Notes from the Weekend: Veterans Cemetery Ready for Groundbreaking, #DEMGLUT, and Game O’ Thrones


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Things that we’re told will NEVER happen anytime soon — like the continued preparation of the Bake Parkway lot of acres of strawberry plants in preparation for groundbreaking — keep on happening really quickly.  What’s up with that?

(1) Veterans Cemetery Cleared of Produce, Ready to Break Ground

“Sir, there ain’t no more strawberries” touches off touches off serious problems in The Caine Mutiny, but to various officers, enlisted men, and their loved ones in and around Orange County it’s music to the ears.  The year’s final harvest time came early to the fields near Bake Parkway that will house the Southern California Veterans Cemetery, where groundbreaking is expected to follow before long.  This runs counter to certain other productions made by other local political blogs and community news sources.

(2) #DEMGLUT in Four Orange County (and Two Nearby Congressional Races) Raises Concerns

You really ought to read Martin Wisckol’s story in the Register about the Congressional Elections in Republican-held seats held by Ed Royce, Mimi Walters, Dana Rohrabacher, and Darrell Issa (plus one each to our northeast and southeast), in which a glut of Democratic Congressional candidates are competing for their slice of the primary vote while overlapping State Senate, Assembly, Supervisor, County Executive, and other local races go begging.  (Wisckol has to be one of the luckiest political reporters in the country right now.)  He does note at the bottom a little problem with the notion that having all these Democrats in the primary might be energizing, though, which I think is the bigger story.

If you have four or five — and one currently has seven — people running for the same race in the top-two primary, the other side can get both spots in the runoff.  In CA-45, for example, that many competitive candidates is great news for Mission Viejo’s Greg Raths — a far preferable candidate to Schemin’ Mimi Walters — who keeps on getting edged out of a one-or-one faceoff with less reform-minded Republicans.  In CA-39, too many Dems opens the door for someone from the libertarian Chris Norby/Bruce Whitaker faction of the GOP to snag a second seat.  Worst yet, having some competition in Democratic races means that it makes sense for a Democrat to jump in to, say, AD-55 (overlapping Norby’s district), AD-68 and (overlapping Walters), AD-72 (overlapping Rohrabacher), AD-73 (overlapping Issa and Rohrabacher), and AD-74 (overlapping Rohrabacher and Walters) — but ONLY IF there ISN’T a red-on-red runoff.  If there are two Republicans in the runoff, then local Democrats are not spurred into action by the Congressional races and there’s no wave for Assembly-level candidates to ride.  If there is at least one strong Dem in the runoff, it could life an overlapping Assembly race right along with it.

What can the local Democratic Party do to winnow the field?  Something like county conventions and straw polls — something that advantages candidates who have the organizing skills to win — would be smart.  Also: hey, wealthy candidates?  Consider running for a County Executive Office!  Without looking it up, I think that I was one of only two actual Democrats running for ANY of the County Executive races in 2014 — and the other one was someone I recruited — which beyond District Attorney includes County Assessor, County Auditor, County Clerk, County Sheriff, and County Treasurer.  (County Supervisor and Superior Court Judges don’t count.)  Running for these jobs generally requires some professional credentials — but if you have them, and the cash to campaign, then you could have a pretty good base behind you.

(3) Where Do You Find Your Game of Thrones Reviews?

The big story of the weekend, of course, was the return (after WAY too long) of Game of Thrones with a pretty damn excellent premiere, one that I will not spoil.  But I WILL tell you where to get the best analytical pieces on the series in places other than — like the main daily papers — you may not expect them.

Remember: generally, as HBO no longer gives out advance screeners for critics, you’re going to get simple summaries and synopses first.  Good reviews usually take half a day, sometimes a full day, and some really good ones may take more.  The rule of thumb I had developed over the last few seasons is that you should look for sites that include the letter “V” (as in Varys) — Vulture, Vox, The Verge, and especially The Onion’s prestige site, The AV Club.  As of this moment, it looks like the WaPo (like Mace Tyrell, surprisingly weaker than its less privileged competition), Britain’s The Independent and Daily Telegraph, and Vox are among the first out of the gate.  I think that Slate and Salon have decent reviews as well, but past practice is usually not until the next day.  And of course if you’ve really got a Thrones Jones, you can find more material (much of it from smart geeky fans) on YouTube that you can watch, much but not all of it repetitive.

(4) It’s Sad That Nancy West Has to Send Responses to Comments on Anaheim Blog to Us to Get Published, but Apparently That’s How Things Work These Days

Nancy West sent us the following replies to comments on Anaheim Blog addressing her and her “Alfresco Gardens” proposal — but only after waiting what seemed to be more than enough time for the comments to appear there.

Look, I understand why I’m on moderation there, even though I think it’s chickenshit from someone who doesn’t want to address me in real time, but why someone writing so much about homelessness has Nancy West blocked, when she’s both writing there politely and under her own name, is really beyond explanation.  Cinch your sack, Cunningham.  And do you really have to give so much air to “hide the wimmin and children!” posts about the homeless?  Come on.

(4a) In Response to “New South Wales”

New South Wales,

Thank you for your insight.  I’m always glad to receive input and opinions.  Please leave feedback atalfrescogardens.org

You say Alfresco Gardens is “far from a plan”. But Alfresco Gardens is exactly a plan.  It’s an Action Plan. 

1. Mike Robins does not support my plan, and is not an AG representative. The person who commented is not Robins. 

2.  You and I have briefly interfaced twice. Both times I asked you to meet with me. If you had, you’d know that many parts of the plan, like the size, are adjustable.  Since you’re not in the development field I don’t fault you for not recognizing the difference between a CONCEPT, which illustrates the basic features of a plan and blueprints, which would contain all details and building codes. This part of the discussion is semantical.  We’re focused on a bigger picture.

3.  Alfresco Gardens is a month-to-month space rental, not a “nightly stay thing”, so that part is moot.  The rest of the issues in your paragraph have been worked out. 

4.  It sounds like you view 100% of homeless individuals as drug addicted dangerous criminals.  Many are addicts and a lot of it results from homelessness. As a domestic violence advocate I can assure you that most of the homeless women are non violent domestic violence survivors.  Did you know that in just one day 12,197 DV victims were refused service due to lack of accommodations?

https://www.facebook.com/TheNancyWestPlan/posts/436543836731062:0 

The degree of crime you mentioned is far reaching.  Do you see your scenario at the Civic Center and at the riverbed?  Why then should it happen where people are being monitored and have a better life?  I expect crime and consequences at AG just like anywhere, but not to your described degree. AG affords many incentives for good behavior and opportunities for better lives.  Do you really want this to continue? 

https://www.facebook.com/TheNancyWestPlan/posts/443086712743441:0

At moments it appears you visited my page and other times your commentary has no relation to me or my plan. That’s why I’ve asked you to speak with me directly.  My entire plan and report are not online, but I know you have access to them through colleagues.  You can also get them by meeting with me.  I wonder why you comment with an expressed opinion that I can’t stand by my work and that I have implemented no research and have no education. Is it because my bio says I was once homeless?  That was 34 years ago. I am 54 with a long history of education and real life successes.  Now don’t we both want to see the homeless blight decrease?  I’m sure you can see that I’m sincere and motivated, so why not work together?

(4b) Addendum

(This belongs somewhere in the above)

With maintained grounds, code compliant emergency exits, no electricity to plug into, no cooking whatsoever, fire extinguishers throughout, and designated smoking sections, your fire concerns should be significantly lower  at Alfresco Gardens than anywhere else.

Nancy notes that far from her plan being “puffery,” as it was accused of being, it includes a step by step procedure, feasibility and comprehensive report, which [some critics have] never read and never bothered to learn about. You don’t get that information from the internet.  The County’s 10 year plan itself does not provide as much.

Nancy will be writing some pieces for us — look for a story early on Monday! — so we’re looking forward to a good presentation and discussion on “Alfresco Gardens” before long.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)