Two months, and still no concession speech, explanation, interview or mea culpa from former 45th CD Representative Mimi Walters. Tired of waiting and always eager to invoke historian Clare Spark (“The long memory is the most radical idea in America”), your unhumble scribe himself resists writing a modest speech for the two-term GOP congresswoman whose ultimately doomed campaign featured months conspicuously avoiding her constituency, orchestrating heavy-handed telephone “town hall” meetings, quietly supporting Trump and yet still benefitting from (if not quite enough) the absolutely highest voter turnout of any of her three runs for Congress! Ironies abound, with increased voter participation in the canyons, including among “higher probability” voters, nonetheless (or because) helping elect UCI law professor, Democratic Party-funded and persistent if hilarious internet ad-target Katie “Higher Taxes! Open Borders!” Porter.
P.S. I’ve penned a private goodbye note to Walters’ reliably unhelpful former press officer, one T.W. Arrighi, a cheerfully arrogant fellow paid for years to perform public (dis)service by way of both dissembling and vigorously ignoring queries from reporters or constituents. Nice work if you can get it. He once hung up on me, about which I am now feeling just a little proud. Sic semper tyrannis.
Talking the talk, walking the block
An analysis of how Walters was beaten by local get-out-the- vote activists in the canyons arrives courtesy Modjeska resident Sarah Sarkissian, a recently retired public high school teacher more famous for her backyard horticultural success by way of a celebrated garden, than helping organize record-setting elections rousts. With help from party poohbah Linda May of Silverado, Sarkissian choreographed two year-long grassroots (unpaid) canyon precinct operations whose results were finally called by the County Registrar for Katherine Porter (51.7 %) and against Marian Elaine Walters (48.3 %).
Instructively, where Sarkissian’s operation was most active, voter turnout was surprisingly, even historically, high. The tiny 70089 precinct, that small chunk at the entrance of the canyon and north of Silverado Canyon Road, went for Walters, while the significantly larger 70087, which includes all of Modjeska, most of Silverado and everything in-between, voted majority Porter. Targeting infrequent voters who required encouragement to get out in both primary and final elections, two volunteer scouts walked the canyons back in November 2017, matching addresses with voter rolls and performing the difficult field work of figuring out who’s who ... and where. In January, Sarkissian and May fed breakfast to a dozen volunteers (with helpers Geoff Sarkissian and Maureen Voehl), who then went door to door in targeted neighborhoods, registering and encouraging vote-by-mail sign-up. Post-primary they reconnoitered, identifying “high probability” voters and staffing a country fair booth. The weekend before the final, plenty of volunteers walked the bigger precinct, with only one braving 70089. On Election Day, Sarkissian’s crew monitored turnout at the community center for 10 hours, tracking regularly posted results, then calling missing or tardy voters to remind them to show. Results? Lower turnout in one, higher in the other. Combined precinct votes cast: 902.
When newly re-elected Silverado-Modjeska Recreation and Parks President Kevin Topp asks, we answer. Not long after being sworn in for his own second term and congratulating new board members Anjan Purohit, director, and Isabell Kerins, secretary (both running unopposed), he invites community members to attend regular monthly meetings and share program suggestions. An avid golfer, we haven’t seen K-Topp’s own pickleball skills, but he encourages all to assemble at the community center pickle- ball courts, where net, paddles and balls are available to those eager to engage in this athletic curiosity, a combination of badminton, tennis, and table tennis involving no cucumbers or vinegar at all.
Ars gratia artis
Modjeska House invites both skilled and beginning artists to regular monthly mornings devoted to “Art at Arden.” A professional artist leads first-Friday- morning-of-the-month classes in plein air painting or botanical illustration. It’s BYOB (bring your own brush, paint, materials). Free. 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Register at letsgooutside.org/OCParks/activities.
Library of the Canyons welcomes new head librarian Jon Gilliom. He’s busy promoting the Busy Family Book Club, having fun with the Fun with Green Screen kids’ class, welcoming Preschool and Toddler Storytimers and hosting this month’s Adult Movie Matinee, a Wednesday, Jan. 16 noon screening of “Crazy Rich Asians.” See ocpl.org for times.
Better lat(inat)e than never