In watching the battle between Van Tran and Janet Nguyen over the past year, I have often asked myselfÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ Self, how low do you think Van Tran and Mike Schroeder will stoop to reclaim their lost power in central Orange County?
In my wildest nightmares, Paul Lucas never came to mind. But Tran and Schroeder went there. The first hint of their desperation came in March when Paul Lucas, without any reasonable explanation, plunked down a more than $1,400 filing fee and pulled papers to challenge Janet Nguyen in the First District SupervisorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s race. Paul had not talked to a soul in Democratic circles before making his decision and speculation ran rampant that he had been convinced to run by Dina Nguyen. Paul professed his innocence and claimed that he decided to run because there were no Ã¢â‚¬Å“goodÃ¢â‚¬Â Democrats running. He implied, to multiple individuals, that he was talking one for the team. Paul has made it clear to me on more than one occasion that he never used those exact words, but his meaning was quite clear.
Then on April 8th, at the meeting of the OC GOP Endorsement Committee, Mike Schroeder allegedly got up and invoked Paul Lucas as the reason why the GOP should not endorse Janet Nguyen. He claimed that Paul Lucas had told him personally that Janet Nguyen had given him opposition research against Van Tran during the 2006 68th Assembly race where Lucas and Tran were opponents.
Then we have Van Tran and his minions distributing a letter on Monday night, signed by Lucas under his ex-officio title of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Member of the Democratic Party of Orange County,Ã¢â‚¬Â attesting to the same accusation. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take my word for it, here is the letter. One other thing about this letter that you may want to take note of is the date. The letter is dated the day of the OC GOP Central Committee meeting April 21, 2008. Unless Paul is dumb enough to sign his name on a blank piece of paper he had to have signed it between April 8th and April 21st.
Well, we asked Paul about this and it appears that he did indeed sign the letter. He claims that he did not write the letter though. The part about not writing the letter is the only thing about PaulÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s response I actually believe. He may not have written it, but he had to know what he was signing, why he was signing it, and what the people he gave it back to would use it for. What I cannot quite figure out is what Van Tran, his puppet Dina Nguyen, and Mike Schroeder promised him in return. What on earth would make a good Democrat crawl into bed with the likes of Van Tran and Mike Schroeder? What could these devils possibly offer that would compel him to allow himself to become such a tool?
When you sleep with the Devil you sell your soul. That is what Paul has done here. It is going to be very hard for Paul to redeem himself. Yes, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m pretty sure he was used, but stupidity is not an excuse for being stupid. Stupidity should be painful. In this case it will undoubtedly be painful for Paul and his political future as a Democrat. Something tells me this won’t bode well for his Garden Grove City Council campaign.
What is more interesting to me though is the lengths to which Van Tran and Mike Schroeder appear to be willing to go to reclaim their power as King makers. Think about it, how desperate do you have to be for power to stoop to Paul Lucas to get it back?
There have been questions about whether or not Hoa Van Tran is really a stealth candidate being run as a Democrat by Van Tran for the purpose of draining votes from Janet Nguyen. Thus far, while there have been rumors, little has come to light to confirm those speculations one way or another. This is where the law of unintended consequences comes into play. Mike Schroeder and Van Tran clearly want to force Janet Nguyen into a runoff in November. The challenge for them is how to get there. This is where the old playbook of running stealth Democratic candidates jumps off the shelf.
In 1995, the Republicans ran a recall campaign against Republican Assembly Speaker Doris Allen. Because of the risk that a Democrat might get the most votes in the recall election, Republican Party insiders ran a stealth democratic candidate siphon votes away from the real Democrat in the race. The plan did unravel, but by the time it did the mission was accomplished.
It seems that there may be a similar scenario to 1995 playing out in the First District contest. The fact that Mike Schroeder and Van Tran would stoop to use Lucas in an attempt to pull an endorsement from Janet Nguyen got me thinking, and digging. From that digging I have learned that the linkage between Hoa Van Tran and Dina Nguyen goes much deeper than them previously working in the same office. Dina and Hoa have met on several occasions in HoaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s campaign office. One time in particular was when Janet Nguyen was planning on holding a press event in the same complex as HoaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office. Prior to the event, Dina Nguyen met with Hoa in his office where she asked if her campaign could use his office as a base to monitor the event. Campaign staff was subsequently told to not come in on the day of the event by campaign manager Edgardo Reynoso.
Then there is the occasion where Reynoso directed a campaign staffer to call Paul Lucas to let him know that a Janet Nguyen operative had been spotted by campaign volunteers messing with one of Dina NguyenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s campaign signs. The message was communicated to Lucas, and then mysteriously Westminster Councilman Andy Quach called Hoa TranÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s campaign office to indicate that he had the entire episode on video. I wonder, what prompted him to call Hoa Van Tran with that information?
Then we have Westminster School Board member Andy Nguyen, and old school chum of HoaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, who has been sited numerous times at Hoa TranÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s campaign office. This really wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t raise much concern unless you add in the fact that Andy Nguyen has endorsed Dina Nguyen.
So, with my tin-foil hat firmly in place IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got to wonder; is it really too much of a stretch to imagine, suppose, speculate, or wonder if Van Tran and Mike Schroeder would stoop so low as to run two democrats as stealth candidates to drain votes from Janet Nguyen? I really donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know for certain, yet.
But what I do know is that I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t put it past them and I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have been nearly as curious had Van Tran, Dina Nguyen, and Mike Schroeder not used Paul Lucas as a pawn in their little chess game of power.
Mike Schroeder reminds me of Gollum from the movie the Lord of the Rings in his quest to regain his precious ring of power. Van Tran just reminds me of the Devil. Now IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m just waiting for Paul Lucas to exclaim Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Devil made me do it!Ã¢â‚¬Â