A reader e-mailed my asking my thoughts on the 1st S.D. contest between Lou Correa and Bruce Broadwater. Since they're both Democrats and I'm a Republican, it comes down to who will do the least harm. Here's how I look at it.
Broadwater is bad -- very, very bad -- on redevelopment, while Correa has spoken up against against its abuse by local governments (although to my knowledge he has taken no legislative action to curb such abuses). However, since the county plays virtually no re-development role, I neither hold this against Broadwater nor give credit to Correa.
On the CenterLine, Broadwater is antagonistic and I presume he would provide the third vote to place it before the voters. Correa, on the other hand, supports CenterLine -- presumably because the Santa Ana city structure supports it as a means of funding the improvement of Bristol Street with OCTA dollars. Since whoever wins this election will also have a seat on the OCTA board, this counts as a plus for Broadwater and a minus for Correa.
Neither Broadwater nor Correa is innocent in terms of what will be the major financial crisis for the county in coming years -- the spiraling cost of public employee pay and pensions. Broadwater has been a vocal critic of spiking public employee pensions, for which I give him credit. On the other hand, he voted to award the reckless 3% at 50 pension spike to Garden Grove public safety employees. And since the public safety unions have already endorsed Correa, Broadwater has nothing to lose and potentially many conservative votes to gain by attacking the county board of supervisor's pusilanimity vis-a-vis the unions.
However -- while Broadwater may have voted for 3% at 50 in Garden Grove, it is Lou Correa who authored and midwifed the abysmal legislation that enables weakling local government officials across California to bankrupt their cities by knuckling under to the pension demands of their police and firefighter unions. He's the Santa Claus of public employee pension spiking; Broadwater was just an elf.
Also, Correa supports giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens. While not a coutny issue, it is indicative of Lou Correa's political philisophy and judgment that he would demolish an important distinction between being in the U.S. legally, and being here in violation of the law. For God's sake, being a citizen or a legal resident ought to mean something! These are tough times, and county supervisors are being called upon to make tough decisions on cutting spending and benefits. If Lou Correa thinks it is A-OK to provide official government driver's licenses to people (as decent and hard-working as they are) who are here in violation of the law...well, let's just say it doesn't inspire confidence in his judgment when it comes to deciding on public spending priorities.
Finally, as a Republican, I think Correa is much more likely to leverage the fund-riaisng powers of a supervisor's seat on behalf of Democratic candidates than Broadwater is. Thus, a Supervisor Correa would be much more problematic than a Supervisor Broadwater for Republican efforts in central Orange County. After all, there is an active Republicans for Broadwater group, but no Republicans for Correa.
In any case, based on the public pension spiking issue alone, I think Bruce Broadwater is vastly preferable to Lou Correa. Unfortunately, I think this race is a bridge too far for Broadwater. I think the outcome will be closer than generally believed, but I also think Correa will emerge the victor.