Logrolling in Our Time: The old Leos Endorsement Magic.

SPY, the hilarious satirical/investigative 90’s magazine, had a regular feature entitled “Logrolling in our Time,” which combed through the major literary journals and book reviews and showed the regularity with which authors traded glowing reviews of each other’s books.  As you may have guessed, logrolling is also a political term.

Both Senator Lou Correa, facing a possibly strong challenger in Anaheim Republican Lucille Kring, and Assemblyman Jose Solorio, facing not such a strong challenge from God-knows-whom, have opted to endorse labor-friendly Republican John Leos for Anaheim City Council over the two DPOC-endorsed progressive Democrats in the race, Bill Dalati and John Santoianni.  Coming on top of some very destructive reactionary votes from both legislators, this development is offensive to many of us Democrats, cementing as it were Lou’s and Jose’s positions at the very right wing of the party.

Immediately on receiving the two endorsements, Mr. Leos put out a pair of press releases obviously aimed at his Republican constituency, briefly boasting of the endorsements before quickly moving on to laud both Democrats for their tough-on-crime stances, fiscal responsibility, and hostility to graffiti and bloated pensions.

And then right on cue, just as a baby bird is fed regurgitated worm from its mother’s mouth, the “Liberal OC” dutifully and without a murmur passed on these press releases to its puzzled readers.  It always takes a certain amount of forensic skill to determine if an LOC post is a piece of original writing or a press release, and if it is a press release, where exactly it came from, but tests in our laboratories have determined a Leos paternity.  Judging by the comments sections there, the few LOC readers left are in a state of bewilderment over why that blog is posting Republican press releases targeted to Republican readers reassuring them how conservative their Democratic legislators really are.

No doubt this is a great idea politically for all three men, and maybe even for the cause of Labor.  Leos gets Democratic votes, while Lou and Jose will siphon crucial Anaheim Republican votes from their challengers (to add to their Democrats who have no other choice.)  But it’s a pretty rough deal for the actual Democrats in the Council race.

John Leos posing with a cop.

I spoke with Mr. Leos, a vast hulking bear of a guy, for a few minutes at the OC Labor Federation event Saturday, where he was the only Republican (that I noticed) who had a booth.  I asked him in what ways exactly he differs with the Democratic Party, trying to get a sense of just how right-wing he might be.   The first two issues he came up with were his strong support of the death penalty, and fierce opposition to gun control.  As a firearms enthusiast he really resents the new law (from Nava I think?) making him jump through some more hoops, including giving fingerprints, each time he wants to buy ammo; like he says, the crooks don’t have to bother with such niceties.   Of course I told him there are plenty of Dem politicians who agree with him on those issues for what it’s worth.  He is a “second amendment absolutist.”  “Do you believe in ANY gun control at all?”  He took some time thinking about that, but then was saved by a friend walking up and starting a new conversation.

Maybe Leos would  be a fine councilman; it’s not like the new office would put him in more of a position to shoot more people.  But Dalati and Santoianni would also be fine councilmen (with good ideas we’ll look at on this blog.)  And these endorsements will make it a lot more difficult for them to prevail.  And Orange County Democrats should be upset; the level of City Council and School Boards and such is where our party begins to grow, so we can continue to attempt to fight Republican anti-government madness on the county, state and federal level in the difficult decades to come.

A new paradigm developing in the OC: Three major parties?

At the Labor celebration, watching Leos fraternize with Solorio, watching Harry Sidhu joshing with Chris Prevatt, and seeing the triumphal entrance of rightwing Christian but labor-friendly Republican Huntington Beach Mayor Cathy Green, I realized we are really starting to look at THREE major parties in the OC (excuse my primitive Paintbrush skills)

The Big-Tent Democratic Party has grown on both the left and the right, and we bicker over priorities and we vote but we stay together.  Meanwhile Scott Baugh’s anti-union jihad has been isolating those (surprising number of) Republicans who have always been close to labor, until they’re increasingly having to ally with us.

Labor gets a good deal out of this, having the middle rectangle at “hello,” and almost always having us Progressives on their side as well.  The difference is that us Progressives have other issues BESIDES labor that occasionally take priority over it.  For example,

  • Occasionally for us Progressives environmental and open space concerns will trump Labor’s desire for new construction jobs; as a couple of years ago in the intra-Dem brouhaha over Trestles.
  • We will frequently disagree with police and prison guard unions over civil liberties, drug decriminalization, draconian laws, the endless building and filling of prisons, the growing surveillance state, and so on.
  • Believe it or not, we Progressives are more fiscally responsible than the Labor Dems (at least since Howard Dean made fiscal responsibility a progressive hallmark) and we can say no to unaffordable unfunded demands from anyone including Labor.

But progressives, unlike the zealots on the right, are fully and enthusiastically supportive of the right of Labor to organize and fight for the interests of its members.

I’m just hashing this out here, does it make any sense?  I think it at least describes the way things are right now more accurately than thinking of just TWO major parties.  Any feedback is welcome.



Meanwhile on the Anaheim City Council race, we’ll be interviewing and supporting Bill Dalati and John Santoianni here – at least me and our Anaheim reporter Gabriel San Roman will – because we like people who really are what they pretend to be.

Happy Labor Day!

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.