By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
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8:17 P.M. A mix of community members and staffers gathers at the upstairs office of the Council on Islamic-American Relations-LA in Anaheim when CNN calls Ohio and projects Obama as the winner of this presidential election. Everyone stops sipping coffees and munching on spinach-and-cheese pies provided by Al Amir Bakery in Little Arabia and stands up, filling the building with jubilant applause.
Someone changes the television to the Daily Show With Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. Not all present are Obama supporters; some had cast their vote for an alternate candidate such as Jill Stein of the Green Party. But not this lady wearing a fashionable hijab. "Alhamdulillah, Barack won," she exclaims in relief, blissfully unaware of just how scary all this is for the "Obama is a Muslim" crowd. (Gabriel San Roman)
* * *
LIKE A BOSS
8:47 P.M. Obama is still our president. Walking through the foggy air into Detroit Bar is like coming in on a breeze of relief, as three big screens over the bar blaze with the results of the 2012 presidential election—the FOX 11 broadcast, no less.
Perfect. Detroit's regulars know it's time for two things: booze and indie rock from OC's Devious Means, Midnight Hour and a band from San Luis Obispo called PK. Though he seems determined during their set to not bring up the election, PK's singer looks at a steadily growing crowd. "Who voted today?" he yells. The response is less than enthusiastic, as though people were over the election the minute it ended. But as the crowd fills up, cries of "Obama!" and "Four more years!" sound off in pockets around the bar.
Headliners the Devious Means walk in with Election Day gifts to bestow: fake mustaches, tobacco (yes, for all to share!) and buttons that read, "I Voted, Now I'm Gunna See the Devious Means." It's not too hard to identify the Obama supporters in this crowd. Edging up to the bar to get a drink, two women attempt to scream about how they're glad Romney didn't squeak one out. "He just reminds me of every slick, asshole boss I've ever worked for," one says. "No way I could've voted for him." (NJ)
* * *
PROP. TILL YOU DROP
9:45 P.M. The largest union hall in all of Orange County belongs to the United Food and Commercial Workers local 324. Workers, their families and their supporters file into the Buena Park building for the official "Yes on 30, No on 32" election-night party. The two propositions on the ballot are key to teachers and union members alike.
There is hopeful optimism about Prop. 32 going down in defeat, sparing unions from being gutted further. Trepidation, however, envelops the early reports on Prop. 30, leading folks to worry about its defeat and a possible de-funding of schools.
"If Prop. 30 doesn't pass, there's no hope for higher education," Valley High School teacher Benjamin Vasquez remarks to me. "We're going to have 40-plus kids in every classroom." (By the following morning, Prop. 30 will have won after all.)
But all is not grim. Tefere Gebre of the Orange County Labor Federation takes to the mic to rally the crowd over the defeat of Costa Mesa's privatizing charter measure. There is also, of course, the presidential election. With MSNBC on the large projection screen, Romney appears to give his concession speech. "Booooo!" the crowd jeers. Obama then delivers his victory speech, and the rank-and-file at the union hall cheer. Youngsters bust out in "Gangnam Style" dancing. The future of America's labor movement is unforeseeable, but for now, there is power in this union. (GSR)
* * *
WINNING IS EASY
10 P.M. Judging by the text messages and tweets sent out by R. Scott Moxley about demoralized Republicans at their campaign funeral, it occurs to me that covering the victory just isn't as fun as watching conservatives cry.
At the campaign party for Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who has been in office since ousting Bob Dornan in 1996, it has been one victory piled on another. This year's event is held in a former Peruvian restaurant in Anaheim; supporters start trickling in at 8:30 p.m. As CBS flickers images on a large television predicting a win for Obama, a twentysomething male in a suit and tie gushes into his phone, "How great is this? I'm really excited."
Sanchez arrives and quickly begins doling out hugs to supporters and squealing with joy. She tells me she won't be heading over to Original Mike's for the big Democrat soiree because she has a party of her own to start right there in Anaheim. Besides, she says, Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva, who's running for a state Assembly seat, will be joining her.
"Hopefully, I'll win, Sharon will win ,and off we'll go," she says with the exuberance of a cheerleader. Quirk-Silva, along with Jordan Brandman, Anaheim's newest city councilman, rolls in around the time Obama begins delivering his victory speech. Soon after, it becomes clear all three will likely win their respective races. They give short speeches to a room of 100 or so supporters, each promising to act as a voice for working families. Asked if she expected Sacramento to be crazier than anything she's experienced in Fullerton, Quirk-Silva laughs. "I've been prepared to deal with Sacramento based on what I've dealt with in Fullerton in the past year," she says. (Brandon Ferguson)