Drinking liberally pays off

Last night I was one of perhaps two Republicans to show up at the launch of “Drinking Liberally,” over at the Memphis Restaurant in downtown Santa Ana. What a night! I had lengthy conversations with Santa Ana School Board Member John Palacio and Santa Ana Planning Commissioner Harvey De La Torre and Paul Lucas (pictured), the Democratic candidate for the 68th Assembly District, amongst others.

Palacio beat me for the Santa Ana School Board back in 1998, but we are both older and presumably wiser now, and he had a lot of interesting things to say about the state of education in Santa Ana. One thing for sure – former Santa Ana Unified School District Superintendent Al Mijares was a disaster for the district, and we really need to clear out Palacio’s fellow incumbent, Audrey Noji, in order to truly clean house and rid the district of Mijares’ remaining taint.

I also spoke at length with De La Torre – and like most planners he appeared to be quite intelligent, but also was way too serious and somewhat egotistical. I don’t think he meant to talk down to me, but he did. We were discussing the One Broadway Plaza project, and I noted that the tower is bound to make downtown traffic in Santa Ana even worse. Not so, said De La Torre, didn’t I know that the city was going to make some of the streets one-way? Well no, I didn’t. Who would know such a thing? I don’t think it is widely held public knowledge.

I also took issue with De La Torre regarding traffic on Main St., up near the MainPlace Mall. The city approved a huge new development with condos, lofts and apartments, for a parcel on the east side of Main St., just north of the 5 Freeway. That area is always congested during rush hour, in the morning and evening, but according to De La Torre, that is no problem. That means that the city is going to try to alleviate traffic by synchronizing the lights, etc. Oh that should just solve everything! Not. Here’s my problem with planners – they plan everything, save for the fallacies that are inherent to human reasoning. Mark my words – these projects are going to make commuting on Main St. a nightmare, from the north to the south. Maybe that is a good thing – if folks in the northern part of the city get mad enough perhaps they will try to take out De La Torre’s amigo, Carlos Bustamante, when he comes up for reelection.

Talking to Lucas after De La Torre left was a relief. He is a very funny guy, whereas De La Torre was stiff as a board, unlike his charming wife Ana, who was also there. Ana, by the way, was the top vote-getter in the Democratic Central Committee elections this year, in the 69th Assembly District. Lucas is running against Van Tran, and his odds are not good. But he is having a great time running, and he has some interesting stories to tell about Tran and his cronies. If half of what he has to say is true, it does not bode well for Tran. I hope for Tran’s sake that Lucas is off-base. Given what developed with Tran’s wife this year, you have to wonder. As for Lucas, you simply have to read Commie Girl’s latest column, as she revels in pointing out the fact that he is not a criminal.

Lastly, I met the campaign manager for Jim Brandt, the Democrat who is opposing U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher this year. She and a staffer were very passionate about their candidate, who they say was a Marine and whose campaign message is “America first. Politics last.” His odds of victory are on a par with Lucas’, but you can’t tell by talking to his energetic campaign staff.

If you want to participate in future “Drinking Liberally” meetings, go to the Memphis Restaurant every Thursday, at 8:30 p.m. The meetings are coordinated by our friend Mike Lawson, of the Liberal OC Blog. You can sign up for his email list at this link.

About Admin

"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.