OC Legislator Follies: Harkey, High-speed Rail & Genocide; doomed Minuteman legislation and Mansoor comatose?



Callin’ em like she sees ‘em:
Diane Harkey.

Hold on a second. If indeed Orange County’s major export to Washington and Sacramento consists of dunderheads, jackanapes, and asshats, then perhaps our humble blog has been falling down on the job, the job of keeping you all informed of the latest dazzling adventures of the distinguished representatives you voted for. Let me begin to remedy that failure with a new series, the OC Legislator Follies.


Brash, passionate, outspoken, Dana Point’s Assemblywoman Diane Harkey has always been a strong opponent of California’s High Speed Rail.  So are several conservatives on this blog, including my friends Larry Gilbert and Tony Bushala.  I disagree with them, but at least their objections make sense:  they say we can’t afford it; they doubt people will use it much;  they resent how the project is gradually turning out differently from how it was outlined in the voter-approved Prop 1;  and they are rightly apprehensive of scammers like Kurt Pringle milking it for their own gain.

But Ms. Harkey has a deeper and more historical view, and she is someone who’s not afraid to call things the way she sees them.  And when Harkey looks at HSR track being laid through a tiny percentage of central California’s vast farmland,  this is what she sees:


Harkey objected to [high-speed rail] being built through farmland. “This is cultural genocide, and we can’t tolerate that,” she said.

[Reached at home, Professor Godwin responded, “Cultural genocide?  Laying some track through some farmland?  I’d say that’s a level two, possibly level three, usage of my law.”  Pausing for a bite of strudel, he continued, “From what I understand that’s typical rhetoric from those brownshirts in your California GOP.  We have yet to see, however, if this Harkey woman will rise to the level of Leni Riefenstahl, or if she’ll remain just another Eva Braun, sans blackface.  Genocide, hm?”  The professor gazed thoughtfully out his window at the vast expanses of Hill Country pasture;  a placid Hereford stood grazing in the middle distance.  “That’s quite a stretch – from Dachau to THAT cow.”  The preceding passage has been a hallucination.]


Tim Donnelly, San Bernardino Assemblyman,
Minuteman,  and Assclown.

“Wait – I met this assclown!” I exclaimed to myself. “At that Arpaio event. I can’t believe he actually made it into the assembly!” “What?” responded my roommates, and I replied, “Never mind.”

A year ago – last April already – when I snuck into the Bill Hunt / Joe Arpaio fundraiser at Costa Mesa’s Sutra (which led to these two articles) – this fellow to the right handed me his business card – covered with stars and stripes – and told me he’s the head of San Bernardino’s Minutemen Militia and running for Assembly!  I said, “Cool, dude!” and shook his hand – I really didn’t think I would ever hear of him again.

Turns out Tim Donnelly actually made it into the assembly in November – out of a crowded GOP primary field the biggest wingnut took the prize – and he’s now truly doing yeoman’s labor helping dig the California GOP’s grave:

On Monday, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a first-term Republican from San Bernardino County, stood on the north steps of the Capitol with seven other Republican Assembly members. Before being elected, Donnelly had been part of the Minutemen, the group that claims to combat illegal immigration by patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border.

Donnelly announced that he was pushing Arizona-style legislation to make illegal immigration a crime under California law. As an added attraction, Donnelly brought a special guest, Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, who last year authored the anti-illegal immigration law.

About 50 people, most of them of retirement age and wearing red Tea Party Patriot T-shirts, hooted their approval when Pearce declared that states must “protect against this invasion.”

Longtime GOP strategist Marty Wilson, watching from the sidelines, deadpanned, “Very counterproductive to the expansion of the Republican base.”  And check out the MORTIFIED reaction of distinguished pension-tsunami worrywart Steven Greenhut.  No, do check it out, it’s pretty good.

So how does this tie in with our theme of OC legislator tomfoolery?  Well, you’ll be proud to know that of the seven assemblycritters standing beside Donnelly, three of them were ours:
  1. The afore-mentioned Diane Harkey, for the wingnut Bifecta!
  2. Of course, Costa Mesa’s Allan Mansoor, who was named an honorary Minuteman back in the day, and who’s proudly admitted that his inspiration to get involved in politics in the first place was his hatred of the La Cucaracha trucks in his hood.  (We’ll be checking Allan for signs of life in a moment.)
  3. And Don “Spanky” Wagner, fresh from his successful leadership of the “Taxpayers Caucus” to prevent taxpayers from voting.  You may remember that during Spanky’s bruising GOP primary last June, a last-minute nod from corrupt racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio helped put him over the edge against Toll-Road Jerry Amante and the mumbling walking sign Dr. Choi.  Spanky’s aversion to the Mexican invasion of our southern borders is so strong he needed to invent a new word for it when I heard him at a Tea Party last year – “encrosion” – signifying both encroachment and erosion I presume.
Clueless in Sac-town:
Allan Mansoor.

Speaking of Allan Mansoor, it’s getting impossible to ignore the amazing number of votes he’s been skipping.  (I’ll be getting exact figures today – Monday – from the clerk up there.)  This first came to our attention when he missed the vote on cutting Redevelopment Agencies – just think, if he’d joined Norby and the Democrats he could have been the deciding vote to stop these wasteful… ah, never mind, the thought is laughable.

We will contact Allan’s office for an explanation, but the most logical is that nobody is telling him how to vote now so he’s not voting.  Close observers of his eight-year tenure in Costa Mesa concluded that he hung on the every word of two advisors:  White supremacist Martin Millard on race and immigration issues, and union-bashing lobbyist Scott Baugh on budget and labor matters.  Neither were able to accompany him up to Sacramento.  Add to this the likelihood of poor internet and cell reception in the broom closet Assembly leader Perez assigned him as a Minuteman, and you get a guy who doesn’t know how he’s supposed to vote, and you get NO REPRESENTATION for the 68th Assembly District.  Didn’t we tell you to vote for Phu?  DIDN’T WE???

Keep your eyes on this space, we preminisce no shortage of material!

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.