By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
I can't believe I'm about to write this, but SanTana Mayor-for-Life Miguel "Don Papi" Pulido just might be the last, best hope to save OC's beach fire pits from the idiots at the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD)—and I'm rooting for him to do it.
Excuse me while I vomit. . . . BLECCH. I just praised the Don Papi—and it ain't the Wild Turkey talking!
After a lifetime of siding with the elite, of dismissing the problems of the hoi polloi with a wave of his well-manicured hand, Pulido has suddenly turned into Che Guevara by siding with the masses who want to keep the cherished tradition and lambasting those who want the pits of Newport Beach and Huntington Beach pulled at the request of whiners and the SCAQMD's clueless management. Last month, he held a public meeting alongside H.B. mayor Connie Boardman at Huntington Beach City Hall to let the public vent against those who want to take the rings away—a once-unthinkable proposition that just might happen in July. Then, Pulido said of the rings, "There's something magical here. . . . It's something, in my book, like a sacred process that we're talking about, something deep in people's psyche. The benefit could be emotional; it could be virtually spiritual. It's something very deep in the people."
Um, okay. . . .
Then last month, at a weekend ceremony in Santa Ana's artists district honoring legendary OC Chicano artist Emigdio Vasquez, Pulido brought up the fight to save the fire pits, much to the puzzlement of the crowd. It really had no place in the parade of praise for Vasquez, but the crowd did cheer—and more than a few of those in attendance later admitted they didn't even know about the controversy and were pretty peeved about it once informed. Yes, Pulido grandstanded, but for once, it wasn't about him.
So how can the Don Papi be the fire pits' savior? He sits on the SCAQMD board, one of only two OC representatives that's ostensibly tasked with protecting Southern California from airborne pollutants. Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson is the county's other voice on the board, but he has all the grace of Dana Rohrabacher around alcohol. Pulido, on the other hand, is known as the Don Papi for being able to sell anything to anyone, for befriending Republicans and Democrats alike. As the sole Latino on the board, Pulido can also rally Mexis across Southern California to stand behind the issue (so far, the most vocal opponents of the proposed ban have been awesome gabachos in Newport and H.B.). Imagine if Pulido becomes Mexican for once and gets a bunch of wabs to start hounding the SCAQMD board? All those old gabachos who sit alongside Pulido would quiver in fear!
A meeting on the issue was scheduled for this coming week, but it has been pushed into July, no doubt to try to quash the growing realization of the public of what the SCAQMD board wants to do. Within the next month, Pulido can turn into Zapata; he can leave a wonderful political legacy and unite Southern California in a way our various tribes have never been against, well, anything.
So howzabout it, Don Papi? ¿Tienes los pinche huevos pa' empezar DESMADRE? The taco is in your court. . . .