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Orange County politicians balk at Vote Local 2014 campaign questionnaire

Republican county commissioners refuse to answer questions from progressive organizations about where they stand on issues

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JUST THE STATS

 

609,983

NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS IN ORANGE COUNTY IN 2010 FOR THE AUGUST PRIMARY AND NONPARTISAN COUNTY ELECTIONS, INCLUDING the race FOR ORANGE COUNTY MAYOR. 189,197 OF THOSE WERE REPUBLICANS, 267,423 WERE DEMOCRATS, 153,363 WERE OF NO PARTY AFFILIATION

 

129,343

NUMBER OF BALLOTS ACTUALLY CAST IN THE AUGUST 2010 ELECTION, WITH REPUBLICANS OUTNUMBERING DEMOCRATS BY NEARLY 20,000

 

21.2 PERCENT

TOTAL VOTER TURNOUT FOR THE 2010 ORANGE COUNTY ELECTION

 

“I CAN TELL YOU THAT, REGARDLESS OF WHAT PARTICULAR ISSUES MATTER MOST TO YOU, THE FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT IS GOOD GOVERNMENT. WITHOUT GOOD GOVERNMENT, CITIZENS ARE BLOCKED FROM INVOLVEMENT WITH THEIR GOVERNMENT, ARE DENIED ACCESS TO THEIR ELECTED SERVANTS, DENIED ACCESS TO THE VERY MEANS AND OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE. OUR VOICES ARE DROWNED OUT BY THE MONEY AND INFLUENCE OF BIG BUSINESSES WHO PAY LOBBYISTS TO MAKE SURE GOVERNMENT DOES THEIR WILL WHILE PRETENDING WE DO NOT EVEN EXIST.”
– LOCAL CONSTITUTIONAL ATTORNEY
MARY MEEKS, MARCH 19
SOURCE: ORANGE COUNTY SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS

LOCALS VOCAL

It wasn’t so much a victory lap as it was a sort of coming up for logical air when an expansive coalition of progressive groups – under the fittingly colorful banner of “Orange Rising” – announced on March 19 their latest initiative to educate local voters on oft-ignored county elections, slated this year for Aug. 26. The groups celebrated the launch of a new website, VoteLocal2014.org, which asks local candidates running for office to answer a series of questions about a variety of issues so voters can have a clearer idea where they stand. Sounds simple, right? Apparently, at least in Orange County, suggesting that candidates answer questions from progressive groups is considered controversial. Don’t forget, this is Orange County, the home of textgate, Brummergate and Mayor Teresa Jacobs

Orange County, despite its cries of “nonpartisanship,” is a conservative bastion full of big-moneyed business interests and fake smiles of assurance. So, even posing questions to the Republican (cough, we mean nonpartisan) candidates up for re-election (or first-time election) this year – nearly 30 self-explanatory hot-button questions about sales-tax increases for public education, gas taxes for public transportation, equal benefits, privatization of toll roads and prisons, partisan county elections, increased transparency via online public records and, yes, earned sick time – is tantamount to heresy. Which is probably why not one Republican opted to respond to the questionnaire. (There is no deadline. You can still do this, Teresa.)

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