As I continue to travel around South County on my listening tour, I have been hungry for news on the election front. As it stands today, unless one looked at the actual signs, you wonder if an election actually existed. There is news, though: Giuliani is coming to OC to campaign for Van Tran and Carly Fiorina. But, there is also a bigger start coming to town too: Bill Clinton!!! He is going to beÂ HERE in Orange CountyÂ on Friday at the Old Orange County CourthouseÂ in Santa Ana withÂ Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez for a rally at 3 pm.
I have been trying to get a sense of the “national mood”. I like periodically visiting Real Clear Politics because it gives a good snapshot of where things stand. I wanted to get a sense of what was at hand for the race between Beth Krom and John Campbell. It is not even on their radar. I found it strange–although the Krom campaign continues to run as aggressive a campaign as it can as the Campbell Stealth Campaign continues on. The pollsters have been very busy. The polls have already declared the election to be over. Yet, I see a concerted effort by all to continue on to the end. I am glad to see it. There is no question that people need that debate.
As I have continued to travel throughout South County, I was frankly pleased to see the “No to Recall/No to Measure H” signs propping up. I have noted that I am for the Recall and the replacement of the Board. However, there needs to be the debate because everyone will be better for it. There needs to be a vibrant discussion. The problem has been that the folks who have pushed for the status quo are sticking to their story of the Union backing the Recall Campaign. The campaign to keep the status quo seems to be gathering steam now without the needed accountability that is crucial for the people to be served.
When I “hung around” the Facebook Page of the “No” Crowd, I continued to see the “No” signs being torn down. Interestingly enough, there was a supposed report about Mike Winston actually being on the prowl pulling down a “Yes on Measure H” sign and actually putting up a “No” Sign. I have no way of confirming that, but it shows a sense of viciousness that seems to be the lay of the land, right now. I have also continued to be dismayed by the attacks against the candidates of the Children First folks. Gary Pritchard, for instance, worked his way through college to obtain his Ph.D. He is a Native American who was the first to actually finish College. He is very much the best that America represents who can really make a difference. Yet, all that the CUSD Reform folks talked about was someone who was a “failed State Senate Candidate”. It was also even more disappointing to see the attacks against the candidate’s wife. I have to wonder what the attacks on the candidates wife achieves.
There are, of course, other very vibrant races. The one race that I have found of great interest has been the race between Melissa FoxÂ and Don Wagner. I had a chance to visit Melissa Fox to get a sense of the lay of the land. I was amazed by the vibrancy and the energy of the campaign. The young supporters and the high vibrancy of the effort was interesting. I have also been following her blog contributions with great interest . One of the more recent interesting ones was about Mr. Wagner’s recent push to have the membership of the Irvine Valley & Saddleback College’s library membership in the American Library Association to be cancelled due to them being a bunch of “liberal busybodies”. I found this especially curious in light of his stance as an educator. It seems that an Educator has to have an open mind and be receptive to ideas. I also view that conservatives have to not only conserve the present, but also build the future.
As I continued to assess the Wagner/Fox campaign, I found it quite curious how Mr. Wagner was silent for a while. Yet, he has sprung up in a major way now. I went off to his website to see what he was doing. Beyond his endorsements and a general discussion of the issues, I did not see much. There are the “Sign Wars” are out there. Beyond the “sign wars”, though, it appears that he is not doing much thinking that he would do a “John Campbell” and coast to election. But, what’s next? What about the people?
Sacramento finally produced a budget. Although I was happy to hear that , I was horrified when I saw the fine print. Proposition 98 funding has been suspended. There seems to be reliance on a continued “Garage Sale” of State Assets in addition to a supposed infusion of over 5 Billion in federal funds that is dubious at best. The “fantasyland” budget does not seem to understand the basics of accountability. It basically passes on the problems to the next legislature and the Governor. Tough choices are ahead. I was even more horrified when I saw comments from the CUSD Superintendent of Schools noting the uncertainty that the budget created. The absence of debate on such issues is of profound concerns because there will be cuts coming that will result in job losses.
The bigger question, to me, is a sense of economic anxiety going on. This anxiety is exemplified by two of the “Voices from Street Corners” I wrote about a while back. As I traveled around town, I noticed them under the hot sun trying to get what they can for their daily survival. Although I see all touting a so-called pro-growth agenda to create jobs, the actual record seems to be different in light of what Republicans have done to stop creating jobs:
The bloodbath is wide spread. At Irvine’s One Stop Center, most of the hourly staffers lost their jobs because the funding (partly through the stimulus) simply went away. This was as the Republicans continue to play politics with creating jobs. I have tried to reconcile it all–and have found it rather hard to do so. Laguna Beach’s City Manager, for instance, reported on the continued challenges on the City Budget. One specific recommendation was to cut back on 3 current vacancies and to contract out, as required, street paving. He continued to note how the sales tax receipts continued to be below forecast which also necessitated further potential adjustments down the line.
Beyond the cutbacks, there is one measure of the bloodbath that is not much talked about: closure of restaurants. I had a chance to drop into a local Pasta Bravo. The young man staffing the cash register noted that they had a number of Pasta Bravos and had to cut back because things were slow. The OC Register’s Food Maven also continues to report out restaurant closing throughout the County. The one that caught my eye was the closure of the local Denny’s. This is a true cause for worry!!!
As America celebrates Columbus Day, we all need to somehow figure out to get back to a sense of exploration and courage that seems to be missing here and now. I wonder whether those who want to attain leadership positions will take up and embrace Thoreau’s advise to “….Be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought….”
I will remain hopeful.