights —  to a few of which, with the gears here working again, we ought to return.

Three of those local stories dealt with  council vacancies that could have either led to an election or an appointment.  One dealt with a mystery that, so far as I know, has not been solved — perhaps due in part to Vern’s absence, as he was the one on the trail.

First: remember this story, which was mostly a reprint of a press release from WeLead OC about a rally encouraging the Orange City Council to appoint Betty Valencia to a vacancy?  It also contained some now-timely commentary from me.

I don’t think that any hard-and-fast rule demands that the third-place finisher in an election necessarily is the obvious choice to appointment.  I think that it should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  In this case, I think that it’s critical that the Orange City Council appoint Betty Valencia for one big reason:

Because they apparently don’t want to.

According to Vern’s earlier reporting, the Republican-dominated City Council wants someone like them, “someone they can work with.”

Well, that may be what they want, but it’s not what they need.  What they need is someone who doesn’t approach governing from the same assumptions as they do, someone who can call them on their in-group dominated perspective when there are valid reasons to challenge it.

Betty Valencia is willing and able to do so.  Sitting in the deep minority of a city council where the majority thinks the same way about things — but a significant portion of the population does not — is a pretty rough job.  Betty is willing to do it, though, and to point out where the majority is blinkered in ways that could lead to problems including litigation against the city if they run roughshod over their own citizens (as city councils sometimes do.)  They should appreciate the value that she — and probably no one else applying — can bring to the City Council.  It may not lead to a city where everyone in government thinks the same way — but that’s good.  Show up and let them know that good governance means going outside of their comfort zone — and that they don’t need a new election to have a damn good idea of what the city council is currently missing — and who can fill that deficiency.

They did not, of course, appoint her.  They sent it to a special election scheduled for a week from Tuesday — and then they unnecessarily cancelled that election as part of a settlement where they would go to district elections.  (They could have, of course, appointed to fill the vacancy at that time, but there’s no point in mourning as the point was clearly to keep Betty from getting onto the City Council and the settlement was a sneaky way to stave that off for another year.  Why?  Well, here’s a link to Betty’s endorsements page, from which you can easily check out her issue positions and other matters of interest.  See who appreciates her and come to your own conclusions!

In contrast, the Fullerton city council appointed Jan Flory to fill the slot vacated by Jesus Silva when he became mayor.  Ryan Cantor wrote about that, using special high=acid ink in this story.  I haven’t been watching Fullerton politics closely this year, but it’s worth remembering that if that seat had been left open, it too would be filled eleven days from today.  Was it the right call?  Present your evidence and argument below.

In Irvine, the City forewent a special election that might have been won by Lauren Johnson-Norris, which would have given Democrats their first majority since the Agran/Krom/Kang band were broken up forcefully years ago.  Farrah Khan — an antagonist of Lauren’s political mentor Melissa Foxcast a vote that had been predicted here way in advance to appoint a Republican … thereby, giving Republicans a majority.  (Way to rally the troops!)  I covered that with mounting incredulity that the train wreck was coming.  Farrah was kicked out of her DPOC position for that act, putting her and me in a pretty exclusive club — which is ironic given that I thought that that action was not authorized by the Bylaws — but I was of course not around to advocate and vote against her removal.  (Farrah was a deciding vote to remove me the previous year based on another misinterpretation (or two) of the Bylaws, so at least that’s funny.)  Again, the comments section is yours on that topic.

The final trip down memory lane involves a pair of posts by Vern before his absence began, which will be relevant again next year.  Those deal with San Juan Capistrano and a guy named Derek Reeve.  Vern’s February and March stories on the topic led to a vigorous debate on the facts of the case and the applicable law … and then Vern was gone and I was sick of it and we never found out what happened.  Barring the unexpected, these will far and away have been our most viewed two stories of the year … and I want to know how things turned out before the 2020 cycle gets into gear!  So … anybody know?  Comment below (but with a little less heat than before, please!)

This is, like the sign says, your Weekend Open Thread.  Talk about those topics, or about the election that is coming up for the Santa Ana School Board between Carolyn Torres and her police union fueled opponent, or whatever else is on your mind, and let’s get ready to end the last couple of months of year with a bang!

P.S..  If you like that photo illustration, read this.  Or even if you just care about impeachment or hubris or justice, click that link!

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.)