Weekend Open Thread: Did the Decision to Stall Latino Representation Result from a Medical Malady?

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Not certified to be any member of the Anaheim City Council's actual throat.

Yucky strep!  Not certified to be any member of the Anaheim City Council’s actual throat.  But that’s strep all right.  Criminy.

It may be that the general condemnation of Jordan Brandman for voting to keep Central Anaheim, the most Latino portion of the city, from voting on its own representation until 2018 has come to soon.  New, highly unverified information suggests a possibility that both Brandman’s reasoning abilities and judgment may have been compromised at the time of the vote — something that could both help to explain a glaringly erratic decision and make a case for both rectification and forgiveness.

But the story also has a darker side: it suggests that Brandman’s closest colleague on the Anaheim Council could be in serious danger.  Futhermore — and we don’t want to start a panic here — so could any member of the public who has had personal contact, including handshaking, hugging, and ear-whispering — with Brandman since perhaps Monday or Tuesday.  We’re going to try to break down the science for you here, but we urge you NOT TO PANIC at anything written below.

Brandman, according to a text sent from Liberal OC blogger Chumley to OJB publisher Vern Nelson (who still refuses to block him out of an abnormally high level of kindness), is allegedly suffering from an unlucky, relatively late in life, malady.  As Vern put it: “Dan wants EVERYBODY to know that the only reason Jordan’s skipping the Truman Dinner is that he’s come down with STREP THROAT.”

Don’t you dare snicker, reader — strep throat can kill you if it is neglected, in part by turning into a truly deadly illness such as rheumatic fever.  Furthermore, it’s extremely contagious and can be spread by particles sent airborne by coughing or by lying about whether anyone came to the City Council to oppose the Gardenwalk Giveaway in January 2012.

Note: This post is of course not addressed solely at Councilman Brandman, of course, but at those parents and guardians out there whose children may be smack in the strep-prone age range that would make such an attack a run-of-the-mill occurrence rather than an extremely unlikely and ill-timed spell of bad luck.

Brandman was seen in very close ear to lip proximity — and a strep infection can go to the middle ear — with fellow Council Member Kris Murray at points during the meeting.  (In fact, come to think of it, the disease could have originated with Murray! So, if you’re around her, you might want to have a look at her throat swab result before getting too close.  And wear a mask.  Doesn’t have to be a Guy Fawkes mask, though perhaps that wouldn’t hurt.  Unless the cops are frightened by it.  OK, maybe don’t.)

Strep throat generally attacks children of ages 5-15, but like chicken pox and bed-wetting (over, say, the possible arrival of vetted Syrian refugees) it can and does affect adults as well.  It usually affects people who are in environments where they are exposed to great numbers of people, settings such as schools, child care, and possibly lobbyists’ offices.  Brandman was thus doubly unlucky: first, to get it at all; second to contract it despite his not really being a good candidate.  (To get strep, I mean.  Of course.)  Triply unlucky, in fact, if you realize that the asserted strep came just late enough to prevent him from glad-handling the evening away at the annual Truman Dinner, but not early enough to prevent him from voting in Tuesday’s Council meeting at all.

It’s that timing that should have his friends worried.  Did he ignore mounting symptoms of an impending bacterial reconquista just so that he could vote against the interests of Latinos?  The mouth- and neck-related symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Throat pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
  • Tiny red spots on the soft or hard palate — the area at the back of the roof of the mouth
  • Swollen, tender lymph glands (nodes) in your neck

Now that by itself may be enough to distract someone from the purpose of imposing by-and-from-election-districts on the city in response to a voting rights suit.  But other symptoms can scramble one’s thinking ability a lot more directly:

  • Fever!
  • Headache!
  • Fatigue…

(Other symptoms include rash, stomachache, and sometimes vomiting, especially in younger children.  We don’t want to discuss that.)

If Brandman felt that he was coming down with something a week or so ago, but did not want to miss what Disneyland (or whoever) told him was a very important vote to undermine Latino voting rights, one can imagine him struggling his way past such symptoms, hoping that they were transitory, while they — particularly a potentially brain-addling fever — continued to worsen.  Appearances notwithstanding, he could have been in absolutely terrible shape last Tuesday!  (That could explain, for example, his forgetting that he was running for Congress as a Democrat in a highly Latino district.)

No matter what was happening on Tuesday evening, he apparently wasn’t tested until late Thursday or early Friday — with whispers of his turning down a sweet public appearance spreading by mid-day.  Here’s the thing, though: presuming that he took a course of antibiotics right away, he should no longer be contagious within 24 hours, meaning that he could attend the Truman Dinner this evening.  (But perhaps he’s getting bad medical advice.)  Relief from the sore throat itself ends from 24 to 36 hours, meaning that even if he had canceled on Friday morning he would be expected not only to be non-contagious, but very likely asymptomatic, by the time he’d have to speak.

This is, of course, IF Dr. Chumley is right and it’s really strep, a bacterium responsive to the -cillin family of drugs, as opposed to a viral sore throat, which would not be.  But come on — it’s not like Chumley would just make up some convenient excuse out of thin air to help a political comrade out of a jam?  (Is it?)

So OJB wishes Brandman good health and quick recuperation from whatever it is he may or may not have — we would like to see not only the “doctor’s note” but also the test result itself, if he really wants a “clean bill of health” — and the same for Murray.  (The possibility that Mayor Tait somehow implanted some kind of streptococcus pyogenes in Brandman’s throat, hoping that would keep him from attending the meeting if not for Brandman’s brave struggle against rapidly advancing and destructive brain fever, is not addressed here on the grounds that such a theory would be bullfrog loony.)

We hope that, if the strep theory and the timing is right, Brandman will attend the meeting.  Just in case, we hope that protesters will bring the appropriate signs in case he shows up and hecklers will be gargling with salt water and doing their breathing exercises, the better to project their voices.  (God know he’s not going to hear them from the Anaheim City Council dais.)

This is, as you know, your worried but not too worried (and still royally pissed) Weekend Open Thread.  Talk about that, or whatever else you’d like, within reasonable bounds of discretion, decorum, and good hygiene.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)