Archives for category: 2014 Elections
Rick Alvarez

I’m too busy to file FPPC reports on time.

Candidate for Fullerton City Council Rick Alvarez has accepted a late contribution in the amount of $ 4,000.00 from a single donor, according to recently filed campaign disclosure forms available on the city’s website.

Mr. Alvarez missed the late October filing deadline for the Form 460 all candidates must file periodically or risk fines from the Fair Political Practices Commission. The missed deadline was noted in the latest edition of the Fullerton Observer in a feature compiling information about who is contributing to each of the seven City Council candidates. When asked to provide the information directly to the Observer prior to its publication deadline, Mr. Alvarez reportedly declined, saying he was “too busy.”

However, the Form 460 later appeared on the City’s website, and we can all see now why Mr. Alvarez might not have been so eager to have his campaign contributions made public in the Observer story—the last edition before the election on Nov. 4.

Alvarez Non-Filing

The huge $ 4,000.00 contribution came from a Shirin Hezar, of Corona del Mar, whose occupation and employer are is listed as “Self Employed, Collision Concepts.” According to Linkedin, Ms. Hezar is Director of Industry Relations for Pacific Elite Collision Centers. Assuming this job title is still accurate, the connection between Pacific Elite and the very large contribution to the campaign of Rick Alvarez, is troubling.


Pacific Elite Collision Centers owns fourteen auto body repair centers in Southern California.  One of them is located at 600 W. Commonwealth Ave. Formerly known as Cone Collision Center, this business is located on property that also contains a former Chevrolet dealership, now a mostly empty parking lot, that is the potential site of a multi-story residential and retail development given 5 million dollars in leftover Redevelopment subsidies for affordable housing earlier this year. The project is described as 147 units, only 20% of which would be rented as very low income housing, and includes over 4,700 square feet of ground floor retail space.


The Waterford Group, who presented the project, have received the assurances of affordable housing subsidies, but have not had their project itself approved yet by the Fullerton Planning Commission or the Fullerton City Council. Such an approval would make the land at the 600 W. Commonwealth address far more valuable. If elected, Mr. Alvarez would be in the position of approving the project. If he is not elected and remains on the Planning Commission, he would be in a position to approve the development on that body instead.


Courtesy of your police.

Until late last week 2014’s City Council campaigns had been refreshingly free of negative campaigning, but the Fullerton Police Officers Association simply has too much money not to spend it slinging mud at its chosen targets. FPOA financed robocalls and mailers to Fullerton households focused on Mayor Pro Tem Greg Sebourn with a scattershot litany of accusations and misrepresentations about his record. The robocall ended with a hilariously over the top pronouncement that “we all” had had enough of him. (The call was immediately and predictably followed by another, this one featuring incumbent Councilmember and Curt Pringle lobbying firm employee Jennifer Fitzgerald, urging voters to cast ballots for FPOA-endorsed Larry Bennett).

The center piece of the accusations against Mr. Sebourn was his refusal to join the perennial voting block of Doug Chaffee, Jan Flory, and lobbying firm employee Jennifer Fitzgerald in voting to remove Barry Levinson from the Parks and Recreation Commission. The trio, none of whom are friendly with Mr. Sebourn, even his fellow Republican lobbyist employee Jennifer Fitzgerald, must have known that he would be unlikely to provide the required fourth vote needed to remove an appointed commissioner. And, indeed, despite publicly dressing down Mr. Levinson for his alleged behavior, Mr. Sebourn instead opted to leave the job to Bruce Whitaker, who had appointed Mr. Levinson in the first place.

Sworn to serve up the slop.

Sworn to serve up the slop.

The police union were ready and waiting, and shortly thereafter accused him of not caring about the woman who accused Mr. Levinson of intimidating and verbally assaulting her following a Council meeting, even though the District Attorney opted to not file charges in the matter. The timing of the scheduled vote, two weeks prior to an election, and the failure of the Fullerton Police Department to provide a report on the investigation until just hours before the vote itself, suggested that Mr. Sebourn had been set up royally. Sunday’s FPOA-financed pink colored door hangers aimed at female voters ham-handedly hammered home the message that Greg Sebourn was willing to abandon a victimized woman, and therefore ought not to be re-elected.

Almost nobody likes negative campaigning, but the sad truth is that it works with enough of the electorate to make it worthwhile for PACs like the one operated by the police union, who really want Larry Bennett on the City Council instead of incumbent Greg Sebourn, (or any number of other candidates in the race). Whatever individual voters think about Greg Sebourn’s tenure on the Fullerton City Council, they should consider the obvious fact that in this election cycle in Fullerton, only the city’s police are eager and willing to wallow in the mud.

Make up your own caption..

Can you fabricate a campaign for me?

Given the desperation of the Republicans to prevent another Democratic supermajority in the California Assembly, it is remarkable how weak a candidate they have fielded in their effort to unseat 65th Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva. With virtually no pedigree other than two decades as an aide to Congressman-for-life Ed Royce, Jr., Young Kim is evidently the best thing the GOP could come up with to challenge the former Fullerton Councilmember and Mayor. One has to wonder how, with all of their resources, the Republicans couldn’t find an experienced local elected official to back in such a crucial election. Instead, the power of the Ed Royce, in a move reminiscent of George W. Bush nominating Harriet Meirs to the Supreme Court, has thrust forth an unknown and inexperienced political insider—and somehow it has become a head-to-head race anyway.

Sharon Quirk-Silva has become something like the Barack Obama of her district. Without being anything close to a progressive left wing legislator, she is nonetheless intensely disliked by conservatives. Her surprise upset of incumbent Chris Norby was no doubt helped by cross over Republicans who didn’t mind seeing the former County Supervisor and Fullerton Mayor and Councilmember sent packing after achieving his ultimate political goal of ending Redevelopment in California. But now, with Mr. Norby safely gone, Republicans can throw out Ms. Quirk-Silva in favor of a nobody with nothing to say in the form of Young Kim.

It’s not a good idea to side with political mailers, but the Quirk-Silva campaign has it right to point out that Young Kim claims to be a businesswoman, but has no income from her consulting “business,” and that she “moved into” the district to run here, having previously resided in La Habra. Carpetbagging is its own special form of insincerity, but some voters just look the other way sometimes, even when it is obvious that the candidate doesn’t really even live in the new home they claim as their residence (think Linda Ackerman in 2009).

...and here is where I'll pretend to live so I can run for Assembly.

…and here is where I’ll pretend to live so I can run for Assembly.

I know many Republicans, and it is hard for me to imagine most of them having much enthusiasm for Young Kim or her hollow, predictable campaign rhetoric. It is not hard for me to imagine them voting for her, though, because, above all, she is not Sharon Quirk-Silva, the Democrat, who capitalized on the last redrawing of Assembly districts that created a 65th with roughly even numbers of Republican and Democrats, and enough of the ever-growing “Decline to State” voters to narrowly swing things her way in 2012.

Young Kim’s strategy has been to attack Sharon Quirk-Silva for supposedly threatening Proposition 13, the sacred cow of California politics that created a terribly uneven property tax structure for homeowners, and for voting in favor of a bill that allowed children to choose the school bathroom they wanted to use based on their self-identified gender. When you have nothing to say, say it as often as possible and hope it sounds like something, or so I assume is the tactic of the Young Kim campaign’s repetitive mailers, which have spawned endless counter-mailers from the Quirk-Silva camp. The Rag household received a record eleven in a single day. Honestly, it’s tiresome to even write about a campaign so void of character and meaning when there are so many important things a real candidate should be saying at a time like this.

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