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[Disclosure: This story is mostly about me and my experiences with my State Senate campaign -- so if you're not interested in that, stop reading now. You have been warned. I think that any further disclosure of conflict of interest is unnecessary, don't you? The title, from Isaiah 38:7, is just intended to be wry and a little ironically self-deprecatory -- though I know I'm asking for trouble.]
As you know if you read OC Weekly, the question of how hard I am campaigning for the 29th State Senate District against Bob Huff is apparently one of the most pressing matters in this upcoming election. It has elicited no less than three articles from “R.” Scott Moxley this past month, with another one promised, as well as an unceasing stream of invective from him in comments, as well as supportive derision from his editor Gustavo Arellano, and most recently even a bleat of invective from Brandon “Mini-Mox” Ferguson. (Ah, Brandon. I will always remember him as the guy who chided Occupy OC for not storming the Ronald Reagan Federal Building in Santa Ana last January, which we had never planned to do. Good times.) I’ve tried to respond to those comments in a measured way, but Vern tells me that it’s not working and that I had to stop, so I stopped … to some extent. (The social rules for dealing with such a bizarre situation are pretty unclear, you know.)
My controversial “not campaigning enough” may also be behind the photo currently sitting (heh-heh) in the top story spot at FFFF right now, but I don’t know if there’s really much of rationale for that beyond schoolyard bullying. (For the record, I haven’t been that hairless since I was 10 or so.)
All of this is actually pretty amusing, but I suppose that it calls for a response, being “news.” OK: while I do enjoy and see value in my engaging in samurai attacks on both the Weekly and FFFF, the truth is that I do it in my spare time. Contrary to both of their often-stated (and evidence-free) impressions that I’m unemployed, I do work as an attorney in priveate practice, and have spent a lot of time in recent months at my computer doing such fun tasks such as legal research, negotiating a settlement, filing motions, answering interrogatories, etc. You try doing that for a while and you’ll see that the chance to take a break and call out Scott Moxley or one of the various pseudonymous phantoms at FFFF as fools and ingrates is a wonderful outlet. (Originally, I had wanted to clear out my work schedule before this election — but that didn’t happen.)
Anyway: my signs go up this weekend. (The almost-completed design is above; I still have to check in with a printer about what fine print is needed.) They haven’t gone up before now for three reasons.
(1) I’m making the best of limited financial resources. Mine has not been a high-budget campaign, with my major expenditures being ballot statements in OC and LA County (about $5500 combined) and office rental (about $1500), both of which I have put to good use. I have not tried to raise money from the big money people in OC — ask them if I’ve asked! — primarily because in my party activist role I’m struggling with them over the future of the County Party. I’m fighting for it to be more progressive and populist, and I don’t want a speck of conflict of interest to get in the way. (By the way, I don’t dislike these people — they’ve had the good grace, after all, not to be Republicans despite their wealth — and I know that they’ll continue to have an important, powerful and usually productive role within county politics; this is more about helping to open up space for a stronger reform movement here.)
While I’ve received some in-county contributions from personal friends here, which greatly helped me reach those most important two goals above, I’ve been clear to locals from the start that the three Democratic candidates with the most competitive races in my part of the county would be Jay Chen, Sharon Quirk-Silva, and Alan Lowenthal — and that I recognized that contributions to them have got to take priority. My concern this year is for progressive and Democratic victories; I’d love to be among those victors, but as an activist that personal success isn’t my primary concern. Many people find this confusing, but I’ve been up front about it since the start.
(2) I’m well aware that my signs will likely be stolen. I’ve seen what’s happened to 39th Congressional District candidate Jay Chen’s signs. Within my usual commutes, they’ve generally gone missing while paired Ed Royce and Bob Huff signs (that is, for Jay’s opponent and mine) have sprung up in their place. My guess, or at least hope, is that wholesale sign-stealing will be a little harder to accomplish this upcoming weekend, given heightened interest in the election. Anyway, if my signs will only be up for a short time, I want it to be as close as possible to Election Day. (Yes, I don’t reach 2/3 of the absentee voters as a result — but my bet is that most of those are voting party line anyway, while those who vote on election day will include more who may be less inclined toward purely partisan voting.) This is, by the way, part of a long list of ways in which the more thuggish campaigns have an advantage over those less so; I don’t think that Ed Royce and Bob Huff have had to worry much about my side’s volunteers tearing down their signs.
(3) I want the benefit of novelty. The signs that are out there have been out there for a while. People are inured to them. My signs will be new; my hope is that they’ll attract attention at the right time. (I would prefer it, actually, if street signs were allowed up only for two weeks — and if tearing someone else’s down were punishable by a year and a day in prison. That last part may be an overreaction; I don’t know that I’d try to defend it.)
I’m fundraising elsewhere for this final push, though not here. I’m also, as you may have noticed, putting a lot of my efforts into blogging on this site and on Daily Kos, because I think that the political coverage here in this county is especially poor. The good news there is that there is lots of room for improvement — and that means that a given amount of work done here tends to improve the situation overall than the same amount of work done in a Democratic stronghold like Los Angeles or San Francisco.
That’s part of why I love blogging, and political activism, and yes even running for office, in Orange County: the situation is so bad here that it’s relatively easy to make it somewhat better. (And it’s not like a whole lot of people are fighting for that assignment!) I wish that we had a real, honest-to-god, alternative newsweekly here — but until we do, scrappy little outfits like the Orange Juice Blog will have to do.
Anyway, that’s where I and my campaign stand about 200 hours away from the end of polling. If you see my signs, don’t steal them, because I will have spies equipped with cameras there watching them. (That could be a bluff — but do you really want to find out?)