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Send in the Clowns

The good news is the Tustin City Council will furnish me with four more years of free material to keep you entertained with.

The bad news is, of course, that “Team Tustin” appears to have won all three council seats up for grabs in Tuesday’s election. Without counting Nielsen who, as an incumbent was almost assured re-election, there were less than 600 votes separating the candidates. So, the “team” can hardly declare it a landslide victory. In fact the consensus is, had there been another candidate running to siphon votes from the three, at least Tracy Worley-Hagen would have seen victory.

With what looks to be a supermajority on the council, I expect businesses to be lining up to line their pockets with crony-cash from the city coffers. The folks in Old Town better shutter their windows and lock their doors. Our only hope is that former mayor Chuck Puckett will hold true to his promise to the community that he will do what is right for Tustin. If his recent comment, joining the podiatrist councilmember in calling for term limits on TUSD members is any indication however, I have a feeling the community is in for a rough ride for the next two years.

Team Tustin ran a particularly nasty campaign while working vigorously to keep the dirt off their backs. While Nielsen claimed to run an “honest” campaign, eight hit pieces reached Tustin voters making vast exaggerations and outright lies against both Tracy Worley-Hagen and David Waldram. All of the hit pieces were tied directly to Nielsen, Puckett and their podiatrist, Allan Bernstein through their campaign accountant in south Orange County. Following a convoluted money trail, we traced the money from a shell organization known as Tustin Residents United to various business lobbyists and the Orange County Firefighters Association. I guess you have to give something for a new fire station.

For Worley-Waldram’s part, they ran a completely clean campaign with two mailers that extolled their experience and their platform of ensuring a balanced budget, ending the strife between the city and the school district and restoring civility to the city council dais. “We ran a positive campaign and our supporters did a great job”, said Tracy Worley-Hagen. She said the numbers speak for themselves and the race was a close one. We agree.

One would think with Jerry Amante gone, things would return to some semblance of normalcy. Unfortunately, Hizzoner has been grooming his hand-selected lacky, Allan Bernstein, who appears to be cut from the same cloth. We hear he has a temper problem. I wonder if he has learned to yell at his wife on the front lawn like his neighbor? And, of course, John will most certainly still have Jerry’s hand up his backside to help him speak. At least they won’t have to worry about whether Jerry is drinking water at the same time, now. And, John won’t have to keep getting Al’s attention anymore as he will have Chuck and their podiatrist to keep the quorum.

Good luck, Tustin, we’re going to need it.