It's not unusual to see a picketer outside an auto dealership protesting what s/he perceives to be a lemon or shady financial terms unloaded on them by slicksters.
But the picketers outside Norm Reeves Acura of Mission Viejo this evening will not be targeting the dealer but California Assemblywoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) and her slickster husband.
It's the invitation after the jump that is bringing out the protesters …
Termed out in the Assembly, Harkey is running for the state Board of Equalization seat that's being abandoned by Michelle Steel, as are Mark Wyland, Lou Correa, Van Tran and Tom Harman. (A must-read is Orange Juice blogger Vern Nelson's recent “The Harkey Files” item on the mystery behind what the Board of Equalization actually does other than serving as “cold storage” for termed-out politicians. In the interest of full disclosure, I screen-grabbed the Harkey invitation from Vern's post.)
Anyway, a holiday party on a cold dealership floor is the perfect way to warm the cockles of potential voters who put about as little thought into choosing a Board of Equalization member as they do a judge, a water board director or a political party delegate. It's the type of race where the first name on the ballot can win because who wants to read all those freakin' letters?
For those diehards who do pay attention to such nebulous offices, Diane Harkey has been trying oh-so-hard to place the focus on her record as a hardline conservative and–cough, cough–private sector financial whiz, and away from her hubby Dan Harkey having driven real estate investment firm Point Center Financial (PCF) into bankruptcy, investor lawsuits and public ridicule.
Which brings us to tonight's holiday party, which will be protested by scorned PCF investors who believe Dan Harkey is a mini-Madoff, Diane Harkey is distancing herself from the same PCF role she used to build her financial whiz rep and that both continue to live a luxury lifestyle–expensive cars, Dana Point ridgeline pad, cocktails filled with the blood of sacrificed virgins–while some PCF investors lost their life savings.
By the way, the Harkeys' steadfast defense has been those who bought Dan Harkey's sales pitches remain as well off as they are–and that everyone involved with PCF was stung not by Dan's forked tongue but the implosion of the nation's real-estate market.
Among those who have worked the hardest to keep the media hounds on the Harkeys is Kurt Sipolski, a polio victim now living in his golden years on $660 in Social Security a month.
In other words, not exactly the type of well-heeled potential political donor Diane Harkey would want to be sharing brie and bubbly with at tonight's holiday soiree.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.