Lacy provides a link to Frank Mickadeit’s factually challenged column on the 25th.
I have to say I am more than a little puzzled by the action last night of the Board of Trustees of the South Orange County Community College District, lead by Nancy Padberg of San Clemente, in rushing to fill the vacancy created on their Board by the recent death of Republican leader Tom Fuentes, whose term was set to expire and is up for election in just four months. The Board filled the position with a candidate who has served on the faculty, by a vote of 5-1. Yet it was clear that Tom’s wife, Jolene Fuentes, a well-known community activist who is eminently qualified for the position, is set to run for the seat in the November election, and will undoubtedly have the backing of the Orange County Republican Party and just about every conservative political organization in the county rallying behind her for this bedrock conservative seat. Why the rush to appoint someone else for just a couple of meetings? The appearance is very strong that Padberg and the Trustee majority don’t want another serious Republican on the Board to replace Tom Fuentes. That issue will now be resolved in November and I am betting on Jolene.
You dare not to select me? Fool!
The only comment to Lacy’s piece was the clueless “follow the money.” And so I submitted the following:
You may be correct that the board was in a “rush” to appoint someone to replace Tom Fuentes, but the board has a history of such hurriedness. This time, they appointed someone only five months before the election, but back in 2000, they appointed someone only four months before the election. They appointed Tom Fuentes.
No doubt Jolene Fuentes is qualified for the position, but she is hardly “eminently” qualified, since she has virtually no experience in higher education or management of large budgets.
The other applicant, however, was indeed “eminently qualified.” After his four or five years as a chemistry instructor, James Wright spent the subsequent fourteen years in administration. Before his arrival at the college, he spent 27 years in the Air Force, where he held such notable positions as Director of the McClellan Central Laboratory at McClellan Air Force Base. You can read about his background here:
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I responded to Cunningham as follows:
I see, Mr. Cunningham, you have adopted the practice (in some benighted circles) of offering a conclusions sans argument. Exactly what is the "craven" behavior here? The board decided to replace an empty seat. Now, we're told, "Tom" would have said, "that's wrong; let the voters decide!" After all, the election is only five months away!I wrote a lengthy response to Mickadeit on the 25th or 26th, but somehow it doesn’t seem to appear. (Well, I just checked and, for now, it's up.)
But I was there that night in July of 2000 when Mr. Fuentes applied to replace trustee Frogue, who had resigned. He answered the interview questions and he was chosen. Fewer than four months later, he was also elected in the general election, with the "incumbent" advantage. We never heard a peep from him about the importance of letting the people decide [instead of the board appointing, then election].