BOE-4: Dems Shouldn’t Endorse, But Not Because of an Alleged Racist Meme

[Ed. Note: If you're reading this to help decide your vote, you should also read this recent piece that makes the case that you should really vote for the unendorsed Democrat in the race, David Dodson.  My primary suspect in the case was fired from the OCBOE office after he resigned from Chair position in the San Diego County Democratic Party  -- and, perhaps coincidentally, after his value to Mike Schaefer in gaining San Diego Democrats' votes for this endorsement was already used.  But I'm still unhappy about how the campaign handled this, and I'm still not sure who actually did it.  I'm not publishing the many concerning (some alarming) stories about Schaefer because I can't tie them down sufficiently well to sources willing to be the one to put them onto the record, but as I say in he other piece, when there's this much smoke there's usually fire.  The Republican in the runoff -- UNLESS DODSON COMES IN SECOND! -- will likely release them all when the time is most appropriate.  Then I'll have a nice bitter laugh at CDP leadership.]

This story is uncomfortable for me to write; it will likely be uncomfortable for most of you to read. I would not likely go through with it were I not convinced that it will eventually become highly publicized anyway — likely at a more damaging time for both Democratic Party candidates in the race for the district 4 of the Board of Equalization. (It’s friends call it the “BOE.”)

BOE District 4 (“BOE-4”) — the southernmost of the four statewide BOE districts (each containing around 10 million people) that comprise the most obscure of the statewide elected offices to be filled this year — includes Orange County. Most readers will have at best of vague idea of what the BOE even does; that was originally going to be the first part of this story, but I’m going to consign it and some other matters to an epilogue at the end. (Happy reading of that, if you dare.)

This story involves not only either a horrible lapse of judgment a dirty political trick. If the latter, it seems very likely tp have been an illegal political dirty trick — though, I have to admit, a diabolically ingenious one.

1. Introducing a Complicated Story about a Simply Vile Act

No later than 2017 (based on my Google Images search), on a site that I won’t identify (because it doesn’t deserve hits), a racist anti-Black meme first appeared that might have (and might still) disrupt this year’s BOE District 4 election. I describe it to you in the next paragraph, in still-legible light gray, so if even a verbal description of some old-school repulsive racism would deeply unnerve you, just skip that paragraph.

Also in 2017, the racist meme was reproduced on a meme collection site called “me.me,” which is sort of a repository for memes ranging from funny to horrific. The name associated with it there will likely allow you to imagine it even without my describing it: “How to Protect Your Watermelon Farm.” The visual racist “joke” shows a watermelon patch with a dummy dressed up as a Klansman being used as a scarecrow, with the above caption above it. This is offensive in at least three major ways — I don’t think I need to review them — and I apologize for needing to bring it up at all. I’ve posted a highly redacted version of the image, which by itself would not itself be seen as offensive, at THIS LINK, my purpose in doing so is simply to show that it does exist and does contain the elements I note above.

(Longtime readers of this blog may recall our stories (this one is a retrospective) on an email distributed by former Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose, in the days when less respectable Republicans were still trying to get their heads around the painful and infuriating notion of their having a Black President. It touched on a similar theme — and whenever Grose pokes his head into public life we they never let him forget or escape it. That’s how you make such shit stop.)

Why mention this at all? Because the California Democratic Party will be this week endorse a candidate in the race for the BOE District 4. I’m informed that this story has been leaked to various other news outlets, for whom it becomes especially newsworthy only after the endorsement has been given. (After all, this isn’t a DA-caliber race.) [UPDATE on Feb. 28 as I prepare this for publication: one Republican (possibly running as an NPP) candidate has already posted the link that has been going around to various media in a Reddit forum, so that was a prediction crafter a week or two ago that came through before I was able to publish it.)

The link shows the meme having been shared on a personal (as opposed to government) Facebook page belonging to the incumbent in this office, Mike Schaefer. Schaefer is the only candidate eligible for a Californian Democratic Party (“CDP”) endorsement, and is indeed, under party rules, on a path to an automatic endorsement. I write this now because the party needs to know about it — as much as the party leadership and I hold each other in contempt, I still consider myself a good Democrat, though I wouldn’t say the same of all of them. I suggest that they really need to think strategically about what to do about it. This seems to me to be an attempt to defame both Schaefer and his sole Democratic challenger, David Dodson by suggesting without plausibility or proof that Dodson could have somehow gotten the document onto Schaefer’s password-protected Facebook page and posted the meme there to frame him, thus provoking a damaging primary fight between them. That’s one scenario that can safely be ruled out; Dodson, a BOE employee who manages its office in Los Angeles, would not have had the means to do so — and if he had done it, risking the loss of his good job, he presumably would have leaked it before the 2018 primary, in which he also ran, rather than now.

I believe Schaefer’s denial that he had ever reposted this (from a Facebook user claiming to be named “Gary Lanza,” of whom he says he’s never heard.) It seems to me to be a setup (not by Dodson) to make it appear that Schaefer had reposted this vile and racist image in 2018. Two versions of this image have been circulating: one shows a landscape (horizontal orientation) screenshot of Mike Schafer’s Facebook page showing a repost of this image. The second is a portrait (vertical orientation) screenshot showing the image from what appears to be a smartphone. This second image shows that it had been shared two days previously. The name “Michael” is centered on above the image (making it look to me like it came from his phone); the globe icon next to the “2d” writing shows that it was shared with the whole world. The website itself was apparently (and unfortunately) taken down since then, rather than just the meme, complicating the process of possibly figuring out whose “fingerprints” are on it.

The meme has been universally condemned by people who have gone on the record about it. They have also exculpated Schaefer. Schaefer’s comments themselves will appear below, but for now here are some from other figures close to him:

First, from Taisha Brown, Chair of the California Democratic Party’s Black Caucus:

Mike Schaefer is a longtime friend of the Black community since his days representing Southeast San Diego on the City Council. The racist individual who hacked Mike’s personal Facebook account should be held accountable and be prosecuted.

Next, from Schaefer’s Chief of Staff, Gary Gartner, speaking for Schaefer:

Mike Schaefer was hacked on Facebook by someone who illegally created a fake profile impersonating him. The hacker then posted a repugnant racist image on this phony profile making this a hate crime. It is being investigated by law enforcement agencies and I have no doubt that the perpetrator will be apprehended. 

Vice Chair Schaefer found the hacked image completely disgusting and abhorrent.

Finally, for now, Gartner’s assistant Will Rodriguez-Kennedy also condemns the fire and also explains how he thinks that this happened. We’ll get to that below.

So the statements from Schaefer, his assistants, and at least one ally are consistent and exculpatory. That doesn’t necessarily settle the matter, but I will tell you that I have no direct evidence to the contrary. What I do have is a mystery — one of two mysteries, in fact — that I think require some investigation. If someone still wants to advance some sort of inculpatory theory, they should have to get past the information I’ve assembled. Whether that’s possible, I can’t say; what I can say is that some unsupported assertion that Schaefer or his staff did this is completely out of line.

And that comes from someone who actually prefers one of Schaefer’s challengers, and does not think that the California Democratic Party should endorse at all in this primary election. (Of course they should do so in the general. And if that means bending or breaking some internal party rules, I can attest that it won’t be the first time.)

2. Putting My Personal Cards on the Table

The above section was my setting the table. Now I’ll show my cards — one of which is saying that I like both of these candidates and the difference between them is nowhere near as great as the difference between the two of them and any one of the non-Democratic candidates running. Another card is that I care more about dozens of other races on OC ballots alone than I do about this one. A final card is that by this point I have developed an educated opinion on the race — sharing of which as a public service is what I consider part of my “job” here — but that doesn’t mean that it’s some sort of obsession. I think that actions we despise when they come from members of other parties are attributed to someone in our own; we need to take public steps to get to the bottom of it.

As an aside, longtime OJB readers know that I’m not generally the one on this site who does original reporting where I talk to live sources (other than the Registrar of Voters.) I like to do political analysis based on secondary sources — documents, videos, other previously written stories. (Vern does that sort of story as well, but he’s been especially successful with of original reporting. But I’ve done a whole lot of original reporting for this story — talking to at least a dozen people — and based on that, I can offer my personal conclusions.

  1. I do not believe that Mike Schaefer posted that image on his own Facebook page, or any other Facebook page, for reasons that I’ll explain later
  2. I do believe that Schaefer was set up by someone who wanted to make him look like a racist.
  3. I do not believe that whoever was monitoring Schaefer’s Facebook page in 2018, during the previous cycle’s race for District 4, did anything other than standard, legitimate, political opposition research that all candidates should expect.
  4. I do not believe that those circulating the story now did so for improper reasons. This sort of early leak has the effect of letting the party consider it — essentially protecting the party from its exploding into public consciousness at the most destructive moment. Those who want to see Schaefer endorsed by the party will say that RIGHT NOW IS that most destructive moment — but that’s horsepucky. Barring some enormous scandal or personal tragedy, Schaefer — as the incumbent — will make the runoff no matter what, especially against a far more fractured Republican field. The question that the party faces this week is whether he will be likely to face off against a second (and far less well-funded) Democrat in the runoff, or a Republican who might be able to raise lots of cash.
  5. I do believe that the mystery of how the racist meme got onto Schaefer’s page — or a page appearing to belong to Schaefer — in 2018 is one that needs to be solved. I further believe that the California Democratic Party, whose reputation as the anti-racist-meme party, could be on the line here. The CDP should publicly try to take a role in solving this mystery. If it endorses at all — and I will argue below that it shouldn’t, for tactical reasons having nothing to do with this racist meme — it should only do so provisionally, with the understanding that the Party Chair may on his own volition affirm it or suspend it at a later date.
  6. Interjecting a moment of analysis, the primary endorsement seriously doesn’t much matter for Schaefer, who will make the November runoff no matter what. He is an incumbent with a good campaign team; he doesn’t need to be on the party’s primary slate mailer. But being opposed by the party — that what the party endorsing someone else does, after all — would matter for Dodson. Given that it looks like up to six viable Republicans will be splitting the vote against just two Democrats, the Democrats can hold both spots in the Top-Two runoff. Should the party want one of the six Republicans running to be poised to take advantage of a possible Schaefer scandal — or even an effective lying Republican whisper campaign about it? No, that’s unnecessary, foolish, and risky!
  7. I can’t state definitively who posted this meme, and on what actual page. But I will set forth those facts I think that seem fairly well established. If the CDP does do its own investigation of this (as I strongly suggest) with people who are more Facebook tech savvy than I am, it post should give them a head start.

I’ll also lay one last card on the table, by stating my rooting interests right here. I endorsed David Dodson in 2018. I think that he is an exceptionally well-qualified candidate — earnest, caring, and wonky in just the right ways. I expect to vote for him in the primary; I think he’s the kind of special talent we should want in elected representatives.

But I think that he Dodson a very tough and steep hill to climb, mostly for financial reasons. His campaign notes that he obviously could raise money in the general election, if he were running against a Republican. And even if he didn’t raise much, with less than $2000 raised for the primary Dodson received 234,00+ votes — despite not having a ballot designation. (He will have a ballot designation this time. He also has a candidate statement, but given the massive per-world cost in a district with ten million people, he kept it quite short compared to those of other candidates.) Dodson has been speaking to clubs and is relatively well-connected on social media.

Essentially, if there is no CDP endorsement shunting Dodson aside, he has reason to receive more donations. My concern is that, if Schaefer somehow didn’t make the runoff — a well-funded Republican would likely squash Dodson unless the CDP intervened. And personally, I don’t want a Republican in this Democratic leaning seat.

So let me put this is attention getting big type:

The party’s choice is between:

Endorsing Schaefer and making it virtually impossible for Dodson to join him in a runoff — meaning a runoff between 84-year-old Schaefer and a plausibly electable Republican opponent, or …

Not endorsing in the race, with Schaefer almost certainly making the runoff anyway (barring scandal or tragedy) — possibly against a Republican, but conceivably against Dodson (which would guarantee a Democrat in the seat!)

Why do I care about this? Because there is a lot of mischief that can be done in the BOE, as I’ll note below, and I don’t want to see it happen in this possibly majority determining seat.

Having gotten to know Mike Schaefer (whom I treated dismissively in 2018, for good reason, but who has cleaned up his act), I’ve also come to like him very much personally. He’s an affable raconteur with an amazing back story. I think that he also cares very much about doing a good job, even if that means heavy reliance upon staff. I have some criticisms of how approaches the task, which I’ll review below, but they are not fatal ones. I would vote for him without hesitation against anyone in the race but Dodson — and one reason for my going forward with this story is that if this was some sort of Republican dirty trick (as is possible), I’m cutting the wire on its electronic trigger right here.

3. Background: the 2018 Race

Seven candidates took part in the 2018 primary race for the BOE-4 seat. Two, Schaefer and Dodson, were Democrats. Four — San Diego County State Senator Joel Anderson, Tustin’s John Kelly, Jim Stieringer, and Nader Shahatit (whom I’d thought was a Democrat from Imperial County!) were Republicans. OC’s Ken Lopez-Maddox ran as a Democrat — but, as faithful readers know know, that is just a suit he puts on from time to time as a convenience.

Anderson led the field with 492,122 votes (31.2%). Schaefer was second, with 269,044 votes (17.0%), so those two made the runoff. Kelley came in third with 263,294 votes (16.7%), narrowly losing to Schaefer. (This becomes unexpectedly important later on.) Dodson ran fourth with 234,534 votes (14.9%). Lopez Maddox trailed him narrowly with 228,811 votes (14.5%). Stieringer (58,642 votes, 3.7%) and Shahatit (32.105 votes, 2.0%) brought up the rear.

One important thing to note in this race is the effect of spoilers: if Lopez-Maddox had stayed out of the race, his votes would presumably have gone to Schaefer and Dodson, probably moving Dodson to third place — a little more impressive, but still out of the money. If the combined 90,000 votes for the two trailing candidates were divided up among the two named Republicans, Kelly would easily have surpassed Schaefer (so long as Lopez-Maddox remained in the race), and we’re having a very different conversation this year!

In the runoff, Schaefer received 1,559,373 votes (52.2%) to Anderson’s 1,427,566 (47.8%) — roughly a 6% shift towards the Democrats in the general election (which is within the typical range for the party that shows up less for primaries.)

4. Lineup for the 2022 Race

The field in this race is not yet set — but it seems likely that Republicans will again get more votes in the primaries than Democrats. Here’s the current lineup, to which which I’ll add as we approach the March 11 filing deadline. Because I have to check five counties’ pages to figure out where things stand, I’ll list candidates by county.

Orange County: David Dodson is the sole Democrat running. Among Republicans, John Kelly and anti-tax Huntington Beach Council member and City Attorney fetishist Erik Peterson have already qualified for the ballot. Thirsty-for-office ex-Assembly member Matt Harper and hungry-for-salary Water Board Director Denis Bilodeau have taken out papers but not yet qualified. The only candidate in this group who isn’t stronger than Republican runner-up John Kelly was in 2018 is .. John Kelly. (I believe that Karl Roditis’s name at one point appeared on the ROV’s list, but if so it’s gone now. In any case, I would not call him viable here.)

San Bernardino County: No candidate is listed, but I don’t know how responsive their Registrar’s office is.

Riverside County: “Small Business Consultant” Randell “Randy” Economy has qualified for the ballot. Economy has been most famous (or notorious) for his role as a senior advisor and spokesperson for the campaign to Recall Gavin Newsom — which should serve him really well in any statewide runoff! (By the way, how did Riverside snag a cool Registrar of Voters website name like “voteinfo.net”? Snappy thinking there, eastern neighbor!)

San Diego County: No one but Mike Schaefer has taken out papers, but — surprise! (to me at least) — he has not yet qualified for the ballot! Schaefer is a former entertainment attorney, so maybe he’s just building up the drama! Will the CDP endorse one Democratic candidate over another if, with a week to go, he’s not yet officially in the race? Maybe we’ll find out!

Imperial County: Five candidates for Irrigation District, none for Board of Equalization! Where are their priorities? (I’d say: “in order.”)

5. “The Racist Meme” Origin Story

Okay, this is what many readers will have come here for, so let’s get to it.

A. History of This Meme

If you want the history if how this Racist Meme first came on the internet, you have to go back to the introduction above and read that paragraph in light gray, if you haven’t already. (Select it with your cursor, if you need to, to make it more legible.) All you need to know for these purposes is that the meme was picked up by a page belonging to someone (who may not actually exist, or if so be its author) named “Gary Lanza.” The profile picture shows a motto, “I’m an asshole,” suggesting that the page may been someone who wanted to defame some actual and probably unsuspecting Gary Lanza.)

B. Where and When the Meme Was Apparently Obtained

Facebook reports that the “Lanza” page’s cover photo containing this meme was page was last updated on June 3. Presumably, the real author (whom I’ll call “Lanza,” whether that’s a name or a pseudonym) only updated the cover photo with this rancid meme just this once. A photo of the page from a phone says that it was taken two days after the page was updated, so would have had to be from June 5 or later.  That’s important, because the 2018 California primary was itself held on June 5!  This rules out the possibility, for example, that Dodson was involved — something that Schaefer and his crew rule out anyway — because there would have been no point in hacking into Schaefer’s account (not likely possibly anyway) or “cloning” (that is, setting up a counterfeit lookalike) Schaefer account and then not using the information when it could have done his campaign any good. For one thing, there was no compelling reason to think that Schaefer would have been the one to make the runoff. It could have been useful for Schaefer’s runoff opponent, then State Senator Joel Anderson — which doesn’t necessarily that mean it would be from his campaign as opposed to from some trollish supporter of his. But … why go through the trouble of hacking or cloning Schaefer’s account with such an incendiary graphic — and then not use it at all in the ensuing reasonably close election?

It’s a mystery. Presuming that Schaefer did not copy it himself — which I rule out for reasons given below — there’s no good reason for it to have happened. But it did happen and it is incendiary and it could already damage Schaefer in this campaign. At least one media outlet did already seek comment about it from Schaefer’s third-in-command at the BOE, Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, who is also the Chair of the San Diego Democratic Party. For a party that has spent much of the past five years complaining about meme’s offered by Republicans, this is a ticking time bomb.

So I think that we have to look into the mystery.

6. “The Racist Meme”: How Did It Get There?

Until the past few days, the story seemed a simple one with only a few suspects. Board member Schaefer has a computer in his house. He informed me that only a few people — his roommate and his two staffers — had access to the place where he kept his password. What alarmed me that he actually told me where the password was located, to my horror, which I have since then intentionally buried in my unconscious mind. (This is one of the things that makes me wonder about him, but again — I’m not going to visit his home and I’m certainly not telling anyone, so it’s not a fatal flaw. Just … disconcerting.)

I had prepared an analysis of the possibilities, based upon this, which I’ve now removed. The story has changed to a more plausible one — that his page was spoofed (by someone without his password, as you see when you get a Facebook friend request from someone who you’re already friends with, and have to ask them “is this really you?” — rather than hacked by someone who did have a password. In that case, the suspects can be narrowed down to “everyone in the world with Facebook access,” which isn’t particularly helpful.

Both staffers deny involvement. Neither Schaefer nor anyone close to him thing that the Dodsons were involved. The most likely possibility seems to be that someone who was following the election (and yes, that certainly does narrow down the possibilities!) created the spoofed page with the meme, for the sort of perverted reasons that trolls do such things. Schaefer doesn’t think that any Democrat would have done it, but he does think that it could be a Republican. If so, it could either be a hireling (but from whom?) or some campaign member who was a Master of the Dark Arts.

Because this happened in 2018 rather than 2022, I don’t want to name any of the Republican candidates as a likely suspect. But if any of them were involved with or an outside supporter of the campaign of Sen. John Anderson — the loser of the runoff whom I do not suspect personally — then let’s just say that that would be very intriguing. I have not investigated this, but perhaps the CDP eventually will.

Conceivably, this could have been sort of a prank by someone who was considering tarring Schaefer in the runup to the runoff — but then abandoned the plan. (The choice of this sort of meme to tar someone — which would have been almost as bad (though less illegal) as posting a piece of kiddie porn — remains the real scandal here, but unfortunately some assholes do like rubbing salt into the psychic wounds of minority groups.) If anyone doing oppo research then did regular Facebook searches of accounts associated with Mike Schaefer, they would likely have found it. Someone apparently approached the Schaefer campaign about it in 2008 and it got taken down within days. I still have some questions about how who informed them of it, how they found it, and how they got it taken down — after all, they couldn’t have done it by themselves if they didn’t create or control the page — but that’s for the CDP to explore, not for someone who supports David Dodson in the primary.

7. The Case on the Merits

Since I can’t point the finger at any particular suspect (though I hope that CDP at some point might), as a conclusion I’ll offer two reasons for why, while I like Schaefer, I prefer Dodson.

The first is a matter of political ethics. Last year (or late the previous one), Schaefer’s office hired Will Rodriguez-Kennedy — introduced above — who seems bright enough but had no clear qualifications for managing an BOE office. Rodriguez-Kennedy makes a salary in the low $100,000s — and for all I know he may deserve it — but I strongly suspect that he didn’t get that job because he ranked highest on the formal qualifications. I think it’s fair to presume that he got the job because he is Chair of the San Diego Party — and that his hiring would come in very handy at this specific moment, when through ties with the state party leaders and sway the local delegates he could help to deliver the nomination to Schaefer.

I hate, hate, hate this sort of thing — and I really hate that this is “normal practice.” I can’t really blame Gartner for doing the smart thing and hiring Rodriguez-Kennedy, nor Rodriguez-Kennedy for accepting such a job, because they are part of a system where that sort of thing is not only accepted, but expected. Several years ago, when the BOE was stripped down to its constitutional powers (which had been greatly supplemented over the years), it was partially on this very basis of wasting public money on cushy positions for both members and their staffs. The BOE has often been seen as a nice cushy retirement post for politicians — just look at the list of Republicans vying for it this year! — and we really don’t need to fund those. As I said, hiring Rodriguez-Kennedy was “a smart move” — and all I can do about it is to call attention to it so that it is no longer as smart of a move, and people might hesitate to do it.

OK, on to conclude with something less infuriating.

My interview with Mike Schaefer is one of the most enjoyable ones I’ve ever done. He had a wild career as an entertainment attorney (including representing athletes) that gives him a “Forrest Gump” aspect of involvement with a wild assortment of people. He was friends with James Meredith, who integrated the University of Mississippi. (Schaefer may not know this, but Meredith later became an aide and advisor to segregationist Senator Jesse Helms. His explanation was that he had applied to every U.S. Senator and only Helms responded. So OK, I guess.) He worked for California’s famed liberal Republican Senator Thomas Kuechel. He represented boxer Archie Moore, and dined several times (maybe more) with him and Muhammad Ali. He was good friends with Sarah Weddington, the attorney who won Roe v. Wade, who knew him as an election lawyer (rather than an entertainment lawyer) because he had brought the case that forced creation of the random alphabet in elections (as opposed to the regular one, that disadvantaged people who names started with letters like “S” and “W.” He was an Assistant Prosecutor in San Diego and got elected to his (largely minority) district because “the cops loved me.” He was close to comedians Louie Anderson and Bob Saget; he represented the actor who played Cousin It on the original Addams Family. He was eventually disbarred — I thought my notes included that story, but at some point my hand cramped, but as I recall he said it was some sort of frame-up after he had pissed off the wrong people (I think it was in Las Vegas?) by not caving into them. For someone a generation younger than him, this stuff was catnip.

But there was at least one moment in the interview that gave me pause. I wrote it down as close verbatim as I could manage. Regular readers will understand why.

‘We get to tell Disneyland what their property is worth.  They always have work to do with pipes; they’re always doing construction, so they always get reassessed.  [OC Assessor Claude Parrish likes me; I once gave him tour of Knott’s Berry Farm.  If I can find a legal way to adjust a company’s downward to make everyone happy, I will.  If Parrish won’t give a them reduction than they go to the BOE and we hear their appeal.  Southern California Edison went to us after the fires; they wanted to reduce their tax from $2.9 billion to $2.5 billionl we settled on $2.8 billion.”

It’s subtle. Did you catch it? “Make everyone happy.”

Not everyone is happy when corporations pay less taxes than they ought to because the board governing them is trying to figure out ways to help them do it. I’m not happy about it. Those who — I presume largely in the educational realm, given that these are property taxes — end up with less money than they’d have without the intervention are not happy about it. Mike Schaefer seems like an exceptionally nice guy — but when it comes to tax collection I don’t want someone intent on being so nice that they can be convinced to ease off. If the law says that Disneyland, due to it’s continual construction, has to be reassessed more often, then you can lobby to change the law if you can — but if you’re on the board tasked with enforcing the law then you enforce the law! That’s what “Equalization” means; fairness, not based on subjective standards in a clubby, hail-fellow-well-met way, but based on what the law calls for.

I have never spoken to David Dodson about this; I don’t know where he would stand on it. But I suspect that he’d suffer less from what’s sometimes called “regulatory capture,” in which regulators may get too close and personally sympathetic to those whom they regulate — especially if they’re rich and powerful That’s the only substantive — as opposed to political and tactical — case that I’ll make against the Democratic Party endorsing in this race before the primary. If Schaefer is re-elected, I expect that — supported by a good staff — he’ll continue to do a decent job. I just think that a serious-minded, straight-shooting wonk like Dodson would likely do a better one.

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.)