Tag Archives: OC Board of Supervisors

July 31, 2007 Blog Roundup

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Left, Right, and Center ALL AGREE: Janet Nguyen Needs to Come Clean

(Also see OC Blog and The Liberal OC)

Why is Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen evading the law? This is a question that all of us are asking. This is a question that bloggers on the left, right, and center are all asking. This is a question that Janet Nguyen is forcing us to ask so long as she refuses to file a report on those secret campaign contributions that violated Orange County’s campaign finance law. And so long as Janet Nguyen does not file this report, we will all be counting the days that she has not filed.

Even though Martin Wisckol began reporting on this matter at The OC Register’s Total Buzz blog, Janet Nguyen has not taken notice, and she has not reported. Even though Mike Lawson has begun counting the days that Janet Nguyen has evaded county law at The Liberal OC, Janet Nguyen has not taken notice, and she has not reported. Even though Matt Cunningham has spoken out about this at OC Blog, Janet Nguyen has not taken notice, and she has not reported. Oh yes, and even though we at Calitics have turned our eyes to Orange County for this, Janet Nguyen has not taken notice, and she has not reported. So what will it take for Janet Nguyen to report these contributions? How many more days must we count?

Why won’t Janet Nguyen come clean? Why won’t she report these contributions, and report of her returning this money? Who were the donors who gave to her legal defense fund? When did these donors give? And just how much did these donors give? So long as Janet Nguyen does not obey the law and report these contributions, she only invites us all to ask these questions, and she invites us to count the days that she has not reported.

What excuse does Janet Nguyen have? Why can’t she fill out the paperwork about the three donors to her legal defense fund? Why can’t she follow county law? As she is now a county lawmaker, she should be setting a good example. She needs to file a report. And until she reports, we will be counting the days.

So if Janet Nguyen can’t even follow one county ordinance on campaign contributions, then how can we trust her with this and other laws? This is why left, right, and center all agree that Janet Nguyen needs to come clean. We have waited 53 days, and Janet Nguyen still has not complied with the law. And until she complies, we will be counting the days.

52 Days of Evading the Law… And Counting…

H/T to Mike Lawson at The Liberal OC for the fantastic graphic!

Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen has had 52 days to comply with county campaign finance law. Actually, she was supposed to give the Registrar of Voters a report of her returning the illegal donations to her campaign during the recount within 72 HOURS AFTER THESE DONATIONS WERE RETURNED. However, she hasn’t complied with county law.

So why won’t Janet comply with the law? Isn’t a lawmaker supposed to actually obey the law? Is that too much to ask?

Follow me after the flip for more…

Doesn’t Janet Nguyen realize that this isn’t helping her reelection effort? And I don’t think this is helping her beloved Republican Party, either. No wonder why Jubal/Matt Cunningham is saying something at OC Blog, and he’s not the only one speaking up:

I was talking to some keen observers of county politics this morning, and much of the conversation turned on Supervisor Janet Nguyen’s on-going refusal to comply with TIN CUP requirements that she report the name of the three donors who gave too much to her illegal legal defense fund — as well as the excess amount and date of donation.

There was a general consensus that the drip-drip of bad publicity stemming from this strange refusal to come clean only hurts her politically. Most 1st District voters are still unfamiliar with her, but ever since the adulatory “first Vietnamese/youngest supervisor” media immediately after being seated, her press hasn’t been good.

Yep, this is only hurting Janet. It’s hurting her credibility. How are we supposed to trust her as a lawmaker if she can’t even obey the law herself? If she were your County Supervisor, would you trust her?

Mike Lawson said it so well at The Liberal OC yesterday:

County Supervisor Janet Nguyen was soliciting money to cover her legal costs after the February 6th special. The problem was that Nguyen was accepting donations above the campaign contribution limit—which is a violation of campaign finance law. […]

Everyone is blogging about the money, and it looks like nobody is going to be forgetting this story any time soon. How long will we wait, Janet?

So how long must we wait? How long must we wait before our County Supervisor actually obeys the law that she’s supposed to respect? With every day that Janet Nguyen evades the law, she loses that much more of our trust.

There’s Something About Janet Nguyen

[Orange] County Supervisor Janet Nguyen is 50 days late so far in complying with a county oridinace [sic] on campaign donations. Some time after the Feb. 6 election, she accepted three contributions in excess of the county’s $1,500 limit and put them into a legal trust fund set up by her lawyer. Turns out county code prohibits such trust funds, so the money was moved out of there and the excess donations, they say, were returned.

And once again, Janet’s silence on her funny money hit Total Buzz. Hmmm, so what’s happening with Janet Nguyen? And why won’t she report what exactly happened with her missing funny money?

Follow me after the flip for more…

OK, so how did this all begin? Well, it started when The LA Times reported this:

Newly elected Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen solicited secret donations above the campaign contribution limit in an effort to quickly pay down her legal debts, an apparent violation of campaign finance law, according to interviews and an e-mail obtained by The Times.

The solicitations came as Nguyen was seeking money to cover her legal costs defending a hair-thin victory in the Feb. 6 special supervisorial election. Among those approached were public employee unions and trade groups representing business interests that regularly come before the Board of Supervisors.

Donors were asked to make checks out to a client trust fund of her campaign attorney, Phillip Greer, and to mail the checks to her Garden Grove campaign address.

In an interview Thursday, Nguyen admitted that she sought the contributions but said she did so on the advice of her lawyers, under the belief that it was legal because politicians at the local, state and federal level are allowed to maintain legal defense funds. She said she had selected the people to whom the requests were sent based on personal contacts.

Well, I guess Janet wasn’t paying attention to what was legal at the county level. Here in Orange County, we have a little something called TIN CUP. And clearly, Janet and her campaign team had an idea as to what was allowed and what wasn’t under TIN CUP since they had to ensure early in the campaign that money transferred from Janet’s Assembly account could be transferred into her Supervisorial account. So why did she still violate TIN CUP during the recount?

And oh yes, why hasn’t Janet reported this to the Registrar of Voters? Not only is Janet Nguyen required to return the money, but she must also report it. Well, Janet said that she returned the money, but how do we really know if she hasn’t filed the proper paperwork? No wonder why Martin Wisckol has become so curious over at Total Buzz.

County code says that you have to return such overages within seven days — and then file paperwork with the county Registrar of Voters within 72 hours, documenting how much was returned and to whom.

It’s now been more than two months since the money was allegedly returned. Each day I grow increasingly curious about who those generous donors were and just how much they tried to give Nguyen. Is there some reason she doesn’t want the public to know who they are?

Yes, is there a reason? Why hasn’t Janet filed the paperwork? If she really returned the money, then why won’t she report it? And oh yes, just who was giving her this money? And why did they want to give her all this money?

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I agree with Jubal/Matt Cunningham on this:

But her refusal to comply with a simple provision of TIN CUP is difficult to understand. It’s not a complicated task — all she has to do is fill out some paperwork about three donors to her illegal legal defense fund whose donations exceeded TIN CUP contribution limits. […]

Let’s leave aside the implausibility of Janet’s claim to know there are three donors who gave more than the $1,600 limit, but she doesn’t know who they are, although she does know the excess donations were refunded.

What excuse does she have for refusing to comply with a county ordinance for going on two months now? Janet’s a county supervisor, after all — and flouting county ordinances doesn’t look good.

Yes, what exactly is her excuse? She’s our sitting County Supervisor now. She should be setting an example by following county law. And if she can’t even follow one county ordinance on campaign contributions, then why should we trust her with this and other laws?

If Janet Nguyen wants to all this speculation about her legally questionable contributions, then she needs to report them to the Registrar of Voters. After all, she is the only person perpetuating this scandal by not being forthcoming. So can Janet please just report? There’s something about Janet and her campaign account, and it would be so much nicer for everyone if she can just obey the law and report what she got.

Extreme Makeover: OC Government Edition

New desk for reception foyer of Supervisor John Moorlach's office: $8,990, New conference table for Supervisor Pat Bates' office: $3,375, Track lighting with dimmer switch for Supervisor Janet Nguyen's office: $1,300, 90 high-end, “high-concept” Herman Miller office chairs for Treasurer Chriss Street: almost $50,000, 52-inch wall-mounted flat-screen television for EACH NEW SUPERVISOR'S personal office: $4,000 (each) (Street's flat-screen TV cost $7,800).  Seeing complete hypocrisy from all these supposed “fiscally conservative” Republicans featured in the Orange County edition of The Los Angeles Times yesterday: PRICELESS!

Follow me after the flip to see just how much taxpayer money our “fiscal conservatives” in Orange County are wasting on their “extreme makeover”…

So what the heck is going on here?


You might call it “Extreme Makeover: Orange County Government Edition.” As one of their first orders of business, Orange County's four newly elected officeholders — the treasurer and the three new members of the Board of Supervisors — are collectively spending just over $1.1 million to spruce up their offices in the months since they were sworn in, according to documents reviewed by The Times.

The spending is hardly noticeable in a budget totaling more than $5 billion. But the renovations for the four officeholders are occurring in a county known for its anti-tax attitudes, dim view of government spending and Republicans who boast fiscally conservative credentials.

OK, so our new Supervisors and County Treasurer are spending some money renovating their offices. What's the big deal here? Well, should it be costing us taxpayers $1.1 million? And do they really need “high-concept office chairs” and wall-mounted flat-screen TVs? Is that really the best way to spend our money?

And aren't there better ways to spend this money?


It also comes as officials weigh funding cuts in their coming budget sessions for services such as drug counseling for court defendants and payments to doctors who provide emergency medical services.

Oh yes, so I guess the poor people who live in this county don't matter. Let the drug addicts fall back into crack. Let the poor people die in the waiting room as hospitals can't afford to care for the sick and injured. No, what really matters is $200,000 to get rid of that retro 1960s Palm Springs look in poor Johnny Moorlach's office!


Moorlach, whose tab was the highest among the supervisors at $198,525.84, said he felt it was unfair to ask office staff to work in the existing environment. “When I got here, I thought I had moved into an old home in Palm Springs in the 1960s,” he said. “It even went beyond my conservative pale. I said, 'Wait a minute, this has got to be upgraded.'

“If I'm asking professionals to work for me on a $6-billion budget,” Moorlach said, “it doesn't make sense to ask them to sit on an antique furniture that wouldn't even sell at a garage sale.”

No, we can't have that! We can't have Mr. Moorlach's highly-paid staffers cringing in disgust at all that “antique furniture that wouldn't even sell at a garage sale”. But if that nearly $200,000 is money being taken away from essential services to the working poor in Orange County, that's no big deal. Who needs poor people, anyway?

And oh yes, look at the guy who collects our taxes. Isn't he doing a great job spending over half a million of our tax dollars? Isn't he?


Roughly half of the total spent — $578,550.82 — was for the treasurer-tax collector's office, which is undergoing a massive renovation aimed at changing the working environment for all of its nearly 100 employees. […]

Asked if the changes were needed to carry out the work of the treasurer's office, Street said: “We had $7 billion in cash being managed here, and you couldn't see what people were doing…. There is no way you can even have $100 million managed by people sitting in closed rooms. That's taxpayer funds. It's grossly inappropriate.”

Yes, having these people work in such a closed floor plan is grossly inappropriate! Yes, open up those walls! Redesign it like your old digs at that bond-trading firm. Wall Street always knows best when it comes to designing efficient yet tasteful office space.

But wait. Hold on a moment. Is this the best way to spend our tax dollars? Is the best way to spend our money when we have thousands upon thousands of people who struggle to survive?

What about emergency medical services? What about keeping people off drugs? What about the needs of the people in this county? The county is facing some awfully tough budget choices, as County Supervisors consider all these cuts to county services. If times are really this tough, is it really that appropriate to spend county money, OUR TAX MONEY, on unnecessary high-end furniture?

Even though I'm happy that Lou Correa is now my State Senator, I often miss seeing him on our County Board of Supervisors. Among all those “fiscal conservatives”, he seemed to be the only one who was actually interested in putting our tax dollars to work for us.


One former supervisor, state Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), was surprised at the price tag for renovations to the office he vacated six months ago. When he was there, he said, he asked that a ripped section of carpet be replaced and covered the cracked glass on a desktop with a book.

“A public office belongs to the taxpayers, not to the elected,” he said. “I don't think I need a 52-inch wall-mounted TV to do my job.”

In fact, Correa said, he had a regular 36-inch television in his office; he bought it himself and took it with him when he left.

Cheese louise, why does it always have to be the Democrat to bring some fiscal responsibility to government? And what happens when we don't have any? I guess we're left with a bunch of “fiscally conservative” Republicans wasting money on high-end desks and flat-screen TVs.

Will OC Lead the Way on Medical Marijuana?

(Oh yeah, and check out this OC Register story about someone who’s had to suffer because of all this legal confusion over medical marijuana. His recent experiences led him to push the county to make this historic vote tomorrow. – promoted by atdleft)

Dear Supervisors Nguyen, Moorlach, Campbell, Norby and Bates,

Please accept this note as a strong recommendation to approve the
medical marijuana i.d. program that will be presented to you this
coming Tuesday. […]

Have some people taken advantage of the present medical marijuana
system and abused our trust? Of course. However, any system can be
and is abused. But that is not a reason not to maintain it. In
addition, of course, the People of the State of California passed
Prop. 215 back in 1996, so as a judicial officer it is embarrassing to
me that each county in our state has not long since established a
viable and enforceable medical marijuana program.

(H/T to Total Buzz)

So what the dealio here? Orange County Superior Court Judge Jim Gray is “strongly recommending” that the OC Board of Supervisors pass the medical marijuana issue in tomorrow’s agenda. But will the Supes actually take Judge Gray’s recommendation and run with it?

Well, one already has. And perhaps, at least two other Supes may follow suit. Want to find out more? Well, follow me after the flip for it…

I must admit that I was surprised to see that County Supervisor Chris Norby supports the legal use of medical marijuana:

At our April 17 meeting, the Orange County Board of Supervisors will consider policy options on medical marijuana. The Board is forced to find a narrow overlap between the will of California voters and federal law.

In 1996, California voters approved Prop. 215, which legalized marijuana for medical purposes, provided such use was approved by a physician or primary caregiver. Nearly 60% of OC and state voters passed Prop. 215, but the law has been ignored by federal authorities, who continue to enforce a blanket ban against all marijuana usage, even for dying cancer and AIDS sufferers. […]

I am sympathetic with both the will of California voters and those whose terminal condition involves extreme nausea, which marijuana can relieve. I have received numerous emails supporting an enlightened and humane County policy.

So is Norby the lone “voice of reason” here, or will the other Supes agree with him? Can the County of Orange agree to Prop 215, and comply with the controversial state law? And how would Orange County’s new acceptance of medical marijuana affect neighboring San Diego County’s effort to overturn the California law legalizing it? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

So will the conservative-leaning Orange County Board of Supervisors actually implement some progressive policy? Perhaps. Remember that many “conservatives” in Orange County have libertarian leanings, and they’re not so keen on “big government” intruding upon individuals’ rights. And perhaps, these folks in local government who hate “big government” somuch may finally agree to keep government out of people’s decisions about their health and medicinal treatment.

OC Special Election UPDATE: Will I FINALLY Have a Supe Tomorrow?

This just in from Peggy Lowe at OC Register’s Total Buzz news blog:

Could be a big day here at All-Recount-All-The-Time HQ….As Norberto reported on Friday, Team Janet’s lead has slipped to just three votes as Team Trung persuaded Judge Michael Brenner to overrule ROV Neal Kelley on four ballots. Brenner has also promised a decision today. That means, of course, that we might have a swearing-in ceremony at the Board of Supes meeting tomorrow.

OK, so Crybaby Trung begged and groveled enough for the judge to reverse one of the Registrar’s rulings. So now, Janet Nguyen only leads by THREE VOTES
So will this paper-thin lead be enough to survive today’s legal action…
And will the other four supervisors FINALLY ACT, and seat the Nguyen who won?

Stay tuned for more as the Great OC Political Psychodrama (hopefully) FINALLY COMES TO A CLOSE

OC Special Election UPDATE: Hopefully, I’ll Have a Supe Again on the 27th

This just in from Total Buzz:

The declaration of a winner in the Feb. 6 supervisor’s race was indeed postponed once again by the Board of Supervisors… Chairman Chris Norby assured those in attendance that Supervisor Nguyen would be sworn in once and for all on March 27.

So as expected, the Board of Supervisors decides to keep Central County’s Supe seat vacant. Now while I usually do not agree with hard-right Supervisor Chris Norby, I do agree with his statement that “Three months is a long, long time for one-fifth of the county to be without representation.”