OJB Review of OC “Clerks” Leaves OC Political’s List Collecting Dust!

Write an entire story just to justify putting up a stupid picture?  Why, we’d *never*!

“Right-of-center” Republican spokesblog OC Political, which I believe Vern joins me in liking quite a bit other than around election time, is providing coverage of the selection of the new Orange County Clerk-Recorder to serve out the term of Asmb. Tom Daly (D-Chevron), including next Tuesday’s whittling of this list of 25 candidates down to 10.  They say that they’re going to liveblog this.  Well, lah-dee-dah, OC Political.  We’ll do more than reprint a list from Future President Todd Spitzer’s office — we’ll Google them!

That’s how it started, anyway, and then at some point we decided to take portions of it at least a little bit seriously.  Here’s the updated list of the 25 Clerk “finalists” — we’re guessing that it’s more like “quarter” or “semi” — with more detailed information about each, where possible:

Dick Ackerman (attorney, former state senator and assemblyman)

Say you’re Dick Ackerman.  No, stop making that silly face.  And pull that right eyebrow back down.  Seriously, pretend you’re crooked former California Senate Minority Leader and long-ago Fullerton Councilman Dick Ackerman, and your three buddies who are currently on the Fullerton Council have asked you for help keeping their jobs.

That would be Mayor Dick Jones, and Councilmen Pat McKinley and Don Bankhead, known popularly as “the Three Blind Mice.” And they do know they need your help, as their shameful behavior in the wake of the brutal police beating murder of homeless Kelly Thomas….

-Dale Anderson (attorney)

It’s looks like there may be more than one attorney Dale Anderson in OC.  We’re not going to risk guessing which one it is, if so.

Larry Bales (FDIC settlement agent)

[We presume that this is this guy, who ran for Assessor in 2006]:

I am Larry Bales candidate for the Orange county Assessors office. I am the only candidate, elected or otherwise who has made major contributions to the passage of Proposition 13. I played a major investigatory role in the reasons for the passage of Proposition 13. I had appeared before the Orange County Grand Jury giving information regarding the past illegal assessment practices of the Assessors office. My testimony resulted in the indictments of the Orange County Assessor, Staff members in his office, and members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. Eventually, 42 people were indicted during this probe….

Andrew Calderon (law firm managing partner)

We’re guessing that it’s the guy mentioned here, not the meat cutter or the other one you’ll see if you Google this.  Perhaps you might choose to use your middle name, Mr. Calderon.

-Alicia Campbell (Administrative Manager II at OC Public Works)

Here you go!  Went to Cal Lutheran — and I know someone on LinkedIn who knows her there!  Find her there yourself, if you can — you stalker.

-William Copulos (retired law firm managing partner)

Two people of this name in OC, and one in Honolulu.  Again, we’re not going to guess.

-Ron Davidson (retired corporate CEO)

Possibly on Pinterest.  We’re not clear on that — and we’re not following up.  Call it a 404.

-Stewart Davis (corporate program contracts manager)

[I don’t know if this is the guy, but he sounds great!  NASCAR and motorcycles in the County Clerk’s office!  How many counties can say that?]

Director of US Operations for CRP USA, LLC. CRP Technology is a Rapid Manufacturing company specializing in producing parts and components for the Motor Sports and Aerospace industries. CRP has been instrumental in the success of many race winning F1, Moto GP, Rally Raid, ALMS (American Lemans Series), NASCAR and World Rally Championship teams. We also produce motorcycles for the new TTXGP series.

Linda Dixon (former Costa Mesa mayor and council member, retired university assistant vice chancellor)

[The link is to her profile from her campaign in 1998.  She sounds relatively respectable.  Not sure what to do with that.  Vern says that he can say more about her.  Meanwhile, I also found a 2002 letter to the editor that suggests that she really really likes Costa Mesa!]

“Since Costa Mesa is receiving newspaper recognition, I felt compelled to share with the community a few facts about our outstanding city.We are close to the ocean (within three miles) without the fog, and we are lucky enough to live in one of the best climatic zones for gardening in the world — a gardener’s delight. Costa Mesa is a vibrant community– with wonderful residential neighborhoods and recreation programs fort he entire community, arts programs, youth sports activities, higher educational institutions, special events and 412-plus acres of parkland,all unique and enjoyable. We are proud to be a member of Tree City, USA,and most of all, just about everything a person needs can be found in Costa Mesa.”

-Elizabeth Fleming (contract attorney)

LinkedIn shows only one Elizabeth Fleming (who goes by  “Beth”) in OC — and she’s a 3rd level contact in my network!  As a fellow contract attorney (in the recent past) I’m rooting for her.  Contract attorneys almost always need a better job!

Michael J. Fox (attorney)

[No, this is not former Assembly Candidate Melissa Fox’s husband Michael D. Fox (a member of both the state and local Democratic Party E-Boards), nor is it the Canadian actor.  I’m guessing that he’s associated with the firm of his name.  If not, I’ll happily correct it.  Based on his self-description, he actually sounds pretty damned qualified.  That may be what the Supes should be looking for, but it doesn’t help this article be funny.]

Michael J. Fox has a diverse background in addition to private practice. Mr. Fox previously served as in-house counsel to H.K. Realty, J.K Properties and their subsidiaries, entities that owned and managed over 16,000 apartment units in the greater Los Angeles area. Mr. Fox later served as Vice President and Associate Counsel for Fidelity National Title and as an Associate for the firm of Pite Duncan, LLP.

Mr. Fox has hands on real estate and business transactional experience with the negotiation and preparation of real estate purchase and sale agreements, formation and maintenance of corporations, limited liability companies, joint ventures and partnerships. He is proficient in all aspects of real estate transactions and knows how to avoid the pitfalls that can arise during the various phases of a transaction including the due diligence period, analysis, negotiations and preparation of contracts, financing, zoning, permits, title matters and escrow issues. Having litigated numerous cases that evolved from transactional errors, Mr. Fox has assisted clients avoid potential pitfalls and successfully complete both residential and commercial purchase, sale and section 1031 real estate transactions.

[If this is the wrong Michael J. Fox, I suggest that he ask the Michael J. Fox who was chosen to sub him in.  Someone in the Clerk’s office who knows about real estate?  Huh?]

-Ellie Ghasemi-Fazeli (legal assistant at Office of Orange County Counsel)

Seven Google hits, six of which involve this announcement and the seventh of which (inviting one to look for any random person’s court records) suggests that she does actually exist, and is age 32.  Too bad if there’s no more, because that is one seriously euphonious name.

Lydia Lake (attorney)

[Yikes — ANOTHER apparently well-qualified real estate attorney!  What went wrong with the process that a number of real estate attorneys become finalists?  I’ll tell you a funny story about the firm where she works: whoever typed in its entry for the webpage “Lawyersdb.org,” which led me to her record, apparently had a slight pinkie-finger slip with their URL “fsglawyers.com” — and yes, it’s exactly what you think it is.  I strongly suggest that FSG contact them to correct the record.  Or sue them!  Suing is also good!  (Not intended as legal advice.)]

Lydia Lake is an associate of Friedman Stroffe & Gerard, P.C.  Her practice is focused on general business and commercial real estate transactional matters.

Practice Groups

  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Corporate & Business
  • Intellectual Property


Lydia counsels on deals and transactions for various real estate developers, national banking associations, tenants and large-scale landlords in matters including real estate, asset-based financing, ground, retail, office and industrial leasing and real property acquisition and disposition. She has drafted and negotiated retail, industrial and office leases, including ground leases, subleases, lease assignments, terminations and related contracts. Lydia has also drafted and negotiated purchase and sale agreements for single tenant parcels, unimproved land, office buildings, retail shopping centers and industrial parks, performed due diligence on the subject properties and conducted the closings for the transactions. In addition, Lydia represents lenders in connection with various loans. Lydia has prepared and negotiated easement agreements, indemnity agreements, non-disturbance and attornment agreements, and development agreements. Lydia’s practice also includes preparing property management, construction management, and vendor/supplier agreements for office and industrial property owners; landlord/tenant dispute negotiation; forming business entities, including corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships; registering and enforcing trademarks and copyrights; and general business advice.

Prior to joining FSG, Lydia was a commercial real estate associate in the Irvine office of Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis and in-house counsel to Linens n Things in Clifton, New Jersey.

-Nora Lesnet (Administrative Manager at OC Community Resources)

Apparently Director of the charitable foundation Association for Woman in Technology.  Not quite as on point as a real estate attorney, but better than most of the politicians who made it.  She also dodged a bullet — she has a page with a social activities group, but it’s not embarrassing.

-Francis Licata (attorney)

Apparently works for Law Office of James M. Fraser, One MacArthur Place Suite 310 (South Coast Metro), Santa Ana, and was admitted in 1976 to the California Bar.  “Premises liability,” which I guess is real estate related, is listed as a firm practice area.

Steve Madoff (consultant, former executive vice president of Paramount Pictures)

HOLLYWOOD, March 3 /PRNewswire/ — Steve Madoff has been promoted to senior vice president of business affairs and legal for the video division of the Motion Picture Group of Paramount Pictures, it was announced today. Madoff is responsible for business and legal affairs activities for the videocassette and disc, pay-TV, pay-per-view and multimedia markets. He reports to Jack Waterman, executive vice president, business affairs and finance, video and motion picture marketing. “This promotion reflects Steve’s substantial contributions to the growth of our company,” Waterman said. “His responsibilities will grow as Paramount expands its worldwide pay-TV, home video and multimedia businesses.” Previously, Madoff was vice president, business affairs and legal, for the video division since 1989. He was promoted to director of business affairs and legal in 1988 after starting at Paramount as an attorney in 1987. Before that, he served as International Counsel for the Motion Picture Export Association of America. From 1981-1986, Madoff was an adjunct professor of television production at the New York School of Television Arts. He was an attorney with Rakov and Bayles in New York from 1980-1982. Madoff holds an LL.M. degree in trade regulation from New York University School of Law and a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law. He also holds an M.S. in television and film production from Syracuse University and B.A. degrees in political science and creative writing from SUNY at Buffalo. Paramount Pictures is part of the entertainment operations of Paramount Communications Inc., which is being acquired by Viacom Inc. -0- 3/3/94

-Tanya Mayweather (regional credit/collections manager)

Does Credit and Collections at CR&R, whose website is here.  It’s a Stanton-based waste and recycling services company.  Nice, but isn’t this a better qualification for Supervisor?

Hieu Nguyen (assistant clerk of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, former OC chief deputy recorder)

That link is to an FFFF interview of Nguyen by Fullerton’s now-Councilman Greg Sebourn.  Mike Duvall liked him more than he did Norby; Lib OC’s Chris Prevatt did not.

According to this OJB article by Pedroza, he had started going by “Hugh” when he ran for Clerk-Recorder in 2009 (against Chris Norby.)  “Larry” [Gilbert?] commented:

“Q-What does Chris Norby know about running the Clerk-Recorder’s Office? A-Absolutely nothing! Hugh Nguyen worked there twelve years and advanced to the #2 position. When possible, let’s start putting people in office who have the knowledge and experience to do the job right. Arnold is a perfect example of what happens when we don’t.”

And here they are again.

From Sebourn’s interview: some Daly-bashing!

5. Recently, Tom Daly has been criticized for his expenditures. FFFF has reported extensively on the fact that Daly convinced the Board of Supervisors to OK the purchase of a building in disrepair for $2.1 million, that Daly hired the relatives of political contributors, and that Daly has handed out tens of thousands in no-bid contracts to questionable consultants. As Clerk-Recorder, will you attempt to rite these numerous wrongs, and if so, how?

I plan to review the mission of the Vital Records program and source of long-term funding of facilities and operations. I will conduct this review with the assistance of the CEO, Real Estate & Facilities Department. I will report the results to the Board of Supervisors in public meetings and request policy direction. Based I want I have read, I believe the purchase of the vacant office building for over $2.0 million was not a good decision and it is not feasible or cost effective to renovate it into a Vitals Records facility at a cost of $5 to $7 million. I also believe the scope of the collection needs to be limited to public records of historical significance.

Tom Daly has awarded a number of consultant contracts to friends and political associates during his term. He has structured these “Sole-Source” agreements to be under $50,000 thereby avoiding the requirement to obtain Board of supervisors’ approval. He has also split contract scope of work into phases to stay under the limit. He has also awarded contracts for work retroactively for work completed and has paid for services that were never delivered or of little value. This practice will STOP 100% under my administration. I plan to run the department in a fiscally conservation manner and follow the correct contracting and personnel procedures to accomplish the work of the office. The funds derived from user fees needs to fund the services and systems used and should not be diverted to pet projects and work for friends as has been the current practice.

Chris Norby (former state assembly member and supervisor)

 Nothing more to say beyond that link.  I still feel that way.  So, I understand, do others — but why don’t more other people say so?  A Democrat could beat him for re-election.

Bruce Peotter (attorney, former assistant public administrator/public guardian)

Another real estate attorney!  Let me find a good quote from his site:

“The founding attorney of our firm, Bruce Peotter, was raised in a family where the entrepreneurial spirit was highly valued.  He spent two years as the Assistant Public Administrator/Public Guardian for the County of Orange.  In that role Bruce was able to see the negative impact on people and families caused by the failure to plan their estates properly. Too often, he saw families struggle with providing proper care and service to their family members in need.  He has seen the benefit first hand in eliminating the need for government involvement in handling the affairs of estates.  No one knows better than you how your estate should be administered and who should care for your family.”

Renee Ramirez (assistant clerk-recorder)

She’s the Acting Clerk.  That link up there is the most neutral thing I can find about her.  Former boss Tom Daily likes her.  Tony Bushala seemed not to be a fan.  Oh God.  There’s also this piece from OJB’s ancient Pedroza regime.  FFFF and, to a greater extent, Pedroza seem to have been on a continuing jihad against her.  That might be a point in her favor.

Roy Reynolds (transportation consultant)

[Check, please!]

“Recent polling by my firm for the Costa Mesa Taxpayers Association found that 472 registered-voter households, 59 percent of those surveyed, believed the city “should look at all its options to solve the budget crisis, including outsourcing some of its services.” Of 803 responses to this question, out of over 27,000 automated calls made only to Costa Mesans, 27 percent answered “No” to the question, and 14 percent were Undecided.

The City Council’s strategy to take bids from private companies for work like vehicle upkeep, street repair and park maintenance is favorable to better than double the households we polled. The city will determine by a fair and competitive process whether it will be less expensive to use profit-motivated companies or unionized city employees to perform maintenance and support activities. We’d expect that contracts will be let to private firms only when it’s clear that the city will save money.

If outsourcing succeeds, and it will, union domination of municipal personnel will disappear as the city tries to shrink a multimillion-dollar budget deficit and mitigate $131 million of unfunded pension obligation”

He also wrote about the Clerk’s position on Pedroza blog, which is itself disqualifying.

Steve Rosansky (real estate company president, former Newport Beach council member and mayor)

 The spirit of Gus Ayer, who wrote the linked article, apparently says “no.”

Harry Sidhu (business owner, former Anaheim council member)

The El Pollo Loco mogul and Tony Shahloub lookalike, late of the Anaheim City Council, was one of the architects of the GardenWalk giveaway.  I have heard many amusing things about him, mostly from Republicans, and that doesn’t count Bushala’s dubbing him not mere a, but the, “assclown.”  (Look! Vern has a picture!)  He would be an even more atrociously political choice than most.  Portions of his Wikipedia page, linked above, look like they were perhaps crafted by political non-admirers, which raises the question — why does he have a Wikipedia page?

Steve Waechter (sales manager/computer consultant)

 He got into a discussion about the Clerk position in comments with Roy Reynolds after the latter’s article at Pedroza’s place, which seems to account for most of his web presence.  Did he acquit himself well?  Judge for yourself.  (Whoever “j karish” is, I think that maybe he or she should have been one of the finalists.)

  1. Steve Waechter

    There’s a good reason this [Clerk-Recorder]  is an elected positon not a government employee. Assessor, Auditor Controller, Tax Collector too.

    If you doubt that give some thought to Bradley Jacobs stated reason for not running for reelection as assessor.

    That was classy. Where is Jacobs now? I want to call him up.

    I can’t say the current assessor, a former employee and staff assessor purported to have the “professional technical skills” you cite is as good as an actually independent, elected assessor would be.

    • Some years ago, the current Assessor, Webster Guillory, proposed peeping into folks’ backyards to see if they were squirreling away any illegally-built swimming pools that, therefore, hadn’t been added to the home’s assessed value (and may not have been issued building permits. That’s not the kind of intrusion I’d allow from my government. The same can be said for Vector Control, a little known county agency that I’ve heard is ticketing homeowners for ‘green’ (unmaintained) pools — where’s the line?

      You are correct that anyone running for these offices isn’t necessarily skilled or trained to actually do the work. That was evident with Daly, who’s a career politician, and has moved around a number of positions (like running CA High-Speed Rail for a moment or two). Neither are politicians necessarily effective managers.

      • Steve Waechter

        None of that is what I meant.

        Some years ago the state BOE staff was going around to counties trying to get the assessor to increase assessments, and thus taxes.

        There was an audit report of Orange County assessment practices about that, and it had some recommendations that the county should do certain things and assess things in certain ways to increase those values.

        When Bradley Jacobs didn’t file for re-election he stated something like this:

        “The state is demanding assessors increase values to increase taxes, and as the independent elected arbiter of the value of property I cannot be involved in any such schemes.”

        That’s from memory so it might not be word for word, but the gist of it is the elected assessor is responsible to his constituents. He has to follow the law but the elected assessor *IS* the people’s representative in that office.

        I expect nothing more as a constituent than a fair hearing and to have the elected assessor, if I can convince him I am right and staff is wrong, to direct staff to change my treatment. All within the law of course.

        The tax collector and the recorder, and even the auditor controller are similarly elected officials and are responsible ultimately to their constituents.

        And that’s the way we want it.

        I have said this for years to city council candidates: If we wanted the staff to just tell us all what to do we wouldn’t need you, or to have elections at all. But we don’t want the staff bossing us around so we do have elections.

        Glad of that.

      • Steve Waechter

        Oh, by the way, they did hire an aviation photography firm to take secret pictures of our backyards for I understand that very purpose. Paid a lot of money for it too.

        • j. karish

          That was before the rollout of Google Earth, which made further expense unnecessary, but brought everyone’s backyard into the Public Domain turning ‘secret’ and ‘snooping’ into hyperbole.

        • For a number of years, I’ve regularly seen a twin-engine airplane (white with black engine cowlings, about the size of a Cessna 310) flying a precise north-south pattern over my home, usually around noon, at least once weekly. It heads south to the beach, turns around and flies north about 1/4-mile east of its southbound pattern. I’ll bet money it’s taking pictures.

          • Steve Waechter

            That was a delayed response!

            That postcard election is what Prop 218 allows, and that was done by HJTA, who are very sensitive if criticized on that.

            That postcard thing should be changed, they should have to get a majority of the postcards back signed as affirmative. The way it’s done if they just throw out the postcards and don’t mail them at all, they are a yes vote on taxes.

            That is just wrong.

      • j. karish

        Please clarify. With the advent of mosquito-spread threats such as West Nile Virus, are you defending the privacy rights of foreclosing banks or negligent neighbors to run mosquito hatcheries? ‘Little-known’ Vector Control is for disease abatement, not cleanliness.

        • Steve Waechter

          I don’t think Roy is coming out in favor of West Nile virus!

          There’s a big difference between being against the government spending our tax money to drum up extra taxes. Taxes to pay the government workers’ lush pensions and benefits and being in favor of looking the other way when disease is the issue.

          As to the Vector Control District, their prop 218 fueled “election” on a postcard some years ago stank to high heaven. That’s probably what Roy means, and as you can see I don’t disagree.

          • Correct. The post card election stunk in a number of ways. Vector Control is a government agency with minimal oversight that undoubtedly needs more aggressive scrutiny, especially on their budget, staffing and expenses. 

  2. Steve Waechter

    This recruitment should not go to any former politicians. We don’t need some termed out politician hanging out in that office for the next 12 years.

    Nor to government employees. Current or former employees of that agency. No way!

    It’s not an issue of who has the expertise to record documents. The staff can do that, they have no problems doing that and you don’t need an elected official to have that expertise.

    You don’t need an elected official with the expertise to preserve the archives.

    None of that is what elected officials are about. Elected officials are here so the people have their representative in the office.

    Incidentally, I applied.

So, where does this all leave us? Of the candidates about which much might be said at all, we can group them into three groups: (1) politicians, (2) conservative ideologues, (3) people who apparently have relevant substantive  non-ideological experience.


  • Dick Ackerman
  • Linda Dixon
  • Hieu Nguyen
  • Chris Norby
  • Renee Ramirez (almost ran, after all)
  • Steve Rosansky
  • Harry Sidhu


  • Dick Ackerman
  • Larry Bales
  • Chris Norby
  • Roy Reynolds
  • Steve Rosansky
  • Harry Sidhu
  • Steve Waechter


  • Michael J. Fox
  • Lydia Lake
  • Hieu Nguyen
  • Bruce Peotter
  • Renee Ramirez
    • And maybe also, but that conclusion would require more evidence:
  • Andrew Calderon
  • Alicia Campbell
  • William Copulous
  • Ron Davidson
  • Stewart Davis
  • Elizabeth Fleming
  • Nora Lesnet
  • Francis Licata
  • Steve Madoff
  • Tanya Mayweather
Which list would you like to see them choose from: 1, 2, 3A, or 3B?


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)