Archive for October, 2004

Make sure your vote counts!

We here at Metroblogging OC have been reporting time and time and time again about how important it is that you vote, and that you’re properly registered to vote. Before the election, I urge everyone to check their registration status again with the Orange County Registrar of Votersespecially if you’ve moved since the last election.

While this is important on its own, I bring it up because it happened to me. I moved in mid-September within Orange County, but far enough away to be in a new voting district. When I changed my address with the DMV, I was asked if I wanted to change my voter registration at the same time. I agreed, and was told they would register me to vote at my new home. Unfortunately, the DMV backlog, combined with several hundred registrations “found” at the Sacramento main DMV offices, made me one of the unfortunate few who didn’t get processed in time, and I only found this out because I called the Registrar this morning.

So what do you do? If you think there’s a reason you might not be registered correctly, call the Registrar at (714) 567-7600 between 8am and 5pm today or Monday. You can also visit their office at 1300 South Grand Avenue, Building C, in Santa Ana. Let them know that you’d like to check on your registration status, and they’ll be happy to help you.

The Trails of Urban Orange

If you’re a parent and you live in Lake Forest or Mission Viejo, I think I have found where your teenagers have been disappearing on Friday and Saturday nights. They have to get through a swarm of bees coming out of a pipe and up a hill, but they are young and, well, teenagers.

A geocache which eluded me revealed the secret hideaway. I knew it was the place because the ground all around it was littered with beer bottles, beer cans, candy wrappers, potato chip bags, shag rugs, and even a cushion. Everything that a teenager thinks of taking along to a hot date in the scrub except prophylactics. Which means they are members of Promisekeepers or they actually pick up that litter or they don’t practice safe sex or they read Rebecca Schoenkopf columns to each other (a powerful anaphrodesiac*!).

Where is this place? On the ridge overlooking Lake Forest’s Vintage Park. I even saw a threesome hoofing it for the lemonade berry bush as I left the area. (Don’t look at me. I’m not their parent!)

The Serrano Creek Trail is a fine walk if you don’t mind looking into the back lots of local businesses and stomping through the toxics that leak out of their compounds. I picked up this route along Dimension Drive in Lake Forest. There’s a cute bridge over the creek about a quarter of a mile down. All it needs is a resident troll.

Mission Viejo, I have discovered, is interlaced with trails running along its ridgelines. After failing to find the geocache at Vintage Park, I went over to an unnamed trail running along the ridgeline paralleling Los Alisos to the east. I met two other walkers with their dogs — a hungry chow and a collie who was blind in one eye. The collie decided I could be a friend and the chow thought I’d make a fine dinner. Their owners walked the trail frequently, but didn’t know the name.

About a quarter mile from the trailhead on Vista del Lago, I found a place to cut over to a dirt path that danced along the ridgeline.

The bathtub that is Lake Mission Viejo dimmed in all its glory as a dark front of clouds approached the Orange. This cache I found where it was supposed to be and without anthrophagic cacti guarding it. I muddied my butt and scratched my hand removing it from the protective canopy of a plant I call Nyarlathotepia. Like many geocaches which have been around for a while, disorganized junk filled the container. The view of the average visitor to the cache seems to be “Wow! Here someone left a great Walkman! Let me leave this little green dinosaur as a trade!”

You get the picture.

When I finished plundering the hidey hole (I traded a bottle/can opener for three marbles, such a deal!),I spanked the dirt off my butt and took a few paces to take this photo:


Look at that! The clouds cleared just for me! And there’s not a single toxic waste dump in sight! (Other than diehard Bush supporters in the condos.)


A Trip to Moreno’s Mexican Restaurant (Orange)

Sunday evening we celebrated my brother-in-law

Bumper Politics


Desparately Seeking O.C. Swingvoters

It’s true I’m not much of a political pundit, but this is the season and I’m going out on a limb here. Please comment whichever side of the political fence you’re on, but I’m most diligently searching for those sitting smack on the fence…the notorious “swingvoters”.

With less than 2 weeks remaining, and my talking points for the undecideds burning a hole in my notebook…I’m still looking for you, if you’re willing to speak up, to dazzle with all these tidbits. But…where ARE you??? Everyone I know, who will open their mouths and/or ears to the discussion, is most definitely in one camp or the other! Where are you, oh desparadoes of the infamous fence??

Although it seems like we still assume O.C. is the bastion of conservatism, I have my doubts. I think I see more Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers than that other guy…more K/E signs in yards (do you think it’s true that radical democrat delinquents are stealing them in droves??) Maybe the Bushies are just waiting to strike at the ballotbox. Nevertheless, the enigmatic fence-sitters are hard to spot…something like grunion or snipe hunting, you may doubt they exist until you actually get one in your sights.

So, just in case you’re out there, oh elusive swingvoter, here is my list of talking points for you to consider:

Environment – even fiscal conservatives who care about the environment can’t possibly vote for Bush. He has systematically dismantled every possible advancement in environmental protection, and used laws from the 19th century to rape our U.S. Forests. In addition, the regs he can’t overturn, are conspicously unenforced allowing mining industry buddies to dump waste in waterways and buy mountain tops at bargain basement prices…good going, supporting business! Of course, business in O.C., especially the developers, have had their way with our environemnt for decades, so maybe we assume that every inch of land should be used to make money, and who needs tidepools with actually living specimens in them anyway? In that case, you know who to vote for.

Education – if you don’t think the government should fund the solutions it does agree to implement, then Bush is your man. He even cut $247 million from his wife’s favorite literacy program…I like a man who stands up for what he wants, but how many kids do we have who struggle with reading in O.C. because their parents don’t speak English as their first language. Would you folks like to see some help coming your way or just go it alone?

Medicare/Healthcare – good economics requires that you ensure the drug companies make lots of money, so they can reinvest in stimulating the economy, just like the rich who got all those rebate checks. Of course, we have drug companies here is O.C…but also bio-engineering companies who might support stem cell research. What do you guys think?

Government spending – I can’t understand this…what IS the difference between Dems and Republicans? Wasn’t it fiscal responsi-something…even with a war costing over $100 billion, the billions slide through his fingers like sand. I’m fascinated to know what O.C. business tycoons and post-bankruptcy council representatives think of this.

Social Security – young or old, don’t we keep wondering who’s going to mess up our entitlements next? If the young knew how to invest for the long haul (like 50 years out), they’d be fighting off the head hunters from Merrill-Lynch instead of working for $10/hour. I guess that goes for us destitute baby boomers as well! While they figure it out, if you don’t mind Bush borrowing from your retirement, so your kids will have to make up the difference…give the man another chance to fix it real good.

Homeland security & defeating the “axis of evil” – Ok, so how’re we doin’? Do more or less crazy people hate us than 4 years ago? Last year significant terrorist attacks stood at a 21-year high, according to the State Dept. Meanwhile, on the homefront chemical plants are not required to secure themselves against terrorists, but Uncle Sam has the right to check your library card for insidious literary choices…go figure!

Women’s rights…I gotta save something for a comeback, but are there any women out there who don’t care if they get to choose to have a child or not? If so, dive in and explain to us all.

Ok, I should have rattled some cages. O.C. is filled with diversity and we all live in our own social universe, missing out on the big picture, or the little fences, most of the time. Polls just confuse us, and I haven’t seen a poll of O.C. yet anyway, so I’m hoping we have some visitors who are willing to state their case for fence-sitting. Come out, come out, wherever you are!

This Monkey’s Gone To Heaven

the pixiesHow is this weekend’s Pixies show at Irvine Meadows the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater not sold out yet? I guess if it’s not pop-punk then the kids in Orange County just don’t care. Ticketmaster still has tickets in the $15 and $30 range still available – so get them while the getting is, as they say, “good”.

I’m debating going, but I’m holding off on buying tickets until I find someone to go with. Anyone up for it?

The Pixies perform with The Mars Volta and The Thrills at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Saturday, October 23 – 7:00pm

More Voting Tips

Joel has been doing a great job of informing any readers about your voting rights, not just here in Orange County, but everywhere. I just thought I’d offer one for all those voters in California that have electronic voting machines. If you haven’t chosen to do absentee voting then you should know… It’s been required of the polling locations to have paper ballots as a choice also. The volunteer workers are supposed to offer both options, but there is rumor that some may not.

No matter what, ask for a paper ballot and do not vote with the electronic voter machines. If you haven’t heard about the problems with them, you almost don’t want to know. So that’s my advice and I’m sticking to it!

Are You Registered to Vote?

The impact of the “Nader Factor” on the 2000 election pales in comparison to the “Lost Votes Factor.” Lost votes far exceeded the number of votes cast for all third-party and write-in candidates combined.

The “Lost Votes Factor” is expected to influence the 2004 election as well, despite government efforts to create more effective voting systems.


You may not be — even if you took the time to walk up to a Bush/Cheney table in this state and gave them the form in good faith. Democratic voters in Nevada and Oregon have learned that a company working for the Republican National Committee — Voters Outreach of America — may have shredded the voter registrations of new Democrats in the coming election.

There’s no reason not to suspect that in Republican-controlled Orange County that it can’t happen here.

A few weeks ago, when I urged voters of all parties to register, I informed them of their right to register to vote at any party’s table. Furthermore, for peace of mind, I recommended that they ask for the voter registration form and mail it in directly to prevent registrars from sorting through the forms and discarding those they did not like.

Now I have new advice: if you registered at the table of the Republican Party or Voter Outreach America as a Democrat, call the Registrar of Voters at 714-567-7600 to verify that your registration was processed. They may not be able to tell you until Election Day. Show up to the polls whether or not you have received your voter information material in the mail. If you arrive at the polling place and discover that you have not been registered, demand a provisional ballot. You have a right to insist that your ballot be counted.

To discover where your voting place is, call the nonpartisan hotline at 1-866-MYVOTE1. Here you can punch in your zip code, find out your polling place, and learn the status of your registration.

Studies by Caltech and MIT showed that as many as six million votes were not counted in the 2000 election. In 2004, if you are a new voter, you might be among those whose voter registration form may have been “lost”, especially it seems if you are a Democrat. Regardless of your party, if you made an honest effort to register and your registration seems to have disappeared, stand up and be counted on Election Day by showing up to cast your ballot.

If you suspect that your registration has been destroyed, call 1-866-OURVOTE to get in touch with the nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition.

Check now. Your citizenship is at stake.

The Best of OC?

Recently, I had a few friends from out-of-state and out-of-country come to visit SoCal for the first time

Last Day to Register to Vote !!!

Today is the last day to register to vote in Orange County. All registration forms must be postmarked with today’s date.

If you have any questions call the Orange County Registrar of Voters at 714-567-7600.

Don’t forget to VOTE.

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