Matilda the Donkey to Deliver Signatures in Orange at noon, Tuesday July 12

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“It’s a war zone out there,” said one of the volunteers gathering signatures to overturn an Orange City Council vote which reclassified 51 acres of land from recreational open space.  She had  been harassed all day long  by blockers with misleading flyers.

But the volunteers remained steps ahead of the goons hired by the overpriced consultants for Ridgeline Equestrian Estates, LLC.  The City Council passed their general plan amendment late at night on June 13th. The ragtag band of rebels had their website up and running as soon as the Council voted, with a legal team standing by so that referendum petitions were printed and on the street by Friday, June 17th.

The developers hired blockers by the following weekend to try to interfere with signature gathering in front of stores. By then, the rebels had walk lists and precinct captains working the entire city and special events.

“Orange Needs Parks” reports today that they expect to turn in over 11,000 signatures at noon tomorrow, reaching their goal of a fifty per cent cushion above the required 7,169 signatures.

What’s been puzzling has been the sheer ineptitude of the consultants hired by the developers. The hit piece they dropped on doorsteps (including in Villa Park) was so childish that it backfired.  The public relations professionals include  Diane Gaynor and Ken Ryan, with sightings of Matt Cunningham and Steve Sheldon working public meetings. They accused the OPA-HOA of having a secret plan to get taxpayers to pay for a “lavish country club”. But it’s pretty easy for anyone who lives in Orange to figure out that there is no such thing as an OPA-HOA, just as there is no Southern California Taxpayers Association. The Orange Chamber of Commerce, which had supported the developer, backed off from supporting their over-the-top “Decline to Sign” campaign.

They bought the City Council fair and square, laundering campaign contributions to council candidates Denis Bilodeau and Fred Whitaker through the Orange County Republican Party and the OCGOP Central Committee PAC.  They infiltrated Orange Park Acres and packed City Council meetings with consultants, relatives of consultants, and paid stooges. How could they be outwitted by a bunch of volunteers with clipboards?

We expect to see a host of FPPC complaints and news stories that dribble out one at a time, further tarring the reputations of some of the lamest figures in local politics – Bilodeau and Jon Dumitru.

Volunteers are also following the money and asking question about the SCTA PAC, which is in violation of FPPC rules for not disclosing its controlling officers, and was last used as a vehicle for a $7,000 contribution by Adam Probolsky in a vicious campaign against a reformer running for Mayor of Rancho Cucamonga.

Orange  is one more city that is rebelling against the local Republican party of consultants, cronies, and trough-feeders.


About Mayor Quimby