A Day at the Races, Halftime Report, Part 1: OC’s Big 8, Plus Education Seats!

The four week period during which candidates may file to run for those offices that weren’t raised or settled in June’s primary is halfway through.  It ends at 5:00 sharp on Friday, August 8, with offices for which an incumbent could have run but didn’t will reopen until Wednesday, August 13.

HB Parade - Connie and Joe waving the flag

It’s that time of election cycle again — time to run for municipal office! Let Connie Boardman and Joe Shaw show you how to do it!

OJB has been kinda busy recently, but we’re kicking off our coverage today — and we need (ok, we’d like) your help!  Many races — for College Trustees, School Boards, and Special Districts — are found on the OC Registrar of Voters “Candidate Filing Log” page.  But others are found on the individual pages of OC’s 34 cities, and OJB does not want to check each of them quite so often!  So, if any of you would like to step up to be part of our crack reporting team, just post your comments to this or other “Day at the Races” stories and we’ll incorporate them.  If you want to make the elections in a certain city or two (or three, or 34) “your beat” — come on and claim it!  (Note that party affiliation of incumbents is found at the excellent, although not always entirely accurate, OC Political Elected Officers Database.  Send your corrections as you find ’em.)

Because this takes for-freakin’-ever to write, we’ll just do the City Councils in the eight OC cities with populations above 100,000 and then the Educational Bords (Community College, Unified, High School, and Elementary School) today.  Special Districts and other City Councils will come tomorrow — or even later.

Selected City Councils: OC’s Eight Largest Cities, by Population

#1 City of Anaheim

Mayor: Four candidates have pulled papers for Mayor.  Three were expected: Tom Tait, Lucille Kring, and Lorri Galloway.  One, we shoulda seen coming: Denis Fitzgerald.  I don’t know what Fitz is up to, but it’s sure to be partly entertaining and perhaps partly horrifying.  But, dammit, it’s his right to run.

City Council:  We have two vacant seats and six or seven candidates so far.

Incumbents Kris Murray and Gail Eastman, of the Pringle Party, are more or less aligned with Loose-Lipped Lucy Kring.  Murray is the priority of the Pringle Party while Eastman is somewhat of an afterthought, which is a shame because Eastman is by far the less culpable and offensive.

Doug Pettibone is apparently a choice of Mayor Tait.  James Vanderbilt had been expected to run, but latest chismes are that he might sit it out.  Tait is also friendly with Vanderbilt’s School Board colleague Dr. Jose Moreno.  Expect one (and only one) of them to run. Donna Acevedo has turned the killing of her son Joel, over which she has just filed a lawsuit against the city, into a crusade against excessive use of police force (and, obviously, worse.)

I don’t know who Jerry O’Keefe and Bob Tiscareno are — but I suspect that someone is about to tell me.

Rudy Gaona has also been expected to run, but he might have a better shot at one of the School Boards.

#2 City of Santa Ana

Mayor: Mayor-for-Life (or so it had seemed) Miguel Pulido has pulled papers, with competition from Councilmember Roman Reyna and a Mr. Mark Lopez, but unless some deal has been struck Pulido is probably looking over his shoulder to see if Lou Correa is going to stroll into the Clerk’s Office and run.  No one has yet qualified for the ballot.

Seat #2: The incumbent is Michele Martinez.  Gilad Salmon, Mirna Velasquez, and Rene Gomez have also pulled papers.  None have yet qualified.

Seat #4: The incumbent is David Benavides.  Alex Padilla — not the statewide candidate — has also pulled papers.  Neither has qualified.

Seat #6: The incumbent is Sal Tinajero.  Mike Gonzalez and Nam Pham have also pulled papers.  Pham has already qualified for the ballot.

Brave prediction: the three incumbents will be hard for the contenders to beat.  Pulido would like to knock them off so that he can get rid of term-limits, if Correa doesn’t get rid of him first, but it doesn’t look like he’s setting the foundation to try this year.

#3 City of Irvine

Mayor: The biggest story in Irvine at this point may be the name that’s not there: Beth’s Krom’s name is not listed for Mayor.  That may be “not yet”; it may be “not this time.”  The only challenger to Steven Choi listed so far is 2012 candidate Katherine Daigle — who, I hope some cynics will recognize, was apparently not a stalking horse for Larry Agran that year, because she’s put herself in a position to run this year.  Daigle is a Republican of the “outside” persuasion, meaning that she hasn’t been bought by developers.  As this is likely to be popular with independents, and as Democrats are divided between those who don’t want anyone to be bought by developers and those who don’t want anyone who is bought by the developers that have their hooks into Steven Choi, Daigle could do a lot better than people realize.  The Republican strategy for this year has been to beat down Agran and Krom; a Republican who is neither allied with them nor out to get them — and who might give them a fair hearing and focus on corruption even-handedly, could catch them flat-footed.  And she was out decisively for the Veterans Cemetery a lot earlier and more clearly than most.

City Council: Krom and Shea are safe; Agran and Lalloway are on the hot seat.  Lalloway’s de facto ticket-mate will apparently be Tea Partier Lynn Schott, with whom he makes an odd couple.  The second Democrat in the race will be Melissa Fox, who has kept prudent distance from the Great Park dust-ups while showing lots of leadership on the Vets cemetery.  I don’t think that Schott is likely to make it, but any of the other three could make it — and with all of the hammering done against Agran, none of them are truly safe.  Evan Chemers and Greg Smith have also pulled papers, but someone would have to convince me that they will not finish behind the other four.

#4 Huntington Beach

City Attorney:  HB doesn’t elect a Mayor, but does elect a City Attorney.  Jennifer McGrath has one challenger so far, Michael Gates.

City Council:  Joe Shaw and Connie Boardman are the top environmentalist tag team in County politics; while one always has to run scared to win, and while they will be run down by a blizzard of negative mailers from consultants for the likes of Poseidon, it’s just hard for me to envision either of them losing.  They’ve done a really good job — and with four seats open there’s plenty of room for them on the victory stand.  Among the other names, former Council members Devin Dwyer and Barbara Delgleize have obvious name recognition.  I’m not deeply immersed in Surf City politics anymore, but of the other 10 people who have pulled papers — Erik Peterson, Alexander Polsky, Mike Posey, Mark Bixby, Billy O’Connell, Hec Valdez, Clem Dominguez, John Nosich, Brendan Kenney, and Lyn Semata — none of them jump out at me as major threats to the above four.  Again, I’m sure that someone can correct me there, regardless of whether I’m wrong.

#5 Garden Grove

I can’t find a list of candidates on the City’s website.  Seriously — no section on elections, and under the City Clerk’s page the only link regarding “elections” is to a Public Records Request form.  Really, Garden Grove?

#6 Orange

In some ways, even stranger than Garden Grove.  It has its Candidate Handbook featured prominently on its home page — but no apparent way to find out who has filed for office thus far.  C’mon, Orange.

#7 Fullerton

No separate race for Mayor.  Candidates include: Barry Levinson, Thomas Babcock, Larry Bennett, Rick Alvarez, Sean Paden, Bill Chaffee, Doug Chaffee, and Greg Sebourn.  The last two are the incumbents.  “No Gurlz Alloud,” I guess!  At first glance, Chaffee — Doug Chaffee, that is — looks to be the clear favorite for one seek because he has no Democrats nearby with which to split up the vote.  Levinson, Paden, and Sebourn may be cannibalizing each other, making it easier for Rick Alvarez to take the #2 spot even if any one of them could take it without the competition.  Fullerton — where Republicans act like Democrats!

#8 Costa Mesa

No seperate race for Mayor.  The Council minority needs to pick off both seats to change the direction of the City.  Jim Righeimer is running for reelection.  Former Councilwoman Katrina Foley, Jay Humphrey, and Harold Weitzberg seem to be favorites of reformers.  Tony Capitelli and Lee Ramos round out the field.

Community College Boards

North Orange County Community College Board: Seats 1, 3, and 6 are up here in the frozen North.  The incumbents, respectively Democrats Barbara Dunsheath, Donna Miller, and Jeffrey Brown are all currently unopposed.

Coastline Community College Board: Seats 1 and 5 are up; incumbent Democrats Jim Moreno and David Grant are both currently unopposed.

Rancho Santiago:  Incumbents John Hanna (D) in Seat 2 and Phil Yarbrough (R) in Seat 6 are currently unopposed.  In Seat 4, though, incumbent Larry Labrado Sr. (D) is being challenged by both Robert Douglas, a Democrat from Orange and Trung Quang Nguyen, a Republican from, I believe, Garden Grove.

South Orange County Community College Board: Incumbents TJ Prendergast (NPP) in Seat 2 and Marcia Milchiker (R) in Seat 5 are currently unopposed.  In Seat 4 — why is it always Seat 4? — incumbent Nancy Padberg is being challenged by Quinlan Rakin.

School Boards — Unified (K-12)

Brea-Olinda Unified: The incumbents, Republicans Nicole Colon, Bill Hall, and Joe Rollino and NPP Alicia Maciel, are all running for re-election.  They currently face two challengers: Carrie Flanders and Holli Kittleson.  Who will be the first to propose providing bus service for 0-period high school classes?  THAT’S A HINT, FOLKS!

Capistrano Unified: Anna Bryson (R) has vacated Seat 4, possibly to plot revenge against Charles Munger.  Craig P. Alexander (a relatively frequent contributor to the infrequently updated OC Political blog) and Martha McNicholas have filed to replace her.  Incumbent Ellen Addonizio (R) is currently unchallenged in Seat 6.  Seat 7, only Julie Collier has filed for the seat currently held by Lynn Hatton-Hodson (D).  This has been a contentious board in recent years, with a coalition of Democrats and John Alpay holding sway, so a single vote could turn it.

Garden Grove Unified: Lan Quoc Nguyen and Bob Harden are the Republican incumbents; so far Harden is the only candidate to have filed for the two seats.

Irvine Unified:  Sharon Wallin (D) and Ira Glasky (R) are running for reelection; Bob Vu is challenging them.

Laguna Beach Unified: Three seats open; Katherine “Ketta” Brown, the only Republican among the three incumbents, is the only one currently filed for reelection.   Dee Namba Perry is thus far the only challenger.

Los Alamitos Unified: Incumbent Republicanss Jeffrey Barke and Diana D Hill are currently unopposed for reelection.

Newport-Mesa Unified: Incumbent Katrina Foley, the current Board’s only Democrat, is giving up Seat 2 in her bid to return to Costa Mesa City Council; only Charlene Metoyer has filed to replace her.  In Seat 4, Karen Yelsey (R) faces a challenge from AbrahaSantam Cassis.  In Seat 5, Judy Franco (R) faces a challenge from Sandy Asper.  Appointed incumbent Vicki Snell (R) faces a challenge for the remaining two years of Seat 1’s term from Steve Smith.  No one has as yet filed to run for Seat 7, which has been held by Walt Davenport (R).

Orange Unified: Incumbent Democrats Diane Singer in Seat 1 and Kathy Moffat in Seat 4 are running, with Moffat drawing a challenger in Zachary Collins.  Incumbent Republicans Tim Surridge in Seat 5 and Rick Ledesma in Seat 7 are running, which Ledesma facing Steve Rocco.

Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified: Incumbent Democrats Carrie Buck and Karin Freeman chase a challenge from, so far, OC Political blogger Brenda McCune.

Saddleback Valley Unified: Incumbent Republicans Dolores Winchell and Dennis Walsh face a challenge from C.J. Brower.

Santa Ana Unified: Incumbent Democrat John Palacio is running for reelection; the other incumbent, Audrey Yamagata-Noji, has not filed.  Three challengers so far: Cecilia Aguinaga, Shuntelle Andrews, and Everlena Oliver.  Valerie Amezcua is expected to join them.

Tustin Unified: On this uniformly Republican board, Lynn Davis and Jonathan Abelove are being challenged by Michael Jones, Elias Teferi, and David Yang.

School Boards — High School

Anaheim Union HSD:  Incumbents Al Jabbar (D, Seat 1) and Anna Piercy (R, Seat 5) are currently unopposed.  Seat 2, though, is a doozy.  Because the AUHSD has just now moved from an at-large to a district system, one current school Board Member, Annemarie Randle-Trejo, is an incumbent in the sense that she has represented District 2 (and the rest of the Districts) on the Board, but she is not an incumbent of District 2.  She used to live in Cypress, on the far west side of the AUHSD, ¾ of a mile north of Piercy and 1½ miles southeast of Board Chair Brian O’Neil.  So she has moved to District 2, the southeastern part of the Anaheim Flatlands, to run from there.  Her opponents include former Trustee Hoagy Holguin, Jose “Joe” Moreno (not to confused with Dr. Jose Moreno of the Anaheim Elementary School District and Los Amigos, although he’ll probably benefit from any confusion), and Eleazar Elizondo, who ran against Art Pedroza for the County School Board in 2012 and (my guess is) will spend a lot of his time reminding voters that Pedroza’s friend Joe Moreno is not the local civil rights leader Dr. Moreno.

Fullerton Joint Union HSD: This district continues to use at-large representation.  Its three incumbents are Marilyn Buchi, Robert Hathaway, and Robert A Singer.  The trio faces at least one challenger in Joanne Fawley, with perhaps more on the way.  (Disclaimer: Fawley uses the firm where my daughter works as her Campaign Treasurer.  That fact will not affect anything I write about the race; from what I know of her, I’d expect to support her anyway.)

Huntington Beach Union HSD: Democrats Bonnie Castrey and Kathleen Iverson are incumbents; Republican Duane Dishno is an appointed incumbent.  All are seeking reelection, and are being challenged by Kathy Ryder and Janis Mantini.

School Boards — Elementary School

Anaheim City SD:  The incumbents are one of each — NPP Dr. Jose Moreno, Democrat Jeffrey Cole, and Republican Sandy Blumberg.  Cole is the only one who has filed for reelection.  I haven’t spoken to Dr. Moreno recently about this, but published chismes say that he is still deciding between the School Board and the City Council races.  No idea about Blumberg.  (Moreno is friendly with James Vanderbilt, who is up for reelection to the School Board in 2016, and both prefer Tait’s approach to governing to Kris Murray’s. Vanderbilt has a committee formed, but hasn’t pulled his papers, so my guess is that Moreno runs for Council if and only if Vanderbilt does not.)  Aside from Cole, the sole declared candidates for Anaheim School Board right now is D.R. Heywood, a Democrat and Jordan Brandman ally, for whom the firm where my daughter works also provides services.  Whatever I write about this race will be despite that last clause.

Buena Park SD: The incumbents up this year are Helen Lee an NPP, and Republicans Samuel Van Hamblen and Brian Chambers.  Only Van Hamblen — and no non-incumbent — has filed for this year’s election.

Centralia SD: This district is shaping up as one of the more interesting in the county.  Three Republicans, Lisa  Jordan, Kevin Segueira (an appointee), and Irv Trinkle, have expiring terms; Jordan and Segueira have already filed.  They have interesting company.  Henry Chareon, the La Palma City Councilmember who is continually mentioned as a candidate for higher office, has filed.  Art David Montez, who touts his 40 years of experience in education, is running for both this seat and Buena Park Library Board.  Last and youngest: Connor Traut, the Jordan Brandman protégé and larval form (so maybe there’s still hope) of Simon the Likeable (Fans of Get Smart may remember this unforgettable Jack Gilford role.)

Cypress SD: The incumbents up for election this year include Democrat Steve Blount and Republicans David Geise and Valeri Peters Wagner; Blount and Wagner have filed to run — as has no one else.

Fountain Valley SD: The incumbents are Jimmy Templin (an MPP) and Republicans Judy Edwards and Sandra Crandall; of these only Crandall has so far filed to run.  Three non-incumbents have as well: Jim Cunneen, Samuel Lew, and Lisa Schultz.

Fullerton SD: The Republican incumbents are: Beverly Berryman, Janice Meyer, and Chris Thompson.  Their sole current challenger is Daniel Halkyard.

Huntington Beach City SD: The incumbents are NPP appointee Shari Kowalke and Democrats Celia Jaffe and Rosemary Saylor.  Of these, only Saylor has filed thus far.  So has Paul Morrow.

Lowell Joint SD: The incumbents are William Hinz, Darin W Barber, and Anastasia Shackelford.  So far, Barber and Shackleford have filed — and no one else.

Magnolia SD: The incumbents are Republicans Clifford E Breeden Jr and Esther H Wallace and Democrat Barbara Quintana.  So far, the Republican incumbents have filed.  No one else has.

Ocean View SD: The incumbents are Republicans Tracy Pellman and John Briscoe and American Independent — always raising the question “does he know what that really is?” — John Ortiz.  Only Ortiz has filed so far.

Savanna SD: Republican incumbents Edward Erdtsieck, Linda Weinstock, and John Shook have filed.  No one else has.

Westminster SD: The incumbents are Democrats Penny Loomer and Mary Mangold and Republican David Bridgewaters.  For now, Loomer is the only candidate who has filed.


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.)