Marshall 501 Copy

Matthew Leslie

Paulette Marshall Chaffee, wife of current Fullerton Mayor Doug Chaffee, is evidently so desperate to get elected to the Fullerton City Council this year that she has filed papers of intent to run in District 5. As far as I know, Mr. and Mrs. Chaffee reside in District 2. Ms. Marshall Chaffee filed both a Form 501 Candidate Intention Statement and a Form 410 establishing a candidate committee called “Paulette Marshall Chaffee For Fullerton City Council 2018 District 5.” Candidates may not actually file for the office until this summer. According to law, candidates must be registered to vote in the district in which they intend to run for office.

Fullerton voters adopted district-based city council elections in 2016, but were given only one map, divided into five districts, to approve. One of the lawsuits that prompted the change specifically cited the difficulty Latino candidates have historically faced in at-large elections. Although severely flawed, the map the council ultimately recommended to the voters did at least include a district with a Latino majority—District 5.

Despite Doug Chaffee’s best efforts, District 2, where the Chaffees live, was not selected by the Fullerton City Council as one of the two districts scheduled to appear on the ballot in 2018. The at-large terms of both Doug Chaffee and Greg Sebourn end in 2018.

The question of which two districts would be selected to go on the ballot in 2018 was taken up by the city council last year. On February 21, 2017, Doug Chaffee voted in a majority with Jesus Silva and Bruce Whitaker for Districts 2 and 5 to be up for election in 2018. However, then-Mayor Bruce Whitaker re-agendized the item for the following council meeting. Less than three weeks later, on March 7, he brought the same item back for reconsideration by the council. This time, Districts 3 was selected, instead of District 2, to appear on the ballot in 2018 along with District 5. Jesus Silva and Doug Chaffee opposed the change.

During public comments preceding the March 7 vote, I asked council members to divulge whether or not they were aware of any members of their households who might be planning to run for election to the council in 2018 so the public might consider whether or not any such plans might have a bearing on the decision scheduled to be made that night. No council members responded.

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“Give us this day…” Image stolen from KPCC without permission.

Matthew Leslie

Following the roll call and Pledge of Allegiance, the February 6th meeting of the Fullerton City Council opened with an invocation read by the school-aged daughter of presiding Mayor Pro Tem Greg Sebourn. The content of this invocation was a simple reading of the Lord’s Prayer, familiar to anyone with even a modicum of experience with Christianity:

“Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come.

Thy will be done in Earth, As it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.

Amen.”

Not thirty seconds later, City Attorney Richard Jones, reported that in closed session the Fullerton City Council had voted 4-0 (Mayor Chaffee not present) to file an amicus brief on behalf of the City of Fullerton to support “the defendant” in a legal case brought by the Catholic Worker. For those who haven’t been following recent local news, “the defendant” is the County of Orange, sued by the Santa Ana based non-profit Catholic Worker to stop forced evictions of homeless people living along the Santa Ana River Trail. Fullerton was not named in the lawsuit.

The Catholic Worker’s case asserts that the homeless people were being forced from their makeshift campsites with nowhere else to go, and no services available to them. One couldn’t help but be struck by the stark contradiction between the invocation and the council’s actions. If sectarian religions invocations are to be offered on behalf of the public, then perhaps the City Council should listen to them instead of choosing to stand  with the heartless. And if the invocation doesn’t please you, take heart. Precedence has now been set for anyone—not just recognized religious clergy—to offer a sectarian invocation before a council meeting, so feel free to contact city hall to find out when you can present one of your own from your religion (or not?) of choice.

Ed Royce on CNN

Congressman Ed Royce on CNN

Matthew Leslie

The “Democratic Wave” that swept recent elections earlier this month in other areas of the country does not seem to be of great concern to 39th District Congressman Ed Royce (R-Fulllerton). Though he faces up to half a dozen challengers next year for the seat he has held comfortably for two decades, Mr. Royce nonetheless evidently felt politically secure enough to vote in favor of a tax overhaul that would, in the long term, largely benefit the wealthy at the expense of middle class voters in his district.In a press release, Mr. Royce characterized H.R. 1 as “not perfect,” but a “good start.”

Like his vote earlier this year for a slipshod bill that recklessly tried to overturn the popular Affordable Care Act without providing alternative health care, Congressman Royce’s support for the Republican Party’s massive corporate tax cut reveals once and for all that his loyalties lie with the economically elite of this country, and not with ordinary working families.

To rationalize his support for a tax plan the will create a $ 1.5 trillion deficit, Ed Royce’s explanatory press release attempts to assure his constituents that he is “committed to ensuring the final product works for Californians.” Maybe it will work for Californians like Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., but there is no real reason to think that cutting cooperate taxes by 1/3 will actually draw money back into the domestic economy. It’s an out and out gamble that more jobs would somehow be created in his district as a result of this massive gift to multinational corporations, and not a chance that any responsible elected official would take without the sort of solid economic backing that is nowhere to be found behind H.R. 1.

Asserting that “It’s been 31 years since we last reformed our tax code,” Ed Royce conveniently ignores the utter failure of Reaganomics to stop the ensuing and continuing deterioration of the middle class in this country a generation ago. Corporate growth does not automatically equal better living standards for Americans. A plan so bad that it caused even Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) to balk should not have been supported by Ed Royce either.

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