Venezia’s View: Facebook Provides Fodder for Silly Season

Barbara Venezia
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Letting your emotions drive the bus can lead to saying and doing things which are just downright stupid.

Not a good thing if you’re running for elected office.

Nowhere do people’s passions run higher than when it comes to politics.

Some of what candidates put out in print makes you wonder what the heck they’re thinking.

What’s really entertaining is when they decide to let their emotions run wild by posting on Facebook.

Yes, some people should just stay off social media – at least until election season is over.

For columnists like me, these Facebook rants are golden. They truly are the gift that keeps on giving.

So this week I especially enjoyed when one of the Republican party’s most influential figures took a shot at her own party and its chairman.

Iconic Republican matriarch and former state senator Marian Bergeson penned an editorial in the Daily Pilot, the other paper I contribute to, Oct. 22nd, which stunned many.

I read it and halfway through my eyebrows raised.

At 89 she pulled no punches calling out Republican Chairman Scott Baugh, political consultant Dave Ellis and the slate of Newport council candidates they support – Marshall Duffield, Scott Peotter and Kevin Muldoon.

In her editorial titled, “Out-of-town partisans are trying to influence Newport,” Bergeson wrote:

“As a lifelong Republican and a resident of Newport Beach for 55 years, I am saddened to see the intrusion of some ultra-partisan party leaders advancing an agenda in Newport Beach that has nothing to do with the Republican values held by Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater.”

She went on to complain that Baugh’s pushing of Ellis’ slate of candidates goes against her belief that local council elections should remain local -without outside influence.

“Are slate cards headed by a party leader who does not live in Newport Beach, and has little understanding of our city and its voters, the best source to influence your vote?” she writes.

For Bergeson to speak out in this manner is pretty amazing since she has always been a staunch party person.

I applaud her chutzpah – you go girl!

I’ve seen the power of simply having Bergeson’s name attached to a candidate’s campaign has had over the years.

Each season wannabe politicos and incumbents climb all over themselves to get an endorsement from this Grande Dame.

The piece is written in true “Maid Marian” fashion – polite, to the point and with a bit of a bite.

So how are people reacting to what she wrote?

The first person to comment on the column thread via Facebook was Ellis.

“Marian, do I need to remind you that Hill, Toerge, and Brown aggressively sought the GOP endorsement – and lost. The party rejected them — it wasn’t even close. I sense you would be singing a different tune if your boys had performed better. Republicans like clean beaches and good public safety just as much as Democrats – no matter where the party chairman lives, ” he wrote.

Probably not his smartest political strategy dissing Bergeson in print with some snarky remark.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Though nowhere in the piece does Bergeson directly warn that election of the Ellis’s slate of candidates would bring the same type of combative political atmosphere as in Costa Mesa, people certainly picked up on this theme.

Greg Ridge wrote, “Newport Beach wanting to be more like Costa Mesa…now there’s an interesting development. Trust me; you don’t want Ellis/Righeimer/Baugh politics governing your city.”

Ellis, who at this point should have gotten off this comment thread in my opinion, replied, “Greg, are you still unemployed living off your wife’s income?”

Yikes!

And when another Facebook member, Cindy Black commented, “The address listed on the charter measure put on the ballot for Costa Mesa was none other than (drum roll, please******************) Dave Ellis’ business address. What a cowinkydink!”

He responded, “Are you the nut job that showed up last week with a camera and scared the office staff with your offensive and rude behavior? You need charm school.”

WOW!

Has this guy forgotten this stuff is public?

In addition to being a political consultant, he’s also a candidate running for Municipal Water District of Orange County.

Now you may think your city is the capital of crazy when it comes to politics, but Newport/Costa Mesa is certainly up there in the top five.

What makes Newport Beach especially important is the fact that it’s the main hub of funding for both the local and national Republican and Democratic parties.

Think about it, candidates running for President from both parties always make multiple stops in Newport during campaigns to grab cash and support from the wealthy and influential here.

President Obama visited Newport more than once during his two terms in office.

The affluent residents and leaders of industry in this city are big political players on a county, state and national level.

Will these power players in the party take what Bergeson is saying about the chairman and this party’s direction and demand change?

Let’s hope so.

This party needs a facelift and an ideological shift to accommodate Republicans who take a more moderate view of social issues, but remain fiscally conservative and believe, as I do, that behavior matters.

And I wonder if the powers that be will see Ellis’s postings to both Bergeson and the public.

Like I said – some people would be wise to stay off Facebook.

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