A closer look at the candidates for the First Supervisorial District

Jubal/Matt Cunningham, over at Red County/OC Blog, is saying that Tom Umberg is going to run for Lou Correa’s seat on the OC Board of Supervisors. I am hearing the same thing from my sources. So what will that do to the rest of the candidates?

Mark Rosen, Garden Grove City Councilman – Rosen stands to lose the most if Umberg runs. They are both Democrats, and Umberg is well known throughout the district. Moreover, if Umberg does run, we will have three Caucasian candidates, including Brett Franklin, a Republican and a former member of the Santa Ana City Council. I am told that Rosen is not going to pull out, no matter what.

Carlos Bustamante, Santa Ana Councilman – Right now he is the only candidate with a law enforcement background – but not if Umberg runs. And you have to wonder if Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, a Democrat, will stick with Bustamante, a Republican, if Umberg runs. Pulido would probably alienate his party if he did not back either Umberg or Rosen. And in two years Pulido has to run again – which means he will need his party’s support.

Bustamante also has many other negatives. He is a first-term councilman with no other political experience. He switched parties when he first ran for the Santa Ana council – so many elements in both parties don’t trust him. He voted for two eminent domain deals that further enriched millionaire car dealers at the expense of Santa Ana taxpayers. He voted to slash the Santa Ana library budget – resulting in library closures and bookmobile cancellations. In short, there is very little that Bustamante can boast about – and he has no fan base to speak of.

Bustamante also angered Republicans when he did absolutely nothing as the OC GOP “City Deputy Chair” the past year. He supported Democrat Pulido and his Democrat council puppets this month – and that backfired when two of Pulido’s hacks lost. Bustamante has absolutely no credibility in the OC GOP.

Bustamante has also worked for the OC Planning Department – you know, the one that is mired in financial losses and ought to be outsourced. Not good!

Brett Franklin, former Santa Ana Councilman – Brett is one of the good guys in Santa Ana, but he has been off the council for awhile now, and his last campaign, for the Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Board of Trustees, did not go well. He came in behind the virtually unknown Reuben Ross. Franklin also ran for the OC Board of Supervisors before, and he lost to Garden Grove Councilman Bruce Broadwater, who later lost to Correa in a runoff election.

The problem with Franklin, historically, is that he has not done much to support fellow Republicans in Santa Ana, even though he is an elected member of the OC GOP Central Committee. I find it hard to blame him for that, as he is a longtime friend of Pulido, but now we see that Pulido obviously is not reciprocating the support, as he is allied with Bustamante instead. Perhaps Franklin will finally see the light regarding Pulido! I hope so.

Franklin did not support any of the endorsed Republican local candidates this year, in Santa Ana. However he did help Lynn Daucher and Ryan Williams, which ought to be noted.

One other thing about Franklin is that he has traditionally tried to steer clear of controversial issues. The last time he ran for Supervisor, I took him to meet several friends of mine in the anti-PLA movement. These same friends broke out the checkbook for Chris Norby when he ran against pro-union squish Cynthia Coad – but they didn’t write any checks out to Franklin. Why? Because he failed to address PLAs at all during his meeting with these open shop contractors. Has he learned from that experience? Maybe, but who knows?

Janet Nguyen, Garden Grove Councilwoman – Nguyen on the other hand actually stood up and fought a PLA (project labor agreement) when she was working for the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. Nguyen has a very long track record of opposing PLAs, even though she worked for both Coad and former Assemblyman Ken Maddox. Both Coad and Maddox backed the ill-fated OC PLA, which has since expired.

Nguyen has excellent experience, given her previous work for Coad and Maddox. And she did not copy her former bosses when it comes to unions. Nguyen is also a tireless advocate for small businesses. That will help her in this campaign as there are so many small businesses in the First District.

Nguyen also has over $200K in her campaign bank account – she will be a formidable candidate.
Claudia Alvarez, Santa Ana City Councilwoman – Alvarez is the only other woman in this race. She is running, IMHO, to take out Bustamante. That is exactly what will happen. Thanks Claudia!

Trung Nguyen, Garden Grove School Board – The other Nguyen in this race, Trung is running essentially to undermine Janet Nguyen. He lost a campaign for a seat on the OC Water District Board this month – and in June he failed to get elected to the OC GOP Central Committee, in the 68th Assembly District. He barely won his seat on the Garden Grove school board.

The problem with Trung Nguyen is that he is a one-issue candidate who will likely give short shrift to the non-Vietnamese residents of the First Supervisorial District. He will be a hard sell to Latinos and other non-Vietnamese voters. He is basically the Otto Bade in this contest as the only role he can fulfill is to cost Janet the victory – handing the First District to one of the Democrat candidates.

So what about Tom Umberg? Give me a break. He is finished politically. All the other candidates will rip him to shreds. His own wife’s words will be used against him. Go ahead and run Tom – this loss will finish you off forever more as a viable political candidate.


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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.