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Todd Finally Chooses…Or Not

Todd Spitzer

If you have been following the race for Third District County Supervisor, you know that, so far, it has not been much of a race. In fact, for awhile, it seemed that Todd Spitzer, who entered the race early, had not even made up his mind whether he was running for Supervisor or for District Attorney, a position he has coveted since his days as a state assemblyman.

Early on in the race, Todd was pitted against another legislative alumni, Chuck Devore. Chuck, probably looking at Todd’s bank account and boyish good looks that could get him into  a democrat’s fundraiser, finally decided to take his own advice and head for Texas. We wished him well and wondered if any worthy candidates would surface to take on the Spitzer machine. After all, Todd has the ear of many prominent Republicans in the county and he had over a million dollars to bankroll his campaign with even before any fundraising occurred on his behalf.

Almost the same day that Devore said goodbye to California and the Supervisor’s race, local Republican activist Mark Bucher threw his hat into the ring. The OC Weekly tied Bucher to the infamous rookie councilman, Jim Righeimer, who they call “arguably the most hated man in California politics” from the union perspective. That suited Mark, who has authored numerous anti-public union “paycheck protection” initiatives that, coincidentally, all failed at the starting gate. He is the penultimate Tea Party candidate in a non-partisan race. He had garnered much media attention with his announcement. Some of it was good, some of it was very bad. We have even written about Mark ourselves (who hasn’t). But that seems to be what those hardcore conservatives like. Oh yeah, and he’s a lawyer, too. But, you probably guessed that already.

So what happened? After his initial announcement, we haven’t heard anything from Mark. There does not appear to be any “Mark Bucher for Supervisor” campaign websites and there has been nothing  written since the first of the year concerning his campaign. He has not filed papers with the Registrar of voters although he still has more than a month do so. Perhaps he is too busy trying to screw public employees with his initiative which, by the looks of things, has qualified for this year’s ballot.

Courtesy of OC Weely

Deborah Pauly

So, what’s a person to do? Enter Villa Park Councilmember, Deborah Pauly. Pauly is also no stranger to politics or the media. Unlike Bucher, however, she hasn’t made her mark criticizing public employee unions. Instead, she has made her mark espousing hatred for Muslims. All Muslims. She has no use for them in any way, shape or form, apparently. Her hatred of Muslims has enamored her to many of her Tea Party friends and garnered the censure of her fellow Villa Park Councilmembers who endorsed Todd for the Third District.

She also hasn’t been able to hold a candle to Spitzer’s fundraising. In fact, her meager attempts at fundraising have netted her a mere $2,180. And, forgetting for the moment the million plus he already had, Todd managed to raise $30,430 among his friends and contributors. That’s without any union help that we know of. His campaign consultant, Dave Gilliard was succinct:

With over 336,000 registered voters in the 3rd supervisorial district, running a campaign in this seat is a very expensive endeavor. Todd’s opponent currently has the resources to spend about 1/3 of a cent for every voter.

It does beg the question as to whether Pauly is serious about running for Supervisor. Rumor had it that she only jumped into the race because of her hatred for Mark Bucher. But, that’s only rumor. And, as far as I have seen, Spitzer only refers to her as, “my opponent”. I have yet to see him call her by name and I don’t blame him. Spitzer has made a career out of being the champion of the underdog, people like Pauly despises.

In fact, his initial press releases after he announced his candidacy almost continuously espoused his support of causes for his clients and the public at large. He has attacked efforts to eliminate the death penalty, spoken at the Irvine City Council in favor or their proposed underage drinking law and championed a law he authored, Megan’s Law. He was running so much press for victims advocacy, many were starting to wonder if he really was running for the Orange County District Attorney’s office. His opponent wondered the same thing at a couple of debates they held in Orange and Tustin. The delusional Pauly, who attacked Spitzer’s vote on pensions and his supposed support of unions,  thought she walked away with the debates while Spitzer walked away with a slew of endorsements including the (minus Pauly) Villa Park City Council who were quick to disavow any knowledge of Deborah and probably can’t wait for her term to end. Two more (long) years, boys.

But, others also apparently thought Spitzer was running for DA. When someone on Spitzer’s campaign sent out a press release that erroneously tagged Todd as a current Assistant District Attorney rather than a former one. It was corrected almost immediately and, sensing they would have an issue, he must have sent DA Tony Rackauckus’ spin doctor, Susan Kang Schroeder, a corrected release. Schroeder, who has been rumored to covet the DA position for herself when T-Rack disintegrates, shot off a letter to Todd upbraiding him for the faux pas. Funny thing was, Pauly got ahold of a copy of it a full day before it was postmarked and tried to use it against Todd. Todd cried foul, of course, claiming the DA was playing politics. Unfortunately, who is going to investigate the matter? Certainly not a DA who has been called by some the most corrupt DA in California for his non-investigations of his cronies and benefactors.

Susan Kang Schroeder

But, Schroeder, who happens to be the wife of GOP bigwig Mike Schroeder, says she is not conducting any political activity. She claims a complaint from a third-party (who could that be?) initiated the letter and that she disputed all of Spitzer’s allegations. “he’s mentally unstable and unfit to serve. … He’s got everything wrong factually. This is vintage Todd … ready, fire, aim.” That sounds like good old campaign mudslinging to me. And, if things work out as I suspect they will, Todd will, in effect, hold the purse strings of the DA’s office. If I were Susan, I would sit down, shut up and hope Todd was telling the truth when he recently reiterated that he would not seek the DA’s office if and when it were to become vacant. She should also hope that a truck hits Spitzer because that appears to be the only way he is not going to win the Supervisor’s race.

So, Todd Spitzer has made his choice. He publicly came out and said that he will not seek the office of Orange County District Attorney….yet. That is a good move on his part. For whatever reason, our current DA-come-used-car-salesman has no intention of leaving anytime soon and, if anyone honestly believed that he would ever support Todd (I didn’t) for the office, that notion has been clearly dispensed with. Spitzer has answered all the arguments against him made, chiefly, by Pauly and her friend, Schroeder.  He has admitted his mistake in voting for enhanced pension benefits but rightly says that he was not the only one to do so. And, given what he knows now, he would not do it again. He has also proven that he is an effective, if exuberant County Supervisor. His track record in local politics, unlike his tenure in the Assembly, is solid. So, unless that proverbial truck we talked about hits him or Pauly suddenly sees a huge infusion of money (how much did Mike Schroeder promise you?) and a resurgence of anti-muslim supporters, it is doubtful Spitzer will have to spend much more than the thirty thousand he raised last year. And, the only thing the public will have to suffer is Todd’s somewhat opportunistic grandstanding. I think we can live with that.

So, everything is great, except… Todd recently admitted to the OC Weekly that he has tried to contact T-rack and has even had coffee with Susan. He has weakly admitted that he would like his old job back. From the OC Weekly Story:

Spitzer—who is often passionate in his endeavors—admitted he left voice mail messages for the DA. He cautioned me to appreciate the circumstances at the time of the calls: He’d just celebrated his 50th birthday, was unemployed for the first time after losing his “dream job” as a prosecutor, and was worried about how he would financially provide for his family.

I again asked him if he’d asked for his job back. He paused before answering, “I might have. . . . Okay, I probably did, but it was more of a global thing with Tony—where can we go from here?”

There is no doubt that Todd is running for supervisor. The question is, if the DA’s office were to suddenly open up, would Todd jump ship like Lou Correa did  for the legislature and go for the job? My guess is a solid probably. After all, Todd still has a huge warchest that could easily accomplish running back to back campaigns. But, regardless of the OC Weekly story leaning that way, I have to believe as supervisor he would take great satisfaction in being Schroeder’s and even T-Rack’s boss. The real question is, after having coffee with Schroeder, has he made a promise to be a good boy?

One thing is for sure. Todd will pick and choose his opportunities. Susan, you might want to watch your back.

The Bucher Ruse

Under the guise of political reform, public employee hater and 3rd Supervisorial Candidate, Mark Bucher, is busy telling fibs around town to promote his latest initiative to stop unions from contributing to political campaigns. In the past, Bucher has attempted to garner enough signatures to force unions to obtain member permission each year before using union dues for political contributions. This is Bucher’s third try, at least, and contained a twist that appears to have been the secret to success as signatures were recently certified and the initiative is slated for the ballot next year.

As The Liberal OC recently wrote:

Like his previous two failures, this proposed initiative would prohibit unions from using any funds collected from employee payroll checks for political purposes, effectively killing the ability of unions to raise the funds necessary to fight in the political arena. The difference this time is a clever ruse aimed at getting people to think that by voting for the initiative they are taking corporate money out of politics.

Union and corporate money out of politics. Doesn’t it sound great? It would be except, how many times have you heard of rank-and-file employees having money taken out of their paychecks involuntarily for the purpose of advancing the company’s political views or candidates? If you said none, you would probably be accurate. Oh, and spare me the recent conservative Wall Street publicity of how employees (read stock and commodity traders) contributed to company PACs. If it were involuntary, it would not be right. And, neither would it be for Unions.

But, union PAC contributions are

voluntary. Memebers may already choose not to have their union dues going to political interests they do not necessarily share.

On the other hand, businesses do not normally ask their rank-and-file employees to contribute to PACs that would further the aim of the particular business or business in general. But, they do spend money, and lots of it. Who’s money? In the case of privately held businesses, it is the owner’s money. In the case of publicly traded corporations, it is the stockholder. So, will the stockholder now be asked to make a positive election before company officials may contribute millions of dollars to political campaigns? I hold stock and I have never been asked my opinion on the subject. I also don’t have a choice as long as I continue to own that stock. Oh, and by the way, since my 401(k) (that Republicans would love to replace my pension with) does not let me exclude myself from participating in these corporations, I guess I don’t have a choice.

And, that is what The OC Liberal calls the “Bucher Ruse”. The initiative, if passed by the voters, will allow corporations to spend millions of dollars of investor money without asking while making it so difficult to obtain permission from union members, that unions will effectively be unable to pool their members’ money to promote their own interests. And, although union members already may elect not to have their dues used for political purposes, the positive election scheme will cause many short-sighted members to fail to sign up each year as the initiative will require.

It is interesting to note that Mark Bucher’s name still appears as an “official proponent” on an undated press release from the “Citizens Power Campaign”, a mysterious organization that appears to have been based in Our Town Tustin. This document, that appears to be from around the year 2000, shows that Bucher has been attempting “paycheck protection” initiatives since at least 1998. If you google “Citizens Power Committee” you will get several references to the same press release. We will warn you now, do not attempt to click on the web addresses in the press release. They appear to go to a foreign website that is not in English (we did, but we have pretty good anti-virus software).

Unions are not going down without a fight. In an effort to even the playing field, the Law Office of Remcho, Johansen and Purcell submitted an initiative to the Attorney General on December 14, 2011. The proposed initiative, asking for the title, “Corporate Political Accountability Act” would prevent corporations from spending shareholder money without prior approval. If approval was made by some shareholders, only an amount equal to the holdings of those approving shareholders would be allowed to be used. Sounds fair to us. Hopefully, this initiative will make it to the same ballot where voters can then decide for themselves just how much influence both unions and business should have on California politics.

It should be an interesting fight.