Being a city council member is a thankless job, although they do usually save you a nice parking spot at city hall.
While we applaud public service, many, many holders of local office in Orange County use their positions of "power" to do some really fucked-up things.
Here are but 10 supposed city leaders we'd prefer not to hear from in 2013.
Irvine's apparent mayor for life no matter who runs a council meeting or cuts the ribbon at an auto store opening, Larry Agran suffered a crushing defeat in November when the voting majority he led for years was toppled. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, a supposed ideological foe, was somehow convinced to make last-minute robo-calls on behalf of supposed liberal Larry's mayoral run–after Agran planted a decoy candidate to siphon votes from T-Rack's Republican Party mate Steven Choi, who won the race anyway. Agran still has two years left on his council term, so we still have him to kick around through at least 2014. ([Moxley Confidential] Cash-Corruption Connection: The Orange County DA owed the Irvine mayor's political machine $25,000, said no crime in the city)
Getting arrested for multiple sex crimes, as then-Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante did July 2, sure can wreak havoc on one's attempt to be a rising political star. While outgoing Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez was lauded for her city tenure at the Dec. 11 council meeting, no recognition was given for Bustamante, a Latino darling of the GOP who managed to not only take down himself but, as a 47-year-old, married, father of three county Public Works director accused of sexually assaulting seven females, a county CEO as well. (Carlos Bustamante: The Great Brown Flop: Disgraced Santa Ana councilman is the latest OC GOP Latino golden boy gone pendejo)
Sangjin Miller Oh–the "Sangjin" is silent when referring to him
as a Buena Park city councilman–pleaded not guilty in July to multiple
counts of perjury aimed at maintaining his deadbeat-dad status. The 48-year-old could spend six years and four months in state
prison with a conviction on charges he lied on California DMV documents six times to hide his wealth, ownership of vehicles and, thus, his ability to pay court-ordered child support to his ex-wife. Did the real estate developer and unapologetic Republican campaign with the children denied child support by his side? You betcha! (Miller Oh, Buena Park Councilman, Denies With Not Guilty Plea He's a Liar and Deadbeat Dad)
This is one of those teabaggy types who believes life would be better and safer if teachers were packing, you could openly carry your weapons in city parks and you could name the family dog after the Islamic prophet Muhammad, openly scoff at the integrity of your Middle Eastern college students and freely plagiarize without fear of losing said teaching gig. We'd be free to ignore him or write him off as a "pinhead" as Bill O'Reilly did were it not for the fact that voters in San Juan Capistrano saw fit to elect Reeve as a city councilman. As was the case with Agran, we're stuck with Reeve through at least 2014–unless some enterprising soul would like to launch a recall campaign. (Derek Reeve, San Juan Capistrano Council's Goofball Pro Tem, Calls for Arming Teachers)
The Orange County grand jury released a report June 28 excoriating Tustin City Councilman (and former mayor) Jerry Amante for "misfeasance in office" and "exceeding or
misusing a public power or position and thereby risking
harm" for lobbying a college president to force the resignation of a
professor who exposed the massive amount of
taxpayer funds spent to compensate Orange County public officials.
Four days later, FSB Core Strategies–the "full service" public affairs, public relations
and political consulting firm owned by old GOP warhorse Curt Pringle's former lackey Jeff Flint–fired off a press release
heralding Amante as its newest hire. It's kismet, baby, Orange County style! (Jerry Amante, Tustin Councilman, Has Grand Jury "Misfeasance in Office" Finding Marked With Call for His Head and Hiring as a Lobbyist)
The aforementioned grand jury report blasted Amante and Laguna Hills City Councilman L. Allan Songstad Jr., who were serving together as officers of the Orange County division of the
League of California Cities and the break-away Association of
California Cities-Orange County, for marching into Chapman University President James Doti's office seeking the head of Fred Smoller, director of the public administration graduate
program at Brandman University, a Chapman school for working
professionals. Smoller had loaned Barbara Kogerman, then running for a Laguna Hills council seat, two graduate students for project comparing city manager/administrator salaries and bonuses across Southern California. They discovered the Laguna Hills manager, for a city with a population shy of 32,000, was
earning more than $460,000 in total annual compensation, the highest
among OC's city administrators, including those serving municipalities
with more than triple the population. The Kogerman project would later be expanded upon by journalists who exposed bloated packages for administrators in the tiny cities of Bell, Vernon and elsewhere. Fortunately, Songstad did not seek releection, and Kogerman is now the mayor.
Also bidding adieu in November, but not by choice, was Orange City Councilman Jon Dumitru, who'd early in 2012 misspelled anti-Islamic ramblings on his Facebook page that he then tried to laughably clean up after the fact.
That little incident sparked a nationwide furor but also turned Dumitru
into such a star among the lunatic set–the people who insist Muslims are
trying to get us all sharia and shit–that the councilman figured he could parlay that national recognition into a local election victory as mayor. It did not work, as Teresa "Tita" Smith won the mayoral race and Dumitru slithered back into obscurity (praise Allah). (Jon Dumitru, Wackjob Orange Councilmember, Continues to Court the Anti-Muslim Vote for His Mayoral Campaign)
Placentia City Councilman Chad Wanke always had a reputation for coded anti-Mexican language in claiming budget frugality. Come on, we'd expect no less. This is Orange County, after all. But Wanke's love of hate soared to new heights when The Mexican revealed he is Facebook pals with neo-Nazis like Travis Wanke, who has an extensive criminal record that included assaulting an African-American man while shouting racial epithets and, as a Deadline Skins member, earned a tattoo of a pair of combat boots with red laces on the left
side to signify committing a violent act and spilling the
blood of a non-white person. "I'm betting Fuhrers to SS that they're probably cousins, which is the
excuse Chad will use when justifying why he's friends with
neo-Nazis–blood is thicker than water, you know?" Gustavo Arellano wrote in June. "Can't avoid family?
Bullshit!" (Why Is Placentia Councilmember Chad Wanke Facebook Friends with Neo-Nazis?)
The Orange County Republican Central Committee did nothing when its vice chairwoman and Villa Park City Councilwoman Deborah Pauly called for the death of Islamic men, women and children walking into a February 2011 Yorba Linda charity event. The committee also did nothing months before that, when Pauly likened Obamacare to rape. So what finally prompted the committee to vote Pauly out as vice chairwoman in May? She was linked to a supporter of the late George Wallace,
Alabama's segregationist governor for four non-consecutive terms between
1963 and 1987. It's unclear whether Pauly's crime was being linked to a supporter of Alabama's late segregationist governor or the fact that Wallace was a Democrat. , the Orange County Republican Central Committee has found
the eggs to dump Pauly. Villa Park's council is still stuck with her through 2014. (Why the Orange County Republican Central Committee Chose Now to Dump Deborah Pauly)
Selves (S.O.S.) and
Someone Cares Soup Kitchen are charities created by Costa Mesa church folk
who have been tirelessly serving the needy for more than two decades
each. Both are also woven into the fabric of Orange
society, as much funding is raised through annual charity galas and
events dedicated to SOS and Share Our Selves. So it came as a shock in October when then-Mayor Eric Bever called for an investigation of the charities, essentially
believing you can wipe out homelessness in Costa Mesa by wiping out
homeless charities, as those in most need will move elsewhere. He really had nothing to lose on the council, but the residual stink may have rubbed off on his November campaign to join the Mesa Consolidated Water District Board of Directors. Incumbent Fred R. Brockmiller easily fended off Bever's challenge. (Eric Bever, Costa Mesa Mayor, is Fly in Soup Kitchen Bowls)