DAIR Endorsements for CA-49 Area (Democrats & Allied Independents for Reform)




I believe that the Democratic Party has the responsibility to lead — and to guide its members and would-be voters about the most critical races in the county, even when no Democrat qualified for the Top Two runoff.  The Democratic Party abdicated that responsibility with respect to the OC District Attorney’s race — thus denying important aid to our excellent candidate in the OC Sheriff’s race — and so as of Nov. 1 I have resigned from the DPOC’s governing “Executive Committee” and am going to do my best to fill the vacuum that the rest of the party’s leadership have left.

[Note that while this is being composed on Nov. 2, it is dated October 13 for technical reasons I won’t get into.]

Here are the selected (limited due only to space) endorsements of DAIRDemocrats and Allied Independents for Reform, a creation of the blog I own, “The Brean.”  The background story will continue after that.

Rationales for these endorsements

Marggie Castellanos has done what I would have thought was impossible — galvanized this huge district in South OC and North San Diego county so effectively that is looks like she can win.  She is a truly gifted candidate — whip-smart and honest — which will be a welcome change for those who have been subjected to the “representation” of corrupt Diane Harkey.  This is not a matter of supporting the lesser evil: Marggie — the extra “G” is for “Great!” — is a good bet to be both an adept reformer and as progressive a moderate as we can hope to get from this district.  She deserves enthusiastic support.

Scott Rhinehart is amazing and energizing — a perfect complement on the ballot and in the legislature to Marggie.  His opponent Bill Brough is not only anti-progressive — he seems to be most anti-visible, having done nothing of consequence in the legislature.  This district needs active and intelligent representation in Sacramento — and Scott can provide it.

Amy Foell is running for City Council in Dana Point.  I include her not just because she can use the publicity, but because while I’m being hard on the Democratic Party of Orange County in places here, her endorsement is an example of our doing something right.  I met her for the first time at the October DPOC meeting, shortly after it ended, and we had a nice long conversation in the parking lot as others dispersed.  She knows Dana Point, she has good values — including how to be supportive of both the business environment and the environment environment — and it would be great to see a member of the LGBT community in the south OC Coast.  One problem for her is that found out about the DPOC endorsement process too late to apply for endorsement.  (We really try to get the word out, but it won’t reach everyone who’s interested in running.)  As I remember our conversation, she had regrets about not being endorsed.  I took one of her door hangers to help me compose this and drove home.  Weeks later, while looking up the DPOC endorsements for this very series, I happened to go through the list — and there was her name!  On my very-late-night motion on the DPOC Executive Committee (from which I resigned yesterday so I could present these endorsements), we empowered chair Fran Sdao to use her own best judgment as to whether to add a few candidates who had been excluded when they shouldn’t have been — and Fran came through!  Here’s the really funny thing: I don’t know whether Amy knows that she has been endorsed!  She probably does by now, I presume, but not definitely.  So if readers could find her Facebook page and tell her that she has been endorsed — and maybe wish her well and drop some coins her way — that would be sweet!

Duke Nguyen is a Detective in the Public Integrity section of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department — which already tells you that he has more guts than anyone in the Sheriff’s Department in OC, especially his opponent Don BarnesSandra Hutchens’s assistant for running the jails.  He wants a moral, ethical, and effective Sheriff’s Department — go to his page to see just how awesome he is.

Todd Spitzer has done some things I disagree with as Supervisor (although his explanations of his positions on homelessness make more sense than his credits would admit — even if they listened to him), but this election is for District Attorney, not Supervisor, and he may be the only person in OC who could effectively clean the corruption out of the OCDA’s office.  He pledges to run an office that does not protect friends and persecute enemies and that will not lay waste to the Constitution in a way that not only costs the county money and leads to the release of felons convicted for crimes up to murder, but he also wants his attorneys to seek justice rather than the high conviction rate you can get when you obtain a guilty plea by threatening to introduce the snitch that housed next to them to give a fake story about how they confessed to the crime (among other sickening tricks.  It took the efforts of two extraordinary and bold men — a judge, Thomas Goethals, and an public defender, Scott Sanders, to bring the “snitch scandal” to light (among other abuses, like conspiring to hide records of it) so that we could cast an intelligent vote this month.  We need to stop the casual and evil subversion of the criminal justice system, now that we know about it.  You may not like Todd Spitzer otherwise — and if you don’t you can join the OC Republican Party in trying to get rid of him in four years.  But for now, it is literally a moral imperative to vote for Todd Spitzer this year so that the fumigation of the OCDA’s office — and the attorneys who have had to bend to corruption in order to maintain their careers — can begin.  I care a great deal about flipping Congress blue, and I’m supporting all of the OC Democrats that I can stomach and keeping mum about the rest, but be clear: THIS is actually the most important vote that Orange Countians will cast this year.

The backstory:

I submitted a resolution to the DPOC on Democratic Principles on Criminal Justice Administration in well-enough time for the party to act upon it.  It didn’t.  (In my experience, Democratic Party organizations can move at the speed of lightning when they wish to and at the speed of chilled molasses when they don’t — and we’re looking at molasses speed here.)  The Democratic Party of Orange County is, I’m told, likely to pass the resolution I wrote presenting Democratic Principles on Criminal Justice Administration — at our next meeting right around Thanksgiving.

On its face, that’s absurd.  But when you drill down, though, it makes a certain kind of rotten sense.

The clear concern of the DPOC leadership is that, while they claim to join our party’s endorsed candidate for Sheriff Duke Nguyen in supporting the principles that I’ve espoused, there’s a bit of a problem with saying so before the election.  One of the candidates for District Attorney, Todd Spitzer, has also accepted many of those reform principles, adopted them into his platform, and received the endorsement of our endorsed primary candidate Brett Murdock after having done so.  That’s a problem because we can’t endorse Republicans — something that I’ve never ASKED the DPOC to do.  The fear is that acknowledging that one candidate for District Attorney has endorsed some of our principles while the other one is busy tearing the Fourth through Eighth Amendments to the Constitution into small bits and stuffing them down the throats of the accused and convicted, and is now campaigning on villainizing the ACLU for trying to stop him from committing these crimes, would be inappropriate for the local party, especially since the candidate that Democrats could more proudly support is hated with the fire of a thousand expletives by party power Florice Hoffman.

I’ve had enough of this craziness.  If the party won’t stand up for what Democrats believe in and make its position clear to voters before an election — something that is critical to Nguyen’s performance in the Sheriff’s race, as well as generally smart to do because now is when voters are paying the most attention to our message — because if they don’t like Todd Spitzer (and perhaps  do like that the miserably corrupt incumbent Tony Rackauckas has been willing to protect at least SOME prominent Democrats, along with MANY prominent Republicans, from the consequences of their actions), then I will, as a Democrat, do what I can provide the leadership that they won’t.

I don’t think that it’s reasonable for me to expect to be able to do so as a member of the DPOC’s Executive Committee — so I’ve just today resigned my position on that body.  I am not giving up my position on the DPOC’s larger (but less powerful in fact, if not by law) Central Committee — and if they want to kick me out of that body (while they kept Dan Chmielewski) over my supporting civil liberties, civil rights, honesty, reform, and the ACLU, BEFORE A HUGE ELECTION rather than AFTERWARDS … well, that’s a fight that I expect to relish.

I’ve set up an organization called “Democrats and Allied Independents for Reform.”  It’s nothing formal — technically, it would be an informal association. meaning that all share responsibility for each others’ actions, so I’m reluctant to throw open membership to just anyone.  Its purpose will be to speak the truth to Democrats when the local Party is too pusillanimous to do so — starting now.

Its purpose will be to fill the vacuum left by DPOC leadership and to put forth endorsements of good Democrats and non-Democrats running against other non-Democrats — so no endorsing Autumn Browne over Tom Daly, despite that I know which one I’d vote for if I were in that district — which the party cannot do and (despite my recollection of Frank Barbaro pushing us to individually support his nephew Travis Allen over Troy Edgar back in the day.)  That proscription apparently now means that we won’t do even slightly and implicitly, the way for example one might have preferred John Huntsman over Donald Trump at some point and noted that the former was more consonant with Democratic values, without technically endorsing, unless I suppose the real leaders of the party decide to make an exception.

Well, SOMEONE is going to have to tell Democrats which DA candidate is trying to end practices that violate the sanctity of attorney-client communications, and lead to the conviction of innocents using likely perjurious testimony from well-compensated “snitches”– and if it won’t be any other Democrat in OC then it will be me.  If anyone from DPOC tries to balance me out by supporting Rackauckas, that would be absolutely delicious and I honestly hope that it happens, so that people acting shamefully in private can wear their shame more publicly.  I presume that they will be standing in the dock with me, if push comes to shove.

I’ve broken the county down by OC’s six congressional districts (leaving out CA-38 — sorry, La Palma!), presenting two (or in one case three) endorsements in other races in that district and then in all cases ending up with endorsements in the countywide races of Nguyen and Spitzer.  (There are plenty of other races where I’d like to endorse, but I don’t have space.)  This is intended for an audience of Democrats and Independents (No- and Third-Party Preference); Republicans can figure out what they want to do on their own.  The graphics are copyrighted but licensed for reproduction and retransmittal by anyone else who wants to do it.  If anyone who spends money on anything — which I am NOT doing, to avoid the need for an FPPC number and filing requirements, given that Facebook is free — they should obviously be sure to report it.  I’m not going to be responsible for what you individuals with this published material on their own.

I’ll have six stories published here and on The Brean — one per congressional district — each of which should propagate on Facebook with the appropriate graphic for each district.  Republicans, you’re probably not going to want to share then, because I’m endorsing four out of the six Democratic Congressional candidates here — you can guess which two I’m leaving out.  If you want to share something, though you’ll probably find the CA-46 one — which besides Nguyen and Spitzer supports Sal Tinajero for Mayor of Santa Ana and Dr. Jose Moreno for Anaheim City Council — acceptable to share.  (This is a good time to note that NO campaign — including Nguyen’s and Spitzer’s — knows that I’m doing this, and (as an obvious consequence) none has given permission.  (Even though this involves no expenditure other than my talents and volunteer time, I’m treating it in that respect as if did.)  It’s even possible that some candidates endorsed — SQS, maybe? — will wish that they weren’t; if so they can contact me and I’ll see what I can change.  (But frankly, when you run for office you can’t stop people from endorsing you.)

Trying and failing to get Orange County Democrats to take a stand here — hell, I’d have been fine with passing my resolution AND one criticizing steps that Spitzer has taken on homelessness, even though Rackauckas is no better on that issue — has been especially bitter.  But if the DPOC is going to leave a leadership vacuum for the county’s Democrats in these two critical races, then it should recall that nature abhors a vacuum and something is bound to rush in.  Happy to be of service.

[A note, before I conclude, to the members of the Democratic Party leadership: I’m not taking your calls until after the election, and possibly not even then.  (Don’t come see me in person, either.)  Please be forewarned that any emails, other written communications, or voice messages or that you send me — not only may not be read or listened to — but will be considered to be on the record and may be published.  If I inadvertently accept your phone call because you used a masked number or something, I hope that you will understand why I hang up.  I understand the sort of pressure that you’re under to conform, but this time you should have resisted it.  And please, if you go public with stories about how I didn’t do what I had to to get the resolution considered, that will simply force me to tell the truth about what happened that, as a courtesy, I am not telling here.]

What you can do:

The images of these lists are available for the public to copy and save.  So long as they are not altered, they are licensed to be shared — ideally to Orange Countians in our various Congressional Districts, for which I’ve made an individually tailored endorsement list — through social media or however else you’d like.  I neither ask nor expect that anyone will spend even a dime on this; if you do so, then you may occur liability for late independent expenditures to a degree I can’t even estimate.  I offer no guidance in that respect.

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.)