Turning The Tide.

Mayor Don Schweitzer’s long awaited exit from public office puts the O’Donnell controlled voting block in precarious position for the first time in many years.

This, combined with the citizen backed initiatives seeking a more transparent, open governance and greater accountability from elected officials and salaried staff, means we may see local control of government back in the hands of a resident majority.

Of course this has made several special interest groups as nervous as nine-tailed cats in a room full of rocking chairs, so we’re likely to see a flurry of “hit pieces” show up in our mail around the time absentee ballots are distributed.

What really gripes me about these things is no one ever admits they’re involved in putting them out and there is hardly the barest thread of truth in them. Their “success” at character assassination is based on the inability of voters to properly fact check them.

The Line Up.

Two seats and five candidates might suggest an interesting, maybe heated and open race, but don’t hold your breath. Two candidates seem to be lurking in the shadows without making a serious run so it’s likely to be tighter than usual.

Marty Simonoff

At the top of the ballot is Marty Simonoff who has a proven track record of independent thinking and voting, who sees the big picture and understands how it effects the community overall. For those who have followed Brea politics for a while, Marty stands out as an experienced leader with an enviable history of public service and local philanthropy. Marty Simonoff offers the kind of seasoned stability Brea needs in the years ahead.

Steve Vargas

Having served on Council (’98-’02), Steve Vargas knows all too well how local politics work on the inside. Steve is a different man today than the exuberant youngster who took office 12 years ago. Amongst the first to recognize the financial threat posed by public employee pension liabilities and the drastic need to reform local government, a more mature Steve Vargas is making his strongest bid for council thus far.

Christine Marick

Undoubtedly well intentioned and certainly well educated, Christine Marick is making her first run for public office. With less than 2 years under her belt as a Planning Commissioner, the depth of her experience seems limited. In time, her background in municipal finance may help her acquire the skills needed but I have my reservations about whether she would hit the ground running. I’m also concerned that she seems predominantly backed by those who are desperate to retain their lock on Council control.

Christopher Parkin & Tory Stone

A 22 year old IT Specialist hoping to rein in Brea’s finances and curb Brea’s mounting debt, Christopher Parkin has high hopes for a millennial. You won’t find a ballot statement in the voter guide nor likely see him at the Chamber of Commerce Candidate’s Forum. His is a campaign in name only I’m afraid.

Many have tried to contact Tory Stone, all without success I’m told. Frankly, I’m at a complete loss why he would make the effort to gather nomination signatures, turn in the blizzard of paperwork and pay the ten bucks only to disappear into the woodwork. No PAC, no plan and no odds of getting more than a handful of votes from those who would think it funny to waste their vote on a non-candidate.

Final conclusion.

It is the right time and place to put Brea’s future back into the hands of it’s residents… at least those who understand the importance and value of their vote. (You are registered, right?)

If you watch over my shoulder as I fill out my absentee ballot, you’ll see me fill in the box next to the names Marty Simonoff and Steve Vargas… and voting a big YES on both Measure T “The Brea Accountability Act” and Measure U “The Brea Open Governance Act”.

 

(Editor’s Note 09/25/12:  After an obscenely lengthy hiring process, most of which was likely just O’Donnell’s moratorium on hiring – period, the City of Brea has promoted Tim Takahashi, an 11 year part-time veteran at the Senior Center, as it’s new full time Director.)