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Matthew Leslie

District elections Map # 8A splits the entire downtown residential district into five separate pieces, an idea so obviously stupid that the bar owner map’s supporters had to line up a veritable parade of stooges to speak in its favor during last Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Many of these speakers had something to gain from the scheme, as we’ll see in later parts of this story. Others, well, one has to question both the judgment and humanity of whoever put Don Bankhead up this task.

Mr. Bankhead made a rare appearance in the chambers he occupied as a councilman and mayor for so many decades, “over thirty years,” he claimed that night, even though he served for only 24 years.

We begin this clip with Mayor Jennifer Fitzgerald, who couldn’t keep the exasperation from her face as Mr. Bankhead approached the podium and then began his comments with an audible grunt. Next, Jan Flory and Don Bankhead shared a chuckle about who was going to kill him first, Ms. Flory or his wife, if he ran for office again. My money is on Jan Flory.

Mr. Bankhead unintentionally made a terrible argument against district elections by opining that things ran pretty well the old way, without districts, presumably when he was on the council. He followed it with a pretty good argument for the proposed new system by noting that “the only benefit” candidates would receive would be that they would only have to walk their respective districts during election season, and not the entire city, as he recalled having done when he ran for office. Somehow, I don’t imagine Don Bankhead knocking on doors in every part of the city. I never saw him at my door.

Throughout his comments he repeatedly confused the names of maps 2B, the map supported by Kitty Jaramillo and others, and 8A, which he was obviously supposed to support. The twice-recalled former councilman voiced his support for map “2A,” though there was no such map before the council that night. Even when queried by Jan Flory and then corrected by Jennifer Fitzgerald, Mr. Bankhead tragicomically stuck to his guns, insisting that “2A” was “the one that we’re here to talk about.” In other words, it was just like old times, when he was serving on the council, but without the highlighted script for him this time.

Matt Leslie

I spent this morning playing Monopoly with Don Bankhead. This was as much a surprise to me as it probably is to anyone reading this column. Jane Rands and I attended a Monopoly tournament fundraiser for the North OC YWCA at the Knott’s Berry Farm Resort. About thirty others were there, including Mr. and Mrs. Bankhead, and a handful of highly skilled competitive Monopoly players. In the lobby a registration table featured a book on how to win at Monopoly by an expert player who sported a somewhat worn looking Monopoly print shirt with red “Free Parking” cars, “Go to Jail” cops and other familiar images from the game’s board.

Mr. Bankhead was there for his seventh year in a row. He was dressed in a sharp blue blazer festooned with lapel pins, dress shirt, and pressed slacks while most of us slummed it in weekend jeans. He carried himself like a city councilman, and reminded us that for two more days at least, he was. His extended hand and affable pat on the shoulder made me wonder if he intended to be one again sometime soon.

He wanted us to know that the John and Ken radio show had gotten it all wrong. The special meeting to declare the recall election results almost scheduled for last Thursday had been moved to Monday, July 2 because Pat McKinley wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise.

We decided to play at separate tables to increase our chances of moving on to the final round, although everyone would get to play two complete games before our scores would determine who played against the current champion. This elementary strategy was immediately rendered useless as soon as I realized that the half dozen serious tournament players did the same thing to avoid playing one another when they could individually beat a table of rubes instead.

My table of four players consisted of Ken, the expert/author, Don Bankhead, a freckled nine year old boy named Jeff, and myself. The kid predictably chose the racing car as his game piece. Ken opened a ring box to produce his own game piece, the standard issue flat iron, but painted a color nearly like the game board (and his shirt) to increase his chances that another player would be less likely to notice it parked on one of their properties and thus miss collecting rent due them. Any mild repugnance I felt toward a grown man going to this length to win against a nine year old boy was compounded by my realization that the flat iron was probably chosen because it has the lowest profile of any playing piece.

As I struggled to recall the rules of a game I hadn’t played more than twice since childhood, we rolled for highest score to go first. The kid won, and we were off, buying up properties, railroads and utilities as we landed on them. I had a bad streak of luck and had to go to jail twice, keeping my holdings to a minimum.

Ken, the pro, lost no time in offereing the kid a property trade or two, or three for railroads he wanted, reminding me of adults who trade baseball cards with children. The kid resisted with determination admirable for his age. Don Bankhead preferred a game without any deals, at least at this stage, and said so, but Mr. Monopoly Shirt politely and bemusedly declined to restrict himself to a friendly game by the fireside. He was out to win. His game was helped along by Mr. Bankhead neglecting to collect rent several times as various players landed, unnoticed by him, on his properties, as well as by my rusty skills as a land magnate.

The delicious irony of watching Don Bankhead literally playing with Monopoly money two days before the truncation of his twenty four year term on the City Council/Redevelopment Agency that spent funds in much the same way was not lost on me. But I was first to go bankrupt, followed by the kid, who nonetheless displayed impressive skill at the game. After Ken the author’s inevitable win Mr. Bankhead began to helpfully gather up the little green plastic houses and red hotels while Ken was still adding up assets for his score, leading to a new rule about players having to leave the table following their defeat.

After lunch everyone got to play again. Our combined scores from both games would determine which five players would go on to the final round. This time I got my clock cleaned by a perky but serious young Japanese tournament player who used an oversized ceramic netsuke looking version of the Monopoly thimble on the board. You couldn’t write a better script, I thought, until my attention was drawn to the table behind us where Jeff the nine year old and Ken with the Monopoly shirt were the two remaining players. My distaste for the rematch evaporated when I saw that the kid was winning. Ken tried for a bathroom break, but was persuaded by the reigning official that it was not an appropriate action with only about ten minutes remaining. The clock wound down as a crowd gathered around the table to watch the kid finish him off.

Young Jeff didn’t make the finals, but he kept Mr. Monopoly shirt out of it too. Don Bankhead won sixty-five bucks in the fifty-fifty drawing.

We all win some time.


Left to Right, Jesus Silva, Greg Sebourn, Nickolas Wildstar

Matthew Leslie

Fullerton is transitioning from at-large elections to district-based elections this year. Candidates are filing to run for Fulleton City Council in specific, discreet districts, two of which (3 and 5) are up for election in 2018. Candidates are required to live in the district they intend to represent at the time they file for office. The final day to turn in the required signatures for Fullerton City Council was August 10.  Following the submission of signatures by candidates, Fullerton’s City Clerk must certify that the signatures are valid, using the data of the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

The 2018 Fullerton City Council Candidate Filing Log shows that three candidates have qualified to appear on the ballot in November for District 3. I have listed them below in the order they appear on the city’s filing log.

Jesus Silva is an incumbent Fullerton City Council member. He was elected to an at-large seat in 2016, and can continue in that office until 2020. However, since his residence is now in the same district as that of Greg Sebourn, on the council in an at-large seat since 2014, he would not be able to run again until 2022 when that district is again on the ballot. So, Jesus Silva has chosen to run for the District 3 seat, which is sort of a no-fault decision. If he wins, he will occupy that seat through 2022; if he loses, he will be no better or worse off than he is now. If he wins, there should be a special election to fill the remaining term of his at-large seat.*

Mr. Silva’s ballot designation is “City of Fullerton Councilmember / Teacher.”

Greg Sebourn is currently Mayor Pro Tem of Fullertona largely ceremonially title, which, like Mayor in Fullerton, is awarded annually by the council itself, generally on a rotational basis. Greg Sebourn was first elected during the Recall Election of 2012, filling the seat left by successfully recalled Don Bankhead. Mr. Sebourn was re-elected in 2014.

Greg Sebourn’s ballot designation is “Mayor Pro Tem.”

Nickolas Wildstar ran for Governor of California this year, placing 17th in the primary (only the top two candidates advance to the General Election in November), which may explain why his website refers to statewide issues, and the word “Fullerton” does not seem to appear anywhere on it. A July 30 entry on his Facebook page urges voters to make him the “Next Mayor of Anaheim.”

Nickolas Wildstar’s ballot designation is “Recording Artist.”

A fourth prospective candidate, Mohammad Abdel Haq, pulled papers to run on August 9, but did not submit them, and so will not appear on the ballot.

*During a recent public presentation about the new district-based election system, our City Clerk suggested that if Mr. Silva wins the District 3 seat, the City Council might simply choose to appoint Greg Sebourn, who would then be off the council, to fill the remaining two years of Mr. Silva’s at-large seat. Such an action, in the opinion of The Rag, would be undemocratic, to say the least, and should not be taken by the City Council. If this election results in a vacant two year at-large term, a special election should be held to fill it.

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