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Twitter War Becomes a One Horse Race

Just when I was looking forward to a great war of words, Chuck Devore has announced he is pulling out of the race for Orange County Board of Supervisors and heading to Texas to accept a position with the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Citing family issues, Devore says on his website that his family must come first and that is what really drove the decision to move. Other things, like Texas’ low tax rate and a declining number of clients have helped him make the decision. For those who think he is absconding with their campaign donations, he says he will refund the surplus in his campaign account…eventually.

Chuck goes on in typical fashion dissing California, now that he is heading for greener pastures in Texas. He laments the poor business climate and the unmitigated budget issues. He states that almost 2 million people have moved out of the Golden State, many of them going to Texas, but says nothing of the huge rise in population due to three times that many coming into the state during the same ten year span. Oh yeah, and he is going to write a book. A big book about how superior Texas is to California. Good luck with that.

About the Board of Supervisors race? Of that, he says:

I am expecting that a successful business person, someone with a strong record of promoting fiscally responsible policies, will soon step forward to run for the important office of Orange County Supervisor. When that person emerges, I expect you’ll know who it is and that they have my full support.

Well, I guess that means he won’t be supporting the OC GOP favorite, Todd Spitzer. But maybe, just maybe, this is Jerry Amante’s big chance.

What do you say, Jerry? Are you up to the task? You live in the District (is your business in the District?). You  have plenty of money from your two recent and highly successful fundraisers. You even have experience running a failed political campaign into the ground. It should be easy for you  to learn the basics of Twitter and you already have a Facebook page (although you still haven’t accepted my friend request). Yes, this could be just the ticket for you. And, most importantly, you would surely get Chuck’s endorsement since you endorsed him, right? I’m sure he would overlook the squandering of taxpayer dollars on frivolous lawsuits and firing the new City Manager because he wanted to settle the lawsuit with TUSD. And, don’t forget, most Republicans like cronyism and you especially shine in that department. After all, you’ve managed to bring your shill city manager and the soon to be ex-assistant city manager back with hefty raises that were covered up in the usual Republican rhetoric. All we have to do is install Facebook and Twitter apps on your taxpayer paid iPad and you are good to go.

Well, Chuck, I was really looking forward to watching the Twitter wars between you and Spitzer. It will be difficult to find a candidate as articulate and politically knowledgeable as you. But, you will be successful wherever you go as you are an intelligent and well-spoken person. In other words, for a Republican, you’re a pretty good guy. Godspeed.

Devore and Spitzer Battle it Out on Twitter

The dust has settled on the county redistricting plan and Tustin is firmly entrenched in the middle of Orange County Board of Supervisors District Three. Bill Campbell is termed out and a small war of words is heating up between two early candidates for the job. I am speaking, of course, about Todd Spitzer and Chuck Devore.

It is literally a small war of words because their battleground is the the social networking and micro-blogging service, Twitter. Twitter allows a person to send short messages of 140 characters or less to their followers. Short and concise are keywords on Twitter. Wikipedia describes it as the “SMS of the internet”. But, it is much more than that. It is micro-blogging at its best.

I was an early adopter of Twitter. In fact, I opened an account a year or so after it hit the internet and, like most early users, had no idea what to do with it. I had no followers, didn’t know what a hashtag was and forget trending. But, I had an account and, before long, I actually had tweeters following me. For the average, everyday user it’s a fun social tool. For a serious blogger it is a necessity. I get some of my best information from Twitter. Bloggers thrive in the tweeting world. And, the race between Devore and Spitzer is a prime example.

Chuck Devore joined Twitter in 2008 and, had been an avid user even before he announced his candidacy for the Third District.  Chuck tweets all things political with a conservative viewpoint. If you want to know how Devore feels about any political topic local, state or federal, I suggest you follow him at @ChuckDevore. Chuck is thoughtful and usually well reasoned. One thing you can do on Twitter is tweet directly to one or a number of users, even if they are not following you. It is one of the most powerful features of the service. Ask Chuck a question or give your opinion to him and you are likely to hear back from him, and often many of his followers, almost immediately (unless he is busy watching the GOP debates). Chuck comes into his own on Twitter.

But, it’s Devore’s active Twitter campaign against Spitzer that is noteworthy. Shortly before both of them formally declared their candidacy, Devore started in early and was attacking Spitzer for his record of supporting labor unions. He attacked Spitzer’s vote in favor of expanding public safety pensions during his previous stint as a Supervisor, even though he was joined by the other conservatives on the board who also voted to approve them.

Unfortunately, Devore overstepped the bounds of good sense when he jumped on Spitzer’s “union junket” to Las Vegas.

@ToddSpitzerOC parked $54,150 in embarrassing Labor $ into a slush fund used for Vegas trip. See: #ocgop

It turns out, the junket was the annual Baker to Vegas race, a famous endurance event that attracts teams of law enforcement officers from all over the world. Spitzer says his expenditures went to support the DA’s team which he claimed was a proper use of the funds.Devore still has mud on his face from that faux pas as the local prosecutors association backed Todd and everyone in blogworld (except CalWatchdog) blasted Devore.

Although Spitzer has a Twitter account, until recently, he has not been nearly as active on it, apparently preferring more traditional (and easier to understand) forms of communication such as his website and Facebook page. In fact, Todd tweets an average of once every two days compared with Chuck’s nearly five per day ( if anyone is interested, I average 1 per day but I didn’t really start tweeting until two years ago). Still, Todd has managed to slip in a zinger or two and he tweets more often these days. He outed Devore for financing his housing in Sacramento with the per diem lawmakers receive for personal expenses while in Sacramento.

So Chuck Devore admits he took the per diem to finance his second residence in Sacramento. Now that there is…

Newsflash, Todd, Devore isn’t the only assemblyman to ever do that.

Todd also has his own style. He rarely attacks Chuck directly but prefers to set the record straight when it is skewed by his opponent. He also likes to tout his own fundraising ability compared to his opponent, raking in $100,000 to Chuck’s $70,000 in the first part of the year. As both Chuck and Todd like to remind everyone in Twitter world, Todd also has a sizable bank account of campaign funds from his assembly days and later during his shunted effort to run for Orange County District Attorney.

Devore would like to paint Spitzer as just as much a union lackey as any democrat. The only thing is, it just doesn’t come out that way. Spitzer has signed on to GOP headmaster Scott Baugh’s “no union campaign money”. He also says that, while he did vote for enhanced pensions during his first tenure as Supervisor, he certainly would not do that today, knowing what he knows now. What Devore doesn’t seem to get is that the endorsements have less to do with money than with the man.  Spitzer gets all of the public safety union endorsements because he likes public safety, touts law and order in his Republican oriented ideology and public safety likes him. They really like him. Get this, even our own mayor, Jerry Amante, likes Todd.

So, This looks to be an interesting race between two well-known and well-liked Republicans. No Democrats in sight. But, why would a democrat waste their money on a foolish quest in this bastion of republicanism? Still, you never know. In any case, if you want to see bare knuckles digital fighting at its best, sign in to Twitter and follow @ChuckDevore and @ToddSpitzerOC. I promise you some interesting dialogue over the next year with plenty of commentary from us.

Oh, and you can follow us on Twitter at @keepdapeace.

Thanks, John Nielsen

Wow. I opened my email this afternoon and found my first newsletter from Mayor Pro Tem John Nielsen. Thanks, John.  Apparently, Nielsen has been distributing a newsletter via email since 2009. He and Deborah Gavello seem to be the only members of the city council that send newsletters or email updates with any regularity. I’m not sure why I have been put on his list, but I suspect John heard about Our Town Tustin and wanted to make sure I got his name spelled right. In any case Kudos, John, for making an effort to keep your constituents informed. John also has a Facebook page where he proudly proclaims his councilman status.

Curiously, Al Murray and Beckie Gomez-McKeon have campaign websites up but have not bothered to convert them to ongoing sites that could provide us with perspective on their views. Both sites  suffer from a lack of currency regarding what is going on around Tustin since they were elected. Al does have a Facebook page, as does Deborah Gavello although her page is not public. She should change that if she wants to get any mileage out of it.

And then there is Jerry.

Jerry has two websites, one for his business (which, by the way, is in Irvine. Apparently, we don’t have nice enough law offices here in Tustin) and one for his upcoming recall. Neither of these sites seems to be regularly updated. In fact, the “What’s New” page of his business site has old information and broken links that lead to nowhere. The “Save Tustin” site (interesting choice of title) is not a whole lot better. It has sparse information on Jerry’s record according to Jerry and his response letter to the Recall Notice. Amante also has a Facebook page but it has been sparsely updated since his failed run for the Assembly.

Considering we are in the information age, you would think that all of our councilmembers would endeavor to communicate with their constituents and keep them informed. The web is a natural place for community and should be a place for them to showcase their ideas and communicate with the citizens of Tustin. Of course, they are already elected and have little to worry about (even Jerry since he is termed out) until the next election cycle. Then, I imagine we will hear plenty from all of them.