Guest Column


The Donald Calling


By Paul Meyer
By Paul Meyer

It was very late at night when the phone rang, but I answered it in a New York minute. I could have been dreamingm but it was Donald Trump calling. He never respects people’s sleep since he’s so busy doing deals. A mutual friend suggested to Trump I show him Laguna Beach.

Right away, he wanted to talk presidential politics. Yet, it wouldn’t take a class in political theory to know he shouldn’t have landed his helicopter on Main Beach. Besides driving the Coastal Commission crazy, the chopper’s gusts literally blew spendthrift tourists out of downtown stores. And the seagull carcasses meant for overtime cleanup by city crews. How fitting that his arrival caused more government spending and dampened private sector revenue.

Within hours Trump impishly concluded Laguna Beach was boring, and a Trump casino would change the town’s tenor. I recommended he attend the evening’s City Council meeting, figuring that to watch neighbors fighting over hedge heights would sharpen his senses as to the low probability of getting local gaming approved. After 15 minutes at the citizen’s lectern, Trump was as welcome as a coyote on the playground at recess. He had read about our city’s issues and to my surprise prepared a speech. He outlined a plan using eminent domain (his favorite development tool in Manhattan) to buy (seize) prime beachfront property to build the most modern of homeless shelters. The Donald’s punch line was that he promised to get the ACLU to pay for it! He also pronounced that the same wall he planned to use for the Mexican border could keep coyotes in the wild, and why not have PETA pay for that expense too? I dragged Trump by his long hair out the Chamber doors, while he muttered, “council members were so low energy,” and if only Mayor Steve Dicterow followed the Donald’s lead on creative combing, he could be rid of all those wasted curls.

I was hoping to get Trump to visit some galleries, so he’d put some of his billions into circulation in our artist community. He confused plein air with hot air and thought I was making fun of him. He insisted on seeing Laguna Beach High to walk the steps where the MTV cast of “Laguna Beach: The Real OC” once pranced and acted juvenile. The Donald knew more about Kyndra and Cameron’s relationship than my teenage daughter. If only Iowa’s evangelical voters knew of his sordid appetite for reality TV. I thought I had succeeded in prying him from campus when he spied a Schoolpower banner, and wanted to know about the organization. The word “power” got his attention. The Donald’s eyes grew wide as he learned how much our school improvements rely on private fundraising. His enlightenment was the only silver lining to his taxing visit.

Trump scheduled a news conference for the day laborer’s canyon site until I got wind and scotched his plan, arguing they were all surfing that day. Even New Yorkers are gullible when it comes to the California myth. They think everyone here surfs. Instead, we visited The Ranch. I was concerned he would want to buy it along with lunch, or grumble about lacking a Disneyland atmosphere, or worst of all find the irascible Ranch neighbor Mr. Fudge to be a kindred soul. We safely departed Laguna’s Yosemite without tagging its allure with New York graffiti or sensibilities. I tried to coax him to visit our rooftop bars, but he worried the wind would muss up his hair and he doesn’t drink.

I am still exhausted thinking back on The Donald’s visit. Trump caused a maelstrom while here and yet he did make life in Laguna “step lively,” as New York subway conductors admonish passengers as you enter or exit trains. I am still undecided and won’t dare declare my leanings, figuring we are all safer for any respite from politics. As New Yorkers can complain, “enough already”. The same can be said for this story, as his visit turns out to be a just a bad dream.

Paul Meyer has been a Laguna Beach resident for 19 years. Paul is in commercial real estate like Donald Trump, but has a smaller bank account.

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