I read the Angry Poodle last week while I was in Santa Barbara speaking to UCSB Professor Stephen Weiner’s political science class on the subject of district elections. I also met with the District Elections Committee and Señor Barry Cappello, played in the San Marcos High School benefit golf tournament, and attended a great wedding for a beautiful adopted niece.
On my flight home, I was still trying to figure out some of those three-dollar words used by Nick Welsh. When I got home I was met by my good buddy Lucky, a blue Australian cattledog, so named as he was the lucky one whom I adopted from a local shelter. I figured since Welsh consults with his angry poodle, I would show the article to Lucky for his reaction to the angry poodle, as he doesn’t see many poodles out here in the country.
Lucky, being the good cattledog he is, likes to roll around in cowshit, or in this case, bullshit. I think he does it as he finds these yucky piles to be offensive, especially when in his territory. I proceeded to lie on the floor with Lucky, reading the Angry Poodle article to him, and came to the word CURMUDGEONLY. Lucky quizzically looked at me as I consulted the dictionary for its meaning — an ill-mannered and bad-tempered person. Lucky, realizing this to be bullshit, grabbed the paper from my hands and started to roll on it. Getting it out of his jaws, I continued reading and came to the word CONTRARIAN, meaning a person who acts in the opposite. Sometimes Lucky wants to go for a walk and I don’t, and he finds that to be contrary. As I am for district elections and the elite Democrats are not, I guess I am a contrarian on this issue. With anger in his bright black eyes, Lucky stared at the Angry Poodle as I read that I am IMPOSSIBLE. Lucky snarled, “Bullshit, bullshit, let me roll on that. You rescued me, how could you be contrary and impossible?” Then I read him the part about if locked in a room by myself, I would pick a fight with myself. Hell, I could find better things to do, such as write letters to my liberal friends to convince them that district elections is the way of the future.
Then CNN came on with a program about the turbulent ‘60s. Lucky and I especially like the 1965 Voting Rights Act enacted by President Lyndon Johnson. The law was passed because white-dominated Southern states did not want blacks to have equal voting rights. (Lucky, being black and white himself, understands the injustice of this.) Many liberal progressive Democrats who supported the Voting Rights movement are now residents of Santa Barbara who are exhibiting CONTRARIAN behavior.
Fifty years later the struggle continues in, of all places, Santa Barbara, California, where a number of progressive struggles began. Due to the oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel, GOO (Get Oil Out) spawned the environmental movement. In the down-zoning of Santa Barbara’s population from 200,000 to under 100,000, many progressive liberal causes emerged. The taking over of city government after 50 years of Republican control by a liberal slate included the CURMUDGEON, CONTRARIAN, IMPOSSIBLE Leo Martinez, who led the charge on many fronts, including the now famous Population Impact Study. Challenged in court by developers, the study was defended by barracuda city attorney Barry Cappello, the same attorney who won Santa Barbara city and county the equivalent of a hundred million dollars today from the oil companies’ spillage into our beautiful channel in 1969.
Fast-forward to 1990 when a fierce battle waged over district elections resulted in its loss by a mere 400 votes out of 25,000. Then as now, the Democratic elite totally opposed district elections as they walked door-to-door to squash the change they feared was forthcoming.
Fast-forward again to 2014, and we find Republican governors of Southern states attempting to limit minorities from voting due to the fact that they vote Democratic. Now the ironic part is that in Santa Barbara, the elite Democrat Party, by opposing district elections, is attempting to keep minorities from voting.
Lucky cocks his head towards me with a look of confusion. I explain that the Democrats are opposed to district elections which will increase voter turnout in neighborhoods where voters currently feel their votes do not count due to where they live. I think that the best thing that district elections will bring is a feeling that each and every neighborhood is an equal part of the overall city, and as such, services will be available to them with a representative of their neighborhood speaking for them. The argument used against district elections is that you can now vote for six reps instead of one. Some neighborhoods may vote for six, but none are available or accountable.
Another ironic thing in Santa Barbara is that the usual do-good groups, such as ACLU, are nowhere to be found. They can defend the KKK, a racist organization, but they cannot support a more divergent voting system that would allow more participation by minorities. CAUSE, another group that supposedly cares about underserved people, is also silent on the matter and do not wish to take a stand on the issue. CASA DE LA RAZA, a group that I helped found with many others who worked their tails to the bone (Lucky suggested this phrase as he likes both tails and bones) to have a place where groups like a District Elections Committee could meet and fund raise, has been denied the right to hold a fundraiser. “Que lastima,” (what a shame). Could it be that these organizations are controlled by liberal, progressive Democrats who serve as board members and provide funding as long as the organization toes their line? Oh, and what about the esteemed 1st District Supervisor, Salud Carbajal, whose district encompasses the Eastside and who has been quiet as a mouse. Oh yeah, his district includes Montecito, guess where his cash comes from! ¡Que lastima! What a shame!
History will show that the Democratic liberal elites like the Republican vote scammers in the South were on the same page in trying to keep minorities from voting “Que lastima”!
Lucky fell asleep, but before doing so he managed to take the Angry Poodle article and roll on it as he considered it BULLSHIT. Maybe someday my happy-go-lucky Lucky will meet your Angry Poodle and find that they share a common interest in tails and bones. Oh, and I still love you, Nick.