Who is Tom Daly?






What is it about O.C. Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly that has garnered the support of GOP consultant John Lewis?  What do we really know about Daly in the first place?  I tried looking him up online and found little information.  But here is what I did find:

This isn’t the first time Daly has expressed an interest in running for the O.C. Board of Supervisors.  He announced his intention to run way back in 1998, when he was Mayor of Anaheim, according to the L.A. Times.

But Daly was charged with campaign finance violations.  “The complaints include charges that Daly and former Anaheim Councilman Irv Pickler accepted campaign contributions that exceeded donation limits, and that they failed to itemize and report the donations.”

By March of 1998, Daly had pulled out of the Supervisor’s race, according to the L.A. Times.  “Daly said Monday he had spent dozens of hours meeting with attorneys to fight the charges. When he realized how much time and money a countywide political campaign would consume, on top of the legal fight, he said he opted out of the supervisorial race.”

My old friends Bob Zemel and Lou Lopez were the Anaheim Council Members who pursued the campaign finance charges against Daly.  Lopez went on to run for Steiner’s seat but Cynthia Coad won.  She then backed the O.C. PLA a few years later and then Fullerton Councilman Chris Norby took her out.

Now Daly wants to replace Norby.

The charges against Daly were dismissed in May of 1998, on a technicality.  Apparently the Anaheim Council did not have a right to hire a special prosecutor, Ravi Mehta.  The decision was ripped by Mehta, “”When I filed the charges, I believed they were guilty,” he said. “I still believe they are guilty, and the judge’s decision still does not exonerate them.”

The case took its toll on Daly as he ended up separated from his wife, Debra, who also had been investigated by Mehta.

Daly ended up running for Mayor again, against Zemel.  Daly accused Zemel of being dishonest, which was ironic given Daly’s campaign finance troubles.

Daly ultimately won.

In 2000, Daly became engaged to county lobbyist Debbie Trabattoni, according to the O.C. Business Journal.

That’s right.  Daly had two Debbies way before disgraced former Sheriff Mike Carona did!

By 2002, Daly was the O.C. Clerk-Recorder.

Daly said he too would “be mindful of potential cost savings and efficiencies that might come about via consolidations,” according to the L.A. Times.  But while other Counties have merged Daly’s office with their Voter Registrar and Assessor’s offices, no such consolidations happened on Daly’s watch.

To the contrary, rather than save money, Daly recently opened a branch office in Fullerton.  He also opened a South County office back in 2007.

The O.C. Register also reported recently that 100% of Daly’s health insurance is paid for by Orange County taxpayers, to the tune of over $11,000 a year!  That is about what a family of four would pay annually for their health insurance.

And Daly hired former reporter Jean Pasco in July, 2006, ostensibly to “oversee the expansion of the Orange County Archives.”

According to Daly’s website, Pasco’s “goal is to acquire more physical space for the Archives, obtain additional collections, expand the Archives’ multimedia presence, encourage academic research and create public-private partnerships for the greater preservation and display of Orange County history.”

And that is all I could find.  I did find a reference to Daly’s former career as a marketing consultant.  That doesn’t sound very impressive.  Of course his hacks are attacking Fullerton Councilman Shawn Nelson, who is Daly’s leading opponent, for being an attorney with a criminal defense and business litigation practice.  Since when is a marketing consultant more fit for office than an attorney?

When you consider the people who are backing Daly, I don’t see how anyone of good conscience could support him.


Steven Greenhut has written a couple of posts about Daly that deserve mention here.

Greenhut noticed that “Republican PR guy and water district official Brett Barbre is helping to host a union-supported fund-raiser for Democrat Tom Daly for supervisor,” in this post.  Here is an excerpt from that post:

Barbre had no good explanation for his behavior: “I found Tom easy to wrok with and very genial and he has a good sense of the community.” Blah, blah, blah. Barbre said Daly “has a real sense of what he wants to do.” So I asked him exactly what it is he wants to do. Barbre hesitated and then answered that Daly will bring more government spending to north county. Right now south county gets all the park money and resources. How is this for standing up for conservative principles? I agree that Daly is an amiable sort and someone who would be genial to work with, but to what ends would he be working other than to expand government?

Greenhut also found evidence that Daly is no friend of freedom, in this post. Here is an excerpt from that post:

Daly — as Anaheim mayor — was an advocate for big, intrusive and liberal government. He adamantly supported CenterLine and was an enemy of property rights as he tried to use the city’s power to shut down old motels (and throw out people who were one step away from homelessness). He was a big backer of a city plan that threatened to use eminent domain, and eventually just used an enormous amount of tax subsidies, to revitalize a low-income privately owned apartment complex. In fact, it was Daly’s hostility to property rights and freedom that led to Anaheim’s freedom-friendly policies under Curt Pringle, Tom Tait and Richard Chavez. One spark was the Daly administration’s hostility to Gigante market, which sought a liquor license to open its store near Anaheim Plaza.

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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.