Musings on the Coast


From the Rearview Mirror

By Michael Ray
By Michael Ray

The off-year elections are finally over, thankfully. It made me distinctly nauseated. Before we leave, however, let me provide a little analysis.

First, Laguna Beach

Thank you Laguna Beach for being rational.   The winners were Toni Iseman, Kelly Boyd and Rob Zur Schmiede, good people all. The two obvious losers were Jon Madison and Michele Hall. Madison’s qualifications for the position were, well, no one is sure because his stated resume was a sham. Michele Hall’s qualification was being a declared Republican and because of that was strongly supported by the local Republican Party.

Do us a favor. Political parties of any type, stay out of Laguna Beach.   We are doing quite nicely without that kind of crap.

So now, new City Council members, pretty-please take a hard look at how Laguna Beach is governed. It has become a “nanny city” with so many different committees and laws governing behavior it might as well be your nagging, annoying mother-in-law Gladys.

First, Gladys insists your teenagers cannot have a glass of wine with you at dinner, then tells you what you can sell in your shop, then scolds you for painting your house the wrong color, then makes you beg her to add a new porch, then makes you submit the design for your new porch to her addled nephew for “approval,” then….you get the drift.

Pretty-please make her go back to the rest home where she can take a nap and hector the other patients.

Second, The State Of California

Jerry Brown easily re-won his governorship for a historic fourth term and has gotta be thinking about another run for the presidency. God help us, he might just pull it off.

The interesting action was the state ballot measures. The water quality bond and the state rainy day fund won overwhelmingly. This is good. With climate change, we must create more water availability; and the state needs a kitty for the next economic downturn.

The third successful ballot measure lowered mandatory sentencing requirements for lawbreakers. Another good call. Our prisons are too crowded with minor offenders who are victims of three-strikes-and-you’re-out laws. These are punitive measures previously passed with massive backing by the prison guards unions. Hey, they were good for business.

The two measures that failed had to do with regulating insurance companies, which spent—get this—$150 million to defeat them.   Obviously, the measures were so great for consumers they had to be faked out by an avalanche of deceptive advertising. As usual, it worked.

Finally, The National Level

The Supreme Court of the United States got what it wanted: the suppression of Democratic voters and the funneling of unlimited corporate monies into American political elections.

Quick explanation. The Supremes recently ruled voting rights acts are dead and states can suppress votes any way they want. Like Texas, a state now requiring photo IDs to vote. Photo IDs for gun registrations are acceptable but photo IDs for students are not.

The Supreme Court also ruled corporations are, for the purposes of elections, “people.” Therefore, they have the same right as you to spend unlimited monies on campaigns. There are no limits.

There are only two little problems with this. First, corporations have way more cash than you. (Please refer back to California’s insurance companies spending $150 million alone and the purchased results thereof.)

Secondly, it is the duty of any public corporation to maximize profits for its shareholders. Let me repeat, it is the duty. Now that they legally can spend unlimited sums on candidates they can “influence,” it is their duty to do so. It is not a choice. It is a duty. Shareholders can, and will, successfully sue corporations that do not.

The effects of these two rulings alone do not explain the colossal Republican election tide. Nor does racial hatred. Much more important was Democratic apathy and Republican hunger. It is like basketball; absent a superstar who carries the day, the hungriest team wins.

At the end, all fingers pointed at the peculiar detached countenance of President Barack Obama. Does he care anymore? (Did he ever?) Or is he going through the motions like most second term presidents?

Finally, the whole political world runs in cycles. What pundits are saying now of the Democrats is what they said two years ago of the Republicans. They try to create drama by proclaiming there is a fundamental shift taking place, much thunder and blunder. Piff. Vapor.

Now, where is the bucket?

Michael Ray grew up in Corona del Mar and now lives in Laguna Beach.  He makes a living as a real estate entrepreneur and is involved in many non-profits.











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