Son of Susi Q: Cavorting Season


by Chris Quilter


I’ve been under the weather lately and it’s made me cranky — or as my friends would put it, crankier. Last week, I ended a two-week course of a cancer-eating face cream whose active ingredient has to be napalm. (I lasted 12 days.) This week, my entire forehead has dandruff, and my hay fever has gone haywire.

I’m blaming my seasonal allergies on the yard signs that are in bloom all over town. In a community that has outlawed styrofoam, plastic bags, leaf blowers, dog poop, and fishing, trying to ban this bi-annual plague apparently raises minor constitutional issues like freedom of speech.

Most of the signs are unremarkable, which may not be intentional. However, let’s give Mayor Jane Egly props for her reusable blue canvas bag signs. Even if she loses, she will know who her friends are for years to come. Jane’s bags are dwarfed (although seldom in the same yards) by Steve Dicterow’s steroidal promise of “Common Sense for a Change,” a sentiment unlikely to endear him to the incumbents on the council.

I’ve chosen my two candidates, but the process of elimination wasn’t easy. Well, Robert Ross was easy. He has the courage of his convictions, but they unfortunately include the kind of anti-Semitism that goes, “I’m not antisemitic, I’m just sayin’…” Steve Dicterow was harder. But his endorsement by Dana Rohrabacher is a deal-breaker.

By a strange twist of redistricting, Rohrabacher is now our Congressman. The only good thing I can say about him is that Harmid Karzai hates him. You may not consider Rohrabacher part of a vast right-wing mediocracy, as I do. But can you picture him bringing home the bacon (or the pork) or carrying water for a community where even Republicans believe in global warming, gay marriage and reproductive rights? Steve will get some votes out of this. But not mine.

Another endorsement I find problematic was the Laguna Beach Democratic Club’s decision to support Verna Rollinger but not Jane Egly, although both are card-carrying Democrats. According to the LiberalOC blog, Jane was accused of “cavorting with Republicans,” ergo no endorsement. It’s a delicious image, and in fact Jane’s cavorting is the reason I’m voting for her and not Verna, whom I admire.

To her credit, Verna has not been a one-issue councilperson, any more than Kelly Boyd — who many predicted would be the lapdog of the business community — has been. But Verna will never deviate from the doctrinal purity espoused by Village Laguna preservationists and environmentalists. Aside from supporting an open space referendum I find ill-conceived, they oppose development in a town that has development issues — Aliso Creek, the village entrance, flood control, Mission Hospital and others — that require some inter-party cavorting if they are to be resolved in my lifetime.

What’s especially interesting about this race is how many people who love Jane, Steve, or Verna are also voting for Bob Whalen. When Emmanuel Petrascu knocked on my door two years ago, I rather rudely recommended he do something for the community first before running for our highest office. I didn’t know Bob at the time, but his resumé — SchoolPower, the Boys & Girls Club, the Board of Education, the Planning Commission — is what I had in mind. Incumbency matters, but we’d be nuts not to elect Bob to the council.

Oddly, or in this town not so oddly, I don’t know if Bob is a Democrat or Republican. I hope it won’t come as a shock, like that scene in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (the 1956 version, of course) when Kevin McCarthy kisses Dana Wynter only to realize she’s become one of the pod people, or the time I saw a photo of Sande St. John standing next to… never mind. I don’t want to think about it.


Laguna local Chris Quilter is a squishy liberal who is guilty of cavorting.

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