by Alfred McGuire, Sun Jul 23, 2006 at 02:55:19 PM EDT
I have previously written about Orange County, California. ( See "Do Not Come to Southern California--" blogger.com- Search: theopendimension) It is probably one of the most right-wing counties in the nation. If Messrs. Bush and Cheney were to choose a model for what they planned the entire country to become, this would no doubt be it. And actually the model seems to be rapidly becoming the reality nationwide, from what I can gather from contacts around the country. In this "consumer" society the mercantile class, dutifully served by right -wing politicians and judges, is attaining virtual absolute power.
What is particularly disturbing to me, having practiced law during the 70s and early 80s, is the gross deterioration of the legal system. It no longer even pretends to serve the people. In Orange County, for example, you learn fast enough that if you have a claim against a landlord, a service corporation or the medical industry you don't even bother going into the county courts. The law in Orange County is that if you have a claim of up to $3000 and the court decides against you, you can't appeal to the next higher court. But the defendant you're suing can appeal. And the defendant, usually a merchant of some kind, of course hardly ever loses. Has the constitution been repealed? Landlords in south Orange County routinely take a substantial part of a vacating tenant's security money to prepare the apartment for the incoming tenant. This is clearly illegal unless the vacating tenant has damaged the apartment. Yet landlords do it all the time because they know they can get away with it. I know of one case where the tenant contacted the Orange- County "Fair Housing" bureau to complain about this kind of theft of security monies by a landlord and was advised: " If that's the landlord's policy we can't help you." Whoever has the most money in his pocket wins. That's the law in right-wing Orange County. And that's what the entire country is or will soon be under right-wing mercantile authoritarianism, our new political philosophy. God help us.
Oh, and if you get a traffic ticket in Orange County don't bother pleading not guilty. If you get a ticket here and decide to plead not guilty you have to send the assessed amount of the fine in to the court along with your not-guilty plea. They don't call it a fine; they call it "bail." What do you think your chances are of getting it back? Again the public just surrenders and takes it on the chin. "Bail" for having a defective tail light? Yes, Ralph, and don't protest about it or we'll book you as a "disorderly person." ( They often like to call you by your first name. It makes you feel like a nine-year-old recalcitrant child )That's Orange County. The Model.