Diary of a Mad County

Sept. 9 - Sept. 12

Wednesday, Sept. 9
The Orange County Republican Party announces its entrance into local, usually nonpartisan races by demanding that incumbent Republican candidates pay a $200 fee if they want to land the party's "early endorsement." (This replaces the old method, which required incumbents to leave small offerings outside the electrified fence around Donald Bren's home. Avert your eyes!) Republican officeholders say they began receiving letters and calls in May from party officials asking for the money, ostensibly for membership in the recently formed Local Elected Officials Association (LEO). "Once we receive your LEO Assn. application along with current dues and the written request for endorsement, we the Republican Party Central Committee will process your request for an early endorsement," the letter stated. Turns out the LEO is also open to non-incumbents, but they aren't eligible for the early endorsement; in effect, their money's no good here. GOP chair Scott Baugh denies that demanding money from incumbents is asking for a payoff even if it does allow them access to an endorsement for which non-incumbents aren't eligible even if the non-incumbent is the better candidate. "If somebody is paying money just for the purpose of getting an early endorsement, they're missing out on 100 percent of the benefits the club brings," says Baugh, pointing out that those benefits include 10 percent off all misleading campaign literature along with a complimentary photoshopped picture of your opponent embracing either Kim Jong-il or George W. Bush. Baugh's explanation seems to satisfy most, such as central committee member Tim Whitacre, who says the fee "comes across as more of a shakedown." Alexandria Coronado, president of the county board of education, gushes that the whole thing "looks like extortion," adding, "You have to pay, and you're not even guaranteed the endorsement. I find it reprehensible." Does she find it reprehensible that they charge for the endorsement or that the endorsement isn't guaranteed?

Thursday, Sept. 7
Paris Hilton
is arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, though officials say she could be charged with the far more serious crime of driving under the influence of being Paris Hilton. Now, nobody cares about this because, after the Sept. 11 attacks of five years ago, we are a much more serious nation, which is why only about 27,000 TV and print journalists show up to report the story. Lou Dobbs blames the Mexicans. For our purposes, the most stunning thing to come out of all of this is that Hilton was driving to get a burger at—wait for it—In-N-Out! Now, that someone would want an In-N-Out burger isn't surprising, but Hilton, you may recall, dry (and wet) humped a car for Orange County-based fast food/soft porn outfit Carl's Jr. Who knows how Hilton's admission will affect local burger sales? Me? I feel the need to shower.

Friday, Sept. 8
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger apologizes for calling a member of the California legislature "hot," and, no, he was not talking about Jackie Goldberg. His comments were directed at Bonnie Garcia (R-Cathedral City), the only Republican Latina in the state legislature. Schwarzenegger's comments were recorded in a meeting he had with several staff members. The governor sometimes tapes conversations because "I have a certain way of speaking" and the tapes allow his speechwriters to get the "texture" of his cadence and accent, although they could get the same effect by watching a Hogan's Heroes blooper reel. On the tape, Schwarzenegger says of Garcia, who is Puerto Rican: "She maybe is Puerto Rican or the same thing as Cuban. I mean, they are all very hot. They have the, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them that together makes it." Schwarzenegger's comments are outrageous. First off, Puerto Ricans and Cubans are nothing alike. For one, the Puerto Rican flag has a star set in a blue triangle next to red stripes, while the Cuban flag has a star set in a red triangle next to blue stripes. More important, "Ask a Mexican" columnist Gustavo Arellano says that lumping the two nationalities together doesn't take into account their rich and unique heritage, or, as Gustavo puts it: "Cubans are arrogant, Puerto Ricans are just loud." (I love Mexicans: so bitchy.) Schwarzenegger apologizes, flanked by Garcia, who says she was not offended by the comments and doesn't believe the governor needs to apologize for anything. She points out that she enjoys referring to herself as a hot-blooded Latina, and, as everyone knows, racial stereotypes are perfectly okay when propagated by people of that race, most especially when they comfort the powerful. Hey, Bonnie, here's why it's not okay. Just because you're willing to trade on your heritage using cartoonish phrases and images that make you palatable to white folks, that doesn't mean other Latinos desire that. Or deserve it. What's more, the governor of the state of California, the most diverse state in the union, should not be indulging in wholesale, and stupid, race generalizations. You do that, and all of a sudden people are saying that all Austrians speak funny and indulge in racial stereotypes. I mean, that would be crazy. And dangerous. When you ignorantly start putting entire peoples in little boxes, bad things can happen. That's the kind of stuff a father should educate a son about. Wonder if Arnold and his dad ever had that talk?

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