Coming attractions: Politics and ballots battles take center stage


    This was a very strange week in American politics. The Republicans finished their convention loving everyone and practically had the entire ethnic population of America standing on the stage at the finish. I haven’t seen a love- fest like that since Woodstock, although I must admit it’s hard to imagine some of those delegates tearing off their clothes and jumping naked into the local pond.

    I would imagine the Democrats are going to have to search the nation, far and wide, to find any confetti for their convention, because the Republicans apparently bought out every piece of confetti in the continental U.S.

    Somehow I suspect that the Democratic National Convention down at the Staples Center is also going to be another four-day photo op, sort of an infomercial where the only thing they want you to buy is them.

    I expect to be there covering the DNC, bringing you hard cutting-edge convention journalism. Well, the truth is I’ve never been to a convention, and I’d like to see one in action, even if it’s all prescripted. I also want to go to some of the parties so I expect to report to you from the Democratic Party ‘party’ scene, play by play.

    Actually, the most interesting convention is the one going on this week in Long Beach where the reform party battles are taking place. The neo-Neanderthal wing, led by their leader Pat Buchanan and his quasi-militaristic cronies, will go up against the touchy-feely outerspace wing of the party, pushing their prophet John Hagelin, competing for the hearts and minds of their followers and $13 million-plus of federal matching funds.

    Add to the race Saint Ralph and other Naderites and Al Gore’s choice of an Orthodox Jew for a running mate, and you can say we haven’t had a presidential year as interesting as this one since 1948 when Strom Thurman bolted the Democratic Party and ran as a Dixiecrat and the Democratic left bolted and started their own party. That was the year, you may recall, that Tom Dewey was elected president, or so the Chicago Tribune insisted. You would have thought that might have ended the Tribune, but here we are 52 years later and they end up owning The Los Angles Times, proving that being wrong in my business is no great impediment to success.

    Not to be outdone, local Malibu politicos went to the mat, so to speak, and did what politicians do the world over when faced with a difficult decision. They passed it on to somebody else–namely us, the voters. Thusly, if we screw it up we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

    It looks to me like when you walk into the voting booth this November, besides picking a president, a senator, a congressman, voting on umpteen bond and ballot propositions, deciding if you want to extend the parcel tax for schools, and probably choosing the color of the stripes to be painted on PCH, you’re going to have to decide what you want to do with the Malibu Bay Civic Center, Pt Dume and Trancas properties. You will have to vote on the Segel Initiative (more about that later), formerly called the Malibu Right to Vote on Development Initiative, and then on two referendums put on the ballot by the council. One relates to the Malibu Bay Company Development Deal and the other with a $15 million bond issue advisory.

    I’m actually planning on taking a couple of sandwiches with me into the voting booth, since I expect to be there for a while. I think that some of you ought to seriously think about running for council since you’re ultimately going to have to make all the decisions anyway and, at least if you get on the council, you get $300 per month and a badge.

    Now I could never understand why Gil and Joanne Segel got so upset every time I referred to their initiative as the Segel Initiative, but now I think I know why. They’ve just turned in the financial reports and it turns out that the initiative raised $18,762 as of June 30, 2000. According to their filing, $4,557 came from Gil Segel. However, Gil was only the number two giver. The winner, by far, was Ozzie Silna, who gave $11,000 to the cause. So, I guess it would be only fair to call this the Ozzie Silna and Others Ballot Initiative and give credit where credit is really due.