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Mailbag: Bergeson, Brewer's legacies were a disappointment

May 31, 2012

Newport Beach City Councilwoman Leslie Daigle's article in the Daily Pilot on April 16, "I run in the tradition of Bergeson," raises serious concerns about Daigle's fitness to represent us in the Assembly. Let's review the traditions of Marian Bergeson and Marilyn Brewer.

In 1994, Bergeson was running for Orange County supervisor. Initially, Bergeson endorsed John Moorlach in his run for Orange County treasurer. Moorlach described in detail the risks that the Orange County treasurer, Democrat Bob Citron, was taking with public funds. No one who took even one semester of introductory finance class at USC Business School would have made such fundamental blunders as those made by Citron and the Orange County supervisors leading up to late 1994.

Moorlach sharpened his warnings about Orange County's perilous financial situation. Bergeson circled the wagons around government incompetence and recklessness and withdrew her endorsement of Moorlach.

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Bergeson's withdrawn endorsement helped Citron win reelection and ensured Orange County's bankruptcy. Soon after Citron's arrest, Bergeson and the other disgraced supervisors practically begged Moorlach to accept the appointment to replace Citron.

These incidents showed that Bergeson's first loyalty was to other elected officials, rather than to the hard working citizens and taxpayers. Rather than having, "faced and defeated power brokers ...," as Daigle claims, Bergeson seems to have courted favor with those in power.

Brewer only won because of an odd combination of personalities and factors that had nothing to do with the self-described moderate Brewer or her candidacy. Three candidates in the 1994 Republican primary each got about a third of the vote. The overwhelming conservative vote was split between conservative City Council member Barry Hammond, and former Orange County Young Republican officer Tom Reinecke (the son of affable Ronald Reagan's Lt. Gov. Ed Reinecke). Brewer never welcomed the various factions after winning.

In the early 1990s, the Orange County Young Republicans peaked at 1,000 paid members, and those Reagan generation campaign foot soldiers impacted many races. The late Assemblyman Gil Ferguson (who was then the incumbent) sided with Reinecke because of a rising disagreement over fellow Assembly member Ross Johnson moving into the district and running against Ferguson to replace Bergeson in the state Senate. In a two-candidate race, Brewer never would have come close.

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