What it means to be a Republican was the theme of the conversation Saturday when Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson spoke to a Republican group in Fullerton.
Nelson was open and candid as he spoke to the North Orange County Republican Club on Saturday at Sizzler on Harbor Boulevard about the battles that Republicans in general face as well as the battles he faces while serving with the four other supervisors, who are also Republican.
Nelson began the meeting educating the group about the many facets of county services and also what the fight for Republicans will look like over the next two years. He talked about political issues in the state as well as around the country, but mainly focused on various situations that have arisen during the 7 months he has been in office.
Nelson doesn’t pretend that he is one of the crowd as he serves over his district, which includes Fullerton, La Habra, Buena Park, Anaheim and Placentia. He refers to himself as an outsider on the job. The one who asks questions that no one else does. The man who doesn’t stick with the status quo.
“I’m not part of the apparatus,” Nelson said. “They tell me ‘You’re not part of the team.’ What the hell team did I get drafted to? But I love my team and I love serving.”
Nelson gave an example of asking questions that no one else does when discussing the Orange County section of the First 5 Association of California. He said that he had county counsel look into this group because he is concerned about their lack of accountability, why they have over $140 million in reserves and also does not see the need for the high salaries of the board. Nelson said that the director of the Orange County section makes $235,000 a year. He said that he sees no reason during these economic times why this group would need such a high amount in reserves.
“These people don’t answer to anybody,” Nelson said. “They have so much money.”
Nelson encouraged the group to write letters to politicians and stay involved in the political process. He added in that the general public is unaware of what is going on in the political world-in Orange County government as well as across the nation. Nelson attributed that to the busyness of life-people supporting their families, being too tired at the end of the day to want to watch the news and also because of the print media shrinking, which is leading to less reporters doing investigative work.
The group discussed the First 5 Association and their concern about it even after Nelson left to attend a function for one of his children. Mayor Pro Tem Don Bankhead, a member of the club, told the group that if they were concerned, that they needed to attend the Orange County Supervisors meetings and be more conscious of people running for these positions.
“All you have to say is look what happened in Bell.” Bankhead said.
Bankhead gave an example of also being an outsider and questioning the status quo when he mentioned the OCTA meeting where he was the lone vote against building a new transportation hub in Anaheim for the high-speed rail project. Bankhead said that he questioned the funding for it and also felt that Fullerton would be getting a fair share. He also said that this new hub will not be around during his lifetime.