2020: My Perspective

2020 and the choices are not getting easier. City Council: two seats, two incumbents, two challengers. City Treasurer: no incumbent, two candidates. School Board: three districts, two incumbents (one challenged/one unopposed) and one seat abandoned to a single unopposed candidate.

With only a couple of exceptions, I am unwilling to offer a full-throated endorsement to any candidate. You’ll easily note who the exceptions are. Here’s how it breaks down.

2020 City Council.

Neither incumbent, Marty Simonoff or Christine Marick, gets a nod from me this year. Both have become to predictably disappointing that it’s time to punch their ticket.

In 2016, as Marty launched his “Marty Bar” run for a sixth term, I ask him why. He responded that no one had ever been elected to six consecutive terms and he wanted to set the record. I told him “Twenty Is Plenty” and walked away.

Of course, he won. Except for Marty’s opposition to increasing sales tax and his support for my Kropke Public Records Request, I can’t think of a thing he has personally come up with and championed to a successful end. He rides the crest of the consensus, taking credit whenever possible. The thought of him warming a seat in the Council Chambers for a seventh term is unimaginable.

I challenged Christine Marick’s first run for Council based upon the way her credentials were presented. An exercise in creative writing, they challenged credulity.

Of course, she won. Christine was immediately gobbled up by the Schweitzer, Garcia, Beauman, Murdock Cabal. You’ll remember, this is the group that wielded three votes like Thor’s hammer and was dubbed as “totally dysfunctional” by Roy Moore (RIP) as he launched Operation Clean Sweep.

Christine avoided the 2016 swamp draining, winning a second term. She’s become the resident expert at kicking the can down the road. When CFD’s were challenged as possible double taxation (Central Park Brea) she let it ride. She partnered up with Murdock, blindsiding Council with a list of personal demands to be considered in the appeal of the Madrona Development Agreement and has allowed the fraudulent Paramedic Tax to remain hidden on the Consent Calendar (along with who knows what else) instead of putting her foot down on our behalf.

Time to go guys. Your lackluster political careers have reached their conclusion.

And the challengers.

Tyler Baugh, a well spoken, reasonably savvy forty-something ready to jump into local politics and make a difference. With very restricted funding, I don’t expect to be buried in postcards, yard signs and street banners… but, for the most part, he carried himself well at the Candidate’s Forum.

What Robyn Neufeld lacks in experience she more than makes up for with youthful exuberance. She’s obviously a diehard Brean and unafraid of digging in to learn the ropes.

Neither Council (Vargas, Hupp and Parker) or senior staff would let them make an uncorrectable blunder – and their fresh eyes on Brea’s issues would make a huge difference I believe.

So, Brea voters… especially you who are under 50… it’s time you flexed the power of your ballot and voted for someone sharing your interests and concerns. Not your grandfather or old maid aunt. Not those who seem to miss the days of sparse horse and buggy traffic, narrow streets and Craftsman cottages.

Folks with young and growing families facing life issues similar to what you face, who understand your struggles and likely share your vision of Brea’s future.

It’s time we opened the door to the ”NextGen” of Brea leadership and packed the “Old Guard” off to Golden Pond.

2020 City Treasurer

Okay, this one is a ripper! On one hand we have the classic career politician, Bev Perry, constantly drawn to the limelight.

Her track record includes launching our $250 million pension debt, perpetuating the bogus Paramedic Tax and countless other items slipped by under the Consent Calendar, signed off on the countless bond refinancing, project collecting, honey pot cash generating schemes that turned the last millennium’s Redevelopment projects into another $250 million in debt. We’ll be paying this off for the next 20 years yet Bev thinks EIFD (call it RDA 2.0) is the creative solution to financing infrastructure development in the 21st century.

On the other hand we have a career financial professional, Denise Eby, who understands the full scope of duties and responsibilities of Brea’s Treasurer and has 30 years experience and the drive to get the job done… without hidden agenda or political aspirations.

Denise manages $800 million in financial business – underwriting commercial and contract surety bonds. That’s ten times the amount of money Brea has invested at any time. She specializes in evaluating publicly traded, privately held, nonprofit and municipal creditors for third party credit guarantees. With Denise you can be certain you’re not putting the fox in the hen house!

2020 School Board

Districting has left me with no local campaign so I won’t be voting on the BOUSD. But there is one race that is critical. Gail Lyons needs to be reelected as a trustee if for no other reason than to block Keri Kropke’s hand picked surrogate, Lauren Barnes. Lauren played leadership roles in the challenge to the Fanning name and is an active leader in Brea’s social protest community.

2020 NOCCCD

And yes, you can block Keri Kropke from winning the North Orange County Community College District (Area 7) Governing Board Member seat by reelecting incumbent Ryan Bent. If you watched their League of Women Voter’s Candidate’s Forum you will have seen all you needed to see. Keri Kropke has no business fouling the waters of public education, at any level. Vote for Ryan Bent.

Make 2020 The Beginning Of A Brighter Future.

Ring out the old. Ring in the new. Push back against the status quo but remember where you came from. You are a Brean. Your vote counts. Mark your ballot wisely.

election 2018

Municipal Elections Are A Circus.

With roughly half of Brea’s voters using absentee ballots, likely the die was cast for this election weeks ago. Typically, once the first results are released Tuesday evening, there are rarely any surprises. Some slight incremental differences are inevitable, but the leading candidates when you go to bed have generally won the election when you wake up.

A muddy, bloody campaign.

Past elections, going back at least a decade, have all had their nasty edge to them. Even non-partisan races, like City Council or School Board, will polarize voters to some extent. When issues precipitate differences of opinion, majority rule seems to resolve matters and fences are mended after the election.

The last few elections have been quite different. Widely opposing opinions have been fueled more by personality conflicts than management or policy issues. Even with testy ballot measures like the school bond or Measures T and U, arguments might have been heated but they weren’t slanderous or absent any basis in fact.

An interesting anomaly this election was the appearance of a Facebook page: Reject Negative Politics In Brea. They plateaued around 130 ‘likes’ and were obviously from the pro Murdock camp.

All went well, I suppose, until they were challenged a little and out came their claws. Blatantly false statements were made, names were called. It seems free speech applies only to that which is in synch with your opinions.

Can’t we all just get along?

Apparently not. And I will be the first to admit that my reaction to how some have conducted themselves in office has been intense.

There have been obvious back room deals that smacked of Brown Act violations, we’ve witnessed them and allowed them to fade from memory. There have been indications that some Council members lack any sort of ethical or moral compass, misusing public funds for unnecessary foreign travel, retroactive votes to cover up procedural blunders, and a perpetual disregard for public opinion.

How can this sort of behavior not tick you off? These arrogant, self-aggrandizing narcissists, these wannabe career politicians, have turned what should have been an intellectual endeavor into an emotionally charged popularity contest. Is that how we should elect leaders? Are elections reduced to selecting the lesser of all evils?

Separating the wheat from the chaff.

First, let’s ban all campaign signage. From candidates, PACs, activists, fans and friends and political parties. They’ve become little more than visual blight contaminating our community for months. Instead of relying on signs to remind people of who you are, try doing something worth remembering.

Next, put a cap on campaign expenditures. Ron Garcia spent around $40,000 to narrowly win a second term. For what? What has he really accomplished over the last four years? What was in it for him worthy that expense?

Roy Moore spent half that to win four elections! Four! Why are this year’s candidates pouring small fortunes into their campaigns?

Hats off by the way to Brea’s Firefighter’s Association and Police Officer’s Association who focused their bankrolls and energy back into the community via public service instead of backing candidates who, after getting elected, never did squat for them anyway.

Put a lid on spending.

Cap expenditures at $7,500 and pray the balance will trickle it’s way into the numerous local charities that desperately need the support.

Seventy-five hundred bucks is enough to cover one postcard mailer and a fairly robust social media effort. We can ‘like’ whomever we wish and our mailboxes would not be stuffed with electioneering crap we neither need nor want.

Limiting candidates to one mailer would restrict space enough to focus text on what’s true… eliminating the unsupportable litany of accomplishments and endless list of political endorsements from officials whose judgement is suspect to begin with.

Pretty simple solution I think. No signs or banners. None. Zip. Nada. One mailer, period. Oh yeah, no buttons, book bags, ball caps, candy bars, koozies or trinkets and trash.

Campaign face-to-face.

Candidate forums, neighborhood meet-n-greets and weekend walks… take it to the people. Engage with the public you hope to serve. Attend all the Council meetings you can, but stay away from that podium. That’s our place to address Council, not your soapbox to show off.

When invited to a public forum or neighborhood meeting, show up!

If you don’t care enough to connect with your constituents before the election, we’ll assume you would just phone it in after elected. Epic fail. Why waste your time and ours running in the first place?

So, what’s left?

Are you registered to vote? Do you give a rip or are you just soaking up this great place to live, work and play with little interest in why it even exists in the first place? Brea didn’t suddenly appear at the entrance to the canyon like some Emerald City.

A lot of pretty dedicated folks, many coming from Brea’s business community (the ones being chastised today for contributing to campaigns), built this place through hard work and personal sacrifice.

Somewhere along the way Brea slipped off the rails.

If you’re relying on Council and City Staff to put things back on track… you may be in for a rude awakening. They don’t share the same vision, get along with each other or have any interest in how you think this place ought to run.

It’s up to you to reboot things. That’s what gave impetus to the idea of Clean Sweep. Your votes are the broom. If you don’t vote, don’t complain later.

Operation Clean Sweep