Monthly Archives: October 2012

Need Some Help?

We have updated our Endorsements page to include our recommendations on all of the propositions. You will not find any new information on them that you couldn’t find with a little due diligence. But, if you are in a hurry and want to take our word for it, be our guest. As always, the important thing is to make an informed decision before pulling the handle…. or pushing the button… or whatever it is we do nowadays to cast our vote. If you are not voting by mail, perhaps we will see you at the polls.

Why You Should Vote Yes on Prop 30

So, my partner and I are standing at a cocktail table during the reception of the Golden Badge Awards and this balding, 70ish guy comes up, sets his drink down on the table. He knew us by name. He doesn’t shake hands, he just shakes his head and says, “I just came from another cop funeral this afternoon. It’s good to be able to hand them a medal for once, instead.” Thus, began my appreciation for then attorney general Jerry Brown. This amicable man who many may see as sometimes confused about what he is trying to say, knows exactly how to work a room. Make no mistake, he is no one’s fool. Regardless of how he may appear on TV, he is sharp as a tack and his mind is moving about 60 mph faster than the rest of him.

It is with reluctance that I recommend a yes vote on Proposition 30. Our state has been wallowing since the Gray Davis days. And, remember Arnie when he said, “I’ll blow up the boxes.” He couldn’t find his way past the smoke-filled cigar tent he was too fond of. His lame effort to rein in the budget put us deeper into debt and, finally, there was only one way out (unfortunately, Arnie is still looking for the exit).

Whether you like it or not, we are not going to get out of this financial mess by cutting the budget as the Republican would like. Ours is not a state that would dump people off welfare rolls. The cities and counties have been taken for a ride and there is no more money at the trough. Prop 30 is a tax and I loathe taxes almost as much as bonds. But, in this case, it is a necessary evil. And, Brown’s plan provides the best chance with finite sunset dates for taxes to end. And, it puts the onus on the wealthy to pay their share. Next to a complete rewrite of the tax code, this is our best chance to remain solvent without dumping the less fortunate among us into the streets. Yes, we are our brothers keeper, like it or not.

Are Business Interests Trying to Buy the Tustin City Council?

TRU (Tustin Resdidents United) is NRI (No Residents Involved)

I’m sure it was only select households that received the latest mudslinging campaign literature from that ominous non-organization known as, “Tustin Residents United”. As we previously established, TRU has nothing to do with the residents of Tustin and plenty to do with the business interests who are desperate to maintain control of the Tustin City Council. The prize, of course, is the Tustin MCAS property and other lucrative business opportunities in Tustin such as the infiltration of our parks by AT&T. If John Nielsen, Jerry Amante and their up and coming cronies have it their way, the prize will go to their business friends, many of whom paid for the privilege of future votes through their direct and indirect contributions to campaign funds and, so-called, independent expenditure PACs.

The hit pieces, which carry a reported cost of nearly $20,000, have largely been funded by the Orange County Business Council through their BIZPAC (we’re small potatoes… they’ve laundered nearly $80k in the Anaheim City Council race).  Interestingly, the Orange County Jobs Coalition, which has the same Los Angeles address as BIZPAC has sunk another $25,000 into the hate mail campaign against Worley-Waldram. Orange County Firefighters Association, a strong supporter of Nielsen, by the way, unloaded $7,000 into TRU as a way to support their candidate who, I am sure, signed the Scott Baugh manifesto that says, thou shalt not take union money. So much for that promise as well. Finally, we have the OC Taxpayers Association, a veritable who’s who of wealthy Republican business leaders in Orange County, who donated another $10,000 to the cause. That’s (I’m willing to do the math for you) $50,000 of big business money coming into the Team Tustin campaign. Not one dime has been contributed by a “resident”. Of that money, roughly half has been spent in hate mail literature that has bombarded your mailbox the past two weeks. With another week to go and more than $25,000 left in their warchest, expect a last minute onslaught of hate mail to come your way from TRU. Do you think John is worried?

He appears to have outdone “Physician” Allan Bernstein in the fundraising department as he recently received a huge contribution of $5,000 from the Committee for Improved Public Policy. With previous contributions, they have donated $7,000 to his campaign. Of course, this is the same shill organization that donated heavily to Jerry Amante and his failed campaign for the Assembly.

The good news is, the latest hit pieces only regurgitate the same, tired story that Waldram is a “union man” bankrolled by a wealthy patron who likes to sue the city. And it’s true. Waldram will proudly tell you himself, he is a public school teacher (did he teach John’s kids?) and his “wealthy benefactor” is Tustin Unified School Board member, Lynn (no e) Davis, who voted along with the rest of the board to sue the City when they attempted to flex their power. It also regurgitates Tracy’s minor faux pas with the FPPC that was resolved to the state’s satisfaction. So, they still have no smoking gun, no epiphany (and you would think John would have had one, moving to that new church in Newport Beach).

While Team Tustin has chosen to fight a dirty campaign through the thinly veiled “Tustin Residents United”, the other two candidates have refused to engage them. For their part, Tracy Worley-Hagen and David Waldram are sticking to the pledge they signed to run a clean and fair campaign. Their latest mailer, which is scheduled to come out this week, is probably the strongest statement against Team Tustin they are likely to muster and I give them kudos for that.

It is less than a week before E-Day. Many of you, I know, have already voted by mail. Hopefully, you did so uninfluenced by the plethora of hate mail that has hit your mailbox. For those old school voters who, like us, will be trudging their way to the precinct to cast their vote, I say, read the back of the latest and probably last Worley-Waldram mailer. It speaks volumes in just a few words.

Oh, and if you need help with the vote, check out our endorsements page which outlines our picks for candidates and measures.

Team Tustin Continues to Sling Mud

Team Tustin is at it again, slinging tons of mud at their percieved enemies while hoping some of it will stick. The name was adopted by Tustin City Candidates John Nielsen, Allan Bernstein and Chuck Puckett to show they are united in their campaign for the three Tustin City Council  seats up for grabs in November. The “Team” recently debuted new yard signs around town, showing the three in ballot format with check marks next to their names.

Last week, a mailer denigrating opposing candidates Tracy Worley-Hagen and David Waldram was mailed to Tustin Voters along with another mailer touting Team Tustin’s virtues. Both mailers came from a shadowy organization with the homey name of Tustin Residents United. We wrote about that piece here and showed the organization is merely a shill for the Orange County Business Council who, through OCBIZPAC, donated $10,000 dollars to TRU. They were the only donors to the organization, who shares an accounting address with Nielsen, Bernstein and Puckett. So, even though the mailer has the standard disclaimer about independent expenditures, it doesn’t take too much to connect the dots and see where this came from. If you need a pointer, however, just check Nielsen’s website which lists his many business endorsements and his fiancial forms which show large numbers of business donors.

The Team is apparently pretty worried about Worley-Hagen and Waldram, however. Two more hit pieces were sent to Tustin voters this week. The first one was a general mailer to all households, aimed at Tracy Worley-Hagen, and is full of the typical half-truths and outright lies one expects to find in a hit piece. In speaking with Worley-Hagen about the allegations, she says two of the allegations concerning dinners were cleared with the FPPC as an oversight in accounting. She corrected the paperwork and paid a small fine.  All councilmembers are given “police like” badges, so we don’t know where that came from. Perhaps Nielsen can explain it because he has probably been issued at least one as well. Oh, and did he return his councilman’s badge when he received his mayor’s badge? We’re betting not.

The other hit piece was apparently mailed only to Tustin Republicans and included the “Liberal Agenda” of the Worley-Waldram team. The piece likens them to the Obama administration and calls Waldram a public employee union member. Waldram is a union member and a public employee – with the Tustin Unified School District. His benefactor, as they call it in the mailer, is Tustin Unified School District Board Member, Lynn Davis. Davis is called out as being behind multi-million dollar lawsuits against the city. I suppose that is true, as he has probably voted in the lawsuits between the city and the school district over grading and the Heritage School property.

For their part, Tracy Worley-Hagen and David Waldram are running a clean campaign and have refused to engage “Team Tustin” in their mudslinging tactics. Both are running on a fiscally conservative platform and a promise to bring sanity and civility back to the city council dais. That is something we would like to see and something Nielsen, Bernstein and Puckett don’t seem to be interested in.

The good news is, you only have ten days before the elections and the end of the political scheming for another couple of years.

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