OJB Endorsements for the 2022 Primary!

Top row: David Dodson, Jay Chen, Katrina Foley and Sunny Park.
Middle row: Rose Espinoza, Mike Ortega, Bulmaro “Boomer” Vicente, Vicente Sarmiento.
Bottom Row: Al Mijares, Paulette Chaffee, Martha Fluor, and Sherine Smith.

[These 12 candidates are the ones who made our cover shot not only because they are worth supporting,
but because they are the ones who need the most serious help THIS MONTH in winnable primaries
(or, in the case of the school board, final elections.)
So no offense intended to Sharon, Katie, Cottie, Kim Carr, Diedre, and others:
we haven’t forgotten about you and you may be in our cover photo in early October!]

It’s ENDORSEMENT TIME! For a full list of candidates for each office, with Greg’s commentary, see this post!


MUCH SHORTER, SIMPLER version of these endorsements, assembled by Vern, is HERE!

Vern and Greg are both “mid-leftist” Democrats (think AOC and Bernie) who favor politicians who value accountability, transparency, effectiveness, lack of corrupt or self-serving motives, wide-eyed clarity of vision (“climate change is reeeeeal!”), social justice, civil rights and liberties, diversity, support for functioning democracies in both parties and governments, and not being thuggish violent totalitarians or rapacious ripoff artists. (Hi, Poseidon!) So that’s where these endorsements are coming from.

In the lists below, where Greg and Vern are both endorsing, the candidates name will be underlined and in ORANGE. Greg’s solo choices will be underlined and in GREEN, Vern’s solo choices will be underlined and in VIOLET. When you only see green or violet, it either means that the other of us either disagrees with the choice or doesn’t care, as may be expressed in comments. If there’s no underline, we aren’t endorsing! Italic font means that some of our readers (who include Democrats, Republicans, NPPs, Greens, and others) might want to consider that candidate. Candidates we note in italics but don’t endorse will be color-coded for that candidate’s party: BLUE or RED italics as appropriate for the two major ones. We may also list a third party candidate in the Peace & Freedom color of ROSE (given that Greg already snagged the color green), and an NPP candidate in medium GRAY. Candidates we don’t find compelling are in light gray; ones whom you may like (but I don’t, at least in a primary, such as Newsom) are also italicized and may be in GOLD.


Greg’s comments appear in green: I’m glad to see the Green and Peace & Freedom parties (mostly) divvying up the races. Each party needs to get 2% of the votes cast in one of the Statewide (non-district partisan) offices, including Senate, to stay on the ballot without further fuss. Frankly we’re all better off if at least one of them is on the ballot — Democrats included, as it provides a means for voters to protest in a primary that may make them feel better about taking part in the runoff. (The Reform Party is gone, and no Libertarian and American Independent candidates are even competing in this year’s statewide races!) So here are my rules regarding supporting third parties in primaries: I DO want both of these parties to stay on the ballot, but I’m not going to vote for their candidates in a race with a really large field — such as Governor, Senator, and maybe a few others — because there’s usually a candidate that I think has some outside change to make the Top Two, and because it’s so much harder. As you’ll see, I support a Democrat about half the time and a further left third party candidate about half the time — and, occasionally, a Republican or an NPP!

Finally, if it’s not clear: in a race where the incumbent of your party is a mortal lock to make the runoff, because most voters don’t vote strategically in the way that I suggest, you as a strategic thinker can profitably choose to vote for which candidate you want to be the OTHER ONE in the Top Two runoff! You could leave that choice to other people with whom your disagree — but you could also try to engineer the best runoff yourself! Just think about it — and understand that some of my recommendations should be understood in that context. With a strong favorite in the race, the real decision in our primaries is who finishes second! So I’m often endorsing candidates that would allow me to “hedge my bets” in a runoff. Obviously, if everyone followed my advice then the favored candidate would lose, which would often be bad — but I can assure our readers that not everyone will follow my advice! But in some races, not that many would need to in order to achieve a nice “left vs. center” runoff!

Remember again: if a name or ballot designation is in light gray, we’re probably not thrilled about them. If you can’t read something, you can always highlight it.



Vern breaking in here. It’s hard to find that “violet” code I’m supposed to use. It’s also hard for me to care a lot about this year’s statewide primary races, but Greg’s logic as stated below seems irresistible enough, so I’ll simplify this for the busy voter and give you the Orange Juice endorsements HERE, for the statewide PRIMARY races:

  • Governor: Joel Ventresca (D)
  • Lieutenant Gov: Mohammad Arif (P&F)
  • Secretary of State: Gary Blenner (Green)
  • Controller: Malia M. Cohen (D)
  • Treasurer: Meghann Adams (P&F)
  • Attorney General: Dan Kapelovitz (Green)
  • Insurance Commissioner: Marc Levine (D)
  • Superintendent of Public Schools: Tony Thurmond (D incumbent)
  • Board of Equalization district 4: David Dodson (D)
  • US Senator for California: John Thompson Parker (P&F)

Back to Greg:


Anthony “Tony” Fanara, Owner of Restaurant
Gavin Newsom*, Governor of California
Armando “Mando” Perez-Serrato, No Ballot Designation

Joel Ventresca, Retired Airport Analyst

Ronald A. Anderson, Contractor/Inspector/Businessman
Shawn Collins, Military Officer/Attorney
Brian Dahle, Senator/Farmer
Ron Jones, No Ballot Designation
Jenny Rae Le Roux, Entrepreneur/Mom/Businesswoman
David Lozano, Executive Officer/Attorney
Daniel R. Mercuri, Father/Business Owner
Cristian Raul Morales, Director of Operations
Robert C. Newman II, Farmer/Psychologist
Lonnie Sortor, Business Owner
Anthony Trimino, Entrepreneur/CEO
Major Williams, Entrepreneur/Businessman
Leo S. Zacky, Businessman/Farmer/Broadcaster

Heather Collins , Green, Small Business Owner
Luis Javier Rodriguez, Green, Writer/Poet

Serge Fiankan, Small Business Owner
James G. Hanink, Retired Educator
Woodrow “Woody” Sanders III, Entrepreneur/Director/Engineer
Frederic C. Schultz, Human Rights Attorney
Reinette Senum, No Ballot Designation
Michael Shellenberger, Homelessness Policy Advocate
Bradley Zink, Children’s Book Author

Greg: Don’t vote for Gavin Newsom in this primary. First, he doesn’t deserve it; he is trying to ride his success in this race to a Presidential nomination in 2024, where he’d be a disaster, win or lose. Second, he’ll make the Top 2 without your vote, so don’t help him out; we’re choosing who he runs against. If the polls show him in danger of finishing third, I might change my mind — but they won’t! (OJB’s influence on state elections is somewhat limited.)

So that raises the question of which protest vote you want to cast. Normally, I’d vote Green in this situation, but Heather Collins and Luis Javier Rodriguez (who may be a totally nice and good people) don’t impress me much as candidates — and there are other races where the Green Party is more likely to pass 2%. I don’t need ’em; my vote will go to Joel Ventresca, a Bay Area activist who has been a thorn in the side of Willie Brown and his machine. He seems honest, intelligent, and has good policies. We could do a lot worse. (In fact, we’re doing a lot worse right now!)

If you’re one of our conservative readers, GOP-endorsed Brian Dahle is the top-ranked Republican — so stay away from him (because we want Ventresca to make the runoff!) (Dahle won’t win the runoff anyway, so it’s time to vote your conscience!) And unless you liked Larry Elder, stay away from Major Williams, who is Elder redux, except for still using a 2021 Recall website. Three Republicans struck me as decent people with whom I just strongly disagree. Shawn Collins, a Black vet and lawyer from Trabuco Canyon, seemed intelligent and decent; I respected some of his opinions, and enjoyed the absence of Trump from his website, but his education, Covid, and green economy policies are as bad as you’d expect. David Lozano would still be considered conservative, but not the foaming-at-the-mouth kind. Cristian Raul Morales seemed to have put more thought into his position on immigration than anyone else; regardless of whether I agree with some of his highly bold proposals, he seemed thoughtful and non-antagonistic.

The California Republican Assembly endorsed candidate Jenny Rae Le Roux (whose name is therefore in red); some of my old CRA contacts might have an opinion on her. (See, non-Trump Republicans — you thought that this wasn’t going to be useful to you, but if you read them all, like I did, I do think you’ll prefer these!) Finally, if you’re NPP, you might want to take a look at Brad Zink. I agree with maybe half of what he has to say — I disagree with a quarter of it and I, find another quarter of it a bit nutty — but at least he seems intelligent and pleasant. Finally, I don’t think that Michael Shellenberger’s nice ballot designation is necessarily well-earned, but if you want someone with a a “tough love” or “kick ’em while they’re down” approach to homelessness, there you go!

Lieutenant Governor

Eleni Kounalakis*, Lieutenant Governor
Jeffrey Highbear Morgan, Businessman/Engineer
William Cavett “Skee” Saacke, California Trial Attorney

David Fennell, Entrepreneur
Clint W. Saunders
, Mental Health Worker
Angela E. Underwood Jacobs, Businesswoman/Deputy Mayor

Mohammad Arif, Businessman

David Hillberg, Aviation Mechanic/Actor

I’m not voting for Eleni Kounalakis in the primary, despite having supported her four years ago before it was fashionable, both because I lost respect for her over the recall and I don’t want her to get a high enough vote percentage to be in a good position to run for Governor in four years against other candidates whom I am likelier to prefer. I likely would have supported her if she had shown the courage to bring a lawsuit challenging the application of the “replacement race” to the position of Governor while she still had standing — but she didn’t, meaning more Elders in our future. Worse yet, she said that she opposed the automatic ascension of the Lt. Governor to the Governor’s position, in the event of a recall, because it would incentivize the Lt. Governor to support a recall. That’s balderdash: if a Lt. Gov did so against a popular Governor, they would reap the harsh consequences; if they did so against an unpopular Governor, it would still be better than having someone from the opposition party waltz into office with a substantial minority of the vote.

That said, Eleni will make the Top 2 runoff without difficulty and probably will re-election easily. That means that a protest vote is fine! My vote will be for the Peace and Freedom candidate, Mohammed Arif, to help his party reach their 2% needed to stay on the ballot!. If you have to vote for a Democrat, vote for Skee Saacke. If you have to vote Republican, vote for Clint Saunders; if you must vote for the GOP’s endorsee, she’s in gold.. But take advantage of ballot secrecy and exercise the freedom to make up your own mind!

Secretary of State

Shirley N. Weber, Appointed California Secretary of State
Rob Bernosky, Chief Financial Officer

Rachel Hamm, Author
James “JW” Paine, Teamster Truck Driver
Raul Rodriguez Jr., Retired Warehouseman
Matthew D. Cinquanta, Private Investigator

Gary N. Blenner, Teacher

Shirley Weber’s clearly going to make the Top 2 and should easily go on to win re-election. So, in the primary, vote for Blenner, the Green Party candidate, and help the Greens make their 2%. This is the protest vote you need! Republicans did not endorse — which speakers more loudly than any endorsement! [Note: changed from mistaken endorsement of Cinquanta, whom I thought was the Green. Thank you to Ery for catching this error!]


Malia M. Cohen, California State Board of Equalization Member
Ron Galperin, Controller, City of Los Angeles/Attorney
Steve Glazer, California State Senator
Yvonne Yiu, Chief Financial Officer

Lanhee Chen, Fiscal Advisor/Educator

Laura Wells, Financial Analyst

In this race, Republican Chen will likely make the runoff, and there’s a candidate worth supporting, so this is no place for a protest vote. (Sorry, Laura Wells!) We can eliminate two Dems easily: Steve Glazer is a fiscally hawkish State Senator, and he’d likely use this as a springboard to run for Governor; Yvonne Yiu gets support from one of the Democratic Party’s most notorious pay-for-play sellouts; she seems here mostly to take women’s votes away from Cohen. I wouldn’t feel awful if Galperin won, at least not at this point, but progressive Democrats within the party seem to be wild about Malia Cohen — so I’m going with Malia! Republicans endorsed Chen — and if you’re a Republican not voting for Malia, now you know.


Fiona Ma*, State Treasurer/CPA

Andrew Do, Chief Financial Officer
Jack M. Guerrero, Councilmember/CPA/Economist

Meghann Adams
, School Bus Driver

Fiona Ma spit in the eyes of those experiencing police brutality when she formed a close alliance with the Santa Ana Police Officers Association — the officers who have been playing Disney songs when they stop people so that anyone taking video of them won’t be able to publish them onto YouTube — which steered her a whole bunch of campaign money. I don’t know what they see in her, but it must be awful. Don’t vote for Do; if you must vote Republican, vote for Guerrero. I will hop onto Adams’s bus in the primary. If Andrew Do is against Ma in the runoff, I’ll probably grudgingly support Ma; if it’s Guerrero, I may skip this one. If it’s Adams — then that’s the point when I’ll check to see whether she’s qualified. Interestingly, Republicans did not endorse in this race! Is Ma close enough to Republican for them?

Attorney General

Rob Bonta, Appointed Attorney General of the State of California

Eric Early, Attorney/Business Owner
Nathan Hochman, General Counsel

Dan Kapelovitz, Criminal Defense Attorney

Bonta has done a good job, except for letting the Anaheim City Council weasel out of violating the Surplus Property Act to benefit their benefactor Angels owner Arte Moreno, and (if I get over that) I’ll happily vote for him in November. But in June, I’ll be strongly for Kapelovitz to help the Greens get their 2%! This is the race where it’s most likely to happen, and Bonta doesn’t really need your primary vote! To those Republicans who can’t support either of the above: if the last digit of your Social Security number is odd, vote for Early, and if it’s even (including zero), for Hochman. Sorry, no help forthcoming from me between those two.

Insurance Commissioner

Vinson Eugene Allen, Medical Doctor/Businessman
Jasper “Jay” Jackson, Paralegal
Ricardo Lara*, Insurance Commissioner
Marc Levine, Member, California State Assembly

Greg Conlon, Businessman/CPA
Robert Howell, Cybersecurity Equipment Manufacturer

Veronika Fimbres, Nurse

Nathalie Hrizi
, Teacher/Union Officer

Robert J. Molnar, Healthcare Advocate/Businessman

This is an example of a time when you don’t want to cast a protest vote! Conlon, who was in runoffs for Treasurer in each of the past two cycles (against John Chiang and then Fiona Ma), is fairly likely (but not certain) to make the runoff against Lara, as Howell has had much less electoral success. I’d prefer to see two Democrats make the runoff because Lara, the disappointing incumbent, has a better chance to make the runoff than excellent Assemblymember Levine. Because both third parties are in the race, it’s that much harder for either of them to make the 2%, and in this instance there is a real difference between the two leading Democratic candidates. So, everyone should vote for Levine — a Republican isn’t going to win the runoff anyway, so you might as well have a really good, honest Democrat.

Superintendent of Public Instruction (Non-Partisan)

Marco Amaral, Teacher/Trustee
Joseph Guy Campbell, Montessori Education Publisher
Lance Ray Christensen, Education Policy Executive
Jim Gibson, Cyber Security Professional
Ainye E. Long, Public School Teacher
Tony K. Thurmond*, Superintendent of Public Instruction
George Yang, Software Architect/Father

Vote for Tony Thurmond. If you’re not going to vote for Thurmond, then roll a single die and vote for whichever of the other listed candidates matches your roll. It’s not like it’s going to matter. (OK, I might suggest Ainye Long if she’ll agree to refer to herself as “Ye”.) The large red italics are essentially there in case you don’t follow my instructions; these are the ones whose websites you’ll have to read in order to decide. (See? Act up during the lecture, get an assignment!)

Board of Equalization Member

District 1
Jose S. Altamirano, Business Operations Manager
Braden Murphy, Father
Nader Shahatit, Tax Consultant
Ted Gaines, Member, Board of Equalization

No one here will keep Gaines from winning reelection in this most conservative district. But I’ve endorsed Nader Shahatit twice before and I might as well keep going now! (Wish I knew something about him….)

District 2
Michela Alioto-Pier, Democratic, Small Business Owner
Sally J. Lieber, Democratic, Councilwoman/Environmental Advocate
Peter Coe Verbica, Republican, Investment Advisor

Michela is the daughter of former San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto, whose surname still carries lots of cachet. That’s a shame, because Sally Lieber is much better. Both Dems could advance, though, in this most-liberal of the four districts.

District 3
John Mendoza, Democratic, No Ballot Designation
Tony Vazquez, Democratic, Member, Board of Equalization
Y. Marie Manvel, No Party Preference, Social Services Commissioner

This is the LA district. Vasquez will make the runoff. He’s supposedly fine. We’ll announce if this changes.

David Dodson, Democratic, State Board Supervisor
Mike Schaefer, Democratic, Member, State Board of Equalization, 4th District
Denis R. Bilodeau, Republican, Taxpayer Advocate/Engineer
Randell R. Economy, Republican, Small Business Owner
Matthew Harper, Republican, Businessman/Business Owner
John F. Kelly, Republican, Small Business Owner
Erik Peterson, Republican, Huntington Beach Councilmember/Businessman

This is by far the most open and competitive BOE race — and the best example of the Democratic leadership’s stupidity of the year. I strongly prefer David Dodson on the merits, but my endorsement here is strategic. Schaefer — who pretty much skated through last time without being taken seriously — will almost surely make the runoff, given his incumbency. But there’s some seriously disturbing dirt out there on him — one piece of which I will reprint because it has already been floated around by a Republican campaign, but I’m aware that there are more — that are probably being held by Republicans until after the primary. I am seriously concerned that whichever Republican wins the runoff has a shot at beating him. (I have not printed much of what I’ve heard because witnesses have been afraid of going on the record before the primary — or maybe at all. just doesn’t have the investigative resources that other major entities do. This is the kind of story that media likes to break during a boring August.).

Of course, Schaefer’s being blown out of the water by scandal is only a problem for Democrats if a Republican takes the second spot in the primary. If Dodson wins that second spot, with pretty five much equally plausible Republicans splitting their vote five ways, then the party’s concerns about Dodson being underfunded go away — because all of the Republicans will have gone away!

If Dems wanted Dodson — by far the most qualified candidate and the only one not chiefly in the race for that sweet salary and status — to be the other one, they could probably get both Dems through and keep a Democrat in the seat. But, being pig-headed and power-mad, they don’t care to do so — so some Republican will grab the other spot and, if they can trumpet out the attacks, beat Schaefer. As I think I’ve noted before, Schaefer-in-a-scandal might be the only opponent that the underfunded Dodson could beat — and underfunded Dodson might be the only opponent that Schaefer-in-a-scandal could beat. Oddly, they have a mutual interest in their being in a runoff.

Obviously, all of the Democrats that are paying attention and not party leaders should vote for Dodson in the primary. (Schaefer will make the runoff due to Democrats who are party leaders or inattentively supporting the incumbent.) Given the Democratic leaders will fight the usurpation of their authority tooth and nail, we therefore have to figure out who is the least bad among Republicans?

Until this year, I’d have said Eric Peterson, but then he went off on a freaky jag praising Michael Gates’s attempted coup attempt against the Huntington Beach City Council — which I still need to write about someday — so he’s out. Thirsty Dennis Bilodeau? Not a chance, even though this do-nothing sinecure is probably his dream job. John Kelly made the runoff last time, and failed to impress (for what I recall as being good reason), but I don’t want to steer voters towards him.. Riverside’s Randy Economy — spokesperson for the Newsom recall — seems likely the smartest and shrewdest of the bunch, and the most likely victor being the only one not sharing the OC vote — so he’s out too. Sadly, I’ve concluded that the least-bad candidate for Republicans to support is the weakest — the one with the almost poetic and self-parodic ballot designation of Businessman/Business OwnerMatthew “Funny Business” Harper. (WAIT, hear me out on this! As I recall, the worst thing about Bilodeau was his shilling for Poseidon, but Poseidon has a good chance of being dead before the primary votes are counted, so what real harm could he do there? His biggest merit it: he really could lose to Dodson!)

But again: a Republican ONLY has a chance in this primary because the Democratic Party apparently WANTS them to! So I encourage you to vote for Dodson not only for his excellent qualifications, but to publicly embarrass the pusillanimous, feckless, and downright dim-bulb Democratic party leadership! Isn’t that worth it?

United States Senator (Full Term)

Akinyemi Agbede, Mathematician
Dan O’Dowd, No Ballot Designation
Alex Padilla, Appointed United States Senator
Douglas Howard Pierce, Missing Children’s Advocate
Obaidul Huq Pirjada, Attorney
Timothy J Ursich, Doctor

James P. Bradley, CEO/Business Owner
Jon Elist, Small Business Owner
Myron L. Hall, Podiatric Physician
Sarah Sun Liew, Entrepreneur/Non-Profit Director
Robert George Lucero, Jr, Executive Business Consultant
Mark P. Meuser, Constitutional Attorney
Enrique Petris, Businessman/Investor
Chuck Smith, Retired Law Enforcement
Carlos Guillermo Tapia, Business Owner/Realtor
Cordie Williams, Doctor/Business Owner

James “Henk” Conn, Teacher
Pamela Elizondo, Marijuana Plastic Entrepreneur

John Thompson Parker, Social Justice Advocate

Daphne Bradford, Education Consultant
Eleanor Garcia, Industrial Worker
Don J. Grundmann, Doctor of Chiropractic
Deon D. Jenkins, No Ballot Designation

Padilla is doing fine in the Senate, and his making the Top 2 is a given — so who should readers vote to join him in the runoff? (Neither the Green nor P&F candidates will get 2% in this large field, so that’s not a consideration here.) So based on the rule I set forth in my introduction of not bothering to cast a protest vote in large fields of candidates, you might think that I’ll vote for a second Democrat! But, aha!, there’s an exception to the rule! You STILL vote for a third-party candidate if ALL of the other Democratic candidates are dismal! That is the case here.

Among Democrats, I had hopes for Agbede and Prijada — and putting aside content neither is ready for prime time. (Find their videos yourself.) Dan O’Dowd is a Santa Barbara billionaire who, Politico says, is literally running to publicize his grievance with Elon Musk, his competitor in self-driving car software. He’s spending at least $10 million. No! Pierce is a not-at-all=Democratic-seeming prosecutor whose website has a photo of himself with crazy eyes, and a awful-to-the-point-of-misogyny photo Dianne Feinstein, whom he seems to be attacking from the right. Out! Doctor Ursich is — you guessed it! — a chiropractor, in this case from San Pedro, which under most circumstances in California politics has meant pushing for safer rules for snake-oil sales. Maybe he’s an exception, but: Out! [N.b., note his comment in reply down below.]

Could the runoff be Blue-on-green or P&F-rose? Maybe!

Let’s look at Republicans: is anyone better than the rest? Bradley is a veteran from Laguna Hills whose photos suggests that we wants to invade Iran and install the late Shah’s son into power. We have enough problems without that. Elist has the makings of a good story — an Iranian Jewish refugee from the Iranian Revolution — and disparages Democrats in general terms. Eh. Myron Hall is a Black Naval Vet who became a podiatrist to learn how to help his own foot injuries from battle, with only boilerplate conservative positions — so he’s better than the above. I wouldn’t vote for him in a general election, but a relatively reasonable Republican might. Liew leads off with a big photo of Trump. Pass. Lucero actually has a decent website, marred only by a mention of “George Soros oligarchs,” and decent priorities for a Republican like preventing nuclear war and homelessness. The devil is in the details, but I’ve seen plenty worse from his competition. Meuser was actually the Republican I liked best when he ran against Padilla for Secretary of State four years ago. Then he made the Top 2 against Padilla, losing by only 4.5% in OC, so I stopped liking him. (But he’s party-endorsed, so I predict that he’ll win among Republicans.)

So, without a decent Democratic challenger or a truly decent Republican in the race, my natural inclination would be to support the Green Party’s Elizondo, a septuagenarian who wants the state to grow marijuana all over the place for economic reasons. (Why not? Hemp is good for so many things!) Then I found out that the Green Party, as it tries to better co-exist with the more radical Peace & Freedom Party, actually endorsed P&F’s John Thompson Parker! So, even though Parker’s probably too left for my taste, I’ll cast my symbolic protest vote for for him over the marijuana septuagenarian.

United States Senator (Partial/Unexpired Term)

Dan O’Dowd, No Ballot Designation
Alex Padilla, Appointed United States Senator
Timothy Ursich Jr., Doctor

James P. Bradley, CEO/Business Owner
Jon Elist, Small Business Owner
Myron L. Hall, Podiatric Physician
Mark P. Meuser, Constitutional Attorney

Daphne Bradford, Education Consultant

Again, Alex Padilla doesn’t need my vote — or even the votes of everyone likely to read this — in the primary. And I don’t want O’Dowd or Ursich — or the NPP Bradford, a woman of color who seems to be running on an anti-AOC platform. So, in the interest of choosing who I want to oppose without rancor when I vote for Padilla in November, to my surprise I plan at this point to vote for decent-seeming Republican Myron Hall as preferable to Meuser. (And then I’ll support Padilla in the general election, of course, perhaps opposing Meuser with some smidgen of rancor.)


OC Congressional Seats

(Whole or Part OC)

United States Representative District 38 – that’s all our loyal La Habra readers!

Linda T. Sánchez, Democratic, Mom/Congresswoman
Eric J. Ching, Republican, Mayor, City of Walnut/Entrepreneur
John Sarega, Republican, Pastor/Business Owner

Self-explanatory. Vote for Sanchez. She doesn’t need strategic primary voting help in this district.

Vern: Nothing to add.

United States Representative District 40

Asif Mahmood, Democratic, Physician, Internal Medicine
Young Kim, Republican, U.S. Representative
Greg Raths, Retired Marine Colonel, Republican
Nick Taurus, Republican, Junk Hauler

Dr. Mahmood is a really good guy who ran for Insurance Commissioner four years ago. I had a long conversation with him at a convention and was very impressed. While some Dems might like to see Young Kim and Raths in an expensive, divisive, havoc-wreaking death match here — which is the likely result — I hold out hope for the good doctor! I had expected to endorsed Raths over Kim for Republicans, but he went to CPAC and published photos of himself not only with Donald Trump, but also — less justifiably by political or even tactical reasons — with Roger Stone, which is not the way to our hearts. January 6 dolt Taurus — who wants abortionists and abortion-seekers in jail — is beneath contempt. Kim is, of course, a complete carpetbagger — but will anyone put our “NO KIM: CARPETBAGGER!” signs? I doubt it. Besides, the signs should say “NO KIM: LIGHTWEIGHT CARPETBAGGER!” If I were a Republican living there, I’d probably still vote for Raths — but I’d want an apology!

Vern: Nothing to add. Good luck Dr. Mahmood!

United States Representative District 45

Jay F. Chen, Democratic, Lieutenant Commander/Businessman
Long K Pham, Republican, Businessman/Nuclear Engineer
Michelle Steel, Republican, U.S. Representative

Breaking news: Vern and I are totally for Jay Chen! Also: water is wet and Little Saigon candidates will have huge banner signs! We have no guidance for Republicans in this election; we would have said to go with Pham, but he has veered hard right in his election campaign, which move we are not prone to reward.

As I recall, this is one of only two Asian-plurality districts in the state, the other one being in the Bay Area. Looking at it, you can see how much they had to stretch, taking in the largely Taiwanese and Korean areas in North County all the way down to Little Saigon. A current truism in political analysis is that Asians tend to vote for their own ethnicity, rather than based on some Pan-Asian sentiment. But let’s put that aside for a moment.

The easy way to think about this race is that Chen will make the runoff, being the sole Democrat, and Steel will make the runoff, being an incumbent. But that may underestimate Long Pham — the only Vietnamese candidate in a Asian-packed district that is centered on Little Saigon. So now let’s factor in ethnicity. The Chinese voters in the north will likely favor Chen. One might think that Steel, being Korean, would do well the the Korean communities in Brea and Fullerton, but they are very far from her physical home base. Despite Pham’s rightward veer, he presumably will not get the RPOC endorsement, given the Republican penchant of loyalty to party royalty (such as Steel’s husband.) I don’t think that any of the three can sleep early and soundly on Election night; my guess is that Pham will be the one left out — but not by much.

Vern: Yes, Jay is great, while Michelle is the worst. And big picture – DEMOCRATS HAVE TO KEEP CONGRESS, and this is probably the only seat the OC can contribute this year. (PS, Dr. Long Pham is not to be worried about.)

United States Representative District 46

Lou Correa, Democratic, United States Congressmember
Mike Ortega, Democratic, Biomedical Engineer
Christopher J. Gonzales, Republican, Businessman/Attorney
Mike Nguyen, Republican, Broker/Business Owner
Felix Rocha, Jr., Republican, Retired Federal Agent
Ed Rushman, No Party Preference, Technical Project Manager

This is pretty much the necessary formula, if there is one, for Correa losing an election — or at least it would be of Ortega had a massive donor base or huge personal wealth. With so many Republicans running, and none of them that impressive, Ortega has a real shot here. And, in the general election, a good campaign may be able to fend off the eight independent expenditure Correa mailers per day that voters will be receiving. Vern and I both heartily endorse him.

Frankly, If I were a anti-leftist Republican, I’d just vote for DINO Correa in the primary and get it over with. If he gets 50% of the vote and Ortega gets in to the runoff with 25%, the power of the Republican corporate interests will have been demonstrated. Ortega’s team might be demoralized — or it might not — and at least we’ll all know where we stand going into November. The RPOC’s endorsement of Gonzales might consolidate support behind him — or it may just piss off Vietnamese voters. I expect that they know that Lou is their candidate. I like Ortega’s odds of making the runoff with Correa. (Finally, under no circumstances, even as a joke, should you vote for Felix Rocha.)

Vern: ORTEGA! This district, the most Democratic AND progressive in the County, which went for Bernie Sanders, deserves better.. and better than Lou Correa is Mike Ortega! It’ll be a splendid contest in the summer and fall, but for now we gotta get MIKE through the primary!

United States Representative District 47

Katie Porter, Democratic, U.S. Representative
Scott Baugh, Republican, Orange County Business Owner
Brian Burley, Republican, Small Business Owner
Amy Phan West, Republican, Small Businesswoman
Errol Webber, Republican, Documentary Film Producer

Katie Porter will be in the runoff — against someone politically unpleasant. (And yes, that includes Webber, despite his involvement in some good films.) Baugh probably has the inside track to the nomination, but he’s such a Scumbaugh that we advise Republicans to vote for anyone else. Except West. Damn, this is tough! Commenters, help me out!

Vern: We GOTTA keep Katie Porter, but that’s not something to worry too much about in THIS month’s election. (Much as she’s gotta start introducing herself to a whole buncha unfamiliar coastal skeptics.)

United States Representative District 49

Mike Levin, Democratic, US Representative 49th District
Nadia Bahia Smalley, Democratic, Private Nurse/Businesswoman
Lisa A. Bartlett, Republican, County Supervisor/Businesswoman
Brian Maryott, Republican, Businessman/Nonprofit Executive
Josiah O’Neil, Republican, Sheriff’s Deputy/Businessman,
Christopher Rodriguez, Republican, Councilmember/Businessman/Farmer
Renee Taylor, Republican, Cybersecurity Manager/Airman

This is probably still about a 50-50 seat, with less OC than last decade (good for Levin!), but more of the wealthy parts of northern SD (bad for Levin!) He’ll make the runoff no matter what, and will probably win in November. So, with five Republicans running (among which Bartlett and Maryott are the heavyweights), I’ll endorse Smalley. She seems to be a perennial candidate from North San Diego County who ran for President in 2020. She probably won’t come in second, — but personally I’d to see a good number of Democrats give it a shot. A mere third of the Democratic vote could put her over — and even the threat of that messes with Republican strategies in a satisfying way. I expect that Bartlett is more likely to win, especially if, as I expect, she’ll be the GOP endorsed candidate. If I were a Republican, I’d probably vote for … OK, I have no idea. Smalley!

Vern: Mike’s been doing a great job these four years, and I feel bad that we were so rough on him back in 2018 (when we were hardcore Applegaters.) I’d vote for him in June AND November if I lived down there – we can’t afford to lose a single Democrat in Congress!

Non-OC Congressional Seats

I may have a few other nearby seats on which I have opinions, so just ignore this if you want only OC endorsements.

United States Representative District 42 (Long Beach, not OC)

Joaquín Beltrán, Democratic, Engineer/Community Organizer
Cristina Garcia, Democratic, Assemblymember/Math Teacher
Robert Garcia, Democratic, Mayor of Long Beach
J. Nicole Lopez, Democratic, Non-profit Organization Employee
Peter Mathews, Democratic, Professor, American Government
William Moses Summerville, Democratic, Pastor/Hospice Chaplain
John Briscoe, Republican, Governing Board Member, Ocean View School District of Orange County
Julio Cesar Flores, Green, Education Administrator/Entrepreneur

Like Cerritos and La Mirada, southeastern Long Beach is sort of “honorary OC” — Cal State Long Beach is the “local Cal State” for the west county and the shore — so I’ll include coverage of this race. It features many Democrats, one Green, and one familiar Republican, Bill Briscoe, competing for the seat. Robert Garcia — gay rights leader, but also a Poseidon proponent, and Assemblymember Cristina Garcia are probably the leading Democrats in the race, and Peter Mathews has a long career as a protest candidate, but I retain hopes for California Democratic Party activist Summerville. I presume that Briscoe will make the runoff, as usual, so for Dems the primary is likely the general.


OC State Senate Seats

(Whole or Part OC – these are all even-numbered by the way)

But first, let’s talk about something truly odd: the fact that SD-37 (currently represented by Dave Min) is now the only odd-numbered Senate District in OC, as Josh Newman was drawn out of his old district, SD-29. Josh will therefore become a “caretaker” Senator for the last two years of his current term. (We saw this a decade ago with Lou Correa, after redistricting, and we see it now with Katrina Foley.) [You can skip this next paragraph if you’re only interested in this year’s elections.]

Dave Min will continue to represent SD-37 from Irvine, while Newman will be assigned to represent an empty odd-numbered district for the next two years. Sadly, though, the closest odd-numbered districts to OC are: SD-33 (now held by Democrat Lena A. Gonzalez), a 63.3% combined Latino and Black district just to the west of OC, which runs from south Long Beach all the way to East LA; SD-35 (now held by Democrat Steven Bradford), a 77.9% combined Latino and Black district just to the west of SD-33, which runs from the Port of Long Beach past Carson, Compton, and Inglewood to LAX; SD 31, a majority Latino district (now held by Democrat Richard Roth), which is about 63% Latino and Black, which runs from Corona through Mira Loma, Riverside, Jurupa Valley, and Perris. almost to Hemet; and finally SD-25 (now held by Democrat Anthony Portantino), a just over 40% white and 30% Asian district, which starts in South Montebello and soars north through Alhambra, Monterey Park, and Rosemead to Glendale, Pasadena, Arcadia, Altadena, and La Canada Flintridge, then pointlessly east, around a huge and seemingly depopulated peninsula north of West Covina, almost (but not quite) to Wrightwood and Rancho Cucamonga, before dipping down to pick up Glendora. And then, if Newman wanted to stay in the State Senate he’d have to move to one of those districts. Henry Stern’s SD-27 might open up, if he wins a very competitive race for Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors..

When Josh says that he doesn’t know what district he’ll be representing, he’s not kidding or being coy: NO ONE knows! It hasn’t yet been determined, and will be decided by a legislative committee, possibly after the runoff. To know where he might go, we’d need to know whether another Senator from an odd-numbered district has been similarly displaced — but perhaps lives in that district in question For example: the simplest solution may be for Newman to follow SD-29 to its new home — not that far away — without actually moving there. Its new home is most of the stretch in southwestern San Bernardino county between the 10 and 210, from Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, and Rialto, all the way to San Bernardino and then down to Colton. But has some other Senator been displaced, lives in that area, and wants that seat? I’d need a list of home addresses to have a chance of answering that question. But at least one district has to be open, because there are 18 odd-numbered-district besides Newman and Lin, and 19 districts other than SD-37. And maybe Josh will like, representing the Redding area! OK, on to the even-numbered districts!

State Senate District 30

Bob Archuleta, Democratic, California State Senator
Henry Bouchot, Democratic, Councilmember, City of Whittier
Martha Camacho Rodriguez, Democratic. Teacher/Water Advocate
Mitch Clemmons, Republican, Plumber/Business Owner

Greg’s comments: This is a very Democratic district, so it’s not clear that Clemons will make the runoff. Archuleta’s not much of a Democrat, and I don’t know if Rodriguez’s ballot designation makes her a Poseidon or other scam advocate. Bouchot is a good liberal, highly recommended by my contacts there, and Whittier is a decent base to work from. Most of Brea seems to be in this wildly drawn district, along with some of La Habra, some of Yorba Linda, and some of Fullerton — all of which will be swamped by the vote from LA County west and north of North OC. People in the OC portion this district should, but without strong prompting may not, vote for Bouchot. If they’re Republicans, they might well support Archuleta; they might be less likely than Democrats to care about the sexual harassment accusations against him, which prompted Bouchot’s run. But given that Archuleta himself only took office after former State Senator Tony Mendoza resigned due to a long history of sexual harassment allegation, wouldn’t they perhaps enjoy having a State Senator who wasn’t the target of a law suit over sexual harassment? Just a thought!

Vern: Bouchot sounds good!

State Senate District 32

Brian Nash, Democratic, Analytics Consultant/Businessperson
Kelly Seyarto, Republican, California State Assemblymember

Greg’s comments: This district connects most of Yorba Linda to — err, hmm, wow, um — Murietta, Temecula, Borrego Springs, Julian, and then it ducks just under Hemet and Palm Desert, stopping just short of the Salton Sea. (Because we all know that that’s the sort of company with which Yorba Linda fits.) Luckily, the primary is meaningless, so the various parts of the district will have time to get to know each other, if they wish (which I doubt). So I’m just going party line and hoping for a non-scandalous choice. Have fun with your new playmates, Yorba Linda!

Vern: Nothing to add.

State Senate District 34

Tom Umberg, Democratic, Senator/Small Businessperson
Rhonda Shader, Republican, Mayor/Small Businesswoman

Greg’s comments: This is a majority Latino District, taking in everywhere from Santa Ana and much of the Anaheim Flatlands to South Fullerton and La Habra, and then sproinging off into Buena Park and another into west of La Habra, but south of South Whittier and north of La Mirada and not quite as far west as Norwalk and Santa Fe Spring. I can’t find it named on a map, but there were apparently a lot of Latinos there, to create this majority Latino district — in which no Latino is running — just a blonde white woman from Placentia and a white-haired white man from no particular apparent city (given that it’s not in his bio, I can’t look up his residency.) Nice job, Redistricting Commission! Giving its automatic endorsement to Umberg in this Latino-majority district means that Democrats have truly earned a loss, if it comes. I’ll wait until October — and keep an eye on Umberg until then. Ryan Cantor would like you to know that Placentia is just about the only local city that has dealt seriously with its pension obligation burden — there, I said it!

Vern: I’m sometimes told by people I respect that Umberg is not as bad as he seems. (Like when Mark Twain heard that “Wagner’s music is not as bad as it sounds.”) So maybe I’m missing some good things.

But ANOTHER good thing that Greg only mentioned in passing was that Placentia is the only OC town to deal seriously with its pension obligation burden – there, it’s said again! (Hat tip Ryan!) Maybe the state Senate, with its Dem Supermajority and now sans Moorlach, could use someone like this Rhonda Shader! This is actually my district, I suddenly think I might vote for Rhonda! Tom won’t lose anyway, but maybe he won’t take us for granted.

State Senate District 36

Kim Carr, Democratic, City of Huntington Beach Councilmember
Janet Nguyen, Republican, California Assemblymember/Businesswoman

Greg’s comments: Technically meaningless, in that no write-in is going to displace either of these candidates, yet useful in that it provides both sides a logistical “dress rehearsal” before they prepare opening (and closing) nights in October and November. So, if you’re for Carr, it’s time to volunteer! If you’re for Nguyen — since when did you start reading this blog? We encourage volunteers for Janet to go with her to her nursing homes and polling stations and document it if she cheats. If so, You know where to find us!

Vern: Kim is good. Janet is bad.

State Senate District 38

Catherine Blakespear, Democratic Mayor of Encinitas
Joe Kerr, Democratic Retired Fire Captain
Matt Gunderson, Republican Small Business Owner

Greg’s comments: This district goes from cities picked out of highly Republican portions of South Orange County — Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo, RSM, SJC, and the unincorporated quartet where Kerr lives all the way down the coast past Pendleton and Oceanside, then Carlsbad and Encinitas and Solano Beach, all the way to freaking Pacific Beach and Mission Beach, at the border of the City of San Diego itself. Gunderson is also from the unincorporated quartet, in Ladera Ranch, also unelected, and probably has a better chance with the voters in the conservative northern part of the district. Blakespear, on the other hand, is Mayor of one of the major cities in the district, and should be able to sweep up the Democratic votes in the more Democratic part of the district. So the basic question is: do you want a Democrat who can help Mike Levin retain his Congressional seat? Or are you (unless I miss my guess) a member of the DPOC? Actually, I wrote that before learning that the CDP endorsed Blakespear, so it will be interesting to see if DPOC truckles at that.

Vern: I’ve got all kinds of problems with Kerr (mindless Poseidon slave, residence-faker, can’t open his mouth without talking about being a fireman, and won’t even take my calls!) Blakespear has GOT to be better. (But hey! I just got an e-mail that the Association of Firefighters endorsed Joe!)


OC Assembly Seats

(Whole or Part OC)

State Assembly Member District 59

Phillip Chen, Republican, Assemblyman/Business Owner
Write-in Candidate Leon Sit, NPP, UCLA Engineering Student

Greg’s comments: No one ran against Phillip Chen in this district stretching from Brea, Placentia, and Yorba Linda up to Chino Hills and down through Orange to North Tustin and the Riverside County border before petering out in the forest a bit north of Silverado. There has been discussion at some point about passing a new law saying that if no one gets at least 10 write-in votes in the primary, the incumbent wins automatically. but looking at the Secretary of State’s website I don’t see any indication that such a law has came into being. But if any district could pull off not having a candidate with even 10 write-in votes, this may the one!

Vern: No flippin’ opinion UPDATE – I recommend writing in LEON SIT! See my new profile of Leon here.

State Assembly Member District 64

Elizabeth Alcantar, Democratic, Mayor/Community Educator
Roberto “Rob” Cancio, Democratic, Doctor/Educator/Businessman
Rose Espinoza, Democratic, Executive Director/Councilwoman
Blanca Pacheco, Democratic, Downey Mayor/Businesswoman
Ana M. Valencia, Democratic, Teacher/Councilmember
Raul Ortiz, Jr. Republican, Pest Control Manager

Greg’s comments: I think that many of this blog’s readers would join me in wishing that something good would happen to Rose Espinoza besides serving on the La Habra City Council. This is a tough but winnable primary for her. La Habra is deep in the minority in this predominantly LA County district; five Latino Democrats are facing off against one Latino Republican, who I suspect will make the runoff even with the ballot designation of Pest Control Manager (which I realize is honest work.) WHY can’t Democrats learn the first rule of electoral politics and get multiple Republicans to run and split the vote?

Worse for Espinoza, two of the other candidates have “Mayor” in their designation — Pacheco being from Downey (which is big) and Alcantar from (far smaller) Cudahy — while Valencia is a councilmember from Norwalk, which is roughly Downey-sized. Espinoza needs to consolidate support from the La Habra community (which seems to like her), La Habra Heights (to the extent that they’ll vote for a Democrat), and probably add La Mirada and the rest of the district east of Carmenita, including Colima. She’s the only Dem from east of Carmenita, and that’s where she should focus on the primary. Using 2019 numbers, La Habra has a population of 60,000 and La Mirada of 50,000 and Colima (some of which may overlap the above) another 50,000. Norwalk has a population of 105,000 and Downey of 112,000, while in the western portion of the district Cudahy has a population of 24,000, Bell of almost 35,500, and Bell Gardens of 42,500, for a total of 102,000 there. La Mirada and Santa Fe Springs (east of Downey, north of Norwalk) are the only major unclaimed territories. (Cancio is on the Norwalk/La Mirada School Board, but her appears to be from Norwalk, so I’m not sure that that’s a plus in La Mirada.) Espinoza needs strong organization in La Mirada and Colima to have a shot — and there will be strong competition for it. Nuff said. Someone close to her go ahead and let her know.

Vern: We all know Rose is a nice lady, and we know nothing about all these other LA Democrats… and one of them could be great. Let’s let those folks decide. La Habra, if you love Rose you know what to do.

State Assembly Member District 67

Param Brar, Democratic, Defense Contract Manager
Sharon Quirk-Silva, Democratic, Assemblymember/Teacher
Sou Moua, Republican, CAD Designer
Soo Yoo, Republican, School Board President

Greg’s comments: Sharon Quirk-Silva will make the runoff , but I don’t think that Param Brar can help her close out the Republicans. If it were just Sou Moua, perhaps, but Soo Yoo is the President of the ABC Unified School Board, and — according to one article I encountered, will have her campaign funded by Young Kim. (You know her — the Buena Park, or supposedly now La Habra, candidate who’s running for Congress from East County.) For those of you who wonder what “ABC” stands for, the “A” seems to be for Artesia, the “C” for Cerritos, and the “B” seems perhaps tp be for “Bits of Lakewood and Hawaiian Gardens near them.” This district is drawn to cover a lot of the Asian community — it’s a bare Asian plurality with 32% vs. 30.2% Latino and 30.8% white — but the Asians in this district include a whole lot of Democrats in Artesia and Cerritos while the more Republican end in Fullerton and Buena Park already knows and likes Quirk-Silva. Sharon’s district has gained Cerritos (which I’d think is good territory for her) and, weirdly, moved from west Anaheim above the 5 to west Anaheim below the 5. But they’ll like her well enough too. It will likely be Sharon’s closest race in years, so volunteers will want to hop on board the campaign train early and stay there through November!

Vern: Nothing to add. Sharon’s my pal.

State Assembly Member District 68

Avelino Valencia, Democratic, Councilmember/Assemblyman’s Deputy
Bulmaro “Boomer” Vicente, Democratic, Policy Director
Mike Tardif, Republican, Small Business Owner
James Wallace, Republican, No Ballot Designation

Greg’s comments: if either Tardif or Wallace were alone in the race, they would likely make the runoff — and then lose in the general election. One, more likely Tardif, still might, but Valencia and Vicente have enough of an advantage in this district so that they might both make the runoff. The DPOC will likely do whatever it can to support the vendido, Valencia, over the insurgent, Vicente. The interesting prospect is what they might do if the runoff were between Vicente and Tardif. Would they rather have a pugnacious Republican — and our archives should how pugnacious! — over a Democratic insurgent who might help transform Santa Ana? My guess is that it’s a coinflip over whether they would go for the white guy in the 56% Latino district. Party loyalty, as a wealthy New Yorker said of taxes, is for little people.

Vern: Big Boomer fan here, and he’s been running a great campaign. A vote for Avelino means a vote for MORE years of Tom Daly’s 26-year run of corporatist mediocrity, as well as rewarding a guy who said he’d serve as Anaheim councilman for 4 years, but is using it as a stepping-stone after two. (I know, one could say almost the same thing about Sarmiento, but at least he ACCOMPLISHED a lot for Santa Ana in his two years.)

Tardif told us last week that Avelino was a no-show to the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce debate, which shoulda been a friendly crowd for him, giving the excuse that he had “City Council duty” and leaving the debate to just Boomer and Tardif. (Film coming soon!) What I didn’t know till today is that, according to Dr. Moreno, there WAS NO COUNCIL BUSINESS THAT NIGHT. Hm, sounds like his M.O. in 2020, avoiding any place where he’d have to say anything that anyone might disagree with, or hold him to.

State Assembly Member District 70

Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen, Democratic, Cancer Researcher/Councilmember
Ted Bui, Republican, City Councilman/Businessman
Jason Gray, Republican, City Commissioner
Emily Hibard, Republican, Small Business Owner
Kimberly Ho, Republican, Westminster Councilwoman/Entrepreneur
Tri Ta, Republican, Mayor/Business Owner

Greg’s comments: It would be wrong to call this is “the Little Saigon District,” as it also includes Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, and parts of Fountain Valley that are outside of that ambit, but: let’s not kid ourselves, it’s pretty much the Little Saigon district. It is only 40.4% Asian, not all of whom will be Vietnamese, but the Vietnamese turnout is consistently high. So it’s very likely to be represented by a Viet. OJB favorite Diedre Nguyen will almost surely make the runoff, as in the worst of circumstances she’s only need to clear one-third of the vote to guarantee a spot. Obviously, he Republican side is more difficult to call. My guess is that one of the two worst, Ho and Ta, are most likely to make it, followed in likelihood by Bui. (I don’t know enough about the two non-Viet candidates to say whether either has a chance — the district is 31.8% white and 24.7% Latino, after all — but one thing I can almost guarantee that the winner among the Reeps will be someone who has at least one sign the size of a California King bedsheet.

Vern: Go Diedre! By the way, for whatever reason Kimberly Ho has switched cliques on the Westminster Council and is now apparently with the anti-corruption crowd. Still, she’s not to be trusted, and is a notorious unpunished OC-style residence faker. (And Tri Ta is a communist-style tyrant and a Poseidon pimp.)

State Assembly Member District 71

Matt Rahn, Republican, Mayor/Educator/Businessman
Kate Sanchez, Republican, Businesswoman/Taxpayer Advocate

Greg’s comments: Congratulations, non-coastal East County Democrats! (By that I mean Mission Viejo, RSM, Canyon Country, and the unincorporated quartet.) You’ve managed to get an Assembly race where both candidates are Republicans — something that will likely skew turnout red in the Congressional, State Senate, and Supervisor races as well! And while this is 62% white, it’s not crazy to think that a Democrat could have gotten enough votes to make a runoff — after all, Temecula is in the district! When I was in party politics I made a point of trying to keep this sort of thing from happening — and I guess that that is just no longer a priority. (Did anyone in OC even reach out to reasonably Democratic Temecula? A Democratic write-in candidate would at least be good for morale, huh?)

Vern: Have a beer. Maybe. If that’s your thing.

State Assembly Member District 72

Judie Mancuso, Democratic, Nonprofit Executive/Businesswoman
Diane Dixon, Republican, City Council Member
Benjamin Yu, Republican, Businessman/City Commissioner

Greg’s comments: In this even whiter-than-AD71 (71.1%!) coastal district — composed of Huntington Beach, Newport Beach/Coast, Lake Forest, and every Laguna but Niguel — Democrats did field a candidate against two Republicans: Judie Mancuso. Mancuso has ended up roughly in the middle of the pack in some previous City Council races, but she clearly warrants support here. Dixon will be hard to beat, Yu probably a little less so, but if Mancuso can make it to the November, with its greater blue turnout, then she might have a shot. (Losing Roe v. Wade might put her over!)

Vern: I finally saw her picture, and yes, Judie Mancuso does or DID direct an elementary-school choir which I played piano for 20 years ago or so. How could you not vote for a children’s choir director and animal rights activist? (Hi Judie!)

State Assembly Member District 73

Cottie Petrie-Norris, Democratic, California State Assemblymember
Steven “Steve” Choi, Republican, Assemblyman/Educator/Businessman

Greg’s comments: I don’t get to see the partisan breakdown here, but this district — Costa Mesa, Irvine, and some of Tustin — looks very competitive. Costa Mesa should come out hard for Cottie; if Irvine had a functioning Democratic Party then I’d call her the favorite. Luckily for her, the thing that might best bring Democrats together is opposition to Choi. Here again, the June race is just a trial run for the election machine. (By the way, as I think I’ve written before, I think that Cottie gets a bad rap from left-leaners who want her to take the sort of positions that someone in even a moderate district — like, say, Sharon Quirk-Silva, has been able to take. It took years before Sharon was entrenched enough to be able to take risks in supporting good policies that might stretch the patience of her constituents — and Cottie’s district has been worse! There may come a time when she’d be asked to lay her political career on the line for principle, but she doesn’t always have to be pressured to do so when her vote isn’t needed!)

Vern: Nothing to add.

State Assembly Member District 74

Chris Duncan, Democratic, Mayor Pro Tem
Laurie Davies, Republican, Assemblywoman/Business Owner

Greg’s comments: Davies has the obvious advantage of incumbency in this district, which includes Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, SJC, and San Clemente, and then travels all the way down the San Diego coast to Oceanside. But it also includes some of conservative North San Diego County — not quite to Fallbrook, but including all of Vista, population of 100,000 — so that might pose trouble for Duncan. San Diego might not be the savior that it has been for Mike Levin. Duncan was former DPOC Fran Sdao’s dreamboat candidate, so my concern is that the DPOC (still bearing her imprint) is going to throw a lot of money at this race to the detriment of others with better likelihoods of victory. If Duncan can raise his own money, I wish him well. If not … then then any amount not spent on more competitive AD-73 is misspent.

Vern likes Chris Duncan. He’s a San Clemente Democrat who’s won elections there, and most importantly fought the TCA along with his great Republican Mayor Cathy Ward, and kept them from extending the 241 toll road through their town… and that’s more than you can say for a lot of (teamster-loving) Democrats. It doesn’t bother me that Fran Sdao had a crush on him, or that he was less progressive than Scott Reinhart – this year, he’s probably the best the Dems could do in the Deep South.

Non-OC Assembly Seats

State Assembly Member District 62

Anthony Rendon, Assemblymember
Maria Estrada, Accountant

This race is between the former Assembly Speaker and a challenger who is as insurgent as you can get, in one of the most left-wing districts in the state. Estrada is a serious leftist who wants to see general strikes topple capitalism and so far as I can tell thinks that the land stolen from Mexico, including Southern California, should be returned (or maybe she’d settle for fair compensation.) She has a popular page that has attacks not only on Biden, not only on U.S. involvement in Ukraine (which she decries as hypocritical, as of course it is), but also on the likes of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as lightweights devoted to half measures, and I’m almost along there in defending them.

None of that is why I’m endorsing her. I argue with her frequently about whether it makes sense for her to go out on the street at midnight outside of some politician’s or plutocrat’s house and yell at them through a bullhorn, or yell through it right into someone’s ears — and she comes back with accusing me of buying into “respectability politics” (ME! Can you imagine?), which I suppose is kind of true, and points out that I’m comfortable and privileged and don’t feel the sense of urgency and anger held by the people she represents unofficially and wants to represent officially. And, well, there’s a lot of truth there. (Truth on my side too, of course, but at least we can argue it out.) I get frustrated by many (by no means all) of her views on international and national politics, where I’m aligned with democratic socialists like AOC rather than doctrinaire Marxists.

The Democratic Party fears, and might well censure, her if she were elected for her criticism of Israel, for example — most of which is cogent, and informs her refusal to support Ukraine’s fight if we don’t support the Palestinians — but it is absolutely appropriate that she raises issues of our hypocrisy that are highly evident to much of the world, although it is a faux pas to mention them in Democratic politics. (My views on the Middle East are a lot more nuanced than hers, but rejection of the notion that our party shouldn’t even be allowed to discuss such issues is one place where we agree. And it’s enough to get me lumped in with her for expressing pro-peace views within the mainstream of Israeli politics!)

Here’s why I’m endorsing her: she has a fierce and ferocious belief in defending the interests of the poorest people in our state, including on the issue of single-payer health insurance, the demise of which a few years back she blames on Rendon. (Actually, I think that Kevin de Leon had as much or more to do with it, but that both the Senate and Assembly Speaker were essentially doing the jobs that they were supposed to do. This year, the culprit is the Governor himself.)

But more than any other reason I’m endorsing her because the Democratic Party establishment cheated to prevent her from a fair fight with Rendon in a previous election — and I hold the party to a much higher standard than I do a righteously angry activist. If she was going to be Rendon, it would be because she really WAS representing the people in her district, and the party should have to listen to those voices — especially if it wants them to come out to vote. They are not stupid; they know when they are being used, screwed, and ignored. And their not voting is in large part due to those largely accurate perceptions. California Democrats have to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable about their relations with Latinos who have not risen to the point where they can be bought off so long as they give a patina of respectability to the party. Those people are never going to turn out large numbers of Latino voters — nor, honestly, do they even want to. In the legislature, for as long as she lasted there, Estrada would be the most likely of anyone to call bullshit on this insular and self-congratulatory group that so often arranges to lose fights to major donors’ interests.

If Estrada went to the legislature, she would be assigned a broom closet for an office — and she would probably revel in showing it off to reporters as an emblem of how the poorest among us are treated. But that’s not why I want her there. I want her there because, sometime, at some moment, the party may need her vote to pass something critical. And when that happens, I expect that she will make them pay through the nose for it, in terns of not only funding for the poor (which should happen anyway) but also delivering on some of the promises made to attract votes that are never intended to be honored. If they party leaders ever end up in a position where they need Estrada’s vote, they can go back to those donor interests and say, “we’re REALLY SORRY, but we have to do this to get her vote, and we hope that you’ll understand. And we’ll see some serious change for the better. It may never happen, even if she’s elected — but it might. And if it did, the payoff for the people in this state could be huge. I can’t say the same of many other candidates, because — unlike her, they don’t actually represent people disaffected and contemptuous of politics, as she (unofficially) already does.



(We’ve already been over this elsewhere, but let’s import that material to the same page here.)

OC Superior Court JUDGES

(only nine races made it onto the ballot – the rest were unopposed incumbents)

I’ll start out with an overview. While Vern is upset about Todd Spitzer, I’m still much more concerned about Tony Rackauckas, in part specifically because he used his influence for two decades to choose which judges would be on the bench — something that, to his credit, Spitzer does not seem to be doing (or at least not nearly as much) — and because he had his own succession plans for the DA’s office that did not include Spitzer, and did seem to involve people much worse than the volatile, voluble, and sometimes own-foot-shooting incumbent. So among ADAs running for Judge, I’m really going to want to know what they knew about the snitch scandal and what they did about what they knew — and why. So my default is to endorse against ADAs running for office unless they have public and clear statements about that scandal — and about OCDA Bates violations generally. So, these recommendations might evolve over time if and as I learn about such statements.


Claudia Alvarez, Deputy DA
Kimberly LaSalle, Counselor-at-Law
Dan Espinosa, Attorney-at-Law

Having been an OC Prosecutor for 22 years, Alvarez, should be able to tell us a lot about the operation of the OCDA’s office under both Rackauckas and Spitzer — and yet I suspect that she won’t. It’s a pity. She will be running against non-ADAs Kimberly La Salle and Dan Espinosa. Espinosa seems to be running as the equivalent of an NPP, beholden to no one, who has had oodles of trial experience and (Vern will like to know this) sent three children to Mater Dei.. Well, maybe this is just my Ketanji crush talking, but La Salle — with experience both as a prosecutor and a Public Defender in two counties — seems quite worthy. My sense is that Alvarez was not among the worst people on the Santa Ana City Council under the Pulido dictatorship, but that may be damning with faint praise. Her endorsements reveal her to be one of the most connected candidates on the ballot, stretching from Sheriff Barnes to the OC Labor Federation — and while that impresses me it is not in the direction she intends. I don’t have reason to think that she’d be any worse than the average OCSC judge, but I can’t resist seeing an experienced public defender added to the bench.

Vern: I give a second to LaSalle, who came by and spoke to my Anaheim Democrats Club last night. (“The conscience of the OC Democrat Party.”) I liked everything she said but especially that she’s endorsed by UCI’s brilliant Michele Goodwin, about whom our TR Black rhapsodized here, and also that she’s a public defender, which we need on the bench especially after the death of Mike Ospino.

Office 9

Joe Dane, Superior Court Commissioner
Christopher Duff, Deputy DA

I also have a bias that Superior Court Commissioners seem to make good judges — or at a minimum are known quantities when it comes to court management. In this case, Dane has the endorsement of the excellent retiring judge, James DiCesare, whose seat this was, and 25 other judges, in addition to comparatively broader experience. Duff has a truckload of ADA endorsements, the Sheriff’s endorsement, and endorsements from all sorts of skeevy Republican officeholders (like Michelle Steel). I strongly prefer Dane.

Vern: I’ll agree on Dane, whom I met Wednesday night at the DA debate. He was friendly, everybody seemed to know and like him, and he gave me his card. He’s a big guy who looks like a cross between Curt Pringle and a less-obese Probolsky brother which is not an auspicious look, but amusingly three different people asked me “Who is that guy?” He’d been given the job of choosing the order of speakers, I guess cuz all the bar lawyers trust him to be fair. So add that to what Greg says and there you have it.

Office 11

Shawn Nelson, Chief ADA
Marc Gibbons, attorney-at-law, period

So whose designation is better? <rim shot!>

I’ve known for so long that Shawn Nelson’s life ambition was to become a judge that it always seemed that when the time came he’d be able to waltz right into office. Now I’m not so sure.

Two friends of Vern’s, and more so of each other, had a brief debate recently in our comments section over this race. David Zenger — who worked for (and was ultimately fired by) Nelson, had unkind words about Nelson and what he alleged were his self-serving ethics. Important to the extent it’s true. Tony Bushala told Zenger not to be such an innocent — arguing that Nelson was a very good Councilmember and that Zenger was too worried about personal corruption when this was really just how politics are done. I’m with Zenger in that argument, but I’m holding back from endorsing for now because I want to see Nelson pressed about the charges of misbehavior in the OCDA’s office. Nelson has always been decent to me face to face (sorry if that’s the kiss of death for you, Shawn), but — well, take a look at his website.

I would not generally recommend choosing a judge on the basis of who has a superior website, but this is so rudimentary that it makes me think that weird stuff is going on behind the scenes. Does he just not have enough money to hire some with website experience? Is this what you’d expect to see from someone who has made this job the focus on his yearning for years? More importantly — where is the list of endorsements? Gibbons lists 44 judges as endorsing him, as well as several OC ADAs! I don’t know how many of those are from Orange County Superior Court, but I wouldn’t turn up my nose at endorsements from the Los Angeles Superior Court either. And I don’t know how many of those ADAs are of the anti-Spitzer bloc, but surely he should want to fire back? Does he simply not have an impressive list of endorsers? Was this somehow simply omitted? Is the site, at this late date, still under construction? Was he hacked?

Given that Gibbons has endorsements from some judges I like as well as Sen. Josh Newman, the likelihood that I might feel constrained to endorse Gibbons anyway, despite that I completely emotionally prepared to endorse Nelson before I read the candidate statements that led me to the websites. But I truly never expected Nelson’s presentation to look anything other than sharp. Can someone check to make sure he’s OK?

We should note that Nelson was rated as “NOT QUALIFIED” by the OC Bar Association, which seems harsh to me Given his decades of work as an attorney, I truly wonder why they did that. Punishing Spitzer ties?

Vern: OK, Gibbons. Shawn gives me a headache. Plus last I heard Shawn is the only judicial candidate to get the OC GOP endorsement – or at least he was the first – and fuck the OC GOP.

Office 21

Eric Beltran Rowe, Deputy DA
Ray Brown, Attorney

DDA Rowe has the Sheriff’s endorsement, police officers associations endorsements, and other indicia of toughness, which is often tempered with a “but fair…” — raising the question in my mind of “according to whom?” Brown is, among other things, an temporary judge, and has several judges’ endorsements. I’m a little put off by his “I’ve never lost a jury trial” claim, because I certainly have, and so have lots of attorneys who take the cases of poorer clients without resources for adequate discovery and such. But I can get beyond that: I expect that Brown is more likely to achieve the vaunted “tough but fair” status and on that basis I endorse him.

Vern: Heck, I’m down with Brown.

Office 22

Brahim Baytieh, Deputy District Attorney [OC]
Craig Kleffman, Deputy District Attorney [LA]
Fred Fascinelli, Trial Attorney [Villa Park]

This is what all (ok, just a lot of) the shouting in this year’s judicial contests is about: Deputy District Attorney (he got to use the title!) will face Los Angeles Deputy DA Craig Kleffman and Villa Park attorney Fred Fascinelli, who is the only one I saw having a sign up in North OC.! Fascinelli may (or may not) be the most conservative of the bunch, but I’ve spoken to him at length about Villa Park politics and I do like him. If Kleffman really is, as alleged in a comment here by Lee Fink, part of the cabal trying to recall George Gascon, that’s a big demerit. (We’ll try to find out!) Fundamentally, though, we need more time to figure out what to do with this race — and thanks to the presence of Fascinelli, we may have that change! If he takes enough votes to keep whichever of the two likely leading candidates from passing 50%, then this race goes to November — and we’ll know a lot more by then. So I endorse Fascinelli on that highly practical basis. And if he beats the odds and makes the runoff — well that just shows that one of the others must have fallen short!

Vern is fine with Fascinelli

Office 28

Eric Scarbrough, Deputy DA
Jessica Cha, Family Court Attorney

I think that the OC bench can benefit more from a family court attorney than yet another Deputy DA, and I’m quite sure that, all else being equal, it can benefit from another woman of color. Research may change my mind., but that’s the default Also, I was down in Mission Viejo last week on family business, and Cha has an enormous number of signs. They say “signs don’t vote” — yeah, and neither do mailers and TV ads — but this was a massive show of force.

Vern: Cha it is! [UPDATE – but she needs to stop putting her signs all over the freeway entrances! An inauspicious start for a judging career, to flout the law like that!]

Office 30 (former seat of late and widely respected Judge Frank Ospino)

Michele Bell, OC Superior Court Commissioner
Peggy Huang, Deputy Attorney General
Alma Hernandez, Deputy District Attorney, County of Riverside
Andrea Mader, Deputy District Attorney IV, County of Los Angeles
Benjamin Stauffer, regular old Attorney.

The questions here are: (1) do we want former Yorba Linda Mayor and top-ranked OC Republican Party leader Huang — whose impressive ballot designation is a little misleading because ALL of the attorneys in the California AG’s office, even ones with jobs (like Huang’s) that offer the least qualifications for becoming a judge, get the title of “Deputy Attorney General” — and (2) who can beat her? I’m still unhappily processing Bell’s endorsement by Sheriff Barnes (and her proudly displaying it.) But OK, fine: I endorse Bell, because she seems best situated to beat Huang.

Vern hears only good things about Bell, despite people we don’t like endorsing her.

Office 33

Steve McGreevy, Deputy DA 
Brett Wiseman, Attorney 
Tom Martin, Attorney

No offense to McGreevy, but we could go many years without electing another Deputy DA to the bench before things get somewhat more balanced. I’m picking Wiseman over Martin somewhat blindly, but Martin’s been running every cycle for a while now, and that suggests to me a certain lack of seriousness. I could change my mind on that with more research.

Vern: As long as his surname is not ironic, Brett seems like a no-brainer. Of COURSE we want a Wiseman as a Judge.

Office 45

Israel Claustro, OC Deputy DA
Kevin Brian Jones, Del Norte County Superior Court Commissioner

Don’t send in your ballot until I figure this one out! Del Norte County? There must be some explanation for this!
UPDATED 5/8: Kevin Brian Jones’s bar status, for about the past three months, has been “inactive.” Claustro has the endorsements of 507 current OC Superior Court judges and 3,924 local politicians, some of whom I like. If Jones had explained anywhere how an OC resident ends up as a Judge Pro Tempore and Commissioner in freaking Del Norte County — and he should have realized that people might wonder about that! — then I might have favored him due to my rule of thumb that the county bar is too overstocked with prosecutors. But it’s not overstocked with Latinos, so that’s one possible basis for suspending the rule. This contest is, to put it mildly, not in doubt — I’d put the adds against Jones as roughly 80-1, and you know that those odds are never overcome (for future readers, Kentucky Derby joke there) — so I’m not going to bother endorsing and will likely skip it. I invite you to do the same — or not. (Update: I forgot my plan and voted for Claustro after all. Put otherwise: I got over my Claustrophobia!)



County Superintendent of Schools!

THIS RACE IS DONE AND OVER WITH THIS MONTH! NO PRIMARY (It’s complicated, but it’s true.)

Al Mijares, incumbent 
Stefan Bean, School Superintendent and Parent.

Mijares, who strikes me as a moderate at heart, has been masterful at reining in the excesses of the performative fanatics on the County Board of Education, who are part of a movement literally devoted to wiping out the public school system in favor of irresponsible and self-serving charters. (Yes, there are some good charters. They can survive right next to a thriving public school system. This race will be expensive and contentious, but this is seriously one of the most important races on your ballot!

Vern: Totally with Mijares here. Even though I caught him a few years ago doing a full-on Reefer Madness anti-pot presentation with then-Sheriff Hutchens. Maybe that’s what Greg means by “moderate?” Anyway he’s done a fine job for years, and this Dr. Bean is a MENACE. (Oh shit, did I just make myself anti-immigrant, anti-Asian, anti-disabled, and anti-bereaved? I hate it when that happens.)

Orange County Board of Education


Area 2

Mari Barke, incumbent (and Mad Doctor Jeff Barke’s Wife)
Martha Fluor, retired school board member
Christopher Ganiere, Architect

Barke, wife of the doctor who claimed that he could ward off Covid with his gun, is a fox in the hen house while she’s on the school board. She should not be in charge of what she wants to destroy.

Vern: Right on – vote Fluor! (And Mari is just as crazy, AND crooked, as her nutty hubby.)

Area 4

Tim Shaw, Appointed Incumbent
Paulette Chaffee, Teacher/Nonprofit Boardmember
David Choi, Accountant
Elissa Kim, Businessowner/Parent
I could have imagined supporting Shaw over Chaffee, but on the Board of Education he has aligned himself with miscreants like Dr. Ken Williams. It is shameful, ruins his reputation, and he has to pay a price for that. Choi and Kim are just detracting from the winner-take-all bout between the two party-endorsed candidates.

Vern: I have promised not to say anything bad about Chaffee for the next month.

Area 5

Lisa Sparks, Incumbent
Sherine Smith, Retired School Superintendent

Sparks is an ideological clone of Barke and Williams. It’s weird that a challenger — in this case Sherene Smith — is actually more qualified for a position than an incumbent, but when the incumbent is primarily focused on political grandstanding it doesn’t actually build up their qualifications.

Vern: Adelante con Sherine! (I believe I met her at the last Hardin fundraiser we attended, in San Clemente.)


County Executive Offices


District 2

Vicente Sarmiento, Santa Ana Mayor/Businessman
Kim Berenice Nguyen, Garden Grove City Councilwoman
Joe Dumitru, City of Orange Council Member, 2nd District
Juan Villegas, Sheriff Officer
Ceci Iglesias, Businesswoman/Policy Director

Sarmiento didn’t always impress me, though he was never any worse than in the top half of Santa Ana’s City Council, but my animosity of his stemmed largely from what I (and many others) thought was his catering to Poseidon while on the OCWD Board. He claimed that he wasn’t doing so at all; Vern and I said “yah sure.” Turns out that he was absolutely on the ball and helped steer the OCWD away from a potentially ruinous “implied contract” with Poseidon — something I had not even considered. I was wrong about him and am happy to right that now.

Kim Bernice Nguyen is from the Avelino Valencia wing of the Democratic party and does not deserve your vote; she would not be the sort of capable problem-solver that Sarmiento would be; she’s just sit there and do what the Building Trades tell her to do. We don’t need that. Dumitru is not a good Council member, Villegas rightfully lost his Santa Ana Council position, and Iglesias is a right-wing ideologue who will cause problems rather than solving them

Vern: Yeah Vince has done a good job in Santa Ana, and my friends there trust him. Kim is a mean-girl friend of Claudio and Lou, and her greatest joy is to lead lynch mobs against progressive men who commit some alleged misdeed. Dumitru is a dummy and longtime immigrant basher way past his sell-by date. Villegas is a dismal Republican, and although I defended Ceci when she was being recalled by bad people (SA cop union) for bad reasons (criticizing the SA cop union), she’s still a social-conservative Trumptard (and keeps using photos that are a decade old.) Did I mention I’m for Vince?

District 4

Doug Chaffee, Incumbent
Sunny Park, Mayor of Buena Park
Steve Vargas, Councilmember/Lieutenant Commander

Vargas would probably lose the runoff — as a hometown Republican told me recently, “everyone on the [overwhelmingly Republican] Brea Council hates him” — but his significance here is that he could knock out either Chaffee or Park in the primary. (Note that Matt Cunningham’s reporting that Marty Simonoff of the Brea Council would be on the ballot was incorrect.) I presume that Vargas will get the RPOC endorsement. Vargas is sorta dim, more than sorta self-serving, and would be a grandstanding disaster on the BOE rather than a problem-solver. Democrats seem inclined towards Park, which is a pleasant surprise, perhaps attributable to Chaffee’s screwing over Katrina Foley in redistricting. His priorities don’t make him much of a Democrat anyway. ADDING, 5/9: Someone looked up this 2015 story of mine about Vargas being found guilty of embezzling money from the Brea Chapter of the Veterans for Foreign Wars! I had forgotten about that! If you have any inclination to vote for Vargas, please read that story first — and then, DON’T DO IT!

Vern: I’m going out on a limb with Sunny, as several of my Buena Park friends don’t like her, but she’s GOT to be more honest and less arrogant than Doug Chaffee. And it’s nice that a lot of Democrats agree with me! And she takes my calls, which’ll hopefully continue AFTER she’s elected…

District 5

Diane Harkey, Businesswoman/Financial Consultant
Katrina Foley, Orange County Supervisor/Businessowner [not this district’s incumbent]
Patricia Bates, California State Senator
Kevin Muldoon, Mayor/Orange County Businessman

Do I really have to sell people on Foley here? She told Vern to stop saying nice things about her because it was pissing off the other supervisors (notably, spiteful Chaffee), so I’m not sure what to say. Well, I will say this: when the oil spills were hitting Huntington Beach last year, she went “full Elizabeth Warren” and had a more productive response than pretty much all other politicians in the county combined. If that’s hyperbolic, it’s not hyperbolic by much! Yes, we need her to remain on the BOS, ideally with fellow problem-solvers Park and Sarmiento. As for the Republicans: Harkey is an absolute ethical cesspit, between her making a fortune ripping off prisoners of phone calls to being part of ripping off investors along with her husband. Bates is more ethical, but it’s hard to imagine that her age hasn’t lost her some effectiveness. Kevin Muldoon, who (as Moorlach would tell you) was responsible for Foley making it onto the BOS to begin with, is running again. If he wins, Moorlach might well explode. Do you want Moorlach to explode? Maybe you do, but if so you’re probably already voting for Foley.

Vern: Actually Katrina didn’t tell me to stop saying nice things about her, but that she wished people would stop coming to Supervisor meetings and telling the Board that she’s the only good one there. (Which I never did.) But if we elect Sunny & Vincent to join her, nobody will have to say that.


Claude Parrish, Incumbent
Rick Foster, Veteran Housing Provider
Larry Bales, Retired

Parrish has not been an especially effective incumbent. Foster offers lots of decent plans for improving the office.

Vern’s Anaheim Democrats Club, the Conscience of the OC Democrats, enthusiastically endorsed Rick Foster after hearing from him.


Andrew Hamilton, City Finance Director”
Write in John Moorlach against his will

This is the position that Moorlach was supposed to win before he ran into a licensing issue. So Hamilton has sort of walked in unopposed. I hope he’s good! I’m writing in Moorlach anyway, just in case he gets his problems resolved.

Vern: I will write in The Moorlach. It’ll be good to have him busy doing something he’s got expertise in, instead of making excuses for Trump and contributing to the Epoch Times.


Hugh Nguyen, Incumbent
Sandy Kimble, “Supermarket Cashier/Realtor”
Steve Rocco, Educational Publisher/Writer

I don’t see much of any reason not to reelect Nguyen. Yes, he’s a Republican who endorses other Republicans, many of whom I wish he wouldn’t, but that’s not really related to his (quite important!) job performance. I’d sort of like Rocco to make the runoff just to keep him from running for anything else in November. What would he do with himself?

Vern: The 2013 appointment and subsequent re-elections of the supremely humble, serious and competent Hugh is a point of pride with this blog. Well, with me actually. (Back then I actually had three Supervisors who used to ask me for advice!) Read all about it here. [Greg stops by to chime in: anyone seriously interested in this years elections should definitely read Vern’s article, which is great. I had forgotten that Spitzer was (or is he still?) such a flaming homophobe!]

District Attorney/Public Administrator

Todd Spitzer, Incumbent
Pete Hardin Attorney/Business Owner
Michael Jacobs, Attorney (and self-proclaimed Rackauckas opponent)
Bryan Chehock, Federal Attorney

Vern is totally pro-Hardin, which I understand, and he may decide to present his reasons here (which I think are mostly that he’s a decent guy with good proposals and the only one who can beat Spitzer. I’m not convinced — and I want to see this race go on until November so that, when Spitzer and Hardin go into a runoff (if neither passes 50%), a larger and by then more informed electorate can make a final decision. A vote for either Jacobs or Chehock accomplishes that — and as of this moment I’m leaning towards Chehock.

I’m going to devote a separate post to this race because I have that much to say about it, but here’s a sample:

I can literally make a case for any of the four candidates in this race. (Yes, Todd, including you. Although your fear-stoking “No LA in OC” campaign, which you know damn well is playing on largely racist fears, would keep me from endorsing you, I recognize that you’ve kept a number of campaign promises including not endorsing candidates for judgeships, and I give you credit for that.)

My fundamental argument is that people have forgotten just how bad, and how socially corrosive, Tony Rackauckas was. And I do not believe that OC has sufficiently “de-Rackauckasized” itself yet. It’s not just the man himself, who will probably die within the next hundred years or so, but the machine he built around him. This includes cronies such as Sheriff Don Barnes, who is conspicuously trying to take over Rackauckas’s role as kingmaker in these elections. Rackauckas famously curried favor among Democratic as well as Republican leaders, protecting them from accountability; blowing the whistle on that is what got Mike Jacobs into trouble, to his great credit! (And De-Rackauckasization is also an argument for bringing in someone from outside the OC political/lawyer/police milieu, like Bryan Chehock!) But what I don’t know is whether is what Peter Hardin, supported by the still powerful anti-accountability faction of the Democratic Party, thinks at more than a superficial level about the damage done by Rackauckas. Between June and November, if all goes as expected, he’ll have time to make the case that he truly gets it and is willing and able to reform the OCDA office.

I’m still doing research and drafting my longer discussion of this race. I hope to finish by Sunday or Monday. When I’m done, I’m going to link to it here rather than pasting it into this text, because it’s going to be as long as this critical race requires, and that probably means looooong. (If you truly can’t wait until then: then vote for Chehock!)

Vern: ACTUALLY, any of the three challengers will be an improvement from the current SpitzKauckas. The important thing is for all of you to vote this month for either Jacobs, Hardin or Chehock so that nobody gets over 50% in June. Then we’ll take it from there, okay?


Don Barnes, Incumbent
Write-in Candidate, to be determined – Vern is writing in DUKE NGUYEN. And Greg wants EVERYONE to write in their own name, as a national attention-getting purest gesture of contempt! [Note: ok, that may make your ballot idenfitiable, so just write in the name of someone in the county whom you admire!] Thank you again, Lou Correa, Tom Daly, and the pusillanimous DPOC, for Barnes’s win over viable Democrat Duke Nguyen four years ago! If no one else mounts a write-in challenge, I might write in my own name. I may not be qualified, but at least I do understand the Miranda rule! Someone with a bit more relevant experience than me might want to toss in their name — or maybe everybody should vote for themselves! I don’t think that Barnes can be kept under 50% no matter what, but the story of his ending up at 49.9% because 50.1% of the people wrote in their own names would be national news! (And, after the snitch scandal, he deserves the shame!)

Treasurer/Tax Collector

Shari Friedenrich, Incumbent

Vern: EVERYBODY loves Shari. Much more than that Raymond dude. I remember when she moved from HB Treasurer to OC Treasurer a decade or so back with the enthusiastic endorsement of everyone from left to right. She jumps around, she smiles, she loves Trump, and none of it affects her excellent Treasuring! No wonder nobody bothers running against her.

(I’ll vote for) Shaa-aa-aa-aa-a-aari, Baybeee! (Shari, Baby!) Write-in Candidates, stay away from this one! Our final objective here is that we want Shari Friedenrich to get more votes than Sheriff Barnes!



Sure, why not? Here’s the “impartial analysis,” judge for yourself! It does require a 2/3 vote, though. Here are the proponents’ arguments for it, by Councilmembers Bolton, Carr, and Kalmick; no opponents’ argument was provided:

Please vote YES on Measure A to establish a tax rate for cannabis businesses should they ever be permitted in Huntington Beach. In 2016, a majority of Huntington Beach residents voted in support of Proposition 64 that legalized the use of recreational cannabis (marijuana) in California. However, commercial cannabis activities are currently
prohibited in Huntington Beach. YES, on Measure A does not approve or allow for cannabis businesses to open and operate in Huntington Beach.

YES, on Measure A establishes local control and ensures that if allowed, commercial cannabis businesses operating in Huntington Beach will pay their fair share of taxes. This special tax will provide Huntington Beach with additional revenue to pay for police and homeless/behavioral health services.

YES, on Measure A simply permits the City to collect a tax from cannabis businesses if allowed to operate in the community. By acting now, the City will have a tax in place if cannabis businesses are approved later or
forced upon us by Sacramento.

YES, on Measure A ensures tax revenue generated from cannabis sales is specifically dedicated to 1) police services for public safety and 2) homeless prevention/intervention and behavioral health services. Measure A is fiscally responsible, timely, and prudent. Make sure that commercial cannabis businesses pay their fair share! Please join us in voting YES on Measure A.

For more information, visit www.huntingtonbeachca.gov/cannabis


We’re going to outsource this one out to Fullerton Political Science Prof. Jodi Balma, who says that research shows that direct election of a Mayor increases lobbying/large donor influence and corruption. It does not seem like a good moment to argue that point with her, so vote NO!

Proponents’ Argument (by former mayor Will O’Neill and current Mayor Pro Tem Noah Blom):

Should you choose who your Mayor is? Or should someone else choose for you?

A candidate for Mayor should have to talk to you, the voters, about their priorities for our city. And you should get to vote for the candidate of your choosing.

If you believe that you should choose who your Mayor is, then vote yes. It’s that simple.

Right now, council members from districts all around the city gather in a room once a year and pick from amongst themselves who will be Mayor. Even though Newport Beach has over 60,000 voters, the Mayor is selected by only seven people!

This “Elect Our Mayor” initiative places the power in the hands of voters, not politicians.

This measure also places the strictest term limits in our city on the position of Mayor. A person can serve only two terms total in their life.

A candidate for Mayor should be talking to all of us about their priorities, stand for a city-wide vote, and be accountable to all of us.

We the voters should choose our Mayor. Vote yes. For more information, please visit www.ElectOurMayor.com

Opponents’ Argument (by former Mayor Brad Avery and Councilmember Joy Brenner)

Should Newport have a politician who rules over city council and city hall? No.

Our city’s incredible success and financial stability demonstrates the strength of our current council system. Our city does not need a King.

Measure B allows any person who has lived in Newport Beach 30 days or more to run for Mayor. Whoever wins the mayorship would become a super-councilmember, dominating the council’s agenda, overseeing city departments, and directing the city manager. If the elected mayor did not govern as voters expected, they could remain in office for four years, possibly eight. That’s too much power for too long.

For 67 years, Newport Beach has had an elected council of seven members who share power equally. This system serves our city well, providing steady leadership while keeping any one councilmember from dominating city hall. Citizens already elect Newport’s mayor by voting for councilmembers who eventually are nominated and elected to mayor by their peers. This system builds community and council consensus.

A council of equals ensures that each district in our city can be represented by the mayor for one year. Council members serve as a check on each other and collectively ensure that the city is well-managed. Elected mayor cities tend to generate political machines for ambitious politicians. That may be good for someone hungry for state and national office, but our mayor should focus on our city’s needs, not their political futures.

Measure B reduces the number of council districts from seven to six. The mayor would not represent a district. This dilutes the power of voters. It also reduces the attractiveness of serving on council if it is dominated by one person. Would you serve on such a council?

Vote no on Measure B (NoKing4Newport.com).

Measure C Westminster, Eliminate Office of Elective Mayor, and Increase number of Councilmembers and Councilmember Districts from four to five

Again, we’ll go with Prof. Balma’s recommendation to vote YES on this measure. Only proponents filed an argument.

Argument in Favor of Measure C
Vote “YES” on Measure C to reduce abuse of power and provide fair and equitable representation and opportunities for all WESTMINSTER RESIDENTS!


● STOP potential corruption and abuse of power by politicians who hold the title of mayor for too long.
● CREATE five councilmember districts which will greatly improve and expand the ability of communities of interest, neighborhoods, and minority groups to elect candidates of their choice.
● PROVIDE constituents in each district the satisfaction of seeing the councilmember they elected serve as the public face of the City of Westminster.
● ALIGN Westminster with 26 other cities in Orange County who appoint their mayor annually.
● DEPOLITICIZE the office of mayor and eliminate the need to undergo a cost-prohibitive citywide political campaign to serve as mayor, providing equitable access and opportunity for residents across all socio-economic groups to serve as mayor.
● INTRODUCE fresh ideas and innovation to Westminster City Council leadership.
● INCREASE the likelihood that the mayor will have local government experience as a Westminster councilmember before serving as mayor.
● EXPAND community and city representation on outside/regional boards and commissions.
● REMOVE the illusion that the mayor runs the city or has more legislative power than the other councilmembers.

● Westminster has had only two mayors in 22 years!
● Westminster did not have a directly-elected mayor until 1986. This measure merely reestablishes the original procedure of selecting a mayor annually as it was before 1986.
● Only seven cities in Orange County have a directly-elected mayor, all but one have significantly larger populations than Westminster.

s/ Terry Rains, Westminster Resident/Community Leader
s/ Claudia Steinmetz, Traffic Commissioner/Community Leader
s/ Teri Vu-Nguyen, Business Owner/Planning Commissioner
s/ Jessica Lostaunau, Teacher
s/ Nguyet Pham, Registered Nurse/Planning Commissione

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-disabled and semi-retired, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally ran for office against jerks who otherwise would have gonr 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.) His daughter is a professional campaign treasurer. He doesn't usually know whom she and her firm represent. Whether they do so never influences his endorsements or coverage. (He does have his own strong opinions.) But when he does check campaign finance forms, he is often happily surprised to learn that good candidates he respects often DO hire her firm. (Maybe bad ones are scared off by his relationship with her, but they needn't be.)