This week, the city of Beaumont is the latest in a string of fiscal travesties that have been perpetrated on taxpayers and their elected representatives. Managing a local government is not easy. It’s complicated. And the financial reporting in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is not for the faint of heart.
That’s why we have to keep a diligent eye on how government conducts itself. The Press Enterprise article, the first below, highlights a resident who went above and beyond the call of duty to spotlight the city’s operations. She was finally vindicated and is enjoying the title of a "herald." The article references me, so I will take it as a very high compliment.
Immediately below the piece, I have included recent links of the fine work The Press Enterprise is doing on this latest development. Expect more from this paper as a story like this usually has legs.
The OC Register provides another campaign related story, one of their first on my race, in the second piece below. It is followed by Part Two of my voters guide, which includes Judges and other county related nonpartisan races. For Part One, see MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — June Primary – Part One — May 18, 2016 may 18, 2016 john moorlach.
BEAUMONT: Activist lauded for sounding a warning
Judy Bingham, who helped start the Beaumont corruption probe, says ‘I just had to do what I had to do.’
BY CRAIG SHULTZ / STAFF WRITER
Judy Bingham said she’s just a citizen looking out for taxpayers’ money.
In the wake of charges being filed against seven former city officials, others are offering far greater praise.
“She’s a local hero,” said Chris Mann, a political consultant and former state Assembly candidate. “If it was not for Judy Bingham, this corruption could still be going on.”
The 31-year Beaumont resident has spent more than a decade researching, talking and sometimes screaming about possible malfeasance in city government. Frequently addressing the City Council, she has shared the information she gathered regarding alleged wrong-doing by city administrators with numerous agencies.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s office listened, eventually leading to raids on City Hall and other locations in April 2015. That led to Tuesday’s announcement that the former city officials are collectively facing 94 felony charges, including embezzlement, misappropriation of funds, conspiracy and conflict of interest.
The charges stem from the suspected misappropriation of $43 million in public money over two decades, according to the district attorney’s office.
“I just had to do what I had to do,” Bingham said Wednesday, May 18, as she sat in an office at Bingham Wholesale Nursery, one of two family owned businesses. “I couldn’t let those guys get away with it.”
Bingham’s concerns centered on the relationship between the city and consultant Urban Logic, which employed many of the administrators who were indicted.
She has a large binder of letters and paperwork, dating to the first missive she sent in 2005 seeking copies of contracts. Since Bingham brought up conflict of interest claims among the city’s top officials, she says she has been harassed, arrested and sued, spending thousands of dollars defending herself.
She was arrested and eventually convicted of evading police, resisting arrest and making threats in 2005. She said the dispute started when the city took some of her property under eminent domain to build a road. She said she completed her probation and community service while also attending anger management classes.
Bingham can be loud, abrasive and combative, often raising her voice to get her point across.
“She’s been a polarizing figure in Beaumont, for sure,” Mann said. “Sometimes people are easily dismissed by the approach they take.”
There is perhaps no public record she hasn’t requested – then scolded city officials when they didn’t provide them quickly enough, or at all.
But Bingham said it hasn’t always been that way.
“I was nice back then,” she said of her early days asking questions. “I did everything the right way. I was quiet. We did the nice things, it did us no good.”
Most public boards have regular critics. But sometimes, like the case of John Moorlach, who predicted the Orange County bankruptcy in 1994, they are heralds.
“Once in awhile those gadflies are on to something,” Mann said.
And while Bingham was smiling quite a bit Wednesday, she knows the issue isn’t closed. There are still questions about where more than $400 million in bond money has gone.
“This is just the beginning,” she said.
Contact the writer: cshultz
O.C. incumbents in good spot heading into state races
By CHRIS HAIRE / STAFF WRITER
Life is good as an incumbent.
Heading into the June 7 California primary, those in the state Senate and Assembly who represent Orange County and are seeking re-election have in their favor name recognition, track records and healthy war chests.
Further, Assembly members in districts 69, 72, 73 and 74, and state Sen. John Moorlach of District 37, are all in relatively noncompetitive races. The top two vote-getters for each primary advance, regardless of party.
Here is a breakdown of those five races:
ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 69
Represents residents in Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange, Santa Ana.
Democrat Tom Daly, a former Anaheim mayor, has been in the Assembly since 2012 and opposes an Orange County employee.
Ofelia Velarde-Garcia, an executive aide for the county clerk of the Board of Supervisors, last week won the endorsement of the Orange County GOP.
But she has raised little campaign money, and the link to her campaign website didn’t work.
Daly has more than $521,000 in cash on hand, according to campaign filings. His primary issues include improving the state’s highways and veterans services.
District 69 is 53.2 percent Democrat and 22 percent Republican, according to the Orange County Registrar.
Velarde-Garcia, an ex-Marine who wants to do away with the recently passed ballot measure that meant the early release of some inmates, could get a boost is via demographics. Latinos are the majority in the district.
ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 72
Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Seal Beach, Westminster.
Incumbent Travis Allen is a Republican in a district that leans in his favor, party-wise. His opponents are Democrats who could split that party’s vote and have had meager success in raising money.
Allen, who wants to expand the state’s international trade, has $68,293 on hand, according to his most-recent campaign filing.
Meanwhile, Lenore Albert-Sheridan, a consumer-advocate attorney, has taken out more than $7,000 in loans and received only about $1,200 in contributions from Jan. 1 to April 28.
Another Democrat, Nam Pham could get some votes from fellow Vietnamese-Americans in the Little Saigon area. But he has not filed any campaign contribution forms with the Secretary of State and doesn’t have a campaign website.
ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 73
Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, several unincorporated areas in south Orange County.
Bill Brough, a Republican, has it easy: He has no opponents on the ballot.
The former soldier and Dana Point councilman has been in the Assembly since 2014 and is an economic conservative with a 100 percent rating from the California Taxpayers Association and an A grade from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 74
Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Newport Beach.
On paper, this race is closer than the other four.
Matthew Harper, an assemblyman since receiving 59.5 percent of the vote during the 2014 election, is running against two opponents, one a Republican.
The relatively affluent district is majority Republican: 41.4 percent to 30 percent for the Democrats.
Harper, a former Huntington Beach councilman, promotes strong public safety, economic development and ensuring personal freedom as top priorities.
Republican Katherine Daigle is a businesswoman with politically similar ideas, from advocating for free enterprise over regulations and improving infrastructure. She backs gender equality.
Democrat Karina Onofre is the founder of a nonprofit that tries to improve the lives of Latino-Americans. Her platform includes improving education and job creation – by, for example, requiring technical courses taught as early as middle school – and protecting senior citizens’ rights.
Onofre received $1,001 from the Democratic State Central Committee in mid-March, but nothing else, according to campaign filings. And Daigle has not electronically filed anything with the state Secretary of State.
Harper, on the other hand, raised $43,080 from Jan. 1 to April 28 and has nearly $13,000 on hand.
JEBB HARRIS, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
SENATE DISTRICT 37
Anaheim, Corona Del Mar, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Newport Beach, some unincorporated areas in central Orange County.
Both incumbent Republican Moorlach and Democratic challenger Ari Grayson will make it to the General Election – no one else qualified for the primary ballot.
District 37 is 42.1 percent Republican to 29.9 percent Democrat, and Moorlach has more than $125,000 on hand to Grayson’s $852.
The incumbent is a certified public accountant who says he believes in fiscal frugality and making it easier for businesses to operate in California. He also wants to lower taxes, including the gas tax.
His opponent is a medical researcher and consultant. He wants to lower tuition at the state’s public universities, disagrees with Moorlach’s opposition to raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and is an environmentalist.
Contact the writer: chaire
Rule 1: I can only endorse Republicans. Such is the joy of being in a partisan office and a member of both the Orange County Republican Party and the California Republican Party.
Rule 2: If I have endorsed, or if I plan to endorse, a candidate, that individual is provided inbold.
Rule 3: If there are two or more good candidates in the race, and I have decided not to endorse because I have a relationship with them, I will lay off and list them in italics.
Rule 4: If I am unsure and have not endorsed, but believe there is a good choice or good second choice, I will also list these candidates in italics.
Rule 5: Sometimes there are Republican candidates and I have no position, knowledge of their qualifications, or am not particularly comfortable with, I will list them in normal font.
|Superior Court Judge – Office No. 3|
|ANDREW M. STEIN||Civil/Criminal Attorney|
|MEGAN L. WAGNER||Deputy District Attorney|
|WAYNE PHILIPS||Trial Lawyer/Businessman|
|Superior Court Judge – Office No. 40|
|THUY D. PHAM||Homicide Prosecutor|
|Superior Court Judge – Office No. 48|
|SCOTT STEINER||Judge of the Superior Court|
|KAREN LEE SCHATZLE||Deputy District Attorney|
|Superior Court Judge – Office No. 49|
|MIKE MURRAY||Homicide District Attorney|
|THOMAS E. MARTIN||Attorney at Law|
|Orange County Board of Education – Area 1|
|ROBERT M. HAMMOND|
|Orange County Board of Education – Area 3|
|KEN L. WILLIAMS, JR.|
|Orange County Board of Education – Area 4|
|JOHN (JACK) BEDELL|
|Orange County Board of Supervisors – First District|
|PHAT BUI||Councilman/Business Owner|
|ANDREW DO||Orange County Supervisor, 1st District|
|Orange County Board of Supervisors – Third District|
|TODD SPITZER||Orange County Supervisor|
This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District.
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