This update has been coming for two months. I actually had an entirely different post written detailing the events that have transpired since I wrote my initial post regarding Sean Weber’s bullying, and [expunged] criminal record. The other post is far lengthier than the original, but for legal reasons that will be made clear shortly, I have to resort to the abbreviated version for now.
Here are the facts:
In 2004, Sean Weber was arrested and charged with two counts of intimidating and dissuading a victim.
Subsequently, Sean Weber spent 6 days in jail [according to pg 26 court doc], was tried, sentenced to 36 months of probation and ordered to do 192 hours of community service. Weber did his community service hours at Bridge to Home in Santa Clarita
Weber completed his community service, and filed for early termination of his probation and for the criminal case to be expunged, which was granted.
In January 2017, Weber applied for the Santa Clarita City Council vacancy. During the process I believe he misled on two items: that he “volunteered” at the homeless shelter, and that he “worked with the Hart District” on an active shooter program.
Through the course of the application process, Weber was argumentative and combative with anyone who drew his ire for such crimes as asking him background questions, or challenging his claims. He berated, harassed and threatened numerous people with legal action such as libel, slander, and defamation lawsuits.
When I messaged him privately, he doubled down on his claims, made accusations of “knowing my girlfriend,” (he doesn’t) the context of which implies an explicit nature, and further attacked me, threatened legal action, and to involve private investigators, while also threatening my employment. He made statements that implied he talked to the dentist that I had criticized previously, and had uncovered some new information that contradicted the story. No such information exists.
On May 2nd 2017, seeing his behavior continuing, I published a blog post detailing his disgusting, egregious, abhorrent, uncivil, threatening, litigious, and bullying conduct. The post contained my opinions based on disclosed evidence, and was vetted before publishing by Dave Casey, my attorney.
On May 9th, 2017, Sean Weber and his attorney Troy Slaten decided the proper course of action was to file an application for a restraining order that I believe substantially misrepresented and misleadingly presented the facts.
On June 22nd, Sean Weber filed a report with the sheriff claiming I had violated a temporary restraining order in an effort to have me arrested. The violation? Reposting a blog post of mine about “standing up to bullies,” and did not discuss Mr. Weber.
There was some back and forth between attorneys between the initial filing, ultimately leading to a hearing on July 11th 2017 in which the judge was sufficiently mislead by Weber and Slaten’s gross misrepresentation of facts, and granted the restraining order.
July 11th Hearing
Days before the hearing, Weber’s attorney Troy Slaten delivered a reply to our rebuttal of Mr Weber’s assertions and claims in his initial restraining order filing. In response, Weber and Slaten grossly misrepresented facts and altered their argument from the initial filing. What had originally been described as “harassment via persistent messages and online communication” — a claim to which no evidence was submitted, because it did not exist — was now described as a fear based on fabrication and manipulation of the truth. Weber went digging through my social media profiles and found Twitter posts having nothing to do with him, some from 2015, and falsely implied they were violent and threatening. In reality, they were mundane banter, known memes, or my failed attempts at humor (seriously, one was a joke about an imaginary therapist, I wish I could make this stuff up). With this level of gamesmanship, my existing attorney Dave Casey and I, decided to bring on the formidable Ken White (of Popehat infamy) as co-counsel.
At the hearing, the Judge ordered a recess and told us (really, the attorneys) to attempt a negotiation. Weber and attorney Slaten asked that I alter the blog post: 1) remove all occurrences of the word “criminal” 2) remove his photo 3) remove an address and phone number I had inadvertently missed in my redaction of the court documents and 4) Add information regarding the criminal case being expunged. In exchange, there would be a mutual “stay away” order between the two of us. There was also a threat of a possible defamation case.
Suffice to say, I didn’t find those terms agreeable.
The result is that the judge was misled by Weber and Slaten, and we were not given sufficient ability to counter their claims and misrepresentations. Ken White opted instead to limit the damage, and focus on the appeal.
Continuing the legal fight
The outcome of this case is unfortunate, primarily because now Sean Weber and Troy Slaten have a blueprint for how to stifle speech they don’t like in the future. Weber has made it clear he will threaten anyone who criticizes him with litigation, and if he is allowed to go unchallenged, I have no doubt he will be emboldened by this win and will use it as leverage against others in the future. For that reason, I will continue the legal battle to get this reversed, whatever the cost.
Sean Weber executed his threat to bring litigation against me because I stood up to him. He has threatened countless others for criticizing his behavior, and will likely continue unless someone fights back.
Miscreants and bullies like Sean Weber need decent people to stand up and challenge them. He seems to believe he can abuse and manipulate the legal system, bully people into submission, and intimidate and dissuade others from speaking out against his conduct. I will not let him go unchallenged.
With the support of my family and closest friends, I will fight the battle to the bitter end to ensure Sean Weber, and people like him, are unable to abuse their fellow human beings in such a disgusting way.
For those bullied by Sean Weber
If Weber has bullied, harassed, threatened legal action or made other efforts to intimidate you please get in touch with me; you can email me (brett[at]bretthaddock[dot]com). Many people have already shared their stories, and I want you to know you’re not alone. You can remain anonymous if you like. So long as I breathe, Sean Weber will not be allowed to continue his bullying without repercussion — I will catalog and write about his conduct, so do not fear retaliation from him.
As my friends and family can attest, I’ve made something of a second career helping to expose frauds and bullies. Quite often, these people have a long and storied history of their behavior, and until my involvement haven’t had too many people stand up and try to hold them accountable. In the past, I have had no qualms whatsoever in shedding light on these people, so the world can see them for who they really are.
This time is different.
I have struggled for weeks in bringing this particular case to light. Chiefly because of the magnitude of the behavior involved. The subject in question has aspirations for public office, as do I, and the last thing I wanted was for this to be seen as a mere political squabble, or as typical mudslinging.
For reasons that will be enumerated below, I am morally obligated to bring this to light. There is a vested public interest; potentially at stake are substantial tax dollars, public funds that could be pilfered by a charlatan, bully, and criminal.
The following will detail the outlandish behavior, abhorrent statements, egregious lies, and literal criminal behavior of Sean Weber.
My first exposure to Sean Weber was seeing his posts and comments in several local Facebook groups. Weber had made it known that he was going to seek to be appointed to the Santa Clarita City Council seat vacated by Dante Acosta. From the onset, he was highly critical, arrogant, and disrespectful. At times, he was outright attacking people who asked basic background questions, as many of the politically active members in the community had never heard of him. With each query, Weber apparently took it as an affront to his character, and lashed out at the perpetrator who dared question him, instead of taking his statements at face value. At first, I thought perhaps this was an online persona designed to cultivate controversy and get his name out there. In the months since, it is clear to me that this was giving his intelligence far too much credit.
It was evident that Weber had not encountered much resistance in his life, and clearly often received whatever he so desired up to this point. His sights were set on the City Council seat, and anything less than merely handing it to him was treated as a personal attack against him.
Anecdotally, during the city council meeting where they decided to appoint Bill Miranda, Weber was seated a few rows behind and to the left of me. Upon the council’s vote in favor of Mr. Miranda, Weber — visually displeased– stormed out of the room in a huff. Many of the nearly 50 other applicants stayed, engaging in conversation and networking opportunities. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to find any video that covered this angle. I mention it here as it gives a good example of the character we’re discussing.
In January, our local radio station, KHTS, invited all of the city council applicants to their studio for a brief interview [Watch Here]. We expect seasoned and aspiring politicians alike to embellish at best, or lie at worst. During the interview, Weber made a couple claims. First, he stated that “Over the last 10 to 15 years, I was part of or helped with the homeless shelter they have out here.” The context is ambiguous enough so the listener is left to infer that he had been volunteering with the local shelter, a noble cause. The second statement he makes is that “Within the last year I met with Hart High School to discuss with them the active shooter or active threat problem. […] Currently Hart High School needs guidance from the City on how to deal with that.” Again, we are left to infer that his involvement has helped create a safer school district, able to defend against scenarios where someone may decide to cause harm to innocent children. The conclusion being that he obviously desires to keep children safe, and is doing his best to ensure it.
Both these statements are heavily embellished and distorted beyond being factual at best, or demonstrably false at worst.
Active Shooter Program lie
Starting with the “active shooter program” claim, Weber infers in his KHTS interview, and outright states in various public forums, that he has been working with the Hart District on the program. The reality is, unfortunately, this statement is completely fabricated. Weber’s “day job” is, as he classifies it, a “managed service provider.” Essentially outsourcing technology needs for smaller businesses. This is a growing industry, companies are provided everything from telecom solutions to websites, a social media presence, or maintenance of business systems. In this role, Weber has continually attempted to sell the Hart District his services for an “active shooter program.” Cold call sales pitches, brief meetings with district staff, persistent emails, and attempting to publicly shame Hart District Board Members does not count as “working with the Hart District.”
The relationship is entirely one sided. Weber claims a teacher reached out to him with concerns about the preparedness of schools, or lack thereof. From there, he had a conversation with Valencia High’s vice principal. The vice principal deferred to the district. Numerous public records requests and conversations with Hart personnel could not verify Weber’s assertions of the chain of events; that this endeavor got started at the behest of a concerned teacher.
Weber also took to local Facebook groups to make accusations that the Hart District was ill-prepared for such a scenario, and refused to address the threat of an active shooter. After being alerted to the statements, Joe Messina, a member of the Hart District Board, launched an internal investigation. He was concerned that staff had fallen short, and sought to verify Weber’s statements.
In an email [Link] received after a public records request, Hart District’s Director of Technology Services Jon Carrino recollected the interaction with Weber:
This is the sequence of events regarding Sean Weber to the best of my recollection.
On December 16, 2015, Sean met with Josh McDonald, Assistant Principal, at Valencia High School. The topic of the meeting was what Sean’s company, the Sedan Group, could do to help the District update and modernize our communication platforms to be better prepared for emergencies. Josh then brought in Kathy Hunter as Sean was wanting to offer a district wide solution and was really outside of his purview.
On January 25, 2016, Sean met with Josh McDonald, Kathy Hunter, and Sonia Pishevar at the District Office. Realizing that the solutions Sean was offering was something that would need to involve Technology and Maintenance, Kathy worked to gather information Sean requested to prepare a proposal and setup a subsequent meeting. There were a few delays in scheduling the next meeting based on time needed for information collection and conflicting schedules.
On June 21, 2016, Sean met with Josh McDonald, Kathy Hunter, I believe Jack Kapp from Maintenance, and myself at the District Office. Sean discussed ideas he had for updates to existing paging and telecommunications systems including a VoIP solution district wide. We discussed our current environment and answered his questions. My recollection from the end of the meeting was that Sean was going to finalize his proposal and schedule a follow up meeting to present it to the District. I have not heard from Sean since. Based on your email I thought maybe I missed an email from him that went to Spam. I just searched our entire email system and could not find any email from Sean’s email address to anyone in the District since June of 2016 (before our last meeting).
I considered this a cold call sales pitch (something we did not initiate) and did not think to follow up with Sean.
I do not remember any discussion regarding the District needing guidance from the City for active shooter situations, so I am not sure what he is referring to in his interview on KHTS.
The Hart District Director of Student Services, Kathy Hunter, corroborated Mr. Carrino’s recollection of events in another email [Link]:
Jon’s chronology of events is completely in line with my recollection of events. Sean never delivered a final
proposal and I have not had any further contact. It was a cold call sales pitch and the City was not discussed.
From these emails we can see that Weber’s assertions are clearly false. His statement that he “worked with” the Hart District implies a mutual relationship, where there clearly was not. In reality, this was a sales pitch which resulted in several meetings and a handful of email exchanges.
Additional emails obtained show the exchanges between Weber and various members of staff. These emails highlight the tactics used by Weber in his sales pitches; tactics when used by “pick up artists” is called “negging.” In short, negging is the concept of backhanded compliments, personal attacks, and guilt trips to undermine the target in an effort to gain their trust and/or procure a “date,” or more often a sexual conquest. Weber appears to use these same tactics in his sales pitches when he doesn’t immediately get his way.
After his initial success meeting with Hart District Staff from December 2015 to June 2016, Weber failed to followup with a completed presentation. No one else heard from him until his statements in January of 2017. When the facts were brought to light, the attacks began. He would lash out at people in local Facebook groups who questioned him, or offered the counter statements that his assertions were factually deficient. These keyboard tirades occurred on many occasions, often resulting in the deletion of comments Weber had made in the exchanges.
April 21st 2017, Weber again took to a local Facebook group to attempt to shame the Hart District. Seizing on a threat to a local school, he posted a screenshot of an email to Valencia High School Students, warning them of a threat against the school, and captioned it “Unprepared School Board — SAD.” Efforts to get Weber to clarify the position on the post went unanswered.
In a series of posts to the same group the following day, Weber continues his assertion that the Hart District isn’t prepared for an active shooter scenario, but offered zero evidence for his claims.
Obviously tiring of my persistent questioning, he disabled comments on one of his posts with outrageous claims, despite asking directed questions in the post. I opted to create a new post to direct my questions at him.
After pestering them online and being told the same thing the Hart District had told him — to gather information, contact the technology team, and prepare a presentation — Weber took to his newly formed Facebook group and made the following blatantly false statement:
Homeless shelter embellishment and lie by omission
Weber claimed to have worked with the homeless shelter for the “last 10 or 15 years.” What I believe he meant to say was that 10 or 15 years ago, he worked with the homeless shelter. Public records indicate that in 2004, Weber spent 192 hours at Bridge to Home, no more, no less. I was unable to find any additional time or interaction with Bridge to Home since the completion of his 192 hours. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t spent time there, just that I was not able to find any other information on the subject.
If you’re thinking to yourself “192 hours is awfully specific,” you’re right. Between May and August, he assisted with the Bridge to Home website, in addition to other ad hoc tasks. Weber did not volunteer at the homeless shelter; he was legally required to do 192 hours of community service as a stipulation of being released on probation.
Weber can’t withstand the heat
Without exception, each time Sean Weber was asked questions in an effort to gain further background information, or to hold him accountable for actions or statements, he went on the offensive. The evening following the Signal’s City Council Applicant Forum, he was quoted in a Facebook group for his statement “I don’t need this, this community needs me.” The quote was incorrect in verbatim verbiage, but correct in it’s spirit. When people started to poke fun at his line, he started attacking people, threatening (grossly incorrectly for someone who previously worked at a law firm, and has created a legal app, Legal Knock, with fewer than 100 downloads) that “slanderous” statements were made. He also accused others of supporting people that weren’t Weber, and insisted that they were attacking him solely because they sought to undermine him. These accusations evidently have no basis in reality, and could not be verified. He then accused someone of using their “official title” to try and influence the process. This accusation was lobbed toward former Santa Clarita Parks Commissioner Kevin Korenthal and is false.
On several occasions, I attempted to ask Weber to clarify statements, or asked him questions which should have been easy for him to answer. In each instance, I was met with resistance, deflection, and attacks. Seeing that this may be due to it being a public forum, I took to Facebook Messenger to try and have a private conversation in an effort to clear the air. It did not go well.
Wobbly Weberworld, a forum he can control
Clearly unable to tolerate criticism of any kind, Weber created a new Facebook Group: “SCV Town Hall / SCV Politics / SCV Politics – Local Issues” — A group which he continuously renames and re-categorizes on a seemingly daily basis. Members of that group have reportedly received threats of being kicked out for the sole reason of “liking” a post where I question Weber. Or as he defines it “encouraging pervasive behavior.” I have confirmed that a handful of people have received the same, or similar message below:
Additionally, the group appears to be a primary advertising channel for product and services Weber has direct financial ties to. For instance a post shared to the group about reporting crime anonymously, links to WeTip.com, a website that is maintained by Weber and his cluster of LLCs, SedanGroup, LegalKnock [Screenshot]. Another post is for a “SCVPress,” a reported new “local media company.” As of this writing, I was unable to find documentation to definitively prove Weber’s direct involvement, but I’ll show you the Facebook “cover” images of the two groups and let you decide their connection:
Weber posted some questions directed at the KHTS news manager, Perry Smith, in an effort to . . . hold him accountable? I’m honestly not sure what his motives are with this one:
The only other activity in the group are constant posts regarding member count, and bizarre “thank you” messages to members — ostensibly for adding members. It should also be noted that an overwhelming number of the groups members are decidedly not residents of the Santa Clarita Valley, despite the groups namesake.
My Interactions with Sean Weber
The very first interaction I had with Weber was at the city council meeting before the appointment process. As I remember it, I was standing talking to a couple other people when Weber approached, interrupted, and introduced himself. He said something about knowing a second cousin of mine, and how he and the family go way back, and he’d like to get to know me. Again, I don’t recall specifically what I said in response, but I acknowledged his presence and comment, and tried to return to my previous conversation. It was very brief, and I don’t recall specifics because the conversation was utterly unremarkable, and brief.
Weber recalls the conversation completely differently. According to his recollection, he was introduced to me, and I was dismissive of him and my family. After learning his perspective of the conversation, I apologized. I could certainly see how someone could see me as dismissive if I was trying to return to a conversation they interrupted, but it wasn’t my intention.
It seems this first interaction was the thorn in Weber’s side that lead him to repeatedly make attempts to attach improprieties to my character. In a since-deleted post on Facebook, the usual comments and jokes were flowing freely, I joined in making a reference to a well known Homer Simpson meme. This spun into a back and forth couple of jokes, at which point Weber said “Brett Haddock – as another applicant I do not understand how you feel your post is appropriate ethically.”
The exchange in question:
As you can see, I genuinely thought he was joking in the thread. After a bit, I realized he might be serious, so I reached out in a private message to see if I could set the record straight. I said “Forgive me, but I genuinely can’t determine if you take exception to something that was posted. With all the bluster and hyperbole being tossed about in that group today, it’s hard to discern if your comment was in jest or not. I just want to make sure nothing I’ve said has come across in an unintentional way.”
Weber responded: “Mr. Haddock, I like your personality and I feel contributing towards that behavior isn’t appropriate. I know you mean well. I would like to learn more about you.” I asked for further clarification, but after several hours it became clear he wasn’t going to respond to my question, so I wished him well, and dropped it.
March 20th, Weber made an effort to throw me under the bus once more. In a comment thread on a post for the Talk of Santa Clarita Podcast where I was the guest, Weber attempted to characterize my stories of “whistle-blowing” as “whining.” When asked for clarification, he continued digging, attempting to apply intent to statements I was, or rather wasn’t making. Each time he was asked a question, he would deflect and doubledown. Each subsequent comment would be more abhorrent than the last, and usually included a wild accusation. You can read the entirety of the exchange here. The conversation took a drastic turn when Weber stated “have you stopped beating your wife?” This crossed a line, in fact, it crossed dozens of lines. It is never acceptable to make a statement like that. As I said in my reply to him, it belittles actual domestic violence cases, the fact that he was using it as a tool of deflection was disgusting.
I opted to take the conversation private in an effort to get him to apologize and retract his statements. Instead, he decided to continue his full assault and made more egregious statements, more attacks, and more deflections. You can read our entire conversation history here. He made claims about knowing my girlfriend, insinuating an explicit connection. They’ve never met, and none of the other women I’ve dated knows who he is. At best, they’re only aware of him because of overlapping social circles. Weber then claimed various things from “tortious interference,” to “knowing my skill set better than you,” and accused me of manufacturing “drama.” In a bizarre cycle, he would lash out, then after a short time make an effort to walk his comments back, to make it seem like it was lighthearted joking between peers. He also threatened to report me to my employer. In short, cowardice and forgetting the first rule of holes — stop digging.
In person meeting requests
Whenever Weber finds himself in a corner, he retreats to saying something along the lines of “we should meet in person to discuss.” There seems to be no exception to this rule, when presented with overwhelming evidence or questioned intensely, he retreats to his attack state, or starts saying it should be discussed in person. Typically the reason is that he doesn’t want to “release private information publicly.” Frequently utilizing the dubious claim that there are “people in the community” feeding him information; a claim which appears to be complete bluster, as he’s never made public any statements to backup his claim.
Weber’s frequent requests to meet in person take on an ominous and decidedly threatening tone when you find out that his past contains an incident of a severe nature; Dissuading and intimidating a witness or victim.
Sean Richard Weber is a criminal
February 9th, 2004, Sean Weber was arrested on two counts of California Penal Code 136.1: Dissuading and intimidating a witness or victim; a crime described as a “wobbler” since it can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Weber pleaded no contest to the charges, served jail time, was released on probation for 36 months, and required to do 192 hours of community service. He later had the conviction expunged; a California law allows some defendants to expunge their convictions upon successful completion of probation. [PDF Link to Redacted Court Case]
I have been unable to find further details on the incident leading to his arrest. The charge itself is a serious one. We can see Weber’s behavior of attacking people stretches back well over 13 years. In conjunction with his constant requests to take conversations “face to face,” we can get the impression of the types of conversations he would like to have. His requests take on a more ominous tone now, it seems evident he sought in person contact in an effort to persuade or intimidate those that would disagree with him.
Sean Weber is not the person this community needs. He’s a charlatan, as demonstrated above by the Hart District Emails, he doesn’t have a clear understanding of what he is trying to sell. As one Staff Member noted, he was “outside his purview.” He’s a bully, made clear by his many interactions where he attacks and deflects whenever he perceives being attacked. And finally, he’s a criminal, with a conviction on his record for the very intimidation tactics he continues to use to this day. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that his frequent in-person meeting requests were attempts to continue his tactics of intimidation and dissuasion.
[Update #1]: Removed name of a local business that disputed and disavowed the connection to Sean Weber.
My friends and family will tell you that I enjoy standing up to, and exposing, or helping to expose bullies. It is a firm belief of mine that those of us capable of doing so, have a moral obligation to not only defend people being subjected to bullying, but to also push back against the person who dares to mistreat their fellow human beings. This was a lesson my parents taught me fairly early in life.
Not many people know I was the target of many characters deciding, for one reason or another, to antagonize and harass me. In fourth grade, a couple of my friends one day decided to gang up on me, and physically assaulted me. Now “friend” is a loose term here, since we all know when you’re a kid friendship is based more on geographical convenience than any real commonality between you, but still. At that point in life, my parents had taught me to defend myself when attacked. So I did. The end result is that in a two versus one surprise attack, I came out unscathed. The unfortunate result is that the two kids involved realized they were outmatched, and brought in a bigger kid. The three of them would continue to pester and assault me over the course of the next few years, continuing into high school.
My parents made sure I also knew to never start a fight, just finish them. And bullying people who can’t defend themselves counts as starting a fight.
Junior high introduced another regular perpetrator of threats and assault. So basically, junior high was less than fun, for a number of reasons.
As an adult, I have come to find that people like those I encountered in school continue their behavior. Their schoolyard tactics of intimidation, physical violence, and name calling are enhanced with legal threats, and attacks on their targets livelihood. Some people never leave the playground, it seems. What disturbs me is the rate at which these folks get away with things, and so seldom do they suffer penalties for their actions. Even fewer of them face legal consequences such as lawsuits, arrests, or similar.
Typically, all it takes to shut these people down is for enough of us to stand up, and question the bully. Occasionally, some of them will feel “ganged up on” and continue their attacks, even doubling down on them. They simply do not see their actions as inherently wrong, or in need of correction. They push back, threaten more people, and make things worse for themselves.
It is my opinion that these edge cases should be dragged into the light, and exposed for the petulant, thin-skinned, immature people they are. They clearly do not learn from mistakes of their past, and nudging them to improve their actions towards others has no effect. They continue their abhorrent behavior, and suffer little to no consequence. These worst offenders continue to seal their fate with every ill-advised attack against those who try to hold them accountable.
So if you see a bully, do the right thing and confront them. Not for yourself, or someone you care about; but for those that cannot stand up for themselves.
Some time ago I disabled the standard WordPress comments and used a plugin that let accounts from Facebook/Google/Twitter/Etc to comment. At some point between that time and today, I removed that plugin, but never enabled the regular comment system. After seeing someone attempt to leave a comment on a post today, and not succeeding, I’ve fixed it.
To say I’ve had my share of exchanges with charlatans over the years, would be an understatement. From dentists, to a former boss, revenge porn extortionists, to a local turnkey travel-club scam, and many others, my life experience with fraudsters is clearly above average.
The amusing fact, for me at least, is that I seldom seek these people out. Somehow, they find me; as though I’m a lightning-rod for con-artists.
Common among these charlatans is the sheer audacity of their scams, in addition to the hubris that ultimately befalls them. They spend a great deal of effort to merely maintain the scam once it’s been started. Initially, you could see where they thought it was a quick buck. As time progressed, the required maintenance grew exponentially.
Delusions of grandeur are clear hallmarks for these types. I still couldn’t tell you if it’s a case of them believing their own bullshit, or more of a “fake it ’till you make it” attitude. Whatever it is they’re proclaiming to be, they’re the best. They make sure to wow you with who they are, who they know, things they claim to have done, and much more. The purchases they make are always the best; best car, priciest watch, newest and greatest phone. It seems to be how they measure their success. Their plans for the future are always as grandiose as the lives they pretend to lead; going to space, expanding their business rapidly, buying a mansion with more rooms than would be necessary to house a platoon. And they seem to always have a vanity license plate with their name on it.
Their résumé is always clearly targeted to impress. Rather than a statement of facts lightly embellished of their previous job experience, they focus on their own titles, and the “big league” category of their previous employer; Chief operating officer at Fortune 500 company, chief technical officer at a major law firm, national tech giant, founder of a venture capital backed startup, and the like.
Some people are just impressive. These types tell you why you should be impressed with them, and what exactly you should be impressed with.
Clearly too content in the castle of deceit they’ve built to see the reality of it; that it’s a house of cards about to collapse onto them. Hoisted by their own petard.
The arrogance that helped build their fort of delusion seems impenetrable. They outsmarted people after all, and got away with it. When someone finally sees through their nonsense, they become fixated on that person, an obvious new enemy; the threat to everything they’ve built. Relentless searching, grasping at any straws to deter and deflect the menace encroaching. Subtle threats go from “I’m too big for you to mess with,” “you’re just a nobody, a fly I’ll swat,” and my very favorite: “I know things about you. Things you don’t want released! Things that would destroy you!”
Of course, their goal is to make it seem as though they’re being merciful. “I’m a very important person, and I could stomp you like a bug! But I pity you.” Soon after, the name-calling starts, trying everything they can to get under your skin and rile you up. Then it’s off to threaten your livelihood. You are, after all, threatening theirs.
They hope the world sees exactly what it’s told: A towering colossus, a beast no one dare irk, or hellfire shall rain down upon those who doubt their glory.
In reality, they’re scared children with a papier-mâché mask that few seldom challenge. And when someone finally does, the collapse of the pseudo-empire is spectacular to watch.
I was born and raised here in Santa Clarita, and have always called it home. My grandparents relocated to the area from Colorado over 50 years ago; my parents moved here after getting married, having briefly lived in Sunland. This valley has always been my home. I have not only grown up in Santa Clarita, but I have grown up with Santa Clarita. I remember when most of Soledad through town was just two lanes, when the field next to Santa Clarita Lanes was used for growing onions, and when Saugus Speedway had regular NASCAR races.
My family has been here so long I still get an occasional stranger spotting me and saying “you look like a Haddock boy,” then finding out how they somehow know my parents.
Having a total of four boys in three different decades covering a 15 year spread, my parents were members of the PTA for forty consecutive years. As far back as the 70’s, my father was involved with the Canyon Country Chamber of Commerce, and was a key organizer for “Frontier Days.” My mother is a near 20 year veteran of Santa Clarita Valley School Food Services Agency; starting at Mitchell Elementary, and moving to several schools before moving up to the central kitchen and overseeing many of the schools they serve in town.
All this to say: Santa Clarita is home, always has been.
My older brothers are 9 and 10 years older than me. The eldest, Jason, was diagnosed with leukemia at an early age and spent most of his brief life fighting that diagnosis. The friends and family in this wonderful community rallied around my parents, providing endless support and love in their time of need. The world I was born into was one no person should experience; that of two parents losing a child. I was six months old when he passed.
Growing up, I watched as my parents shifted their focus to trying to help those in need. They offered jobs and housing for many people down on their luck. That desire to help others despite the despair of their recent loss left an imprint on me, and is likely at the core of my own desire to do good in this world. They taught me from an early age to help out my fellow citizens in need, and to always do the right thing.
As an adult, I started to act on those early lessons. In my time as a Geek Squad agent at Best Buy, I saw some nefarious activity by a couple fellow employees taking place. I reported the activity anonymously, but it wasn’t until I had left the company that I felt comfortable discussing it publicly, without fear of retaliation. The story quickly gained attention all over the country, and even made the front page of The Signal here locally.
Years later, working for a new company, I discovered an embezzlement scheme perpetrated by my new boss. He developed an elaborate con involving a fabricated person working as a “third party” recruiter, and had even gone so far as to create a legal entity to launder his money. I reported my findings to the executives at the company, they passed along the evidence I had collected to their legal team, and the boss was terminated. One of the executives personally thanked me for uncovering the plot, and saving the company potentially millions of dollars.
A group of lawyers were trying to shed some light on a couple of nefarious characters for starting what is now commonly referred to as “revenge porn.” These gentlemen set up a website where users would post compromising photos, almost always former girlfriends, along with personal contact information for the women. People viewing the site would then harass the subjects. Thousands of women were caught up in the scheme. To make matters worse, these scumbags started a fake lawyer that the women could contact and “he” would make sure the photos were removed from the website — for a nominal fee. Utilizing my technology skills, I assisted in exposing the identities of these men, and helped get the website shutdown once and for all.
In 2012, I had a run-in with a local Santa Clarita Dentist. After a poor experience, I discovered the dentist had a reputation for high pressure sales tactics, falsely stating that insurance wouldn’t cover common procedures, and convincing patients to finance unnecessary procedures. In my investigation I found that the dentist had a history of threatening people who left negative online reviews, stating nearly all of the above. Most people would cave to the legal threat, and remove the review. For me, standing up to a litigious bully was the right thing to do, so I did not cave to their legal threats. The dentist eventually found a lawyer who would take the case, and the case went before a judge, where it was swiftly laughed out of court.
My parents also taught me to give back to my community. In 2015, I was fortunate enough to take part of the Sheriff’s Community Academy. It was a fantastic experience, and very insightful. Upon completion of the program, I decided to apply for the Sheriff Reserves. After passing the first couple of hurdles, I learned of a disqualifying injury that prevented me from going further into the process.
Undeterred in my desire to give back to my community, I started volunteering at Bridge to Home when they opened for the November 2015 season. This was another insightful and amazing opportunity which taught me a great deal about issues our local homeless population is facing. During the 2015-2016 season, I ended up volunteering approximately 240 hours at the shelter.
I have a desire to give back to my hometown, and I feel that being on the Santa Clarita City Council is the obvious next step to further that goal. My experience as a software engineer and technical skills can be leveraged to facilitate collaboration and engagement with the residents of this amazing city. I want to ensure even the quietest of voices can be heard, utilizing the skills and experience I’ve gained over the last 20 years, to make sure we have a government that is actually of, by, & for, the people.
I’m honest, and have a proven track record of integrity. I always stand up for the little guy, and ensure people who have wronged their fellow citizens are held accountable for their actions. I’ve stood up against giant corporations, and smaller local businesses ripping people off. I have helped expose nefarious characters for ruining people’s lives.
If appointed, I will donate my city council paycheck to local causes. Each month I will select a handful of causes, and list them on a website I create, allowing the public at large to decide where the money goes, and how it is distributed — entire amount going to one cause, or divided amongst several. Additionally, I would like to spend one month shadowing employees at city hall at every level to learn the ins and outs of daily operations. I am fortunate enough to work for a company that offers a sabbatical every 5 years, and as luck would have it mine is scheduled to start in May of this year. Finally, I will only seek to retain the city council seat in the 2018 election if a combined majority of voting residents and the four council members approve of my conduct during my tenure. I am sure there will be disagreements, which I ask not be held against me, but instead how I handle those disagreements. Professionalism is a key virtue of holding public office, in my view.
From the bottom of my heart, and to the very fiber of my being, I truly believe I am the right person for the job. I hope to convince you of that fact as well.
This was a triumph.
I’m making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS
It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.
One hundred and fifteen days ago, I emerged from the ether to declare my candidacy for Santa Clarita City Council. I had no idea if my voice would even be heard among the crowded field, much less if my message would resonate. It became evident fairly quickly that I was on the right path.
I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to my fellow Santa Claritians, not only hearing their concerns but getting to know many of them on a personal level. The support was overwhelming. As election day drew near, many people sent messages about voting for me, and wishing me luck. That was amazing, unexpected, and heartwarming.
The people closest to me can attest that I am not easily intimidated, nor am I one to be nervous. They’ll also tell you that I enjoy being in over my head. Putting yourself out there by seeking elected office was definitely intimidating and nerve-wracking for me. And I was definitely in over my head. I loved every second of it.
The luncheon sponsored by VIA was my very first public speaking engagement ever. As I was leaving the event, many attendees stopped me to give me words of encouragement, and wish me luck. I gained confidence in my message and my voice, with each persons encouragement at all the events I attended. I think it was pretty obvious I wasn’t a politician, which I’m sure is a refreshing change of pace.
I learned many lessons along the way, and I’ve learned a great deal about Brett Haddock the candidate. This experience has been fulfilling, heartwarming, and reinforced my already strong resolve; my desire to work to make the world a little bit better.
I wish I could personally thank every single one of the 2,520 people that voted for me. It has encouraged me to keep going.
To Von Hougo, thank you for inspiring me to take the plunge. You demonstrated that a non-politician could get their voice & message of honesty, integrity, transparency, and accountability out there and be heard among the hyperbolic rhetoric typically found in campaigns.
To my fellow Santa Claritians who took a moment to give me words of encouragement, or constructive criticism, thank you.
To TimBen Boydston and Alan Ferdman, thank you for being great sources of enlightenment, and taking the time to talk to a fellow candidate.
To my friends/extended family, constantly egging me on to take the plunge to be a force of good evidently works, thank you.
To my ridiculously awesome brother Travis, thank you for helping over-engineer stands and help me put up signs all over town.
To my wonderful girlfriend Brittany, thank you for the support of my shenanigans, both past and future, and being a constant source of laughter.
To my parents, thank you for being the solid foundation, the source of relentless enthusiasm, fervent advocacy, and boundless support that gives me the confidence to undertake these endeavors.
And to everyone else, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything you’ve done that I haven’t enumerated here.
There’s a million things I haven’t done, just you wait, just you wait
I have been a resident of Santa Clarita my entire life. This wonderful community has done a great deal for my family, helping us through some difficult times. It’s nearly impossible for me to even hope to give back as much as we have received, but I’m certainly going to try.
I’m running for city council because I want to be your voice in City Hall. It’s my way of repaying everything Santa Clarita has done for me. In addition to opening communication to all residents so I can better represent you, I’m going to do something more direct, by donating my City Council paycheck to local causes.
Every month I will select from local causes that I have found, or have been suggested to me, and post them online. Each cause will have a description, and why I feel the cause is deserving of some funding. Then it will be up to you, the voters, to decide how the money is distributed.
The local causes will not be limited to tax deductible charities either; anything local that could make use of some funding. From a crowdfunding campaign for a resident in need, to a local teacher in dire need of supplies, or even someone that’s fallen on hard times that needs a bill or two paid.
Now, there is a couple caveats here. By “paycheck,” I mean whatever the actual check amount comes to, which is after taxes, etcetera. City Council members are paid approximately $1,800 per month for their service. Whatever the net amount is that gets sent to me is what I will contribute to the program. The other caveat is that I’ll contribute the paycheck each month, unless something personal comes up that doesn’t allow. For example, an unforeseen medical bill that isn’t covered by insurance. Should such an occasion arise, I will be transparent and make an announcement at the earliest possible time.
2015 has been a weird year, even by my standards. Here are some highlights
Bought a MacBook, and iPhone
Never thought it’d happen, but I gave in and bought a couple Apple products. The move was required to keep my skill set current. My opinion of Apple has not changed, but now I can make apps for both Android and iOS, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.
Became a commendable person
The Santa Clarita Sheriff’s station hosts something they call the “Community Academy,” which gives an in depth look at their operations. They also provide access to tools and resources for community members to be active and assist the sheriff’s in town. It was quite a learning experience, and also fun. We were allowed to run through a training simulator for a scenario requiring use of deadly force. A very eye opening experience. Also, I got shot and died in my simulation. Los Angeles County gave the participants Certificates of Commendation for community service. So now I’m certifiable AND commendable.
Foolishly tried to help my ex-wife’s drug addict niece
The niece of my ex-wife reached out to me, seeking help. She’d fallen on hard times, having become homeless, and addicted to meth. With the help of a good friend, and recovered addict, we were able to get her into a facility that would give her the best shot at recovery. Suffice to say, it didn’t work. She lasted barely more than a week before going AWOL. At least I tried.
Learned the true meaning of pain
An inept doctor, treating me for a work related injury, gave me a cortisone injection in my lumbar, causing an inhuman amount of pain. I ended up going on disability for a couple of months, while I fought the doctor and insurance to make me well again. Now that I’m away from that doctor, and his unscrupulous activities on Ashley Madison, I’m in less pain. Still permanently disabled, but having good doctors who actually know what they’re doing seems to be an advantage. I’ll keep that in mind for the future.
Coerced my mom to dress up as Evel Knievel (and raised $12K)
I’m proud of this one. Mostly because I was able to talk my mom into doing stupid stuff, and putting it on the internet. We were able to raise over twelve thousand dollars for my nephew in just a couple weeks. That still blows me away. The outpouring of love, kindness, and generosity was, and still is, overwhelming. As of the moment I’m writing this, the videos we created have received nearly two thousand views on YouTube. We were also able to get the local news station, ABC7, to do a story on Austin and help spread the word. I’m still blown away, and incredibly thankful for everyone’s support.
Started volunteering at a homeless shelter
Right, so this one is a hublebrag, which I usually shy away from. But I think it’s an important bullet point to cap the year off. I couldn’t tell you the exact line of thought that lead to the decision, but I’ve been spending two of three evenings a week volunteering. Maybe I feel a debt to the world. At any rate, it has been an eye opening, and invaluable learning experience. I’m planning on sticking with it for some time. That is, if they allow me.
In summation, this has been an interesting year, full of excitement, sleep deprivation, love & generosity, hope, unholy amounts of pain, and new experiences. A weird mix, but would you expect any less from me?
In an introductory context, conversations almost always take a path towards marital status. Small talk leads to medium talk, discussing occupations, hobbies, et cetera. Universally coming to a near complete halt at the utterance of the sentence “nope, divorced actually” when asked “are you married?”
“Oh. Gosh, I’m so sorry,” delivered with a sudden influx of awkward tension. My response to the statement, so far at least, has not helped.
“Don’t be sorry, it was the single greatest thing to ever happen to me. I’m actually thankful for it,” punctuated with a joke or two about how awful a person the ex-wife was. Well, factual statements told in a joking form. I’m not going to mix words here, she really is just a terrible person, but I digress. People don’t really know how to respond to that. Some try, and start an inquiry as to how the marriage ended, the length of the marriage, and so on. If the person I’m conversing with is a man, they’ll usually ask about division of assets and alimony; of which there is none.
Married September 15th 2012, I learned of her infidelity in April of 2013, knew the marriage was unsalvageable by the end of the month, and filed for divorce May 22nd 2013. Finalized November 22nd 2013; a date I affectionately refer to as freedom day.
We had known each other for a decade, having dated early on, but didn’t work out the first time, remained friends, and she spent several years trying to convince me of getting back together. I acquiesced, and we were together five years by the filing date for divorce.
For most people, I’m sure divorce is a devastating, foundation shattering, life altering event, marred in despair and depression. It took me some time to realize it, but it was genuinely the best thing for me to go through.
In the moment, it was absolutely all of the things above. I was heartbroken, feeling as though the rug had been pulled out from under me. Many tears were shed, sleepless nights, extreme emotions were emoted in all parts of the spectrum. I felt out of control, and unable to steer things back in a desirable direction.
Initially, I tried to salvage the marriage. In a move that seems moronic now, I even attempted marriage counseling. It was over, and nothing could save it. Once I regained my pragmatism, and started the analytical process to find a resolution that was best for me, it all became clear. Control of my life was once again mine, and the inevitable outcome was realized: it was over. There was no saving the marriage. I had to sever the limb to save the body.
Luckily, taking control of the situation allowed me to bring it to a close quickly. With it over with, I was left standing on the brim of the crater looking at the wreckage of a relationship doomed from the start.
Since I’m a twisted person who enjoys both doing things the wrong way, and failing at something, I took the opportunity to learn a lesson, and do some self reflection. I could pin the entirety of the failure on the new ex-wife. I mean, it’s kinda hard for me to accept fault for her cheating repeatedly. However, I knew there were things I had done wrong. Those things needed to be identified, and fixed.
Just because something fails on the first attempt doesn’t mean you start over entirely. You can find successes in your failures, and use them again. But I needed to find my absolute failures, of which there were many.
I realized towards the end of the marriage that I had been failing as a partner. It was clear for some time that she had been unhappy with life, and I started to act to resolve it. Though now it seems futile, since the issue was entirely her, I should have identified the issues sooner. She was in a state of cognitive dissonance, wanting to both be with me in a relationship and for me to be someone I wasn’t. In an effort to fix this, I tried to change aspects of my personality. Relationships are about compromise, we’re told. My intentions were valid, but the design was flawed. There was no way to deliver on her oxymora. I should have identified this as unresolvable, and marked it as an impasse for the relationship; that was my first failure. The metaphor “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic,” is apt.
Post divorce, there was a panic. The wife had been the adult, by her own demand, and I now had to sink or swim. This was another of her complaints against me, and to an extent it was valid. I didn’t handle any of the financial responsibilities. I didn’t want to deal with it, and she initially told me that she preferred to handle it, so in my mind it worked out. That was dumb. Very, very dumb. Luckily, it isn’t hard to learn, I mean I already knew basic math. Some bill juggling happened initially, but it was all sorted out and I’ve had a good handle on it since.
In the future, I now see financial management as a joint endeavor requirement for a relationship; primarily for redundancy. If something happens to one person, the other should be able to grab the reigns and not miss a step. Cooperation likely resolves a primary point of contention in relationships (a theory for me anyway, I’ll get back to you on this one at a future date).
My main failure was the biggest of all: straying from the person I wanted to be. I realize now that the man I was back then was nowhere near being close to the man I envisioned myself being. I wasn’t a good human. That is not to say I was a bad one, far from it. I had expectations for myself that I allowed to be derailed in an attempt to please a master that couldn’t be pleased. I wasn’t happy, I was deeply cynical, and the person I wanted to be was on life support and crying out from the depths of my soul. I should have recognized sooner that I was failing myself.
The years since have obviously been full of self reflection. I’ve been selfish to an extent, focussing on myself and the things I’ve identified as failures. I can honestly say these have been the happiest years of my entire life.
Whatever comes next, I’m ready for. I finally feel as though I’m the person I’ve always sought to be, or fairly close anyway.
The divorce enabled me to become the best version of myself, and that’s the single greatest thing to ever happen to me so far.