The Weird, Wacky and Wonderful: New Filings for OC June races!

Hopeful, ambitious politicians and wanna-be politicians have till March 11 to file for the June 7 election; and I’m sure (if past is indeed prologue) Diamond will create an encyclopedic summary soon after that deadline. But, like children waiting to open their Xmas presents, we couldn’t wait and wrote this report in early February, and now, once again, I can’t resist letting you know who else has jumped in since then. (I’m skipping races that haven’t changed since we wrote this, and here’s where you go to find your districts.) Without further ado:

OC Congressional Races

Northeast-County District 40, very Republican

No doubt finding incumbent (but not in this district) Young Kim too moderate, a “RINO,” (which we don’t as she is completely obedient to Trumpy Speaker McCarthy), two more obviously extremist right-wingers are taking her on –

  • Greg Raths, who Diamond and I had fantasized was a principled, independent conservative but who has spent the last few days (apparently at the CPAC convention?) sharing fan pics of himself with the grotesque Roger Stone and the Rotting Yam Itself – WHAT WERE WE THINKING?
  • And, newly filed, crazed Deborah Pauly, the infamous anti-immigrant Islamophobe from Villa Park!
  • Meanwhile, probably despairing of finding room to Pauly’s right, the violent Irvine chud Nick Taurus has decided instead to run against Michelle Steel in District 45! But .. but … WHATEVER.

There’s a Democrat running too, but who knows anything about him? I listened in on the DPOC endorsement meeting recently, and I was looking forward to hearing Dr. Asif Mahmood but he didn’t bother showing up (although he DID make off with the endorsement, having no competition.) I pretty much despair of Democrats being able to save our nation in this district this year, and would put my money on the smooth, well-funded Young Kim.

“Asian” District 45, Fullerton / West Anaheim / Cerritos / Little Saigon

The stars here are our favorite Jay Chen versus our least favorite (incumbent but not in this district) Michelle Steel, and Cerritos’ Joe Cho has also filed. Which meant no Viet candidates! Well, now there is one, the perennial candidate Long Pham. No, seriously Long has run for EVERYTHING, and only won for School Board. Well, now he’s going for Congress, I don’t remember if he ever tried that before. (I also don’t remember if he lied, exaggerated or told the truth when he said he was a nuclear physicist, but there was some controversy about that.)

I want to know why Jay hasn’t filed yet – Greg? Does he have to do that in LA County or is he keeping up our suspense? But he made it onto Laura Ingraham’s FOX News show recently, where the harridan ridiculously tried to help Steel by claiming the Taiwanese-American Jay had subjected Hacienda Heights schoolchildren to Chinese Communist Propaganda. Turns out, this was 12 years ago, it was a very popular Mandarin-immersion program (yes with some funding from the Chinese), AND the Daily Show did a hilarious spot about it way back when John Stewart was in charge, Aasif Mandvi as correspondent, Jay himself acting as “straight man.” Watch that it’s great!

(Also, Nick Taurus and other goofballs listed on Ballotpedia haven’t actually filed yet.)

State Senate

Central County District 34

Incumbent DINO Tom Umberg STILL has no challenger! Serio? NO progressive can take on an aged quasi-Dem who boasts of having worked for Ronald Reagan? Correa and Daly have good challengers, let’s make it a trifecta!


Far North District 59

ANOTHER dreary incumbent with no challenger as of yet – the unremarkable Republican Philip Chen.

Little Saigon District 70

There are now FOUR mediocre Republicans going up against OJ-favorite Democrat Diedre Nguyen, in this district with a 6.6% Democratic advantage – Kimberly Ho, Tri Ta, Ted Bui, and apparently non-Viet Emily Hibard. Go Diedre!

Irvine / Costa Mesa / Tustin District District 73, Dem advantage

The race between the two incumbents Steve Choi (R) and Cottie Petrie-Norris (D) has been joined by OJ pal and progressive Democrat Luis M. Huang, who is righteously pissed off at Cottie’s vote against single-payer healthcare. The Liberal OC’s Chmielewski keeps harping on Luis, “You’re gonna help Choi get elected, and then what will you have achieved?” And Luis responds as I suggested to him: “This is not Congress, this is Assembly where Democrats ALREADY enjoy MORE than a Supermajority, and we can afford to play a little hardball to try to get better Democrats (or get them to vote better.)”

Superior Court Judges

We have a lot of Superior Court Judges to vote on, most of ’em unchallenged incumbents, and that’s really Greg’s specialty to write about. There are only four judicial races that catch my interest:

Office 5

A real familiar name running here – Claudia Alvarez! She’s been a Santa Ana political fixture since the birth of this blog, which is as far back as our memory goes. Art seemed to really dislike her, which doesn’t mean anything. Always an assistant DA, she served eight years on the Santa Ana Council before being termed out. Donna and I watched her do her Assistant DA thing when we were doing “Court Watch” for the ACLU and she seemed fair enough. Most recently she ran for SA Mayor and lost to Vincente Sarmiento. Too conservative and union-connected to my taste, for political office, but it seems like she could be a fair judge. Running against her are Kimberly LaSalle, Michael Jones, and Dan Espinosa – I wonder what Greg will have to say about them?

Office 11

Shawn Nelson, former Supervisor and current right-hand man to troubled DA Todd Spitzer, is doing what he’s been threatening for at least a decade – running to be a Judge. He used to be a friend of mine. I played piano at a party for him once. He seemed like a principled libertarian-type. Pero his record says NO. In the latest news, Shawn rejected and ridiculed top prosecutor Tracy Miller’s legitimate claims that her female subordinates had regularly been harassed by Todd’s lecherous bestie Gary LoGalbo. Which brings up, Shawn is the highest-ranking Spitzer underling not to rebel against his addled boss. Count me OUT, on my former friend Shawn. (Now, watch him win and me have to go before him someday for something.)

Running against Baby-Face Nelson is Marc Gibbons – who dat?

Office 22

It’s hard to know how to feel now about Brahim Baytieh (above.) Once Spitzer’s “North Star,” it is now total war between the two, as Baytieh whistleblew about Todd’s racist death-penalty musings and Todd retaliated by firing the prosecutor for an DECADE-OLD transgression, right before Brahim could include “prosecutor” on his ballot designation. So it’s tempting to root for him, but we MUST REMEMBER – Baytieh WAS a big part of the Snitch Scandal, he DID withhold evidence illegally from defenses, and he DID sign off on every slanted lying incident report on police killings. So… NO ON JUDGE BAYTIEH. Running against him are Fred Fascenelli, Wayne Philips, & Craig Kleffman – anyone know them?

And Office 30!

This is a guy I know from about 10 years ago – Incumbent Judge Frank Ospino running without opposition! When I knew him he was a public defender, a real nice guy, and me and Wylie Drake (of all people) worked with him trying to help a woman get her kids back from CPS. Soon after that he became the Head Public Defender; then evidently a judge. The only thing is, as I remember, his ears are REALLY big. I mean like Mickey Mouse big. Like Barack Obama’s ears were grafted onto George W. Bush’s ears. I’m gonna have to poke my head in those chambers and see if my memory is exaggerating.

UPDATE – DAMN. I’ve just been told by a few friends that Judge Ospino died last week. That’s too bad – he was a really nice guy, and not enough OC judges have the background of being Public Defender, let alone Chief Public Defender. Still… he DID have big ears. I guess his seat is open now.

Let’s Transform the OC Board of Education!

We finally have the candidates we need to transform Orange County’s most destructive, wasteful, and embarrassing Clown Car – the Ken Williams-dominated OCBOE!

If you live in District 2, which is around Seal Beach, HB, Newport, CM, etc… you simply MUST get rid of nutjob Mari Barke, by voting en masse for distinguished Newport-Mesa trustee Martha Fluor. And if you’re in the South County District 5, you simply MUST get rid of far-right Lisa Sparks, by voting en masse for distinguished educator and principal Sherine Smith.

Oh. And if you live where I do, northwest OC’s District 4, and your main goal is to take away Ken Williams’ extremist majority, I suppose you should vote for Paulette Chaffee. I just can’t bring myself to do that. I shall abstain.

OC Board of Supervisors!

Central-County District 2

A race that was originally just Santa Ana’s progressive Mayor Vicente Sarmiento vs. Garden Grove inquisitor Kim Bernice Nguyen has FOUR new entries, all somewhat interesting: anti-immigrant troglodyte Orange Councilman Jon DUMBitru, dismal developer-loving Republican Santa Ana Councilman Juan Villegas, Santa Ana Christian Conservative zealot Ceci Iglesias, and our extremely interesting, caring, and generous Anaheim friend Bryan Kaye.

Me, I’m still a Sarmientista!

Northwest District 4

This had been simply Democrat Buena Park Mayor Sunny Kim challenging incumbent Supervisor Doug Chaffee, but NOT ONE BUT TWO BREA REPUBLICANS have now jumped in – Marty Simonoff and Steve Vargas. Hey I remember Zenger and Diamond talking about those two in comments, in a not very complimentary way. Let me look that up…

Zenger, Feb. 9: I’ve been told the eternal Marty Simonoff from Brea is running for 4th District Supervisor although I’ve seen nothing personally. If Sunny runs a spirited campaign she might force the unspeakably despicable Chaffee into a runoff.

Diamond, Feb. 10: A reliable source says that the infamous and fatuous Steve Vargas is running. So if Simonoff is running as well, it may be to hamstring Vargas.

Hmmm… Sounds like some petty Brea Republican shit. I’m still tilting toward Sunny, with whom I had a long off-the-record chat last night.

South-County District 5

We reported on Feb. 5 that a bunch of establishment Republicans had recruited 82-year old, relatively respectable, termed-out State Senator Pat Bates to ONCE AGAIN run for Supervisor, presumably out of embarrassment and distaste over the officially endorsed Republican, heartless financial crook and elder abuser Diane Harkey, who the GOP had first planned to put up against quasi-incumbent Katrina Foley. Well, Patricia has finally filed… and Diane as far as I can tell has not withdrawn. Split away, South-County Republican womenfolk!


On Feb 5 I’d listed this as a race nobody cares about, where the incumbent is doing a fine job and is never challenged, but I’ve been disabused of that notion by Democratic challenger Rick Foster, who came and spoke to my Anaheim Democratic Club, and was the only candidate for ANYTHING who came out with a clear, 80% endorsement! We loved his knowledge, enthusiasm and energy. Now it’s hard to remember what he said, but … here you go, Rick has videos!

District Attorney

Ambitious lawyers smelling blood have been jumping into the grand battle between justly embattled incumbent Todd Spitzer and Democratic reformer Pete Hardin. Not all of them are any better than Spitzer! Michael Jacobs for example cheated regularly and scandalously to obtain death penalty convictions – R. Scott Moxley wrote all about it in 2015. Now some lawyer in San Diego named Bryan Chehock has thrown his hat in, in the wake of Todd’s racism scandals. How much more to this clown car?

After June 7 I wager it’ll be Spitzer vs. Hardin, a simple race I look forward to!

And finally…


Don Barnes STILL doesn’t have a challenger. Looks like Tom Daly and Lou Correa stuck us with this guy for EIGHT years.

Well, that’s it, till the 11th!

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.