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Orange, Calif. – Today, Democratic Party of Orange County Chair Ada Briceño called for an investigation into the recent appointment of Registered Lobbyist Elbert “Bert” Ashland to the Orange County Airport Commission. Ashland was appointed to the Commission on July 14 by Supervisor Andrew Do, who is seeking re-election in November.   

“The appointment of a paid lobbyist to the County’s Airport Commission is not only outrageous but could have devastating safety impacts at the airport. The Commission makes policy recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, as well as recommendations regarding lucrative contracts to private companies,” said Briceño. 

Supervisor Do appointed Ashland, a resident of Garden Grove, on July 14.  The next day, July 15, Ashland began attending and voting on Airport business. The appointment of the Orange County lobbyist was not included on the Board of Supervisors’ regular agenda, which by law must be posted for public viewing.  Instead, Do used a “supplement agenda item” memo, which allows Supervisors to bypass the regular public notification process, to place Ashland as his representative on the Airport Commission. 

“The appointment of a lobbyist who is paid to get lucrative contracts from the County shows Andrew Do’s complete and flagrant disregard for his oath of office. Such an action could lead to huge challenges at Orange County’s Airport, both in safety and fiscal responsibility, by allowing someone with a financial motive to make policy and contractual recommendations,” said Briceño. 

The County of Orange’s website confirms Elbert “Bert” Ashland is a Registered Lobbyist on behalf of SCS Engineering, a Long Beach company that provides environmental services to airports and other publicly owned facilities. According to the State of California, on June 14, 2020 SCS Engineering contributed $2,100, the maximum allowed under law, to Andrew Do’s re-election campaign.

About the Democratic Party of Orange County

Once famously known as “Reagan country,” after President Reagan called Orange County the place where “all good Republicans go to die,” Orange County is rapidly shifting from a Republican stronghold into a highly diverse Democratic metropolis. 

Orange County is a nationally-watched battleground for control of the U.S. House, and a critical battleground for expanding Democratic leadership in California. Democrats swept all seven Congressional seats in Orange County in 2018. Less than a year later, Democrats overtook countywide voter registration to become the region’s leading political party. Today, OC Democrats have gained more than a 2-point voter advantage over the GOP.

Chair Ada Briceno, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11, and recently-elected Democratic National Committee member, is the first immigrant and second Latina to lead the Democratic Party of Orange County. The executive leadership team includes Latino, Vietnamese, millennial, and LGBT representation. 

Orange County is the nation’s sixth largest county, with 3.2 million residents and more than half a million registered Democratic voters. 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 14, 2020
Media Contact: ​Rachel Potucek, rachel@ocdemocrats.org

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