Tag Archives: Jose Solorio

The Fate of the Senate Supermajority?

Two seats get big attention

by Brian Leubitz

The media thrives on big statements, but shades of gray are everywhere. And that is true for the Senate elections here in California. So, with that, here is a “big statement” quote from former FPPC chair (and SoS candidate) Dan Schnur:

“If Republicans can win both of those seats, it will be seen as their first step back toward political relevance in California,” said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC. “But if Democrats get the supermajority back, it’s difficult to see California becoming a two-party state again any time in the near future.” (LA Times)

To be clear, these two races are very worthy of attention. They are getting very expensive, as both sides look to grab an advantage. And, in terms of the supermajority, this is where the ballgame will be decided. But, is the supermajority really that important? Are there a lot of supermajority measures that will get taken up next year? It seems unlikely, and with the budget only requiring a majority, taxes are the only instance where you would really need it.

And if the GOP can pull off a win in one or two of these districts, does that really mean they are on the road back? Yes a lot of money will be spent in those two districts, but there is little to draw casual voters to these elections. The Presidency isn’t up this year, and the governor’s race is a snoozer. Will a GOP win say anything about the future, or will it say more about the electorate of the past?

If the Republicans aren’t able to win at least one, it would certainly present a dark picture for the future. Their two candidates, Andy Vidak and Janet Nguyen, are fairly strong in favorable electoral conditions. If they can’t win now, when will they win? This is where I tend to agree with the drastic part of Schur’s quote. The GOP, and more importantly their financial backers, will have to look at massive change if they can’t win these two seats this November.

How Bad is the Durkee Mess?

Former campaign treasurer may have stolen millions of dollars from SoCal Democratic campaigns

by Brian Leubitz

The Kinde Durkee debacle is widening in scope and depth.  If you are on many Democratic email lists, you may have noticed a slew of emails in your inbox either telling you that their bank account was wiped out or asking for money.  Yesterday, we learned that Sen. Feinstein, who is looking at reelection for next year, might have lost millions of dollars:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said her campaign is among those that may have been “wiped out” by a Burbank-based Democratic campaign treasurer who was arrested on federal fraud charges earlier this month.

Kinde Durkee is accused of taking thousands of dollars from the campaigns of several elected officials, including Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove), Rep. Susan A. Davis (D-San Diego) and Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana). The Los Angeles County Democratic Party reported that more than $200,000 had been taken from its fund. (LA Times)

First, to clarify, Sen. Feinstein doesn’t know if she was really “wiped out,” but some money was stolen.  Part of the problem is that the bank that Durkee used is being rather unhelpful.  She kept millions of dollars at the bank, and they are concerned for their own liability.  I have heard that they are now attempting to get campaigns to sign a waiver of legal liability to access their accounts.

I’m not giving the bank, or any of the campaigns, any legal advice, but let me explain a legal concept right quick: promises given in exchange for no consideration are called “illusory” and are thus unenforceable.  The campaigns should legally have the right to access their accounts.  The money in those accounts belongs to them.  Giving them the access they are legally empowered to have is not consideration. Heck, even giving them the money to transfer out of the account is not consideration.  It is their money, and they should be able to access it.

That being said, the scope of the mess is growing ever wider.  It appears that Durkee played fast and loose with campaign funds for years.  Much of that time after a San Francisco Chronicle report about a “Californians for Obama” scam that Durkee was a part of.

Of, course, there is one more issue here: California campaigns have given far too much power to external campaign treasurers.  They are given sole access to bank accounts, sole authority to write checks, and typically get very little oversight from the campaigns.  If we are to learn anything from this mess, we should be sure that campaigns are better managed, we have better oversight systems, and campaigns don’t allow individuals too much access.  Campaign treasurers are 99.99 honest, but at the same time we need to ensure that campaigns see actual bank statements once in a while, know how much money is in their account, and can handle their business in case of emergency.

Jose Solorio & the Public Safety Committee Kill Police Transparency Bill

Yesterday, the Assembly Public Safety Committee, save Asm. Mark Leno, overwhelmingly voted down SB 1019, Sen. Gloria Romero’s measure to make police misconduct records public.  Here is the logic direct from the police union:

Tim Sands, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, told the committee that the court ruling recognizes that the city and the Police Department have evolved since the old access rules were enacted decades ago.

“They (the state Supreme Court) realized there was no Internet 30 years ago,” Sands said. “There weren’t Web sites where you could get massive amounts of information on individuals.” (SD U-T 6/25/08)

So, it was ok to make the information public when it was, in fact, inaccessible, but now that it is accessible, it can’t be public.  Strange logic there. Information is power these days, and privacy is an important matter.  So, we are viewing competing interests here: the privacy of police officers versus the trust and reputation of those same police officers.

Solorio, for his part, promised to find some “middle ground”, but Romero, and Leno in a previous bill, have worked extensively to try to bring some sunshine to the police departments of the state.  SB 1019 was approved by a bipartisan majority in the Senate, and represented the “middle ground.” SB 1019 allowed for the protection of privacy when necessary.

Here’s hoping that some sort of legislation can get passed soon.

Open House at Solorio’s Place Tomorrow

(Cross-posted at The Liberal OC)

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a new kid on the block over at The Liberal OC. Yes, believe it or not, I’m there and I’m there to stay. You may have bumped into me before here at Calitics (where I’ll still post stuff), but now I’ll also be there to chat with you about what’s happening in Orange County.

And now that I’ve said that, here’s something happening in my little corner of OC that I’m pretty excited about. My Assembly Member, Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana), will be hosting an open house at his district office. He’d like to talk to us locals about what he’s doing for us in Sacramento. Oh yes, and here’s a good chance for us to ask him about all that legislation he’s working on.

Ah, there’s so much to talk about! What’s happening with health care? What’s being done about our gang violence problem in Central OC? What’s being done to ensure that OC gets its fair share in parks funds? I know I’m looking forward to talking with Assm. Solorio about what’s happening, and if you live in the 69th Assembly District, I hope you can join me for this chance to chat with our local legislator.

Come on and follow me after the flip for all the details on tomorrow’s open house…

The Open House is at Jose Solorio’s district office, on Saturday, July 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Solorio’s office is located at 2400 E. Katella Ave., Suite 640, in Anaheim, just west of the Katella exit off the 57 Freeway. Here’s a Google Map of where to go. To RSVP, call his office at (714) 939-8469.

Get it? Got it? Good! Oh, and one more thing: I plan to liveblog from the open house. If you can’t make it to the open house, but still want to ask Assm. Solorio a question, please let me know tomorrow morning when I post the open house thread at The Liberal OC. I’ll make sure to ask him for you.

So what questions do you have for Jose Solorio? I’m still thinking about mine. Well, at least we’ll actually have a chance tomorrow to finally tell our local representative how he should represent us. This really should be happening more often.

AD 69: Solorio Stands Up for OC’s Streets

OK, maybe my Assembly Member is just preparing himself for a possible primary challenge. Or perhaps, he’s preparing for higher office. Or maybe, he’s just doing this because he really does care about Orange County, and about the quality of our life here. But whatever the motivation (personally, I’m just thinking he cares about us in OC), Jose Solorio is doing a good thing.

Check out what I saw from Solorio’s office on Orange Juice this morning:

At the May 1st meeting of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Anaheim) requested that Orange County begin sharing Proposition 42 state transportation dollars with cities to help them rehabilitate local streets. The Board unanimously agreed and directed staff to come back within three months with recommendations on how the money would be allocated.

“This is an effort that I began while I was a Santa Ana City Councilmember. My goal has been to encourage county government to share some of its Prop. 42 transportation dollars with individual Orange County cities to improve the condition of their local streets. I estimate that cities, in total, would receive approximately $10 to $14 million per year. I am grateful the Board of Supervisors took leadership on this important issue,” said Assemblyman Solorio.The Board also voted to share $62 million state transportation bond funding (Proposition 1B) with Orange County Board of Supervisor districts.

But wait, it gets better! Follow me after the flip for more…

Here’s the rest of that press release from Solorio, courtesy of Orange Juice:

Assemblyman Solorio is also carrying a piece of state legislation, AB 823, which encourages revenue sharing by the County of Orange, but is putting this measure on hold since the County is now developing a revenue sharing plan. For example, the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove and Santa Ana are experiencing a backlog of arterial and residential street projects that is estimated to cost more than $500 million. Proposition 42 dollars are required to be used for state and local transportation purposes.

Since the County is now only responsible for maintaining 358 unincorporated area street miles, given the various annexations over the past few decades, revenues will be available in 2008 that could be shared with cities within the County. If Orange County’s Proposition 42 dollars are not used for specified purposes within certain time periods, they would be given back to the state and be used in other counties. “The condition of streets in many Orange County communities is deplorable. I want to do everything I can to provide more money to all Orange County cities rather than give money back to other counties,” Solorio said.

Thank you, Assembly Member Solorio! It’s about time that someone actually does something about the deplorable state of our streets in Orange County, and especially communities in Central Orange County. Just looking outside my window, the street that I live on looks like a mess with all those cracks and potholes. However, I feel lucky when I compare the streets in my neighborhood to the streets farther north in Santa Ana. Some of those streets are so bad that it’s nearly impossible to drive them. My dad once got a flat tire just driving on Standard Street, just north of Edinger in Santa Ana.

Between this and the successful “citizen workshops” and sponsoring legislation to stop voter intimidation, Solorio really is making his mark on this community. And whether or not the primary rumors are true, Solorio probably won’t have to worry about it so long as he continues his excellent community service. I’m just glad to see that we have representatives in Sacramento who actually care about doing what’s best for Orange County. : )

AD 69: Will Solorio Be Primaried?

(Oops! : ) – promoted by atdleft)

Check out this latest
chisme from Orange Juice. Santa Ana City Council Member Sal Tinajero is considering a primary challenge to newly elected Assembly Member Jose Solorio in the Democratic-leaning 69th Assembly District in Central Orange County next year.

Here’s what Art Pedroza has to say about this juicy rumor:

Solorio has, according to another source, always had his eye on the State Assembly. He once tried to win an open seat on the Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Board of Trustees. He was rebuffed by the other board members because they figured he only wanted the appointment in order to run for the State Assembly. They were right. They ended up picking John Hanna for the seat and he has been a loyal, and exemplary, board member ever since.

So, as it turns out, Tinajero and Solorio have the same type of animosity for each other that Lou Correa and Joe Dunn have. (Don’t forget that Dunn attended a fundraiser for Reep Lynn Daucher when she was running against Correa, who went on to become our State Senator in the 34th District)

Will Assembly Member Jose Solorio really be in for a primary challenge next year? And will Sal Tinajero really run for Assembly, so soon after being elected to Santa Ana City Council JUST LAST NOVEMBER? Follow me after the flip for more on this wild rumor…

So what exactly does this all mean? Well, let’s take a deep breath and look at the facts here. Sal Tinajero pulled his endorsement of Solorio just before last June’s primary as he changed his mind to support Claudia Alvarez. Solorio didn’t retract the endorsement from his campaign publications, and Tinajero has been angry ever since.

Also, let’s remember the role that Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido plays into this little political game. While Solorio himself was on the Santa Ana Council (from 2000 until last year), he was allied with Pulido and local business interests. And with Tinajero now on the council, the new council majority is much more hesitant to support Pulido and the interests of downtown developers. And though both candidates can call themselves “progressive”, both have interesting not-so-progressive supporters. Pro-business Pulido will probably support Solorio, while the once-conservative (turned progressive?) council member Claudia Alvarez will probably support Tinajero.

And Tinajero might have a tough time keeping up with Solorio’s community support. He’s built up a strong list of endorsers, and a rather strong list of financial donors. Perhaps this will scare away Tinajero in the end…

Or perhaps not. We’ll see.

Voter Intimidation Bills before the Assembly

Are you sick and tired of seeing headlines like this regarding voter intimidation in Orange County? Have you had enough of candidates using scare tactics to prevent legally eligible voters from actually exercising their right to vote? Do you want to make sure that we never, ever see anyone trying to scare people away from the ballot box ever again?

Well, here’s our chance to do something about voter intimidation in California. My Assembly Member, Jose Solorio (D- Santa Ana), is actually teaming up with Republican Van Tran (R-Garden Grove) to offer some real solutions here. Follow me after the flip to find out more.

Here’s what Solorio’s office has to say about this:

Assemblymen Jose Solorio (D-Anaheim) and Assemblyman Van Tran (R-Garden Grove) have introduced a package of two bills that seek to prevent voter intimidation, such as the case witnessed in Orange County in 2006. 

“I am proud to partner with Assemblyman Van Tran to help discourage future voter intimidation cases from occurring in Orange County or elsewhere in the state.  Our bills will ensure that candidates are aware of the state’s voter intimidation laws and deter future offenses by stiffening the penalties for voter intimidation,” said Assemblyman Solorio. 

“Freedom to vote is one of the most important rights Americans’ have.  Our laws must protect every citizen’s right to vote and allow us to vigorously prosecute anybody who tries to intimidate voters,” said Assemblyman Van Tran.

AB 122 (Solorio) requires election officials to give potential candidates for elected office a copy of the provisions of law that prohibit voter intimidation and the penalties for violating those provisions of law.

AB 46 (Tran) would increase penalties for an individual convicted of committing voter intimidation by making it a felony, punishable by a minimum of 16 months or up to three years in prison.

Both bills have passed the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting with bipartisan support.  AB 122 passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee last week and AB 46 is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Public Safety Committee tomorrow. 

The bills were introduced in response to an October 2006 letter that was mailed out by the campaign of a U.S. Congressional candidate to some 14,000 Latino voters in Orange County in an attempt deter them from voting in the November election.  In fact, Assemblyman Solorio received one of those letters himself. 

The letter incorrectly stated “you are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or your are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time, and you will be deported for voting without having a right to do so.”  This statement is extremely misleading at best because immigrants can vote if they become citizens.  In response to this voter intimidation effort, the Secretary of State’s office sent letters to these 14,000 Latino voters who received a letter reassuring these voters of their right to vote. 

Isn’t it about time that we pass something like AB 122? Isn’t it about timke that we protect people’s right to vote from such horrid and nasty scare tactics? Isn’t it about time that we pass something like AB 46? Isn’t it about time that we prosecute these folks who try to scare voters away from voting?

If you care about our right to vote, it might be a good idea to call your Assembly Member and ask him or her to support these bills. Our right to vote is just too precious to lose. Or be scared away from.