This column was written prior to the California primary election on June 5.
There are 27 people running to be the next governor of California. There are 32 running to be our U.S. senator. There are even 11 people running to be lieutenant governor, which is a title without a job other than inquiring daily as to the state of the governor’s health. The top two vote getters are going to the main event in November and almost all of the rest are just going to disappear—so why do they do it? The only explanation I can see is they want their 15 seconds of fame. No matter the results of the election, their obituary will read “Joe Blow, plumber, peanut vendor and former candidate for the California governorship,” which for many, I guess, is enough.
In politics, there is an adage called the “law of unintended consequences.” When we voted in the top-two system, we kind of figured we would get more moderate candidates. No one anticipated that Californians would be so upset with Trump that Democrats, sensing opportunity, would be coming out of the woodwork to run for office. There are a number of congressional districts that Hillary Clinton carried that have or had Republican congressman, which posed an opportunity for Democrats to pick up seats. The problem from the Democratic point of view is that there are too many Democrats running for those seats; it’s altogether possible that the vote will be so split up that two Republicans will get into the final in November. The Dems are panicked and praying. This primary is also going to tell us if all those kids who are upset about school shootings are actually going out to vote. The kids are notorious for being loud and angry, and then not bothering to show up at the polls. It’s the same with many Hispanic voters, who also turn out in less than their numbers. If the young voters and the Hispanic voters turn out in force, then the political world has really changed here in California. If not, and the Dems in California and the rest of the country are incapable of taking the House of Representatives this time, then we may be looking at a two-term Trump presidency.
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Last week, in the most baffling of circumstances, the LA County District Attorney’s office, using its own investigators and not the sheriff’s department, turned out in force to serve search warrants on longtime Malibu resident, businessman, council member and current Mayor Pro Tem Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner. Not only did they bring the 12-plus investigators, but also they brought an entire SWAT team, equipped in riot gear and carrying battering rams. (I guess it was just in case they thought that Jefferson would decide to shoot it out or something.) Anyone who knows Jefferson would understand that all they had to do was ask and he would have consented to any search as he did.
Although Jefferson was not arrested or charged with anything yet, the search warrants indicated “perjury” as the crime. What that relates to, I believe, is the law that requires a public official to live in the district in which they are serving. All public officials, covered by the law, have to sign a statement under penalty of perjury that they reside in the district but it gets a lot murkier then that. There is being a resident and being domiciled. Here, there is having several residences; in Jefferson’s case, he also has a business here in Malibu, which he has had for as long as I’ve know him—30 years or so—but that apparently doesn’t qualify as the DA reads the statute. If a case is filed, we will cover all the details but in the meantime, some people have created a GoFundMe page for Jefferson to help him cover the lawyers’ costs he is beginning to incur. There are also some rumors floating about that this is related to a vote Jefferson made on the council about the city manager’s salary. That is utter paranoid fantasy. The DA’s office has been working on this for months; in fact, it searched Jefferson’s house in County Malibu in April.
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Designer Kate Spade committed suicide at the age of 55. She seemed to have it all. She was rich, talented, creative and famous with a publicly effervescent personality. She was probably the envy of many and yet, she hung herself in her apartment. I suspect for many people celebrity is not what they expect it to be. I’m reminded of a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson called “Richard Cory.” It’s about a man who is rich, handsome, elegant, charming, a respected figure in his community and envied by all until “… Richard Cory, one calm summer night, went home and put a bullet through his head.” You can never know what’s really going on in someone else’s life.