Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle has long been the golden boy among Orange County Republicans. He got elected to the party's Central Committee in 1986, and two years later became the GOP nominee for the Garden Grove area state Assembly seat. The party, under the leadership of then-Chairman Tom Fuentes, hired uniformed security goons to stand outside Latino-heavy polling places in Santa Ana and demand identification from the mostly Democratic voters while carrying signs in English and Spanish that warned: "Noncitizens can't vote." The incident prompted an FBI investigation and a civil rights lawsuit, which Pringle and the GOP, without admitting any wrongdoing, settled by paying $400,000. (Heck, beyond wrongdoing, Pringle claimed he did not even know about the poll guards!) Luckily for him, no criminal charges were filed. Unluckily for him, the pall cast by the ugliness played a part in Democrat Tom Umberg beating Pringle in the 1990 Assembly race.
Redrawn boundaries before the 1992 race
moved Umberg's house out of split the Assembly district, and the GOP golden boy won the one of the seats back. Pringle quickly worked his way up the GOP ladder, and after a protracted power struggle between Republicans and former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, he was chosen Speaker of the Assembly in 1996. Termed out of the state's lower house two years later, he became one of the few Orange County Republicans ever nominated for statewide office, squaring off against Phil Angelides for California State Treasurer. Guess what ol' Phil trotted out to successfully spook voters up and down the state? None other than an ad about those dastardly poll guards Pringle says he knew nothing about. Thanks, Orange County GOP!
Pringle re-entered electoral politics in 2002 when he won the Anaheim mayoral race. There he has remained a good GOP soldier with an aggressive pro-business rep. Check out this load party myth maker Jubal dropped on his Red County blog in '06: "Mayor Curt Pringle's Velvet Revolution in Anaheim is an example to Republicans of how, despite our minority status in Sacramento, we can find ways to push the envelope of liberty."
When you think of liberty, you think of disgraced ex-Sheriff Mike Carona, who was not yet the ex- but, as R. Scott Moxley reports and reports, was pretty fucking disgraceful by April '07, at which time he was locking arms with Pringle--and, to be fair, DA Tony "See No GOP Evil" Rackauckas and Lilliputian Republican lap dog Rep. Ed Royce of Fullerton--to host a fundraising dinner for GOP presidential nomination seeker Rudy Giuliani.
Do you know who a bunch of the former New York City mayor's former appointees now work for? Arnold Schwarzenegger. Do you know who Ahnuld loves? Pringle, who Duh Gov has appointed to the Public Employees Post Employment Benefits Commission, the California High Speed Rail Authority and, just this past December, a state blue ribbon commission to look at overhauling the state's tax code. "Congratulations to Curt," Jubal Cunningham again blathered on Red County. "I'm glad there is at least a few conservatives on the commission--it's Russian roulette when it comes to the Governator appointing conservatives to anything."
The preceding five paragraphs were intended not to demean Jubal (ok, maybe a smidge), but to establish Pringle has bonafide fiscal conservative Republican cred. It has thus been interesting to watch his cheerleading for President Obama's $787 billion stimulus package, especially a healthy chunk of the massive government spending added into the mix last month by that ol' Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity/Ann Coulter favorite, Harry Reid. The Democratic Senate Majority Leader out of Nevada is a big supporter of the 269-mile Maglev (for magnetic levitation) train that someday may--who knows?--run from Las Vegas to Anaheim. (Sidenote: because the proposed train is supposed to make a stop in Ontario, I was writing about the Maglev when I covered that smoggy town ... 25 years ago!)
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Cali High-Speed Railer Pringle wants zoom-zoom choo-choo bad. And Reid's push to keep it in the final stimulus bill got a timely late-inning assist from Obama, who is keen on a similar Maglev proposed in Illinois. Since Obama is looking for "shovel-ready" projects for his dough, Pringle is raising his hand like a third grader who knows the answer to who is buried in Grant's tomb, saying Anaheim's multiuse transportation hub--Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center or NAMBLA for short--is ready to roll. All it needs is a measly $150 million-$200 million government handout. For phase one. Once completed, the 16-acre center south of the Honda Center will handle not only a future Maglev, but expanded Metrolink service, metro buses (rapid or otherwise) and a link to destinations like Disneyland, completing Uncle Walt's unspoken dream of a high-speed route connecting Sin City to Main Street USA.
Ever politically aware, Pringle acknowledges the misgivings his fellow conservatives have about big-ticket government spending--especially in light of his emphatic embrace of what appears to be the biggest ticketest of all time. "There will be varying viewpoints about the stimulus package, but to the point that it affects us and provides additional funding for high-speed rail, we'll take advantage of it," Pringle told the Register a few weeks back. ". . . There will always be opposition to any project. But we also are elected to focus on the big ideas that affect the people we serve. High-speed rail is a big idea. We need to look beyond just planning for this year's budget; we need to plan for our future."
In other words, read my lips: more new taxpayer dollars . . . for my pet projects, anyway.
To that end, Pringle felt it necessary to contact Louisiana Governor--and current GOP golden beige boy--Bobby Jindal, who just went on the dag gurm tee-vee to blast Obama's stimulatin'. In his widely panned response to Obama's not-the-State-of-the-Union speech, Jindal especially singled out the Sin City Express to Disneyland. But Pringle reportedly couldn't get Jindal on the Mickey Mouse phone, and to add insult to misery, the Huffington Post claimed Louisiana's governor had gone to Disney World. Double burn!