Treachery in Irvine? Chinese Language Documents Suggest Choi and Lalloway May Betray Veterans on Great Park Cemetery




[1] Overview and Background

Allegations surfaced on Saturday about Chinese language leaflets, supplemented by blog posts, allegedly being circulated in Irvine.  These leaflets allegedly encourage voters of Chinese ancestry to blame the approval of the plan to build a veterans cemetery in the Great Park entirely on Democrats and to vote for Irvine’s Official Republican slate of Steven Choi for Mayor, and Jeff Lalloway and Lynn Schott for City Council.  That targeting contradictory messages to different communities is sleazy, but it’s not the main problem.  The documents also suggest something far more dastardly: that those on that slate are interested in reversing the approval of the cemetery plan after the election.

These allegations are serious and scandalous, and it doesn’t take enormous creativity to imagine various ways in which they could be a dirty trick.  Nor is it difficult to imagine their being true.  OJB understands that this story will break elsewhere on Sunday, so we are trying to do as fastidious a job as possible of letting people know what information is coming, how it got there, and from what sources — and then to provide people with as much original information in our hands as may help them investigate and interpret matters for themselves.

For those new to Irvine politics, this is the lay of the land.  Irvine has a five-person City Council.  For over a decade, ending in 2012, it was governed by Democrats: most prominently Larry Agran and Beth Krom.  In 2012, Republicans took control of the Council when Steven Choi defeated Agran for Mayor; Agran remained on City Council.  The two others elected in 2012 were Krom and a Republican, Christine Shea, neither of whom are up for election this year.  Agran and the fifth incumbent, Jeffrey Lalloway, are both running for reelection.  The Mayoral candidate on Agran’s slate is Mary Ann Gaido; the third member slate is Melissa Fox.  The third member of the Choi-Lalloway slate is Lynn Schott.  The Democrats describe themselves as “Slow Growth” and Republicans as “Fast Growth”; I believe that the Republicans reject those terms but I don’t know what if anything they use instead.  Two moderate Republicans, both “Slow Growth,”  are running independently: Katherine Daigle (who writes here as “Irvine Valkyrie”) for Mayor and Evan Chemers for City Council.

One among many issues that divided the Council this past year was Sharon Quirk-Silva’s AB 1453, which established a veterans cemetery in Orange County and was signed after Irvine committed to donating city land to the state for the federal government to make plans to construct a cemetery, which would be paid for by benefits already available to veterans.

[2] Finding Out about the Flyers

The flyers were apparently provided to the campaign of Melissa Fox, who sent a message to one or more leaders of the the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Committee (a group with which I have been involved) saying that “the Choi/Lalloway campaign is telling residents that the plan can be overturned”  Fox also reported personally seeing discussions to that effect on “WeChat.”

Next came an email from an undetermined author (apparently a Mandarin speaker and not Fox herself) with a copy of the flyer, as presented below.  (The image is a little blurry and the Chinese pictograms look like they may be hard to distinguish, so at the end of this post I presen each half of the flyer at greater size for people who read Chinese and want to test the translation.)

Cemetery - Chinese Language Flyer - photo

Annotated graphic of proposed site of veterans cemetery within the Great Park.

Here is the text of the flyer that precedes this graphic.  Some overlapping language is included to help orient the reader.

Cemetery - Chinese Language Flyer - text

The email is entitled “Cemetery and fast growth topic in Chinese community — Important” and clearly comes from a Democratic source.  Statements by the author him or herself are in blue; quotes from the flyer are in red:

Hi All,

Sorry, it is a little too long. But, it is important.   ( I think veterans needs to call Choi’s, Jeff’s office about this.)

About cemetery;

After realizing that growth issue and friendship city issue are hurting them hard, Choi’s operatives in Chinese community have shifted attention to cemetery.

(They saw an opening on this issue.)

There are some people who are passionately against cemetery for whatever the reason. Choi’s operatives were able to direct those people’s anger at Larry and the team using the articles from your campaign material. Now, they have the man power to go around the Chinese community on that issue. I just got one flyer from them today. (See attached)

The flyer is in Chinese only. So, I will roughly translate it in English.

Irvine city voted to setup a 125 acres of SUPER LARGE cemetery in Great Park. (They purposely not mention that it is for veterans and exaggerated the size.)
Sharon Quirk –Silva proposed setup in Orange County. Larry Agran wanted it be in Irvine.
It is next to residential area and the fifth high school.
Three points
1 The cemetery in Irvine will cause environmental issues.
2 Cemetery close to residential area is against culture.
3 Need to find new place.
The bottom line: Mobilize people to Defeat Larry Agran.

They are very smart. They didn’t put Choi’s name on it. However, it is obliviously from Choi supporters.

Also, on one of the WeChat, one person wrote.
“Here is the response from Steven Choi: When we needed you, where were you? We had a series of meetings on the agenda, but I couldn’t stop it alone. The boat has left. Governor signed the bill.”

How can we fight back?

Most Chinese people associate cemetery as a bad thing in general. However, if we tell them the whole story, they might be able to accept veteran cemetery in Great Park unless he/she lives really close by. We are doing that on WeChat. However, since this cemetery has no “benefit” to Chinese community, we cannot play offensive on this issue by reaching out to the Chinese people who has not heard about this issue before.  That means we cannot email to our friends, nor pass out flyers to Chinese people regarding this issue. If we do, we might be getting more votes for Choi.

I think the only solution is to ask veteran community and their family members to help. Basically, Choi’s team is attacking your team in Asian communities on this issue. The veteran community needs to stand up and defend your team on this issue.  (Choi’s team tries to incite Asian people against veterans. )

As for Chinese community, we probably cannot do much on this issue. It will be bad. But, I don’t think it will be very bad. There are still many fair minded Chinese people here. The Chinese people who really against veteran cemetery are some very selfish people or some who do not know what US cemetery looks like. By the way, I know many fair minded Chinese who are supporting veteran cemetery in Great Park. We are very thankful for the veterans.

[Material on “fast” vs. “slow” growth omitted.]

Here are some of the posts made by people who against cemetery.

125-Acre cemetery that you may not know…
Waking up in a beautiful SoCal morning and you find out that there is a huge cemetery right at your backyard.  you would think this is a little strange and may be a little uncomfortable. Then, the more you think about it, the more questions you will ask, what happened, why is the cemetery here?   unfortunately, this is not an illusion at all, it is real. Yes, The Irvine City Council approved the plan to build  a 125-acre veteran cemetery in OC Great Park that it is located right next to many residential areas and a new high school.
City councilmember Larry Agran was relentlessly leading the effort to push through the proposal without considering other proposed locations, without considering Irvine residents’ culture sensitivity, without considering the original plan of OC Great Park. Political calculation that can benefit his reelection campaign is the main driver.
In an effort to overturn this cemetery plan, please join us to prevent Larry Agran and his election slate of Mellissa Fox and May Ann Gaido from being elected to Irvine City Council and Mayor. Their successful election to Irvine city power means the plan will be pushed to realization in a few years. Is this what you like to see? Count on your help!
Here is the response from Steven Choi: “When we needed you, where were you? We had a series of meetings on the agenda, but j couldn’t stop it alone. The boat has left. Governor signed the bill.”

For those of you who may be equipped to translate the document yourself, larger versions of the right and left half of the document appear at the end of this post.

[3] The Candidates Talk to the Chinese Community

For some additional background, OCVMP members were directed towards a (very slanted towards Dems) report on a Candidates Forum at a Chinese School from The Liberal OC, by the guy who isn’t Chris Prevatt, so I’ll include that here as well.  (The lack of paragraph breaks is in the original):

The discussion of the Veteran’s Cemetery was also illuminating.  After Mayor Choi brought up the issue of Feng Shui in initially opposing the Cemetery and Memorial and even FivePoint backed away from it saying Feng Shui was a consideration in discussions about the Memorial, Lalloway tried to use Agran’s dismissal of Feng Shui as some sort of intentional disrespect to the Chinese American Community. But Lalloway made a big mistake and didn’t drop the other shoe.  Choi used Feng Shui as a reason to oppose building the Cemetery and Memorial at the Great Park.  Choi was bowing to the wishes of the developer and tried to suggest Federal Land north of the Great Park would be a better spot, citing a meeting he asked for with the FBI about a parcel for a cemetery and homebuyer objections to a cemetery so close to homes.  Melissa Fox used her time to say she’d include input from the Chinese American community in the development of the cemetery.  Katherine Daigle provided the most emotional and heartfelt answer of why the Veteran’s Cemetery and Memorial needed to be in Irvine; she was misty-eyed defining the freedoms we enjoy today were due to the sacrifice of men and women in uniform.  How some of them came back and others didn’t.  And she said opposition to placing this memorial at the Great Park should not be tolerated.  It was Daigle’s best moment and one that made Choi look small-minded.

 [4] Enter Gang Chen

Last Sunday, October 19, a Chinese American citizen of Irvine named Gang Chen began to write on his blog,, about the cemetery issue, which he said that he had only recently discovered.  It is not clear whether Chen just happened upon the issue by coincidence (after the Governor’s visit to Irvine to celebrate it with, primarily, Irvine Republicans) or is part of a more organized effort to reach into Irvine’s Chinese community and divert them to the Republican party.  (While he says that he has voted for both Agran and Choi in the past, in March he argued that 10,000 Asians should re-register as Republicans, so he’s clearly not new to thinking about partisan politics.)  Regardless, Chen’s writings are out there now — and ripe for commentary by Choi, Lalloway, and Schott.  What is unfair and unethical is for them to benefit from a campaign limited to the Chinese community that disavows the actions that Choi, Lalloway, and Shea took in voting for the proposal.

Chen’s writings of Sunday call for a public vote on whether the Great Park should host a veterans cemetery — apparently unclear, as Choi suggested above, that the Governor had already signed the bill — and encourage direct contacts to Agran and Choi.  (He expresses a preference for Choi based on his willingness “to consider the Asian Culture on this matter,” threatening permanent political retaliation on those who disagree with his view.)  This was his “sample letter”:

“I oppose to adding a cemetery to the Great Park. It is too close to the residential areas and the proposed high school, and show no respect to the residents’ culture. I urge you to help to STOP the cemetery project in the Grate Park, and place it at another more appropriate location. Otherwise, I’ll have all my friends and relatives in Irvine vote against you in ALL your future elections!

Note that at this point, Chen is not being particularly partisan.  But something happened the next day to make him choose a side with full force.

By Monday, Chen had clearly been in contact with people with more knowledge about the issue:

I found out about the cemetery issue lately. Based on my research, it seems like Sharon Silva’s proposal was to get 100 acres of land for the cemetery, and it does NOT specifically calls for the land in Irvine. Larry Agran is a major proponent for the cemetery, and proposed to give away 125 acres of the Great park land for free for the cemetery. Steven Choi did bring up Asian residents’ concerns about Feng Shui regarding the cemetery. Unfortunately, most Asian residents (39.2% of the Irvine population, over 80,000 in number did not even know about the cemetery and few or none of the Asians were at the city council meetings to voice our concerns.

Steven Choi and Jeff Lallaway intended to delay the votes but were more or less forced into vote yes by the constant pressure of the 30 veterans who were constantly at many of the city council meeting

(My emphasis.)  The people to whom Chen spoke were clearly strongly partisan.  That’s not a problem in itself.  My interest here is in whether they are trying to “have their cake an eat it too” by telling different and incompatible stories to the Asian and non-Asian communities.  Not long after appearing with veterans and the Governor to celebrate the signing of AB 1453, someone was apparently telling Chen that Steven Choi TRIED to stop the cemetery, and that he and Lalloway TRIED to delay th evote, but those high-pressure veterans just wouldn’t let them do it.

I think that this is true of Choi — although he doesn’t seem to want to remind people of it outside of Irvine’s Asian community.  But who told Chen that Lalloway was also trying to delay the vote on the cemetery to the point where AB 1453 could not have been signed this year?  Was it someone associated with Lalloway?  Because Lalloway’s public statement was that he would be the third vote to bring a veterans cemetery to the Great Park — and to his credit (in my opinion) he did come through.  So how — and from whom — is Chen getting the contrary impression?

How well Chen had been briefed by Monday is clear from the “Candidate Questionnaire” that he (or someone) had put together, the first question of which is: “If FivePoint wants to exercise its First Right of Refusal to buy the 125 acres land that city approved for the Veteran Cemetery, will you support FivePoint?”  (Five Point had explicitly refused to buy this parcel at the time that it bought the rest of the land; that’s why it was available to be given to the state.)  Someone who knows about the “Right of First Refusal” (which would expire by the time the land actually changes hands) has had matters explained to him in considerable depth.  So is Chen being used by agents of the Republican Party to make them think that their vote for Republicans can reverse this decision?  If so, will Irvine Republicans own up to that?  (And by “Irvine Republicans,” I mean only the formal party structure associated with the endorsed slate; many Irvine Republicans, such as Katherine Daigle, have been strong proponents of the Great Park veterans cemetery. )

By Tuesday, Chen was presenting this message in Chinese (translation, no doubt faulty in places but mostly plausible, from Google — and I apologize to the extent that it is less standard English than Chen’s other prose, but OJB cannot afford translation services):

Irvine built large cemetery, and most people do not know Irvine

Irvine has always been a beautiful environment, good school district, job opportunities, better known for law and order, and thus Irvine has also become one of the first urban Chinese and other Asian buyers home buyers. 40% of the total population of Asian Irvine, about 83,000 people. But the quality of life will suffer a serious blow Irvine. This is how it goes?

Irvine recently in a large park (The Great Park) built large cemetery, and most Irvine residents do not know. Most heard the news Irvine residents (especially Asians) have expressed opposition to that cemetery too close to the downtown area, too close to homes and schools, do not take into account the cultural traditions of Asian origin. Few politicians in order to gain votes, without any public consultation and the views of residents near Irvine, in July this year by several city councilors voted through.

Irvine and Irvine election veterans cemetery case

Irvine elections this year is that the mayor of major competitors, Steven Choi (Republican) for Mary Ann Gaido (Democrat). City Council elections main competitor, Jeff Lalloway (Republican), Lynn Scott (Republican), Melissa Fox (Democratic Party), Larry Agran (Democrat).

1. The cemetery was originally developed by the California Democrat Rep. Sharon Quirk-Silva raised in Orange County to find a place. Mr Irvine Democrat City Larry Agran offered in Irvine. Finally, after several months of tug of war on July 22 of this year, the City Council 5: 0 by. At that time the Republican mayor and city councilors have made in other cities, or delays decision was strongly attacked in the presence of about thirty veterans and their supporters booed noise.

2. Larry Agran Democrats dominated team (Melissa Fox and Mary Ann Gaido) has said that the cemetery was built in the election manifesto in five years. Can be estimated that this team after taking office will vigorously gathered funds to build the cemetery.

3. The long-term impact on the cemetery Irvine. Cemetery land would come from reducing the house to it? No, only reduce the park to do the cemetery. Will reduce the Asians to Irvine it? Likely. Irvine is known as the Garden City, 125 acres large cemetery find it difficult to accept in the Asian culture. Irvine cemetery will increase whites to come? Not necessarily. You see a million mansion in California, where over a large area of the cemetery you, Bi Fuli Villa? Newport Cost? PV? Even if you do not live in Irvine planning cemetery nearby communities, but also do not think that 125 acres of the cemetery will certainly add value to your house prices.

The opportunity to make this cemetery was not built in Irvine ballot in your hand, let all your friends and relatives to vote for Steven Choi (Republican) Jeff Lalloway (Republican), Lynn Scott (Republican) in order to beat the strong support of the construction cemetery Larry Agran (Democratic Party), Mary Ann Gaido (Democrat), Melissa Fox (Democrat)!

So, Irvine Republicans, there you have it.  Do you want the votes of those who are being told that you don’t really support a veterans cemetery in Irvine?  Because that is what Gang Chen is telling the Chinese community.  Is this welcome — or not?  You should speak out and clarify things.

On Thursday, Chen made a similar appeal in English, entitled:  A huge cemetery will be built in Irvine, and most Irvine residents do not even know about it…

Irvine has been known for its nice environment, excellent school district, abundant employment opportunities, and safety. It has become a top city for people to buy homes and raise their family. However, the quality of life can face serious challenge. What is the reason?

huge 125-acre veteran’s cemetery will be built in Irvine, and most of the Irvine residents do not even know about it. Most of those who found out about the news are against the location of the proposed cemetery in the Great Park. They support the veterans to have a cemetery, but they think the Great Park is definitely the wrong location for the cemetery. They think the proposed cemetery is too close to the urban areas, too close to the residential areas and the school, and may have negative environmental impact.

Larry Agran is a main proponent for the cemetery.

There are two major teams of candidates running for Irvine city council and mayor:

Republican: Steven Choi, Jeff Lalloway and Lynn Schott

Democrat: Larry Agran, Mary Ann Gaido, and Melissa Fox

If you do not like the huge cemetery in Irvine, vote for Republican: Steven Choi, Jeff Lalloway and Lynn Schott, and defeat Larry Agran and his team to send a strong message to him, and start the first step of moving the cemetery to another location away from urban areas.

So I ask Mr. Choi, Mr. Lalloway, and Ms. Schott again: do you want people voting for you under the belief that that will be “the first step of moving the cemetery to another location away from urban areas“?

(If you do — does that mean that you believe that it is true?  Or … do you want to play it both ways?)

On Saturday — yesterday — this appeared in Chinese, with translation again coming from Google (corrections welcome):

[Irvine squad in action]

“Irvine is my home, how can we not love her? Safeguard US homeland, they rely on you and me!” Nursing home teams go! We all work together to sweep the streets handing out leaflets exposing the truth cemetery built by electioneering way, prevent the adoption of the proposal.

Flyer cover areas: Great Park, Portola Spring, Woodbury, Stone Gate, Northwood, Northwood Pointe, El Camino, North Park and all district schools. .

Leaflets in public places: Zion Market, 99 Ranch Markets, H Mart, 85 Degree Area, as well as a place for all children in extracurricular activities.

Flyers payment method: before and after dinner, sweep over the host cell neighbor; before and after school to school contact all parents; before and after lunch and dining area supermarkets assault; idle time send e-mail to all your friends Irvine. Volunteers participating in volunteer flyers Consider the following link, you can download the flyer:  [link omitted]

(Emphasis mine.  Irvine GOP, please inform Gang Chen of the rules regarding independent expenditures.  Thanks.)

Chen’s latest post, at 12:21 on October 26 (this morning, when perhaps he had been tipped off about his upcoming notoriety), was more thoughtful, and I will engage with it:

In Asian culture, the location of the cemetery is very important. It is a taboo to place cemetery next to homes or close to urban area. Even the emperor’s tomb is built far away from urban areas.

Veterans fight for us, die for us, we absolutely respect them, but I am pretty sure they fight so that we can have freedom to voice our opinions, so that we can live happily on this land of free, and the home of the brave. I am sure once they really understand Asian cultures and know it is a taboo to put cemetery to homes or close to urban areas, they will work with us to find a better location for everyone.

I want to thank Mr. Chen for expressing his views so clearly and for recognizing the importance of honoring veterans.  Now we can talk.

[5] Why the Veterans Cemetery is Located Where It Is

I’m married to an Asian woman who is about the same age as President Obama.  She does believe in principles of feng shui, and she runs our home, so our home in various respects reflects that.  Her children — my step-daughters, all of whom came to the U.S. before age 18 — do not.  They retain their Filipino (and part-Chinese) heritage, but they have leavened it with American ways.  The “taboos” associated with feng shui are to some extent generational.  To state that “Asian culture” holds a certain belief is to fail to recognize that Asian culture is itself changing as it comes onto American shores.  They would not be bothered by proximity to a cemetery; I’ve asked them.  (If they’d be bothered by living right across the street from one, it’s because they watch too many horror movies.)

Still, I respect your right to your beliefs and your taboos.  If you would not want to live in the Five Points development near the planned veterans cemetery, you shouldn’t.  (Right now, nobody lives there; the houses have not yet been built.)  But when you try to impose that taboo on a broad swath of a city like Irvine, then you become unreasonable; you subject everyone to your own — although probably not your children’s — beliefs.  (I’ve heard people say that “there should be no cemetery within five miles” — not realizing that there are already cemeteries within five miles of the homes to be built in the Great Park.)  That puts a substantial burden on the community.

In fact, if you had your way, there would be no Veterans Cemetery in Orange County.  I’m telling you, as a member of the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Committee, that we looked all over the county for one.  No other opportunity arose.  What you may not realize is that a veterans cemetery, if it is to be funded by the federal government, has to meet certain requirements: and those requirements are hard to meet.

For example, it has to be relatively flat, so the rolling hills of Irvine and elsewhere are out.  Why?  Because elderly people and small children will be walking on these grounds to find and visit their fallen loved ones.  The government doesn’t want them to have to deal with significant slopes.  Not so unreasonable, right?

There also have to be roads present, utility lines present, sewers in the area, and so on.  Now, these can be built.  But it’s expensive — and the expense of building a veterans cemetery is one of the things that has long prevented it.  The nice thing about the Great Park is that all of the transportation and utility infrastructure that needs to be there … is already there.  That’s how we can afford to build something there that will not turn a profit.

But there’s something else that you should understand, something that, in essence, is part of our secular American beliefs.  That is the belief that hosting a veterans cemetery is a tremendous honor.  It is something that will be both a source of tourism and a source of pride for Irvine.  It is the one remaining part of the Great Park plan that still warrants the term “Great.”  It is the one element of the Great Park that will be a link back to the park’s history as “Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro” — the last spot on American soil that many soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines touched before they went off to fight — largely in East Asia.

That means a lot to Americans.  I think it’s fair to say that it is probably as well ingrained in American culture as feng shui is ingrained in Asian culture.  This is not just another cemetery.  This is to be, in some respects, more of a shrine.

If it were just another cemetery, then you’re right — it could be placed elsewhere.  It wouldn’t be subject to so many rules and regulations.  But it is more than that — it is the fulfillment of a promise that we make to our troops, troops like my own daughter, when they enlist.  And Orange County has needed one badly for many many years.

Against what I hope that you will agree are the legitimate interests of veterans, we have to balance the adherence to taboos of Asian cultures.  And there, we have to ask: well, who is going to live there when the homes are built?  And the answer is that Five Point is apparently marketing them to Chinese investors trying to park money outside of the People’s Republic of China as a safe haven from possible economic turmoil there.  And I have to say, Mr. Chen — however much consideration I would want to give to our Chinese citizens here, and that is a large amount, I think that I owe a lot less of it to Chinese entrepreneurs, who are not American citizens, who are just buying homes as investments.  If they don’t want to buy these houses, I’ll bet that there are a whole lot of U.S. military veterans, American citizens, who would love to live with them and who won’t have a problem with feng shui.

Asian cultural concerns do deserve, and did receive, reasonable consideration in the citing process — but that does not mean that they must be allowed to veto the only viable site for a veterans cemetery that could be located in Orange County.  That is too much to ask — especially on behalf of foreign citizens trying to protect their riches.

[6] Steven Choi and Jeffrey Lalloway need to speak up — and RIGHT NOW

Gang Chen has presented his view of the overriding importance of Asian cultural taboos — ones that ultimately did not prevent Steven Choi from voting for this proposal.  Now, he — apparently informed by Republican operatives — are spreading the story in order to get Choi and Lalloway votes from Irvine’s Chinese community that, despite their votes and their posing with the Governor, Choi and Lalloway cannot be relied on to continue to support the veterans cemetery in the Great Park.

Mr. Choi and Mr. Lalloway: I think that Mr. Chen is wrong — and that you are committed to being stalwart allies of the veterans cemetery against attacks of the sort being leveled by him and his allies.  But if so, it is time for you to say so out loud and in no uncertain terms: that you will not change your tune after the election and you will see this project through to its completion.

Yes, this means that you might not get some votes under the false pretenses that you really plan to undercut the project.  But that’s what being honorable is all about.  So — are you honorable?

And if the people who say that you’ll really change your mind and undercut the Great Park veterans cemetery after the election are right about you — well, you really owe it to the voters to state that clearly as well.  Where do you two stand?  Say it loud and clear.

Cemetery - Chinese Language Flyer - text - large - left slice

Left half of the copy of original flyer — presented at a larger size to facilitate translation.

Cemetery - Chinese Language Flyer - text - large - right slice

Right half of flyer text presented at larger size to facilitate independent translation.

Finally, here is a MUCH better version of the flyer, taken from Gang Chen’s Dropbox (which is linked to on his site).

Gang Chen flyer

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.)