Wagner says he’s the man in the 70th Assembly District

Orange Juice: Wagner says he’s the man in the 70th Assembly District

By: Art Pedroza

Welcome to the latest edition of the e-published column about politics in Orange County. You can also read this column online at http://o-juice.blogspot.com/.

In this issue:

1. Wagner is feeling left out in the 70th Assembly District

2. Latino candidate files for open Orange County Board of Education seat

3. Maddox Madness: If all else fails blame the Mexicans

4. State-funded think tank attacks the Davis recall campaign

Wagner is feeling left out in the 70th Assembly District

When I make a mistake – I don’t mess around with small ones! I somehow overlooked my old friend Don Wagner in my recap of the Republican candidates who have filed for the 70th Assembly District. Wagner actually has an intriguing storyline: he is the only elected official vying for the Republican nomination in the district in question. Wagner is the President of the South Orange County Community College District’s Board of Education. He was elected in 1998 and reelected in 2002. Wagner’s law firm specializes in business litigation, including real estate and construction defect litigation.

If you would like to meet Wagner you can do so tomorrow, July 29, at his campaign headquarters, located at 41 Corporate Park, Suite 200, in Irvine. He will be hosting a reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m., featuring special guest John Shanahan, the creator of Hooked on Phonics, and the syndicator of the Dr. Laura Show (heard locally every afternoon on KFI AM 640). Wagner is requesting a $30 donation. You can RSVP by calling Patricia Taylor at 949-723-3185.

While Wagner has enjoyed electoral success, he admits that his campaign has not been as active as that of his main competitor, Chuck DeVore. However, Wagner has retained the services of political consultant Scott Taylor, who is also running the Issa for Governor campaign, and he feels that his campaign will prevail over his opponents. It certainly is a tight race with several decent candidates.

Latino candidate files for open seat on Orange County Board of Education

Placentia resident Vincent De Vargas, a past candidate for the Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Board of Education, is one of two Republican candidates for the open seat on the Orange County Board of Education. De Vargas works in the insurance industry, and he has many years of experience teaching in that industry. He was also appointed to the Orange County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Committee by former Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, and that term runs until May 12, 2004.

The other candidate for the seat, which is in northwest Orange County, is Cal State Fullerton professor John W. Bedell. Don’t try looking him up on Google.com, you won’t find much. He appears to have some sort of PhD, I think in sociology, but I was not able to find anything about his stance on any of the issues of the day.

Bedell and De Vargas will be interviewed by the other members of the Orange County Board of Education this Thursday. The good news is that they are both Republicans, so the board will continue to have no Democrats on it, but I sure wish I knew more about Bedell. I can vouch for De Vargas. I have worked with him in the past on community issues and he is terrific.

Maddox Madness: If all else fails, blame the Mexicans

I received a strange letter from the Ken Maddox campaign for the 35th State Senate District the other day. In it, Maddox touted his votes on several contentious bills/resolutions, including AB 540 (Granting “in-state” tuition for immigrants who attend California’s public colleges), and ACR 229 (which urges public agencies to accept Mexican consular ID cards as official forms of education). Apparently Ken is very proud to have voted both of these down – but honestly are these issues that will carry the day in the 35th Senate District? What’s next – will Ken start talking about Prop. 187 again? I think that there are plenty of other issues to focus on in this day and age. Personally I think that public agencies should accept the Mexican consular ID cards – that way they will know where to send the ensuing bills for health care and other services. Just a thought.

In the meantime, Maddox’ opponent, John Campbell, was recently photographed with Governor Davis’ henchman Steve Peace in his face, at a meeting in Sacramento. Apparently the Davis Democrats are feeling the heat from John with regard to the recall, the car tax and the state budget. Kudos to Campbell for saying in today’s paper that he would not vote for the budget. It is still a mess and most of us would love to see more cuts. Why for example is the state still funding the California Arts Council? Let the artists pay their own way, like we have to.

Campbell also emailed a pro-family activist friend of mine recently to tell him that he is opposing SB 71, AB 205, AB 196, and AB 458. These bills are all terrible, but AB 205 may be the worst. It would require California businesses to provide “domestic partner” benefits. Campbell pointed out that this bill would cause more businesses to leave California. Can’t argue with that. Kudos to Campbell for voting against a whole slew of job-killer and anti-family bills.

State-funded think tank attacks the Davis recall campaign

Thanks to Kevin Dayton from the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) for providing this nightmare of a “heads-up.” A think tank funded by our taxes is actually conducting media and communications workshops for union hacks who will be opposing the recall of Governor Davis. The University of California Labor Institute is set to receive $4 million dollars in the budget that was just passed by our State Senate on July 27. This labor think tank was created in 2000, with backing from the California Labor Federation, and has received a total of $17 million in the last three budgets signed by Governor Davis. Hard to believe isn’t it? Only in California…

That’s it for this issue. Next week: the recall campaign from an Orange County perspective.


Author’s Bio: Art Pedroza became involved in local politics in 1996, when he was tabbed to serve as the inaugural Hispanic Outreach Director for the Republican Party of Orange County. Pedroza has served as a city commissioner in Santa Ana, and on the Central Committee for both the local GOP and the California Republican Party. He currently represents the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, in Orange County.

About Art Pedroza