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A Guest Post on Irvine Council Seat Vacancy and an Unresolved Issue

Editor’s note:  I received this guest editorial via email.  The writer wants it out there for people to read but is afraid of retribution from a certain DPOC Vice Chair.  The writer’s point is that our local party seems to be inconsistent with the issue of open city council seats (Orange, Santa Ana, Stanton and now Irvine) and on the issue of bullying behavior.  I have decided to publish this but I’m protecting the writer’s identity.  If officials from the DPOC wish to comment, they may do so on this post (I actually encourage it).

It’s quite peculiar that the Democratic Party of Orange County has been at the fore-front of several issues demanding a Democratic process, equity and standing with women in light of the “me too” movement.  But it seems they can’t get their stories straight.

 In Orange, many members of the DPOC were demanding an appointment for Betty Valencia, claiming that she has the right to the seat since she was the next runner up and the voters had spoken and it was the democratic thing to do.

Well, in Irvine, many members of the DPOC were demanding a special election, costing the city $900,000 for Lauren Johnson-Norris, claiming the voters must be heard and that a special election was democratic.  Well, it’s no surprise they are saying this and not asking for the council to appoint the next runner up from the 2018 election that occurred just five months ago.  Johnson-Norris came in 4th trailing 2000 votes behind the runner up.  

Members of the DPOC have no issue in getting arrested for the rights of people to work in dignity with fair wages, yet it’s ok when one of their own goes off and threatens people.  It’s not ok to state that no woman should be treated unfairly, unless the perpetrator is one of their own.  Jeff LeTourneau has a history of outbursts, some even recorded.  His most infamous is attacking and threatening Carl DeMaio on video which went viral on conservative media and likely cost Josh Newman his state senate seat, but he was then saved by Eric Bauman, Chair of the California Democratic Party, who now himself is in the midst of allegations of abuse, threats and sexual misconduct.  So how is Mr. LeTourneau able to get away with threatening so many people, including an elected Democrat?  If current chair Ada Briceno, can’t get herself to be a real leader, then he is safe.  She has received several emails and letters demanding the removal of Jeff as Vice Chair because of his bullying and threatening behavior, but she has yet to take any action.

So where does the DPOC stand on consistency?  Or does the Party just flow wherever the wind blows?



  1. Anonymous reader Anonymous reader April 12, 2019

    For someone who was voted in with unanimous support, Ada Briceno sure is going out on a limb to stoke divisiveness within the DPOC. It’s been only three months and she’s already playing favorites, already prioritizing party loyalty over real issues, and already ignoring bad behavior when it suits the party to do so.

    What a shame that Irvine’s Democrat council members being told to fall in line behind a partisan organization instead of the voters of the majority-blue city!

  2. OC DEM OC DEM April 14, 2019

    Here is the problem as I see it.


    Really Ada, Victor Valladares? WTF?

    There are Hundreds if not Thousands of college students who would qualify for these “Kick Backs” you are giving these guys. This amounts to malfeasance.

    Yet, Ada who is an effective agitator, Heck, she’s great with a bullhorn, stopping traffic, generally promoting unrest. But is that how President Obama rolled? NO.

    Did Ada EVER GO TO COLLEGE? I attend EVERY DPOC Meeting there is and don’t know. Is Victor Valladares really on felony probation. I don’t know. Did Jeff LeTourneu threaten Farrah? We don’t know.

    But what I do KNOW is Ada completely FU$%÷D up Loretta. Her first test she FAILED. She LOST.

    This will all work itself out. Quickly because Ada’s style is not strong enough to beat back the $$$$$ coming in from non labor.

    Wait till Harley and his Laguna Beach cake walk dries up hunnnie.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | April 15, 2019

      Victor is on probation until December 2019. I can’t remember the charge. I’m almost certain Jeff threatened Farrah because I was the first person she turned to after it happened and she was upset and isn’t a good actress. For a Jeff to counter saying she bullied Michal Fox is funny in a way because I have copies of notes sent to Fran complaining about Michael bullying other members

  3. Lee Fink Lee Fink April 14, 2019

    The Democratic Party’s position is consistent: it wants to see the Democratic candidate elected or appointed. In Orange, that means appointing Betty Valencia. In Irvine, the party would be happy for the Council to appoint Lauren Johnson-Norris, but since that is unlikely (given the challenge of the rationale), then it wants a special election.

    Of course, the political party’s position does not have to be strictly consistent in terms of the means of electing people to office. In different cities, there would be different reasons on whether to appoint a replacement or hold a special election. In some cases, the next-highest vote-getter might not really be the choice of the voters. In Irvine, perhaps Democratic votes were split amongst Norris-Johnson, Farrah Khan, and Kev Abazajian. Without that split, maybe Norris-Johnson wins. In Orange, it’s possible that had there been three open council seats, rather than two, another candidate would have run, and swept up enough votes to pass Betty Valencia. Compare this to Santa Ana, where there really is no question that if Roman Reyna had been disqualified from the ballot by the City Council in the first place (as he should have been), Phil Bacerra would have been elected (as the only other person who filed to run). There is very little argument there that justifies a special election, but yet Santa Ana is heading for that in November too.

    Of course, the Party’s interest (getting Democrats elected) is not what the councilmembers were elected to serve (even the Democratic members). They have to make a decision based on what they think is best for their city. That those interests diverge sometimes should be apparent, and is healthy. (We have seen with Congressional Republicans during the Trump era what happens when representatives put aside their institutional role in favor of their purely partisan affair, and needless to say Madison and Hamilton would be upset.).

    What councilmembers must decide, however, is who would be the best person to serve on the city council. The Orange City Council based its decision on that factor. Even while we disagree, the conservative Orange City Council did not think Betty Valencia would be best, so they chose a special election (having been shamed out of appointing someone else). What is best for Irvine? As a Democrat, I want to see more Democrats on the Council, and that means the best way of doing that is a special election (though, like Betty Valencia in Orange, Lauren Johnson-Norris will have a tough time winning). I am not an Irvinian, so I can’t speak directly to what is best there, but I have a tough time believing that Carrie O’Malley is the best solution for the City, so again, a special election seems the right path. And yes, it is costly–democracy often is. Money should always be set aside for special elections, and City Councils should not act surprised when they are necessary. (Of course, if we want to send Don Wagner a bill, that’s not bad either. Or Todd Spitzer, since he started these dominoes.)

    But there is no one-size fits all for these situations. The party should not be expected to be “consistent” in how it approaches the process, so long as it is trying to elect Democrats. And elected officials from a party should not be expected to carry out public policy solely because it advances the party’s mandate to elect more of its members, so long as they can honestly answer that they are advancing Democratic and democratic values in their choices.

  4. Joe McLaughlin Joe McLaughlin April 15, 2019

    If you are an Irvine voter, like me, and want to let the people decide who will represent us on the City Council, via a special election, please sign up here to help us get more Irvine voters on our special election petition – . We have a little more than 2 weeks to get this done. Thanks so much!

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | April 18, 2019

      Joe — The city charter addressed this issue back in 1991. But the best way to have fought this back was to elect a Democrat as mayor. Ed Pope was a good candidate but he wasn’t ever going to seek the endorsement of the DPOC and actually ran a decent race despite a considerable lack of funds and IEs that Wagner got. Wagner was telling everyone he was running for supervisor and didn’t care to be Mayor. And the pro Measure B people in the party had no interest in helping Pope even after Measure B won by overwhelming margins. Hindsight is always 20/20. The charter says appointment process first. There’s no way Shea and Kuo will permit Lauren Johnson Norris to be appointed. I’m told Carrie O’Malley isn’t well-respected by Kuo and he doesn’t want her. Watch for Mike Carroll to emerge as a “compromise” candidate. His wife is on the IUSD school board and she was “DTS” but had endorsements from all the usual right wingers in Irvine. Not sure of her husband’s affiliation, but if he’s DTS, don’t be surprised if he if pushed forward. The council’s hands are tied unless this petition rolls through.

  5. Silence Do Good Silence Do Good April 18, 2019

    Dan Chemilewinski,

    I am a member of the Democratic Party of Orange County. I have participated in local politics for 15 years, albeit at arms length usually. I DO NOT HOLT A POSITION AS AN OFFICER, CC MEMBER OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.

    Today a fellow member forwarded me a voice message and subsequently an EMAIL request garnering support for Vern Pat Nelson, who appears to be in some kind of pickle. I don’t know what it is or what happened, but very clearly, Mr. Nelson’s associates are very worried about the optics. I don’t know Vern other than his rants and penchant for breaking into song at city council meetings.

    Covering up mis-deeds or criminal acts is distasteful and puts Democrats in the same boat as President Trump. Why influential members would defend alleged sexual assualt (Lorri Galloway), several DUI’S, a felony conviction and a general past littered with bad choices is beyond me. But those folks who include FOUR TOP LEADERS of our local party, feel Vern Nelson’s trouble are potentially damaging. The reason I mention this here is one person suggested that whatever his current problem, they plan to blame YOU, Matt Cunningham and Curt Pringle along with the ridiculous suggestion that the Anaheim Police Officers Association have conspired to silence Vern. As if he is an agent of change.

    Heads Up Dem’s: this is where the social media train takes you. Be careful what you say and who you say it to. You’ll end up like Farrah Kahn.

    #Black Eye Donna
    #Cigar Man

    WHERE IS VERN? And why is Henry “Paul” Lipton freaking out????

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | April 18, 2019

      Well, I get blamed for things I don’t have the time, money, energy or imagination to pull off. I haven’t seen Vern in years. Not really interested in ever seeing him.

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