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Dr. Vicki Calhoun, easily the best choice for OC Board of Education.

Matthew Leslie

The Fullerton Rag endorses Dr. Vicki Calhoun for the 4th District seat on the Orange County Board of Education. Despite a field of four candidates for this often overlooked office, the choice of Dr. Calhoun should be an easy one for voters, by process of elimination alone. We will consider the many reasons not to vote for her competitors below, but let’s begin with a little background about why Dr. Calhoun is the best candidate for this important post.

Born and raised in Fullerton, Dr. Calhoun attended local schools, including Maple Elementary and Fullerton College, before earning her B.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University. She also did something most people can only dream about—she toured with a major rock and roll band, singing backup for, among others, the Red Hot Chili Peppers (look, and listen, for her in the Knock Me Down video).

She went back to school, ultimately earning a doctorate in Education with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership. Her dedication to education has lead her to her current occupations of counseling students at the community college level and at-risk youth for a prominent local non-profit. She has held seats on the Fullerton College Foundation and the Fullerton Public Library Board of Trustees.

Dr. Calhoun’s candidacy is motivated by her commitment to help provide the best public education possible to the children of Orange County. I’m not sure the same can be said for the other three candidates in the race. Let’s take a look at who else is running…

Paulette Chaffee (a.k.a. Paulette Marshall Chaffee), wife of 4th District Supervisor Doug Chaffee. A lawyer, Ms. Chaffee made national news in 2018 when she was caught on video and subsequently charged with stealing campaign signs (from private property) critical of her carpetbagging run for Fullerton City Council. Can anyone seriously claim that she set a good example for children with her behavior (and why is she even running for this office anyway)?

Tim Shaw, member of the LaHabra City Council, his ballot designation includes “Professor,” but his website lists his profession as “the Government Affairs Director for the Pacific West Association of REALTORS®” (as well as teaching at Rio Hondo college). If you want more charter schools, vote for Tim Shaw, because The California Charter Schools PAC is sending out numerous mailers supporting his candidacy, with major funding from members of the uber rich Walton family, better known for paying starvation wages to their Wal-Mart employees, then sending them to apply for taxpayer funded benefits. Want your schools to look more like Wal-Mart?

Jordan Brandman, member of the Anaheim City Council, previously served as an Anaheim Union High School District Board member. On the Anaheim City Council he is well known for stalling the transition to district-based elections for years, at the expense of millions in taxpayer legal fees. A pittance, however, compared to his support for huge local tax subsidies for hotels and a rock bottom price for a sale of Anaheim Stadium to Angels owner Arte Moreno.

Vote Dr. Vicki instead.


The best choice.


Paulette Poppins Departs copy

“I shall stay until the wind changes…”

Matthew Leslie

I have too much respect for the people in this community to continue to put them through this clearly toxic campaign.” –Paulette Marshall Chaffee, oblivious to the disrespect she showed the people of the 5th District by moving there this summer to run for office in the first place.

Paulette Marshall Chaffee’s carpetbagging run for Fullerton City Council has come to an abrupt and ignominious end, announced by an email to supporters on Monday:

Paulette Suspension Letter

Mrs. Marshall Chaffee moved into a condominium on the edge of the 5th District just in time to legally qualify as a resident to run for office there in August of this year. She previously resided in the comfortable 2nd District Chaffee family home, also the residence of Mayor Doug Chaffee, who is running for Orange County Board of Supervisors. Even longtime supporters of the Chaffees were taken aback by the brazen move to a district created as a result of a lawsuit citing the lack of Latino members on Fullerton’s City Council.

Disingenuous to the end, she doesn’t even mention the obvious reason for quitting in her weepy, self-pitying announcement, instead complaining about “animosity, negativity, and corrosive discourse,” as if her own inappropriate presence in the race wasn’t a major distraction from any meaningful discourse in the first place. She also charges no one in particular for a campaign that has “devolved into a debate about race and ageism,” which she “personally finds offensive.” She still seems completely unaware of, perhaps even incapable of understanding, how grossly offensive many voters found her expedient move from an expensive neighborhood up in the hills into a heavily Latino and less affluent district expressly for the purpose of running for office there.

The opening sentence of her swan song email begins with the proclamation “When the City of Fullerton voted to have elections by districts, I saw an opportunity to make a difference in the community I grew up in, went to school in, and have worked in for many years,” echoing the rationale of many carpetbaggers who think they are somehow entitled to represent a district where they haven’t lived for decades, just because they work there or “grew up there.” Yes, she “saw an opportunity,” all right, an opportunity to completely violate the spirit of the new district based system by simply switching residences when her husband, Doug Chaffee was unsuccessful in his attempt to have the council select District 2 as one of the two districts to go up for election in 2018.*

Nowhere in her announcement does she reference the two videos that have surfaced, each of which appears to show her removing signs critical of her campaign, one from private property, and walking away with them—not exactly an honorable, or legal, way for a credible candidate to behave. Indeed, such a thin skinned reaction to legitimate criticism and cavalier disregard for the law (from a lawyer!) demonstrated a lack of either appropriate temperament or character, making her unsuitable to hold public office. It’s a good thing that the people of Fullerton will be spared her services.

Hastily bowing out on the eve of a forum traditionally well attended by City Council candidates provided a swift answer to the question of what she could possibly do to salvage her campaign in the face of such an embarrassing and unexpected revelation of her activities. Needless to say, it was the proper decision to make, ending a campaign that should never have begun in the first place. Even so, a little humility would have been in order, but is nowhere to be found in her emailed explanation for withdrawing. Now that she has, let’s see how long it takes her remove her OWN signs from the streets of Fullerton.

*A decision from which he, arguably, ought to have recused himself. It is difficult to believe that he was unaware of his wife’s plans to run for City Council.

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:

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.

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