Michelle Steel, Stepford Carpetbaggers, Termed-out Termagants, and Goofy Ballot Designations.

1. Mansoor Sues Mrs. Steel Over Goofy Ballot Designation.

Your Second District Supe candidates – Jim Moreno, Allan Mansoor, Michelle Steel, and Joe Carchio.

First off, I live in the Second Supervisorial District, which includes HB, Newport, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Seal Beach, up to Los Al, some Garden Grove, etc.  And I’m a Jim Moreno guy – I plan to report soon on the great job he’s done on the Coastline Community College District Board.  But I also won’t say anything bad about Mansoor or Carchio over the course of the spring, because I mostly don’t want the entitled and utterly disengaged-from-the-district Michelle Steel to waltz into the powerful position.  And we’ll be discussing why, plenty.

Kudos to Allan and his team for coming out swinging, with a suit challenging Mrs. Steel’s chosen ballot designation of “Taxpayer Advocate / Businesswoman.”   The complaint, which you can read here, will be heard in a day or two, but she will NOT be able to use that designation, as she holds an elected position, and it’s called Vice Chairman, Board of Equalization.  (You get all the perks and warchest that comes with that, you get stuck with the label too.)  The problem is, THAT designation sounds like anathema to her anti-tax Republican base. Board of Equalization = Tax Collector, like the hated Zacchaeus. (Pictured at right.)  But that’s what she’ll be stuck with, LOL.

Alternatively, if Mrs. Steel IS allowed to use her fantasy designation of “taxpayer advocate,” which I’m sure is how she’d like to be seen but is not how she makes her living, then perhaps all OC candidates can use their own FANTASY DESIGNATION.  Let’s think some up:  Greg Diamond, Bane of Evildoers.  Jesse Petrilla, Gunslinger.  Orly Taitz, Regicide.  What else?

2. The Stepford Carpetbaggers.

A lot in common: 2014 OC GOP sweethearts who can pretend to live anywhere! Anywhere the Party needs them! Steel, Walters, Kim … but today we discuss Steel.

Early on when first meeting you, Michelle Steel will let you know, apropos of nothing, “I still press my husband’s shirts!”  (That is, unless she’s stopped saying that because I keep making fun of her for it … but really I doubt she knows this blog exists.  Yet.) 

Shawn Steel – no wrinkles here!

That would be her powerful and wealthy husband Shawn Steel, the Palos Verdes personal injury attorney and California Republican Party bigwig (and fabled bully.)  Presumably the reason Mrs. Steel likes to tell the shirt-pressing story is to get across the message that “I may seem like a powerful woman, but I’m not one of those scary liberal feminist types.  I’m still subservient, as a woman and an Asian, to the white man in my life – as it should be.” 

Which brings up one of my main points – the GOP in general and the OC GOP in particular are trying to address their huge women voter problem by running female candidates whenever they can find one (often shining on a better and more qualified male candidate.)  BUT as usual the GOP misses the point, and these women never support ISSUES that actual women voters really care about – like pay equity, reproductive freedom, and expanded healthcare.

Of the five female OC GOP candidates I’m thinking of, three could be called “Stepford Carpetbaggers” – married to powerful wealthy men, heavy on the cute and the non-threatening, and ALL THREE with residency issues:

“Carpetbaggers” literally only fits Young Kim, the Ed Royce-groomed Assembly candidate against Sharon Quirk-Silva, whose platform so far is “I’m Asian and I’m a woman, and Asians vote more than Latinos.”  As we reported last summer, the plucky and mobile Mrs. Kim “was originally a La Habra resident, and told Korea Times that she intended to move to Diamond Bar to run there, but then Congressman Royce convinced her it was a better idea to move to Fullerton to run against Sharon.”

Now THAT’S actual carpetbagging – moving your residence just to qualify to run for a political office.  Many find that distasteful, and doubt that the practitioner will understand their new district’s unique concerns, but it’s not illegal.  What Mrs. Walters did, and what Mrs. Steel seems to be doing, is worse – PRETENDING to live in the district they want to represent, while actually remaining in their old comfy digs some distance away.

In 2012 Mrs. Walters, as Greg reported in great detail, created a “sham residence” in the state senate district she wanted to represent, renting out a small cheap Irvine apartment while continuing to actually reside in her and HER wealthy husband’s Laguna Niguel mansion with their four children.  Her brilliant Democratic opponent Steve Young dramatized/proved this state of affairs memorably by placing “welcome to the neighborhood” flowers on her doorstep and coming back every day for weeks to photograph them in their sad wilted state of growing decay.

And, being a lawyer, he accompanied this edifying bit of theater with a lawsuit, to remove her from the ballot.  But a Sacramento superior court judge ruled against Steve, and the state Senate itself, which also could have removed her, opted to stay collegial and self-protective,  and nothing happened. (For who knows how many other Senators of both parties may be guilty of the same?)  So now, having served two years of her Senate term, she throws in her hat for an open Congressional seat, driving out the much worthier John Moorlach with her overwhelming fundraising, endorsements, and false, malicious attacks.

Surfside. Is the little lady really in there somewhere?

Lesson?  Nothing happens.  The law on residency means nothing, and the law on lying under penalty of perjury about your residency also means nothing.  Hubris being the rule in this crowd, I expect Mrs. Steel to take no notice or concern over our OWN investigation into whether she, her neatly be-shirted hubby, and their two darling kids are really living in the small Surfside apartment she’s suddenly claiming to inhabit (Surfside being a tiny offshoot of Sunset Beach which is in turn a tiny offshoot of Huntington) or if they still in fact spend the VAST majority of their days and nights at the palatial Palos Verdes estate they’ve called home for many years.


SO.  By my count that makes three Stepford Carpetbaggers the OC GOP establishment wants to foist on you.  Now add in what I call the Two Termagants  – Financial Crook Diane Harkey for Mrs. Steel’s old BOE seat (actually Diane is a Termed-Out Termagant) and Utter Train Wreck Janet Nguyen for State Senate (crowned Local Elected of the Year, Not Joking) – and you have the Full Estrogen House that Club Baugh has on offer:

  • None of them different on any women’s issues from any Republican men;
  • All of them married to wealthy powerful men;
  • Three of them with residency issues;
  • Three of them chosen at the expense of better male candidates (Moorlach, Mansoor, Mark Wyland)
  • Three of them Asian.

Yeah, there’s that too – the Asian thing. The GOP has decided it has an Asian problem as well as a women problem.  Of course they have black, Latino, and gay problems as well, but THOSE are intractable;  the women and Asians they think they can handle.  By, of course, running all the candidates they can find who have curves and slanted eyes – if both, the better.  And if you’re an Asian woman and you’re willing to pretend to live wherever the OC GOP wants you to pretend to live, like Michelle Steel, you’ve hit the Trifecta.

But gee, do you think that maybe, just like women, Asians tend to vote Democratic not because of what the candidates look like, but because the Democrats are better on issues that they care about?  Like maybe, as someone in this article suggests, Asians aren’t so impressed with a Party that denies science so regularly?

DUDE.  I think Asians and women just don’t vote Republican because they’re SMARTER than us.

3. Example.

Back to the sham residency-slash-carpetbagging epidemic – it’s more than just the principle, it’s more than just the lying.  You end up with politicians that don’t know the main concerns of their new district.  And a good example, with Mrs. Steel pretending to be from the HB/Costa Mesa area, is that she doesn’t have a sense of how important it is to the people and businesses here to keep the OCTA or CalTrans from imposing Toll Lanes on our section of the 405.

When a friend I won’t name tried to brief Mrs. Steel on this controversy, she barely managed to pretend to be listening, it seemed so unimportant to her.  And no doubt, given the endorsements and connections we know she has, she had already been briefed in the opposite direction, on how wondrous it would be for OCTA to have that extra revenue stream.

This is one reason it would be so infuriating to have her take over The Moorlach’s old supervisorial seat – he has been one of the strongest OCTA Board members combating this outrage against voters and taxpayers.  The last thing we need is for him to be replaced with another thoughtless obedient Toll Troll.  Mrs. Steel’s three opponents, Moreno, Mansoor and Carchio, strongly reject the OCTA’s toll lane schemes;  Mansoor has fought hard and filed legislation against it, and they should all bring it up in the coming campaign whenever they can.

You may find fault with Mansoor’s single-minded fixation on public employee pension reform.  You may find Moreno too close to unions (as though having ONE labor-friendly voice out of five would somehow bust our county’s budget.)  And you may find Carchio to be a goofy old coot best suited for hanging out in Albertson’s waiting for a free steak knife giveaway.  But at least these three gentlemen know their district and what it needs.  They live here.

4. By their Endorsements Shalt Thou Know Them…

Our Republicans (I think more than our Democrats but I’m not sure) are sort of like sharks smelling blood when they endorse a candidate – as soon as they catch a whiff of possible victory they don’t want to be left out of the endorsement orgy – they might miss out on an endorsement of themselves or some campaign cash!  And it does seem like the vast majority of Republican OC has gang-endorsed Mrs. Steel. (As well as the four other women mentioned above.)

We’re not surprised to see Puppetmaster Curt Pringle prominently on Mrs. Steel’s list of endorsers;  she is the sort of pliant insider who would go along with all Curt’s klepto plans, much more so than her three opponents.  DA Rackauckas, no doubt impressed with her million-dollar warchest – more than TWICE what he can rake in in one evening of tribute-taking – is right on board;  by the traditional OC circle-jerk rules, Mrs. Steel will experience no unwanted investigative attention and Tony will get whatever largesse he wants from the grateful supe.  We ARE a little surprised to see Mansoor’s old friend Dana Rohrabacher on the Steel list, but there you go.  Most of the other smaller-fish Repugs are surely just betting on a winner, not wanting to come out on the wrong side.

But when we look at the actual Supervisors endorsing Steel, we see only three out of five on her bandwagon – coincidentally perhaps, the three who are under FBI investigation AND not in Steel’s district – Nelson, Nguyen and Bates.   Spitzer, the only Supe not under investigation, is not on Steel’s list, and I wonder if he is endorsing someone else and/or has a good reason to just be against her – he doesn’t seem to be taking my calls lately.

But one guy who does take my calls is The Moorlach, and he’s already been outspoken against having his old district represented by someone who doesn’t really live here (or if she does, hasn’t for long.)  “It’s gonna be Mimi Walters all over again,” he fretted to me, demonstrating that there actually ARE Republicans who know what Mimi did and take it seriously.  As I told him most of what I’ve written above, and asked for his thoughts, he paused for a moment before saying, “I think your analysis is spot-on, Vern.”  This was just a few days before he dropped out of politics for good.  Maybe he’ll say a lot more now.

That’s it for now … carry on, brothers and sisters!

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.