ADEM Recommendations & Forum for AD-73

First, please go read the introduction to this series, where you’ll read about “the three-legged stool” and how PLEOs (“Party Leaders and Elected Officials”) are trying to crowd out the party’s grassroots by running their own staff and allies, who they would normally appoint.  This puts the party FURTHER from the grassroots, and frees electeds to be MORE REMOVED from the popular will, and MORE RESPONSIVE to big donors and lobbyists.  They get 1000 of the 3000 delegates for directly promoting their interests — leave the 1000 delegate slots set aside from the average voters alone!

Here’s the bad news: I could only narrow it down to ten males and ten females, half of which I identify as definite choices and half of which I place into the “play in rounds” (which force you to do a little work, but not nearly as much — especially if you come to listen to their speeches!

I recommend outright half of this slate of 10, three females and two males.  All of the other five are placed into groups of 5 candidates of their gender, from which you will pick two males and 2 females:

In case you can’t read those names clearly, the priority votes go to:


  • Mahmoud El-Farra
  • Michael Sall (E-Board)
  • Parshan Khosravi (E-Board)
  • Steve Young
  • William Summerville

And vote for two of the following five, after you read their candidate statements (they’re all very good!): 

    • Gary Polsten
    • Graham Cadena
    • J. Steve Domingos
    • Perry Meade
    • Richard Hurt

VERN ADDS:THE STEVE YOUNG?!” ADD HIM FOR SURE!  Brilliant lawyer, longtime progressive activist in the OC, AND ALSO my wife’s boss.  (Remember Mimi’s flowers?)


  • Amy Foell
  • Debra Lewis
  • Emma Jenson (E-board)
  • Martie Lubetkin
  • Mary Navarro

And vote for two of the following five, after you read their candidate statements (they’re all very good!): 

    • Erika Albarran
    • Joan Durnell-Powell
    • Nina Patel
    • Sudi Farokhnia
    • Vivian Frerichs

Here’s how I rate a sampling of the other candidates, based mostly on their statements.  (Some, like Mary Navarro, I know more about due to her recent candidacy.)  No one seems any less than adequate.  People in the lower two categories should read the statements of the upper two to get a sense of the combination of personal qualities, personal experience, and dedication to issues that one should include in a statement.  “I’d be honored to do it” and “I think I would enjoy it” and “I think it’s finally time to get involved” are nice — seriously, good for you! — but not competitive against this high quality of candidate that has already demonstrated the interest and ability to contribute substantially to party governance.  Work on campaigns, in clubs, in service and professional and lobbying organizations — all of that really adds to the party.


First of all: Alan Fenning — big contributor to three local members of Congress — should NOT be an ADD, he should be a PLEO appointee.  Yes, this means he won’t be an E-Board candidate.  That’s fine: he’s not nearly as good as Emma Jenson, who is the exactly kind of person that the grassroots need on the E-Board.  As a big donor, he’ll always have influence on party policy.

I’ve placed Parshan Khosravi and Perry Meade in the highest category of “compelling”  along with Steve Domingos and Steve Young.  I’m going with Young as my sole recommendation for the sixth spot, with either of the other three (and frankly, many of the people in the next category) being good choices for the seventh.  Young was, for years, the best if not only hope for real progressives in Orange County, and he did a great job.  It’s good to see him back in the thick of things.  He and I have a somewhat prickly personal relationship, by the way, so this is not a matter of choosing a friend; it’s a recognition of how important a figure he has been and will continue to be OC progressives.

Domingos was almost going to be my seventh pick, based on his rousing statement of progressive ideals — but it doesn’t tell me enough about his own background and skills.  Both Khosravi and Meade would be good seventh picks, but they also seem like obvious opportunities to place some really progressive candidates on the PLEO leg of stool.  (You did read the introduction, right?)  Meade says that he was Katie Porter’s Field Director — well that should be worth a DSCC appointment!  And with Khosravi’s strong UC ties in a statewide association, he should be able to find education-oriented PLEOs anywhere in the state who would be proud to appoint him.  I don’t prefer him for E-Board for two reasons: (1) Emma Jenson is ideal for the position of a grassroots organizer, which sometimes means being oppositional and taking risks, whereas Khosravi is presumably likelier to be inhibited from taking on bad actors in high state and party positions, and (2) Khosravi’s work sounds like it’s all-consuming,, whereas Jenson can be (indeed, pretty much is) a fulltime political organizer.

If these men are so good, why worry about the slate?  I trust Emma Jenson to have had an eye to factors beyond individual skills.  The slate is called “Community Unity” — and the idea was to pull people together with different talents, backgrounds, and interests into a coherent whole that can energize South County.  I’ve looked at the statements and gotten a sense of how the members cohere.  My strong suggestion is: do not mess around with the slate — vote for them all.  I’ll go on in comments about what’s so good about William Summerville, Mahmoud El-Farra, and their colleagues, if you want to ask: but the general answer is that this group has everything covered.

Now here are my ratings of the candidate statements, along with (where it applies) their personal history.


  • J. Steve Domingos
  • Parshan Khosravi (E-Board, but don’t vote for him for that.  Too busy!)  Also seems like an OBVIOUS candidate for a PLEO appointment!
  • Perry Meade — OBVIOUS Porter appointee!


  • David Bendall
  • Frank Lyman
  • Joey Seymour
  • Ken Johnson
  • Mark Mendizza (Rouda appointee?)
  • Michael Sall (E-Board)
  • Rob McDaniel
  • Walt Lawson


  • Craig Innis
  • Doug Holding
  • Gregory Clements (E-Board)
  • Michael Stone
  • Robert Bruce
  • Sergio Farias (Obvious PLEO)

Less informative:

  • Lee Gabriel



  • Mary Navarro
  • Vivian Frerichs


  • Debra Lewis
  • Erika Albarran
  • Jenna Beck
  • Joan Durnell-Powell
  • Lara Horgan
  • Nina Patel
  • Sudi Farokhnia


  • Danna Lewis
  • Debbie Lima
  • Terry Van Horne

Less informative:

  • Barbara Smith
  • Lois Banister Shreim
  • Sony Ballesteros


Emma Jenson is some sort of mutant wizard, full of audacity, creativity, energy, and insight.  Let me just say that when you have a chance to get someone like that onto the CDP’s Executive Board, you don’t waste it — because she will make the whole thing better.

As you can see from the comments, an AD-73 activist makes a strong argument for Michael Sall, so you should read his statement as well.


And Octavia posted a photo.  The news is not all bad!


  1. Perry Meade, 489
  2. Mark Medizza, 434
  3. Doug Holding, 429
  4. Sergio Farias, 426
  5. Alan Fenning, 409 (Presumably also E-Board)
  6. Rob McDaniel, 401
  7. Robert Bruce, 382
  8. (Alternate) Mahmoud El-Farria, 301
  9. (Alternate) Gary Polsten, 254

Discussion: Pretty much as dismal as can be, except for the alternates


  1. Mary Navarro, 545
  2. Vivian Frerichs (from “2 of 5” group), 528
  3. Lara Hogan, 464
  4. Debra Lewis, 447
  5. Danna Lewis, 435
  6. Bonnie Lima, 410
  7. Terry Van Horne, 378
  8. (Alternate) Emma Jenson, 273
  9. (Alternate) Martie Lubetkin, 295

Discussion: A lot better than the men, but still all on the Establishment slate until you get to two very good alternates.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-disabled and semi-retired, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally ran for office against jerks who otherwise would have gonr 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.) His daughter is a professional campaign treasurer. He doesn't usually know whom she and her firm represent. Whether they do so never influences his endorsements or coverage. (He does have his own strong opinions.) But when he does check campaign finance forms, he is often happily surprised to learn that good candidates he respects often DO hire her firm. (Maybe bad ones are scared off by his relationship with her, but they needn't be.)