If I Were Going to Oprah’s: In the highly unlikely event that Oprah invites me to her Sept. 8 bash for Barack Obama, here’s what I’d have to do to get in the door:
First of all, it’s apparently not being called a “fundraiser.” That’s gauche. That’s what Hillary Clinton is having at Magic Johnson’s house a few days later. Oprah’s little soiree is being dubbed a “celebration.”
Of course it’s a fundraiser. Do you think a presidential candidate’s coming all the way to Santa Barbara just to press the flesh with the locals, schmooze with Oprah, and watch the seagulls? At this point in the campaign, it’s basically greenbacks he’s after.
After making the list, I’d have to shell out $2,300. (With Sue needing two crowns and grandbaby Brianna going through diapers like you-know-what through a goose, do you think I’m going to blow that kind of dough to get a warm cocktail and a glance at the O&O pair across a crowded party?)
According to instructions from Julianna Smoot, Obama’s national finance director, as quoted in the Chicago Tribune, I’d have to wear “Garden Attire.” That apparently means a blazer, contrasting slacks, and an open collar. (Obama likes open collars. Man of the people, natch - except in photos.)
There are no tickets to the event. (Also gauche, I gather.) You’re either on the list or forget it. And don’t forget the confirmation e-mail and government-issued ID.
I’d have to show up at Earl Warren Showgrounds at Gate B between 2:15 and 3:45 p.m. and be checked in - cameras and recording devices strictly verboten - then climb on a shuttle bus to Oprah’s Montecito place.
The fundraiser - oops, “celebration” - will be held on Oprah’s meadow. (Flat shoes suggested for women.) Out-of-towners who want to stay overnight can ask for the “Obama ‘08 rate,” which starts at $280 at the Upham and up to $1,600 at Bacara Resort & Spa, according to Obama’s people.
In the event my invitation is lost and any of the VIP guests gets bored, Sue and I will be willing to swap a cup of coffee or tea in exchange for the inside scoop about what happened at Oprah’s.
No admission charge, no valet, and everyone out by midnight unless the stories are really good. Then, and only then, we might break out the good stuff. Cameras and recording devices OK. Diaper donations accepted.
Dagblasted Dirt Blowers: As for Ashleigh Brilliant’s complaint that the city isn’t enforcing the voter-approved ban on gas-powered dirt blowers, Mayor Marty agrees. Replying to his e-mail, she said: “When we passed the gas-powered leaf blower ban, we had a long discussion about its implementation. We knew enforcement would be difficult. I even remember suggesting signage where leaf blowers are sold on the South Coast, as well as information given to gardeners when they are taking our Green Gardener program. It appears that neither one were done.”
“In addition, I just pulled the Municipal Code section 9.16.020, and there are many other things that have not been followed up on.” She promised to follow up with City Administrator Jim Armstrong. Legal blowers can only be used between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. if in or near a residential zone. That code section not only bans gas-powered blowers, but restricts the use of legal ones to Mondays through Saturdays, and prohibits them on Sundays and national holidays. It’s also illegal to blow debris onto neighboring property or into the street or gutter, to not collect the debris, or to sell a blower made to exceed 65 decibels.
Minutes after writing this I heard a racket outside and spotted a worker partly obscured by the cloud of dust he was creating with a gas blower, showering dirt into the street away from the home where he was working and toward mine. I talked to him and found that he hadn’t a clue about the law and, apparently, neither did the absentee property owner.