Steve “Chavez” Lodge, council candidate and Sudden Mexican, sued by Cynthia Ward.


¡Jajajajaja!  Visions of Ken Lopez-Maddox-Lopez dance in my head.

¿Quién soy? ¿Quién?

Remember him?  The termed-out OC Republican assemblyman, sometimes rightwing, sometimes union tool, who tried to soften his image among Latinos after an abysmal anti-immigrant voting record by shoehorning his second wife’s surname into his?  (Although every time he’d go onto John and Ken to bitch about taxes and immigration he would revert to just “Ken Maddox.”)

One problem was he couldn’t make his mind up between “Ken Lopez-Maddox” and “Ken Maddox-Lopez,” which led to some very entertaining lawsuits during his short and disastrous stint as a Capistrano Unified School District trustee a few years ago.  Word is, he’s currently trying to get his foot back in the door down there, as simply “Ken Lopez!”

Not to mention the troubled young Texan ex-pat Republican social butterfly Ryan Gene Williams, who, on a Damascus-like cruise down the 5, was hit with the blinding inspiration that he’d have a much better chance beating Loretta Sanchez in Santa Ana if he changed his name gratuitously to Ryan Trabuco.

This year’s Disney-Pringle slate: Jordan Brandman and Steve “Chavez” Lodge.

Now comes Steve “Chavez” Lodge, Anaheim council candidate, Disney-Pringle puppet, Jordan Brandman’s de facto running mate, carpetbagger from Murietta and retired Santa Ana cop.

Where did Steve suddenly discover his inner Chavez?  From whence did he pull out that distinguished name?  When exactly did he become a “Juan-a-bee?”  Turns out he was actually born Steven Chavez, but his mother remarried and changed his surname to Lodge when he was young, and he’s been Steven Albert Lodge ever since.

Juice-friend and conservative blogger Cynthia Ward is not amused at this naked attempt to attract Latino votes during a season when much of Anaheim is bitching about its lack of Latino representation.  Her suit challenged not only Steve’s politically convenient re-baptism but also his ballot designation of “retired policeman.”  You’re only allowed to use “retired” on your ballot designation if you don’t have another, new job, and Steve is currently director of public affairs at Hill International, a construction management firm.

The first question *I* have is this:  Why do I first hear of all this from a John Leos press release*, and an Adam E. article?  CYNTHIA???

“While I can respect Lodge’s apparent sensitivity to voter concerns about the lack of a Latino voice on the Council, it just seems opportunistic to put on a Latino identity for himself now that votes are at stake,” said City Council Candidate John Leos. “My family over the last 90 years experienced segregated Anaheim schools and other injustices, but I learned from them always to be myself — in season and out of season.”

OC registrar Neal Kelley, who actually has no business offering a legal opinion even if Adam did ask him, thinks the judge will rule in Steve’s favor because he “must only show that the ballot designation is how the candidate is known in the community.”  Well, that brings up another funny thing – does Steve’s “community” know him as ANYTHING, let alone “Señor Chavez??”  I only ask because he really hasn’t lived in Anaheim that long, and it’s not entirely certain that he’s really living here even now:   It wasn’t long ago that the longtime Murietta resident bought his Anaheim Hills property, and Cynthia’s process server was unable to find him there and had to serve him at yesterday’s council meeting.

Speaking of yesterday’s council meeting…

A lot happened in yesterday’s meeting, although I had to leave quickly after the small pre-meeting sit-in which got most of the press.  But I understand there were a lot of elephants’ rights activists there to end Ringling Brothers abuse (which LoGal agendized) and lots of Indian-American cabdrivers speaking against Pringle’s  Yellow Cab power grab (resulting in a RARE defeat for Pringle, with Harry Sidhu defecting from the usual Pringle majority to vote instead with – duh – his fellow Indian-Americans, blood being thicker than Pringle.)  AND YET, from what I understand, there were absolutely no Indians riding on elephants!  [see picture to left.]

LoGal also, very importantly, requested from the City Clerk a monthly report on how much money is being spent – wasted – by the Council majority in a fruitless legal fight against the ACLU‘s attempt to bring district elections to Anaheim.  It’s estimated that figure is already roughly a million, and if it’s not ended soon (by settling) it will be many millions.

And there were at least five great speeches, I understand, that I’m going to have my pal Jason capture off the city website so I can share them … HERE!


I write this from the Starbucks near the Anaheim train station, having got stranded by a late bus.  REALLY funny story there.  I called the Mayor about something, and he told me he had to get off quickly for a meeting.  Then I looked out the Starbucks window and there he was, walking up to a table where Kris Murray was already sitting.  I called LoGal – why is the Mayor meeting with Kris?  Are dogs and cats now fornicating or what?  Apparently last night the City Manager had half-seriously ORDERED them to start meeting with each other so they wouldn’t fight so much.  The Mayor came into Starbucks and we chatted a little before he went back to his table.

After their meeting was over, Kris (who apparently remembered me from last month’s Peace March) popped in and waved, and I smiled at her.  Let’s see what the rumor is going to be now, in the hot little Mother Colony.  I’m guessing this:  The supremely devious and Machiavellian mayor had Vern there as a spy.  Yeah… I think I like that better than the truth.

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, or 714-235-VERN.