The OC GOP pulls a plastic bag over its head. (Almost)


Devin Dwyer and Allan Bartlett. Heretic and Inquisitor.

When me and Gus Ayer met with likeable conservative Republican Huntington Beach councilman Devin Dwyer, we found him receptive to our arguments that OCTA’s scheme to put toll lanes on the 405 is a huge ripoff of OC taxpayers and a swindle of OC voters.  He was a little bemused though, hearing that argument from two known liberals, after getting lots of pressure from his own Republican Mayor Don Hansen, who’d been trying vainly to convince him that toll lanes are a conservative freedom-lovin’ thing.  As it turned out Devin voted the right way on that issue, creating an anti-toll lane majority and becoming a sort of de facto HB Mayor on the toll lane question.

One remark Devin made that day, which Gus and I just sort of let pass, was, “Look how low the price of gas has gone;  *laughing* always seems to happen right before election time, eh?”  Apparently when gas goes up that’s a result of Obama’s incompetence, but when it goes down it’s an example of his clever political machinations.  I’m just sayin’ – that’s how much Republican Devin Dwyer is.

But almost not enough Republican for the OC GOP’s endorsement!  What nearly did Devin in the other day in the quest for that coveted nod was his leadership of Huntington Beach’s Plastic Bag Ban.  (Irvine’s Dr. Steve Choi weaseled out a little more easily from having merely voted to “study” the possibility of a plastic bag ban.)

Banning plastic bags is one of a LONG LONG list of mortal sins that can send a Republican office hopeful straight to the political fiery pit.   Allan Bartlett, who’s an OJ friend because of his general contrarianism in the OC GOP, his constant poking at the Baughites’ corruption and cronyism, and his tireless advocacy for Ron Paul, turns out to be the OC GOP’s self-appointed Torquemada on the plastic bag issue, finding such environmental regulations to be grievous offenses against the sacred principle of “free enterprise.”

Allan found it amusing to watch a nervous Devin attempt to defend the ban, protesting that he’s a sailor, what a mess of plastic he sees out on the waves, how environmentally conscious are the Surf City voters he must appeal to.  Allan found it especially galling when Devin mentioned the time that a plastic bag got sucked into his boat engine, costing him $25,000.  Really, why?  Sounds to me Devin was trying to frame things in basic terms of self-interest – in a way you’d think Republicans would appreciate.  But to a zealot like Allan, the principle that a business should be free to spew out whatever pollutants it chooses is something in defense of which a sailboat owner should proudly fall on his sword.

But evidently Devin managed to talk his way into the coveted endorsement, and so CONGRATULATIONS to our “Mayor De Facto” for showing you can be just a LITTLE bit independent and still pull that off.  Norberto has shown us recently the grim, extensive list of litmus tests that a candidate for even the most menial office must pass to get that OC GOP endorsement:

  • An Anaheim school board candidate must oppose all regulations on offshore drilling!
  • A water board hopeful must oppose abortion even in cases of rape and incest!
  • A Republican trying to get onto the sanitation district must vow to hold the line against the abomination of gay marriage!

So, as always, I get down on my knees and thank the Lord that I am not a Republican.

Oh.  Wait.

I still am.


Diamond, when is that exorcism I’m supposed to have?

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, or 714-235-VERN.