Orange-County Courant

Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit

Friday, July 29, 2005

Re: Mickadeit recommends you do not miss Great Pork Board meeting

Dear Sir or Madame,

He has the follow-up for us here: Another chapter written in Irvine political weirdness.

(I'll have more to say later. Working on a longer post.)

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


Where are all the dead people going at UC Irvine?

Dear Sir or Madame,

The Register has a story that follows up on the case regarding a family that wants the University of California, Irvine to tell them where their mom's body went after she died.

Here's the story: UCI mortician called fall guy.

Now, even if the University of California encourages professors to have outside relationships with other universities, non-profit, and for-profit agencies, one still has to admit the idea of running, "a private consulting business that provided feet to podiatrists and heads to plastic surgeons," is still really creepy. A paper trail should have amounted from it, at the very least. Moyer, a fellow UCI professor at the time, admits her envy - her envy! - at the practice in the article. Envying the profitability of dead people just makes my skin crawl.

I like how the article shows the Register is digging into whether or not the university is trying to pin all the mismanagement on one guy to divert the blame.

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


Ahern smartly opines on Bluebird Canyon fix

Dear Sir or Madame,

The Coastline Pilot printed a great op-ed today by Tom Ahern, a past President of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, that compares per capita spending by the City of Laguna Beach to similarly small cities in the area.

Here's the link: Cost cutting can pay for canyon fix.

I believe I remember Silence registering her distaste for a tax hike to pay for restoration of the slope. I second that distaste.

Ahern's presentation of numbers at the bottom is superb. Thankfully, the left-wing editors of the Coastline Pilot agreed to run the sensible piece.

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


The moderate/conservative gauntlet has been dropped again, in the Iranian community

Dear Sir or Madame,

My apologies to readers for not noticing this sooner. There's a long, expansive piece in this week's Orange County Business Journal on the local Iranian community. Buried within is a section on Iranians' political dabblings. Once again, Generation Next and the New Majority get some space.

Here's the link: Iranians Thrive in Business, Embrace Philanthropy, Politics.

The "Big Givers" portion of the article is what interested me. I'll post it below.

Merage and Maseeh made news this year by giving money to the University of California, Irvine. Merage, cofounder of Chef America Inc., donated $30 million to UC Irvine’s business school, which now bears his name.

Maseeh, who started electronics company Intellisense Corp., pledged $2 million to UCI for a Persian study center. Maseeh also runs investment firm Picoco LLC in Newport Beach.
Iranians see the giving as part of an evolution from the world of business into education, philanthropy and politics.

“It’s not a coincidence,” said Ali Shakeri, president of mortgage banking company Global Estate Funding in Irvine. “Right now, Iranians are on the path of economics. Usually politics follows economy.”

Capital Pacific’s Makarechian is a big backer of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and has hosted him at Makar’s St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa. Maseeh has given $10,000 to the governor.

Makarechian, Maseeh and other Iranians tend to lean toward Republicans, primarily out of disdain for President Carter’s handling of Iran during the last years of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s rule and the Iranian Revolution.

But, like any group, there are no absolutes. Many supported President Clinton.
Iranians are “very passionate one way or the other,” said Jamali, who describes herself as an independent.

Iranians are likely to side with Republicans on business issues, she said, but their history of oppression gives them a liberal social bent.

The New Majority, a moderate GOP group, is a fit for some. Maseeh and Capital Pacific’s Makarechian are members. Son Paul heads Generation Next, a group for moderate young Republicans.

“Iranians are more practical than ideological,” Shakeri said. “They are afraid of extremism.”

Most Iranians oppose their home county’s radical Islamic regime. But their skepticism of extremism also extends to President Bush’s labeling of Iran as part of an “axis of evil,” Shakeri said.

During November’s elections, many Iranians backed female Republican Goli Ameri, who challenged Democratic incumbent David Wu for a House seat in Portland, Ore.

Ameri lost, but she attracted support from Iranians here, including the Fakhimi family, owners of Newport Beach-based cosmetic store chain Planet Beauty Inc.

Shakeri said he is a Democrat and opted not to back Republican Ameri, even if she is Iranian. Jamali said she would be happy to support anyone in Congress who could find Iran on the map.

The Fakhimis backed Gov. Schwarzenegger but now worry if he’s on the right course.
“He started very good, but continuing is the hard part,” said Ghobad Fakhimi, chairman of Planet Beauty.

Ghobad Fakhimi, the patriarch of the family business, represents the mix of pragmatism and liberal thinking among many Iranians.

He’s founder of a group to save the Caspian Sea from oil pollution—and a former oilman. He was executive director of Iran’s National Iranian Oil Co.

“Oilmen in Iran aren’t like oilmen here,” he said.

So, there you have it. Conservatives are "extremist," as well as "impractical." And Iran shouldn't be considered a member of the Axis of Evil, despite military threats on Israel and nuclear aggression against Western civilization, despite they're deplorable conduct of sending young people to clear land mines with their feet during the Iran-Iraq War of the 80's, despite the fact that Iran holds the top spot on a short list of states that could provide safe-haven to Usama bin Laden, and despite the taking of American hostages. Are apologists or revisionists of violent extremism extremists, themselves? You tell me.

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Mickadeit recommends you do not miss Great Pork Board meeting

Dear Sir or Madame,

Frank Mickadeit, a regular columnist with the Orange County Register, has an excellent bit of commentary today on the issues surrounding the City of Irvine PR nightmare better known as Great Park.

Here's the link: A don't-miss meeting; secret joke.

ADDED BONUS: Mickadeit catches Fountain Valley Republican Mayor, Larry Crandall, with his pants down at the OCSD Board meeting. It seems like the OCSD should be used to that by now, with all the crap they've seen.

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


YRFC elections debate continues

Dear Sir or Madame,

As the informed readers were aware, the Young Republicans Federation of California (not to be confused with Young Republicans of California, the liberal version) held their statewide elections this past weekend.

Frank Hilliker was the only candidate for Chairman of the statewide organization since this past winter. Hilliker was going around making deals to ensure it would remain a shut out. Then something happened. Someone must have gotten mad, or disatisfied, in OC, because the Orange County Young Republicans endorsed Hilliker for Chairman months ago (can readers tell me who). Two weeks out of the election, Huntington Beach School Board member Matthew Harper, a great conservative, YAFer, former CRP Associate Rep, and OCYR member jumped in the race and soaked up all the momentum. Hilliker, obviously freaked out by the challenge, lets the race end up uncontested in Harper's favor in Sacramento.

Now there's a post on Hack n Flak that continues the battle that began, and was thought concluded, in the state's capital.

Here's the link: Jeff Corless: The Jim Jeffords of Orange County.

Corless, a former CRP Associate Rep and Bill Jones for California (ha ha) Youth Coordinator, I guess, bit off more than he could chew by forcing his own candidacy for Chairman and using threats of pulling OCYR's charter. How much are the call rates to bin Laden's Afghan cell phone, Mr. Corless? A sense of humility could have saved you here. Sad, very sad.

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


THIS JUST IN: Banking Committee approves nomination of Cox

Dear Sir or Madame,

This Reuters story comes by way of Human Events Online.

Here's the link: Rep. Chris Cox Approved by Senate Panel to be SEC Head, Awaits Senate Confirmation.

Events are transpiring just the way the FlashReport predicted, so far.

UPDATE: Here is Elfrink's Register article on the unanimous endorsement to the Senate floor: Cox's SEC nomination advances. (I prefer to link to local sources.)

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Grave trouble in Santa Ana

Dear Sir or Madame,

Neither Shakespeare nor Hemingway could have written this tragedy any better.

Here's the link: It's a Grave Misunderstanding.

I really don't know what to think of Platt. On the one hand, he was attempting to preserve American history (Civil War history) with a vigor we rarely see these days. That deserves our praise. On the other hand, he did not do adequate research into the best method for preservation of the gravestones.

I do admire, though, how he caused the issue of crumbling Civil War headstones to make the front page of the Los Angeles Times's Orange County edition. I would gladly fork over more column inches of the paper from car crashes, fires, and murders to stories like this.

UPDATE: Here's the link to the Register's article, run the following day: The Morning Read: Grave consequences.

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


Re: Cox to be confirmed soon

Dear Sir or Madame,

Tim Elfrink of the Orange County Register has a great piece today expanding on the one posted on the paper's website late yesterday.

Here's the link: Cox takes a step forward.

Elfrink does a great job in almost bullet pointing the major topics the Banking Committee set upon Cox in the hearings.

All this news, of course, means loads to the local political community because a swift confirmation will open the 48th CD to bidding. And today, the Jon Fleischman's FlashReport had a prediction of confirmation events. Here's the text in full:


Christopher Cox had an easy go of it yesterday in the Senate Banking Committee, as he undergoes the confirmation process for his new post as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The timeline....Full Committee vote tomorrow...Full Senate Confirmation on Friday... This will trigger Cox to shortly-thereafter resign from the House of Representatives, and start the race (isn't it already started?) for his coveted seat. There is an article below about a Democrat getting into the race -- yawn -- a Dem has NO SHOT in this district. However, a strong Democrat on the ballot could hurt moderate GOPer Marilyn Brewer. Brewer and State Senator John Campbell are the only two prominent GOPers in the race thus far...

The article he mentions above is the one from yesterday's Daily Pilot (another good dig by Alicia Robinson): Newport lawyer eyes Cox's seat. I second his yawn and admire the cleverness with which he views a Democrat's affect on Brewer's chances. Check out OC Blog for the campaign teams (see: and

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


Are these the guys Bush calls vigilantes?

Dear Sir or Madame,

Thanks are very much in order to Jason Trippet commenting on OC Blog about Gordon Dillow's column in the Orange County Register today.

Here's the Register article: Night with Minutemen borders on dangerous.

These people want to protect their country with civil action. They want to serve as witnesses in the line of fire to a robbery of the American people by unskilled, illegal laborers. Reading Dillow's column is an eye opener that makes me love this country more. We are a land that will and has been pillaged by dangerous individuals who will take from us without a second thought. As a citizen, I'm ashamed of the San Diego Sheriffs deputies who threatened the California Minutemen with arrest and lined them up for questioning. As a member of the Republican Party, I'm ashamed of the President's prior remarks on the Minutemen. This is a concern for national security. At the very least, Minutemen should be allowed to carry their own firearms for protection from the drug dealing, gun running, people trafficking scum that populate the borderlands.

On a side note: Ken Masugi over at the Claremont Institute's Local Liberty blog has a great post on the fallacious arguments presented by the lawbreakers' lobby. See: $41 Billion to Remove Illegals?

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


Environmentalists at it again in Newport Harbor

Dear Sir or Madame,

The Daily Pilot has a great piece today on a new measure that may jump start unrest on the Orange County coast.

Here's the piece: Boat paint could face new rules.

The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board (SARWQC), being the activist regulators that they are, are attempting to enact rules in Newport Harbor that would double the cost of rudimentary boat maintenance. Here we have another case of government taking what works, and breaking it. SARWQC is trying to take copper-based paints, that serve the good purpose of defending boat hulls from algae and destructive fungi, out of the hands of boaters and replacing it with epoxy-based paints that are twice the price and ineffective. And SARWQC (a mouthful of an acronym) won't even tell me what's wrong with the copper levels in the Harbor!

What are the copper levels in the harbor? They don't know! How does copper seriously affect the human body?! They haven't told us!

Leave it to environmentalists to take any sort of recreation out of the environment. By doing so, they only make more enemies. They only take environment out of the hands of more people, the same people they will need to rely on in the future to popularly support their candidates and other measures.

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

OC Weekly gets it wrong on the Guard

Dear Sir or Madame,

Nick Schou, a reporter for the OC Weekly, like Senator Joe Dunn, has an axe to grind on the California National Guard. More than likely, Schou and Dunn, have both felt fear or resentment for those in the military, because when they were in college, girls went for the uniforms.

Here's the OC Weekly article: Who Dunn It?

Here's the link to the story that started it all:

The San Jose Mercury News story on the Guard's so called "surveillance" of anti-war protesters was total misrepresentation of the facts. From what I've been told by members of the military aware of the situation, Guard members merely watched news coverage of an anti-war protest as they watch all news related to the Guard in California. They weren't spying on American citizens or violating the posse comitatus Act of 1878, which prevents U.S. military from taking part in domestic law enforcement.

Senator Dunn has an axe to grind, just like all the other leftists who see the military as an agency full of Right-wing jingoists. Just like all the other leftists who carried signs along the streets of San Francisco in the first weeks of the Iraq War, proclaiming, "We'll support the troops, when they shoot our officers." These are the same leftists who have time and time again shoved cameras in my face at counter protests, who have attempted to spit and grab and curse at me. These are the same leftists who assaulted vehicles of the elderly in Garden Grove for merely listening to Jim Gilchrist speak! These are the same leftists who slashed tires in the Midwest to prevent Republicans from getting to the polls. They are, to some extent, domestic terrorists, who glorify Che Guevarra and anarchy symbols on college campuses all over California. They should be observed for their lawlessness!

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


Picking up where Silence left off on "Great Pork"

Dear Sir or Madame,

As mentioned on OC Blog, the OC Weekly has a terrific story up on their website written by Scott Moxley. It seconds thoughts Silence mentioned on this blog.

Here's the link: During Brain Surgery, Keep Your Eye on the Ball, You Cockroach.

It's interesting that Moxley uses "cockroach" as a term for resident of the City of Irvine, or concerned constituent. Cockroaches are the only (?) critters able to survive a nuclear blast (see: Cockroaches and "The Bomb"), which is precisely what I predict we'll see in the next city election.

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


Cox to be confirmed soon

Dear Sir or Madame,

Thank you to Tim Elfrink at the Orange County Register for posting a story on the Cox confirmation hearing. I was clawing for some news on this, as there was no coverage of it on CSPAN. It's been a big news day, with the space shuttle launch (woohoo!), and the SCOTUS nomination coverage, and the London bombings coverage, and the Israeli pullout of the Gaza Strip coverage. Christopher Cox's Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman confirmation hearing seems like soggy bread in comparison, despite the fact that Cox will now be in a position to affect, potentially, trillions of dollars.

Here's the link to the Register story: Smooth sailing for Cox at SEC hearing.

I was surprised that even Boxer got in the act of singing Cox's praises. Is that right? But Cox must attempt to reverse the regulatory environment set forth by Donaldson. I suspect his testimony on Donaldson was merely to placate Dems on the Banking Comm.

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


Polls have yet to close in San Diego, Orange County watching

Dear Sir or Madame,

As just about everyone in the nation is aware of the Mayoral elections in San Diego, Republicans have two candidates to watch: Steve Francis and Jerry Sanders.

Here's the San Diego U-T gameday article: Candidates cast votes.

I am aware the Orange County Republican Party was organizing individuals to walk precincts this past weekend for Francis, the candidate endorsed by Ron Nehring's San Diego Republican Party.

Here's the link to the SDGOP website:

On it, you will see the party's statement on the endorsement. I'll post in here in full.

Republican Party Endorses Steve Francis for Mayor

The Republican Party of San Diego County, recognizing the need to elect a strongly anti-tax mayor who will cut back city bureaucracy and focus on neighborhoods, officially endorsed Republican business leader Steve Francis and outsider, to be the next mayor of America's Finest City

"Steve Francis is an outsider, a leader with the skills and tenacity to see the city through this crisis," said Nehring. "Steve Francis opposes raising taxes, and opposes sending the city into bankruptcy. His plan outlines a tough, common sense approach for restoring the city to fiscal health without increasing the burden on San Diego taxpayers." Union Tribune story

Good luck Mr. Francis! It's not over yet. Polls close in two hours, and you know Frye's union support will be busing people to vote until five minutes after seven post meridien.

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


Seiler: one minute your with him, one minute you're not

Dear Sir or Madame,

I believe OC Blog ran a post of frustrations they had with the Orange County Register's website. The Orange Punch Blog clearly does need links to specific posts. Or, rather, I need links to specific posts for this post.

John Seiler, a senior editorialist at the Register, is also a frequent poster on their blog, Orange Punch. I'm in agreement with the guy on most of his domestic political rantings. I'm in absolute opposition with him on his foreign policy positions.

Here are two examples:

If we had Gov. McClintock

Just think what would have happened had Arnold not run in 2003. McClintock would have won the recall election. As governor, he would have put a strict spending initiative -- spending rising only as fast as inflation plus population growth -- on the March 2004 ballot. It would have passed. By now, the state would be overflowing with surpluses. So he'd put a tax cut on the July 2006 ballot.

There's more. Arnold would have released Terminator 4 this summer, ending Hollywood's depression. He'd be working on Terminator 5 for 2007. And he wouldn't have had to cancel his magazine contracts.

So the budget crisis would be over, we'd have less of our money stolen in taxes, and we'd be better entertained.
Posted by John Seiler - at 2:40 PM


National Review vs. Dana Rohrabacher

I grew up reading National Review, back when it was a bulwark of liberty against liberal tyranny. Now NR supports such tyrannies as the USA "Patriot" Act (better named the USSR Traitors' Act).

NR contributor K.J. Lopez attacks our local Rep. Dana Rohrabacher here for voting against renewing the "Patriot" Act. And she attacks Dana for saying America now isn't at war.

Well, Lopez, when exactly did Congress declare war, as required by the Constitution? We do have a major problem of terrorists coming into this country and blowing things up, but that's mainly a police action. 9/11 occurred to a great extent because the FBI and other agencies were incompetent, as we since have learned. For example, FBI agents warned about strange goings-on at pilot training centers, but the bureaucracy did nothing about it.

And the fighting in Iraq had nothing to do with fighting the terrorism, but was an invasion the Bush regime lied us into, as the Downing Street Memos showed, with its false claims about Saddam's WMDs, which never existed.

The real war that's going on in this country is being conducted by the Bush regime, NR and others against our precious and sacred liberties.
Posted by John Seiler - at 11:25 AM

The former post I totally agree with. I'm still bitter about the Party's treatment of McClintock. The latter post just makes me mad. Does Seiler forget the War Powers Act of 1973? Or the Emancipation Proclamation? Or the many other precedent setting instances when Congress has allowed the Executive to engage the United States military in actions without a declaration of war?! It's not an illegal war! When will the Democrats, and Greens, and Libertarians like Seiler lose this baseless objection?

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


Strickland hit on his Right flank

Dear Sir or Madame,

I'm going to introduce myself with this first post. I consider Silence of like mind. She and I read similar news publications. And we most often agree. Perhaps there will be opportunities for you, the readers, to see on what issues we disagree. The following post is not one of them. I know, because I ran it past her while she was leaving.


Tony Strickland is running for State Controller, a statewide constitutional office. He formerly served as a State Assemblyman, and while Assemblyman served as Chair of the Republican Caucus. He had a reputation in the lower house as a conservative golden boy, despite some liberalization towards the end of his three term tenure. This may have only been to secure his chances in a statewide contest. He made a brief run at U.S. Senate in the 2004 primary, when it was just Rosario Marin, a moderate, in the race. (I think he was merely placeholding for Bill Jones.) He currently serves as Chairman of California's Club for Growth, an organization of staunch fiscal conservatives. Now he's running for a seat that Senator Tom McClintock once sought. McClintock, if you'll remember, made the 2002 Controller race one of the closest (the closest?) in California political history.

So, I was surfing the California blogs yesterday and keeled over in laughter at the sight of a new website on Mr. Strickland. A hat tip is due to a commentator on Hack n Flak for posting it.

Here's the link:

This website isn't something to scoff at. These are real legislative measures that I always knew Strickland supported. It's a website constructed by conservatives. I have my hunches as to who they are. The problem is, because he's the conservative in the match against Maldonado (a really liberal Republican), and because he has already gathered endorsements and raised the money, he's conservatives' best shot.

Perhaps this website will push Strickland to the Right, much like the McClintock candidacy did with Ahnuld. If it does, it's alright with me. If it doesn't, at least it encourages informed voting.

Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,


New wordsmith at the Courant

Dear Sir or Madame,

I will be going on a summertime vacation of sorts soon and I wanted to make sure the Orange-County Courant maintained its reputation for stinging commentary and breaking news. Thus, I have asked a good friend to comment on this blog in my stead. I trust all my readers will treat him with their interest and respect.

Thank you all for reading. I don't expect I'll do well on my vacation, knowing all these big events are transpiring without my observation. See you when I return.

Yours in liberty,


Monday, July 25, 2005

OCR Editorial on "Great Pork"

Dear Sir or Madame,

I tip my bonnet to the Register's editorial staff for remaining vigilant on Great Park for residents of the City of Irvine. I am glad they question the need for mailers in the first place.

Here's the link: Hints of some pork at Great Park.

Irvine doesn't work for Lennar. Irvine City Councilmembers shouldn't be doing the work of Lennar.

I don't care about the glories of Great Park. I am living comfortably where I am right now. I'm not interested in purchasing a house there.

I am interested in where my tax monies go. I am interested in the City of Irvine's growing budget. I am interested in the increased traffice flow in Irvine and on the freeways as a result of Great Park. I am interested in what sort of financial support Larry Agran receives in the next election from Forde & Mollrich, or anyone related to Forde & Mollrich. Mail me something about those issues on plain, white, 20 pound stock, in simple black ink. Use numbers. I don't need pictures to tell me a story, especially pictures that aren't even of Great Park!

Yours in liberty,


LARRYLAND, Register's Great Park cartoon

Dear Sir or Madame,

Thanks are due to the boys of OC Blog for linking to the cartoon on their website. It's a riot!

Here's the link: LARRYLAND.

Yours in liberty,


Friday, July 22, 2005

Re: Forde & Mollrich gets kickback from Agran-run Great Park Board

Dear Sir or Madame,

Buried on the 20th page (that online viewers probably will never get to), the editors of the Irvine World News have a nice tax advocate opinion (see: "Can city answer $600,000 question?"). In it, though, is more juice to the story. Take the following quotes, from the editorial:

The city’s response from acting City Manager Sean Joyce: As long as the work is done within budget and on time, then the city usually does not verify receipts and invoices.


Stu Mollrich of Forde & Mollrich would not say who produced the eight-page, four-color, glossy mailer, and would not say how much the private company charged his firm for the work. “The simple fact that a private company is doing business with a public agency,” he said, “doesn’t mean that all of their private business records become public records.”

Understood. But can we have the name of the printer that did the work? The name was redacted from the bill submitted to the city. Joyce said he doesn’t know the name of the printer. But, hypothetically, what if a subcontractor commits a crime while doing work for the city, and the city is sued. Does the city then get the name?

The arrogance of Joyce, F&M, Agran, et al. is just baffling! I think someone needs to begin considering a lawsuit of some kind. That's the only way you'll get these people to budge. Mollrich is clearly hiding something, as is the City of Irvine.

I would also like to tip my bonnet to the folks at the Orange County Register for rerunning the article in the wider-circulated paper, in addition to the Irvine World News. It's important to enlighten people on corruption within one of the largest cities in the county.

Yours in liberty,


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Forde & Mollrich gets kickback from Agran-run Great Park Board

Dear Sir or Madame,

I tip my bonnet to OC Blog frequent commentator "Hanna" for the lead on this disturbing bit of news. If I ever picked up the dead tree version of the IWN, or any other paper for that matter, I might have seen this splashed on the front cover. It's conspicuously missing from the front page of the Register.

Here's the link to the Irvine World News's weird pdf/webpage: Then proceed onto the paper. (It may ask you what your web browser is first.) I really wish the Register's IT people got their butts in gear on this one.

Here's some juicy paragraphs that say it all:

The city paid a consultant more than $70,000 to produce a glossy mailer on the Great Park project. Printers surveyed by the Orange County Register and councilman Steven Choi said they could have produced the project for less.

A review of the invoice obtained by the Register also showed that consultant Forde & Mollrich added $10,000 to the mailing and distribution charges.The invoice showed that Forde & Mollrich charged $70,308 to produce 197,000 copies of the Great Park Winter 2005 Benchmark report, a mailer sent residents about progress of the future park. Production charges included printing and “creative components” such as “writing and editorial,” according to Forde & Mollrich.

The total charged to the city for the mailer was $112,979, including $36,671 for mailing and distribution, as well as $6,000 for layout and design costs.


Five printing estimates obtained by Choi’s office and three by the Register came in under the $70,000 charged by Forde & Mollrich. Seven of the eight estimates are from $24,000 to $35,000. One estimate from a Santa Ana printer came in at $60,000.

I wish I were more astonished by the improprieties here, but frankly this is how Agran operates. He smooths over a company's overcharging and accepts very generous donations from them in election seasons. Dave Gilliard says Forde & Mollrich charged twice the commission and reimbursement charges for consultation! The city paid at least $40,000 more just for the production of the mailer!

One thing's for certain: some staffer in Irvine City Councilman Choi's office deserves a raise for doing the research on other bids. Choi deserves Irvine residents' gratitude for lending his name as a dart board for Agran, Inc. And the Irvine World News deserves encouragement to run more taxpayer interest stories like this.

Yours in liberty,


Calling all OC political consultants!

Dear Sir or Madame,

I rarely ever post links to national news stories. I try to keep things local. Sometimes, "local" means close to home in the professional sense for my friends and this is one of those times.

The Washington Post has a story today on True Entertainment's plans to create a reality series in the mold of "The Apprentice" called "Red/Blue" that would place 12 or 14 aspiring political consultants in a Georgetown house to duke it out in contests of political strategy and skill.

Here's the link: Reality TV Gets Political Spin.

The creator's a Demo, but he admittedly is trying to seek the next Karl Rove. He also admits to believing the show will more likely end up on FX than NBC.

My opinion: Anyone who signs up for the show deserves to be eliminated immediately for lack of political sense. Politics, like war, is all about deception. How is living under glass going to help one maintain an air of deception? Perhaps the monikered political consultants over at OC Blog disagree.

I'll admit the idea's humorous.

Yours in liberty,


Watch out Agran, Krom, Kang, says CalRaces's Ross

Dear Sir or Madame,

I'm not sure if this is new news, but I presume it is because, a blog by Meridian Pacific political consultants out of Sacramento, is reporting it like it is. Blog (if you can call it a blog without links) "editor" Tom Ross makes the prediction that the City of Irvine, because it has been marked by the U.S. Census Bureau as one of the fastest growing cities in America, will see suburbanization and thus Republicanization. Ross has a long history in political consultation and is a partner with Matt Rexroad at Meridian. Rexroad's had intimate involvement with population growth and political trends as he has handled the redistricting process for legislative Republicans. Meaning: this prediction is qualified.

Here's the link:

I will disagree a little with the thought that Irvine will see purely suburbanization. Anyone driving along the 405 can see the construction of new condo highrises around Jamboree, Von Karman, and MacArthur. Irvine Co. and the City of Irvine, I believe, would like to see the buildup of highrise residential within the city's limits. I remember reading something in the Register not more than a week ago that plans are being laid out to begin the same work around the Spectrum and the 405/5 split/merge. Irvine won't necessarily see suburbanization. We'll probably see a lot of high class densification.

Some will recall that BC04 garnered the majority support of 90+% of the nation's fastest growing counties in America. And if the trend can be shown to have been followed at the municipal level, then Ross may be correct. That's great news.

Ross points out the Census Bureau found Irvine's population grew by 25% between 2000 and 2004. This is before any transfer and construction on Great Park. So, Irvine's got a whole lot more growing. Hopefully, it will indeed shift the political atmosphere of Irvine to the Right.

Yours in liberty,


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Too old and cheap to negotiate, because they're on social security

Dear Sir or Madame,

The Democrat Mayor of the City of Laguna Woods, Brenda Ross, is leading her Council in an effort to seize the building from which they conduct operations out of the hands of its owner using eminent domain.

Just reading over the article, it doesn't appear that the City's use of eminent domain here is a direct result of new powers granted to municipalities by the recent Kelo decision. Cities have used eminent domain in the Laguna Woods fashion long before this new bout of SCOTUS activism. Kelo allowed eminent domain to be used by cities or townships to confiscate land and sell it to another private party, with the expectation that that sale would achieve greater profitability in the new party's hands (resulting in an increase in tax revenue). Because eminent domain, in this case, will be used to make private land the property of the City of Laguna Woods, you can pretty much be assured there's no profitability going to be found here. One almost wished there were.

Here's the link to the Register's article: Laguna Woods weighs taking over City Hall.

I will say, though, the City has some really poor timing with regards to when the Register would cover this story. Kelo's hot right now in the news and in the hearts of the voting constituency of this country. People are mad as hell about it. Senator (soon to be Lieutenant Governor) Tom McClintock has proposed a State Constitutional Amendment (15) to strip away powers granted by the Highest Court to cities in California and that measure has vast bipartisan support. (McClintock has a very good way of tying his campaigns with specific measures, i.e. Governor "Stop the Car Tax!" and now this. It not only has the effect elevating his name and credentials, but also elevating the issue.)

The City wants to pay $2.7 million. The owner wants $7 million. The lease is up in 2010. So now the City wants to make the owner sell for $2.7 million. How is this different than actions carried out by a schoolground bully?

Bully wants lunch. Little Kid wants to keep lunch because its his and he doesn't want to go hungry. Bully wants to supplement lunch his mother already packed for him. Bully will sock Little Kid if he doesn't fork over the lunch on his terms. Bully doesn't remember that he's only one guy and his reputation as a bully depends on all the other little kids letting him go feared without confrontation.

Well, now one of the big kids from a local high school steps on campus, and his name's McClintock. He used to be just like Little Kid. For all the other little kids who'd like to help him reign in bullies, here's his website:

Yours in liberty,


Re: Laguna Beach spends $80,000 on public art

Dear Sir or Madame,

Both the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register have articles describing the City of Laguna Beach's surprise at the costs of just stabilizing the Bluebird Canyon landslide area before this next winter's rain storms exacerbate the problem. That is not reconstruction, which is expected to eat up another $9 million of the City's coffers. The City Manager's previous estimates were $5 million for stabilization. Now they're $6.5 million, and he's beginning to freak out. Meanwhile, the City's Arts Commission recommended Laguna Beach spend $80,000 on a sculpture celebrating the city council.

Here's the link to the OCR: Laguna slide costs increase.

Here's the link to the LAT: Laguna Beach Frustrated as Slide Costs Keep Climbing.

The Mayor and City Council need to get their priorities strait here. In times of disaster, one needs to part with the luxuries and approach the essentials. Laguna Beach is a healthy, and wealthy, community. Tax revenues are already quite good. Taxes shouldn't be raised because that may disturb the fiscal status quo. But prioritizing does need to take place down at City Hall. The Mayor expressed over and over that she understood this. Now it's time to act.

Yours in liberty,


Monday, July 18, 2005

Breaking News: Two San Diego City Councilmen convicted

Dear Sir or Madame,

And then there were five (members of the council). Immediate past mayor pro-tem Toni Atkins, a lesbian Democrat, is the acting mayor for a week. Elections to come soon.

Here's the link: Verdict: GuiltyFederal jury convicts Zucchet, Inzunza.

Now's the time to run in San Diego! It's a revolution!

Yours in liberty,


Friday, July 15, 2005

Laguna Beach spends $80,000 on public art

Dear Sir or Madame,

The Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot today has an article about a sculpture that was chosen by the City of Laguna Beach's Arts Commission to be purchased by the City and placed in front of City Hall downtown.

Here's link: Panel picks public artwork.

Here's a few thoughts:

Why the hell does a city, even a city as artistic as Laguna Beach, need an Arts Commission?! It's so New Deal. It's big government at its worst. It's government funded, and government regulated, art work. Yuck! And why hasn't the City of Laguna Beach's Republican Mayor, Elizabeth Pearson-Schneider, not gotten rid of this absolutely inappropriate commission.

It's a tragic irony that the sculpture is named "The People's Council." The name would seem right at home in an Orwellian novel, or China. In addition, the fact that the Arts Commission chose a piece of art celebrating themselves is wrong. With government officials choosing the artwork, how is this "the people's" council, or "the people's" choice?

The Laguna Beach City Council will consider the Arts Commission's recommendation to pay $80,000 for this sculpture on the 19th of this month, while just a few weeks ago the Mayor, City Council, and City Manager were contemplating tax increases for city residents to pay for Bluebird Canyon reconstruction. The Mayor went crying on television about how much her community needs our assistance with the landslide victims, and now she's silent about the city purchasing abstract art?! (I have had the link to the Laguna Relief non profit on my website since its creation and I recommend donations be made.)

The City of Laguna Beach isn't alone in public art purchasing. So many government agencies fund things like park sculptures and highway art, and all those purchases add up to real money. We don't need it. If the community wants art displayed in public places, it should form a nonprofit to raise the money needed. Government officials shouldn't be in the business of buying art and frequenting galleries on the public dime.

Yours in liberty,


OC Weekly covers "Asian persuasion" of local officials

Dear Sir or Madame,

All the talk about Gustavo Arellano over at OC Blog had me perusing through the OC Weekly this morning on the web. In an informal column, titled "The Asian Persuasion," the Weekly asks locals of note what their favorite Asian restaurant in Orange County is. Three local officials were mentioned in the article speaking of things you don't normally hear them speak of: food. The three: Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, Irvine City Councilman Dr. Steven Choi, and Assistant District Attorney Susan Kang Schroeder, Republicans all. I thought it was funny, so I'll quote the three officials' sections here.

We hate Chuck DeVore because he doesn’t see anything wrong with creating a bill that would allow residents in the El Morro Mobile Homes in Crystal Cove to stay after he accepted more than $74,000 in political donations from them. We respect Chuck DeVore, though, because he’s the most accessible of our Assembly, state Senate or congressional delegates and usually answers e-mails within the day. And we love Chuck DeVore because he’s a best-selling author . . . in Taiwan?! Allow Chuck to explain: “In 1999, I co-authored China Attacks, a techno-thriller that was published in 2000, then translated into Chinese in 2001. Since I am not a credentialed China expert, I figured no one would be interested in a nonfiction book by me about this topic. On the other hand, a fact-based, action-packed novel might be read by many for enjoyment, some of whom might actually revise their opinions about China’s intentions and capabilities.” China Attacks proved so popular that DeVore toured Taiwan in 2001—where Chinese officials called him an “imperial dog.” ETHNIC EAT (CHINESE): “The only Chinese restaurant we consistently frequent is Chinatown. My wife loves their aromatic shrimp—‘aromatic’ as in garlic, and it’s a good thing I love both her and garlic, or else that dish would be a bit too much! I generally gravitate towards Mongolian beef or kung pao beef, either of which is always fresh and savory. And, as if all this isn’t enough, we’ve even seen Commie Girl there once or twice.” 4139 Campus Dr., Irvine, (949) 856-2211. AMAZING ASIAN: Koki’s Teppan and Sushi: “Koki’s is an inexpensive version of Benihana’s. My two daughters love the place. With the chefs’ knife play, the culinary acrobatics, and the ever-popular flaming onion volcano, what’s there not to like? I usually order the steak and shrimp combo with fried rice. We can usually feed the entire family of four for about $50.” 3957 Irvine Blvd., Irvine, (714) 508-1668; also 1061 E. Main St., Tustin, (714) 505-6738.


Choi is a teacher by trade, but now the county is looking to the Irvine council member for salvation. Choi also sits on the board of directors for the Great Park and is, along with fellow Irvine Council Member Christina Shea, one of the two voices not controlled by longtime Irvine political force Larry Agran. Catch Choi at the Great Park meetings—he’s the one arguing against sweetheart contracts and exorbitant government pork as Agran and his allies turn the Great Park into the Irvine Spectrum II. ETHNIC EAT (KOREAN): Korea House BBQ: “I like this restaurant because you can either grill your own meat at your table—marinated beef, chicken or pork—for a unique experience of pleasure and taste or have it prepared in the kitchen. The restaurant is relatively new with one year three months old operation history, during which time its popularity has spread to non-Koreans as well.” 5305 University Dr., Irvine, (949) 552-9998. AMAZING ASIAN: Agora Churrascaria is an all-you-can-eat Brazilian BBQ restaurant, says Choi, but the owners are Korean: “I just went there for the first time a couple weeks back. The taste was so superb, I had to try all of the courses coming my way, which was I don’t even know how many kinds of meat. The result? I was full.” 1830 Main St., Irvine, (949) 222-9910;


We love to hate Deputy District Attorney Susan Kang Schroeder, and—since we’re a force for good, and she’s a force for evil—she loves to hate us right back. We’re like nemesiseses and stuff. But she’s so cute when she hates us—wrinkling up her nose like she smells something bad, making vomiting noises like she needs to vomit, and then treating us to dinner (and a nice gossip) anyway. If there’s one thing Susan and her husband Mike (local Republican fixer extraordinaire) are good for (aside from hammering people into the ground with one swing of their meaty fists), it’s taking us to dinner (and a nice gossip). They’re gourmands with heavy wallets, and they’re a-OK with us. Go ahead! Be evil! We don’t mind! ETHNIC EAT (KOREAN): “Seoul Oak has uncharacteristically great service for an Asian restaurant and clean-tasting food that tastes like my mom’s cooking. You cook your own meat on a griddle in the middle of your table. I recommend the spicy pork and the ribs (gal-bi). Really fast service: Koreans expect to have food on the table within two minutes of arriving. And Koreans don’t eat sweets generally, so the ‘dessert’ is a sweet, cinnamon drink with floating pine nuts to rinse the garlic away from your breath.” 8295 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 530-5388. AMAZING ASIAN: Schroeder says crime takes a break at Pho Hien Vuong, supposedly the county’s first place to sell the aromatic Vietnamese beef noodle soup. “Cops, crooks, D.A.s, judges, interpreters, court staff, reporters all hang out and eat $4 noodles here,” says Schroeder. “They also give you a plate of uncooked bean sprouts, cilantro and basil. I recommend the #11 pho: well-done brisket soup with lots of Sriracha sauce. Many of my friends order the #16, which has the chicken. I see Orange County Register reporter Martin Wisckol here almost every time I go, confirming my paranoid delusion that Martin is stalking me.” 2525 W. 17th St., Ste. H, Santa Ana, (714) 554-2696. AMAZING ASIAN: THE RETRIAL: Can’t decide on Chinese food or sushi? Schroeder recommends you plop yourself at China Palace Restaurant and get both. “You will never get a bad meal there,” claims Schroeder. “The owner, Jack Mau, is often there to greet you and give you advice about life, politics and child rearing—we call him Chairman Mau. You should definitely order the Peking duck there . . . and unlike most places, you don’t have to order ahead. They put the crispy rich duck in a thin tortilla-like wrapper with sliced scallions. On the sushi side, get the ‘yum yum’ roll that has crab and shrimp tempura. Mike and I go there every Sunday night because it’s also the local GOP hangout. On any given night, you will see Tom Fuentes, Scott and Wendy Baugh, Dick and Linda Ackerman, Dana and Rhonda Rohrabacher and the pips.” And Satan too! 2800 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, (949) 631-8088.

Here's the link to the article: Cover: The Asian Persuasion.

Yours in liberty,


And on OCSD

Dear Sir or Madame,

Why can't other legislators be this responsive?

This is another email sent out by DeVore related to the Dharma Consulting contract with the Orange County Sanitation District. It's also - I guess - published on Human Events Online, giving the OCSD and its shit some serious exposure to sunlight. It's sure to really stink over at the sanitation district soon. The Assemblyman must easily hold the title of the most interactive and vocal member of the state legislature.

I'm only providing the link because I believe Human Events Online owns the copyright to the material and I don't want to violate any laws here. It's appropriately titled "Holy Sewage." DeVore emailed it out in full.

The link:

Yours in liberty,


Wow, DeVore at the pen on China

Dear Sir or Madame,

This email was sent out likely as a reaction to the Drudge Report's top headline yesterday. That headline was to a story that quoted a "hawkish" Chinese general as saying the communist dictatorship was willing and able to launch nuclear weapons upon the United States if there was intervention on behalf of Taiwan. Here's Assemblyman Chuck DeVore's reaction. (Keep in mind he is an Army Intel officer and the author of a book titled "China Attacks" that presents a gameplay for this occurrence. I love - really, love - how in good ol' capitalist fashion he pitches his novel at the end of the email.)

News: China ready to use nuclear weapons against US over Taiwan

As the two stories below suggest, China has once again threatened America with a nuclear attack, should we come to the aid of the democratic nation of Taiwan if it is attacked by China.

Chinese general warns U.S. over Taiwan - newspaper

BEIJING (Reuters) - A senior Chinese general has warned that China was ready to use nuclear weapons against the United States if Washington attacked his country over Taiwan, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Friday.


China ready to use nuclear weapons against US over Taiwan: media
BEIJING (AFP) - China could use nuclear weapons to retaliate against the United States if it attacked in any conflict over Taiwan, reports said citing a Chinese general.

China ready to use nuclear weapons against US over Taiwan: media

As some of you may recall, I wrote a book back in 1999 about China attacking Taiwan. Entitled, CHINA ATTACKS, the book was translated into Chinese in 2001 for sales in Taiwan where it has sold quite well.

With the recent news, I thought some of you might be interested in an update on China.

The People’s Republic of China is the 21st Century’s Nazi Germany: a revanchist nationalist ideology, state-guided capitalism, a massive military build-up, and a repressive one-party state. Most in the West are blind to this, of course, with business being the sole concern. Very few Americans know the history of Chinese repression in Tibet, or care about the mass imprisonments of Christians and Falun Gong practitioners, or are aware of the increasingly violent crackdowns on protesting workers and farmers. And even those who are conversant in China’s internal repression shrug off China’s war rhetoric as just that: rhetoric.

First, a brief tutorial would be in order on China to dispel some myths. The CIA sets China’s economic output at $7.3 trillion with a 9.1 percent growth rate. This is double the purchasing power parity of Japan and now more than half of the U.S. economy. China makes the most steel, consumes the second highest amount of oil (the U.S. is first), and burns the largest quantity of coal in the world. They spend about $67.5 billion per year on their rapidly modernizing military, the second highest amount in the world. China has active territorial disputes with India, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, and possibly Brunei, while lingering issues remain with Russia and Burma.

And then there’s Taiwan, the democratic island nation of 23 million people that China claims as a renegade province, unworthy of independence. Earlier this year, the rubberstamp Chinese legislature passed an anti-succession bill aimed at justifying a war should the Taiwanese declare themselves independent through a national referendum. This parallels Nazi Germany’s actions in 1938 when they invaded Austria the day before a scheduled Austrian referendum to affirm independence from Germany. This became known as the Anschluss or annexation.

Chinese policy on Taiwan is that there would need to be no annexation as Taiwan is already a part of China. Further, it is simply a matter of time and opportunity before Taiwan is brought back under the full control of Beijing, as was Hong Kong, Macao, and Tibet before it.

U.S. policy is more subtle. Under a U.S. law known as the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) passed in 1979, the U.S. considers “any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States.” The TRA does not require the U.S. to protect Taiwan in the event of an attack, however, a deliberate omission designed to discourage the Taiwanese from declaring their independence. In other words, American policy is to encourage the continuation of the peaceful status quo on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

All the best,

Chuck DeVore, State Assemblyman, 70th District

The Chinese language edition version of “China Attacks” (volumes 1 and 2).

Yours in liberty,


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Reporters circling around Ray?

Dear Sir or Madame,

"Marvin Lucas" over at Hack n Flak is reporting that an Orange County paper (probably the Orange County Register) has started making phone calls up to the Capitol to ascertain the truth or veracity of rumors floated on that blog these past few weeks (see: Sacramento Whispers). These rumors are related to Ray Haynes and Umberg-style extramarital improprieties.

See: the "OC for Haynes?" original post which started it all

Lucas wrote in Sacramento Whispers, "A reporter from an Orange County newspaper is beginning to contact people around the capitol regarding recent questions related to Assemblyman Ray Haynes." He also linked Haynes's name to U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy which may be going too far. No Republican deserves that comparison.

The guys on Hack n Flak have this annoying tendancy to remove posts that are found to be particularly controversial. One of the posts that had comments full of innuendos is no longer posted on their site, and thus unable for me to quote for or forward onto readers.

The rumors I read - and I'm working from memory here - insinuated that Assemblyman Haynes was having marital problems, that he'd been uninvited from the Capitol Bible Study for members of the legislature, that he'd had extramarital hanky pank with Assemblywoman Mimi Walters's Chief of Staff, Gina Zari. And it seemed to me like Zari was trying to anonymously defend herself in the comments section to no avail. I have no reason to believe any of these rumors are true, or false.

Yours in liberty,


The "Duke" says he won't seek reelection

Dear Sir or Madame,

Breaking news on Drudge: California Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, under investigation, intends to announce he will retire when term ends...

Congressman Cunningham couldn't take the heat. Two of California's House Republican seats are now up for grabs. This has been discussed at length on Hack n Flak and OC Blog. I suppose Assemblyman Mark Wyland has got to gear up for a totally different race now.

Yours in liberty,


Re: OCSD employees treating crap while being treated to crap

Dear Sir or Madame,

I tip my bonnet to the boys over at OC Blog for posting a link to OCSD General Manager Blake Anderson's response to the Register's probing. If a concerned taxpayer tried to find the response from the OCSD homepage, they'd have no luck. Ask me how I know. The Sanitation District's in damage control.

Here's the link:

Yours in liberty,


Editors at the Register agree with me

Dear Sir or Madame,

In an editorial that "Jubal" over at OC Blog uncharacteristically missed in his "News Roundup", the Orange County Register's well-respected staff published a short editorial in agreement with a post I made here earlier. (I wonder if they read the Courant.)

Here's the link: It could have been worse.

After a short period of conservative criticism of Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (see Re: My resolution of the budget vote debate and on OC Blog), those with the ability of second glancing are starting to come around. And its happening quicker than I expected.

Yours in liberty,


El Toro now semi-privately owned land

Dear Sir or Madame,

The Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and the Orange County Business Journal all covered this event yesterday. Meaning: it's huge. Hopefully, it will put an end to all the bickering back and forth online about the possibility of another airport. Unless, perhaps, someone suggests that the City of Irvine use its newfound Kelo authority to sell the land to an airport developer, but I don't believe an airport would end up with greater profitability. Am I wrong here readers?

Orange County Register: Military era ends at El Toro

Los Angeles Times, Orange County Edition: El Toro Base Is Private Property

Orange County Business Journal: Lennar Takes Control of El Toro

Now we have to deal with auditing the Agran-led, two-faced Great Park Board on a regular basis.

Yours in liberty,


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

OCSD employees treating crap while being treated to crap

Dear Sir or Madame,

The Orange County Register today again upheld its reputation as a stern, viligant government watchdog with an article on its cover exposing the Orange County Sanitation District's $180,000 a year investment in Dharma Consulting ( to engage in spiritual exploration, inspired leadership, and teambuilding exercises.

Here's the link to the Register's piece: OC Has Joined The Sewage Of Enlightenment.

OC Blog has some great commentary that I recommend readers follow on this developing issue. Ken Masugi over at Local Liberty raised the great point that there may be a First Amendment violation here, on top of the waste of taxpayer dollars by local officials who sit on the OCSD Board.

Reading over Dharma Consulting's website is moderately frightening. Eric Klein, its founder and yoga priest/chosen one, is described almost as a cult leader would be with "Eric this..." and "Eric will help you do this..." (His short bio was probably written by him, along with the rest of the language on the website.) Eric doesn't list his own education credentials, but his underlings do. And given that the company is based out of Leucadia, a small coastal surfing village in San Diego County lacking any serious office space, I wouldn't be surprised if a visitor found the company's associates on beanbag chairs smoking dope from their hookas during strategy sessions, with surfboards hung from the walls as office decor. Incidentally, there is a famous surf spot just to the south called "Swami's" for the temple that sits on the cliff there. But all that is tangential.

The real issue is that the County's taxpayers have foot the bill for this enchanted bull load and no one in OCSD Board meetings gave a shit (pardon the pun).

Yours in liberty,


Monday, July 11, 2005

The 34th SD: The Buzz

Dear Sir or Madame,

Martin Wisckol surprised the insiders today with a piece revealing Rosario Marin as a possible candidate for the 34th Senate District race. I hadn't heard or read this on any of the local blogs, but I wouldn't throw it away either.

Former U.S. Treasurer Marin's a name I haven't heard in a while, not since her failed run at U.S. Senate from California. Remember "She's on your money!"? The West Wing once made fun of the U.S. Treasurer's position saying the Secretary of the Treasury was the important life and death position, the Treasurer only "decides the color of money," or something like that.

Sorry, here's the link to the story: Carpetbaggers could pack state Senate race.

Wisckol finally gets around to agreeing with "Jubal" on OC Blog and I that Assemblyman Van Tran has the best Republican chance of taking that seat. Tran, who really doesn't live in his own district right now, wouldn't have a hard time packing up the few things he stores in the 68th AD and moving them across the Senate District line into the 34th SD. (He is a newly wed with no kids. His primary residence is in Sacramento where his life is more likely to go on without dangerous disruptions.)

I also like how Wisckol covered Ackerman's excuse of bad food for the budget agreement. The legislative staffers, apparently lacking the sophisticated taste of Ackerman and his millionaire friends, fed them bad food to make them work harder. They probably did so to let the good Senator know what it felt like to survive without a paycheck. (If the budget doesn't pass, no government employees get paid.)

Yours in liberty,


Re: Umberg admits extramarital affair

Dear Sir or Madame,

The Sunday Left Angeles Times had a bland article about the resignation of Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D - Anaheim) from the California Army National Guard. The article stubbornly refuses to delve deeply into the four year romance and how potential military discipline could be a reason for the resignation. It also fails to deal with information researched by the Register, information regarding the supposed whereabouts of Mr. Umberg while his wife was out telling voters that he was in Guatanamo Bay.

Here's the link the story: Umberg Retires From Reserve Duty.

The Times article does mention the how the Register "scooped" them this time by publishing the story on Saturday. That article mentions Umberg's entire ordeal, including the fact that Colonel Umberg would have been forced to retire if he didn't receive a promotion to Brigadier General in 2007 anyway. To my amusement, they keep printing his wife's quote calling him "a compulsive liar". That should make for a few good mailers to high propensity voters in the 34th SD. "If his own wife cannot trust him, why should you?" That kind of stuff. You know.

Here's the link to that story: Umberg quietly quits Reserve.

Assemblyman Tran? Are you up for this? Umberg would be little competition for the South Vietnamese army of support you have amassed in central OC. Let's put the "R" back next to the number "34".

Yours in liberty,


Re: My resolution of the budget vote debate

Dear Sir or Madame,

All right. I'm not quite resolved on this thing yet.

I noticed there was lots of action on OC Blog. Some was prompted by things I wrote. Much of it was not.

Both "Lurk" at OC Blog and John Seiler (who I almost never agree with) at the Orange County Register's Orange Punch Blog have cited Senator Tom McClintock's take on the budget as the sole source of voting wisdom.

Here are the links:

OC Blog

Orange Punch Blog

And the primary source document:

Senator McClintock's budget vote press release

Seiler cites only two lines. The latter of the two might offer some key support to Assemblyman DeVore's argument that, "If enough Republicans vote 'no' prevent passage of the budget,the majority swings into action, offering pork or other incentives to lash together the needed votes to capture the two-thirds support required in bothhouses."

The McClintock quote is this: "I suppose it is a blessing that the negotiations didn’t go on any longer."

And it comes in the second paragraph. Here is that paragraph in full:

"Nor can I join applauding the “painstaking negotiations” that have produced this document. The fact is, in May the Governor proposed spending $88 billion (General Fund), the Democrats countered at $89 billion, and they have now compromised at $90 billion. I suppose it is a blessing that the negotiations didn’t go on any longer."

Interestingly, in the case of this year's budget vote we - the general public - can see political strategy if we look hard enough. McClintock feared a larger budget just as DeVore did. This is obvious. Both - and I mean both - are good conservatives. Both feared prolonged negotiations. McClintock speaks of a generally enlarged budget. DeVore specifically cites pork-enticed colleagues as his reason to fear prolonged negotiations. Both are men of principle.

When examined in this fashion, it seems to me neither vote is perfect. Shockingly, the vote comes down to politics and strategy. I imagine both McClintock and DeVore are fairly experienced in these arts. McClintock's been in the legislature a while. DeVore's been in the military and a conservative Republican activist for a while. As far as their campaigning is concerned, both men seem to have similar success rates. Why did these two smarties arrive at different approaches to the budget process? I don't know, but perhaps we could begin to discuss the matter in a civilized way.

In closing, I will say that the Assemblyman has been quite persuasive in his own defense. Here are two items that DeVore mentioned in comments on OC Blog. The first is Bob Mulholland's blog post on how little the Republicans support the Governor in the legislature. The second is an article by the Los Angeles Times lamenting the fact that Democrats made sizable concessions in order to gear up for what they believe to be a tough special election later this year.

The first: "July 08, 2005


"In another example of how weak Schwarzenegger is, there were 13 Republicans in the California State Assembly and four Republicans in the State Senate who voted 'no' on Schwarzenegger’s state budget on Thursday. Schwarzenegger had ordered them, then begged them, to vote 'yes' and 17 basically told Arnie, 'you’re in such bad shape in the polls, we don’t need to deal with you.'
"Posted by bob at 07:09 AM"

The second: Election Strategy Drove Budget Accord

Yours in liberty,


Friday, July 08, 2005

My resolution of the budget vote debate

Dear Sir or Madame,

I am publishing a set of entries I made in the “Comments” section of an OC Blog post. I want this to be the end of the debate on this blog on this topic. I am ready to move on. (For some reason, the formatting function of my blog is acting up. So if the post appears a little different than previous posts, that's why.) Here's the two texts combined:

I, too, believe DeVore to be a hardcore conservative. I don't think he's gone soft on principle at all. His votes are evidence of that.

I think he has gone a little soft on the Governor, though. I know many conservatives who did during the '03 Special. I know many conservatives who continue to be. I am not one of them, but I still count them friends (to an extent).

I know I was an early critic, but the pile-on has got me near disgusted.

I just may have to go with Assemblyman DeVore on this one. It's sounds like a total about-face, but I just may. Like matters of national security, because I'm not at the table and I'm not in the meetings and I'm sure as hell not privy to all the information, I may just have to trust that a principled guy like DeVore knew what he was doing. I may have end-of-the-day numbers, but I don't have tomorrow's or next week's. DeVore probably did. He's in the military. He knows strategy. He's a friend of the movement. He's been a friend of the movement. My trust in his budget vote is my reciprocity.

Thanks for your hard work these past few months Chuck. Take it to 'em next week and the following one and the one after that and these folks will come crawling back.

Yours in liberty,


Did Assemblyman DeVore wince at "tear down this wall!"?

Dear Sir or Madame,

An anonymous respondant to a previous post labeled me a "hypocrit" for stating that his budget vote explanation was "one of the most solid defenses of pragmatic conservatism I have ever seen." By that statement, I can only see that my opinion of his email was ambiguous. I have never considered myself a pragmatist. How has "pragmatism" gotten this positive connotation?

Assemblyman DeVore has already stated that he's cast the most "no" votes out of any member of the Assembly. I do not doubt that that is a confirmable fact. Chuck DeVore is a conservative. Many of those votes were - let's face it - probably just symbolic. Why would Assemblyman DeVore part with the conservative symbolism he usually projects? His "yes" vote wasn't absolutely necessary, was it?

Perhaps DeVore is a pragmatist in the end. Perhaps he really did fear more spending if he held out.

If readers will recall, there was a great chasm in the Reagan Administration between the "Pragmatists" and the "True Believers". Neither side, I would say, had a roster comprised only of individuals I would associate myself with. But it was the Pragmatists who would have had Reagan's "Tear down this wall!" out of our Cold War history. That position alone is deserving of my scorn.

And so I ask: Did Assemblyman DeVore wince at "Tear down this wall!"?

Yours in liberty,


Protest illegal immigration in Laguna Beach

Dear Sir or Madame,

I'm not entirely sure of the accuracy of "Save Our State's" allegations about Mayor Pearson-Schneider here, but I'll reward "Debbie" for making her's the first group to have the good sense to email the Orange-County Courant with specs of the rally.

Here's the announcement in full:

On Saturday, July 16th, there is an event to protest the Laguna Beach, city-santioned day laborer site, funded in part by the Laguna Beach Art Festival.


Laguna Canyon Road/Laguna Canyon Frontage Rd.
This is NOT at the day labor site

The City of Laguna Beach supports an Illegal Day Labor site through income generated by their World Famous Art Festivals. We are gathering in a peaceful rally in front of the arts center to educate those entering the festival and the drive-by public to the illegal activities their tickets are paying for.


From Los Angeles: take the 405 Freeway into Irvine. Take the 133 Highway (south) towards Laguna Beach. This highway turns into Laguna Canyon Rd.

From San Diego take the 5 Freeway to 405 Freeway, take 133 Highway (south) towards Laguna Beach. The 133 turns into Laguna Canyon Rd.


There is metered parking up and down the street ($1.50 per hour. Quarters only) Or there is a free parking area as you enter the canyon called ACT V parking. You will then take a shuttle bus to the Sawdust Festival site.

(Last month several American citizens and residents of Laguna Beach lost their homes in a major landslide. They were not insured, therefore have lost everything. Instead of using city money to help these good Americans, the mayor of Laguna Beach funds an illegal resource center, which includes a hiring center, counseling, and housing for ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.)

Yours in liberty,


Senator Dick Ackerman's budget vote explanation

Dear Sir or Madame,

I tip my bonnet to "Jubal" over at OC Blog not only for the ink, but for directing me to Ackerman's budget explanation. He has conscientiously posted it on his website.

Here's the link:

Here's the Orange County legislators' budget vote lineup (courtesy of OC Blog, thank them for doing all the work):


Ackerman (R) -- Yes
Campbell (R) -- No
Morrow (R) -- Yes
Dunn (D) -- Yes


Van Tran (R) -- No
DeVore (R) -- Yes
Daucher (R) -- No
Harman (R) -- No
Huff (R) -- No
Walters (R) -- No
Spitzer (R) -- Yes
Bermudez (D) -- Yes
Umberg (D) -- Yes

Looking only at the Assembly, DeVore's not really in good company. But judging from his email, I don't think he cares.

Yours in liberty,


To all state staffers: The Orange County Register is watching you

Dear Sir or Madame,

Kimberly Kindy, the author of the Register's aptly titled "Capitol Watchdog" column, has been questioning the state's system with few results. And she admits as much. Perhaps I can help by further publicizing the story.

Here's the link to it: Misappropriation probes dodged.

The actions of the Attorney General's Office and the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) are not atypical of government in this state.

That said, asking a politician's office to refrain from political action seems confusing to me. On the one hand, I don't want my tax dollars going to fund leftist partisan ventures. Too often that happens with Democrats in control of so much of the appropriations process in Sacramento. On the other hand, I can be realistic and see that the folks who staff these kinds of offices are usually the biggest political firecrackers in the neighborhood. They're from today's California, arguably the most politically turbulent state in the union at the most political turbulent time. Republicans and Democrats are at war both on the foreign and domestic front. Are the people who get paid to carry on that war supposed to reach a personal armistice when they open the office door?!

Tell me if I'm wrong here. I really don't have a strong opinion either way.

Yours in liberty,


Assemblyman Van Tran's budget vote explanation

Dear Sir or Madame,

Here's a press release issued by another Orange County Republican state legislator. Tran has a reputation as a good conservative, but some of his votes over these past few months have had me doubting this on fiscal matters. So his vote may just be posturing. As DeVore mentioned in his email (posted below), a clear majority of Assembly Republicans voted in favor of the budget without the pork barrel district kickbacks you usually find in late-year budget agreements.

One issue Tran failed to mention, but I remembered Mountjoy mentioning from what I caught in the streaming video, was the state's continued funding of abortions. This is something that has to stop. I am deeply disturbed that my tax dollars go toward funding the killing of innocent human beings.

Here's Tran's press release in full:

Assemblyman Tran Votes To Oppose Budget

Government spending continues to grow out of control

For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Paul G. Hegyi
(916) 215-9842

SACRAMENTO– On Thursday, Assemblyman Van Tran (R-Costa Mesa) voted against the 2005-06 budget.

“This vote was a very difficult decision for me. There are many things in this budget that are great improvements over past budgets, but my concerns are far greater.

We can not spend the state out of the fiscal crisis created by Gray Davis. I was elected to reduce government spending and make allocations based on our priorities. Instead, this budget increases spending $10.6 billion, 13.5%, over last year’s budget. That can only make the problem worse in the future.

This budget makes the problem worse next year. As adopted, the structural deficit will be over $4 billion dollars next year. It is a mistake to continue pushing the hard decisions off to the future. Instead, we should buckle-down now and make the choices we were elected to make.

Another huge problem are the taxes hidden in this bill, by the old ploy of ‘fees’. Fees are increased for CEQA, the Coastal Commission, landing, streambed alteration, and home movers. These are important areas that will continue to hamper California’s economy. We need to cut the red-tape and make California a business-friendly state again.

I did vote for SB 62, the transportation budget bill, because I believe fully-funding transportation is a high priority for California. This is a needed investment and I am proud to support it as did the vast majority of Californians when they passed Proposition 42.

Just because state revenues are up, we can not continue to spend taxpayer’s money like they will remain year after year. That is the process which put our finances in such dire straights and must be stopped.

My commitment is to a budget that makes California government smaller. We must do a better job of setting our state’s priorities and funding those we can afford. While I applaud this budget for not raising taxes, fully funding transportation and repaying local government, I can not in good conscience vote to increase spending another $10 billion.”


Yours in liberty,


Assemblyman Chuck DeVore's budget vote explanation

Dear Sir or Madame,

This may be one of the most solid defenses of pragmatic conservatism I have ever seen. The one thing DeVore neglects to mention is how his vote gave a crutch to our ailing Governor and bloated government-type Republicans like McCarthy. Having a staunch ideological conservative, like DeVore, in their corner is a sign of the historic times. Here's the text of his email in full:

Voting on a budget

The California Legislature approved the budget for 2005-2006 yesterday, seven days into the fiscal year. I voted in favor of passing the budget.

Interestingly, no one asked me for my vote or pressured me – perhaps since I’ve racked up the most “no” votes of any of the 80 members, leadership figured I was an automatic “no”. But, as with all of my votes, after analysis and reflection, I voted my conscience.

In the Assembly, the vote was 63-13 for passage with 54 votes needed for the required two-thirds threshold. Of the 13 members who voted “no” all were Republicans while 19 Republicans voted to support Governor Schwarzenegger’s budget. At the last tally, two Democrats present didn’t vote for the budget, presumably because it didn’t spend more tax money.

Some in the GOP may criticize this budget as too large. I agree. However, given that Republicans in Sacramento barely have more than one-third of the members of either house, the question needs to be asked, could we have done better?

The budget has no new taxes. The budget sticks closely to the governor’s proposal for education spending, rejecting the CTA union and Democrats’ calls to add another $3.1 billion of spending on top of the $3.1 billion increase proposed by the governor. The budget for the first time fully funds Prop. 42 road construction spending at $1.3 billion. And, the budget pays back a year early the full $1.2 billion the state took from local government in recent years. Most importantly, the budget passed will be almost $1.7 billion more in balance next year than the budget last proposed by the Democrats three weeks ago – a budget I voted against.

A budget, unlike a standalone bill, is a product of intense negotiations between the governor and the four legislative leaders – the “Big Five” as they’re called – it is, by definition, a consensus document. Usually, voting “no” on a budget is the default vote for members of the Republican minority. If enough Republicans vote “no” to prevent passage of the budget, the majority swings into action, offering pork or other incentives to lash together the needed votes to capture the two-thirds support required in both houses. On June 15th, not one Republican voted to approve the Democrats’ budget. Because we Republicans held firm under the steady hands of the two leaders of our respective houses, Sen. Dick Ackerman (R-Irvine) and Assemblyman Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), we were able to support the governor’s efforts to trim more fat out of the budget and pre-pay debts. What we ended up with was a victory.

Could we have gotten more concessions? Remember, we only have 32 of 80 members in the Assembly and 15 of 40 in the Senate. Had we tried to hold out, Democrats would have pushed back, dangling budgetary prizes in front of certain Republican members. A good indication of the danger in this can be found in a press announcement from one of my colleagues. The punch line occurs at the end of the release explaining their “no” vote when it is revealed that the budget didn’t spend enough on schools!

Lastly, some complain that this budget increases spending 14.5 percent over last year’s budget. That’s a bogus comparison. The budget enacted last year contained many accounting gimmicks. While it was to have spent $78.7 billion as passed by the legislature, the actual expenditures were $82.0 billion. This still yields a 9.9 percent increase in state spending for the new budget. However, $2.5 billion of that consists of loan repayments to local government and road construction spending (spending that is finally not being diverted to social welfare programs). Excluding these spending categories from consideration, you get an apples-to-apples budget increase of 6.9 percent. California’s inflation rate was 3.5 percent over the past year while our population increased another 1.5 percent meaning that this budget increased real government spending per capita 1.9 percent. Is this too much? Yes. Does it slow the rate of growth? Yes. That’s why the structural deficit was cut in half. This is progress.

The real solution to solving our spending problems is to elect more Republicans. The only way we can do that is to support the redistricting initiative and the paycheck protection initiative during this November’s special election. That, and the extra budget-cutting powers contained in the governor’s “Live Within Your Means” initiative will reshape the budget landscape and allow us to begin retiring some of that mountain of debt built up from the overspending of the Governor Davis years.

All the best,

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, 70th District

I'm curious as to whom he's speaking of in the seventh paragraph. Can any of my readers point me in the right direction here?

Yours in liberty,


Thursday, July 07, 2005

SB 77 California State Budget Act of 2005 passes off Assembly floor

Dear Sir or Madame,

My Assemblyman, Chuck DeVore, voted for it. I couldn't catch the final vote tally from what I watched online through streaming video. My computer doesn't process fast enough. More later.

Yours in liberty,


The 48th: B-1 Bob now says thinking of run, as an American Independent

Dear Sir or Madame,

Looks like Jim Gilchrist, if he does happen to run, will have some competition for the American Independent Party's nomination from chronic campaigner and former Congressman Bob Dornan.

The Los Angeles Times' Jean Pasco has the story here: Dornan Eyes Cox's Seat in Congress Bid.

The potential for this was discussed weeks ago and everyone I spoke to chuckled at Dornan's chances here. He'd be abandoning his party, to the disgust of Scott Baugh and everyone else, to be a carpetbagging candidate. Not a recipe for a win. Add to it that he may be opposed by a nationally recognized political newcomer without a sullied past, like Gilchrist, and you have serious problems. Even Campbell, who seems like the kind of rich person that claws his hair when there's any resistance to his demands, is unafraid.

Dornan needs to spend these final years of his life making a concerted effort to tackle his senility. And Campbell needs to stop using that word "mainstream". No one's impressed with "mainstream". Ronald Reagan was not "mainstream". He was a "radical conservative".

Yours in liberty,


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Enough Reps & Dems reach state budget agreement

Dear Sir or Madame,

Late yesterday, the Governator and the leaders of both parties of both legislative houses reached the earliest budget agreement in recent history. And since the agreement has been reached it has been splashed and praised and criticized all over the state's media. Below is a list of worthwhile local reads regarding the state budget:

Orange County Register: Purse strings loosen

Orange County Register: New state budget sees compromise on both sides

Orange County Register: Printing money (Editorial)

Local Liberty:

The fact of the matter is that Schwarzennegger and the legislature only arrived at this budget agreement early to placate a state that has gotten extremely frustrated with broken promises (Arnold promised real reform, Demos promised their cronies real money) and to gear up for the November 2005 Special Election Death Match. If we didn't have a special election this year, we wouldn't have an early budget. And this budget's not great. Some aspects of it are absolutely frightening.

Take Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez calling it, "the best marriage of ideals." Eesh. Why does he seem to be enjoying this? That makes me wonder.

Assembly Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy commends his work with, "This budget continues California’s fiscal recovery. It provides a record $3 billion increase for our schools, bringing the state’s per pupil spending to an all-time high, and also invests $1.3 billion in transportation projects. The budget agreement also keeps our commitment to cities and counties by paying back the state’s $1.2 billion debt."

You have McCarthy admitting to the FACT that this budget will continue the Davis trend of record-breaking budgets. More will be spent this year than last year. There will be another deficit left for the upcoming year. $117 billion?! I think things in this state have become so unfathomable that our Republican legislators have lost sight of their mission.

The Republican votes must be lined up for this or it wouldn't have been announced. These are Republicans who take pity on the Governor and his weak numbers. Nevermind that Republicans have the unions and Democrats on the run with the upcoming initiatives. They're desperate to grab a victory, having already forgotten that we achieved one only a year and a half ago with the recall. Sad. Very sad.

There's going to be a press conference in Sacramento tomorrow morning to announce the upcoming process of making this "agreement" into reality. If you are lucky enough to have a Republican represent you in the state legislature, keep the pressure on them to vote red (yeas are green).

Yours in liberty,