UPDATE: Anaheim’s Cynthia Ward has an excellent summation of the forum on Red County, here.
And what a depressing event it was. The WAND (West Anaheim Neighborhood Development Council) forum was almost as bad as the NUFF event in January. Give them credit for giving it a go, but they didn’t have a lot to work with.
This time Tom Daly was gone, but Harry Sidhu and Lorri Galloway actually showed up. Better for them if they hadn’t.
Apart from the consistently coherent and concise answers to audience questions by Fullerton Councilman Shawn Nelson, the remainder of the five candidates could only demonstrate their almost complete ignorance about what a County Supervisor does. Their answers were alternatively muddled, idiotic, or evasive. It was pretty painful to watch. But watch I did. And I filmed the event to harvest future fruits.
A summation: Art Brown is a typical government statist-type guy; Rosie Espinosa is truly virtually clueless, still knows nothing about the County government and isn’t afraid to show it; Richard Faher is actually starting to become annoying – running against the Federal government – except when it comes to marijuana laws when he becomes a big government pussycat.
Of the seeming top tier candidates, I have to say that nothing has changed my previous observations. Harry Sidhu is just an empty suit; his answers, when intelligible at all, were evasive. He did admit to living in the district for only two and a half months – since February 1st – thus confirming his previous perjury. Galloway’s responses were generally equally feather-headed, and most seemed to hinge upon “collaboration” – that lefty cure-all for everything that ails us. She also made a big deal about pandering to the Anaheim residents about getting their “fair share”, bragged about the money she’s spent on them, and the need to elect somebody from Anaheim (presumably her). And significantly, neither Sidhu nor Galloway who are both making “jobs, jobs, jobs,” their platform, could name a single specific job that they, as a Supervisor would create.
On the High Speed Rail boondoggle Galloway came out as a big booster since there is no amount of your money she isn’t willing to flush down the toilet; Sidhu waffled hard, pretending for the evening that he wasn’t already bought and paid for by Curt Pringle’s money machine. Nelson, as he has in the past, came out strongly against the ill-conceived fiasco in the making. Ditto on Pringle’s massive ARTIC plan that requires $140,000,000 Measure M money. Incredibly, Galloway tried to claim that ARTIC was not tied to the HSR; and Sidhu got excited and blurted out that the cities of north Orange County voted for the extension of Measure M, despite the fact that the claim by Nelson was that what they had voted on did not include all that dough for an Anaheim transportation center. Comically, Galloway claimed it would become the transportation hub of Southern California. Anybody wanna bet?
Except for Nelson, who demanded departmental audits and outsourcing, all the others completely botched the budget question – turning it into a Rock Candy Mountain wish for jobs, jobs jobs. Of course Galloway’s solution is to spend our way out of the budget hole with public works projects. Somehow.
On the really topical issue of County island annexation they all pretty much fumbled it, seeing it as an autonomy issue, and failing to recognize the inherent dysfunctionality of the County as a service provider, although to his credit Nelson was the only one to provide examples to fix some of that dysfunction. On the issue of equalization of funding none of the other five really knew what they were talking about, and showed it, although once again Nelson recognized the issue as a purely political problem. Sidhu’s feeble response was to work hard with others. Somehow. Galloway pandered to Anaheim, as usual.
On the question of code enforcement none of them could say much of anything that was informed. If any of them are aware of current County code enforcement policy or procedure, none of them shared that knowledge with the audience.
Questions on marijuana, eminent domain, bike trails in Carbon Canyon and the homeless invited meandering, uninformed responses, and got them.
Maybe the best question had to do with length of residence in the district with Nelson clocking in at 39 years and Art Brown at 36. Galloway claims she has lived in the district a whopping 7 months, although if she did, she spent the first four months living illegally in a Lincoln Avenue office use zone. As noted above, Sidhu confirmed his perjury on voter registration documents.
The final wrap up statement provided a fitting end to the evening. Faher was out cutting the grass in left field – but not in his front yard, apparently. Espinosa was exploring County “crevices.” Brown was fixing non-partisan potholes. Galloway expressed her profound faith in the Almighty and the depth of her “compassion” and her “caring,” oblivious to the irony of having to publicly advertise one’s own empathetic excellence; of course this is just code for taxing us to satisfy her political agenda. Sidhu, sticking as closely as possible to his prepared script demonstrated his willingness to go down with the same, lame sinking “jobs, jobs, jobs” ship. And he almost seemed to get angry that somebody wouldn’t be impressed that he has represented 40% of the district for six years – even though he has almost nothing to show for it.
Which leaves us with Shawn Nelson. Of all the candidates he was the only one who could muster intelligent and informed and decisive answers. And in the end his closing statement reflected the same message, delivered unequivocally: accountable and conservative leadership for the 4th District.