What’s Happening Around Town


    Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston got themselves hitched and the world’s media rushed to their door to unsuccessfully try to get a glimpse of the bridal couple for their celebrity-hungry readers. We were no different. There we were, standing up on Decker Canyon, taking pictures of a big white tent and thinking to ourselves– “this is absurd.” We got to talking to some of the photographers who had come from England and France for good papers like Paris Match, and they told us about spending a better part of their professional lives trying to get a picture. Then I talked to some of the freelancers. It was amazing at what they’re paid for a good photo. I asked why there was no photo op. They smiled knowingly at my naivete and suggested that the bridal party had probably sold exclusive photos rights separately to print, magazines, TV, cable and to lord knows who else. Meanwhile, the Sheriff had declared a “No fly” zone around the house, and security had put up balloons that looked like barrage balloons to me. All this to keep anyone from getting a picture of the bride and groom, two of the most photographed people in the world. It really is absurd.

    The apparent deadline date for final filings on all campaign disclosure documents relating to the last City Council race was July 31. It was also the first date for the filing of the campaign disclosure documents for the proposed ballot initiative on the Right to Vote on Commercial Development, which we have christened the Segel Initiative, over their vocifierous objection. As I understand it, they didn’t file anything, so we don’t yet know who is giving them their money nor whether some of their supporters are true believers or paid consultants. I understand the city attorney is of the opinion that our statute requires they provide that information. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they maintain they have a right to keep all of their contributors and expenditures secret. I know it disturbs the Segels when I call it the Segel Initiative, but when you go to a council meeting and see Joanne Segel standing in the back, sending in speakers to the rostrum, like some high school football coach sending in replacements to the line, it sure looks to me like she’s running the show. Come on, guys–Why so coy ? Fess up and admit it’s your initiative.

    So far the only person who has pulled papers for the council race in November is Sharon Barovsky and we’re getting down to the wire. I keep hearing rumors that Carolyn Van Horn is running, and then rumors that’s she not running, but I guess we’ll all know soon enough whether it’s going to be a council race or a coronation. Walt Keller. I think, has officially retired from campaign politics, although there are some who insist that it’s really Walt and Carolyn who are behind the Initiative on Commercial Development. If they are, they’re sure keeping a very low profile and staying out of the trenches. Ted Vaill is still a possibility, but there’s some talk he’s being pressured not to run and may be having second thoughts.

    Some people have asked me how this City Council is different than its predecesser, with Walt Keller and Carolyn Van Horn. There was a perfect illustration in the council’s action at the last meeting when approved the settlement among the city, the state and the coastal commission over the Pt. Dume Preserve. The deal was the result of a long negotiation between all three parties. At the meeting some of the neighbors came down to express their unhappiness with the deal; and they wanted the council to reject it. The old council, when faced with that kind of situation, would more often than not chicken out, even though they had participated in making the deal. Then they would try and go back and renegotiate the deal, so we began to get a reputation for being flaky. Just about every agency in the state and county was mad at us, because we were always changing our minds and shifting in the political winds, which meant that nothing ever got settled. This council is working hard to improve that situation, which means that sometimes they find themselves having to make hard decisions. A hard decision in politics is one that is going to get someone very angry. For example, if the council loses their nerve and decides not to send the proposed MBC Development Deal out for an EIR, there is no way that anyone would believe them in the future. They’ve spent too much time, energy and money to back off at the first confrontation. That doesn’t mean that ultimately the deal might not change, or be modified, but it does mean they have to move forward or be made to look ridiculous, and, as the man said, “We can’t be made to look ridiculous.