NOTE to readers: Correcting and updating information about the Westminster City Council race.
If you’re like the rest of us, you’re still a little groggy from the long Election Night and all that means. As of this writing, the presidential race is still very much in the balance, but there’s plenty in local races to capture our attention as well.
In Westminster, investigators descended on a small strip mall on Beach Boulevard where a – how shall we put this? – a faux polling place was set up outside the offices of Westminster Councilmember Kimberly Ho. A crudely-lettered “Vote Here” sign was tacked onto a utility poll.
According to published reports, ballots were being collected there, but Van Tran, a former state legislator who is active in Little Saigon politics, said there was no actual voting at that location.
What’s now called “ballot harvesting” is legal, as long as the organizers don’t get directly involved in the filling out of the ballots and deliver them fairly and promptly to election officials.
It was perhaps a bit embarrassing for Ms. Ho, but can probably console herself with her victory over Tai Do in the District 3 race for city council. The creation of districts in their city pitted two sitting council members against each other, but he was not left without a seat. He will continue to serve as at at-large council member through 2022.
The local campaigns seemed a little muddier than usual this time around. The campaign mailers and advertisers in the 72nd Assembly District between Republican Janet Nguyen and Democrat Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen saw each side accuse the other of everything but the Lindberg kidnapping.
The former state senator Janet Nguyen prevailed despite being outspent, possibly because of better name recognition and a record of bringing projects, funding and other benefits to the area during her service as a county supervisor and in Sacramento.
In the race between incumbent Garden Grove Mayor Steve Jones and challenger Councilman Phat Bui for the top elected official spot in the Big Strawberry, some things stood out. Bui recorded and performed in a video based on “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Jones responded with a TikTok-like video of him riding his bike down what appears to be the old Pacific Electric right-of-way and singing a Stevie Nicks song.
Shortly before Election Day, Bui –who blanketed the city with signs – took up some accusations by local activist Tony Flores about Jones involving residency issues and even an episode about a pizza.
That may have backfired. Jones won a third term easily, which might make an awkward moment or two at the next meeting of the city council. Or maybe not. The two exchanged conciliatory messages via Facebook. Doubt we’ll have that between Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden.
Those losses by Bui and Diedre Nguyen prevented the creation of two vacancies on the council, which probably would have required appointments.
One area city council that will really be remade is in Huntington Beach. In a rare election with no incumbents on the ballot, three newcomers were elected to that body, including Tito Ortiz, a mixed martial arts veteran. That, we presume, will prepare him for the rough and tumble of local politics. The new council members will be seated at the Dec. 7 meeting.
“Usually Reliable Sources” alternates on Wednesdays with Jim Tortolano’s Retorts column.