Orlando – Oak View – Anaheim

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Connections exist between Huntington Beach and Anaheim, even though they’re ten miles apart and several towns intervene.  For one thing, they’re the two poles of our precious God-given Santa Ana Aquifer (above) so if you inject water up in an Anaheim reservoir it ends up underneath HB.  For another thing, I moved from one town to the other, as though I were swimming the aquifer upstream.  For another…

When some punk-ass closet case who happened to be (faux)Muslim decided to shoot up an Orlando gay nightclub, killing 49, and then tried retroactively to glorify it into some act of religious terrorism, outpourings of sympathy came from across the globe.  In Orange County, it started in my Huntington Beach barrio of Oak View.

the crewConsider, with much respect:  The neighborhood which two years ago was thought of as the [unpleasant body part] of Huntington Beach, and referred to as the Slater Slums, has transformed into Surf City’s very heart, the place where most good news and publicity comes from, thanks to the organizing, outreach, and NETWORKING of OA’s [Original Activists] Victor and Oscar  [pictured to the right with me and my son.]

And now, just as it should be, it’s no longer just Victor and Oscar, but a growing number of young caring locals; and no longer are they just fighting Rainbow Disposal’s environmental racism and saving people from deportation, but they’re working on many other burning issues as well.  

And so, in the aftermath of the Orlando massacre, it was an Oak View resident named Ruben who got the idea to call a 6-mile march from Oak View to the Pier for a candlelight vigil, an event eventually joined by hundreds of people, which got glowing coverage from KTLA which you can see below, and among other things really made Huntington Beach look caring, diverse, and tolerant – a new look for us… [SEE UPDATE BELOW]*

At the request of the march’s organizers, HB Mayor Jim Katapodis and Ocean View School District President Gina Clayton-Tarvin (a hero to the Oak View community) gave improvised speeches at the pier, followed by a moment of silence.  You can now hear for yourself how innocent, non-political, and non-racial those two speeches were:

Wait – Gina Clayton-Tarvin spoke?  You know what comes next:

EptingLand Goes Berserk!

Lookin' tough - Epting's male sidekick Craig Frampton. (No, seriously this is him.)

Lookin’ tough – Chris Epting’s loyal sidekick Craig Frampton. (No, seriously this is him.)

Bizarrely, over on the Chris Epting-controlled “Oak View School District Community Forum” (from which I am banned, and whose entire purpose is to attack and defeat Ms. Clayton-Tarvin on behalf of Rainbow Disposal and the readers’ own miscellaneous racism), the reaction to all this goodness was OUTRAGE, and hallucinations.

It started with close Epting ally and 22-time convicted felon Craig Frampton (left) opining:  “I just want to say as life long 4th generation hb native this vigil at the pier is disgusting,Great lets blame trump and christians [?] for orlando, feeling disgusted” – a comment “liked” by Epting.

It’s darkly fascinating to contemplate the combination of projection, hate, and propagandizing that makes a small group of people hallucinate Trump-bashing, Christian-bashing, and (later) Latino victimhood in the march and vigil we saw above.  The jolly little group continued:

frampton screenshot

You can see Epting there staying snide and coy, cautious because I had just recently dinged him for a pattern of anti-latino racism, but he continued egging on his dumber compatriots.  And then some psycho wrote this:

frampton screenshot 2

This notion that the rally was all about “Hispanic persecution” immediately became common wisdom and went on and on.  This is the nonsense HB is going to have to put up with at least until November.  You know what, let’s take a trip ten miles up the Aquifer instead…

How Anaheim Got its Rainbow Flag.

As you saw in the KTLA video above, a feature of the Oak View / HB event was the 49 large placards of the faces of Orlando’s 49 victims over rainbow backgrounds, constructed by Ruben at great expense and time.  These placards would turn out to be pivotal to Anaheim’s unanimous approval of Councilman Jordan Brandman‘s worthy motion to raise the Rainbow, or “Pride Flag” over City Hall every year from May 22 (Harvey Milk Day) to the end of June, in memory of Orlando’s victims.

orlando placards

Jordan was pretty sure he would have three votes – a majority – as Kris Murray and Lucille Kring generally vote with him on everything.  Those of us who love conservative mayor Tom Tait really wanted to see the motion pass unanimously.  It would mean more if the council passed it unanimously, and also prevent the issue from being politicized.   LGBT activist Jeff LeTourneau assigned himself the task of winning over Tait and his conservative ally James Vanderbilt.

But as of Monday (at Amin David’s beautiful memorial service) Tom was still skeptical.  “If we do this for one group, how do we say no to any other group that has a tragedy happen to them?  Where will it end?”  Jeff’s answer, both then and at the meeting the following night, was “The difference is 49 dead bodies.”

Then Jeff knew he needed Ruben’s placards, to really make his case at Tuesday’s meeting.  Disagreement arose with other LGBT activists, who protested that would be “disrespecting the memories of the dead.”  (Well, mainly ONE other LGBT activist, whom, GRRR, I had tussled with myself when Anaheim High School punk kids planned a counterprotest of Westboro Baptist, but I digress.)  

Jeff insisted.  “If you want a candlelight vigil, you can do that yourself.  If you want to win a victory in the political arena, let me do my thing.”  And he got a hold of Ruben through Victor, got enthusiastic permission to use his placards, and next thing you know they were lining the walls of Anaheim City Hall.

orlando placards in anaheim

And sure enough, the sight of all those faces along with Jeff’s refrain of “49 dead bodies,” judging by the comments from the dais, is what got Anaheim a unanimous vote (minus Vanderbilt who was serving on the reserves that night.)  There was real tension watching Mayor Tait struggling with his cautious, conservative logic, and finally coming out on the right side – and the room erupted in applause.  Jordan (below, 3rd from left) who had cast a lot of unpopular votes in the past, and had been looking depressed and gaunt for the last few months, was beaming, as he got praise from nearly everyone, including his usual adversaries.

jeff and jordan

And that, children, is how Anaheim got its Rainbow Flag.  

Tomorrow night we’ll discuss how the Leopard got his Spots.

jeff rainbow flag

*UPDATE on the HB EVENT:  Lorena Ortega, a Huntington Beach Latina NOT living in Oak View, contacts me to tell me that it was her and the “HB Orlando Response Team” that planned and organized the candlelight vigil at Pier Plaza;  whereas Ruben organized the march from Oak View to the Pier, as well as creating all those 49 placards ON THE VERY DAY OF THE SHOOTING, which were used at 2 of the previous 3 OC candlelight vigils, which were in Santa Ana, Laguna, and Garden Grove.  I would have been more clear on this if Ruben would have returned my calls rather than having to rely on secondhand sources.  It takes a village!

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 vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.