Meet Huntington Beach’s Tim “Make mine a double” Ryan.

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“Independent” Tim Ryan with close friend, accused perjurer and defrauder of the state, rightwing Republican Senator Mimi Walters.

What do you think about all these political candidates this year who are trying so hard, with varying degrees of success or failure, to put off their embarrassing civil or criminal court cases until AFTER Election Day, November 6?

It seems to me it’s almost an admission of guilt:  If they thought they were innocent and likely to prevail, why wouldn’t they want to get the unpleasantness out of the way and be exonerated as early as possible before people vote?  Instead they aim to say, later this year, if worse comes to worst, “Sorry suckers, I’m in now.  Well, I’m off to the big house, but with any luck I’ll be out in time to serve the second half of my term, representing YOU!”

I’m thinking of lovely Mimi Walters, not only facing serious trouble for her “family business” overbilling the state, stiffing clients, and conflict of interest, but also now in serious hot water for perjuring herself over her residence … she hasn’t had much luck at all keeping her legal issues out of the papers!

And a little farther south of course, there’s that wildcat Diane Harkey, who has had mixed success, pushing her own month-long trial for defrauding elderly investors with HER “family business” off to Oct. 29, when as Greg has said, half of the votes in her race will have already been cast.

But these two hinky far-right Republican lady politicos must only wish they had the luck and legal chops of their close friend, Huntington Beach Council candidate Tim Ryan, who’s managed, after FOUR postponements, to re-schedule his DUI hearing – a hearing for driving at the mighty blood alcohol level of POINT-TWO-OH – for the perfect date:  Two days after Election Day, Novmeber 8!

Point-Two-Oh – Now That’s Impressive!

With close friend, deranged immigrant-bashing climate-change denier Dana Rohrabacher (R – Huntington Beach.)

Ah, how I remember sitting in jail back in the spring of 2009 for driving with point-ONE-oh –  .10 BAC – two or three glasses of wine in a couple of hours* – and pulling out my daily newspaper and reading about Westminster Councilman Andy Quach plowing into a streetlamp and knocking out the power to half the city, at a spectacular .27!  I could only say, hats off to the Prince of the Trannies – some people have died at that level! (Or killed someone.)   If only I’D had Assemblyman Van Tran running around trying to stop the cops from arresting ME, I daydreamed.

But that’s not to take away from Tim Ryan’s achievement – POINT-TWO-OH.  That’s blackout level, two and a half times over the legal limit, and well over the seriously-drunk level of .15 at which you get added enhancements to your sentence.  Tim contends that the police officers had insufficient cause to pull him over in the first place, something of which he was unable to convince them when they drove him home and he invited them in for drinks.

So, I took the time to do some research with some local bartenders, some field work if you will – what’s it take to get to a .20 Blood Alcohol Content level?  And what we learn is that Tim Ryan would have had to have drunk, for example:

  • Eight 12-ounce beers in ONE HOUR.  or
  • Nine Bloody Marys in TWO HOURS, or
  • Eight Whiskey Sours in two hours, or
  • Four and a half MANHATTANS in two hours, or
  • Four “Double on the Rocks,” or
  • Three “Harry Buffalos!”

This is only the beginning of our research, we will keep you apprised of anything else we learn, from the fine bartenders of Huntington, Newport and Fullerton.

Still, why worry about this clown?

“Independent” Ryan with close friend, OC GOP capo and newborn union basher Scott Baugh.

I probably wouldn’t mention all this if Tim Ryan weren’t trying to hide it from the voters by putting his hearing off till Nov. 8.   And also, nobody should be driving if they’re at .08 or over.  But still, apart from that, I got no problem voting for a guy who drinks.  I got no problem voting for a guy who drinks a lot even, if he does his job well, shows up to meetings, listens respectfully to his constituents, and makes sensible decisions.  So, why do so many of my friends, left and right, keep bugging me and asking, “Where’s your Tim Ryan story?  When are you gonna write about Tim Ryan?  WHERE IS IT???”

Does this florid baboon really have a chance anyway, against incumbent councilman Devin Dwyer, beloved former Mayor Jill Hardy, respected (but homophobic) former Mayor Dave Sullivan, worthy police Sergeant Jim Katapodis, and well-funded developer/rightie Barbara Delgleize?

Yes, fret my friends, Tim’s a successful personal-injury lawyer, and the best-funded of any of the candidates. His shtick of being “independent,”  while basically meaning he has no core positions but is easily swayed by any special interest, is still appealing to swaths of the public, and has allowed him to successfully schmooze pols on both sides of the aisle.  And he is most closely aligned with HB’s old, corrupt, hard-drinking, rule-bending Republican clique led by Dave Garofalo (which includes Joe Carchio, Fred Speaker, and Ed Laird – not to be confused with HB’s hardcore conservative OC GOP contingent including Don Hansen, Devin Dwyer, Matt Harper, and Delgleize.)

(Ugh, I react with visceral revulsion and too many bad personal memories.  Dave Garofalo, Surf City’s original Mr. Toad, the felon permanently forbidden from holding public office and still blissfully oblivious that he ever did anything wrong.  The never-vanishing nightmare of his ex-wife St. Bonaventure secretary Linda as he buoyantly totes the collection basket up to the altar each Sunday, the man who always requests Billy Joel’s nauseating “Piano Man” and NEVER tips.)

Surf City is wallpapered with this “independent” candidate’s campaign signs.

Having interviewed and observed Tim Ryan as he flits around the area fishing for endorsements, more than one person has used the same words:  they’ve “never seen a more OPPORTUNISTIC politician,”  consummate name-dropper, office-seeker whose only core value is self-promotion.

I volunteer cautiously, “It sounds like Huntington Beach has its own straight, alcoholic, Jordan Brandman?

They think for a moment – you can see the wheels in their heads turning – and they respond, “Yes, something about like that!”

But, learning more about both Tim and Jordan, this comparison is unfair to Jordan.  As much as we decry Jordan’s positions and philosophy,  as much as it seems like he is invariably swayed by the most powerful and wealthy interests near which he finds himself, you have to admit that Jordan is truly a detail-oriented workaholic, when it comes to what he considers public service, when it comes to what HE thinks is best for Anaheim.  Whereas this Tim Ryan character… why, nobody had ever heard of him before Joe Carchio placed him on the Planning Commission, the traditional springboard to Council.

So, how has Tim done on the Planning Commission?  I asked around, and I got the following responses:

1) The only distinctive thing he’s noted for on planning commission is racing to be the first to motion for approval of the staff recommendation to approve any and all development projects.  If he does any analysis beyond simply skimming slanted staff reports, it sure doesn’t show.  Any questions he asks tend to be superficial.

2) Tim claims to be “pro-environment” on his campaign web site, yet he voted to pave over 6+ acres of open space in HB Central Park for a new senior center.  And on a earlier version of his website, he had the gall to imply he was either on the Bolsa Chica Land Trust board, or had been working with the Land Trust, which was completely untrue.  The Land Trust complained and forced him to remove that claim.

Tim’s mentor, the legendary Garofalo.

3) Huntington Beach has a raging alcohol problem in the downtown bar district thanks to a city council that can’t say no to any business interests.  Given that Ryan has an active DUI and some really serious alcohol issues in his divorce files, his stance on downtown alcohol warrants concern.  One of his first votes on planning commission was to oppose the majority denial of adding beer & wine at the downtown Bomburger burger joint.  There are now quite a few pending downtown alcohol items in the pipeline that will likely be heard over the next year or two.  Do we really want an unreformed drunk on council (or planning commission for that matter) participating in that?

4)  Recently the Planning Commission heard an appeal of the plan to hold a high-end car auction in a city beach parking lot during high season and displacing 588 parking spaces.  The appeal lost badly as expected, but the quote of the night came from Ryan who said something like “I’ve been an attorney for 30 years and can state with confidence that this project complies with the law”.  Excuse me?  He’s a personal injury attorney, and he doesn’t seem to have bothered to read any general plan, specific plan, zoning ordinance, or municipal code during his entire time on PC.

5) Ryan is a protege of the infamous HB mayor Dave Garofalo,  who was charged with felony corruption and forbidden from ever again holding public office.  Ryan often mentions Garofalo as if they are buddies who see each other often.  But we already noted that.  This sums it up in a nutshell:  “Planning commission light-weight with no signs of improvement over time since he joined in Jan 2011.”

 Huntington Beach voters have lots of choices this year, out of twelve candidates of which they can pick up to three.  (But remember, you don’t HAVE to pick three if there aren’t three that you really like!)  Tim Ryan sounds like one of the worst.  I won’t be too sad if relatively independent Mayor Pro-Tem Dwyer gets re-elected, or sometimes moderate, sometimes stick-up-the-butt build-a-Senior-Center-on-Central-Park-at-all-costs former Mayor Sullivan gets back on.  But the only two candidates I’m definitely supporting are Jill Hardy and Jim Katapodis.


* Yeah, yeah, I know, I only went to jail because it wasn’t my first time in ten years.  Stop interfering with the flow of my story.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.