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Recall Rejects

OJ Blogger Vern Nelson

The very stable geniuses at the Orange Juice blog are taking their track record of success in recall elections and city council races (that’s sarcasm folks) to attempt to recall Democratic Anaheim District 2 council member Jordan Brandman.  This is fresh off their failure to recall Republican Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu, blaming COVID19 for their inability to gather enough signatures.  So they set their sights lower.

The last successful recall of a Democratic public official in OC was Senator Josh Newman (SD29) who was recalled midway through his first term over his vote on a tax bill. Team OJ didn’t launch much of a defense and the DPOC’s Jeff LeTourneau was the star of a viral video that the GOP used to bankroll that successful signature gathering effort.  Newman did reclaim his seat last fall.  Santa Ana Republican Ceci Iglesias was recalled in 2020 and then, unsuccessfully, ran for Mayor.

Barely three months on the job, there’s chatter about a possible recall of Huntington Beach mayor pro-tem Tito Ortiz, who got the greatest number of votes for city council last fall.  While his politics are horrible, recalling him probably won’t work and just cost the city significant money — one estimate being $700,000.

In November 2019, a few members of Democrats of Greater Irvine served recall papers on Mayor Christina Shea and Vice Mayor Mike Carroll, then COVID hit.  Because the majority of the club wasn’t enthusiastic about that recall, the effort died and Shea lost her bid for election while Carroll won.  A special election would have cost in excess of $900,000.

Tustin voters tried to recall then Mayor Jerry Amante about 10 years ago; nearly 6,000 of 7,000 signatures needed were gathered but delays by the Tustin City Clerk put off signature gathering for several weeks and organizers were going to host a booth at the popular Tustin chili cookoff where they would have easier gotten the needed signatures.  No one wanted to give Amante an enemies list so the files were trashed.

There was the Fullerton city council recall of three Republican council members in 2012 bankrolled by blogger Tony Bushala that had actual funding behind it and legitimate community outrage over the beating death of Kelly Thomas.  Bushala is now focused on recalling councilmember Amhad Zahra for the council member’s vote to permit marijuana dispensaries in Fullerton and a 2020 arrest.

There’s no way the DPOC is going to stand by efforts to recall two duly-elected and party-endorsed electeds; once the special election for the BoS is over in March, I suspect the Party will turn their attention to knocking both these efforts down.  None of the reasons for Brandman’s recall campaign or Zahra’s recall campaign rise to the level where they should be removed.

The Sidhu recall failed due to formatting errors and a decided lack of signatures, largely because Vern Nelson is unable to get more than a handful of people willing to spend hours to collect signatures.  Matt Cunningham’s Anaheim Independent has more details here.

OJ publisher Vern Nelson offered several reasons for the effort to recall Brandman, but he left out the main reason why.  Brandman doesn’t give the clowns the time of day.  There is no way the DPOC is going to get behind recalling any elected Democratic Party member public official unless there was a serious infraction of the law.  There’s no way they will support an effort by blogger with his driving record/#MeToo reputation (OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley once referred to Nelson as a “wine connoisseur”) or his managing editor who’s been removed from the local party’s leadership team once, local party central committee membership once, and state party delegate status twice (after telling people not to vote for DPOC-endorsed Brandman) – especially when both regularly lit candles at the alter of a conservative Republican elected who might give them the time of day.  Of the two, only Nelson lives in Anaheim but not in District 2 and Greg Diamond resides in Brea.  Nelson talks of former councilmember James Vanderbilt running for the seat he lost to Brandman in 2018 if the recall is successful – yet another conservative Republican getting their approval over a Democrat from these “progressives.”

Should they manage to get a recall on the ballot, the special election will cost Anaheim taxpayers significant dollars (estimates range from $500,000 to $1 million) at a time when city tax revenues have been crushed by the closure of Disneyland and paid attendance at Angels and Ducks games.  Neither Nelson or Diamond have been effective in electing candidates to the Anaheim city council period.  If both are sincere in wanting to help Anaheim residents, now is not the time to hit the city’s budget with an unnecessary expense of a recall over a councilmember they don’t like.

The elephant in the room is a question; what does Jose Moreno think?

Moreno is the senior Democrat on the city council yet seems unable to build any sort of bridge to the other two Democrats on the council; in Anaheim, you need four votes to do anything. Moreno’s vote usually stands alone and he actively campaigned for Batiste for council because there was no party-endorsed candidate.

If the rumor mill is true and Supervisor Doug Chaffee doesn’t run for re-election, sources tell me Chaffee staffer and Moreno ally Al Jabbar has already put the bug in the good doctor’s ear to run for County Supervisor.

Moreno would be termed out from the city council and doesn’t have the war chest to challenge Assembly member Tom Daly or Congressman Lou Correa in a primary. And Moreno would need the endorsement of both to make a credible run for the BoS assuming a more moderate Democrat doesn’t run.  Should Moreno lend any sort of support to a Brandman recall, he’d be cutting his own throat.  CA-46 and AD-69 are Democratic districts but not far left progressive districts – and the fourth district supervisor’s area is even more to the right. Plus, besides Brandman, Team OC hates both Correa and Daly — two men you routinely win big on election night no matter how much Vern and Greg gnash their teeth.

So, Nelson and Diamond would be sacrificing Moreno’s political future by targeting Brandman in an effort – if the past is a clue – won’t succeed.



  1. Commenting Gnome Commenting Gnome February 24, 2021

    You forgot about Cecilia Iglesias, who got recalled from the City Council last May.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | February 25, 2021

      Good catch; she was easy to forget

  2. Vern P Nelson Vern P Nelson February 25, 2021

    You’re wrong about most things, but what else is new? I’ll just make a few corrections and move along; you can have the last word as always.

    Bushala isn’t running the Zahra recall. You probably think he still runs FFFF. That blog is run now by cranky rightwing social conservative Josh Ferguson, and the recall is driven by concerned ladies who don’t want dispensaries in their neighborhood shopping centers. It wouldn’t make sense that Tony would recall someone over cannabis.

    And Greg Diamond has nothing to do with the Jordan Recall. But then you’re obsessed with Tony and Greg, so you think what you want.

    I’m not surprised that you’re unimpressed with our two-page list of official and additional reasons Jordan should be recalled – after all, the Angels Stadium Heist which is the BIGGEST reason (that actually precipitated this recall) is something YOU still think is a good deal, right? You and I just have fundamentally different ideas of what it means to be a Democrat, and whom government should serve.

    It’s not Jose’s fault that Jordan and Avelino refuse to give him a second or third to agendize even the best and most Democratic ideas – as anyone can see they are following strict orders from their bosses (who are not Democrats.) The list of good Jose ideas that Jordan (and now Avelino) have refused to second is too long to include here, but here are just a few – rent caps on senior mobile homes, campaign finance reform, Black Lives Matter, designating Little Arabia, opening up public comments via Zoom, Webex, or teleconference. I’d like to hear these two “Democrats” justify to the DPOC their refusal to even allow discussion on these and many other matters.

    But then, “The elephant in the room is a question; what was Jose Moreno think?” – I could never write like you! You are a treasure.

    • Vern P Nelson Vern P Nelson February 25, 2021

      Oh, and Vanderbilt will probably not be our candidate, for various reasons, as good and honest a guy as he is. We’ll keep our candidate a surprise for now. That is all.

      • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | February 26, 2021

        Because Ken was so good and honest that he used DPOC door hangers to suggest he was the party’s endorsed candidate

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | February 26, 2021

      hey, thanks the the edit check; I’ll fix that sentence.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | February 26, 2021

      and things you’re wrong about: I’m obsessed with Tony and Greg? That’s news to me. The city shouldn’t be in the stadium business and selling it will bring in needed revenue; and the stadium is only worth what someone is actually prepared to pay for it. By all means, turn your attention to finding another buyer willing to pay more. The rest of your reasons why could apply to the entire council, but you’re going Jordan because you hate him. Consider yoru public comments are not so much public comments but bad performance art where you embarrass yourself instead of making valid points. And the unspoken thing you were wrong about? That you were banned from posting here.

  3. Efrain Valdez Efrain Valdez March 2, 2021

    Nobody takes these clowns seriously. As far as I can tell the ONLY contributor at the blog who is gainfully employed is FAR RIGHT WING REPUICAN who lives in Georgia. If you thought Diamond and LeTournurneu are meddlesome from upper class North Orange County, recruiting disgraced County employees and Tea Party nuts from the deep south take the cake.

    From the looks of things, last time limped into public, the last thing Panamanian needs is cake!

    L O S E R S

    • Greg Diamond Greg Diamond March 17, 2021

      If this is not actually from the Efrain Valdez who supposedly coaches receivers at St. Paul HS in Cypress, or maybe Santa Fe Springs, you should not let the author use his identity for credibility.

      If it is, thanks for your informed commentary, coach. Vern and I are both self-employed and, while Covid has slowed everything, we both gigs. I have no idea what you’re talking about otherwise. (What do you think Jeff (who has nothing to do with the blog) and I are recruiting, Coach — and for what? Is this some sort of anti-gay slur?

      • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | March 17, 2021

        “We both gigs”? Nice punctuation in paragraph 2. 2:30 AM? You’re commenting in the middle of the night? What’s your gig? Overnight security?

      • 4th District Resident 4th District Resident March 22, 2021

        That’ the lunatic John Mardahl.

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