The Triumph of Paul Lucas over Dirty Cops and Draconian Drug Warriors, pt 1.

The most celebrated portrait of Paul Lucas, taken by Rebecca “Commie Girl” Schoenkopf in 2006. Not photoshopped, he was ruining his nice suit under the Huntington Pier.

We all know Paul Lucas  here – those of us who read blogs, and anyone who’s been involved in local politics over the last decade, especially in the Democratic Party. You know – that former Loretta Sanchez aide and now-ubiquitous commenter who unleashes his righteous fury particularly against Democrat electeds who perpetuate the Drug War and the Prison-Industrial Complex *cough*Correa*cough*Solorio. 

Some of us love Paul, some of you-all hate him.  And the ones who hate him (besides the Liberal OC crowd and some straitlaced DPOC insiders) are generally the cowardly sort who like to comment anonymously, throwing stones at him from the shadows.  And for the last couple of years what these anonymous cowards have been saying is “Hey Paul, why don’t you tell everyone about how you got busted selling pot and meth, with $9500 cash on you and four guns?”  And then of course they proceed into the usual chickenshit fantasy about the object of their hatred suffering frequent anal rape in prison.

Well, was there any truth to this yarn?  Now Paul wants YOU to know, and he wants ME to tell you the story.  And it’s a damn good story, and it has a happy ending, and it does contain a lot of elements making it relevant to OC life today:  dirty killer cops, the draconian war on medical marijuana, the outrageous charges our DA’s people can stack up against folks they don’t like, and our two-tiered system of justice for haves and havenots.

But first…

Let’s Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane!

Van Tran, feared boss of the “Trannies”

In 2006 Paul Lucas was the Democratic sacrificial lamb running against mediocre Republican and Little Saigon political boss, Assemblyman Van Tran.  The 68th Assembly District at the time stretched from Paul’s Costa Mesa up through Fountain Valley, Westminster, and Garden Grove, capturing most of our county’s Vietnamese voters.  I lived in a neighboring district but volunteered to help Paul because… I can’t even REMEMBER who was running in mine, that’s how exciting THEY were.  I wasn’t a blogger yet, but I wanted to do everything I could to help any Democrats at the time, because Bush and because Cheney.

So.  The most fun part I remember of helping Paul that year was meeting him one night in some dank Costa Mesa bar (even though neither of us were drinking) and following him outside into the alley where he pulled out a manila envelope.  “This is real damaging info here about Van Tran, Vern.”  It was cloak-and-daggerish.  “I can’t tell you who gave this to me yet but I will some day.”  We know now that it was from Tran’s ambitious Republican rival, Garden Grove Councilwoman Janet Nguyen.

Black April Queen of Cronyism and Governmental Failure.

Fast forward a couple years to 2008, Janet had become First District Supervisor the year before in a hard-fought special election against a Tran acolyte, and now she was running to keep that powerful seat – running against another Tran acolyte, Dina Nguyen (now Garden Grove pro-tem and homophobe heartthrob) as well as lackluster Democrat Hoa Van Tran (whom we’ll just call “Hoa” to avoid confusion.)

In the meantime, while socializing with Commie Girl, Paul had gotten to know some local Republicans and discovered that they weren’t such horrible people aside from their political ideas;  Van Tran in particular he found to be a regular guy and not the scary vengeful gang boss Democrats used to paint him as.  Conversely, having seen Janet in action for a couple years he’d noticed her to be “scheming,” a “backstabber” with no discernable principles or ideology, somebody who’d throw anyone under the bus to get ahead.

So Paul apologized to Van Tran’s wife for using some hinky events of her past in his attacks on her husband – material he’d gotten from Janet.  And in April 2008, he agreed to sign a letter admitting that it was Janet who gave him the oppo research on Tran.  When the OC GOP met that month to decide whether to endorse Janet or Dina, Tran’s people (to Paul’s surprise) papered the room with copies of that letter.

Hilarious Liberal OC photoshop depicting Paul as Luke Skywalker and OCGOP bigwig Mike Schroeder as Darth Vader. (These juvenile bloggers see everything thru the lens of Star Wars or Lord of the Rings.)

Then all hell broke loose in the world of anyone-who-gave-a-shit.  First of all, the letter backfired against Tran and his powerful patron Mike Schroeder at the OC GOP itself;  the letter was seen as dirty politics, and Janet walked away with the GOP endorsement (and the election.)  But the reaction from many Democrats and “liberal” bloggers against Paul was ferocious.   Rather than what he saw as a well-deserved shot at taking Janet down a notch or two, he was accused viciously and relentlessly, for months, of being secretly in league with Van Tran.  This even though he was one of the few Democrats speaking out for, and working for, the Democrat Hoa.  No matter, some goofy theory was cooked up that Hoa was really a fake Dem, a stealth candidate designed to help the feared Tran by bleeding votes from Janet!

The witch-burning frenzy over this letter, in the DPOC and the blogosphere, grew to such heights and lasted so long that I had to parody it twice.  Nearly-successful attempts were made to censure Paul, and to deny him the party endorsement for his Garden Grove council run – all for a small attempt to embarrass a Republican candidate!? THIS blog’s then-proud Janet backer Art Pedroza, and the Liberal OC’s then-prolific “Democrat” Chris Prevatt, were joined by countless anonymous voices practically chanting “Death to Paul Lucas!”

Looking back at that stuff now, there’s no denying that the “Liberal” OC and many insider Democrats were in the bag for Janet as much as they denied it – they were JANNIES.  And I believe that can be traced to Janet’s friendliness with the OCEA (Orange County Employees Association) which had decided that JANET was the Republican from whom they could expect the best treatment (and which has a symbiotic relationship with the “Liberal” OC.)  Even two years later when I wrote my Black April story (“Janet Has Really Stepped In It“) there was an immediate and expected pissy defense from the “Liberal” OC.  (By the way, as that story mentioned, Janet had planned to bestow an award on OCEA chief Nick Berardino at her ill-fated Black April hijack attempt.)

So what we had was Democrat-on-Democrat fratricide, conducted for the benefit of sleazy Republican Janet Nguyen, with Paul Lucas as the unexpectant victim.  And Paul says, “It took a toll on me,” as we’ll see later.

But NOW… After these six years of Janet’s spectacular misrule at the County (much of it still left to be documented); now after her single-handed ruination of the vital CalOptima;  now with the FBI corruption investigators swarming around her;  now that she’s running for state Senator on a platform of “What unions?  I hate unions!”;  now that the OCEA has finally woken up and has trained its guns on her;  now that the OC GOP has shamelessly declared her Local Elected of the Year in the drooling hope that she’ll be the one to destroy the Democrats’ supermajority in the Senate….  NOW WHO LOOKS LIKE THEY WERE RIGHT?

Answer:  Paul Lucas.  You-all wanna say thanks, and sorry?

DC, 2001, as a Loretta aide – with the late Paul Wellstone and the late Ted Kennedy – two of our greatest Senators ever.


The Intervening Years, 2009-11

So all of THAT desmadre may seem completely unrelated to the main story you’re waiting to hear, the one with the drugs, guns and cash in it, but sadly it’s not.  The downward spiral in Paul’s health, although rooted in a lifelong auto-immune disorder and childhood Type 1 diabetes, really got started bigtime with the stress and depression of being a political punching bag for the better part of a year.

What Paul must wear these days: a 24-hour cardiac Holter monitor.

The guy who had been one of the hardest-working Democratic canvassers for years, having built up enough loyalty in the Party to resist the Jannies’ attempts to censure and oust him, went through with his GG council race coming in 6th out of 9, and then retreated into simply ranting on blogs and voting.

In 2009 he dropped a ton of weight and started getting extremely sick.  All the latent chronic illnesses he had due to his auto-immune situation – ulcerated colitis, Meniere’s disease, severe atrial fibrillation – flared up due to the stress. His diabetes spiraled out of control; he couldn’t keep his sugar levels stable.  The vertigo from the Meniere’s caused frequent falls and broken bones leading to multiple surgeries and the need for huge amounts of pain medication.

Give us this day our Daily Meds: a day’s worth of ’em.  The cops tried to use his multitude of empty med bottles to prove that Paul was some sort of Gustavo Fring!

He’d been sober since 1994 – no alcohol or drugs during all that time.  But on his July birthday in 2009 he tried using medical cannabis, and felt a relief from his symptoms that nothing else had ever given him. Medical marijuana, he says, “allowed me to stop taking so many prescription medications by reducing both the incidence and intensity of my symptoms.”

Eventually, the guy who’d once been a proud water engineer until the Bush recession decimated the construction industry;  and who after that worked for minimum wage helping place disabled people in jobs (a state of events that his anonymous political enemies found richly comic); began, with his ill (now deceased) sister and two North California “grower” friends, a patients’ medical marijuana collective licensed in Garden Grove.  Which was perfectly legal at the time, and which explains why he had that pot and cash at his Orange home when he had his door broken down by dirty Buena Park cops on 10/26/2011.

Well, that’s enough for the first half of this article…


Still ahead:

  • Drugs, guns, cash, and sex!
  • Nadia Davis Lockyer!
  • A dirty murdering cop coming to a humiliating end!
  • Learn the secret hazing ritual of OC’s drug unit! (Not kidding – this is a scoop!)

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.