Archives for posts with tag: Sharon Quirk-Silva

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.

Image taken from the L.A. Times (without permission).

Image taken from the L.A. Times (without permission).

65th District Assemblymember Young Kim has introduced a bill that would prohibit a controversial plan to add toll lanes to Interstate 405 without direct approval by voters. The move would prevent the addition of a toll lane to the freeway as part of Measure M2-funded improvements, which already include extra lanes in both directions on one of the most congested highways in the state. Arguing that Caltrans “does not have the legislative authority to own or operate toll lanes anywhere in the state,” and that no mention of tolls appeared in the ballot language for Measure M2, the half cent sales to fund transportation improvements, Ms. Kim introduced AB 1459, to require a two-thirds majority approval by voters before any “toll facility” could be built in Orange County.

The OC Register, who endorsed Young Kim for her seat last year, disagrees with her, contending that by transforming the existing carpool lane into one that still allows carpools but also allows single driver vehicles to use it for a fee, freeway traffic will move faster. The Register even acknowledges that the scheme smacks of double taxation, except that “use of these lanes would be entirely voluntary.”

Like her predecessor, Sharon Quirk-Silva, Young Kim sits on the Assembly Transportation Committee. Sharon Quirk-Silva supporter Vern Nelson over at the Orange Juice blog recently recalled that last year Ms. Quirk-Silva and fellow Democrat Tom Daly both allowed a similar bill penned by Allan Monsoor to “quietly die in committee last year by boldly abstaining (so as not to piss off the dread Teamsters and Building Trades who see toll lanes as a makework slush fund.)”

What’s a Republican to do when a left-wing blog supports her bill but the right-wing county newspaper doesn’t?

Here is one suggestion: Instead of rearranging the deck chairs on our Titanically dysfunctional freeway system, why not focus on long term solutions that include mass transit? If we can devote $15.8 billion to widening freeways, why can’t we upgrade our bus system to optimum functionality, and add bike infrastructure to get more drivers off of the road in the first place?

Sharon Quirk-Silva will host a fundraiser next week to kick off her bid to reclaim the 65th Assembly seat in 2016. The Rag challenges both candidates to identify ways to fund mass transit for commuters, instead of arguing over how to spend money to alleviate perennially congested automobile traffic.

Women's Leadership 2014

Ten years ago, while serving on the Fullerton City Council, Sharon Quirk began began hosting an annual forum to honor the accomplishments of women in Fullerton. Business owners, public officials, community leaders and others were highlighted every year since during an evening event, hosted by Ms. Quirk-Silva until she was elected to the California State Assembly in 2012. At that time she handed off the forum to current Fullerton City Councilwomen Jan Flory and Jennifer Fitzgerald (the latter works for OC’s most powerful lobbying firm, Pringle and Associates).

The 2014 honors took place in the Grand Hall of the new Community Center on Thursday, November 13, co-hosted by the venerable Woman’s Cub of Fullerton. The forum’s sponsors included Walmart, Miller Toyota of Fullerton, Fullerton Insurance Services, on the top level, followed by second tier sponsors C & C Development and Century 21 Discovery, and finally “Spark Level” sponsors Cottage Dental, The Fullerton Museum Center, Starkey Communications, The Waterford Group, and law firm Jones and Mayer.

The final listed sponsor, Jones and Mayer, is contracted to provide legal services to the City of Fullerton, acting as City Attorney.

Women's-Program-Sponsors

It’s always prudent to scrutinize the sponsor list for any event that involves public officials for the potential for undue influence over decisions made by those officials at a later date. For example, the Waterford Group is the potential developer of a multi-story residential and retail development to be located at 600 W. Commonwealth Ave. The 147 unit apartment complex would have over 4,700 square feet of ground floor retail space. The project has already been promised 5 million dollars in leftover Redevelopment subsidies for affordable housing, but it has not yet been approved by Fullerton’s Planning Commission or City Council.

Earlier this month the Rag wrote about a $ 4,000.00 contribution to the (unsuccessful) City Council campaign of current Planning Commissioner Rick Alvarez by the owners of the business whose land would become more valuable if that development were to approved by the Planning Commission and the City Council. Now we see the developer contributing to an event that raises the public profiles of two incumbent Fullerton City Councilwomen who will be up for re-election in 2016. Both of these Councilwomen, of course, will be in the position of approving or denying the Waterford Group’s development project.

C & C Development were behind the remodeled Richman Court Apartments and the new Valencia Grove Apartments. The latter project is squeezed into a space between the Janet Evans Swim Center to the west, businesses on the east, and a single family residential neighborhood to the immediate north.

Anyone who has been involved with or followed the ongoing struggle to save West Coyote Hills from development hell will be familiar with Scott Starkey, who, as Senior Vice President for Laer Pearce, and Associates, worked to promote Chevron’s Pacific Coast Homes plan for the area.

He was also a spokesperson for the spectacularly unsuccessful Yes on Measure W campaign that would have allowed PCH’s housing and retail plans to proceed in Coyote Hills, as approved by a previous city council. Mr. Starkey operates his own company, Starkey Communications and is a Government Affairs Committee Co-Chair of the Building Industry Association of Orange County.

The Woman’s Cub of Fullerton would seem to be the appropriate co-host of an event honoring women in our community, but care should taken to avoid including public officials who will oversee development decisions involving event sponsors.

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