Where the Heart is: Steel just can’t quit Palos Verdes. And, why I’m for Jim Moreno!


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The Steels with Governor Schwarzenegger, whom Shawn helped put in office by bankrolling the Gray Davis recall. Either Shawn is pretty short, or they let the 5’8″ action hero stand on a box.

Ah, Rolling Hills, California.  The exclusive gated community nestled in the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  Such a breathtakingly beautiful place with its view of the Pacific and its “ranch-style equestrian environment.”  Who could ever leave it?  Not Shawn and Michelle Steel.

The fourth-wealthiest place in the US (with populations of 1000 or higher) and the 4th most Republican city in California, with a median income of $213,906. Owning an estate in Rolling Hills is proof that, through skill, luck, or ruthlessness, you have made it into the top 1%.

And it’s been the perfect place for fabulously wealthy personal-injury attorney and California GOP bigwig Shawn Steel, and his Korean-American politician wife Michelle Park Steel, to raise their daughters Cheyenne and Siobhan. It was no problem at all during these last eight years that Michelle has been “representing” us up in Sacramento on the Board of Equalization.  (Where according to my sources on that Board she did no work, and nothing but vote no on everything.)

A tipsy Dana Rohracbacher DOES stand on something to proclaim his support of Michelle. I wondered at his turning his back on his friend Mansoor, but I’m told his friendship with Shawn goes back much further.

But as Michelle’s blessed political career advances, as she was termed out of that cushy job, and the powers-that-be in the OCGOP determined that she was to be anointed the next Supervisor for the 2nd District, residency became an issue.  Not a HUGE issue, as Mimi Walters had proved two years earlier that there’s no consequence to an OC Republican candidate running for office using a non-credible sham residence.  But SOME sort of effort would have to be made, to keep up the appearance that Michelle was living in the district she wanted to “represent.”

So, in late 2012, the Steels purchased a nice fancy three-story place on the beach in Surfside near Huntington – a lot nicer than the tiny apartment Mimi rented in Irvine for HER sham residence.  And they announced to the world, when asked (a couple months ago) that they still owned the Rolling Hills estate, but were “renting it out.”

Cheyenne Steel and her blushing groom, in a less-incriminating inside shot after their May 14 wedding; this is still up on Cheyenne’s page.

It does not look like that was true.  Just a couple weeks ago, daughter Cheyenne had a spectacular wedding, and mommy Michelle proudly posted the pictures all over Facebook.  They are gone now – but not before being captured by Mansoor operatives and sent to Pedroza, myself, and other Steel-opposing media.  And they clearly show the wedding taking place in the backyard of the Rolling Hills estate. (See the small but incriminating photos on Art’s site.)

What do you do with the folks who are allegedly renting out your property, for what would have to be many thousands of dollars a month?  Do you say, “Sorry, please leave for a few days, our daughter wants to get married there?”  Doubtful.  Michelle Steel’s home is STILL on the Palos Verdes peninsula, home is where the heart is, and this wealthy and entitled lady has shown by this and by her indifference toward several issues important to the locals here, that she should not be our Supervisor.

No offense to Allan Mansoor or Joe Carchio (either of whom I’ll support over Steel in November if they make it through tomorrow, as they are sons of the district) but this piece is about my least favorite candidate for that race, and my favorite – Jim Moreno.

If anyone is going to start straightening things up at the county,  you’d think it would have to be an outsider, and Michelle is the quintessential insider.  The other two guys – well, I have promised to say nothing bad about them, but Jim Moreno does seem like the best hope for CHANGE.  He sounds like an Orange Juice blogger when he rails against the culture of corruption reigning on the “5th floor.”  “Have you SEEN this stuff, Vern?  Have you been following it?”  and he sends me copies of the CalOptima report, the Grand Jury Report on the Culture of Harassment, and the Fire Authority Audit Report.  [will link to when I upload them.]

Well?  What are you going to do about it, Jim?  What’s the first thing you’d do as Supervisor?

“First thing?  I’d hold a hearing on the homelessness situation in the County.  Second thing, a hearing on human resources, how we can better use them.  These folks we’ve had on the Board … they talk a big talk about being “tax fighters,” but they do NOTHING to cut anyone’s taxes.  Really, they can’t.  It’s just manipulative, emotional talk.  89% of the budget is set by statute, only 11% is discretionary.  They need to work on using the money they do have, with a lot better efficiency.

“All this contracting out is BS, it saves the county nothing, just a few people get rich off it.  Look at the contracting out on computer services.  It ALWAYS goes over budget, and then the people in charge retire and leave.  We need to train our staff properly to do these jobs, and give them the resources and equipment that they need.  Geez, Vern.  Just go over to smartvoter.org.  I have a nine-point plan up there.  I gotta go pick up my daughter at the airport now.”

“Duh, okay.  Smartvoter.org.  Nine-point plan. I will go and copy that over here.”  (Hm, I notice Michelle didn’t bother putting anything there, nor did Joe;  only Jim and Allan.)

  • Develop an ethics policy for the Board of Supervisors.
  • Work with commerce and business to keep local jobs and provide the elements necessary to better prepare workers for the industries in the County.
  • Look closely at the County budget and find savings to improve public safety, transportation and county infrastructure.
  • Begin a comprehensive analysis of County water needs.
  • Work closely with State and Federal legislators to garner the most possible tax dollars coming to Orange County.
  • Find long term efficiencies and budget savings by reviewing county operations.
  • Analyze and develop a plan to increase county school attendance as absenteeism relates to increased crime and the jail population.
  • Reduce homelessness, mental health, and Veteran needs through a “taskforce” approach in conjunction with non-profit providers.
  • Look at in-depth public health and medical facility needs for county residents.

I trust Jim to do what he says because I’ve known him for a decade, and I can vouch for his website bio:

Since 2006, I have had the privilege and your trust to serve as one of five elected Trustees with the Coast Community College District. With an annual District Budget of approximately $230 million dollars, while serving over sixty thousand students and facing severe budget constraints, I am proud to state we kept our doors open for higher education. I along with my colleagues was able to keep the KOCE Public Broadcast Station “public” in Orange County and it continues to serve without interruption.

Knowing in some circles it was not popular, I lobbied our Governor and was able to insure that our Orange County Fair grounds were not sold to a private entity and to this day remain one of Orange County’s crown jewels.

So there you have it.  Jim Moreno for 2nd District Supervisor.  And in November, hopefully Jim, but anyone but Steel!


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County. Performs regularly with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem, and at regular concerts at the Huntington Beach Central Library.