Weekend Open Thread: A Bemused Senator Josh Newman Responds to His Critics Like a Wry Statesman

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Frankly, plopping Josh Newman into a famous painting of Ben Franklin reading a letter was better in theory than in practice.  Better reader submissions are welcome.  (Like the new ‘do, though!)

So we didn’t know that we were taking a week off when we published last week’s Weekend Open Thread, but apparently we were.  Part of it was just a case of extreme busyness.  (That CDP Chair election that you see blogged about elsewhere?  Some of us are doing something about it.  Keep watching this space.)  And just as we could take a breather and start publishing again, GoDaddy decided that they needed some sort of “payment” to let us in the door, which took some time to clear up.  But we’re here again, with a nice backlog of stories for the weekend and the week ahead.

While we were going to pull from that backlog, a better topic came along on Facebook, where Sen. Josh Newman presented some of his thoughts about having become a punching bag for the shock jock set.  (It’s not so much KFI’s “John and Ken” as the junior varsity squad, “Ed and Jeff” — or maybe they’re the frosh-soph squad and the jayvees are something like “Mortimer and Balthazar.”  (Someone there has got to be storing up their hosts’ unused non-monosyllables!)

Anyway, here’s OC’s greatest State Senator, with some additional paragraph breaks and emphases added:

Here’s how crazy it’s all become —

I got a call this afternoon that Ed and Jeff, the guys on KFI who have made getting me recalled their current mission in life, just had Carl DeMaio on their show and he was urging listeners to be on the lookout for me because, according to Republican sources, I was apparently in hiding in order to avoid being served papers for the lawsuit the Howard Jarvis people have initiated against the state of California in response to recent changes made by the Legislature to the Recall process.

A bunch of quick things to note:

(a) I’m not in hiding, and my understanding is that the Jarvis lawsuit has been filed, with papers served to me at multiple locations, to include the professional process server who so aggressively shoved them through my wife’s car window yesterday morning after physically blocking her car as she tried to drive down our driveway;

(b) I may be the beneficiary of the administrative changes made to the recall process, but not only am I not the author of those changes, I didn’t even vote on them;

(c) those changes were actually pretty reasonable, all things considered, especially when you consider that the way the proponents were able to secure so many signatures for the Recall was by using paid signature gatherers who, for bounties ranging from $3-10 per signature, methodically and shamelessly lied to signers about what they were being asked to support, all the while using supporting collateral which did the same (“Stop the Gas Tax!”), paid for by the California Republican party with money raised from outside my district, all with the expressed, publicly stated purpose not of repealing any tax but instead altering the partisan balance in the Legislature by having me recalled;

(d) the putative justification for the entire Recall effort remains as cynical, transparent, and weak as ever, that I’m somehow guilty of anything other than doing my best to properly represent my constituents through the kind of principled service which was the basis for my vote on a bill that raises revenues on a pay-as-you-go basis [and] finally address the crisis of California’s crumbling transportation infrastructure after over 20 years of underfunding and neglect; and

(e) under California law, it’s actually illegal to deliberately mislead a voter as to the nature and intent of a signature-gathering process. And I’m the one who’s being chased by process servers. Go figure.

If the Howard Jarvis people were actually the paragons of virtue they purport to be, they would actually be suing Carl DeMaio and the Republican Party. My grandma was always so quick to say that cheaters never prosper. I hope Grandma was right.

Don’t get me wrong — John Moorlach also writes some good letters, especially because he is the rare Republican official who actually understands the art of wry self-effacement.  But why does he think that transportation funding should not be financed on a “pay as you go” basis?  It’s a great example of what should be — and for the past 20 years our generation of Californians has been living off the generosity of our forebears and the future resentful payment of our … our … aft-bears.  (Hey, it’s Newman.  We have to use “bear language.”)  We fans of Josh can imagine hearing the above being uttered in his own bemused slow boil over malignant absurdism — that phrase is not a direct quote, but it would be a plausible one! — and it’s good to see him pushing back publicly.

Oh — and we think that the Senator’s wife Darcy should absolutely serve the process server for false imprisonment.  Just saying.  (That’s not my legal advice there; that’s OJB’s institutional “we.”)

Now, our site will almost surely have something nice to say at some point about Bruce Whittaker, libertarian friends — better yet, it won’t come from me — so don’t worry.  As for Ling-Ling Chang, word on the virtual street is that she’s now decided to definitely enter the race to replace him, which has to give discerning people some pause about voting for anyone but him.  I’m sure that some will disagree.  No Democrats are making noise about entering the race and giving people an out in case he loses — it looks like Ling-Ling will be taking care of dissuading people from such sport all by herself.

And there you have it: our Return to Work (or whatever this is) Weekend Open Thread.  Talk about that or whatever else you’d like, within reasonable bounds of discretion and decorum.

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.)