Irvine Edition: IOKIYAR (It’s OK If You’re a Republican)

Earlier this year, the Right Wing Punditocracy in Orange County had a conipition fit over activist Shirley Grindle’s proposal to make changes in TINCUP regulations for campaign financie reform.  The Republicans argued repeatedly that limitations on campaign contributions amounted to restrictions on free speech and its a great argument for them because Republicans in OC typically generate significantly more campaign contributions than non-Republican candidates do.  And there’s always the Lincoln Club, New Majority or Generation Next to jump in to fund special mailers or pay for slanted push polls.

There are exceptions of course; Representative Loretta Sanchez is sitting on a ton of cash for her re-election campaign.  And progressive candidates in Irvine seem to generate more contributions than Republicans (with John Duong, an ally of Van Tran, being an exception, but then again, most of his money came from outside of Irvine and included an extra/over the limit contribution from the Vietnamese press).

Irvine has some of the toughest municipal campaign finance laws on the books.  And its these laws that have leveled the playing field for progressive candidates against well-funded Republicans.  The combination of a balanced financial platform and positive, issues-based campaigns are some of the reasons why progressive candidates have won the council majority in the last four election cycles.

more after the flip:

When arguing against Shirley Grindle, Flash Report Jon Fleischman pulled out all the stops appearing before the BoS.  Pollster Adam Probolsky concurred and wrote this ditty in a report on Fleischman’s blog:

Luckily FR Publisher Jon Fleischman…was at the Board meeting to explain that the further limiting of political speech is a bad idea and apparently his argument was persuasive.  The board rejected Ms. Grindle’s proposal.

Matt Cunningham chimed in at Red County: Why should those who favor liberty over regulation want to take responsibility for enforcing campaign finance compliance — political speech — from an elected official who is accountable to the voters to five unelected commissars who are not?

The reason for this set up?  Councilwoman Christina Shea has slotted an item to discuss new campaign reform measures for Irvine at tomorrow’s City Council meeting.  Her fundraising has been anemic in her last election and I have to guess its weak moving forward and she’s seeking ways to limit slate mailers used by Irvine’s progressive candidates to counter Lincoln Club money. 

Shea, apparently, isn’t towing the GOP party line that restrictions on campaign financial contributions are limits on free speech.  But she’s moving in a direction that is unnecessary given Irvine’s already tough campaign finance measures and restrictions she’s suggested might even impact her financial support from traditional Republican financial resources.  This is a dodge issue because in her 2006 race, Shea ran on issues dealing with traffic congestion and emminent domain. 

So why is Shea trying to restrict campaign finance when most Republicans hate the idea anywhere else?  IOKIYAR: it’s OK if you’re a Republican.

Irvine is roughly twice the size it was when Shea was mayor; Irvine residents will remember more time was spent on making the city “more romantic” than meaningful reform to defeat the El Toro Airport; Measure W was passed while Shea was out of office, so any credit she takes for stopping the airport is the same credit I can take too.  That, and I’m dubious of any candidate who has the support of Mike Schroeder and who has supported Mike Carona in the past.

Irvine has prospered under progressive leadership.  Our city is safe, with one of the lowest crime rates in the nation.  Our schools are exceptional, without any meaningful help from our Republican state legislators who care more about towing the GOP Party line than helping us rise from the bottom financially.  And Irvine’s 3.5 job per household is helping make the city as recession-proof as possible.  Home sales and prices in my neighborhood are slower and down slightly, but not all that much since I moved her 11 years ago.  Credit the city’s safety record and great schools for that. 

And like the candidacy of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Sukhee Kang represents a historic candidate in Irvine.  He is poised to become the city’s first Korean-American mayor.  Sukhee is a self-made successful businessman with a solid track record as a city council member for the past 4 years.

Irvine has a district choice; go backwards to the ways things were or move forward with the way things can be.