Is the OC’s tumor John Williams leaving or not? Carlson out in AD-74; and Loretta backs Julio!

A few interesting things that happened in the OC, around the same time as President Obama’s very encouraging Occupy-influenced State of the Union Address:

Worst Public Administrator Ever (John S Williams) finally forced out by Supes…
– or NOT?

The classic John S Williams photoshop, from Dissent's Roy Bauer

This guy is just too much!  If you’ve been following this blog, and, even more, Roy Bauer’s DISSENT, then we don’t need to fill you in on why we call John S Williams OC’s worst public servant since Sheriff Mike Carona;  click the above links for a rundown of his wastefulness, mismanagement, corruption, cronyism, damning Grand Jury reports, pension spiking, false time sheets, and more.

Last March, thanks partly to the efforts of a small team of us bloggers and whistleblowers (as well as Johnny making enemies with the resourceful Todd Spitzer), the majority of our Board of Supervisors had finally had enough of him and voted to show him the door.  I remember his onetime supporter John Moorlach giving a heartfelt speech about how wrong he’d been to originally support the allegedly devout Christian for this position, and above all to attach the low-paying elected Public Administrator job with the high-paying Public Guardian job, making it very difficult to remove the slug.

It was reminiscent of the Supes’ previous difficulties removing the corrupt Carona as well as the corrupt Treasurer Chriss Street – the problem was that one of JW’s gigs was an elected one – elected by the tiny amount of mostly uninformed OC voters who even bothered to vote for PA/PG, probably didn’t even know what the job entailed, and just voted for the guy whose name sounded familiar and was displayed on the Republican voter guide mailers.  So, the best deal the Supes could wrangle, through JW’s ubiquitous ethically-challenged lawyer Phil Greer, was an agreement that he would finally resign on January 23, 2012 – which was last Monday.  We have been stuck paying him 150 grand a year this past ten months, while other people do his job.

So, the few of us who pay attention to this scandalous hack had been wondering – was he really going to keep his word and leave on Monday?  One of my pajaritos showed up at the Registrar’s office late Tuesday morning and happened to see him there!  Checking with an insider he was told Johnny was there to fill out his resignation papers – good news for the County!  But given what came out that day on Voice of OC and in the Register, it’s unclear what he was actually doing there.

For, as we learn from Norberto, John Williams came to his office Tuesday morning – not a usual sight – only to find the locks changed on his office door by the Supervisors!  And according to Andy Galvin he’s apparently rescinding his promised resignation, and now threatening thru the ethically-challenged Greer to see the County in court if they take away his six-figure job.  The County has completely kept their side of their bargain with him, which it turns out includes “The Board would not publicly release the highly critical report of your performance prepared for the Board by Special Counsel, Michael Colantuono.”

Well, hell’s bells!  Do we really have to force the oleaginous tortoise out with a recall?  And let’s DEFINITELY all see this highly critical report.

Tom Fuentes talks Keith Carlson out of running against Mansoor

Carlson (out) Mansoor and Daigle (in)

We OC Democrats had been rubbing our hands looking forward to a Republican intraparty bloodbath in the 74th Assembly District – Newport, CM, southern HB, a bit of Irvine – where three other Republicans were taking on Allan Mansoor (who calls himself the incumbent with only limited accuracy – he represents just 20% of the newly redrawn district.)

We considered what an unlikeable fellow this unemployed jailer Mansoor was, how he tirelessly rode the immigrant-bashing wave over the past decade as Costa Mesa mayor and councilman, until labor-bashing became the GOP’s new black.  And we wondered what these other Republicans might have against Allan, perhaps projecting some of our own Democrat thoughts onto them.

The most credible challenger seemed Keith Carlson, an HB attorney practicing in Newport, and longtime OC GOP insider.  Was he disgusted with Allan’s immigrant-bashing history, and general inarticulateness and ineffectiveness in Sacramento?  I didn’t have the chance to find out, although I’ve heard that Keith was put up to the run by OC GOP bigwig Mike Schroeder who dislikes Mansoor for reasons unknown.  And I’ve also heard that Mansoor has gained more respect in the hardcore GOP by standing strongly against redevelopment agencies when other Republicans didn’t.

Well, Schroeder lost that battle when sainted and moribund OC GOP chairman emeritus (and priest-abuse apologist) Tom Fuentes called Allan and Keith to his bedside and begged them to work this out for GOP unity.  Homoerotic cigar-chomping courtier-columnist Frank Mickadeit has the whole pastel scene.  Keith is out.  Our tireless colleague Roy Bauer – who’s been on fire lately – reminds us of some history and what the scene was probably really like, with an appropos 15-year old passage from the Times:

…The list of people who accuse Fuentes of trying to arm-twist them into abandoning bids for public office includes a host of loyal Republicans: Assemblywoman Marilyn C. Brewer (R-Irvine), former Newport Beach Mayor Evelyn R. Hart, former Superior Court Judge Judith Ryan and management consultant Nathan Rosenberg.

All of them, at one time or another, sought the Republican nomination for public office. None heeded Fuentes’ advice, but only Brewer won the nomination.

“He said my business would be ruined, and that my husband’s business would be ruined,” said Ryan, a challenger to U.S. Rep. Robert K. Dornan for his seat in 1992. “I was taken aback.”

Fuentes calls Ryan’s charges “ridiculous,” but he does not deny that he tries to dissuade people from running against GOP officeholders.

“I am staunchly loyal to incumbents,” Fuentes said. “I make no excuses for that.”….

So this leaves the race between Mansoor and Republican Newport Beach councilwoman Leslie Daigle.  I asked her the other day why she was running against Allan, and she responded:

I have a record for conservative fiscal management. I’ve built reserves, cut spending, helped get employees pay a larger portion of their pensions. I am more interested in working to get results than being a rhetorical bomb thrower. What’s Allan’s record on cutting spending, any accomplished pension reform, and building reserves? Thanks for asking Vern.

The purported conservatives I know in the OC GOP consider Leslie to be a liberal, and a stalking-horse for redevelopment interests, funded as she is by the Irvine Company.  And my old drinking buddy from HB, the genial but addled Joe Carchio, is not to be taken seriously – last time I ran into him at the Seacliff Albertson’s, where he likes to schmooze with the public and not even shop, he wasn’t sure what district he lived in.

I’m predicting another term for MinuteMansoor.

Loretta comes down on side of goodness and light, backs Julio!

We’ve had some coverage on this blog of the “fight for the soul of the Democratic Party of Orange County” going on over the two serious candidates in the 69th AD – the “brash and brilliant”  Occupier Julio Pérez supported by the Young Dems and the labor folks (as well as Gustavo, me and Diamond, and the LibOC) versus the conservative gringo Tom Daly supported by what seems to be most of the Dem establishment – Senator Lou Correa, Assemblyman Solorio, and DPOC chairman Frank Barbaro.

The latter group swear up and down that only a “moderate” Democrat – one like Lou and Jose who constantly makes compromises and deals with corporate interests – can win in the 69th, because – hey, it’s Orange County!  (It sounds more and more like they’re just making excuses for their own proclivities, as well as fretting over the big donations.)

The rest of us say something different – this is a new time, and the working class has been so abused and impoverished by the top 1%, it’s time for the Democratic Party to regain its soul and redouble the struggle for the vast majority of us.  And we’ve had enough “Democrats” who try to straddle both sides and keep everyone happy, except stab us in the back at the most important times.  And nothing we say is less true in Santa Ana and the chunks of Anaheim, just because they happen to be behind the Orange Curtain.  Yada yada yada, except all true.

And while I wouldn’t have risked predicting it, it was great to see our Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez coming down on the progressive side and supporting Julio over Tom Daly!

Isn’t this a bit dramatic?  I’ve understood that Tom Daly was one of Loretta’s original, crucial supporters at the beginning of her career – and he was one of the very few OC politicians present when I played at her wedding.  For her to choose labor hero Julio over her old friend shows that she is indeed the progressive I’ve always tried to tell people she is – despite her Valley Girl babble and her Blue Dog pretensions.  Kudos to Lo, and we did catch that OCCUPY shout-out on your last Xmas card!

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.