Why Hugh Hewitt Belongs on the First Five Commission

A lot of Love on that First Five Boat

The other day we re-ran a post from last year questioning how repuglican yakmouth Hugh Hewitt was qualified to be on OC’s version of Rob Reiner’s tax and redistribute Children and Families Commission. See, we didn’t believe he could possibly meet the requirements for membership defined in the County ordinance.

Watching yesterday’s Board meeting provided some enlightenment and showed how much Supervisor BillCampbell, who chairs this ultra-liberal commission, wants Hewitt on there. Badly.

Yes. It's a Do Tank.

As Campbell explained, Hewitt does indeed qualify in the education category. How? Because he is a director of the local branch of something called Young Life. I googled the name and found this. Not much to go on. No list of directors, so we’ll just have to take Hugh’s word for it. But check it out. It’s a Christian-based program for adolescents. This has zero to do with 0-5 child development and nothing to do with any professional qualifications for anything, so at least now we can be completely satisfied that Hewitt’s appointment was always bogus.

But as they say on TV infomercials: wait, there’s more!

According to Supervisor Shawn Nelson, who objected to Hewitt’s appointment, the latter missed seven meetings in a twelve moth period, and, per the code, was automatically removed from the Commission. Of course the Commission staff never notified the Board of Supervisors as the law requires. Hewitt was simply permitted to keep participating in the few meetings he was able to make, and was casually “re-appointed” along with the rest of the incumbents. And on that subject Nelson demonstrated that no solicitation for new members had ever been made – also required by the law.

So there you have it. A packed, opaque Commission doing whatever the hell it damn well pleases, and answerable to nobody, except presumably, its grossly overpaid Executive Director and his protector Bill Campbell.




20 Replies to “Why Hugh Hewitt Belongs on the First Five Commission”

  1. What happened to the original post?

    From “See, he doesn’t meet the required
    definitions in the County ordinance.”

    To “See, we didn’t believe he could possibly meet the requirements for membership defined in the County ordinance.”

  2. Hewitt is one of the original Commissioners, meaning he has held a Commission seat for over 10 years. Sure cries out for some kind of term limit boundary. When he was first appointed, it was Supervisor Jim Silva who submitted his name and advocated that his Board colleagues appoint him, which they did. This was around 2001, and one of those other Supervisors voting on original Commission appointmetns at the time was a fellow named Todd Spitzer. Whoever said the pattern does not repeat?

      1. That’s right. They were 8 years. And just when the first batch were coming up for termination, Campbell gets rid of term limits. What’s that tell ya?

    1. Ruben,

      Please explain the “fake” part.

      I note on another site you mention some clause giving the Governor the authority to grab the $.

      Where can I find that language?

        1. and that’s what they did – they amended it by 2/3d’s to further the act to pay for Medi-Cal. There is a precedent also from last year where they voluntarily furthered the act to pay for Medi-Cal on the order of $130 million

      1. re the “fake” – I was being provocative. They have been filed, but here’s what I mean:

        In this article (http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/PE_News_Local_D_firstfive08.27ffe25.html) Karen Scott, executive director of First 5 San Bernardino, said her commission has no litigation plans.”

        Why? one might ask… perhaps this quote from another Executive Director is why – From Contra Costa’s February minutes:

        “Sean Casey: We don’t’ have any real argument against it which is why we’re really stressing the other piece. Sure, take the money, but before you really kick us to the curb, let’s see what loss would be locally and what we wouldn’t be able to do if you do this. I’m sorry to say that it really does reduce us to almost irrelevancy.”

        WOW – so they really do get that it is a legally okay thing for the governor to do, in fact, their Executive Director said:

        QUOTE “We don’t have any real argument against (the taking of funds)”

        Which makes sense as to why Reiner is quoted in the Fresno Bee as being in support of the re-direct and the LA Times wrote an editorial that documented that it is legal to make the move.


        So why sue? Someone in the Fresno Bee comments section said:

        “My sense is that First 5s are hoping to win in the court of public opinion with the lawsuits so that any potential proposition to shut down the First 5s does not pass with the voters.”

        and there is a potential proposition, Senate Bill 486.

      2. ok, last one, but more on the concept of “fake”-ness since they admit that they “have no real argument” against the state taking the funds

        My question now is if the First 5’s made that as a group decision, and if they KNOW in advance that they will not prevail in court (which I believe is pretty clear if you connect the dots), aren’t the lawsuits really just an organized marketing campaign in disguise?

        In other words, are they really just knowingly trying to get around the amount of money they are limited to spend on marketing by filing lawsuits to increase public support?”

  3. A related OP-ED appeared in today’s LA TIMES for those that no longer subscribe:

    It stikes at the heart of the problem: The initive process that allowed PROP 10 in the first place:


    As a bonus, I have included a link to an article a year ago about the hypocrisy from the right on the First 5 debacle:


  4. Here’s a new question:

    When other state agency workers go on furlough, are First 5 workers also being forced to take a day off to conserve resources?


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