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Webster Who?

Credit: Voice of OC

Credit: Voice of OC

Unless you are an avid local political junkie like me or one of the hundred or so readers that still subscribe to the Orange County Register, you may not know who Webster is. That’s Webster Guillory, former Orange County Assessor. For 16 years, until his defeat last year by Claude Parrish, Guillory collected and parsed out the various taxes from residents of Orange County.

Until last year, I can’t think of an election where he was seriously opposed. I mean, tax collector, while a well paying job, is not one most politicians vie for. It’s mostly a mundane managerial job supervising the folks that actually do the work. It’s also not all that controversial. So, why all the hubub lately?

It seems Webster was planning on retiring last year after 16 years on the job. That would have amounted to a dandy little retirement for the 70 year old who has the distinction of being the first African American to hold a county-wide elected office.

Instead, he decided to round out his retirement and, at the last minute, circulated nomination papers to enter the race one more time. And, that’s where his trouble began.

Allegedly, Guillory took out papers at the County Registrar and had an employee circulate them around the office. Other employees were asked (directed?) to sign off as he needed 20 signatures and time was running out.

All in all, Guillory is facing three felony counts resulting from the signature gathering. Additionally, but probably with no consequence, there is also the question of whether the signature gathering was done on county time as was alleged by employees of the former Assessor in a complaint filed last year with the Orange County DA.

According to the Voice of OC, Guillory’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 24th after being postponed due to scheduling conflicts. At that time, evidence will be presented to determine if a trial should be held. If Guillory is convicted, he faces over 4 years in prison. Well, actually, due to the way non-violent offenders are treated nowadays, he would more likely be the guest of Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. Maybe.

What Happened to Parental Responsibility?

underagdrink2I hate it when I have to agree with any one person from the Tea Party. In this case, I have to agree with their official stand against another infringement on rights and responsibilities just for the sake of grandstanding.

I first wrote of the Social Host ordinance back in 2011 when the city of Irvine City Council decided social engineering was de rigeur. While I might expect this of liberals who think that no one is capable of making a decision without government agency guidance, this piece of work actually was dreamed up by Republicans under the guise of “child safety”.

At the time, even OC Board of Supervisors (then Candidate) Todd Spitzer touted the necessity of the law on his Facebook Page,

credit: Voice of OC

credit: Voice of OC

saying it was good public policy. Fine, but then he decided to show up at the Irvine meeting to espouse the need for such law (and paint himself with that law & order brush for his upcoming run for OCDA). Spitzer, who should know better than to trample the rights of individuals, stood before the Irvine City Council and insulted every parent in the city by, basically telling them they are all irresponsible. And you know what? Their city council agreed as they implemented a new “Social Host Ordinance” supposedly designed to eliminate underage drinking at parties.

A couple of weeks ago, he did the same thing on a grander scale. He put before the Orange County Board of Supervisors the same basic ordinance that would apply to unincorporated areas of the county. Only this time, it wasn’t so easy. At the November 5th meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Spitzer grandstanded again, initiating discussion on the Social Host Ordinance. The huge amount of opposition caused the board to take the time honored tactic of continuing the item to December in hopes the opposition would just go away.

Instead, the Orange County Tea Party, a group I am usually loathe to discuss here, took up the torch and ran with it. Calling the Social Host Ordninance supporters misguided, the Tea Party sent out a call to action to the OC BoS meeting earlier this week in an attempt to rally their troops against Spitzer’s proposal. Apparently it worked, because the Board subsequently refused to pass the ordinance. “If we think we’re going to stop all these tragedies by getting further and further into people’s homes and lives, you’re not,” said Supervisor Shawn Nelson.

In my article two years ago, I said that I agree in principle with supporters of the ordinance: stop or lessen underage drinking by making it a crime to furnish alcohol to minors. I also said then that there are plenty of law already on the books to do just that. It has been a crime since before I was born to sell or furnish alcohol to kids. In fact, the law is more broad than that by making it a crime to do or fail to do anything that would contribute to the delinquency of a minor. Furnishing alcohol to minors certainly falls under that.

The Tea Party boys and girls, however, point out the real issue with enacting local ordinances such as this. With a state law, interpretation and discretion to enforce are maintained in a uniform manner. That means that each community must enforce the law the same way. When each community is allowed to enforce their own standard, the law can actually become obscured and confusing – what may be legal in one place is illegal in another. Local ordinances have their place in enforcing standards that are likely to affect only their own community. Issues of underage drinking, however, are of equal concern throughout the state and even the country. A uniform standard of enforcement is not only desirable, it is necessary.

Spitzer, of course, doesn’t see it that way. As an opportunist, he is more concerned with making a name for himself for his upcoming run for district attorney rather than do what the BoS is actually charged with.

On Tuesday, it was evident the community was disgusted with adding useless laws that will not help in enforcement of community standards and, therefore, only serve to promote Spitzer’s political agenda. Spitzer and his ordinance were sent packing by the rest of the Board, who saw this ordinance for what it actually was – or wasn’t.

Spitzer, in our opinion, would make a pretty good DA. He would certainly do better than  Tony Raukaukus, the most corrupt DA in the state. But, if he expects the vote of the conservative stitch here in the Real OC, he needs to understand that the law should be implemented with a minimalist approach designed to protect the community, not interfere with the rights and responsibilities of parents.

What’s the Problem, Officer?

I’m sorry, I am still laughing my ass off over this one and it is really a serious subject. If you haven’t seen the headline by now, it’s because the Register hid it on the Watchdog page where only the political junkies hang out. I can’t tell you if it hit the print page because I stopped my subscription long ago (note to delivery department – you can stop delivering the Sunday paper). I actually got this off the Sacramento Bee website which referred me back to the Register story. See what I go through to get you the truth?

It seems the former California GOP Chairman and all-things-OCGOP honcho Mike Schroeder found himself in a bit of hot water a few days ago. And, he did it in our town Tustin. It seems he was casually weaving from side to side on the southbound 55 around 3am at Edinger Avenue when the CHP noticed he was taking up more than his  allotted number of lanes. The officer that stopped him noted all the usual stuff you will see in a report on someone under the influence: watery eyes, slurred speech and that ever-present strong odor of alcoholic beverage (the Register, like most newspapers says alcohol. But alcohol has no odor in itself – it’s the beverage the officer smells – LEO101). They gave him a field sobriety test which, according to the report, he did not perform satisfactorily (I guess there is liability in saying he failed the test). So, they hauled him in and gave him a blood test, the results of which are pending.

Schoeder is the husband of Orange County District Attorney Spokewoman, Susan Kang Schroeder, who has been called the “dragon lady of Orange County” in some circles. In other circles, she has been called much worse. She was implicated in the termination debacle of OC Supervisor-elect Tod Spitzer, who accused her of masterminding a plot on behalf of her boss, Tony Rackauckus and fallen Public Guardian, John Williams over Tony’s beloved who worked for Williams. Of course, like good Republicans, they all came out of the dungpile smelling like a rose.

Farrah Emami, the real spokesperson for the OCDA’s office (but not for T-rack), said the case would be turned over to the Attorney General’s Office due to the relationship of Schroeder’s wife with the DA’s office. This is pretty good, considering our Attorney General, Kamala Harris, is a hardcore Democrat, just left of Karl Marx. When Al Stokke, another political hack here in the Real OC and Schroeder’s attorney said Schroeder would “deal with it responsibly”, I wonder if he realized the implications.

We wait avidly to see the outcome of this case. Schroeder, who everyone says is the DA’s closest personal advisor, will have a hard time getting out of this one. On the other hand, lots of people get busted for DUI and go on with their lives. I am still trying to figure out how he lived down this photo of him and Susan published in the OC Weekly last year.

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.