Archives for category: Jonathan Mansoori
Web

Here’s the story…

Three seats are open on the Fullerton City Council. The candidates are: Jane Rands, Bruce Whitaker, Charles Sergeant, Jesus Silva, Joe Imbriano, Susan Gapinski, Herbert Glazier, Joshua Ferguson, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Jonathan Mansoori, Larry Bennett, and Roberta Reid (who recently announced that she is not interested in running anymore, though her name already appears on the ballot).

What follows are my observations about the candidates. (For full disclosure, readers should be aware that I am romantically involved with candidate Jane Rands.) I hope I am being as fair as possible to everyone. There are video interviews on The Fullerton Observer website for most of the candidates, and the League of Women Voters forum is online here.

Jane Rands, Software Engineer

Jane Rands is a board member of the Friends of Coyote Hills, and has worked for many years to preserve the area as a park instead of allowing it to be developed as housing and retail by Chevron. She authored a better district elections map, but it was rejected by the city council.

She was a member of the city’s Downtown Core and Corridors Specific Plan (DCCSP) Advisory Committee, but opposed the ill-fated plan, working with Friends for a Livable Fullerton‘s Jane Reifer to organize residents and business owners against the plan’s fast-tracking of high density development in many parts of Fullerton. She has worked to oppose the overdevelopment of the city for a decade. She currently serves on and is a past chair of the Bicycle Users Subcommittee, where she has worked to ensure that the city holds true to a vision of increased mobility and safety for cycling on Fullerton streets. She opposed the closing of the Hunt Branch Library.

Her campaign does not accept donations from developers or other special interests, and almost entirely funded by contributions from individual Fullerton voters. Vote for Jane if you want sensible government that listens to residents, not developers.

Jane Rands is endorsed by Citizens for Responsible Development, The Fullerton Observer, and the Orange County League of Conservation Voters

Bruce Whitaker, incumbent City Council member.

Bruce Whitaker has been on the Fullerton City Council for six years. He has philosophically opposed mixing government with development. He voted in favor of Chevron’s plan to develop Coyote Hills. He has generally served as a fiscally conservative voice on the council, opposing cronyism and supporting greater oversight of the police department, earning him the ire of the police union, who have spent heavily to defeat him, unsuccessfully, in the past. His attempt to institute a system of greater transparency in negations with public employee unions was watered down by, among others, Jennifer Fitzgerald, rendering it largely ineffective. He supported keeping the Hunt Library open instead of leasing the property to a church. He joined the rest of the current council in voting for the terrible map attached to Measure ii.

His campaign is supported by local residents and business owners, with one $ 3,000.00 donation from “Roseville Fullerton Burton,” $ 1,000.00 from Townsend Public Affairs, as well as some real estate and development interests.

Endorsed by Citizens for Responsible Development and the OC Register

Jesus Silva, Jr. High School Math Teacher

Jesus Silva currently serves on Fullerton’s Parks and Recreation Commission. Husband of former Assembly member (and current candidate for the office) Sharon Quirk-Silva. He has spoken against developing Coyote Hills, and has cited public safety has his main priority in at least one candidate forum. He courted and received the support of Fullerton’s police union, making him an unlikely candidate for doing anything about police oversight. His campaign rhetoric and ballot statement are quite vague, making it difficult to know what he would do as a council member.

His campaign has been supported, with a few notable exceptions, largely by local donations by individuals.

Endorsed by Fullerton Observer and Fullerton’s police union.

 

Jennifer Fitzgerald, incumbent City Council member, Vice President of Curt Pringle & Associates, a public relations (lobbying) firm in Anaheim.

There are many reasons not to vote for her. Here are a few: She campaigned in 2012 on keeping libraries open, then voted for a budget that defunded the Hunt Branch, leading to the facility being leased to an adjacent church at a cut-rate. Although she is VP of a major lobbying firm in OC, she refused to release that firm’s client list, leaving her constituents in the dark about whether or not she is making decisions that might constitute a conflict of interest at any given time. (She was fined by the Fair Political Practices Commission last year for not being transparent about her employment). She vote to adopt the awful map in Measure ii, a map that diluted the district in which she herself resides form being an Asian Voting Age Population Majority one. She voted against meaningful police oversight. She claims that Fullerton has a balanced budget, but this claim seems to be based on the city selling off “surplus properties,” like the Hunt Library. She voted in favor of Chevron’s plans to develop Coyote Hills. She used an expensive, taxpayer-funded city video on her campaign website.

She has raised absurdly large amounts of money for her re-election campaign, from local donations and from outside interests like developers (including the Irvine Company) and their professional organizations, as well as local downtown bar owners, among others, fueling speculation that she intends to run for another office with the funds. There is no good reason to vote for her unless you want more development in town and like being kept in the dark when it comes to transparency in government.

Endorsed by the OC Register, the police and fire unions.

Jonathan Mansoori, Community Organizer.

Political (and Fullerton?) newcomer Jonathan Mansoori is known to voters primarily as “that nice young man.” He is part of an organization that is trying to catapult former Teach for America members into public office. His campaign rhetoric is long on lofty goals, but short on specific proposals.

He has stated that he supports preserving all of Coyote Hills as a park, and has not yet answered my question about how long he has actually lived in Fullerton (his current voting address goes back only to 2015).

His campaign is funded by oddly tiny amounts of money from people outside of Fullerton, but Jonathan Mansoori has raised tens of thousands of dollars from a PAC funded by charter school supporters like venture capitalist Arthur Rock, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Wal-Mart Board/family members Steuart Walton, and Carrie Penner, although he told the Fullerton Observer that he was not receiving “big money.” He may hold the record in this election for the most amount of money donated to his campaign from outside of the city. Vote for him is you want to wait for the other shoe to drop to find out why he is even running for Fullerton City Council.

Larry Bennett, Financial Planner (owner of an insurance agency.

Planning Commissioner Larry Bennett, a “financial planner” with his own insurance agency, is essentially an old guard candidate endorsed by many of the same people who tried to keep Don Bankhead, Dick Jones, and Pat McKinley in office four years ago. Voters can decide for themselves whether or not his management of the disastrously ineffective Anti-Recall campaign of 2012 lends credibility to his administrative abilities. He pledges to fix Fullerton’s roads and sidewalks and to make pensions sustainable, but is endorsed by the same recalled Council members who helped to cause these same problems. He supported developing Coyote Hills. Vote for him if you like Jennifer Fitzgerald, who has contributed thousands to his campaign, and more development, because that’s what Jennifer Fitzgerald wants too.

His campaign is funded by many of the same locals who tried to keep Bankhead/McKinley/Jones in office four years ago, as well as by property management, automobile dealer, and developer interests.

Endorsed by the police and fire unions

Joe Imbriano, Business owner (insurance agent)
Proudly announces at council meetings that he is the site administrator of the Fullerton Informer blog, where, among other stories, readers will find arguments that the moon landings were faked, the drought is a result of geo-engineering (chemtrails!), Apple is intentionally making children sterile, and the earth is flat (look for it, it’s there). His primary activism has been the area of opposing wireless devices in schools for fear of children being exposed to unhealthy doses of radiation. He opposes high density development, going so far as to propose a moratorium on all new developments, but has spread misinformation about the Polly’s Pies shopping center, falsely claiming that it could slated for “Section 8” housing.

Joe Imbriano’s campaign is funded by local individuals, including himself. Vote for him if you want a reduction in high density development and wish to enter into a miasma of ridiculous off-the-shelf conspiracy theory not seen in OC since the days of Steve Rocco on the Orange School Board.

Susan Gapinski, Iron Worker

Susan Gapinksi promises to fix the roads, as do most candidates, and to oppose high density development, and is for “for property owners’ rights, and less government interference for business owners.”

Susan Gapinski’s campaign is funded by local residents, and $ 2,000.00 from Ed Royce, and unions.

Endorsed by the OC Register and the LA/OC Building and Construction Trades Council

Joshua Ferguson, Camera Store Clerk.

Joshua Ferguson states that the “status quo hates him,” and he is probably right, if they have paid him much attention. Too bad if they haven’t. He’s emerged as an intelligent voice on many issues. He opposes “rubber stamp(ing)” high density housing, wants to reform public employee pensions, fix the roads, and establish more oversight of the Fullerton Police Department.

Joshua Ferguson has not raised or spent enough money to file campaign reports.

 

Charles Sargeant, lists his background as a business owner and school district safety officer. (I can’t find a website for him.)

Charles Sargeant wants to “speed up street improvements/water lines and other infrastructural work, assign more officers to police the bars, and make it easier to start new small businesses in town.

Charles Sargeant has not raised or spent enough money to file campaign reports.

Herbert Glazier is reportedly a retired builder who ran for office in Easthampton, MA (?) in 2013. Not sure why he is running for office here now, but his whole campaign seems to consist of a handmade sign taped to his car window.

Herbert Glazier has not raised or spent enough money to file campaign reports.

Roberta Reid indicated at a recent meeting of the Fullerton City Council that she is not running anymore, and was surprised to learn that her name would still appear on the ballot. Enough said.

mansoorimailer

The kids aren’t buying it, and neither should you.

Earlier this week the Rag examined Fullerton City Council candidate Jonathan Mansoori’s campaign finance filings to discover that his candidacy is being significantly financed by a political action committee (PAC) called Leadership and Equity in Education California (LEEC-PAC), who have so far given over $ 25,000.00. The Rag also noted that Mr, Mansoori denied receiving any “big money” in a video recorded and posted by the Fullerton Observer well after his campaign would have been aware of the large donations from LEE-PAC Instead, he stated that his biggest contributors were friends and family.

Just who are LEEC-PAC, and why are they spending so much money to get a political unknown elected to office in Fullerton? LEEC-PAC is the political arm of Leadership for Education Equity, who are Jonathan Mansoori’s current employers. More about them and their connection to the national program Teach for America below, but first let’s examine who is supporting LEEC-PAC itself.

According to the California Secretary of State’s website LEEC-PAC received major contributions from some very wealthy and prominent individuals. who have one thing in common besides being uncommonly rich–they are all big supporters of charter schools. Among them, are venture capitalist Arthur Rock. That’s the same Arthur Rock who made the cover of Time Magazine as a pioneer investor in Apple Computer (he supported firing Steve Jobs from Apple in 1985), and other Silicon Valley companies.

arthurrocktime

Donated $ 25 million to Harvard, and $ 950.00 to Jonathan Mansoori for Fullerton City Council.

In addition to it’s PAC, LEE also has its own foundation. One prominent board member of the LEE Foundation is Arthur Rock. If that isn’t a direct enough connection, consider that Jonathan Mansoori’s campaign received a contribution of $ 950.00 directly from Arthur Rock.

arthur-rock-mansoori

World famous tech financier cares about who is on the Fullerton City Council.

Also funding LEEC-PAC is former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ($ 180.000.00), and Wal-Mart Board/family members Steuart Walton, and Carrie Penner. Big names, and scary ones for anyone who values public education, for a previously unknown candidate’s city council campaign.

Leadership for Educational Equity itself, according to its website “is a nonpartisan, nonprofit leadership development organization working to end the injustice of educational inequity by inspiring and supporting a diverse set of leaders with classroom experience to engage civically and politically” with a mission “To inspire a diverse, enduring movement of leaders to engage civically within their communities to end the injustice of educational inequity,” and “…That’s why we have made it our mission to empower Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) members – who are Teach For America corps members and alumni – to grow as leaders in their communities and help build the broader movement for educational equity.”

Jonathan Mansoori is both a Teach for America (TFA) alum and a current employee of Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE), where he has served as a “Regional Manager” since September, 2015. It may not be unusual for a candidate’s employer to kick a little money to a political campaign (I guess?), but over $ 25,000.00 from an employer’s PAC? That’s unusual. Even Jennifer Fitzgerald’s employer Curt Pringle makes sure to get his clients to foot the bill for her campaign.

Founded in 1989, Teach for America, according to Wikipedia, recruits “recent college graduates and professionals to teach for two years in urban and rural communities throughout the United States…Corps members do not have to be certified teachers, although certified teachers may apply…All corps members are required to attend an intensive summer training program to prepare for their commitment. Details vary by region, but typically include a five-day regional introduction, a five to seven week residential institute, including teaching summer school, and one to two weeks of regional orientation.”

You read that right, TFA sends recent college graduates without teaching credentials into difficult teaching environments after a seven week summer course. Charter schools reportedly like TFA teachers because they work more cheaply, sometimes making as much $ 15,000.00 less than their credentialed counterparts.

Teach For America teachers are placed in public schools in urban areas such as New York City and Houston, as well as in rural places such as eastern North Carolina and the Mississippi Delta. They then serve for two years and are usually placed in schools with other Teach For America corps members.”

Jonathan Mansoori introduces himself as a former middle school teacher, but his whole teaching career seems to have been just the obligatory two year stint required by TFA before he went about “finding his identity as a community organizer.” According to his Linkedin profile, he spent a summer as a TFA Fellow before working for Green Dot Public Schools for eleven months. Green Dot describes themselves as “the leading charter school operator in Los Angeles and one of the top three largest in the nation. (Strangely, his profile contains specific activities for each of his previous jobs, but virtually nothing about his current position as “Regional Manager” for LEE.)

mansoori-linkedin-green-dot-detail

Green Dot, organizing parents to turn public schools into charter schools.

 

TFA alumni work as community organizers for LEE, whose PAC LEEC then supports those same TFA alumni when they run for office, equally fresh-faced and apparently equally inexperienced, with huge donations from charter school supporters. A four year old article form The American Prospect speculates that LEE/TFA could represent “the Trojan horse of the privatization of public education,” by electing TFA alumni to office. Is the what we want on the Fullerton City Council?

mansoori-big-money-quote-copy

Is $ 23,432.00 Big Money to you?

One of the most well-financed campaigns in the 2016 contest for Fullerton City Council is not who you think it is, and the money behind is coming from way outside of Fullerton…

The Fullerton Observer’s new video channel has posted  a series of interviews with candidates running for the three open seats on the Fullerton City Council this year. Among the candidates is Jonathan Mansoori, a young, political newcomer who describes himself as a community organizer and former schoolteacher.

One of the questions asked of each candidate in the Fullerton Observer videos is “Who Are Your Top Campaign Donors?” Mr. Mansoori responds to this question  (3:04 in the video) with the following statement: “My mom, several friends and some of my family are my top donors. I’m not receiving any big money.”

A cursory look at his campaign’s financial filings easily belies his claim. His Form 460 covering the period of time between July 1 – December 21, 2105 does show a single contribution of $ 500.00 from his mother, but it also shows a $ 2,000.00 from something called Leadership for Educational Equity California, a political action committee (we’ll call it LEEC-PAC). “Big money?” I’d say so, but perhaps it depends on how big “big” is. But, he did say that his biggest contributors were his friends and family…

mansoori-mansoori-leec-pac-july-dec-2015

$ 2,000.00 from LEEC-PAC..

In his next required filing, covering the period between January 1 – June 30, 2016, is another $ 2,000.00 contribution from LEEC-PAC, bringing the total through the end of the 2016 fiscal year to $ 4,000.00—eight times the amount given to him by his next highest donor (to that date). Most people would consider that much to be “big money” in a city council election.

mansoori-leec-pac-jan-june-2016

…and another $ 2,000.00…

Things get quite a bit more interesting on page 6 of his first pre-election filing, covering the period of July 1 – September 24, 2016, where we find two more donations from LEEC-PAC. The first is for the odd, but eye-popping amount of $ 6,432.00, and the second is for a whopping $ 15,000.00!

mansoori-leec-pac-july-sept-2016

…and another $ 21,432.00 from the same mysterious PAC!

In 2016 alone Jonathan Mansoori’s campaign received $ 23,432.00 from LEEC-PAC. Adding the $ 2,000.00 from LEEC-PAC in 2015 brings their contributions to $ 25,642. This is BIG MONEY, and it isn’t coming from anywhere in Fullerton. Beyond just the staggering amount of money given to Jonathan Mansoori’s Fullerton City Council campaign, we must consider his astonishing claim in the Fullerton Observer video that he isn’t receiving any “big money,” and that his family and friends are his biggest contributors, despite the fact that all of the contributions from LEEC-PAC are listed as having been received prior to the recording of the video in September of this year. Such an obviously false claim on the part of a candidate cannot go unexamined.

Who is LEEC-PAC, and why are they giving such a huge amount of money to a relatively unknown candidate for a moderately sized city council race? Who else in Fullerton has been the recipient of LEEC-PAC’s largesse? More in Part 2…

%d bloggers like this: