2020 OC Filings #2 (as of 7/31) for Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, and HB




EXPANDED AND UPDATED.   Anaheim, Santa Ana, and HB updated; Irvine updated soon!

Top Row: Santa Mayoral candidates Vince Sarmiento, Claudia Alvarez, Ceci Iglesias, Jose Solorio, Mark Lopez; bottom row, Anaheim Council candidates Denise Barnes, Annebella Randle-Trejo, Jeanine Robbins, and Avelino Valencia.  (Note that this was done by hand in Paint, rather than Photoshop, so some of those pictured may have received Covid haircuts.)

As noted in our introduction to this year’s general election coverage, the filing period for all races is underway; it ends August 7 (with some extensions to 8/12) for all races that have made it this far.  Today, we’ll look at the four largest cities in the county: Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, and Huntington Beach.  To see what’s going on.  This will be updated as need be and time allows.


I’m sorry to report that the forces of progress and reform look likely to blow it, in ways long foreseen.  Anaheim has races for Districts 1, 4, and 5 this year.  Here’s where they stand.

District 1:

Name Candidate Intention Statement
(Form 501)
Nomination Papers
Balius, Ryan Filed Filed/Qualified
Barnes, Denise* Filed  Filed/Qualified
Diaz, Jose Filed Filed/Qualified

Denise Barnes has given up on Donald Trump’s and Harry Sidhu’s Republican Party and joined the Democratic Party, which is expected to endorse her for reelection.  [Update 9/8: they didn’t!]  Vern thought that Ryan Balius was the Kleptocratic candidate; it turns out that it was Jose Diaz is celebrated there for the likelihood if his pulling Latino votes away from Barnes. Yes, having a Latino opponent is surely a disadvantage for a Dem (even a Latina Dem), but some well-placed signs pointing to Dr. Jose Moreno’s presumable support for her and Tom Tait’s as well should do wonders.  Diaz can still pull out of the race until the end of the day Friday id he (rightly) doesn’t think he can win and doesn’t want to be a spoiler.

District 4:

Name Candidate Intention Statement
(Form 501)
Nomination Papers
Brunette, Julie Filed Pulled
Kring, Ron Filed Pulled
Randle-Trejo, Annemarie Filed Pulled
Robbins, Jeanine Filed Filed
Valencia, Avelino Filed Pulled

Update 8/6: Still, only Robbins has filed.

Julie Brunette has pulled papers; I know nothing about her.  Only Jeanine Robbins has filed so far.  If Ron Kring doesn’t file, Avelino Valencias is the de facto Republican candidate.   Original post follows:

If Ron Kring pulls papers, he will probably run based on fostering the misapprehension that his bloody-minded wife is up for re-election.  Against three Democrats, he’d have a good shot.  For around a year now, this has looked liked a head-on collision between a relative insider candidate, School Board member Annemarie Randle-Trejo, and a strong outsider candidate, Jeanine Robbins.  I would be happy to see either win, but they are largely going after the same voters.  To make things worse for them, an even more insider candidate — Avelino Valencia, a Tom Daly tool who has been strangely absent over the tumultuous past decade in Anaheim politics — has pulled papers and has the feckless DPOC’s endorsement.  (I wonder whether they asked him whom he supported in 2018 for Sheriff.)  Valencia is likely to be conservative and compromised enough that the city’s big business interests may tell Kring not to run — allowing him to be both the Democratic and Republican candidate.  Good going, DPOC!

I’ve tried to convince Jeanine Robbins to get out the race so that Annemarie would have a decent change against the kleptocracy candidate.  Didn’t work.  So now I have to say to Annemarie: you are likely to lose.  You have a political career to think about.  You’ve campaigned valiantly, but Jeanine is going to get the activist vote and, without the DPOC endorsement, you’re not going to beat Valencia without it unless maybe Kring is in the race.  You can earn much goodwill by pulling out of a pointless race and endorsing Jeanine so that she can run an insurgent campaign in a clear path.  Jeanine may well lose anyway — that’s the nature of insurgent campaigns — but you can get a lot of good will on your side rather than be considered a spoiler if (as seems likely) Jeanine out-polls you with Valencia eating up your base.  Don’t be the spoiler, be the hero.

District 5:

Candidate Intention Statement
(Form 501)
Nomination Papers
Batiste, Kenneth Filed Filed/Qualified
Faessel, Stephen Filed
Martinez, Ana R. Filed Pulled
Mullin, Jay Pulled
Pavlovich, Mark Pulled
Quezada, Sabrina “Sav” Filed Pulled

Update 8/6: Only Batiste and now Faessel have filed and qualified.

Incumbent Steve Faessel has not yet pulled papers, but that can be fixed at any time.  (And, if he doesn’t, it allows someone else to swoop in during the overtime period.)  If he runs, he has the disadvantage of the first candidate to face the voter’s wrath over the Sidhu Administration — but if five people are splitting the vote against him he’d also have  a big advantage in the direct or indirect monetary support (and redirecting the focus of attention) of Disney, the rest of the resort district, and their allies — plus (my guess is) the Police Association and the Building Trades.  That’s a lot of support, even arrayed against the disgrace of the Sidhu Administration.

Ana Martinez ran against Faessel in 2016, so she has some name recognition, but no record of success.  Kenneth Batiste is being supported by Chairman Vern Nelson, great former Mayor Tom Tait, and Dr. Jose Moreno, and seems to have good roots in the community.  Mark Pavlovich and Jay Mullin don’t seem to have a web presence.  I don’t know about the other Faessel challengers, but I don’t see how they overcome that sort of support; if they don’t like Faessel, they may want to rethink their plans.  Given Batiste’s advantages here, no other progressive should file.  Savrina Quezada seems quite impressive, but she can probably best promote her interests by not filing (which will split the progressive vote), working with Batiste, getting appointed to a Commission, and establishing a track record of service within the City to serve her well in future years.

Money in Anaheim!

Time to start looking at who’s raising and spending what, for whom (potentially pertinent races only)!

Some of these are for Jan.-June, some April-June.

Anaheim Municipal Employee Assoc., PAC (Jan.) — has raised $800 for a total of $3,056.62 COH.

Anaheim Municipal Employee Assoc., Independent Expenditures   (Jan.) — has raised $4,895.98 for a total of $72,191.54 COH (cash on hand).

Denise Barnes (Jan.) no additional funds, $713.72 COH

Citizens for America’s Future, $96 raised, 

Firefighters for Anaheim, Sponsored by Anaheim Firefighters Association, $49,335 raised, $122,521.62 COH
Contributions made: $500 to Jordan Brandman 2022

Valencia for City Council. raised $42,686, $40,842.85 COH

SOAR PAC raised $650, leaving it with $1,473,352.80 COH

There’s more, but that will do for now.  I just want to flesh out Avelino Valencia III’s contributors so that Annemarie can see it and judge whether a “insider” candidate can beat him:

Bear in mind that he was endorsed  by DPOC on July 2 — and lets see what contributions — a partial list — preceded that:

5/18 ff. Munguia Family (Santana/Anaheim), $7850
5/18 Bill Taormina, $1000
5/22 Luis Andres Perez, $350
5/22 Sheila Flores, $100
5/23 Serafin Juarez, $250
5/23 Avelino Valencia Sr $2100
5/24 Raul Lua  $300
5/25-28 Naveed Kharrat, $400
5/27 Alejandro Valencia, $2100
5/27 Liviar Valencia, $2000
5/28 Diana Carey, $100
6/4 Olivia David of Monterey (Working Alternatives), $1800
6/4 Patrick Mockler (Los Gatos, Investor), $1000
6/6 Ginger Beard, $100
6/8 Fran Sdao (DC), $300
6/8&30 UA Journeymen & Apprentices (Gardena), $2100
6/10 Janet Valencia (Menifee) $1500
6/11 Lauren Johnson-Norris, $100
6/14 Jose Solorio, $250
6/19 Valerie Amezcua $100
6/19 Aide Castro, $250
6/22 Cement Masons of Corona, $1000
6/22 Iron Workers of Pinole CA, $1000
6/25 Tim Steed (OCEA), $100
6/24 Roofers, Waterproofers, &c Union (DC) $500
6/29 IBEW of Diamond Bar, $2100
6/29 IBEW PAC Educational Fund (DC) $1100
6/29 Operating Engineers (Pasadena), $2100
6/29 Laborers Union (Santa Ana), $2100
6/29 Sprinkler Fitters United (Whittier), $1000
6/29 Peter Mitchell (consultant from Yorba Linda) $2100
6/29 D.R. Heywood, $150
6/29 John Palacio, $100 [refunded 7/27]
6/30 Tony Bedolla, $100
6/30 Laborer’s Union (Lakewood), $2100

That’s a bunch of Democratic Party royalty (including the Building Trades) up there.

There is no way in the world that Annemarie Randle-Trejo — whom I continue to believe is the best formally qualified candidate for the job, except for the raising money part (she didn’t file a report, so she was under $1000 as of June 30) — can win as an insider candidate against that sort of onslaught.  The only way she could justify being in the race is to siphon votes away from Jeanine Robbins, the other competitor to Avelino, who at least has an insurgent populist’s fighting chance of winning.  I simply do not want to believe that Annemarie would let herself be used that way, but given all of what’s above she has to acknowledge the truth.  She has every reason to back out of the race she’s put so much hard work into — resentful, perhaps, but with dignity and honor.

Because this information is somewhat buried here, I’ll have a separate post on it within a few days.

Santa Ana:

While Anaheim looked like sort of a mess, Santa Ana looks like — oh, wait, it’s a mess too — and its filing deadline is on August 6, not the 7th!


Six candidates have pulled papers for Mayor.  (Only Alvarez has filed; she has also qualified):

Claudia C. Alvarez (Alvarez for Mayor 2020)
Mark I. Lopez (Mark I. Lopez for Mayor 2020)
Vicente Sarmiento (Sarmiento for Mayor 2020)
Jose Solorio (A New Day for Santa Ana, Solorio for Mayor 2020)
George Collins (?)
Cecilia Iglesias (Iglesias for Mayor 2020)

(I include the names of their committees just to see if you have the same visceral reaction to Solorio’s that I do.)

(It seems pointless even to discuss the committeeless Collins.)

Of the other five, self-serving shape-shifter Solorio is obviously the worst, which may give him a big advantage in a city used to voting for a corrupt Mayors.  Claudia Alvarez seems to have many detractors based on her years on the City Council, but she can’t be as bad as Solorio.  Ceci Iglesias is a Republican who is wrong on many social issues irrelevant to serving as Mayor but right on police accountability — which led to her recall earlier this year.  Mark Lopez is a military vet aligned with Mexican-American Advisors Group, which has the disadvantage of possibly not actually existing.

Vince Sarmiento (despite questions about his residency in his ward and his Melahat Rafiei connections) would seem to have the inside track except for one thing: Poseidon, where he has been the rapacious investors’ man on the OCWD Board for years.  And now, the VOC reports that he spoke on behalf of the Poseidon ripoff at the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board hearing this week, which would be completely disqualifying except for one thing: he’s told Vern (and others) that he has set up some obstacle to its passing through the OCWD.

Sarmiento is saying this openly, despite that the members of the Building Trades — which seems hungry to build anything, even if it screws over the residents of this county for generations — so long as it has plumbing and electricity —  are perfectly capable of reading this blog.  So what’s the point?  If he’s blowing off the Trades, he should do it openly and finally; he might as well, because they won’t likely support him anyway.

What must I conclude from all this?  That most likely he’s lying to us, and to the idealistic young Latinxes attracted to his campaign.  That the Trades know that he’s lying, they understand why he’s lying, they want him to lie, and they appreciate he’s lying.  So he’s out of consideration for now.  (Could he convince me otherwise?  I really doubt it, but I’m open to a recorded on-the-record conversation with him, especially one that includes his resignation from the OCWD and replacement of Santa Aba’s seat by someone pledged to oppose Poseidon.)

If I had to choose right now, it would be between Claudia (until someone reminds me what’s so bad about her, and I don’t mean the supposed anti-Semitism, a charge that I found bogus) and Ceci (despite that she is a largely conservative Republican, simply due to her stance against SAPOA and its pay+pension gluttony and attack on accountability.)  Sal Tinajero or Michelle Martinez (but not both!), if you’re eligible, you still have time to jump in!  But Santa Ana can survive two years of Ceci if need be.

Ward 1

(Only Contreras has filed and qualified.)  Right now, this election has Thai Viet Phan running against Tony Adame and Cynthia Contreras.  I don’t know Adame or Contreras, but Phan was very impressive earlier this year in the special election process and it would also be nice to see an Asian-American candidate finally get onto Santa Ana’s City Council.

Ward 3

Lots of people have pulled papers: Jeffrey Katz, Jessie LopezJose (Joe) Madueña, Mark McLoughlin, Danny Vega and Janelle Welker.  If memory serves, this is Santa Ana’s toniest district, so we’ll see what they do.  Welker looks pretty good, so no one else should feel the need to file so long as she qualifies.  (Janelle, hurry up!)

Ward 5

Incumbent Juan Villegas — who has already qualified — will face Jonathan Hernandez, Victor Mendez, and Laura Perez.  I don’t think I know any of the three, but Hernandez’s name shows up as boxing instructor for Chicanos Unidos youth programs who called for ended the city’s contract with ICE, so those are both good, but it’s a common name.  Mendez … uh, dude….  (Maybe that wasn’t you, though.)  Perez — presuming that she’s the one from this story, is an obvious choice, so we don’t need any more progressives getting into the race.


In Irvine Mayor’s race, incumbent Christine Shea is facing a challenge from Farrah Khan, with perennial candidate Katherine Daigle in the race, along with Luis Huang, who, based on his campaign page and his Facebook campaign page, actually sounds pretty delightful.  A renter’s rights advocate with a business/engineering  background, pretty cool!

Irvine also has two Council seats open — a third will open up if Farrah is elected —

Office of City Council (two seats) July 13 – August 12, 2020*

CITY COUNCIL  (dates represent, in order, “pulled, filed, and qualified”)

Carrie O’Malley 7/13/20 – pulled only
Tammy Kim 7/14/20 7/16/20 7/17/20 – qualified
Laura Bratton 7/14/20 – pulled only
Anshul Garg 7/14/20 – pulled only
Christina Dillard 7/15/20 7/21/20 7/21/20 – qualified
Abigail Pole 7/15/20 7/29/20 7/29/20 – qualified
Mark Newgent 7/15/20 7/17/20 7/17/20 – qualified
Lauren Johnson-Norris 7/15/20 7/20/20 7/21/20 – qualified
Hai Liang 7/16/20 – pulled only
Katherine Daigle 7/17/20 – pulled only
Dylan Green 7/20/20 – pulled only
Jason Kraft 7/21/20 – pulled only
John Park 7/22/20 – pulled only
Mike Carroll 7/28/20 – pulled only
Diana Jiang 7/29/20 – pulled only
Larry Agran 7/30/20 – pulled only

I surely don’t think that there’s a need for more people to file.
Agran’s filing may be a bluff, or a subterfuge to a run for Mayor, or presaging a slate with someone else.  (How about Mike Carroll?)  But there will be time for that.  Newgent and Daigle should definitely run on a slate.  Tammy Kim and Johnson-Norris are supposed to be on an “internal party peace” slate, along with Dave Min for Senate and Melissa Fox for Assembly, but I don’t know how settled that is.  Various other names are familiar (O’Malley, Park), but it’s too early to worry too much about this.

Huntington Beach

I have waxed rhapsodic the past couple of cycles about how excellent Huntington Beach’s candidate filing website is.  Now that I’ve found it again, it really is a breath of fresh air.

Let’s get the two non-Council positions out of the way first.  For Clerk, Robin Estanislau is running for re-election.  For Treasurer, Alisa Backstrom is running.  (Personally, I’m chary about about electing these officials, but more so the City Attorney.  Clerk and Treasurer positions really need someone qualified — though I have no reason to think that both of those are.  (The City Attorney also needs great judgment — but I guess we get to talk about that more in 2022 — if anyone in HB survives that long.)

Huntington Beach doesn’t yet have wards/districts, and is unusual for the huge number of candidates that flock to run.  Here’s the alphabetized tally of the 14 people who have pulled papers, with newly added names in italics:

  • Patrick Brendan, kleptocratic presumed Trumpian incumbent, appointed Commissioner & Proud Boy supporter Gracie VDM (pulled only)
  • John Briscoe, eccentric conservative and Ocean View Trustee (pulled only)
  • Brian Burley, whiny Trumpian (pulled only)
  • Devin Dwyer, former incumbent (pulled only)
  • Sonya Green, bigoted Trumpian (filed)
  • Amory Hanson, earnest perpetual candidate (filed)
  • Matthew Harper, giggly Trump-and-Poseidon-loving former Assembly member (pulled only)
  • Dan Kalmick, liberal technocrat (filed)
  • Thomas LaParne, suspected Trumpian Erik Peterson flunky (pulled only)
  • Casey McKeon, unknown to OJB (pulled only)
  • Jeff Morin, unknown to OJB (pulled only)
  • Craig Morton, unknown to OJB (pulled only)
  • Natalie Moser, assertive PTA mom (pulled only)
  • Billy O’Connell, blustery Poseidon-loving cop and former incumbent (pulled only)
  • Tito Ortiz, formerly lived in HB with porn star Jenna Jamison (pulled only — yeah, surrrre)
  • Oscar Rodriguez, local hero (pulled only)
  • Lyn Semata, HB Tea Party leader and incumbent (pulled only)
  • Eric Silkenson, unknown to OJB (pulled only)
  • Gracey Van Der Mark, Proud Boy horror show (pulled only)
  • Shaz Umer, unknown to OJB (pulled only)

(The third incumbent, Jill Hardy, is termed out.  Also … Matthew Harper?)

At least three reasonably progressive people seem to be running, so no new progressives need to get into the race, which also means that they should not get into the race.

I need to more more about these people before I can comment on the race — hence the empty spaces next to most of their names, which Vern may fill in — but I will note that HB is not only a city with huge problems in the CoViD-19 department and a huge libertarian bent.  It also has a notoriously fractured government — with almost as many mutually antagonistic factions as there are people running for office.  So this one may defy pure partisan analysis — although occasionally I’ve heard people described by the industry for which they shill — as in, “oh, that’s the landlords’ candidate,” “oh, that’s the energy companies’ candidate, “oh, they’re the Poseidon candidates.” etc.  It’s almost like watching a particularly bad amateur theater production based on Game of Thrones.


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.)