Slim Pickins

Hold your nose and vote for these few good candidates

FOURTH DISTRICT SUPERVISOR
Chris Norby
Like lots of people these days, this 17-year Fullerton city councilman opposes the county's maniacal plans for an El Toro International Airport. And it's a no-brainer that the Los Angeles Times endorsed him because his competition—pro-airport incumbent Cynthia Coad—is such a dimwit. But Norby has more going for him than that. Over the past two decades, he has actually managed to do a few things for his constituents. He cast the sole council vote in 1990 supporting a pool hall for a Fullerton shopping center—something the rest of the council thought wasn't "upscale" enough. Seven years later, he voted against forcing Fullerton merchants to adopt English-only signs. He has voted to force developers—not city taxpayers—to pay for the parking structures that serve their mall and hotel projects. Norby opposes taxpayer subsidies for NFL stadiums and recently backed a council resolution opposing the renewal of the Orange County Sanitation District's Clean Water Act waiver. Of course, not everything Norby has said and done is cool, as he's opposed low-income housing projects and once described Second District Supervisor Jim Silva—whose unopposed re-election is an insult to everyone with an IQ higher than 70—as the only county supervisor who still had "credibility." Still, Norby thinks for himself. You can't have too much of that on the county Board of Supervisors.


REPUBLICAN CENTRAL COMMITTEE, 70th DISTRICT

Photo by Jack Gould
Jo Ellen Allen
If you're a moderate Republican chafing under the rule of tyrant conservatives, vote for Central Committee member Jo Ellen Allen. Other incumbent candidates are equally odd—Tom Fuentes is Machiavellian and dapper, like Dracula in daylight; Chuck Devore is so conservative that his positions scream out for psychological explanation. Allen is all this and more: her mere presence on the committee could do for the right wing of the county's Republican Party what Watergate did for the national party. Here's how: in September 2001, federal Judge Robert W. Alberts ruled that Allen's husband, Eddie, had used God, country and friendship to defraud numerous Republicans out of millions of dollars. Jo Ellen—a Southern California Edison spokesperson and conservative commentator on TV and radio—has asserted that Eddie did nothing wrong, and that if he did, she did not know about it. But several people say she directed them to invest in her husband's Ponzi scheme. Why vote for such a woman? Because Jo Ellen Allen is a political time bomb in a St. John Knit. If justice prevails and the charges against her hit the so-far invertebrate dailies, Allen's political reputation will be blown to bits. If that happens, she may take down with her a confederacy of dunces. Reason will triumph.

SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE OFFICE THREE
Anyone But Bruce William Dannemeyer
All you need to know about Dannemeyer's worthiness for this post of impartiality is that the bulk of his campaign war chest is funded by a $50,000 loan from his nut-job father. That would be William E. Dannemeyer, 72, the former seven-term congressman (and twice-failed candidate for U.S. Senate) from Fullerton who was a ruthless right-wing wacko before it was all the rage. Dannemeyer the Elder argued that AIDS is spread by airborne spores and that patients should be quarantined; that there should be prayer in public schools; that the Alaskan wilderness should be drilled for oil; that communism is still a threat. The last time he popped up on the political radar was in 1995 to endorse Bob Dornan for president. Failing that, he now wants his son to be judge. Don't let the old man get his way; vote for either deputy district attorney Kimberly Menninger or family lawyer Grainne Hardiman-Ward. SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE OFFICE 21
Barry Kohn
Incumbent judge Ronald C. Kline of Irvine faces charges that he downloaded child porn onto his computer and committed lewd acts with a teenage boy 25 or 26 years ago (the alleged victim says he can't remember the exact time). The 61-year-old judge has pleaded innocent on all counts, but his sensational case won't be resolved until after the March 5 election. Once unopposed, Kline now faces 11 write-in challengers for the $136,000-per-year job. (Due to a quirk in election law, only Kline's name will appear on the ballot.) Many of the new candidates seem satisfied with campaigns based on an "I am not a child molester" or fag theme. That type of campaigning may get supportive "oohs and aahs" at a local PTA meeting but says nothing about judicial qualifications. The best candidate for the post is Laguna Beach resident Barry Kohn, a veteran LA superior court commissioner. With an impressive 20-year record for fairness and intellect, Kohn would be a much-needed addition to the OC bench.
Tom Daly
COUNTY CLERK/RECORDER
No Endorsement
To be honest, we expected a little more from Tom Daly, a guy who likes to point out that he was marked for greatness when he showed up—as a baby in a stroller—on Disneyland's opening day and went on to become mayor of Anaheim. The bright side is that Daly's work as county clerk (keeping records of births, deaths, marriages, business names and property ownership) would qualify him for flowers on National Secretary's Day. Remarkably, there are two guys far scarier than Daly in the race: county education trustee Felix Rocha Jr. and Irvine gadfly Bruce Peotter. That leaves Roberta J. Estrada, who is a "recordable document examiner" (whatever the hell that is), and "operating engineer" Craig H. Sink, who does possess the best slogan possibilities: "Think Sink," "Rise With Sink," "Throw in the Sink" or "Raise a Stink, Vote for Sink!" PUBLIC ADMINISTRATOR
John S. Williams
Four people are running for public administrator, the county official who manages the estates of losers who die without wills or anyone willing to handle their affairs. Mark your ballot for John S. Williams, who has no experience for the job (he's a retired sheriff's sergeant). He also sits on the South Orange County Community College District board of trustees, thanks to heavy backing from the Christian Coalition and since-deposed leaders of a corrupt college teachers union. Williams has served during a tumultuous period that saw the district nearly go belly-up, a stinging state accreditation report, the departure of several longtime employees (including two chancellors and scores of presidents at Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges), the obliteration of policies that allowed faculty and staff to have a say in running their campuses, and the fireworks that surrounded allegations that a since-retired trustee (and Williams chum) loved Nazis. South County voters, who are apparently as blind to all the crap going on in the district as they are to Christian fundamentalists' assault on all of public education, keep electing Williams. So it's up to the rest of us to help our southern comrades with a three-pronged strategy: elect Williams public administrator, eat your wills, and tell your heirs to butt out when the county comes looking for someone to administer your estate. Bury this guy in so much work he'll be forced to step down from the college district. Our kids—even our Ecstacy-juiced, Teva-wearing, Girls Gone Wild-watching college kids—deserve better. INSURANCE COMMISSIONER/DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE
John Garamendi
State legislator Tom Calderon received a scary amount of his total campaign cash (around $1 million, last time we checked) from the insurance industry. Local-boy-gone-Clintonian Tom Umberg collected about the same amount of cash without the insurance industry—which makes us wonder where he got all that loot. And he has just been endorsed by Erin Brockovich and her cleavage. The safer choice is Garamendi, who, when he did this job before, pissed off the insurance industry by consistently sticking up for consumers. INSURANCE COMMISSIONER/REPUBLICAN NOMINEE
Stefan "Watchdog" Stitch
A local in the insurance biz, Wes Bannister of Huntington Beach, is running in this race, as is unknown businessman Gary Mendoza, but anyone who could persuade the secretary of state to include the nickname "Watchdog" on the ballot is obviously a can-do guy worthy of your vote. Besides, whichever of these guys wins will lose badly to the high-powered Democrats seeking the office forever disgraced by Republican Chuck Quackenbush. STATE SUPERINTENDENT FOR PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
Katherine H. Smith
We're not really on speaking terms with Kathy Smith these days. When we recently profiled her run for statewide office—a campaign focused more on code enforcement and classroom manners than education—the Anaheim Union High School District board president called us "disgusting." Now we feel bad. Really, really bad. Because truth be told, Smith is a really, really nice lady and really, really means well. Katherine Smith for State Superintendent of Public Instruction—really.
 
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