Carpetbagging Fullerton Map

“To be, or not to be…actually living where you claim to be?”

Matthew Leslie

O.C. Supervisor Todd Spitzer, candidate for O.C. District Attorney, is promising to do something incumbent D.A. Tony Ruckaukas has failed to for years–investigate whether or not candidates are falsely claiming to live somewhere in order to qualify to run for office. Opportunistic politicians file to run for city councils and state legislative offices representing municipalities where they have not previously resided with depressing regularity. Sometimes they actually move into a new domicile in time to legally claim residence there, but often their new addresses are just fronts, pretexts for claiming to live in a new city or Assembly or Senate district when they are really still rooted in their old home outside of the new district or city’s boundaries.

Remember Linda Ackerman claiming to live in the granny flat of a prominent supporter while trying to carpetbag into Fullerton to run for State Assembly back in 2009? Former Irvine Mayor Suh Kee Kang migrating north to Fullerton to run for State Senate in 2016? Or Joe Kerr hauling himself up from Coto de Caza this year to run for 4th District O.C. Supervisor? How do we know that Paulette Marshall Chaffee is really living in her new condo in Fullerton’s 5th District instead of her longtime family home in the hills of Fullerton’s 2nd District? One thing we’ve always been able to count on is D.A. Tony Ruckaukus doing next to nothing about any of it. His challenger in November, Todd Spitzer, seems to have noticed, and is promising to take the issue seriously if he is elected to replace the complacent or complicit Ruckaukus.

This week Spitzer’s campaign sent out the following press release:

‘SPITZER ANNOUNCES PRIORITY TO ELIMINATE CAMPAIGN RESIDENCY FRAUD
With So Many Cities Heading Toward District Driven Elections, Spitzer Vows To Protect Integrity Of Elections

Orange County August 15 –Today, Orange County District Attorney candidate Todd Spitzer announced an additional policy priority to crack down on politicians who abuse the district voting laws by creating phony addresses in order to run for office.

Supervisor Spitzer stated, “Our elections must be protected. As so many cities in Orange County begin having district based voting it is critical that their candidates and representatives are in fact from the district.”

Spitzer continued, “We have seen up and down the state far too many abuses of local elected officials faking their residency in order to run for office. This is wrong and will end on my watch as DA.”

“The point of district based representation is to ensure every community is represented, equally. We must protect that system to ensure the diversity of our elected representation is protected and honors the will of the people,” said Spitzer.

“For far too long Tony Rackauckas has turned a blind eye to this growing abuse,” continued Spitzer. “With the advent of new municipal voting districts in many cities, this problem is only going to get worse, if not dealt with,” Spitzer added.”‘

Should we take him at his word? Does he have any incentive to actually do anything about candidates falsely claiming to live somewhere they don’t to get elected to office? Where’s the harm in believing him, or anyone else, at this point? Just acknowledging the problem is a solid leap over the low bar Tony Ruckaukus has set for so many years.

Paulette Poppins Flattened

It’s a jolly holiday when Paulette and her magic carpetbag move into your district to run for office!

Matthew Leslie

It’s official, Paulette Marshall Chaffee has qualified to run for Fullerton City Council in District 5, where she has deliberately moved in order to run for office. Her new residence is a relatively modest apartment condo far away from her family abode north of Brea Blvd. in District 2. I guess everyone has to get out of the house someday to make their own way in the world. Carpe Diem! If your own district isn’t up for election until 2020, move into a district with elections this year…

Fullerton now has a district-based elections system because the city was sued by two clients who alleged that Asians and Latinos were underrepresented on the City Council, resulting in the adoption of five separate (badly drawn) districts who each elect their own candidate to the City Council. Ms. Marshall Chaffee has evidently decided that a carpetbagging white lady from up in the hills is just what the city’s only Latino majority district needs to represent it, even though there are plenty of longtime residents of that district running against her.

Many die-hard Democrats–most notably Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva–are put off by this brazenly patronizing and opportunist campaign, and have withheld their support, but Paulette Marshall Chaffee’s website lists several dozen people who nonetheless have endorsed her carpetbagging run for office. There is no requirement for a candidate to have a specific ethnic background to represent a district, of course, but the district she seeks to lead is majority Mexican-American, and not a single Hispanic sounding surname appears on this list, so far (Update: I missed the name “Perez” on the list. That’s one….):

Paulette's Endorsements

Her biggest advantage in the election is having lots of her own money to spend, so much so that she is already advertising for paid precinct walkers. Will it be enough to win? Only the District 5 voters can send her packing, back up the hill in November.

District 5 Roster 2018A

Left to right, John Ybarra, Paulette Marshall Chaffee, Vicki Calhoun, Ahmad Zahra, Jose Trinidad Castañeda (who is disputing a single invalidated nominating signature), and Sabrina Narain.

Matthew Leslie

Six candidates have filed papers to run for Fullerton City Council in the 5th District, located in the southeast region of the city, but only five have officially qualified for the ballot. One is disputing his disqualification over a lack of valid nominating signatures. Candidates are required to provide to the City Clerk twenty valid signatures of citizens registered to vote in the district in which they intend to run for office. Candidates may provide up to thirty signatures at a time in case some are invalidated, and may gather more if they are needed if some are indeed disqualified, as long as they have them filed on the final day of the nominating period (August 10).

A refreshingly diverse pool of candidates are running for Fullerton City Council in this part of the city, which figured heavily in the lawsuit alleging underrepresentation by non-whites that resulted in the city adopting a district-based system this year. The candidates are listed below in the order in which they appear on the city’s 2018 Fullerton City Council Candidate Filing Log.

John Ybarra is a longtime local realtor. His website lists a short, but impressive list of endorsements.

Mr. Ybarra’s ballot designation is “Broker / Business Owner.”

Paulette Marshall Chaffee is a lawyer and wife of current Mayor Doug Chaffee. Ms. Marshall Chaffee recently moved into the 5th District from the 2nd District to run for office there. She and her husband have law offices in Fullerton.

Ms. Marshall Chaffee’s ballot designation is “Attorney / nonprofit boardmember.”

Ahmad Zahra has been running for City Council for over a year, securing many early endorsements for his timely efforts. He has a medical degree and is a filmmaker. He has lived in the district for seventeen years.

Mr. Zahra’s ballot designation is “Educational Media Businessman.”

Dr. Vicki Calhoun has a doctorate in Education, and ran unsuccessfully for Fullerton School District Board several years ago. She previously served on the Fullerton Public Library Board of Trustees, and is also a longtime resident of the district. She does not yet have a campaign website.

Dr. Calhoun’s ballot designation is “Counselor / Educator.”

Sabrina Narain is local business attorney. She does not yet have a campaign website.

Ms. Narain’s ballot designation is “Attorney at Law.”

Jose Trinidad Castañeda currently serves on Fullerton’s Park and Recreation Commission. His nominating petition was ruled to have not included a sufficient number of valid signatures. He is reportedly disputing the invalidation of a single signature that is keeping him off the ballot. The Rag will update this post as soon as more information is available. He has also moved into the 5th District from another part of the city to run for office, but notes that he did attend elementary school there.

 

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