I start my week with a long walk with my 15-year old dog, Cinnamon, who loves to come to work with me. We put in about 1.3 miles before 8AM and she has two, shorter walks in the morning before her 108.5 in dog years body wants her beauty rest, On the walks, she stays a few steps behind me. She has a bed in my office. And all sorts of toys and treats.
Why am I mentioning this? The pooch and I were out for our walk in Old Town Tustin Tuesday morning when at the corner of Main Street and El Camino Real, I spied a film crew shooting a campaign spot with Congresswoman Mimi Walters. I hung up my call and turned video on my phone. The Congresswoman was filming a spot about why Veterans should have a cemetery in Orange County (great, we agree on that; perhaps she can pony up some federal dollars to clean up the ARDA site near the Great Park and help expedite the process a bit). And she kept screwing up her lines. As I videoed her, my thought was Katie Porter, Dave Min and Brian Forde could just look at the camera and roll off reasons why we need this facility in OC — unscripted.
During a break in filming, I introduced myself and asked her questions. Protesters have been gathering at her office for months. The “town halls” Walters holds are private affairs held with conservative friendly organizations like the OCBC and various chambers of commerce. Her crew descended upon me to stop me from filming. So I stepped it up and asked about women in cages and children in cages. Walters gathered a bag and walked away without addressing any of my questions while her crew berated me for my behavior. The crew, citing a permit to film without ever showing it, threatened to call the police. I urged them too (I’m a contributing supporter for the Tustin Police Association, so I would have loved the Tustin police show up). We were on a public street after all.
Our Congresswoman in CD-45 is a coward. She is incapable of interacting with someone who doesn’t see eye to eye with her. Rather than engage me and explain why she won’t hold a town hall or won’t do anything about family separations at the border, she ran. She got into a nice white Mercedes and was driven away by an aide. Quite frankly, I think she’s scared to death of Katie Porter.
I headed back to my office and used sheet of poster board to hastily write a two-sided sign; “Debate Katie” and “Children in Cages!!!” I held these up across the street so she could see them. I even encouraged the kid videoing me to come closer for a better shot. They made the appearance of leaving, when a client called and I went back to the office to take care of business and manage a conference call. An hour later, there they were; Mimi had changed her outfit and she was shaking hands with millennial “actors” of different ethnicities.
I think about the business community in Old Town Tustin — one where people work hard to make ends meet, create modest jobs and won’t really benefit from the GOP tax plan she keeps promoting — and how this-millionaire Congresswoman was using this backdrop to make campaign videos when she has not a clue how hard these small businesses work to prosper.
It sure would have been great for her to come over and tell me what she plans to do about Trump’s family separation policies; instead, she ran away. I only got agitated when her film crew tried to block my recording. And I had to get my dog to her breakfast and water.