We considered ourselves pretty much hopelessly cynical. Most local elections don’t seem to matter much, at least here in OC. The choices are determined in Repuglican primaries between various assorted mixed nuts with more ambition than brains; people whom you wouldn’t hire to walk your dog. People of no real ability but a crafty sort of skill at ferreting out the main chance – for themselves. Remember Duvall? Bulldozer Daucher? Every council election gives birth to a new litter.
But this time it really is different.
Chris Norby is not perfect. A long way from perfection – like most of us. But his political attributes far outweigh his liabilities. He is a rock-solid conservative who has fought for property rights against the incursion of government depredations for decades. At the County he has opposed pension spikes, PLAs, and other policies that unreasonably raise the cost of government to the people who pay for it – us.
As a city councilman in Fullerton Norby time and time again had to stand alone in a lonely fight against the boondogglery of the Redevelopment Agency and completely incompetent affordable housing schemes – foisted on us by his colleagues. You see, Chris put the welfare of the City ahead of foolish collegiality with the rest of the council and with staff. He never forgot that it is the city manger who works for the council – not the other way around. Unlike his fellows on the council he never came to identify himself with the bureaucracy at the expense of his constituents. Remember the Utility Tax?
There is a reason a billionaire like Ed Roski Jr. dislikes Norby so much and is willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars to attack him. It’s because Norby is one of the few elected officials in California who has stood up to fight the redevelopment abuses that create sham cities like “Industry” where Roski rules over his supposedly democratic realm in effective majesty.
So what can Norby do in Sacramento? He can fight the California Redevelopment Association by forging a coalition of Democrats and republicans who are tired of seeing the little guys get pushed around by auto dealers and big box corporate welfare artists. He can fight for equitable sales tax distribution to eliminate internecine tax wars between neighboring cities. As a former teacher he can bring his own experience to bear on education problems instead of relying on party cliches. And as a true fiscal conservative he can fight for the interests of the taxpayers.
His Republican opponent? An empty suit of clothes wheeled around one afternoon in front of a cameraman in poses hardly any more credible that her claimed business experience. A sham candidate imported from another district by forces of pecuniary interest who think nothing is wrong in creating a tax-free, charitable organization whose only mission is to arrange free Hawaiian vacations for legislators.
The Republican Party of Orange County has been run by a relatively small gang of manipulators and political profiteers. Almost all of them have come out in support of a woman who doesn’t even live in the district, and whose entire campaign is a fraud; and lots of small fry local electeds have followed suit, believing as they do that their main chance belongs with the Gang. Maybe they are right. But Tuesday, a message of bad news may be delivered. The Gang has never trusted or accepted Norby. Maybe a Norby victory against their hollow candidate will send the message that their days are numbered. Let’s hope they are.