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October 27, 2006

Comments

Elroy El

When you can collect almost $100,000 from a single donor or shakedown donations from companies who rely on Irvine decision makers for their bottom line, donation limits are simply a tool to hobble your opposition.

Chuck. You've used words like squeeze in the past. Now you're using language like shakedown. Maybe you could clarify what that means to the rest of us not on the inside like yourself. Words like that imply undue force being used to extract donations. Which in my mind would be illegal and possibly an act that should be prosecuted.

Can you please substantiate how anything being done is illegal? Or is at the very least of questionable illegality? Short of some type of proof of undue force being used on donors I believe your assertions are nothing more than partisan rhetoric with no substance. And consequently no reason to be shown any attention.

All the best,

Elroy

Ask yourself, why would Irvine property holders and developers give more than $900,000 in large donations to Hometown Voter Guide in the past 6 years. Property holders and developers with land use decisions pending before city council? That's a lot of dough, even for a "civic-minded" firm.

Rifleshot

So anything that's not illegal is ethical? By that reasoning, we can all start cheating on our spouses. After all, it's not illegal.

Elroy El

Anon. Why don't you ask them? I won't pretend to know. How do we know they don't actually believe in the cause much the same as those living outside Irvine believe in contributing to Team Irvine. Unless you're a mind reader and have a different reason. Right now your statement is nothing more than lone gunmen behind a grassy knoll theory.

Mainstream media, we’re still waiting…

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore

Might be they've looked into this and found....nothing.

Elroy El

Rifleshot. what is unethical about contributing to a campaign or a slate mailer that supports candidates you support?

This excerpt from a February 3, 2005 article in the O.C. Weekly becomes all the more interesting when viewed in the context of the above:

All The Councilman’s Men
Nestande joins other slimy ex-politicos in Larry Agran’s inner circle
By R. Scott Moxley

You’ll never read this fact in the news pages of the Register or its Irvine World News, but Agran—who chairs the city’s Great Park Corporation—has now surrounded himself with three disgraced politicians-turned-lobbyists who are connected to scandals involving bribery, extortion and the use of public office for personal enrichment. Even better: Nestande, Mike Roos and Frank Hill are all tied to Agran’s Great Park plans.

From Scott Moxley at the OC Weekly:

"Based on our reporting, the public record is now clear. The supposedly independent HVG [Hometown Voter Guide], which was established by Agran's best friend and top strategist, shared Agran's campaign themes,
contributors, staff, research, lawyers, printers, consultants and office space; raised nearly $1 million to pay for illegal mailers against Agran's opponents; circumvented campaign-disclosure rules;
lured a fake Republican into the 2004 race to steal votes from the legitimate GOP candidate; and threatened investigative reporters with legal action on Agran's behalf. We have the councilman, unaware of
[Mark] Petracca's looming revelation, saying -- no, underscoring -- that it would be illegal for any candidate to operate a slate mailer like HVG. We have Petracca acknowledging that Agran was secretive about
his operation of HVG. And now we have the final piece of the crime: Agran's own handwriting on HVG hit pieces.

"District Attorney Tony Rackauckas: What else do you need?"

Rifleshot

The voters of Irvine enacted a campaign contribution limitation ordinance to prevent big-monied special interests from influencing Irvine City Council races. Agran himself fought hard for this issue. To then turn around and set up a slate-mailing operation specifically to exploit a loophole in the very law he campaigned for is, in my opinion, highly unethical.

Chuck DeVore

Interesting comments from the backlogs of the O.C. Weekly.

The California Election Code, Section 82048.4 clearly states that a candidate cannot be involved in the running of a slate -- I know, I wanted to and was told that that was illegal. In year's past, Mr. Agran's campaign address was at the same physical location as the Hometown Voter Guide, using the same treasurer, and the same printer. And, former Agran ally, UCI Prof. Petracca has already said that Mr. Agran determined the Hometown Voter Guide's content and candidates. That, ladies and gentlemen, looks like controlling a slate which, according to 82048.4 is illegal for an officeholder. To whit:

82048.4.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a slate mailer organization
shall not include any of the following:
(1) A candidate or officeholder or a candidate's or officeholder's
controlled committee.

DanC

Chuck -- The Lincoln Club sued the City over campaign finance laws that were enacted to preserve the right for Independent Expenditure campaigns to be used in Irvine.

Irvine fought to keep I/E subject to the same campaign limits, to restrict political parties and groups like the Lincoln Club to effectively "buy" races on behalf of Republican candidates. The Lincoln Club won their legal challenge.

In 2004, I/Es from Lincoln Club and Republican front groups funneled close to $500,000 into the failed 2004 Irvine First ticket. Remeber the "Restore Integrtiy to Irvine City Hall?" It was a sham group that channeled soft money to your side of the aisle. I've received several Republican frontede slate mailers; why aren't you bitching about those?

And when the folks at El Morro gave $60K to your 2004 campaign, was it a shakedown, a squeeze, or a quid pro quo for the bill you proposed?

BTW, I missed your Sat night reply to me but someone called me about it. I think both groups get soft money, but its hypocritical for you to complain about the HTVG and not be critical of the soft moeny your side gets (did you ever find out how those ugly pink signs were paid for?)

Chuck DeVore

DacC:

You wrote: "…did you ever find out how those ugly pink signs were paid for?"

I did -- after the election. Since no candidate can legally coordinate with an IE, I was unable to prevent the IE from wasting money on cheap pink signs. Slates are a different story, but candidates and officeholders are not supposed to have any control of slates – it’s illegal.

As for the difference between a city council of 5 where 3 make policy and can strongly suggest to developers and property owners what is in their best interests, and the state legislature where 41 plus 21 plus the governor make policy in the strong light of day, well, you can see the difference right off, now can’t you? I was supported by people who lived at El Morro in my district who believed in my agenda with donations that were reported for all to see. Do you really believe that big developers believe in the Agran/Krom/Kang agenda, and, if so, what pray tell might that agenda be? And, furthermore, why hide the donations through an intermediary named Planning 2020, Inc. in Monterey? My donations were limited by campaign laws and fully reported. Donations to Planning 2020, Inc. and Hometown Voter Guide are completely unlimited and are processed through a number of intermediary groups, such as the non-profit “Safe and Healthy Communities Fund.”

Don’t you see the difference? Or, am I writing to a partisan brick wall? Why do you suppose Prof. Petracca, Mr. Mears (a former Irvine city councilman), Mr. Goldstone (one of my opponents from the 2002 race for Irvine city council), to name three, have quit the Agran/Krom/Kang team and are now working to restore ethics to Irvine government? Or, would you rather just attack me again on something else?

All the best,

Chuck DeVore
State Assemblyman, 70th District

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Mr, DeVore, if you are so concerned about integrity in Irvine politics, what about denouncing the recent hit piece on Krom and her "connections" to Communist China.

She "approved a backroom deal," which Shea and Choi also voted in favor of. And look who paid for it, none other than Frank Jao, though no contributions come from him. All from his relatives, companies, and cronies. For those who don't know, Jao is Duong's boss, and has caught alot of flack recently for investments and business deals with Communist Vietnam and China.

Why no righteous indignation when Republicans do the exact same thing as Larry? Is the problem just that he does it better than you and your allies? In the heart of Republican OC, that must be pretty embarrassing.

DanC

Chuck - clearly you have the chops to take anything I throw at you. And I'm the one writing to a Partisan Brick Wall thank you very much.

I don't know if a developers believes in the AgranKromKang agenda, whatever that is. And how do you know if they don't support it?

And Chuck, you can explain the donations from El Morro all you want, but it certainly looks like a quid pro quo for the bill you offered. I have no idea if El Morro believes in your agenda or if they made a contribution in exchange for a bill. I'm sure they got what they paid for.

Why is it that people who donate to you support your vision but in your view people who donate to Larry don't?

I have been hearing about Larry and the HTVG since I moved here 10 years ago. If there was something illegal, I have to believe he would have been prosecuted by now.

Tell you what; when the Lincoln Club and other GOP front groups stop pouring in money to Irvine races, I'll come out against HTVG.

So who paid for the pink signs? I understand how as a candidate you can't get involvedin IEs, but as a candidate, you could have made a public statement asking that organization not to put them up. Sounds like Ken Melhman's arguement about the racist ad running in Tenn against Harold Ford. He can't do anything about it. Right.

I love how you guys continue to bring up all the former Agran allies now aligned against him. Proof that the only time a liberal is worth listening to is when they turn on Larry. Irvine is changing. Its not as red as it used to be, but it probably won't go bluer until after you are termed out.

And just so you know, I don't consider Larrt, Beth or Sukhee liberals; they are moderates by my standards. I'm way over to the left.

I would love for you to tell me why Prop 90 is a good idea especially since a similar law in Oregon has cost that state nearly 5.5 billion since enacted in 2004....

Chuck DeVore

Re: Prop. 90: even Cong. Maxine Waters knows we need eminent domain reform in the wake of Kelo. I have a big article on this appearing in Human Events in a couple of days. Should be online by Monday.

Re. your: "I would love for you to tell me why Prop 90 is a good idea especially since a similar law in Oregon has cost that state nearly 5.5 billion since enacted in 2004...." Simple, after years of abuse in Oregon, the voters rebelled and passed a law that was retroactive. Prop. 90 only applies to government actions going forward... Huge difference, eh? The government can control its Prop. 90 liability by restraining its actions to take private property.

On your other points: 1) I did what I did on El Morro because it made fiscal sense to a cash strapped state with a $900 million maintenance backlog in the park system. It's all been hashed out online and in the papers. Sadly, my idea didn't get very far and we'll soon have a 250 car parking lot and an RV/campground next to an elementary school.

2) As for the difference between IEs and a slate supported by businesses that do business with the city, there's a BIG difference. Money for the IEs comes from ideological donors. That's why I don't begrudge the Getty heiress Ms. Earhart putting $100,000 into Hometown Voter Guide as she just as easily could have gone the IE route. Where I draw the distinction is in businesses with land use decisions or contracts with the city contributing $900,000 over the past three election cycles to Hometown Voter Guide. It stinks as the council majority directly benefits.

All the best,

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, 70th District

Elroy El

82048.4.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a slate mailer organization
shall not include any of the following:
(1) A candidate or officeholder or a candidate's or officeholder's
controlled committee.

Chuck. Where is your proof that Agran is actually breaking the law? Wasn't this issue addressed on a different thread by someone who operates slates? I believe he explained there is no illegalities in Agran's actions.

Not that anyone cares.

DanC

Chuck -- Doesn't your side routinely dismiss Maxine Walters on most everything? I'm looking at the list of newspapers who have come out against Prop 90 and it features just about every major paper in California from the liberal SF Chron to the conservative SD Union Trib, and they all agree Prop 90 is a bad idea. The OC Register of course loves it.

I keep hearing about this emininet domain abuse in California but have only found one reference to an actual event in Costa Mesa. And I believe California law already provides for just compensation.

Chuck DeVore

DanC -- here's 4 more examples for you from California as to why Prop. 90 is needed and why the Irvine City Council majority of Krom, Agran and Kang are wrong to oppose Prop. 90.

All the best,

Chuck DeVore
State Assemblyman, 70th District

Filipino Baptist Fellowship Church
Long Beach, CA —The Long Beach, California Redevelopment Agency wants to condemn the Filipino Baptist Fellowship Church in order to make way for more condos.

Redding Family
Escondido, CA — The City of Escondido forced the sale of the Redding family land in 1995 as part of an eminent domain proceeding to build a water reclamation system. That project never moved forward and now the city is trying to sell the land to developers for a profit. The Redding family is fighting for the right to buy their own land back.

Jo Stringfield
Grand Terrace, CA —Using an outdated 1979 designation that declared the entire city of Grand Terrace blighted, city officials are attempting to build a shopping center and Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse on 16 acres of privately owned, residential land. All but one property owner have sold. The remaining owner, Jo Stringfield, worries that the recent Supreme Court decision will allow the city to seize her home.

Moe Mohanna
Sacramento, CA —A developer and Iranian immigrant, Moe Mohanna, has a plan to redevelop the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street in downtown Sacramento. Mohanna owns many of the properties in these blocks. A competing developer, Joe Zeiden, has a competing proposal to redevelop the blocks which calls for 14 properties, many owned by Mohanna, to be condemned by the city.

DanC

But these all appear to be very old cases; one from 1995 and the others are undated; Prop 90 passage would do nothing about this. And California has a just compensation law on the books already. It's not just the Great Park Team that opposes Prop 90; virtually every significant newspaper in the state from liberal to conservative say its a bad idea. Except the OC Register. So maybe its the OC Register and OC Republicans who are out of step with the rest of the state and not the pother way around.

And given the make up of Irvine as a master planned community, I serious doubt if your home or my home is going to get bulldozed to make way for another Starbucks.

Another topic -- why is it Irvine gets less than half the state average on education funding. Our district is the lowest funded one in the state. What are you doing about that?

redperegrine

DanC, you proudly proclaim yourself a lefty; how then can you countenance small business owners and minority homeowners being bought out under the duress of eminent domain - only to see their land handed over gratis to car dealers/developers/big box retailers, etc.? This has been happening across California for decades and continues today. Are you for it?

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