Readers may have noticed I’ve become a regular here online at Voice of OC.
Editor-in-Chief Norberto Santana Jr. and I have been friends for some time.
Collaborating with him since 2010 on our Feet to the Fire forums, I’ve grown to enjoy and respect what he and his investigative reporting team have created with Voice of OC.
It’s the only place where you can get a daily snapshot of the local political landscape in a no holds bar way.
When Santana called me last month with the proposition of contributing columns, I was delighted.
Some readers may be familiar with my opinion and lifestyle columns which appeared in the OC Register from 2007 until just recently.
In June they cut their freelance budget. They told me I was one of their most popular columnists and were sorry to see me go.
But one door closes and others open.
I returned to the Daily Pilot covering Newport /Costa Mesa, where I started my career in early 2007 before the Register came calling, and continue to write a weekly column for them as well.
And there are probably some who are old enough to remember my comedy cooking show in the 1990’s, “At Home on the Range”…the cooking show for the deranged, with John Crean which now has found new life on YouTube.
Going from comedy to writing political and social commentary isn’t that far of a stretch when you think about.
Couple that with the fact I’m not shy about my strong opinions on issues, Voice of OC seems a good fit.
Here I’m not faced with editors who want to soften my words- or delete content which might piss off some big political mucky muck- which I have a tendency to do.
Writing for Voice of OC I have the luxury and freedom to say what I feel.
That being said, I do have some thoughts on this last election.
As I watched poll numbers come in Tuesday night I couldn’t help but remember legendary screen actress Mae West and her famous quote, ” When caught between two evils I generally pick the one I’ve never tried before.”
That seems to be what voters did throughout the country and here as well. There certainly were big upsets in more than a few races.
Yes, voters bet on fresh blood to bring change as they kicked some incumbents to the curb.
In my neck of the woods of Newport Beach, we saw our Mayor Rush Hill get clobbered by first time candidate and Duffy Boat creator Marshall Duffield.
And in Costa Mesa, which has been a hot bed of controversy the past few years dealing with their unions, it’s still iffy if Mayor Jim Righeimer will remain in office or challenger Jay Humphrey will win this election.
At one point on Wednesday Righeimer was leading by just 18 votes with still more to be counted.
But since this city has open elections not by districts, if you add the votes people placed for candidates other than Righeimer- and it was a crowded field- over 16,000 didn’t vote for this guy.
So even if he wins he has to live with the fact most of the city didn’t give him the nod.
Geez, that’s certainly not a vote of confidence.
And we also saw Assemblyman Allan Mansoor get his butt kicked by Michelle Steel to replace outgoing supervisor John Moorlach.
This race was interesting because Mansoor had a track record of winning races even when his opponent outspent him- but not this time.
The fickle finger of Republican Party politics literally gave Mansoor a thumbs down as they threw their support behind Steel.
When he first said he was going to leave his Assembly seat and enter the Supervisor race we talked.
I told him running for supervisor was a bad idea since two years prior his party supporters worked hard to get him that Assembly seat.
I warned that those folks might not take too kindly to him ditching Sacramento for Orange County.
Playing musical political chairs he could find himself without a seat- which is exactly what happened.
And he wasn’t the only one out in the cold.
Irvine voters finally smartened up and sent Larry Agran packing as well, though he left them with a ton of Great Park baggage.
But before all the new crop of elected officials start dancing on tables celebrating their wins, they should take heed to the cautionary tale of what just occurred.
The public is fed up with not being heard and their needs not met.
Seems gone are the days when politicians can only say they will listen to their constituents to get elected- they now actually have to do it –or find themselves out of a job come next election cycle.
With tons of special interest and outsider money pumped into these campaigns this last go around, this will be a tough balancing act for many.
Where will their political loyalties lie?
And whose bidding will these new electeds actually do?
We can only hope it’s yours and mine- but I’m guessing that probably won’t be the case this time- this is politics we’re talking about…