Archives for category: 2014 Elections

SQS St. Patrick's Day 2015

On Monday, March 16 Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva will host a fundraiser for her bid to reclaim the 65th California Assembly seat from freshman incumbent Republican Young Kim, who triumphed over her in one of the most expensive Assembly elections in state history last year.

In 2012 Sharon Quirk-Silva scored an upset victory over then-incumbent Chris Norby, helping the Democrats to secure a solid two-thirds majority in both legislative houses. While in office, she promoted the establishment of a federal cemetery for military veterans in Orange County. Her voting record can be found here at votesmart.org. It is generally favorable toward labor and immigration priorities, and shows support for limiting high capacity magazines for some guns–just the sort of issues to coax steam from the ears of conservatives. Her environmental record is mixed, showing two “Nay” votes against a statewide plastic bag ban. Lamentably, The Rag has no indication that she ever sought reform of POBR, the Peace Officers Bill of Rights, to require more transparency and accountability of law enforcement officers and agencies.

Her re-election in 2014 was all but impossible given the low voter turnout by Democrats in that year’s mid-term contest. Many voters quickly tired of receiving dozens of mailers from each campaign every week, but at least it was a contested election, something nearly unheard of thanks to gerrymandered legislative districts that normally favor one party over the other.

Barely three months into the job, Young Kim doesn’t have much of a record to run against, other than offering a bill that would prohibit adding toll lanes to OC freeways without direct approval of the electorate–something likely to be popular among voters. With Prop. 14 in place to eliminate third party candidates, it could be a very close election. Sharon Quirk-Silva is no doubt counting on higher voter turnout by her party in a presidential election year to put her over the top, but she may need a stronger message to motivate the electorate this time around.

Greg Seabourn

Greg Sebourn

Fullerton Stories recently posted a two part interview with newly minted Mayor Greg Sebourn, covering such topics as development and attracting and retaining businesses in town. Part II of the interview ends with publisher Davis Barber asking Mayor Sebourn to comment on his relations with the Fullerton Police Department in the aftermath of the negative campaign waged against him by the police union during the last election cycle.

Perhaps seeking a conciliatory tone, Mr. Sebourn states that he has good relations with individual officers, but makes a startling assertion. At 9 minutes, 40 seconds into the video, he claims that “there is a distinct difference between the officers in uniform, the black and whites, and the union representatives that represent them for labor negotiations.” And, ”The opinions and fears that were brought forward by the police association may not be the same concerns or fears that the uniform officers and the other officers in the city might have.”  He continues by saying that “on an individual basis” he thinks he has “an excellent relationship with all the officers,” and that he has “never had an issue in recent years with any of them in particular.”

It is good to know Mr. Sebourn’s interactions with officers of the Fullerton Police Department are so congenial, but the division he attempts to draw between FPD officers and the Fullerton Police Officers Association (FPOA) representing them is a fantasy. Just a quick comparison between the FPOA’s website and a simple examination of the union’s most recent campaign filing reveals that, of course, every single one of FPOA’s Board and President are active officers of the Fullerton Police Department. FPD officers routinely pay hundreds of dollars each in union dues annually. It is the officers who elect the President and Board to represent them. Whether the people sitting across the bargaining table from the Mayor and City Council are the same officers he sees on the streets or hired negotiators to represent them is hardly the point. The union members are the officers in the department, and what they want is more money, better equipment and working conditions, and less scrutiny from the taxpayers who provide it to them.

The FPOA is now the largest single source of campaign spending in Fullerton City Council elections. It is their political influence that keeps us from having true civilian oversight of our own police department. During the 2014 campaign candidates for Fullerton City Council were sent questionnaires from the FPOA to help the union determine who they would support (and oppose) in the race. The questions were not only those a union might be expected to ask of candidates on behalf of its members, like how many officers ought to be hired, and how to structure their retirements, but also about laws defining their legal culpability and special rights, for example:

“Do you support/oppose reducing or eliminating any of the provisions of the Peace Officer’s Bill of Rights (POBR)?”

“How do you feel about civilian police review boards and or (sic) police auditors? Do you feel they should be used and if so how?”

Greg Sebourn was first elected during a Recall in 2012 that unseated three incumbents largely because of their inadequate response to the killing of Kelly Thomas by members of the Fullerton Police Department. His swing vote against asking for a police services bid from the Orange County Sheriff shortly thereafter elicited cheers from an audience packed with FPOA organized supporters, but gained him no support from the union in the long run. Even though the FPOA spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to unseat him two years later, he was handily re-elected to a full four year term over Larry Bennett, who was endorsed by the union. In the same interview he states that the 2014 campaign, which saw the FPOA smear him in multiple mailers and robocalls, was “dirty and ugly,” but he thinks that “we need to move on.” But it is precisely the motivations and tactics of the FPOA that keep the residents of Fullerton and their elected representatives from being able to move on. Greg Sebourn should remember this fact, and take heart in the electorate’s confidence in him over the narrow interests of the police union.

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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