"Aloha `oe! It's off to work I go..."

“Aloha `oe! It’s off to work I go…”

It’s a tough life being a California State Senator. Long hours and plenty of travel are needed to serve the people of the 29th District, which stretches from Cypress to Chino Hills, Rowland Heights to Yorba Linda, and includes parts of three different counties. For State Senator Bob Huff, who represents, the 29th, what better place to discuss the important challenges facing 18 different cities than the Hawaiian Island of Mau’i?

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that some legislators from California are flying to Mau’i to meet with representatives from “oil companies, public employee unions, drug and tobacco firms, and others.” at the luxurious Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea, which looks like this:

"Mahaolo lobbyists! This sure beats my office in Brea!

“Mahalo lobbyists! This sure beats my office in Brea!”

Legislators use their own spare campaign funds to pay for airfare, but the $350 per night hotel bill is picked up by a nonprofit called the Independent Voter Project who brought California the Top Two Primary system now in place throughout the state. That organization is supported, according to the LA Times, by 24 sponsors, who include “Occidental Petroleum Corp., the Western State Petroleum Assn., Eli Lilly, the Altria tobacco firm, the California Cable and Telecommunications Assn., the state prison guards union and the California Distributors Assn., which represents distributors of tobacco and other products.”

The article goes on the quote California Common Cause’s Sarah Swanbeck, who calls the yearly conference an “unwelcome tradition,” and suggests possibly banning them. The Rag agrees with Ms. Swanbeck. How can our democracy possibly be well served by allowing our legislators to be put up in an expensive beachfront hotel in Hawai’i and lobbied to support legislation favorable to the people ultimately paying the bill?

North Pacfic Map copy

Let’s review…

When he isn’t in Sacramento Bob Huff needs to stay right here in his district listening to ordinary constituents instead of living the high life in a tropical resort courtesy of lobbyists for big businesses and powerful public unions. If they want to talk to our state representatives, they should make  appointments with them at their offices like the rest of us are expected to do. As Senate Republican Leader, Bob Huff should set a better example to his colleagues and to the people he represents.

The Rag encourages readers to contact Senator Huff to let him know what they think of his comped Hawai’ian “conference” with lobbyists. You can reach him here:

Capitol Office

State Capitol, Room 305
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4029
Fax: (916) 651-4929

Brea District Office

1800 E. Lambert Road, Suite 150
Brea, CA  92821
Phone: (714) 671-9474
Fax: (714) 671-9750

01 Retirement Liability Funding Status and Strategies

With no prior warning yesterday the City of Fullerton emailed the agenda for a November 12, 2:30 pm meeting of the Fullerton City Council to discuss the status of retirement liability funding of city employees. The meeting is characterized as a “special study session” of the City Council, which normally meets for public sessions in the evenings of the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month. The agenda is signed by Human Resources Director Gretchen Beatty and Director of Administrative Services Julia James. The study session is scheduled to take place at the Fullerton Public Library Conference Center.

California’s Brown Act strictly requires that agendas be posted at least 72 hours in advance of meetings unless the meeting can be characterized as a “special” one, in which case a mere 24 hours is required by law. Such a meeting can be called by the Mayor or a majority of the city council. No explanation of why Wednesday’s meeting was scheduled with such short notice has been offered, and there is no indication that there are emergency circumstances to justify it.

Scheduling a meeting about Fullerton’s significant pension liability in the middle of a work day afternoon with inadequate notice has angered activists who see it as an unwarranted and suspicious manipulation of the agenda process. City staffers are unavailable for comment today because of the Veterans Day holiday, leaving some residents to wonder if the city council would rather have this discussion away from the eyes of the public.

The meeting does not appear on the city’s main online calendar, although the formal agenda is posted under the usual live and archived meetings link. The Rag assumes that it will be recorded for later viewing by interested members of the public who may work during the day.

Doug Chaffee, re-elected.

Doug Chaffee, re-elected.

Greg Sebourn, re-elected.

Greg Sebourn, re-elected.

Since everyone is still asking, here are the results of the November 4 election…

Elections on Tuesday brought us more of the same at home, and a big difference in Sacramento. At home, incumbents Doug Chaffee and Greg Sebourn were both re-elected to the two open seats on the Fullerton City Council

Here are the numbers from the Orange County Registrar of Voters:

DOUG CHAFFEE 9,459 25.1%

GREG SEBOURN 7,623 20.2%

LARRY BENNETT 6,822 18.1%

JANE RANDS 4,781 12.7%

RICK ALVAREZ 4,174 11.1%

SEAN PADEN 3,832 10.2%

BILL CHAFFEE 986 2.6%
See the official results here:

http://www.ocvote.com/fileadmin/live/gen2014/results.htm#c-376

but keep in mind that at least some provisional and late ballots still have not been counted. Although they will add to the final tallies for candidates, they are unlikely to change the outcome of the contest. In the past two elections, late ballots did make the difference, with Doug Chaffee being overtaken by Pat Mckinley in 2010, and Travis Kiger being edged out by a mere 29 votes by Jan Flory 2012. In 2014, the 800 vote lead enjoyed by Greg Sebourn will be hard for challenger Larry Bennett to overcome.

Sharon Quirk-Silva, not re-elected.

Sharon Quirk-Silva, not re-elected.

One-tern incumbent California Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva was soundly defeated by newcomer Young Kim in one of the most expensive Assembly races in California history. The changeover affects not only Orange County’s 65th District, but robs the Democrats of a supermajority in Sacramento just as a Democratic governor was easily re-elected.

All three incumbent members of the Fullerton Joint Union High School District running for re-election fended off the four challenging candidates on the ballot to keep their seats, some of which have been held for decades. Bob Hathaway, Bob Singer, and Marilyn Buchi will each serve another full term.

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