Vern’s March 3 OC Voters’ Guide!





Vern here.  The following is how I’m gonna vote this month, where I live, on Anna Drive in East Anaheim, and also how I’d vote if I lived where YOU do.  But YOU DO YOU.  And remember…

PRESIDENT – SANDERS.  I’m taking the leap of faith that 2020 is the year that we can have a MASS MOVEMENT that can do BOTH things – terminate this National Orange Nightmare, AND create a new, juster America (something economically along the lines of the Eisenhower-Kennedy era, but with broadband and single-payer.)

Oh.  Are you a Republican?  Well, sucks to be you this year.  Sorry!

Next on your ballot is County Central Committee Members.  As this is both least important and most complicated and controversial, I’ll stick it at the end of this piece.

U.S. Representative (Congress)

Pretty simple – all of our seven OC Democrats have been doing a bang-up job and should be re-elected.  The exception of course is our old friend Lou Correa (District 46, Anaheim, Santa Ana, some GG.)  He’s done some good things, to be sure.  And he’s pretty much guaranteed this seat as long as he wants it.  But representing the bluest, most diverse and progressive district in the county, he doesn’t NEED to be so “centrist,” so cautious, and so overly solicitous to big business and law enforcement – it’s just what he’s COMFORTABLE with.  This district deserves a representative who will fight for “Medicare For All,” the Green New Deal, and more.

So I would say to vote for the Democratic protest candidate Pablo Mendioleolia or whatever it is.  Except I haven’t seen any campaign from him since he came around the Club last year and introduced himself.  So even as a gesture that vote would seem like a waste.  You do you, but I’m going to write in Dr. Jose Moreno, although in reality we hope for him to be Anaheim’s Mayor by this time next year (after we recall Harry Sidhu.) 

And I hope Lou doesn’t piss us all off this year by endorsing a bunch of shitty Republicans and making our transformation of OC that much more difficult.  That would be progress for him, to at least not do that.

State Senator (if it’s on your ballot)

In North County’s Fighting 29th, it’s time for Josh Newman, who was one of our best State Senators a couple years ago, to reclaim his rightful seat from that dingbat usurper Ling-Ling Chang.  I keep asking, do we Democrats really need more than a 2/3 super-majority?  Do we really need a 3/4 super-super-majority?  Well, when some of our “Democrats” are hybrid creatures like Umberg and Daly, and there’s a possibility to get in someone like Josh, then it is worth the fight.

Josh, Katrina and John.

On the other hand, the State Senator representing the coastal 37th is possibly California’s best Republican, John Moorlach.  During his tenure he has worked hand in hand with California’s most progressive lawmakers on issues involving civil liberties, police reform, transparency, homelessness, helping SMALL businesses, and more, all while being the legislature’s pre-eminent bean-counter.  Do we really need to knock off California’s best Republican, just because maybe we can?

I asked Katrina Foley this last year when she announced her challenge to him.  (They are both old friends of mine.)  Couldn’t she just stay and be a great Costa Mesa Mayor for a while longer, after all the work THAT took?  She said that it’s been really frustrating, as Mayor, to work with Senator Moorlach:  “He just never brings back the money to the district that we should have coming to us!”

When I reported that complaint to The Moorlach, he responded, “Well, she just has to worry about her City, I’m trying to look out for the fiscal health of the whole state!”  And you know what?  If you’re a Democrat vote for Katrina so we can hear a debate between the two over the summer and/or fall.  John is not so chickenshit as most incumbents and he’ll do it.  I’d buy a ticket – in fact I’ll probably be helping to organize it.

State Assembly

Again, I’d generally pick the Democrat in each race.  Not because all Democrats are something to write home about, but because MOST Republican politicians are so shitty.  (This blog celebrates the ones who aren’t.)  Which Democrats stand out, in the Assembly races?

Fullerton’s Sharon Quirk-Silva has been great, and I’m no longer worried about her getting re-elected. Costa Mesa’s Cottie Petrie-Norris could be a little bolder in 2021-2 than she was in her first term, but she sure is an improvement from that giggly klepto-con Matt Harper.

Little Saigon, Westminster, Garden Grove, northern HB, COME OUT FOR DIEDRE NGUYEN!  Because that’ll mean disappearing either Janet Nguyen or Tyler Diep, either of which eventuality would be dance-worthy joyful.

Katie Porter and Melissa Fox

The most exciting new assembly challenger would be Irvine Councilwoman Melissa Fox (I’ve been friends with her and her husband Mike since her 2008 run for assembly – against Wagner, Choi and Sidhu, LOL!)  Again, do we Dems really need a 3/4 super-super-majority?  Well, again, when some of those “Dems” are hybrid creatures like Umberg and Daly, then getting in someone smart, strong, independent and progressive like Melissa is worth the fight!

Oh yeah, Tom Daly.  The one Democrat Assembly incumbent we can’t in good conscience vote for, and again representing our Bluest district (Anaheim & Santa Ana’s 69th) while voting half the time like a Republican.  It figures though, the Republican sacrificial lamb running against him (Jon Paul White) is a Trump lover.  But I hear through the grapevine that folks are writing in me, Vern Nelson.  Well, so be it then.

It’s sad about Republican incumbent Bill Brough down in the South County.  The only lawmaker so far with the guts to take on the TCA (Orange County’s monstrous and corrupt toll road agency), he also apparently provided plenty of ammo (drunken fondling and campaign hink) to make the kleptos’ revenge on him child’s play.  Can it really be a coincidence that his most prominent accuser, Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, is the Queen of the TCA?  Well, once this whole election sorts itself out, abolition of the TCA rises to the top of our list!

County Board of Supervisors

UPDATE 2/21:  Went to last night’s Feet to the Fire Debate of District 1 Supervisor candidates, and Kim Bernice Nguyen was BY FAR the most impressive;  Sergio not at all.  You can read some of my reasons here, but my new endorsement for District 1 Supervisor (Santa Ana, Garden Grove) is Kim Bernice Nguyen. 

Democratic Supervisorial candidates Sergio (in Central County’s District 1) and Ashleigh (in that Brea-to-Irvine swath called District 3) are at least young and energetic!  (Even though neither one has had the energy to return my questionnaire yet.)  In fact they are so young and energetic they might even be able to wake up Supervisor Doug Chaffee!  And if THAT happens, 

  • Doug might remember what he was thinking when he decided to run as a Democrat, and start following his new young energetic Democratic colleagues’ lead instead of just aping whatever the four Republican Supervisors do; 
  • The two corrupt bags of malevolence referred to as Steel and Bartlett will be isolated; and
  • The County will see if Democrats can run things any better than the last time they had a chance (the 1970’s, which was not good.)

The thought of Sergio Kim and Ashleigh waking up Doug Chaffee brings forth memories of Alice in Wonderland‘s Mad Tea Party, just after Alice left in frustration and disgust – as she turns around and looks back one more time, the Mad Hatter (who actually looks like Sergio Contreras) and the March Hare (who could reasonably stand in for Ashleigh in this scenario) are trying to stuff the narcoleptic Dormouse into the teapot.

(NOTE: The race between Ashleigh and Don Wagner will NOT be a primary – whoever gets the most votes will be Supervisor for four years! The other race WILL probably be a primary unless Do or Pulido or Kim or Sergio gets over 50%, which is unlikely.)


Diane for Judge!

Former T-Rack lackey Tony Ferrentino, about whom Greg raised good questions which remain unanswered, is running unopposed, countywide, for Superior Court Office No. 4, so those questions may never be answered.  Basically, as Greg wrote,  Tony was a top DA during a time that

“we are now learning there were massive and astonishing violations of the responsibility to turn over exculpatory evidence.  Without making any accusation (because I’m in no position to do so) I’d like to know: Did he know about what was going on?  Was he in a position where he should have known?  Did he participate in any of the impropriety?”

I think I’ll be safe and write in Orange Juice friend and occasional blogger Diane Wattles Goldstein of L.E.A.P. (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.)

County Board of Education

The problem with this Board the last few years is that it’s been dominated by an EXTREME rightwing (right outta the 1950’s) 3-member majority led by crazed trustee Ken Williams.  And I could go on about the crazy things the Ken Williams majority does, but the most destructive is their unquestioning approval, on principle, of ANY AND ALL CHARTER SCHOOLS. 

By definition the proposed charter schools that come to this Board are APPEALING THEIR REJECTION by your locally elected school board – rejection because, like many proposed charter schools these days, they were found to be unneeded, inappropriate, wasteful.  So Ken Williams’ “All Charters Welcome” Board gives ’em the green light, to hell with local control – they’ve done it a dozen times in the past couple years, for a loss of millions to our local public schools.  This is a PROBLEM, and we need to get a new majority of reasonable people on this Board.   

So this month, three of the seats on that Board are up for re-election, and again this is not a primary – whoever wins now has a seat for four years:

SHOULD be the new majority: Becky, Andy, Vicki.

Central County’s Area 1 – BECKY GOMEZ has been great, and is up for re-election, so RE-ELECT HER ALREADY!

Area 3, a Brea-to-Irvine swath – ANDY THORBURN!  I’ve been walking for Andy the last couple months and getting paid for it, and that’s my disclosure, though I’d do it for free!  This Thorburn vs Ken Williams race is one of the the most black-and-white choices in the County this month.

And in North County’s Area 4 where I live, VOTE FOR DR. VICKI CALHOUN!  This race is gonna be difficult, with THREE Democrats running against fairly honest charter-school loving Tim Shaw.  You can see that Tim’s a heavy favorite to win, which he could do with as low as 35% – so even if Andy beat Ken in Area 3, charter worshipers could still keep a majority on the Board.  (At least Tim is not so insane as Ken Williams – he probably wouldn’t try to force gay conversion therapy and prayer into public schools, or waste millions on frivolous lawsuits against the state.)

To make matters worse, two of the Democrats running are Anaheim Councilman Jordan Brandman and Fullerton political wife Paulette Chaffee.  Without getting into too much detail, Anaheim Democrats seem to be coalescing around Paulette because they know how bad Jordan is but they don’t know the Chaffees;  while conversely Fullerton Democrats (including Josh Newman!) are backing Jordan because they know how bad the Chaffees are but don’t know Jordan.

The only honest pro-public-education candidate, the only one supported by PEOPLE WHO KNOW HER, is Dr. Vicki Calhoun – that’s a doctorate in education, a ballot description of “at-risk youth counsellor,” and experience singing and touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  I’m voting for Dr. Vicki and I hope you are too!

SCHOOL BONDS  (State Prop 13, and various “letters” in various OC towns) – you do you, but I’m voting no.  I have a problem with asking property owners (and indirectly, renters) to take out new bonds when they’re still paying off the old ones.  And there are questions about how the old ones have been spent (although Anaheim UHSD has been bragging about how all their projects are finished before schedule and under budget which may be true.) 

BUT YOU ONLY GET TO VOTE NO ON THESE SCHOOL BONDS if you do like me and put a lot of energy into getting signatures to put “SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES FIRST” (the long-awaited split-roll reform to 1978’s Prop 13) onto the November ballot.  It’s time for the COMMERCIAL PROPERTY OWNERS who have been withholding BILLIONS A YEAR from our budget for DECADES, to pony up.  That’ll be better.  (The ACLU’s argument for the measure is best.)

COUNTY MEASURE A, requiring a vote of FOUR OUT OF FIVE SUPERVISORS to approve a tax before SENDING IT TO THE VOTERS FOR APPROVAL?  NO, thank you, that is just more TYING OUR GOVERNMENT UP  IN KNOTS.

Finally, as promised, the Central Committees.


I start, as a starting point, from this handy “Party of the People Slate,” and then will maybe add a few other people who are running that I know and like and trust cuz we get to pick six … though I apologize that I DON’T KNOW EVERYBODY WHO’S RUNNING!  So again, “You do you,” and explain yourself in the comments section please.

AD 55:  Aguirre, Estrada; and I’d add LeTourneau and Cruz.

AD 65: Lewandowski, Rodriguez, Lopez, Magcalas, Ramirez;  and I’d add Tutor.  (Or maybe Mirvette or Ada.)

AD 68: Villa, Valencia, Sonneborn; and I’d add Honigman, Kang, and … Eugene Fields since I ignored him for Assembly!

AD 69: Jessie Lopez, Ramos, Escamilla, Moreno, Alvarez; and I’d add Martin Lopez.

AD 72: Hinks, Valladares, Rodriguez, Lathus, Iannello; and I’d add my friend Misha Houser.

AD 73: Jenson, Hammad, Farokhnia … don’t know the others.

AD 74: Inada, Amanyraoufpoor, Gillespie, Afalqa; and I’d add Johnson-Norris and Adler.  Or Carter. There’s actually too many good ones here.


First, it’s hard for me to imagine any Republicans care who this blog thinks should be on their Central Committee. 

Also, what does the Republican Party want to do with itself?  Is it going to continue to be the Party of Trump?  What happens after Trump, insh’allah, is gone? 

Is there any interest in creating a truly conservative Party of small efficient government, lower taxes, streamlined regulations, that doesn’t deny science, that doesn’t hate on anybody?  We need that Party. 

I said to Greg, how can we even weigh in on this? 

There are two ways local Republicans can be horrible – a corrupt cog of the local kleptocracy, or a Trump-worshiping hater.   Most of candidates I recognize here fit into one, or BOTH, of those categories. 

(On the other hand I don’t know most of the folks running, and maybe some of them are great.  Have any of them denounced Trump or even disagreed with him or criticized him about anything?  Please let us know in the comments section.)

I wouldn’t vote to let the following kleptocrats keep shaping my Party if I were you:

  • Fred Whitaker. 
  • Kermit Marsh. 
  • Ed Sachs. 
  • Lisa Bartlett. 
  • Mike Posey.

I wouldn’t vote to let the following Trump-loving haters keep shaping my Party if I were you:

  • Deborah Pauly (even tho’ she’s a bit of a friend.) 
  • Scott Voigts. 
  • Tim Whitacre (also a friend.) 
  • Cecilia Iglesias and her sidekick Gisela. (Although we are going to celebrate Ceci for having the guts to take on the Santa Ana cops)
  • Brian Harrington. 
  • Jon Paul White.  
  • Brian “Make OC Great Again” Burley. 

The following Trump-loving kleptocrat haters I wouldn’t get within ten feet of voting for if I were you: 

  • Mark Bucher. 
  • Trevor O’Neil.
  • Evil Diane Harkey, who I thought had gone away.

(Karina Onofre and Katherine Daigle, despite Greg’s high estimation, are impossible for me to take seriously.)

But you do you.

PS. Relatively decent as far as I know: 

  • Tim Shaw, AD 55
  • David John Shawver, AD 65  
  • Todd Spitzer – who’s already plenty powerful enough, AD 68 
  • Andrew Do, AD 72 
  • Greg Raths, AD 73 – I don’t love him as much as Diamond does, but he did stick up for DACA recently.
  • AND, I’m sure, some others, less well known.

Comment away!

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.