Deborah Pauly’s Assembly run: First Impressions and Interview.




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[Pic from the Weekly]

July 7, 6pm:  Just thought you-all should know first – six hours ago, controversial flamethrowing Villa Park councilwoman and OCGOP albatross Deborah Pauly announced her intention to run [against Harry Sidhu, so far] for the 68th assembly district to be vacated by termed-out assemblyman Don Wagner.

So, break out the popcorn, OC Democrats!   Probably emboldened by the recent racist splashes made on the national stage by Donald Trump and Ann Coulter, this diminutive blonde hater no doubt thought “This is MY time, and I won’t let anyone else tell me otherwise.”

It’s been a while since we’ve written about Deborah, but she first got national attention in early 2011 by regaling an angry anti-Muslim crowd, protesting outside a peaceful Muslim fundraiser in Yorba Linda (for a battered women’s shelter of all things) with sentiments such as:

“Let me tell you, what’s going on over there right now [pointing toward community center] make no bones about it – that is pure unadulterated evil.”

“You know what, this is the bad seed.  Make no mistake – and you know what I’m talking about.  This is the bad seed, and we are in the middle of a fight for our lives.  The fight for the future of our country.”

“I have a wonderful 19-year old son who’s a United States Marine. As a matter of fact I know quite a few Marines who will be happy to help these terrorists [pointing toward community center] to an early meeting in paradise.”

This was not long after she marked the passage of Obamacare on her Facebook page with the words, “Do you feel sodomized yet?” 

And the year after (that great 2010 year of xenophobia) when she toured the city councils of the OC trying to get them all to name themselves “Rule By Law Cities” and proclaim their support for Arizona’s “papers please” anti-Mexican law, and told them all how ashamed she was of her moderate Republican Villa Park colleagues for not following her in that crusade.

And not long before she addressed a Garden Grove women’s club with the bizarre words, “Democrats are of the terrorists, by the terrorists, and for the terrorists!”

Since then she has been part of an insurgent clique in the OC Republican Party, somewhat associated with the “Tea Party,” whatever that is any more.  But I know a lot of those people, and they are insurgent because they are tired of the corruption of the Party insiders, not so much because they are haters who would like to torpedo the Party’s outreach to minorities.

I’ve noticed Deborah lately trying (apparently) to achieve some respectability by getting involved in the campaigns of decent folks like John Moorlach and Tom Tait;  she is obviously ambitious.  Let me get this development out to you now, and I’ll update as I get more of a sense of if she intends to distance herself from her previous outrageous and divisive behavior, or if, like Trump and Coulter, she’s more inclined to QUADRUPLE DOWN.  And what other Republicans plan to do about this.  To be continued…  [and hat-tip to Matt Munson for the heads up!]

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 UPDATE:  That’s right, I knew that but forgot:  The endlessly ambitious (and fairly rich) assclown Harry Sidhu (last seen rolling out the welcome mat for Poseidon, and envisioning Clerk-Recorder offices in outer space) already had his eyes on that seat.  Now there’s a tough choice – corrupt and dumb, or malevolent and unhinged?  I’m also hearing that Irvine’s mumbling Mayor Stephen Choi has “expressed interest” in the seat.  The silver lining with that, from this Dem’s point of view, would be kicking him upstairs from Irvine, as we in HB did to Matt Harper.

UPDATE 2:  Deborah will talk to me in the morning.  Unless, perhaps, she reads this first.  Pass along any questions.

Update July 8: The Interview

1. Unpleasantness Out of the Way First…

Deborah insists that her famed abuse and threats of Yorba Linda Feb 2011 was, as she has claimed before, ONLY intended toward the two controversial speakers that evening, Imam Siraj Wahhaj and Amir Abdel Malik Ali.  (As I’ve written before, I saw the speech unedited a couple of times before it was removed from the internet, and it’s utterly not clear that she’s not referring to all Muslims.)  She insists she’s not a racist or Islamophobe, that she believes in tolerance and the right of any American to follow whatever religion they believe in, but she also says that ONE of those two speakers above had been at UCI recruiting and encouraging young UCI Muslims to terrorism and jihad, and that, although she supports freedom of speech, “THAT is like shouting fire in a crowded theater.”  And that CAIR (Center for American-Islamic Relations) which she insists is a terrorist front, made an example of her so that ANYONE would be afraid to speak out against Islamic extremism again.

“Would you be willing to meet with a Muslim group, maybe speak at a mosque, to explain yourself that your comments were not directed at typical American Muslims or their religion?”  She sounded surprised at the idea, and then very enthusiastic.  “Sure, if a mosque will allow me to do that, I would be happy to – to begin with, that would show me that they are open to free speech, and to letting women talk!”  Well, any takers, mosques of OC?  Particularly in that district?  Or is her condemnation of CAIR a non-starter?  Maybe that could be refuted by a second speaker?  You can contact me – I would go to that show!

On immigration she’s still a hardliner and sounds almost like Trump and Coulter.  She still believes we need an Arizona-style papers-please law in California.  As an argument she brings up that recent senseless murder in San Francisco, as well as the murder of some black football player she knew named Jamal something – both committeed by undocumented immigrants.  “You’ll tell me those are anecdotal, but they’re not anecdotal to the families involved, and they show that we need tougher border enforcement.”

“Well… yes, they ARE anecdotal, because the undocumented commit way less crime than Americans do.  And this is why we don’t generally have the families of tragic crime victims writing laws or making policy… unless we’re Todd Spitzer.  Do you not believe that immigration from Mexico, illegal and otherwise, has zeroed out in the last few years?”  “I don’t know if that’s true, Vern, I don’t know.”

2. Disappointing as a Libertarian

I was kind of expecting her to be better on certain liberty-type issues that occasionally make me like some Republicans, but I was disappointed.  Police reform?  The Police Officers Bill of Rights?  “Well, I don’t see how changing a piece of paper is going to do anything about the two or three bad eggs [2 or 3!!!??] out there, or the people who are always complaining and blaming things on the police either.  The fact is we NEED law enforcement, and we should appreciate and respect them!”  Whoops.

How do you feel about same-sex marriage, and transgender rights?  “Well, gay marriage is already settled, it’s the law of the land, so there’s no point me taking a position on it… but I still believe that MARRIAGE IS BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN.  And it’s my right to believe that, and I am going to PROTECT that right!”  “Protect it from what?”  “I didn’t say protect it from ANYTHING, Vern, don’t put words in my mouth!”  (The only time she got angry.)  “I’ll protect anyone’s right to believe anything they want,” she continued, “and I choose to believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”  “Well, sure, Deborah, you can believe that.  I don’t see what the problem is.”  And I don’t.  Social conservatives sure are touchy right now!

Medical marijuana?  And eventual legalization?  “Well, that’s already settled too, isn’t it?  Don’t we have legal medical marijuana in this state?”  “Well, yes, but legislation is always going through Sacramento that would make it harder or easier for patients to get access and so on.”  She complains about how the one dispensary in Villa Park is too near a high school.   Legalization?  She hems and haws and has a problem with smoking’s health effects, and ANYTHING that can cloud your mind.  (Woman, we all know you drink.)  Eventually she allows as to how “I would always try to err on the side of freedom.”  Well, I hope so. [CORRECTION 7-13:  There is no dispensary in Villa Park.  She was saying, given her general concern with “mandates” coming from the state, that if Villa Park were forced to have a dispensary, it would of necessity be too close to the high school because the town is so small.]

3. Why Deborah is Running.

She says she has “always” wanted to be in the assembly, because that’s where so many decisions are made that affect, or tie the hands of, local communities.  But the specific issues she’s most interested in addressing there are different from all the stuff we got out of the way above.

[The next two paragraphs revised 7/13 after talking with Debbie again]  The first issue she’s been immersed in for over a decade, which she went on about at length, is addressing policies that prevent municipalities from adequately improving school facilities without general obligation bonds that have to be paid off by property owners.  Localities find themselves between a rock and a hard place, given “one size fits all” mandates that come down from the state for improving their facilities, and then no funds to do it.  She has gone up to Sacramento “on her own dime” to discuss “cost-saving measure for improving school sites.”  She found a sympathetic ear with Governor Brown over both having the state be more FLEXIBLE in its mandates, and putting an end to the practice of MATCHING FUNDS being awarded to districts that pass a bond.  As she says, “If the money is available, give it on the basis of a district’s need, don’t BRIBE them into taxing their own property owners.”

There’s also a $15,000 limit which was put in place DECADES AGO, back when you could really do a meaningful amount of work for that amount of money – a $15,000 limit BELOW which you only have to take three competitive bids for the job, and above which you have to jump through a thousand bureaucratic hoops and spend much of your resources on administrative costs and red tape.  Deborah has been trying for over a decade to have that $15,000 limit raised to keep up with the times, but has been opposed by unions.  She finds their opposition ill-advised:  her plan would free up money for MORE work.

She is most adamantly in disagreement with the Governor on High Speed Rail, which she will fight tooth and nail up in Sacramento.  “It is an outrage” what the HSR authority is doing to property owners whose farmland etc. they want to take, and the HSR meetings she’s been to are mostly taken up with litigation.  She says most Californians are not interested in traveling in that manner anyhow, and this is a great waste of money that could be spent on things we need more, like water storage and water conveyance.

She also spoke in general of the “mandates” Sacramento puts on local governments, things they must do and things they can’t do, micromanaging where she would prefer “broader brush strokes” of the direction the state should go.

How would you contrast yourself from your opponent Harry Sidhu, and your predecessor Don Wagner?  First she says, it doesn’t matter how she contrasts with Don since he’s termed out, but then can’t help herself:  “I would be much more ACTION-ORIENTED than Don Wagner.  And I AM NOT A CRONY CAPITALIST.

I couldn’t tell if “crony capitalist” was meant to apply to Wagner or Sidhu, but it really fits both, and was perhaps a pivot.  “The biggest difference between Harry and me is that I know what I stand for, everyone knows what I stand for, whereas Harry just stands for getting himself elected, and he’ll say anything to anyone to make that happen.

sidhu assclownTrue that.  I tell her my favorite Sidhu story, of when he was trying to get the Supervisors to appoint him Clerk-Recorder, and Moorlach asked him what he thought about “satellite offices for the clerk-recorder.”  Harry looked startled for a moment, then responded enthusiastically, “Whatever we can IMAGINE, as long as we can afford it, let’s do it!”  The hilarious part is you could tell he was picturing some kind of offices having to do with satellites in outer space.  But the instructive part was you could tell, even though in his retired engineer’s mind no scenarios he could come up with made any sense, his main concern was to answer Moorlach’s question in the way that Moorlach wanted.  Deborah laughed pretty hard.

“But I’ll give Harry this much,” she continued, with a pause for comic effect:  “At least he lives in the district he’s pretending to live in this time.”  Oh, snap!  If I were in that district, and those were the only two candidates, I would choose Pauly over Sidhu – we could use a sharp dose of not-crony-capitalist in Sacramento, especially on the Republican side.  (And our conversation was pleasant, even though she WAS aware of the first half of this piece.)

I think of crazy Tim Donnelly – despite all his paranoia and nativism, he has not done any harm in Sacramento, and he HAS done some good, when he hooks up with liberty-minded Democrats.

Oh, and any mosques in the district ready to take Deborah up on her offer?

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.