Pardon Me For Talking While You’re Interrupting

Dan Chmielewski, TheLiberalOC
Dan Chmielewski, TheLiberalOC

TheLiberalOC’s Managing Editor Dan Chmielewski was on Real Orange last week joining Democrat and former Irvine City Councilman Chris Mears, and conservatives Rick Reiff and Michael Capaldi to discuss key political issues in Orange County. I got the feeling after watching the segment that Reiff and Capaldi weren’t expecting Dan to be prepared or as on target in his dismantling of their right-wing arguments.

The panel discussed the recent tensions in Anaheim between residents and police, the resignation of County CEO Tom Mauk, the proposed charter amendment in Santa Ana to limit the terms of future mayors, the proposed charter initiative in Costa Mesa, and the proposed toll lanes on the 405 freeway.

Chmielewski challenged Capaldi (@ 11:30in the segment) on his assertion that the Board of Supervisors acted quickly and aggressively once they learned of the Bustamante allegations. “They didn’t move fast at all,” Chmielewski said. “The charges with Bustamante came up well over a year ago, the Supervisors sat on their hands—Tom Mauk was allowed to negotiate a sweetheart deal for Carlos Bustamante—Tom Mauk reported to the Board of Supervisors, we have five Republicans on the Board of Supervisors didn’t move nearly fast enough. I guarantee you that if your wife or your daughter were an employee of Carlos Bustamante you would not think the they moved at the speed you think they did.”  Chmielewski reiterated, “This stuff dates back well over a year, it had gone up to the top, they didn’t do anything, they turned the other way—and then Bustamante was allowed to resign—Tom Mauk allowed Bustamante to resign—a sweetheart dealt to resign in exchange for not suing the county. For what? Denying him the ability to prey on women employees again?”

Tom Mauk

In one of the most tortured bull-crap double-speak arguments I’ve ever heard from a conservative talking head, Rick Reiff tried to claim that the outrageously large payout of $270,000 (actually well over $300,000 once additional vacation payouts were added on) County CEO Tom Mauk received was the fault of public employee unions.

Fact Check: Tom Mauk’s contract was negotiated, and enhanced several times, by the Republican dominated Board of Supervisors. No public employee union negotiated the lavish perks and golden parachute that guaranteed a year’s severance pay, even if he was fired for cause.

It seems that Reiff was a bit high on his anti-public employee union cigar and mixed his facts up a bit. Public employees represented by unions don’t get lavish payouts when they get fired or resign. Those benefits are reserved for only the most senior county executives and managers.

Dan Chmielewski Challenging the Right-Wing Noise Machine

After multiple times of having Capaldi jumping in and talking over him when it was his turn to speak (@16:53 into the segment), Dan let Capaldi know that being rude would not win the argument. Without missing a beat, Dan said, “Pardon me for talking while you’re interrupting.” The point that Capladi was so upset about was that “there is no evidence that outsourcing will save (the City of Costa Mesa) a dollar or a dime.” Also of note is what Capaldi conceded when he interrupted Dan; “It doesn’t matter,” Capaldi said.

What? It doesn’t matter that there is not evidence that outsourcing won’t save a dime!? Yep that’s right, the Chair Emeritis of the Lincoln Club let slip what the opponents of the outsourcing scheme have been saying all along; the Costa Mesa charter initiative has nothing to do with saving any money at all.”

Take the time to watch the discussion. I think you may enjoy watching Dan challenge the right-wing noise machine.

Watch OC Issues and Analysis on PBS. See more from KOCE.


  1. Thanks Dan for joining in our standing up against sexual harassment, for truth & justice in Costa Mesa !! We will get three new City Council members in November…Leaning Forward we are.

  2. Dan says that “.. there is no evidence that outsourcing will save the City a dollar or a dime.”

    While that may or may not be true – decision makers should have the ability to use their best judgment as to whether the City would be better served by either public service employees or by the private sector. If the voters of Costa Mesa, or any city, come to the conclusion that such decisions have not been made in a prudent manner, those decision makers can be voted out of office.

    BTW – the City of Santa Ana is a Charter City and it’s council is overwhelmingly Democratic.

  3. Dan,

    I don’t think that your “mortgage” analogy is a good one for your cause. A mortgage has defined terms, a series of payments, over a specified period of time. If the mortgage payments are not made on time the bank will foreclose and take the property back.

    Public pensions are much the same, except accountants (actuaries) determine the amount of the payments and when they are to be paid according to an expected rate of return on plan investments. If the public entity cannot make those payments on time, in the correct amounts, the pension plan is in the red – that is the unfunded liability.

    Are you saying that an actuarially determined unfunded liability is bogus? Hell, most public pension plans are even more unfunded than they advertise because the trusts use an unrealistic expected rate of return.

    An unfunded liability for a public pension plan is a mortgage that must be paid.

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