Weekend Open Thread: Sexual Harassment Suit vs. State Senator Who Advertises Here

NOTE: DEAR CHARMINGLY EXCITABLE PUBLIC: SO FAR AS I KNOW, THERE IS NO TRUTH TO THE RUMOR SPREADING TONIGHT (5/24) THAT DAN CHMIELEWSKI HAS BEEN ARRESTED BY THE FBI.

I DON’T KNOW THAT IT ISN’T TRUE, BUT I HAVE NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT IT IS, SO EASE OFF.

NOR IS THERE ANY TRUTH TO THE RUMOR THAT IF DAN C. WERE FACING ARREST, HE’D NEVER LET THEM TAKE HIM ALIVE, BECAUSE HE WOULD REVERT TO HIS NATURAL GELATINOUS FORM AND SEEP THROUGH CRACKS IN THE SURROUNDING WALLS. I KNOW THAT THAT’S NOT TRUE, BECAUSE I STARTED THAT RUMOR AS A JOKE.

STRICTLY SPEAKING, I DON’T KNOW THAT THAT SECOND JOKING RUMOR ISN’T TRUE EITHER, BUT IF IT WERE IT WOULD BE A TRULY STARTLING COINCIDENCE FOR ME TO HAVE COME UP WITH IT. STILL: EASE OFF!

This is going to be a pot pourri WOT post.

1. Archuleta’s Vulnerability Could Lose Dems a State Senate Seat

This has been on my long list of stories to get to, but I guess I have to let it jump to the head of the line.

State Senator Bob Archuleta has what looks to me like a credible sexual harassment case looming before him. The plaintiff is looking for discovery of his record of complaints while he was a police officer. If she hits pay dirt, then — well, I don’t think that he can back off from being the party nominee in a Top Two primary, because he’s the nominee of the people rather than the party. There’s only one Republican running against two-and-a-half credible Democrats, so nominating Archuleta can mean losing the seat if the story turns out to be lurid enough.

Archuleta hails from Montebello — yes, home of the Calderon Crime Family, though I don’t know if he has any direct connection to its exploits — and currently represents only Buena Park within OC. That changes this year as new Senate District 30 lumbers into the county, incorporating into this heavily Latino district the city of … Brea. Brea? My Brea?

OK, fine — I guess that the city deserves a little Democratic representation in the legislature once in a while especially since the rat-finks are taking Josh from us. But, as you may remember from our Election Endorsements (which are now buried far enough back by new posts that they might as well have been from last October), we didn’t endorse the centrist-at-best Archuleta for this seat, but the much more progressive Henry Bouchet, a Whittier Councilmember.

That decision has certainly been reinforced by this story in the delightfully named The Downey Patriot. (That name always makes me think of Johnny Tremaine.) QUOTES HERE.

This story has been on a very low simmer, in the light of the defeat of Poseidon and the “Anaheist”(tm) series of stories — actually, not really on a simmer at all, just sort of sitting on the kitchen counter being pushed further and further away from the burner — except for one thing: I’m seeing ads for Archuleta on my this very blog, my online home. (I don’t know if he’s only buying ads that apply to those of us in Brea. If so: tactical error, Senator!

So let me be clear: do not vote for Archuleta; vote for Bouchot! Bouchet’s opponents from LA are reviling him as a George Gascón fan — which, to be fair, I personally am. I’m not sure about him, though: all I know that he did was vote against a City Council resolution supporting Gascón’s recall, which is a pretty fair position to take given a deeply split electorate. They have taken over his Facebook page and are reducing it to radioactive rubble. Don’t buy it. We can use one more progressive State Senator and one fewer retrograde “old school” bane to qualified female employees.

To address a theme being drummed there: yes, it’s “innocent until proven guilty,” but we don’t have time to wait for the trial to begin and end. As a Plaintiff’s-side employment lawyer I can tell you that meritless cases don’t usually get this far into discovery. Is Archuleta’s conduct as a police officer fair game? Didn’t use to be — but it is now!

State Senator Bob Archuleta, facing a potentially devastating lawsuit

I recently had an interesting call from an Archuleta supporter, by the way, in which I casually raised the problem of the whether he had ever been accused of wrongdoing. After some dancing around, she realized that I knew what I was talking about and said that a person was innocent until proven guilty. Before I could explain that it was a problem that he wasn’t voluntarily opening his police misconduct records to public view, the call ended, so I will finish my sentence to you: It’s a problem that he doesn’t voluntarily open his police misconduct records to public view, even if it’s not legally required to do so, because it leads to suspicion that this is not simply some misguided position of principle about the privacy of personnel files, but motivated because there’s something within those files that he does not want the public to see. And if they get opened after Election Day, any stink bombs they may contain would go off in our collective faces!

2. Christina Shea Pummels Farrah Over Melahat Ties

Let’s see what else has come across our news desk: Oh yeah, there’s something from our commenter, former Irvine Mayor Christina Shea, who seems to be in the mix for our “Tom Tait Good Republican of the Month Award” of the month (usually won by Tom Tait):

Who will turn on whom first, Farrah or Melahat? Or did Melahat already do so?

3. The OC Power Authority Seems Like It’s Powering Down

Speaking of the OCPA, which I’ve been researching and planning to write about, it seems to be collapsing under its own weight, as well as proximity (and perhaps more than that) to the scandal of Melahat’s bribery arrest in Irvine. Melahat was Farrah Khan’s advisor, of course, and (as Shea says) installed one of her Melahat’s staff members to deal with OCPA issues. (How was Melahat going to profit from this? Prodigiously, I expect!) The crisis seems to be focused right now in Huntington Beach, where Councilmember Mike Posey — last seen championing Poseidon last week when it was already an obviously bad idea to do so — resigned prematurely from his OCPA post, suddenly shoving Councilmember Dan Kalmick in the hot seat. I left this comment on the Facebook page of an HB resident named Larry Mc Neely, who watched and reported in the meeting where Posey moseyed:

I was never quite clear on the OCPA’s business plan, such as it was, but logically it could not have included 100% green power unless it was correcting people directly to green power sources *and* that those sources were adequate to meet the demand. I figured that it was a bit hyperbolic and that its goal was to goose us towards a quicker transition than we’d otherwise have. That’s still a laudable goal, and was probably what motivated Kalmick. Like me, he probably didn’t expect that it was fraudulent vaporware. Posey was pro-Poseidon, so I have no idea what he believed, if anything.

Supposedly, other charter members Fullerton and Buena Park did not contract with the OCPA, so they aren’t getting dinged financially over what looks like a weird idea. But Irvine — who apparently covered the initial costs of OCPA, including the salary of the dramatically unqualified initial CEO Brian Probolsky — was not so lucky, and I suspect that this will be the subject of some serious investigation, by … someone. (Everyone call your favorite DA candidate!) Really, Anaheim may not like this, but: as this is where Melahat’s arrest took place, its citizens should not be upset if the FBI follows the trail to Irvine. As for Irvine Councilmembers Mike Carroll and Farrah Khan — maybe Sidhu has some extra room in his escape helicopter!

4. WeCann is Worth a Good, Long, Probing Look

So Melahat has had a company with her brother called WeCann (for “cannabis,” get it?) that offers an impressive — nay, boggling! — set of services. Go check it out yourself at this link. Because it might disappear at any time, we’re including the sole testimonial on its splash page, from a familiar name:

Carroll. Carroll … that name sounds familiar! I wonder if he’s related to anyone Melahat knows? And wouldn’t it be good to know more about this testimonial maker’s experiences with WeCann?

5. Arte Threatens the Angels If They Don’t Take His ‘Good Faith’ Deal

The Voice of OC (which has been doing a great job, by the way, even if they never credit us) has a really interesting story out on Arte Moreno’s latest demands, from which I’ll quote at some length:

Angels owner Arte Moreno is pushing Anaheim City Council members to finalize a controversial stadium sale by June 14 – regardless of a court-ordered hold on last-minute changes to the deal stemming from a Surplus Land Act violation and what seems like an active FBI probe into stadium negotiations.

VOC offers a letter from Angels owner Allen Abshez, a partner in Loeb & Loeb, which sets forth quite an argument of the deal being a done deal. It struck me as audacious, given the likelihood that a 60-day stay will be granted, but you can judge for yourself.

The VOC also quotes Abshez as saying that the Angels have held up their share of the bargain with Anaheim:

Attorney Allan Abshez – representing Moreno’s development firm, SRB Management – said officials “expects that the parties will complete the first transaction; (i) as it would be modified by the draft First Amendment to the PSA and the draft First Amendment to the DDA (if those amendments are approved by the City Council at its upcoming session); or (ii) in accordance with the agreements previously adopted by the City in September 2020.”

Abshez said Moreno and Angels executives have done their end of the bargain.

“SRB and Angels Baseball have acted in good faith throughout their dealings with the City of Anaheim with the sole purpose to create a good and fair agreement for the residents of Anaheim and the Angels. SRB Management is proud of its work with the City, and all of its numerous representatives and experts, and stands ready to complete the transaction and perform the agreements approved by the City Council in September 2020,” Abshez wrote to Vanderpool on Friday. 

I’m not going to lie about it: I find that hilarious. They in effect purchased the ability to bargain with someone whose main interest was not the benefit of the city, but the benefit that he could gain from the Angels if he gave them a really good deal. I don’t know that this even qualifies as an “arm’s-length transaction.”

I’m also wondering about whether Abshez — who as I recall was the attorney for the Angels at the time that CATER, of which I was General Counsel, was suing them as well as the City — knows the identity of the person mentioned here, in a conversation surreptitiously recorded (at the FBI’s request) by CW2, whom I think we believe to be Todd Ament (and if I’m wrong I’m sure people here will correct me:

CW2: Yeah, so umm, I haven’t talked to [Political Consultant 1] since the
holidays. So we texted last week and said, “Hey we gotta catch up.” And
umm, so it actually went to the Chamber and so [Chamber Employee 1]
and I got it. And I said, “Hey tell [Political Consultant 1] I gotta touch
base with him on this.” So we’re touching base tomorrow at 2. Ah,
[Angels Employee 1] from the Angels, the old attorney, he’s —
HS: [Angels Employee 1] from the Angels?
CW2: Yeah, he wants to meet. Ah, just to catch up, but I said, you know, “Did
you get a letter?” I don’t know. I asked him something like that, and he
said “Yeah.”
HS: So this is the [Angels Employee 1] that used to be the previous attorney?
CW2: Yeah. Right.
HS: Because they also got it.

You know, I just have a feeling that giving the property to Mr. Moreno’s company may be a little premature….

Here’s one thing: is Arte Moreno really going to own the Angels for very long? I would think that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, watching this clusterbomb from afar, might simply step in at some point, given this sordidness and his extraordinary power to act “in the best interest of baseball.” I don’t look that Commissioner Mandred would like the looks of this letter at all …. Hey, wait a moment …

Oh, look — he has a contact page online! Do you think that he already knows that Arte Moreno’s role in a bribery scandal that redounds to his personal benefit renders his continued ownership of the Angels is not “in the best interests of baseball”? Maybe he’s just waiting to hear from all sorts of people from Anaheim and environs to suggest that they do not want this guy involved with our team, and we’d like to trade him for a new owner.

Of course (and here see the ripples on your screen as I go into a reverie) — to fend off accusations of racism that Arte Moreno would likely level, new ownweship would ideally be a consortium of Latinos! Personally, I’d like to see one led by people who actually do understand the “Business of Baseball” — like former Angels players Rod Carew (who once won a big collusion lawsuit against the league), Reggie Jackson (who hit his 500th home run as an Angel and has taken strong stands against doping), and brief-term Angel Fernando Valenzuela (mostly to make Doyers fans jealous) — many other Latino stars are there to choose from (maybe not A-Rod, OK?) (Sorry for my going Winships on everyone.)

Sigh. So much news to cover — and a third of the month left to go!

This is your Weekend Open Thread! Talk about any of the above, or something else entirely, within reasonable bounds of decorum and discretion. We’re still trying to figure out how to drink from the fire house of events here, so that might included a dedicated Open Thread to either or both of the Melahat and Anaheist stories; hopefully, we’ll let you know here if that happens.

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.)