Inside Oceansie: Our share of the civic punch bowl

OK, so we know civic employees can do bad things.

Oceanside is no city of Bell, but we have had our share of unsavory objects floating in the civic punch bowl over the years.

Remember the employee who 25 years ago or so was caught skimming off the top from parking meter receipts?

Then there was the department head that awarded more than $400,000 in contracts to a caterer who had no clue about the “consulting” traffic work she was getting paid for.

The department head, the “consultant” and the ripoff meter maid have all thankfully gone away. We move on.

But apparently Oceanside’s congressman has a different idea about how to handle underlings who show moral malfeasance.

That would be Darrell Issa who has rehired someone his office said exhibited “highly inappropriate” conduct when he was fired in 2011.

Issa fired press aide Kurt Bardella after he forwarded emails between him and reporters directly to someone who was writing a book about corrupt workings in Washington, D.C.

(Bardella, an Escondido native, subsequently got a whole chapter in the book titled “This Town.”)

But now Issa seems to think Bardella is not so sleazy after all. Bardella has been rehired to do work for the committee Issa chairs, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Issa is the highly publicized hatchet man who regularly uses his chairmanship to rabidly attack Obama and Hillary for bad behavior. Yet he has apparently given his besmirched ex-employee a “never mind” free pass.

This all came up recently because Issa is about to speak before a well-connected GOP political group in New Hampshire. The Politico website explained how this group is famous for hosting presidential aspirants who often go on to run in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

Nobody is seriously saying Issa has presidential mettle. But he clearly looks to move up the political food chain. He ran for U.S. senate in 1998 and then paid $10-million to fund Governor Davis’s recall with an assumption he could then run for governor. (Schwarzenegger’s arrival as a candidate killed Issa’s hopes to rescue the Golden State from Gray Davis).

But what if Issa is positioning himself for Vice President? California has provided Vice Presidential candidates before. Senator Richard Nixon in 1960. Governor Earl Warren in 1948.

Could Issa be traveling to New England just to keep his name in circulation with knowledge he could become a vice presidential candidate?

Here’s why Issa would be the GOPs 2016 VP candidate: He’s telegenic, he has national name recognition, he would be a good right-wing balance to a moderate like Chris Christie, and he could be the effective flame thrower while the GOP presidential hopeful could be the likable, stable adult.

Some say Romney needed a grenade launcher as a running mate but he suffered because he didn’t get it with Paul Ryan.

Here’s why Congressman Issa (R-Vista) would not be the 2016 GOP Vice Presidential nominee: he’s from California, a state he could never deliver in the general election.

Being the second richest congressman in D.C. could both help and hurt Mr. Issa. But the fact is, our local congressman clearly has become California’s most prominent national politician.

The fact that he could surely never be elected governor or senator in this ultra democratic state fuels the speculation that this most ambitious republican would love to at least be considered as a presidential player.

Kilts R Us

The value of having attractive young women wear kilts has not escaped the owners of the soon-to-open Murphy’s Law Irish Pub and Ale House.

The Tilted Kilt bar and restaurants in Temecula and Mission Valley are known for hotties serving beer and chicken wings in plaid, kilt-like skirts.

The Murphy’s Law owners say they are hoping to hire some 40 employees to the new bar and restaurant on Coast Highway when they open next month.

And the female servers will be wearing kilts.

If you are Scotch or Irish, you may wince at the cultural inaccuracy. Kilts are Scottish not Irish. But Murphy’s Law Irish Pub will probably never be graded for its cultural purity.

Down a few blocks and around the corner, many longtime locals will recall that the furniture store now known as CMC Furniture is located in a historic building that used to be home to the Blade-Tribune newspaper. That’s where our daily paper was based until it moved to South Oceanside in the late ‘60s.

For a period in the early ‘70s, the place was a clothing store called Brims For Bros, which sold ostentatious clothes that were glamorized in the so-called “blacksploitation” films of the time.

Then in the mid ‘70s the place was a bar known as the Sugar Shack, which hosted live bands.

Its address is 401 Seagaze Dr. (formerly First Avenue).

Oceanside born and raised, Ken Leighton is an Oceanside business owner. He may be reached at oogumboogum@earthlink.net

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