DPOC’s New Officers: Ada & Victor & Beatriz & Annie!





  • 7:20 Ada Briceno has been elected DPOC Chair!
  • 7:24 Betty Valencia has been elected Central Vice Chair!
  • 7:35  Jeff LeTourneau has been re-elected unopposed as North Vice Chair
  • 7:50  Annie Wright was elected to be South Vice Chair
  • 8:15  Victor Valladares  beat Brandon Love for  West Vice Chair by a vote of 28-22!
  • 8:20 Luis Aleman was re-elected at Secretary
  • 8:22 Florice Hoffman was re-elected as Treasurer without opposition.  I would have run against her (though I would have deferred to Brandon had he shown interest), so my expulsion did have one effect desired by its proponents, regardless of whether I am reinstated.


Tonight is DPOC’s meeting — 6:00 social hour, 7:00 start — for electing its seven leadership positions for the next two years.  (That’s Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and four Regional Vice Chairs, or “RVCs”).  I’m allowed to attend as an observer or press, but I doubt I will simply because I have other tasks at hand.  But it is a good time to endorse!

A real grass-roots organizer for Chair! Amazing!  Ideal!

Chair: I’m told that Ada Briceño is running unopposed. Excellent!  If she ends up with an opponent, elect her anyway.  (She’s not in the story’s title only for lack of room!)

Secretary:  Even though he never got me the minutes from last meeting that he promised — which I chalk up to most likely being at the order of a vengeant Fran Sdao — Luis Aleman has done a good job and warrants another term.

Central Vice ChairSite fave Betty Valencia is running and has OJB’s endorsement.  (I don’t think I even need to check with Vern on this one.)  My understanding is that her opponent in former AD-68 candidate Michelle Duman, whose entry into the race probably prevented NPP Karen Schatzle from running and taking away yet another Assembly seat — Steven Choi’s — from the GOP and getting pro-Democratic votes maybe half the time.  Betty is much more qualified.

North Vice Chair: My brother-in-law — and also the person who engineered my removal from the DPOC, and I will not be taking questions on that relationship — Jeff LeTourneau is running unopposed.  I would not have run against him even if I had remained in place (a motivation some have suspected.)  But he gets no endorsement (though if he needed one against most plausible opponents he’d get it grudgingly.  He’s good in the role.)

South Vice Chair: I don’t know Annie Wright, a Vietnamese woman (which I mention because it will bring some overdue diversity) from Aliso Viejo, but I know that she organized a candidate’s forum in Aliso Viejo that attracted something like 600 voters and apparently pulled it off very well.    I don’t know who else (if anyone) is running, or how they might measure up, but let’s just call that a good sign.  [Edited to add]: She was running against Alyssa Napuri.

West Vice Chair:  This has been shaping up as the big competitive race of the night, with young Latino leader — and target of some of the most vicious anonymous attacks of anyone in OC, largely on Chumley’s lovingly tended blog — Victor  Valladares is running.  His opponent is newcomer Brandon Love, whom all with opinions seem to agree is a very smart attorney.

[I actually have a conflict of interest to declare here — and it’s not the one I imagine that most people would expect.  Brandon was very helpful last year in an election law case in which I was counsel of record for a Democratic candidate.  I appreciate his intellect and industry and professional skills; I like him a lot and look forward to his becoming more involved in DPOC and its governance.  (More on that below.)]

But I’m endorsing Victor — and it’s not really a close call.  Victor is truly a rare gem. He worked with Huntington Beach officeholder and dynamo Gina Clayton-Tarvin to force Rainbow Disposal to clean up its intolerable dumpsite site adjacent to Oak View Elementary School — and in so doing played an amazing role in organizing that community.  Then he played the leading role in creating a new Democratic club for Latino and Latina youth, which seems like a big success and will make a continuing major difference in races all across OC — and which focuses on a broad range of Democratic concerns beyond racial solidarity alone.  Every California county committee should have a Victor Valladares on its Executive Committee, and ideally more than one.  We’d be crazy to lose ours.

Victor has been attacked strongly and wrongly by two DPOC figures.  Diana Carey was wholly dismissive of him on Facebook when he announced his run — attacking him for not seeking her permission to run in advance (I know, right?) and on some other highly unfortunate grounds that I won’t recount here because I can’t find the screenshots that I took in utter incredulity.  Another one-time friend has been attacking him on on Facebook today as a tool of someone who is pretty obviously the aforementioned Jeff Letourneau.

Here, I’m a witness: Jeff was indeed a main mentor of Victor at one time, and sought his support on various issues. the most significant being the CDP Chair’s race.  But Victor went against Jeff’s candidate in that race — as did I and the person making these accusations — and has done so on other issues as well (including the issue of my expulsion.)  The person in question — whom I won’t name both because it pains me and because I hope that the friction won’t last forever — has said that they don’t blame Victor for supposed high-pressure tactics but his supporters, which for all I know include me (due to my essentially helping Katie Porter defeat Dave Min in the CA-48 primary by taking a hard line on some of his own campaign actions).  I’m sorry, but this is simply not a valid reason to oppose him.

And here’s another good reason to support him, from someone who knows his abilities well and appreciates them:  From a Facebook post of this afternoon:

Ada Briceno is with Gina Clayton-Tarvin and 2 others.

I endorse Victor Valladares for Western Vice Chair of the Democratic Party! I have worked with him for a while now and I believe in him and his passion for justice.

And that is a powerful recommendation, one that people should heed!

Where does that leave Brandon Love, then?  Well, how about this?

Treasurer: I know — Brandon Love is not running for Treasurer.  So far as I know, only the incumbent, Florice Hoffman, is.  But Brandon should be.

Florice may relish the idea of cutting me out of DPOC governance, but I don’t reciprocate that degree of animosity.  She belongs in party governance — but not as the DPOC Treasurer.  This is because she does a lousy job at it.

Florice is the Regional Director for the core of Orange County — Assembly District 65, 68, 69, and 72, a full 2/3 of the county, excluding only ADs 73, 74, and only half-in the district 55.  She also has an active law practice.  And it is crystal clear from the number of times at the Central Committee meetings (I can’t speak publicly about the Executive Committee meetings) that she has not had her act together.

I don’t mean this as any sort of spiky criticism: she has tons of responsibilities on her docket and she has her priorities in order.  Being DPOC Treasurer seems to be — and objectively probably is — among the least of those responsibilities.  She should focus on being Regional Director and counsel to one of the major health care unions in the nation.  She belongs on the Finance Committee helping the Treasurer create the budget, but she doesn’t actually need to be the Treasurer unless it’s to keep someone else (like me, frankly) that she dislikes out.

Brandon Love is not someone whom she should want to keep out.  Adding him in this role gives her more time for her other party functions without taking her off of the Executive Committee.  Brandon, meanwhile, can focus on some of the creative ideas that Florice hasn’t, either for lack of time, inspiration, or willingness.  There are lots of ways to get more donors out of a wealthy county, and Brandon, rather than Florice, is a better bet to be able to find them and implement them.  That, more so than trying to work on local races in the West, is better training for him as a future local leader of the party — and it also keep him from playing other people’s  purpose as a way to shunt Victor aside.  I hope that someone will nominate him for Treasurer and that Florice will see the wisdom in letting him take that role.

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.)