Brea USD Area 5 TIED; Lyons Scores Higher Dice Roll




UPDATE  11:10 by Vern – LYONS WINS roll of dice.  (Greg: not so fast with that conclusion….)  From OC Political:

9:04 AM: Colon introduces the item. Board Member Vice President Paul Ruiz moves and Board Member Carrie Flanders seconds the item. Mason notes this is a nondiscretionary vote, in that the result must be resolved by casting of lots. He explains the candidates will roll the same pair of dice, and he will sanitize the pair of dice in between each roll in light of COVID. (Challenger) Lauren Barnes will roll first, and then (incumbent) Gail Lyons rolls second. Whoever rolls the higher number will win the seat. In the event they tie, they will roll again.

9:06 AM: Mason demonstrates how the dice roll will be done. Two red dice will be in a red cup. The candidates will hold the cup away from their bodies, shake the cup, and release the dice on to the table.

9:07 AM: Mason cleans the dice with sanitizing wipes.

9:08 AM: Mason asks Barnes to come to the podium and roll the dice. She rolls a 1 and 1, rolling a total of 2. Things are not looking good for her, as that is the lowest possible set of numbers one can roll with two dice.

9:09 AM: Mason asks Lyons to come to the podium and roll the dice. Lyons says, “I feel compelled to say a prayer for all of us.” She gives a prayer for everyone in the room, for the residents of Brea, for forgiveness, and for grace. She rolls a 1 and a 2, rolling a total of 3.  (No wonder this was later called “inauspicious.”  3 to 2.)

9:10 AM: Mason declares that incumbent Lyons has prevailed in the dice roll.

[Greg adds: Yet there may be more left to the story….]

Update Wednesday: Vern’s going to have to change that “greater than” to an “equals” sign.  The recount in the Brea School Board race ended with a change of only one vote —as a ballot that a machine count thought was blank turned out to have a faint but discernible “x” mark for incumbent Gail Lyons, bringing her back into a tie with challenger Lauren Barnes at 1805 votes apiece.  Per the BOUSD’s policy, it will be decided by “casting of lots” — in this case, a roll of the dice.  That will likely happen by the end of the week at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Council Chambers, and streamed live on the BreaOlindaUSD YouTube channel.

Here’s a little mood music to get you in the mood for that!

Second, I have to make an unusually large conflict of interest disclosure: since I last wrote about this case, Barnes hired me to represent her in the recount called by Lyons — which, barring the unlikely prospect of (futile) litigation — has now been completed.

BOUSD candidate Lauren Barnes and her father, emerging from two arduous days of monitoring the recount of votes at the Registrars office.

I’ll write more about this race later, probably after the tie-breaker.  Suffice it to say for now that the ROV once more did a great job and that Barnes, her father, and her boyfriend are all delightful company for a recount, and thanks to the others who participated.  And now, having gotten home and recovered a bit at around 5:05 on December 3, I’m going to sleep for a while. Everything below the double  line is now out of date.

Brea-Olinda Unified School District Trustee Area 5; not the entire district.

If you live in the purple area, check if your ballot was counted — and if it wasn’t, find out WHY and CURE IT by Tuesday — and I suggest starting that process by noon!   I believe that they were going to send out notices to those with defective ballots, but everyone who didn’t vote in person should check to confirm that their ballot was received and counted!

Material in Orange or Magenta Below is Not Yet Outdated

[Originally posted on November 22; updated on November 23, and again on December 3]

If you’ve been following our “Close Contests” post, you know that there is only ONE race left uncalled — and that’s because it is literally tied at 1,804 votes apiece! As of yesterday, incumbent Gail Lyons had led OJB-endorsed challenger  Lauren Barnes by one vote: 1,804 to 1,803.  (The links are to their respective websites; Lyons had no candidate statement; Barnes’s is here.)  27 17 NO ballots remain; some of them may include ballots that were cured by today.  Or … maybe, that have been saved for the grand finale!

If you voted in this race, you should check to see whether your vote was counted!  You do so by clicking use this “Track My Ballot” link   If your vote hasn’t been counted, you have until Tuesday, February 24 to cure it.  The office closes at 5:00 — but you should not wait until the last minute because it may involve your getting some proof of eligibility or residency from your home.  It could be something as simple as a signature match problem, which can be cured with an affidavit that it was indeed your ballot.  I would suggest contacting them by NOON on Tuesday to start the curing process.

Many people may not even remember who they voted for or if this was their district.   So let me, as a resident of Brea, talk you through the specifics of the boundaries of District 5 — rendered as lavender in the map above.

District 5 is the eastern of the two northern districts west of the 57.

  • The eastern boundary is the 57
  • The northern boundary is the homes up as high as Arrow Wood Drive (which you reach by turn right from Site to Nutwood)
  • The southern boundary goes west from the 57 and Lambert until State College, then south until the Brea Trail south of Avocado, then west until it hits Brea Boulevard just north of the fire station.
  • Only the western boundary is a little complicated
    • it includes the area east of Brea Blvd. from the tracks to Lambert
    • It then continues west on Lambert to just before Tamarack Park, taking in the area north of Lambert
    • It then considers northeast along the right of way backing up to the part, taking in the portion to the east, including Pepper Tree Drive and the Canyon Pines apartments, before hitting Central Avenue just west of the Domino’s Pizza
    • It then continues west on Central until it hits Site Drive, just before Memory Gardens, taking in the area to the north.
    • Finally, it continues north on Site Drive until it passes Nutwood Drive, taking in the area on the east, until it gets closed off before it becomes Oil Field Road — but I don’t think anyone lives up there past Arrowhood.

If you live within those boundaries, you should make sure that your ballot has been received and counted!  I plan to contact some people in North County to see where you can get help if you need it — but you’re certainly welcome to leave a comment requesting my help; you can use a pseudonym, but he sure to include a real email address where I can reach you!

The significance of one vote here is huge: I’m not even sure who pays for a recount when the race is literally tied — I think it may be the county itself — but of course adding cured ballots may break that tie.  (If I recall correctly, the final deciding factor, if they remain tied after a recount, is a coin flip.)  But my recollection is that if either candidate leads, the cost of a recount in on them.  (I’m not sure whether it is free if the margin is within a certain distance.)

Barnes will still probably need money to defend a recount if she remains closely behind.  The DPOC always sounds off about wanting to “build the bench” — here you have a mid-20s female engineer and recent graduate of the district’s main high school running against someone who endorsed Young Kim against Josh Newman: I wonder if they will come through.  (Or … one or more candidates could donate some of their unused campaign money for this purpose.)

I’m not sure why Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley stopped 27 17 votes of finishing — perhaps to give some anonymity to anyone who did cure their ballot today, and perhaps he’s getting everything ready for a recount if it comes — but I (wrongly) expected that we’ll have the final numbers in this (and every other) race — pending a recount and the standard-procedure audit — tomorrow at 5:00.  They’ll get it done when they have to get it done.  “A watched end of a ballot count never boils.”  Now we’ll have to see about a recanvass and/or recount.


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.)