Riverside County District Attorney (and rising star) Mike Hestrin (Pictured above) won a landslide re-election. Orange County Superintendent Al Mijares and Solano County Supervisor John Vasquez earned another four years in their positions.
In the San Bernardino Mayor’s race, Councilman John Valdivia (Pictured above) led the field and now heads to November. Peter Hernandez won a spot in the run-off for the San Benito County Board of Supervisor as did Theodore Sanchez for the San Bernardino City Council.
Assemblyman Dante Acosta (Pictured top left) scored a strong 55% in the primary and looks well-positioned for what will be a fierce general election contest. San Diego City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf (Pictured top right) and Yuba County Supervisor Andy Vasquez also move on to November.
The time leading up to this November promises to be exciting and busy for GROW Elect as we recruit and help dozens of Latino Republican candidates who are gearing up to run for local offices across the state. On to more victories!
Orange County, CA – Today New Majority California announced the election of Steve Craig to serve as chairman of its Orange County Chapter.
Craig has been a New Majority member for five years and has served on the group’s Board of Directors since 2015. He serves as President and CEO of Craig Realty Group in Newport Beach.
“Steve is a great choice for Orange County Chairman,” said former Orange County Chairman Mike Hayde. “He is highly regarded for his tremendous work ethic, great business sense and passion for politics. He will be an aggressive leader who will work hard for our members as we support business friendly candidates and causes,” Hayde concluded.
“I’m honored to serve in this leadership role for New Majority,” said Craig. “I look forward to working with our members and other chapters to broaden the appeal of the Republican Party and support candidates and causes that will make government leaner and more efficient for everyone.”
New Majority was founded in 1998 with the goal of serving as a permanent counter-balance to entrenched special interests that block meaningful reform in California.
A driving force behind many successful races in recent elections, New Majority was instrumental in the qualification and passage of reform measures such as Proposition 11, the redistricting reform measure and the Open Primary reform. The group continues to support local and national inclusive, fiscally conservative candidates and causes, as well as those that further the goal of expanding the Republican Party.
With chapters in Orange County, Los Angeles and San Diego, New Majority consists of community leaders and some of the most successful business leaders from various industries across the state. It has become a strong influence in politics and public policy in California and nationally.
Building an empire: William Lyon’s retirement ends 63-year career as builder who helped shape Orange County suburbs
Born: Los Angeles
Current residence: Coto de Caza
Education: Attended USC, Dallas Aviation School and Air College, plus numerous military training programs
Net worth: $1.1 billion in 2016, according to the Orange County Business Journal, tied for 18th wealthiest Orange County resident.
Family: Wife of 46 years, Willa Dean Lyon; three daughters and two sons.
Hobbies: Collecting classic autos and airplanes, some of which have been displayed at the Lyon Air Museum and the Peterson Automotive Museum. They include about 90 cars built prior to World War II, including Duesenbergs from the 1920s and 1930s, a 12-cylinder 1935 Packard and a 1939 Packard once owned by a Mexican president. His planes include a B-17 Flying Fortress that he once flew to Washington, D.C., for a memorial honoring U.S. airmen killed in World War II.
The official account says William Lyon and his older brother, Leon, founded a small Orange County homebuilding firm in 1954 to build houses for soldiers returning from the Korean War.
An unofficial version – as told by his son, Bill H. Lyon – was that Lyon’s father, Depression-era builder and Kahlua importer Al Lyon, wanted to get him away from the risky business of flying airplanes.
So veteran combat and commercial air pilot William Lyon hung up his wings in 1954 and co-founded Luxury Homes in Fullerton, the first of several homebuilding companies Lyon would run over the next 63 years.
Eventually, his namesake development company, William Lyon Homes, became the 20th biggest homebuilding firm in the nation, according to Builder Magazine’s 2016 ranking, selling almost 2,800 homes in 2016, generating more than $1.4 billion in gross revenue.
In February, that era came to an end when the man affectionately known as “the general” stepped down from the board of directors.
Gen. Lyon, who earned that rank as commander of the U.S. Air Force Reserves in the 1970s, was 20 days shy of his 94th birthday when he officially retired.
It was part of an ongoing transition, long in the works, son Bill H. Lyon said.
Lyon stepped down as his firm’s chief executive in March 2013, and he stepped down as board chairman last year. Bill succeeded his father as board chairman.
The career that started with GI homes in Fullerton and ultimately housed thousands of families in Orange County and throughout the West made Lyon one of Orange County’s most wealthy and influential men.
He survived several market downturns, riding out the tough times by slashing inventories and staff and selling off land at a loss to raise capital. Lyon barely survived the early 1990s downturn. Following the housing crash of 2007, the Lyon family transferred a controlling interest in their firm to new investors, although the General retained his position at the helm.
In May 2014, Builder Magazine inducted Lyon into its Builder Hall of Fame.
“He’s a giant in our community. He’s built a name, he’s built neighborhoods, he’s built trust and discipline,” said John McManus, Builder Magazine’s editor. “His land acumen, his focus on homebuyers, his approaches to accessing capital, and his fiercely entrepreneurial spirit made his company a kind of academy for a couple of generations of homebuilding’s leaders.”
Lyon’s impact goes beyond the homebuilding industry.
He co-owned and operated a regional airline, AirCal, and invested in hotels. He also was instrumental in creating the Orangewood home for abused and neglected children, with the building of Santa Margarita High School, the founding of the Republican New Majority, and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and was a major donor to charitable groups and Republican causes.
Lyon was one of the three most influential men in Orange County, along with Irvine Co. Chairman Donald Bren and South Coast Plaza developer Henry Segerstrom, said Larry Higby, a former Nixon White House aide who co-founded the The New Majority, a Republican group, in 1999 along with Lyon, George Argyros, Bren and others.
“Not only was he a community developer, but equally important, he was a community leader,” Higby said of Lyon. “Bill was one of those unique guys who doesn’t just write a check. He gets involved, which is why he makes such an impact.”
Lyon is credited with building more than 100,000 homes in six Western U.S. states over the course of his career, a statistic that hasn’t been updated in about a decade.
“He was one of the great homebuilders,” said Tony Moiso, Rancho Mission Viejo’s chairman. “His mark on Southern California, especially Orange County, is hard to match. He has impacted many, many thousands of lives that probably will never meet him, never knew anything about him. But he impacted those lives very positively.”
‘WANTED TO FLY’
The Los Angeles native fell in love with flying after a $1 flight at a Culver City airfield. He attended the University of Southern California, but the day after World War II broke out, he tried to enlist as a Navy pilot, his son said. He was rejected because he had a deviated septum.
He then went to the Dallas Aviation School and later managed to get into the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserves as part of an aircraft ferrying unit, delivering planes to war theaters around the world.
“He just wanted to fly,” Bill Lyon said.
After the war, he became a pilot for Frontier Airlines, his son said, then he went back into active duty during the Korean War,, flying 75 combat missions in C-46 and C-47 transport planes.
“He got back home somewhere around 1954,” Bill recalled. “His father was trying to figure out a way to get him out of airplanes and do something less dangerous.”
Al and Leon Lyon were working together operating Guardian Thrift and Loan. William Lyon joined his father and brother in founding Luxury Homes.
After selling the company in 1968, Lyon retained control of a subsidiary, William Lyon Development, the first in a series of homebuilding firms that would bear his name.
But Lyon, who had been active in the reserves since the war, later got tugged back into active duty. In 1975 he was named commanding general of the U.S. Air Force Reserves, bringing his business skills to manage the division’s $700 million budget for the next four years.
In 1981, Lyon and real estate developer George Argyros paid $61.5 million to buy troubled regional air carrier Air California, later renamed AirCal. They sold it five years later to American Airlines for $225 million.
In 1987, Lyon and investors purchased The Presley Companies, a homebuilding firm operating in California, Arizona and New Mexico that’s the predecessor to today’s William Lyon Homes. He also partnered in creating an apartment company with Western National Group. When the partnership split, Lyon and fellow investors continued to operate the apartment firm now called Lyon Living.
“Gen. Lyon is bigger than life. Everybody wants to grow up and be Bill Lyon,” said Western National CEO Michael Hayde, who recently stepped down as New Majority chairman. “People underrate him. They think of him as a homebuilder. He’s way more than that.”
‘YOU DON’T SAY NO’
One of Lyon’s greatest skills was as a charity fundraiser and recruiter for philanthropic causes, Hayde said.
“You don’t say no to Bill Lyon,” he said.
Former Orange County Supervisor Bill Steiner met Lyon in 1980 when he was running the Albert Sitton Home, an overcrowded children’s emergency shelter.
“Kids were sleeping on mattresses on the floor,” Steiner said. “Things were bleak, very bleak.”
Lyon spearheaded the drive to build a new facility, raising $8.5 million to build the Orangewood Children’s Home.
“Gen. Lyon said it was time to take these children to heart,” Steiner said. “I just credit him with being the heart and soul of this effort to help abused kids in the county. And we’re talking about thousands of kids.”
Bill H. Lyon said his father and mother, Willa Dean, remain active.
“For their ages, they’re doing remarkably well,” he said. “For my father in particular. His 94 is better than most people’s 74.”
Rancho Mission Viejo Chairman Moiso, 77, said Lyon “already was big time” when he got into the land development business. Lyon, he said, was his mentor.
One of the great joys of being a homebuilder, Lyon told Moiso early on, is going back to a project 20 to 40 years later and seeing something he helped put in the ground.
“Think about this,” Lyon said. “You have provided a place for people to live and raise their families and go to school and recreate and go to work. That’s really rewarding.”
Loreen Gilbert, founder and president of WealthWise Financial Services, a wealth management company specializing in advising business owners, was selected to be on a Newport Beach panel with Secretary Mnuchin and Ivanka Trump to discuss tax reform and its impact on small business today. Gilbert is Chair Elect of the National Association of Women Business Owners Institute (NAWBO Institute), which speaks to more than 10 million women business owners. The institute provides resources and tools for women business owners in the U.S. and around the globe. Loreen Gilbert also serves on the Trump-Pence Small Business Advisory Council.
“Tax reform is not about party affiliation, it is about people, jobs and our economy,” said Loreen Gilbert, founder and president of WealthWise Financial Services. “Our overly complex tax system demandssimplification to empower entrepreneurs, assist American workers and enable families to enjoy the fruits of their labor.”
OBITUARY: His good works benefitted a good many
By Paul Hughes and Pete Weitzner
“He called me … before the event [and] knew he wouldn’t be strong enough,” Rick said.
One local business colleague said Dale Dykema started 27 successful businesses.
That puts the total he launched even higher—because not all of them panned out.
“He was involved with starting businesses most of his career,” Rick said. “Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn’t.”
The bug first bit when he began a stint with Title Insurance and Trust Co., known as TI and later as Ticor Title, now part of Fidelity National Financial Inc., based in Jacksonville, Fla., but long part of OC’s business community.
“Even early on he was investing in different things—hydroponic tomatoes, blueberry farms,” his son said. “He was always trying something new.”
In 1964 Dykema launched TD Service Financial Corp., which processed and stored documents related to mortgages, trustee sales and foreclosures.
He ran it for 52 years and sold it in October to First American Financial Corp. in Santa Ana. A price wasn’t disclosed but is believed to be about $10 million.
Dykema had recently taken stakes in new ventures, including Luminara Worldwide LLC near Minneapolis, which makes a flameless, battery-operated candle with licensed Disney Co. technology, and Irvine software firm and consultant Cloudify Inc., where he was also board chairman.
“People like him are few and far between,” said Evan Jafa, Cloudify’s founder and president. “People aren’t always aware of how many businesses and organizations benefited from being associated with him.”
Many local politicians learned and benefited from Dale Dykema, as well. Curt Pringle was the last Republican Speaker of the California State Assembly. He admired Dykema as a “Republican voice but not a harsh voice. He was both supporting and supportive of the moderate and conservative wings,” Pringle said. He noted that Dykema helped start the more centrist New Majority but remained a member of the more conservative Lincoln Club, a straddle few OC politicos managed.
“He was calm and steady,” Pringle recalled, “He commanded attention through his control. Dale was reflective of his time, a time of much greater bipartisanship.”
In a statement released by the Republican Party of Orange County, Chairman Fred Whitaker lauded Dykema as, “A champion of minority candidates.”
The lifelong Republican founded the Lincoln Juarez Opportunity Center and sat on the Board of Directors for the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“He did politics like he did business,” said Rick Dykema. “He appreciated a friendly, engaging personality, whether he was hiring someone or looking for a candidate to support” beyond what candidates believed.
Dale and Sandi Dykema supported groups including DiscoveryCube, UCI Health and the Orange County Fair.
The couple are the 2017 Arnold O. Beckman Award honorees of DiscoveryCube, scheduled to be given by the children’s science museum at its gala in September.
Argyros Family Foundation Executive Director Wendy Hales sometimes trod the same philanthropic paths as Dykema—”there was nothing he wasn’t involved in”—but knew him mostly in his political involvement.
Her tenure as executive director of Lincoln Club overlapped with his chairmanship of the group.
“Dale was one of my first friends when I moved to Orange County, and one of my mentors,” Hales said. “This is heartbreaking.”
She said Dykema had inspired her own personal and professional efforts, and continues to do so.
“He was just amazing,” she said. “Anyone you talk to will tell you that.”