id you read Jean Pasco’s article in the Times this morning? Pasco reports that
A supporter of the Orange County sheriff's reelection bid filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging the ballot statement of a rival candidate that calls the sheriff's term a "failure" marked by "scandal after scandal."
The sheriff, of course, is Mike Carona, a fellow who is indeed up to his eyeballs in scandal. He’s a player—a star—in Fuentes Nation (aka Fuentes World), a community that is peopled by like-minded right-wingers.
Being accused of corruption or at least ruthlessness seems to be an entrance requirement.
No doubt thanks to Mr. Fuentes, three years ago, the Irvine Valley College Foundation named Carona its “hometown hero.” That's when everybody in the country was falling all over themselves in a mad rush to honor the "hero" of the Samantha Runnion tragedy.
Some hero. Have you been reading the paper? Carona is about as dirty as that other Fuentean hero, Orange County DA, Tony Rackaucus.
The “supporter” referred to in the Times article is Ronald Young, who will appear in court today with his lawyer, Michael Houston.
Houston, of course, is a crony of Mr. Tom Fuentes. Why am I not surprised?
Pasco informs us that Mr. Houston works for Rutan and Tucker, a fancy-schmancy OC law firm.
Hmmm. Rutan and Tucker. That would be the firm that represented the district in my First Amendment lawsuit. They lost the suit but appealed. During the appellate process—I essentially prevailed there, too—Rutan and Tucker had two attorneys on the case: Dave Larsen and Robert E. King.
Robert E. King? That would be the guy just hired as the Vice Chancellor of Human Resources!
ave you ever played the trivia game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”? According to Wikipedia, the game is
inspired by the stage play Six Degrees of Separation. [It] requires a group of players to connect any film actor to Kevin Bacon as quickly as possible and in as few links as possible.
I play a variation on the Bacon game. It’s called “Six Degrees of Fuentes Nation.” Essentially, to play, you’ve gotta find patches of the fabric of Fuentes Nation, aka OC Right-Wing Republican Web o' Cronies.
OK, so far, I’ve got
Young → Houston → Fuentes and
Fuentes → Rutan & Tucker → Larsen → King → SOCCCD → Fuentes.
Let’s start from Mr. King, who, as I said, is our new VC of Human Resources.
Human Resources? As you know, Teddi Lorch is the district's Director of Human Resources. (How come we've got both a Vice Chancellor and a Director of HR? What's next, a chief petty officer?) Back in 2000, Teddi ran for a seat (representing the 73rd Assembly District) on the OC GOP Central Committee. That would be Fuentes’ OC GOP. (He was the chair at the time.) Teddi came in dead last.
Who represents the 73rd Assembly District these days? That would be Teddi’s best pal, Nancy Padberg, who, of course, accompanies Mr. Fuentes on the SOCCCD Board of Trustees.
Teddi, too, was on the SOCCCD board, until she was replaced in 1998 by—you guessed it! Nancy Padberg!
OK, so that’s King → Lorch → SOCCCD → BOT → Padberg → Fuentes.
While hangin’ with the OC Republican leadership, no doubt Nancy rubs elbows with conservative pollster Adam P, the guy who assisted Mr. Fuentes so ably on that night five and a half years ago when Fuentes made his successful bid to replace Steve Frogue on our board.
Remember the Frogue Recall? The leader of that effort among Republicans was close Fuentes associate Michael Schroeder, who just happens to be the chief legal advisor of both Tony Rackaucus and Mike Carona. (Schroeder’s wife is Carona's spokesperson.)
Like I said, Central Committee member Nancy P might run into Adam, cuz Adam is on the executive group of the Committee.
Adam, of course, can also be found, along with Fuentes’ wife Jolene, on the board of governors of the IVC Foundation, as can John Fleischman, who is also on the GOP executive leadership group and, by day, works for Sheriff Carona.
The executive director of the local GOP is Kathy Tavoularis, another Fuentes crony, who also sits on the IVC Foundation board.
Paul Hernandez, another Foundation board member, is ex-officio alternate on the OC GOP Central Committee.
Foundation board member Anthony Kuo, a Mathur apologist during his student days at IVC, is now Jo Ellen Allen’s alternate on the Central Committee.
IVC Foundation board member Keith Carlson is the alternate for Scott Baugh, who represents the 67th Assembly District on the OC GOP Central Committee.
Baugh, of course, replaced Tom Fuentes as chair of the OC GOPers back in 2004.
I could go on like this forever.
But you get the idea.
h—one more thing. Did you know that Nancy Padberg is running for Superior Court Judge? See
Nancy runs for Judge (a pdf file)
MARCH 18 UPDATE:
in TODAY'S REGISTER
Yesterday's Times article didn't reveal who was behind the legal challenge, aside from Young and his lawyer Houston. I implied that Fuentes or his crowd (Schroeder, Fleischman, Probolsky, et al.) were behind it.
But today's Register article ("Carona wants phrase barred," by Peggy Lowe) "connects the dots," owing in part to a misdirected email between Schroeder and Fleischman. Some excerpts:
...Carona's top two advisers – Jon Fleischman and Michael Schroeder – recruited a voter with no name recognition to challenge it [i.e., inclusion of language referring to "scandal" and "failure"] in court.
In an e-mail inadvertently sent to The Orange County Register, Fleischman reported to Schroeder on Wednesday that the campaign's lawyers were working with someone named Ron Young "to challenge the questionable language (on) Bill Hunt's campaign statement."
To connect the dots: Young is the husband of Mary Young, a GOP activist, and was found by pollster Adam Probolsky, according to Fleischman's e-mail. Further connection: Probolsky has worked with John Lewis, Carona's campaign manager.
"We'll all have to thank the Youngs – and also TY (thank you) to Adam for calling them and getting them to agree to this!" reads Fleischman's e-mail from a personal account.
Schroeder responded to Fleischman in an e-mail that "Hunt may stipulate to removing the offending language in order to avoid an attorney's fees hit." [Classic hardball tactic!]
Reached Friday, Fleischman said he was working at his county job as the sheriff's spokesman and must keep politics separate.
..."What we're seeing here is a very concerted effort from a select few behind the scenes from one party that is controlling and manipulating what happens in the office of the sheriff," Hunt said. "That should be problematic for anybody, especially with the string of scandals coming out of that office."
...Carona has faced many controversies, including the firing of an assistant sheriff and his chief of staff, George Jaramillo, who has since been indicted on several charges, including bribery.
Carona, who is seeking a third term, has also weathered reports of questionable campaign contributions and one case of money laundering through his campaign. The attorney general is investigating three issues surrounding the sheriff's department, including a claim of sexual harassment against Carona.
The issue will be heard in Orange County Superior Court on Monday.
Also, check out an article in today's Register concerning Fuentes crony Chriss Street:
Trustee: Official abused firm funds
O.C.'s assistant treasurer is accused of fiscal misconduct as a bankrupt trailer firm's asset manager.
By MARTIN WISCKOL
Chriss Street, the leading candidate to become county treasurer-tax collector, has been accused of "mismanagement, conflicts of interest and greed" in a bankruptcy-court document filed this week....