With less than two weeks away until election time, more than a dozen candidates are vying for two open seats on the Anaheim City Council. Dustin Apodaca, frontman of Dusty Rhodes and the River Band, is the only one listed as "musician" under official ballot designations.
A slick campaign poster that rivals fellow Anaheim City Council hopeful Bill Dalati's electoral swag in style points asks the city's voters to "Trust in Dustin" just the same. The former Katella High School student does have a brief biography on his Google profile, however, that reveals a little more about his motivation to seek office.
In it Apodaca notes, "I was born and raised in Anaheim, and I have witnessed this city change and grow over the last 28 years. It is time to elect someone who isn't a political insider but an Anaheim native who is in touch with the city's needs in tough economic times."
The candidate goes on to advocate for low-income housing, making sure the ARTIC transportation hub station is done correctly and for creating new means for putting Anaheimers back to work in creating a "greener and healthier" city.
Apodaca is taking his grassroots effort seriously and actually wanted to vie for a seat four years ago only to have the obligations to Dusty Rhodes and the River Band take precedence. With that no longer being the case--save for one last "finale" show--he let on a bit more about some of the issues facing the city in his latest interview with the Weekly.
Here's his bread-and-butter topic: the proposed construction of an 800-mile high speed rail taking passengers from Anaheim to San Francisco. "It is important to me because we can't afford to make these freeways any bigger and that giant smog cloud that makes its way to the 909 area code every late afternoon isn't getting any smaller," the musician says. "This is the main reason I am running for Anaheim City Council," Apodaca emphatically adds.
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"Not only does this train have to be built, it has to be ever expanding, not because it is easy; this train has to be built because it is hard and when we reach that goal it will serve to organize and measure the best of our energy and skills, while creating thousands of jobs in the process," he says as unemployment in Anaheim, like in a great many other cities across the state and nation, remains in double-digit proportions.
Seeing another potential source for an albeit a smaller scale economic boost for the city, and with marijuana legalization on California's ballot as a proposition, the musician turned politician finds Anaheim's three-year old ban on medicinal cannabis dispensaries to be foolish. "The city was completely wrong in banning medical marijuana dispensaries. This is a clear indication of how out of touch and backwards Anaheim's leaders are," Apodaca says of the ordinance approved by previous council members and currently tied up in legal appeals. "From a business and potentially local economy stimulating stand point it is ridiculous to bar these dispensaries."
As Election Day nears, potential voters are slowly but surely getting a more complete picture of what it means to "Trust in Dustin." Anaheim, as a mostly working class and Latino city, has nonetheless been a political playground for current and outgoing Republican Mayor Curt Pringle while a mock "Mr. Mickey Mouth" write-in campaign this year satirizes the city's "Disnocrats."
The Mayor's "ordinations" for his own expiring position and the two open council seats are in the mix for this November, as well as a slew of "outsider" conservatives. There are a few Liberals too, but only one musician: Dustin Apodaca. Will his campaign strike a chord with voters?