Opinion

Free speech, more beer, less Dana?

LEISURETOWN, a proposed brewery-centered development for Anaheim (Studio One Eleven).

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

– William Faulkner

How much the past can still influence the present was on display at the most recent meeting of the Westminster City Council.

The events of two generations ago still hang heavy over the politics of Westminster and – to a lesser extent – Garden Grove.

Several council members expressed their concern about a speaker – unnamed – on Oct. 18 at an event who “upset” people by … well, what was said was never specified.

But whatever it was, it led to a big police response and resulted in council members asking the city attorney to come up with an ordinance that would curb such concerns.

What often leads to a big public uproar in Westminster – which has the largest concentrations of Vietnamese in the U.S. – is the issue of communism. Anyone who speaks kindly of communism, or is accused of it, finds himself subject to all kinds of heck, in which ostracism and anger are commonplace.

City Attorney Richard Jones spoke carefully of how he would try to craft a law that would balance First Amendment rights with, well, the desire of city council members to comfort their constituents.

That will not be simple. Even in these uneasy times, America is still a land of free speech. The Constitution guarantees your right to express yourself – within exceptionally broad limits – on just about any topic, even if you’re dumb as a barrel of hair.

The understandable unpopularity of communism to a community of people who fled from communist oppression and violence can’t be erected into law. Any ordinance that seems to have as its mission the suppression of opinion – even hateful opinion – will die fast and quiet in any federal court.

We don’t envy Mr. Jones his task.  And we don’t envy the refugees who came here at great risk to escape Marxism at its bloodiest. Painful memories die hard, or not at all.  Someday it will not be politically useful to ask for such an ordinance. Someday, but not soon.

Something brewing in Anaheim

If the under-construction SteelCraft project in Garden Grove and the Cottage Industries project planned for the Big Strawberry had a love child, it look might very much like Leisuretown.

BEERS busting out in Anaheim (Tembela Bohle/Pexels).

That’s a recently announced project for Anaheim Boulevard promoted by Shaheen Sadeghi, the innovative developer behind the Packing House Food Hall in Anaheim and a variety of trendy projects in Costa Mesa.

He’s also the fella behind the Cottage Industries plan approved for the area east of Euclid Street and north of Garden Grove Boulevard which aims to convert older homes into wine bars, art galleries and other uses to the goal of expanding GG’s downtown.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Leisuretown will include a brewery, a tasting room, a vegan restaurant, shops and more. It looks a lot like SteelCraft because the architectural design of both is done by Studio One Eleven.

L-Town is said to be part of Anaheim’s idea of turning that city into a brewing hub, much like the Central Coast is famous for its wineries.

If Anaheim becomes the hub, does Garden Grove get to be one of the spokes? One can only hope.

Polls, trolls and scolds.

As we approach the Nov. 6 mid-term elections, a lot of attention is being placed on the 48th Congressional District, centered in Huntington Beach.

Dana Rohrabacher, a conservative Republican who has been in Congress for 30 years, appears to be in a tough struggle with Democratic challenger Harley Rouda.

With less than a week to go, Five Thirty Eight – the respected polling firm that’s nevertheless dead wrong sometimes – is predicting that Rouda has a 64.6 percent chance of winning.

Or not. 538 gives you three models: the simplest (just polling) gives the incumbent a 61.5 percent change of prevailing.

The “classic” mode (including fund-raising and other factors) has Rouda up, as does the “Deluxe” which factors in the opinion of “experts.”

So who’s really ahead? Difficult to know. These guys seem to lean heavily that Dana will get run down by Harley (sorry for the pun), but these are the same folks who predicted that Hillary would cruise past The Donald two years ago.

Usually Reliable Sources appears on alternate Wednesdays.

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