Last week we were alerted to a mysterious new blog called “Who is Craig Hunter,” which claims to reveal the true power structure behind the candidacy of the Anaheim Deputy Chief for County Sheriff.
The blog seems focused the connections between political heavyweight Mike Schroeder and Hunter, who is called Schroeder’s protegé. Hunter was hand picked to fill in the void left by ex-sheriff Mike Carona’s felony conviction, alleges the author who goes by the pseudonym “V”.
A few ancillary players are introduced into the picture on a page called The Players, including Jack Anderson (Carona’s own pick for successor), Carona apologist and OCCCWS member Greg Block (that name sounds familiar), DA spokesperson Susan Kang Schroeder and GOP Chairman/lobbyist Scott Baugh.
Motives are questioned, empires are sketched out and historic similarities are drawn. What emerges? A sketch of a picture that isn’t very pretty.
I’ve also heard rumors that the site was created by Friends for Fullerton’s Future, citing a humorous yet biting style that is similar to many of our own posts.For what it’s worth, nobody here knows where this blog came from or where it’s going.
After my meeting with Mike Duvall the other day, I decided to see If I could learn anything more about the events of last summer that led to Mike’s ultimate resignation as the 72nd District State Assemblymen.
One of our good Friends happens to know a well-placed legislative aide who works in Sacramento and who, I was told, could help fill in some of the gaps. So I called this person.
According to this individual, it is not at all unusual for legislative staffers to request audio records of committee meetings; in fact it is a fairly standard practice. Thus, the fact that Jeff Miller’s aide requested a record of the meeting doesn’t signify any sort of prior conspiracy by Miller – or anyone else for that matter. My source logically pointed out that Miller, to a lesser extent, ended up getting painted by the same brush as Duvall.
Instead what this person says happened is that the embarrassing audio record did end up in the wrong hands – at least as far as Duvall is concerned. My source indicates that Duvall’s personal enemy Jon Fleischman did indeed come to possess a copy of the tape; and sometime between July 2009 and late August 2009 orchestrated the leak of the information to KCAL’s Dave Lopez and the OC Weekly’s Scott Moxley.
Although Fleischman’s motives were said to be personal, others such as OC Republican power broker Mike Schroeder were also aware of the impending ambush, according to my source, although Schroeder’s motives for participating in Fleishman’s scheme in some way or other were not made abundantly clear.
As with my interview with Duvall, I can not immediately confirm the veracity of my source’s information, and the journalists in question will surely not reveal their source(s). Still, our insider is indeed well-placed to know what happened and I confer a certain level of credence to the story.
What is still unknown is what other high-level Republicans knew of the tape, it’s impending release, and the obvious political fallout from that release. If indeed Fleischman was the mastermind of the Duvall ambush, it is very hard to believe he would dare to do so without the consent of at least some of the OC Republican ruling party bosses – folks such as Schroeder, Dick Ackerman, and even Party Chairman, Scott Baugh. Why these party worthies would prefer, or even allow a public scandal instead of a quiet resignation by Duvall is something we may contemplate at our leisure.
However, as I noted yesterday, discussion of the Linda Ackerman candidacy on the integrity platform seemed to appear on cue, if way out of left field, before the ink had even dried on Duvall’s letter of resignation.
Last week the OC GOP Chairman Scott Baugh addressed his cohorts at the periodic Republican Central Committee meeting.
His speech was much anticipated and much commented about the next day in such venues where anybody gives a damn about what Baugh has to say. I waited a few days to display my disdain for such antics.
It seems Mr. Baugh tried to channel some of the angry energy of the “Tea Party” movement to zap some life into his team.
Baugh unloaded on RINOs; on candidates who get the GOP endorsement and then take public union money; on the “slick consultants” who call the shots. It must have sounded pretty good to the true believers in the audience; but the Repuglican cadre that has turned Orange County into its own little plantation – people like John Lewis and Ackerman, Inc. must have rolled their eyes a bit. Electeds in the audience who gladly took money from police and fire unions were no doubt (quietly) offended and/or frightened, depending on their dispositions, and this includes just about every Republican city councilman and Supervisor in the County.
I’ve got four problems with Mr. Baugh’s manifesto.
First he coughed up a speech very much like it last year in the wake of the epic McCain disaster and a year of Democrat rule. Apparently not much came of that one; so why expect anything else from the ‘Pugs?
Second, he seems to have failed to address the virus of office seeking that infects the party and that has been manifested in the Ackerwoman and now Harry Sidhu strains. In fact, Baugh was a supporter of Linda Ackerwoman and her fraudulent campaign of deceit in the 72nd – which pretty much tells you all you need to know about him.
Third, the idea that a candidate can’t take the money of a public employee union and still represent the public interest is curious. By the same logic these folks would be unable to resist the blandishments of corporate lobbyists who donate to their campaigns. Hmm.
Finally, Baugh ignores the wider problem of Repuglicanism – the malady of being a Republican for fun and especially profit. Calling for ideological purity seems to ring hollow when it’s pretty evident that the game is being played for one’s own pecuniary interest. Will we ever hear Baugh denounce Curt Pringle’s 50 billion dollar high speed idiocy? Probably not. Baugh uses his own political connections to lobby here and there, including a highly lucrative contract awarded by fellow ‘Pugs on the Board of Supervisors to lobby in Sacramento.
So in the end, to quote the Bard, here’s what I see in Baugh’s address: a tale told by an idiot; full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.
During the fall we had a lot of fun attacking the “Repuglicans,” local members of the Republican establishment who have made it their goal to milk a political system over which their party has control, and milk it for all it’s worth. The County of Orange is a Repuglican plantation, and we are all just pickin’ cotton for them.
Naturally we provided helpful definititons and illustrations of the breed, including such luminaries as Dick Ackerman, Scott Baugh, Tom Fuentes, and of course, Anaheims’s own, Kurt Pringle. If there’s a nickel on the table these fellas will go for it, and go for it hard.
The arrogance and hypocrisy of “small gummint” ‘pugs – of all shapes and sizes – making a living off of big government (and the bigger the size o’ government the better the living) is something rarely discussed at GOP Central Committee meetings, out of which the ‘pugs operate their rackets.
One name we haven’t spent a lot of time on (although we did last spring) is former State Senator John Lewis. Mr. Lewis is a campaign consultant. He is also a lobbyist at the County Hall of Administration. Gee, that’s very convenient. Get ’em elected, then lobby ’em for your clients. What an operation!
Lewis is currently in the process of losing one of his bonus boys on the County Board of Supervisors. 4th District Supervisor Chris Norby is moving on after seven fruitful years; and a couple years after that his other boy Bill Campbell will be gone too.
So Lewis needs a new boy, a tool, a yes vote on the Board and a friend behind the 3rd Floor scenes, ASAP. And Democrat Tom Daly is his new object of affection in what can be described as a symbiotic love affair. Just goes to show how shallow and useless are the “conservative” principles spouted by ‘pugs like Lewis and his altar boy Matthew J. Cunningham, who has wasted so much of our time with his many dodges and pirouettes around the basic fact.
(Interestingly Cunningham was making his usual avoid-the-subject-change-the-topic comments here on some issue or other, until one commenter suggested that perhaps his own wife had been offered a job in a future Daly administration. We’re looking into that one!)
For the Repuglicans there is no principle that can’t be bent way out of shape in the pursuit of business or political success – just look at Ackerman’s budget deals, or Ed Royce’s continued support of worthless RINO candidates on the Fullerton City Council. And now Lewis supports Daly “out of loyalty,” we are supposed to believe. Heya, John howzabout some loyalty to the the principles your party is supposed to stand for? Oh. Yeah. That’s right. Sorry.
Well, we can’t fix the world. We can’t even fix Orange County. But we can, and will spend a lot of time talking about John Lewis and Tom Daly in the next five months, or until Daly pulls the plug on his own campaign.
Our friend Allan Bartlet over at Red County reported that the GOP’s Chairman Scott Baugh gave a “fiery speech” last night indicating “that it is not going to be business as usual anymore for the OC GOP Party………no longer will incumbent Republicans be given safe quarter for their re-election if they have strayed to far off the reservation………..made it clear that he is not looking for ideological purity per se, but Republicans in the mold of Arnold Schwarzenegger, John McCain & George W Bush for example are not going to be allowed to ruin the party’s economic and fiscal credibility anymore…..Clearly this is an unsustainable path we are on and our elected GOP leaders in DC and Sacramento have been part of the problem. So tonight he announced a contract with the OC GOP voters. It’s not going to be good enough just to have an “R” by your name if you are a candidate or elected official. The “R” has got to mean something.”
Hmm. Let’s reflect on this for a moment. Okay. Baugh throws the Central Committee some red meat. Hooray! But don’t forget that the Central Committee is chock full of Repuglicans led by Ackerman and Ackerwoman; and Baugh is surely the biggest ‘Pug between San Onofre and the 605. When push comes to shove Baugh, Inc. will go with whichever candidate is the best ‘Pug team player, i.e. the one that is most ambitious (but not too ambitious, right, Ed?) and most likely to perform years of kickoff team duty – there’s only one QB, right, Dick?
It would be awfully strange for an organization made up of so many very selfish and self-interested politicos to all of a sudden change its stripes. Good grief, look at Fullerton: Sa, Godfrey, Jones, Clesceri, Munson (the one that didn’t win) Wison – RINOs all; and all backed by the GOP establishment – again, and again.
So for now we are well justified in assuming that Baugh is just blowing smoke up the Central Committee’s nether portal. And you what? A lot of them appear to like it.
Why is it so many supposedly conservative, small-government OC Republicans seem to make it their business to make as much money as they can off of the very entities that they are constantly railing against? For many of these miscreants the County government is nothing but a plantation to be worked, and worked over, as often as possible.
Take the case of former State Senator John Lewis, supposed arch-conservative Republican, who as a campaign consultant gets his boys elected and then as a lobbyist raises money for them – right before he puts the squeeze on them for a vote or two. His “firm” brags about being able to navigate the complex maze of government. Hmm. Seems like it’s to his advantage to keep government as big, complicated, and non-user friendly as possible. The list of other Republicans -like Anaheim mayor Curt Pringle, County GOP party Chairman Scott Baugh and his predecessor Tom Fuentes, who lobby this or that – is pretty long. We’ve even heard from one reliable source that the latter’s endorsement can be had – for 2500 bucks.
But back to Lewis. His most recent Lewis scam seems to be the utterly bizarre candidacy of one Laura Cunningham for the County Clerk job – as reported by Lewis himself on the Orange Juice blog here. We say bizarre because this idea is so weird that it barely deserves consideration. Except that what the hell, somebody’s got to win this election! Ms. Cunningham is the spouse of Matt Cunningham, a Lewis protege and collaborator; according to her on-line resume she also used to work for Lewis himself as a lobbyist at the County Hall of Admin – so the promotion of this “candidacy” makes sense. But this woman seemingly has no experience or record managing anything. Like her husband, she seems to have spent an adulthood spinning yarns for this or that Republican politician, or trying to help some clients “navigate” some public issue or other (i.e lobbying and PR); running a public agency? Nuh, uh.
Lewis may be afraid that his boy Tom Daly is getting cold feet about running to replace Chris Norby as Supervisor and wants him to nail his colors to the mast by endorsing a potential successor. Ultimately Lewis has nothing to lose by promoting an unqualified unknown. Who knows? Maybe the whole thing is just a ploy. On the other hand maybe Lewis figures this could be the start of a brilliant new political career – and ultimately a lobbying target in the future!
P.S. The funny thing about all of this is that everybody seems to be forgetting about Chris Norby who until a few days ago was also running for the Clerk job. If he gets beat by Ackerman in the 72nd Assy primary in November will he re-train his sights on preserving our vital records at the County Clerk’s office? And what would Lewis do at that point?