Going, Going, Gone to Court

The question of which Nguyen won is about to be answered. Or maybe not.

The Los Angeles Times reports that OC Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley has finished the recount of the February 6 special election, and determined that Janet Nguyen is the winner. Republican Nguyen's margin of victory over Republican Trung Nguyen is said to be seven votes, which brings the proceedings to a neatly symmetrical end, since the losing Nguyen (T.) was seven votes ahead of the winning Nguyen (J.) at the beginning of the recount.

Trung Nguyen, following the example set by his party's leader during the 2000 presidential election recount, is preparing to challenge the recount results in court. Janet Nguyen also seems to draw inspiration from Maximum Leader George W. Bush, as evidenced by this line from the Times story:

Asked whether winning by just seven votes provided her with a mandate, she said it did.

Elsewhere in the courts of OC, the long shadow of the Mouse throws a chill over the democratic process.

Disney is suing Anaheim

to prevent a reconsideration of an affordable housing project. That would the same project that Disney recently worked so hard to kill, the high point of its efforts coming when

its attorneys raised the possibility

of civil and criminal penalties for Council member Lucille Kring, if she voted on the project.

And finally, events in another OC courtroom show that sometimes shared xenophobia just isn't a strong enough basis to keep a relationship from fracturing. From the Times:

A behind-the-scenes power struggle over control of the Minuteman Project spilled into an Orange County courtroom Monday with ousted co-founder Jim Gilchrist asking a judge to give him back control of the citizen border patrol group.Superior Court Judge Randell L. Wilkinson said he would issue a ruling within a few days.

Gilchrist, 58, a national figure in the fight against illegal immigration, was removed as president of the Minuteman Project this month by its board of directors, which accused him of abusing his power and leaving more than $400,000 of the organization's money unaccounted for.

Gilchrist, a retired accountant from Aliso Viejo, denied the allegations but said the controversy "could very well bring an end to the entire Minuteman Project. There are groups around the country with the name, but we are the most well known and the most powerful."

Gilchrist said in an interview that his opponents were motivated by "a greed for power and a false perception of an endless stream of money."


Deborah Courtney, the group's recently appointed treasurer, said in an interview that a direct mail company helped raise $750,000 for the group in 2006, but that she believes the Minuteman campaign received only $311,000. Courtney said she and others had been unable to trace the rest of the money.

Courtney added that Gilchrist "is wonderful at wowing a crowd…. However, there is the Peter Principle, where you get to the point where it is over your head."

Gilchrist's opponents also allege in interviews that he used Minuteman funds to promote the book he co-wrote — "Minutemen: The Battle to Secure America's Borders" — but kept the royalties.

Gustavo reviewed Gilchrist's book when it came out last year. You should read

the review

("The book is riddled with typos. It's badly organized and stilted. But its worst sin is that it's boring".) so you too can wonder about the most remarkable allegation in the current court case, which isn't that Gilchrist inappropriately used Minuteman funds for his own needs or that he violated federal laws governing nonprofit groups-- it's that Gilchrist's book generated any royalties worth mentioning.


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