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Random Alphabet Sets Ballot Names

(Updated 08/20/12 9:00 pm) The Tustin City Council race is off to a good start. Five candidates have filed for three seats. Councilmember Jerry Amante is termed out and Councilmember Deborah Gavello has chosen not to run for The Beer Drinking Electoratea second term. Mayor John Nielsen is running for a second term, probably so he can fulfill his latest campaign promise. The California Secretary of State, Deborah Bowen, has made the random draw of the alphabet that determines where candidates names will be on the ballot. The random alphabet draw was passed by the legislature in 1975 due to the bias caused by alphabetical and incumbent-first ballots.

In ballot order, the candidates running for Tustin City Council are:

  • David Waldram
  • Tracy Worley Hagen
  • Allan Bernstein
  • Chuck Puckett
  • John Nielsen

As we said, John Nielsen is the only incumbent running and has a built-in lead by his incumbency that should make up for his last-place placement on the ballot. He has Incumbent Mayor John Nielsenalso, occasionally, stood up to Amante and voted his conscience. While those are rare times, we hope that if he is re-elected, Amante’s influence will wane (we can always hope). He is well endorsed by a broad spectrum of the community. John lists as his priorities, public safety, taxes, and traffic. He doesn’t appear to think of transparency in government as a priority. But that is understandable, given his track record.

Chuck Puckettis an alumni of the Tustin City Council and has previously served as mayor. During the elections of 1994, Puckett was mired

2012 Tustin City Council Candidate Chuck Puckett

in a scandal involving city credit cards and lingerie shows. As far as we can see, there was little truth to any of it but, it made for a good story around the campfire. It is probable there was enough credibility in the story at the time to cause him to lose the election. Chuck appears to be an affable guy who some believe will speak his own mind when necessary. In any case, he has a leg up as a former councilmember and mayor. He has remained active in the community and has held positions on the Tustin Community Foundation Board and recently as the Chairman of the Tustin Planning Commission. Unlike Nielsen, Chuck lists, among other things, transparency in government as a priority saying, “Our city government and financial decisions must be transparent.” That’s a plus for us.

Council Candidate Bernstein Illegally Poses as CouncilmemberAllan Bernstein, well what can you say about Allan? Anyone? Anyone at all? He has no political experience. He has no  community involvement that we have seen other than when he appeared as a judge for the Annual Chili Cookoff alongside… can you guess? Jerry Amante. In fact, Allan is a good friend of Jerry’s apparently, and lives in his neighborhood. But, until Hizzoner began showing him around political circles, few had heard of him. His campaign manager has had the good sense to host fundraisers for Allan at both the Wilcox House and that bastion of republicanism in Old Town, Quinn’s Old Town Grill. Bernstein bills himself as a “physician” as he is a podiatrist. My chiropractor also calls herself a physician.

It is Bernstein’s initial attempts to deceive the public as to his community service that has us most concerned. At the chili cookoff, he was reported to be wearing a pin with the Tustin City Seal and the word, “Candidate” on it. If the average citizen saw this, they might think Bernstein already sits on the council or works in some capacity for the city. Add to this Bernstein’s Facebook profile picture (also shown above) that shows him on the dais in the Tustin City Council Chambers, sitting at a council seat with the Tustin City Seal above his head. Again, he deceives anyone looking at his page (it is open to the public, by the way) into thinking that he is a sitting councilmember already. If this is the type of tactics Amante has endorsed for Bernstein, he needs to take another look at campaign laws. Bernstein has a web address reserved but, alas, no website as of yet. The big question: Will Jerry push his beloved dog aside and let Allan ride with him in the Tiller Days parade?

Like John Nielsen, candidate David Waldram is an Eagle Scout and very proud of his work with the Boy Scouts. He previously ran for city council in 2010 and was narrowly defeated by Beckie Gomez.2012 Tustin City Council Candidate David Waldram David recently held his kickoff fundraiser at his home with a BBQ and bouncehouse for the kids. He is a sometimes teacher at Tustin High School and a small business owner. Waldram is also a lifelong resident of Tustin having attended local schools and Chapman University. Although he has a website, it does not appear to be fully functional yet. The best bet for information is his Facebook page. Waldram and Tracy Hagen are having a fundraiser on August 30th at the Loveland residence. More information is available on his Facebook page.

The final candidate is veteran councilmember, Tracy Worley Hagen whom we recently wrote about. Tracy won a seat on the council in a contentious race in 1994. She has 2012 Tustin City Council Candidate Tracy Hagenbeen Mayor of Tustin 4 times. We would like to say she is coming back into politics but it seems she has never really left. She was at the forefront of an effort to bring civility back to the dais when a hit piece on David Waldram was discussed at a city council meeting. Along with her 12 previous years on the council, Tracy has held seats on the boards of OCFA, Transportation Corridor Agencies, and the OC Sanitation District. Her community service includes, past-president of the Foothill Boys Volleyball Team Boosters and she sits as current president for the Tustin Ranch Homeowners Association III. Tracy is also an active member of the Assistance League of Tustin.

Tracy was instrumental in securing the old Tustin Marine Corp Air Station, when it closed, in a no cost transfer of the base to the city. After a slow start in development (through no one’s fault except the economy), the area promises to breath new life into our town. Tracy has both a website (of the blog sort which we like) and a Facebook page that has plenty of information on her background. Hopefully, she will get her platform up somewhere soon. We do know, in casual conversations with her, she puts transparency of government and civility to citizens and each other on the dais as high priorities along with fiscal prudence and a government that serves the people.

As we have said, this is shaping up to be one heck of a race. All odds are even at the starting gate. As they round the first turn, we will be there to let you know how things are going.

Waldram Signs Up

Courtesy Orange County Register

Yup, we are still in Northern California, where at least one commenter would prefer we stay. We’ll be back next week. In the meantime, enjoy-jg

We recently received a forwarded email from David Waldram. As you may know, David previously ran a strong but unsuccessful campaign for Tustin City Council, barely being edged out by Beckie Gomez. He is running again in 2012 and has declared his candidacy on his website and in this email:

During the last campaign for City Council, I was so appreciative of the support and endorsement of many of you.  Since then, Kendra and I have had many wonderful life changing moments including the birth of our daughter and purchasing our first home here in Tustin.  Having been born in Orange County and raised in Tustin, I am blessed to now be raising my own daughter in my hometown.  We are facing a momentous election season.  We will be voting not only on whom should be our President, but ultimately which course our country should take to best strengthen our economy and remain the moral compass of the free world.  In our own hometown we have a similar choice ahead of us.

With the many challenges facing America, believing in your hometown is needed now more ever.  After much prayer and consideration, I have decided that I should run for City Council in this upcoming election.  I believe in Tustin just as I believe in the greatness of America.  Giving back to both is why I am running for office. 

Waldram also has a website with much the same message on the home page.  This website is a retread apparently and there are no links on the home page to other pages. However, if you want to see the rest of his site, go here. On the website, he has a link that will take you to a questionnaire that allows the user to enter the issues he or she thinks is most important to them regarding the city.

Waldram claims he will be fiscally responsible and points out the fiscal irresponsibility of the current council with such facts that the city council has been running a deficit budget for the past two years (but we already knew that). He also points out the unnecessary increases to water rates.

One thing we especially liked seeing on his website is, “Rudeness towards citizens and each other [is] unacceptable at City Council meetings. I will show respect to all & listen to all views.”

That would be a refreshing change.

Next week, filing begins for the Tustin City Council race. It is interesting to see that we have two declared candidates and one who has all but declared already in the running. Get your wallets out. Although city races don’t usually require a lot of money,  I suspect the one who reaps the most in political contributions will have a distinct edge.

One question remains. Will Deborah Gavello run again? In a recent interview with her, she said that she had not decided. She feels strongly that, with the right mix of people on the city council and a toning down of the rhetoric that has become too common lately, she could continue to be an effective voice for city residents. One thing for sure, she has at least $17,000 in her campaign account as of the first of the year. We understand she has been busy garnering new contributions and that number could be quite a bit higher during the next reporting cycle. That is huge jumpstart in a race where even a few dollars can make a difference.

Local Community Center Holds Graduation

Like I have said before, it’s not always about politics. Sometimes, it is about more important things, like our kids.

Apparently, I am no  longer on the press release list of the City’s Public Information Officer, Lisa Woolery. So, I have to cull my information from the city website and other sources just like any regular citizen.

So, the other day, I was perusing the website when I cam across a great little PR piece on our own Tustin Youth and Family Center. From their press release:

Tustin Youth and Family Center Celebrates Kids Corner Graduation

Today parents, teachers, staff and most importantly, the pre-school children enrolled in the Kids Corner program at the Tustin Family and Youth Center celebrated their graduation. Thirty-one children and their families attended the ceremony and reception.

Kids Corner is a kindergarten readiness program for pre-k students who are at least 4 years old and will be entering kindergarten the following year. Each session is
twelve weeks and free to families who meet eligibility requirements.

Curriculum focuses on alphabet and letters, colors, counting, shapes, writing, reading readiness, dramatic play, science centers and social interaction. The program also focuses on learning about being in school.

Kids Corner is funded through the Tustin Parks & Recreation Department. Applications are available at the Tustin Family and Youth Center at 14722 NewportAvenue and questions may be directed to the center at (714) 573-3370.

Unfortunately, the press release did not state the date of the graduation, so I asked. The PIO was nice enough to forward my email to Stephanie Najera, the Executive Coordinator at the Center. She advised me the event took place on May 16, 2012.

The Youth and Family Center was built in 1996 and has served the underserved in our community ever since. They provide tutoring and life skills for kids and teens and, in their  best fashion, help working families provide study assistance, pre-school  education and social skills for their kids. The Center is run under the auspices of the Tustin Parks and Recreation Department. The city has a web page here that has not been updated since 2011. It does say you can stop by the Center for more information or feel free to contact the Parks and Recreation Department or contact Stephanie directly at: (714) 573-3012.

On the Planning Commission Agenda, May 8, 2012

Sorry, we have been out of town for a few days to attend the Annual California Peace Officer Ceremonies in Sacramento. I meant to post while I was up there but activities (and the prospect of great food)  kept me away from the keyboard. While I was gone, some of our readers sent me some interesting items which will make for good posts this week. Give me a day and I will be back in force.

There is not much on the Planning Commission agenda tonight. However, the one item, which is a public hearing, is the Del Rio Building, which we wrote about in March. We heard there had been some design changes that the city was not happy with. The owners had orginally planned on putting office space on the second floor of the building and then changed it to an apartment for the owners. The city was not happy with the change as they felt the ground contamination had not been adequately cleaned from the lot for living space. The owners have subsequently returned to the originally planned office space. According to the staff report accompanying the hearing, the contamination will not interfere with you if you are only having coffee or buying a new ring from the retail stores on the ground floor or affect you if y you only work 8 hours a day on the second floor. But, if you slept there….

Of course, there were some other design issues the city had problems with as well. The experts in Old Town decided the facade needed rearranging. They sent it back. I have seen the renderings for both. The changes were minimal and could hardly be noticed. However, the city experts in Old Town were adamant about having it there way.Hopefully, this will be the end. If the Planning Commission approves the design review and it is not appealed, the Del Rios should have a new building in a few months. We wish them success and look forward to having a cup of coffee at Old Town’s newest business.