March 2019

By Tina Richards
Five candidates running for Third District County Supervisor presented their positions and fielded questions from an audience, composed largely of North Tustin, Canyon and Orange voters, at a candidates’ forum, Feb. 15.

Larry Bales, Kris Murray, Deborah Pauly, Loretta Sanchez and Don Wagner appeared at the event sponsored by the Foothills Community Association and moderated by the League of Women Voters.  The event was attended by about 300 people. 

The special election, March 12, is slated to fill the seat vacated by Todd Spitzer when he won the race for district attorney last November.

Equal opportunity forum
Deborah Pauly drew the number one slot on the dias and quipped, “I hope that’s how it ends up,” before introducing herself. Pauly noted her service as a Villa Park city councilmember, and stressed that she recognizes the unique communities with differing interests that comprise the Third District.

Loretta Sanchez described herself as a “public/private” partnership, benefitting from an education paid for by scholarships and grants. A 20-year member of Congress, she noted her ability to work with others, get things done and bring money back to OC.

Don Wagner, currently mayor of Irvine and past member of the State Assembly, told the audience that he was “alone among the candidates who have represented you,” emphasizing that, “I get ideas for legislation from you.”

Former Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray noted that she has represented Orange County in both public and private arenas, is raising her family here, and that, “I will be here every time you call.”

Larry Bales, a Vietnam veteran, reported that his family has been in every war, including the Revolutionary War, and described himself as a “whistleblower” who does not take “dark money.”

Attention getters
When asked what each considers the most important issues Orange County faces, Sanchez said fire suppression and mental health.  Wagner named homelessness, public safety and overcrowding; Murray cited open space, the integrity of neighborhoods, public safety and homelessness. Bales also identified homelessness along with special interests and dark money. Pauly said undeveloped county-owned land (which should stay that way) and illegal immigration.

Aware that the majority of the audience resides in unincorporated Orange County and depends on area-specific plans to maintain community integrity and character, four of the five answered a question about neighborhood preservation with statements supporting specific plans. “Stick with the specific plan,” Wagner said. “Absolutely, fiercely protect those plans,” Murray stressed. Pauly warned against candidates “purchased by developers to move development,” and said she would be “your last line of defense” against inappropriate development. Sanchez reported that she, “knows what OC looked like 50 years ago” and “appreciates what you [the audience] have protected here,” noting that that generations to come will thank you. Bales again referred to the dangers of special interests and dark money.

Friendly fire
Despite the congenial nature of the forum, the candidates did manage a few subtle digs at each other.  Several alluded to developer and special interest money behind an unnamed opponent and suggested that voters review candidates’ financial disclosure forms to see who their donors are. Wagner disparaged Democrats in general. Pauly suggested her challengers’ support for specific plans was insincere, that they had “jumped on the bandwagon.” Bales, focusing on dark money, inferred that Disneyland had paid for the Anaheim City Council and, thus, his unnamed opponent.

Following the formal question and answer period, candidates mingled with audience members, meeting individual voters to end the evening on a personal note. 

Candidates Katie Hoang Bayliss and Katherine Daigle did not participate. The forum can be viewed on the FCA website,

Candidates for Third District Supervisor shared their thoughts at a forum that attracted voters from North Tustin, the Canyons and Orange. From left, Deborah Pauly, Loretta Sanchez, Don Wagner, Kris Murray and Larry Bales.  Photo by Tony Richards

Supervisorial candidates address Third District

issue at North Tustin forum