We Have Nobody To Blame But Ourselves

For the next four years the residents of Orange County’s First Supervisorial District will have to suffer through being represented by either Janet Nguyen or Dina Niguyen, both of whom are Republicans.  The lone Democrat in the race, Hoa Van Tran, has little chance of victory and is likely nothing more than a DINO, Democrat in name only.  So how did we find ourselves in this position?  Well to be truthful, we Democrats and our local party leaders have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Janet Nguyen herself  in a recent speech given to the CRA said that the First District is a Democratic district.  The First District is home to Loretta Sanchez, Lou Correa and Jose Solorio.  The majority of the First District is encompassed in the city of Santa Ana where 6 of 7 councilmembers are Democrats.  This part of Orange County has been solidly Democratic since Loretta, Lou, Tom Umberg and Joe Dunn made it so.  The 69th Assembly District and the 47th Congressional District, once fierce battle grounds, are not even seriously contested by the Republicans anymore.

So why then did we Democrats simply roll over and hand the Republicans the First Supervisorial District?  That should be a solid blue seat today, tomorrow and into the future but sadly we’ll have to wait at least another four years to see this happen.  How did we find ourselves in this predictiment?

Lets be clear about one thing, if Lou Correa had chosen to serve out his two full 4 year terms this seat would still be firmly in the hands of the Democrats.  I am not trying to pin the blame on Lou because if it weren’t for him the 34th State Senate seat may be in the hands of the Reeps.  Lou does great work in Sacramento and he likely feels much more at home there then he did as the lone Dem on the Board of Supes.  His early exit for the State Senate came as a disappointment to many, especially labor, but the Democrats are strong enough in central OC that we should have easily bounced back.  We didn’t and we haven’t.

The next issue that arose was the candidacy of Joe Dunn for the seat.  It is here where I believe the biggest mistake was made.  We, the Democrats, put all of our eggs in the Joe Dunn basket.  We counted too heavily on Joe Dunn running and we had no back-up plan when he decided not to run.  Again I am not looking to blame Joe, he made the decision he felt was best for him and his family.  We can’t begrudge him for this.

So when it came time to find a legitimate candidate to carry the party banner in the First District race the party leaders were caught with their pants down.  There was talk of a David Benevides candidacy, but come on.  David is a nice guy but he isn’t even a major player in Santa Ana politics.  His relevancy locally is just below Carlos Bustamante and just above Art Pedroza.  To suggest that he is ready to serve on the Board of Supervisors is laughable.  He has a hard time holding his own on the Santa Ana City Council, the Reeps on the Board of Supes would have eaten him alive.

Despite the fact that Benevides is a fairly weak candidate he would have given Janet and Dina a run for their money, not because of Benevides but because it is a Democratic district.  Party leaders should have been developing a plan since Janet won the special election to win back this seat.  That plan should have been more detailed than “Joe Dunn”.  Surely we must have a credible candidate in the First District that we could have run for this seat besides Joe Dunn.  I guess we’ll have to wait four years to find out.

If you want to see what we get as a result of our poor planning take a look at the video Claudio posted on the Orange Juice.  In the video Supervisor Janet Nguyen attacks Democrats Loretta Sanchez, Jose Solorio and Lou Correa and heaps praise on religous right zealot Rosie Avila.  She is also heard making this disturbing comment, “I have street cred…just listen to me tell you what kind of guns we own in my family”.  Statements like that aren’t very reassuring that we have the most credible person serving the residents of the First District.

I hope we as a party learn from this fiasco and in four years we right the ship.  In four years we must return this seat to its rightful owners, the Democratic party.  Until then we’ll have to stomach four years of whichever Nguyen wins.  I hope you all have plenty of Pepto Bismol on hand.

  11 comments for “We Have Nobody To Blame But Ourselves

  1. March 19, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Dammit Sean, I hate it when you’re right. 😉

  2. March 19, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Trust me Chris, this isn’t one that I wanted to be right about. There is no reason for this to have happened.

  3. March 19, 2008 at 1:05 pm


    I have posted the footage of Dina Nguyen speaking at the OC CRA endorsement convention, over at the Orange Juice. She is as bad as Rosie Avila when it comes to public speaking.

  4. Lost in Central OC
    March 20, 2008 at 12:28 am

    Wow, could you be anymore clueless about Central Orange County politics. Your analysis of Central OC politics in regard to First Supervisorial race is so, so WRONG it makes me think that you are employed as a Middle East Intelligence Analyst for the Bush Administration. Joe Dunn not running for Supervisor because he wants to spend time with his family— PUH-LEASE. Do you really think that Joe Dunn is not running for Supervisor because he wants to spend more time with his family?!?! Next you’re going to tell me that Tom Umberg wants to reenlist in the Army to go back Guantanamo, again. If you can’t figure out why Joe Dunn is not running, then please destroy your keyboard and stop “drinking liberally”.

    PS: How many eggs is the Easter Bunny bringing you? And Happy Persian New Year, pendejo.

  5. March 20, 2008 at 8:54 am


    Nobody said Joe Dunn did not run because he wanted to spend more time with his family. Dunn likely chose his job as chief executive officer of the California Medical Association over the Board of Supes position. He makes pretty good coin there and probably didn’t want to give it up.

    So I am clueless about central OC politics? How do you explain all the Dems holding public office there then? You appear to be the one that is clueless. Even Janet Nguyen acknowledges that this is a Democratic seat. But I guess you know better than everyone else, right?

    Most people that know anything admit that the Dems missed the boat in this election. Thankfully we have a “genius” like you to dismiss the screw up.

    Btw, I hope that the Bunny brings me a lot of eggs. Maybe I’ll write a post and let you know what my take is.

  6. Lost in Central OC
    March 20, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    dear sean….

    it seems that when provoked you begin to look for your thinking hat…

    so now you are saying that Joe Dunn , the man who brought ENRON, down (cough, cough) would rather be a lobbyist for large drug makers than represent us poor folks in central O.C……Joe we hardly knew you….I dont necessarily disagree with you but you ain’t answering the question completely….you got your cause and effect wrong….is it not more likely that the reason Joe dropped out at the last moment leaving all his myopic brides at his political altar is because he was poultry…or was it because he couldn’t nguyen? What do you think kiddo? You find your hat yet…..

    Hugs and kisses.. just stop being such an apologist it draining you boy.

  7. Write in candidate for the First District!
    March 21, 2008 at 12:35 am

    How about a “write in candidate?

    Does anybody know it this person was the top vote getter but earned less than 50% would she/he have to run in the General as a Write in candidate again.

  8. WTF Dems?
    March 21, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Joe Dunn did not run because he was not getting any support from Loretta Sanchez, Jose Solorio, or Lou Correa. The real screw up in this case is Democratic Party Chair Frank barbaro, and the leader of labor who filed to have an alternative besides Joe Dunn. And when one of your own throws his hat into the ring you guys all gang up on him.

    That is truly pathetic. Im still scratching my head over that one. In fact, I view that as a defacto endorsement of Janet Nguyen.

    You Democrats are pathetic.

  9. Northcountystorm
    March 21, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    There’s always a lot of finger pointing when things don’t go right .
    Ultimately, you need a candidate with fire in the belly and a local base of support. Dunn appeeared ready to go but backed out. I don’t care why he backed out but I can’t argue that strategically he was the strongest Democratic candidate for this particular election.

    It would have been nice to have someone else, a Plan B, but life doesn’t always work out like that. Plenty of potential competitive candidates(Pulido, Rosen, Broadwater, Alvarez, Palacio, etc) but either they weren’t interested or went for other options). And of course some of them wouldn’t meet the variety of litmus tests activists throw up at the candidates.

    Labor is going to do what’s in labor’s best interests. Sometimes that dovetails with what is good for the Democrats and sometimes no. Some in labor got left hanging when Joe withdrew so its not surprising that they didn’t lead a Plan B charge. County Democratic leaders aren’t the ones who should be pushing forward candidates, that should be the role of the Democratic activists and leaders from within the 1st S.D. It was no secret that the three partisan elected Democrats were not warm to Joe Dunn’s candidacy. They might have gotten behind another local candidate but no serious candidate emerged. Whether Hoa is serious remains to be seen and I suspect the Party will vet him when adn if he seeks the Party’s endorsement.

    Gila Jones had a good comment on Calitics a few days ago on an article dealing with the failure of Democrats to run a Democrat in the 15th S.D., one of the few competitive state senate seats. Her message is the the locals need to step up to the plate as they did in the O.C. for the partisan offices. As Dylan said, don’t follow leaders, watch your parking meter.

  10. March 21, 2008 at 1:33 pm


    The unwritten subtext is that one of the reasons there were no Dem candidates in the First District is that MIguel Pulido has compromised and ruined his peers on the City Council. And the School Board is a wreck too. Who would want to elect any of the Pulido hacks on the Council, or any of the school board members (with the exception of Palacio) to anything else? No one. Look at how badly Carlos “Space Commander” Bustamante tanked against Janet Nguyen last year. And he had the full support of Pulido and his cabal.

    You guys need to take out Puildo and company and start anew. And you have a real chance this year to clean house on the school board too, with three seats up for reelection and Rosie Avila retiring from the board.

    Stop importing great white hopes like Umberg and Dunn and start developing Latino progressives to local offices. Eventually you will have plenty of legislative and supervisorial candidates.

  11. Northcountystorm
    March 21, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Art–Time you got on message with your presidential candidate Barack Obama and move beyond racial and ethnic litmus tests for candidates. Especially since last time around in the Santa Ana city council race you supported your “great white hope” Evangeline Gawronski over Latino progressive Michelle Martinez. Objectively, no Democrat would have run stronger then Dunn in the 1st S.D. this time. If you don’t believe that you have been spending too much time bellying up to the bar at Proof.

    I know Pulido is the political antichrist for you but the other 6 are big boys and girls and should be able to rise and fall on their own. Whatever compromises and limitations they have only themselves to blame. I’ve said before that Pulido is a problem but maybe not in the way you are looking at it. Although not popular at casa de Pedroza, he keeps winning, keeps the support of “the will of the people”(remember, stay on message with your buddy Barack). The problem is that for Miguel there seems to be no priority for him to run for higher office nor(with the exception of Jose Solorio) much impetus to engage in recruitment or active support for anything above city council and below U.S. Senate. The Dems need more then that from the Democratic Mayor of the most Democratic City in Red County(sorry Dan, it will be a blue moon before its a Blue County again, that is unless your assemblyman can be the face of the OCGOP.)

    Rosie stepping off the board and into Loretta’s woodchipper does present a wonderful opportunity that I hope Santa Ana residents will take advantage of .

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