It's potentially the most lethal weapon in Linda Ackerman's campaign to defeat Republican county Supervisor Chris Norby for Mike Duvall's open state Assembly seat: sexual misconduct innuendo.
The reason is simple. Duvall resigned in September after the Weekly and KCAL revealed that the self-styled Christian conservative and vice chairman of the Assembly utilities committee had bragged about having sloppy sex with two Sacramento-based lobbyists--one of whom worked for utility giant Sempra. Voters in the 72nd district surely don't want to be embarrassed again, right?
But some grassroots activists in Fullerton, the heart of the district, are outraged not just at Ackerman's tactics but at Orange County Register columnist Frank Mickadeit for, in their view, regurgitating a smear campaign in advance of the Jan. 12 special election.
On Oct. 7, Mickadeit devoted an entire column to Dick Ackerman's quarter of a century-old recollection of rumors about then-Fullerton City Councilman Norby's "touchings and inappropriate comments" involving a female city employee. Dick, it should be noted, is Linda's husband, a onetime Fullerton mayor, a longtime Republican state senator and, he openly admits, an old, bitter Norby nemesis. The alleged victim never filed a complaint or a lawsuit. Norby, who was the target of an unsuccessful sexual harassment lawsuit in 2003, denies any wrongdoing.
But to bolster Ackerman's tale, Mickadeit somehow found a lone witness, ex-Fullerton City Councilwoman Linda LeQuire. She recalled the mid-1980s' rumors, but either couldn't produce any specifics or Mickadeit didn't bother to relay them to his readers. The Reg man--known to regularly hobnob in his personal time with Ackerman's crowd at swanky Gulfstream in Newport Beach--apparently felt he'd done his duty by quoting LeQuire saying, "the council was appraised something had happened."
Something? There you have it. Chris Norby, you are guilty of something! I now pronounce you wholly unqualified for the state Assembly!
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Over at the Friends for Fullerton's Future blog, Mickadeit was immediately hailed as an Ackerman "tool" and the undocumented rumors as "pure unadulterated bullshit . . . right out of the Richard M. Nixon playbook."
"Ackerman is a liar or has a real, real bad memory," the author of the post wrote.
According to the Registrar of Voters, other candidates to replace Duvall include systems engineer Jane Rands, teacher John MacMurray and businessman Richard Faher.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly