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The Family Business

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Let’s kickoff the Thanksgiving holiday with a big serving of cynicism.  The old cliché, “Elections have consequences”, doesn’t seem to fit Orange County politics when Chris Norby, our newest political has-been, can lose an important Assembly election and find himself under consideration for a six-figure job running the County Clerk-Recorder‘s office.  The Liberal OC did a credible job of covering all the perversions and possibilities here.

Consider that Norby’s 4-point loss to Sharon Quirk-Silva, an unknown Fullerton Councilwoman who was reportedly convinced to run by Loretta Sanchez, helped complete a tectonic shift in the State Assembly which gives Democrats the two-thirds majority they’ve coveted in order to raise taxes and commit political mayhem without even the approval of the utterly worthless (and now unneeded) Jerry Brown.  The State Senate achieved the same goal, and it took no time at all for Torrance Senator Ted Lieu to propose tripling the car tax.  Lieu later rescinded the notion for reasons unclear, but it’s evident there will be no hesitation in either Chamber to exercise all the power that comes with one-party rule.  These majorities are THAT important and sooner or later we can count on these Democrats to go after Proposition 13.

Norby’s award for running an inept, poorly funded campaign (he was beaten by a rookie campaign manager) could be a job he has no experience to do.  The Clerk-Recorder would be a management nightmare — staffed with cubical-dwelling OCEA unionistas, the ex-high school history teacher and now political hanger-on is going to be overwhelmed and find himself managed by the career bureaucrats, lying bimbos and the file clerks that inhabit that office.  As well, he’ll have his hands full dealing with ex-Clerk Tom Daly’s follies like the decrepit building he suspiciously acquired outside County policy and some of his political appointees like his Archivist, an ex-LA Times reporter.

We wonder if Norby’s ever had a job as an adult that wasn’t on a government payroll.  He’s got quite a personal and political resume:

The Norby family seems quite adept at massaging their political network for well-paying government jobs.  In 2009, the LiberalOC reported that “Eric Norby, brother of Supervisor Chris Norby. Until the 6th of February Eric Norby was Supervisor Chris Norby’s Chief of Staff.  Suddenly, Eric Norby was appointed to a top level management position at the Health Care Agency. He also received a $5,000 raise, boosting his annual compensation package to more than $100,000 to go along with his move.”  This lengthy story, with plenty of other examples of buddy-hiring in County government was written by Chris Prevatt, himself a County employee.

It’s NOT impressive that Norby’s friend, Supervisor Shawn Nelson is aggressively pushing him for the Clerk-Recorder appointment.  Nelson’s otherwise having a good run in his Supervisor’s position.  He ran a great campaign and as far as we can tell, he’s made all the right decisions so far.  He’s well positioned if he desires Ed Royce’s job in Congress when he decides to retire.  But this obvious pandering to a failed friend is nonsense.  It will damage his career and will certainly be seen as blatant political patronage that would be admired even in Chicago.

To say this is the “ol’ boy network” at work is an insult to the fine art of understatement.  Norby’s a lifetime political hack going after a job he can’t do and doesn’t deserve.  If he’s appointed (we hope the other four Supervisors know better), he’d be depriving a long-time County Manager of a job he appears well-qualified for and deserves since he’s paid his dues, climbed the ladder like regular folk and doesn’t have the shaky reputation of his predecessor, Tom Daly.

Chris Norby doesn’t deserve this gift.  He didn’t take his latest Democrat opponent seriously and got beaten for an important Assembly seat that will be hell for the GOP to recapture.  He has a questionable reputation, can be erratic and unstable and has NO known accomplishments on his resume that a pro would be looking for if this was a private sector job he was seeking.  He’s never managed a large, unionized workforce.  He’s a terrible choice for this job.



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7 Comments  comments 

7 Responses

  1. Cynthia Ward

    …and yet, had he run for the job there is nothing to stop the citizens from electing him to it. In a perfect world the position would not be elected nor appointed, it would be HIRED by HR from a pool of candidates with training in materials conservation, etc. But it isn’t, so why not appoint him to it? Daly had zero experience too, very few of the people who run for the office know what a Clerk Recorder does. I spend a lot of my time doing research there for work, and the environment (at least on the Archives side) is more academic than political. At least a history teacher might have a clue that one hundred and twenty year old documents might need to be microfilmed and kept in temp and humidity controlled environment, which is more than we can expect from the rest of the list. What qualifies Laura Cunningham for the job? Jean will go with Tom, it is not like she is trained as an Archivist..so if they want to stick Norby in that spot he is better than the rest of the yahoos I have heard tossed around. No this will not kill Nelson’s career, the electorate does not notice nor care about this stuff. As long as they get their copy of a birth certificate and the deed for their house gets recorded they pay no attention to who is there or how they got there. I say go for it.

    • Joe Hill

      I’ve not seen the BOS advertise for this job, use a recruiter or post it as would be done (and often is not, Matt Harper) if this was a staff and not an elected position (which it has no reason being anyway, like the Assessor and Treasurer). There seems no reason why they could not do use three techniques, but it appears the appointment to be made will be by five votes, and for purely political reasons to reward and/or protect friends — just like in Chicago.

      You’re correct that Daly’s incompetence in running the unit was evident — as happens, he was just drawing a good salary and waiting for his next political opportunity. My point is that this is tiresome, patronizing and an unprofessional way to hire an overpaid clerk. What’s more interesting will be watching the Democrats chafe at the white guy in this Assembly office as two years from now you can be sure they’ll run someone more ethnically compatible to the District against him.

      As far as I know, nothing qualifies Laura Cunningham for this job. Just like Norby. It’s just good income for the opportunistic and connected, and not for the qualified.

      I did not say this would “kill” Nelson’s career — I carefully used the word “damage”, so you need to read more carefully. These are the kind of transactions that political consultants remember — and use against opponents in future campaigns.

  2. carpetbagger@yahoo.com

    remember: http://www.lauracunninghamoc.com

    If the Supervisors are dumb enough to appoint her, they should all be recalled.

  3. [...] Art Pedroza comes along and is nastier to Norby than I think I’ve ever been: We wonder if Norby’s ever had a job as an adult that wasn’t on a government payroll.  He’s [...]

  4. carpetbagger


    Great post, even Diamond likes it!

    I look forward to your posts on the Corrupt Costa Mesa police union and it’s attempted blackmail of elected officials.

    Now that you are “free” to write the truth!