This Week in Reasons To Be Embarrassed About Dana Point

Diane Harkey
Diane Harkey

Now, I love Dana Point, my sleepy, crusty, adorable harbor-village-that's-trying-to-dress-up-as-Newport hometown. But its legal cityhood is only a little bit younger than I am, and so I can relate to the public embarrassments it has had in the last week or so. You turn 20, you're told that you're an adult, you go out into the world, and you end up making an idiot of yourself. Three Dana Point residents in the news of late:

-- OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. Yes, we were quite proud when the DP resident and 20+ year LA cop took over Orange County's law enforcement after the terrible reign of Mike Carona. But she's become a yacht-size target for the politicos up in Santa Ana, and some say she narrowly avoided a no-confidence vote against her in the OC GOP Central Committee. Besides making a good-faith attempt to crack down on concealed weapons permits, her big sin is very much of the times: too much text messaging while old people are talking.

-- Dan Harkey, husband of Assemblywoman Diane. This might not come as a shock to all those locals who hate our former mayor's guts, but just a few months after Diane was elected to state assembly -- and for some reason received press for stating the obvious about the California budget -- there's been a lawsuit filed alleging that her husband might be the Bernie Madoff of Orange County. Diane is also named in the suit, which says that Dan's firm essentially ran a ponzi scheme that helped to finance his wife's campaign. Perhaps the Harkeys' big problem is that Dan's offices are in Aliso Viejo, a place where nothing good ever happens.

-- Martha Lea Smith, owner of the home where the original Frost/Nixon interviews were held. It's not that Smith has done anything particularly disgraceful, but in today's Register profile of her involvement with the historical tele-political event, she comes off as a bit... I don't know... lame. Reporter Vik Jolly packs the article with colorful detail and narrative, but every time those quote marks show up, Smith seems jaded about the whole thing, calling it "disruptive" and trying to downplay the landmark nature of having a president in her home. Which: Yeah, sure, that's her prerogative, and I wouldn't have been thrilled with Nixon for kicking me out of my house during daylight hours either. But come on, nothing cool ever happens in Dana Point; you think she could have at least lied about the fact that the "quiet toilet sealed the deal" when Nixon's and Frost's handlers were looking for a place to shoot. Say it was the beautiful ocean view that did it! Or that David Frost was lured by dreams that one day, after spearing his white whale, Richard Nixon, he might catch a really sweet Megamouth Shark in the very same town!


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