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  • Writer's pictureGabriel San Roman

Slingshot: OC Clergy Gather to Bless the Vote!

The Honda Center opened on Friday as Orange County's first ever vote center supersite. All registered voters in OC can stop by the arena in Anaheim for pretty much all their election needs through November 3. Ballots can be cast either in-person or by drive-thru at an official drop box.

Whatever the preferred method or candidates, a group of interfaith OC clergy gathered at the Honda Center on Friday to bless the vote.

Organized by Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, the faith leaders offered a commitment to affirm every person's right to vote in a general election that has many on edge. Ahead of the blessing, 770,000 voters in OC have already cast their ballots, a figure that blows away pre-pandemic election cycles.

Whatever the outcome, it promises to be an Election Day unlike any other, especially with fears of voter suppression, Proud Boy poll guards, contested results and post-election violence running rampant. The chaos is already here. Over the weekend, a Biden bus was harassed by Trump trucks in Texas and a pro-Trump rally in Beverly Hills turned violent.

"We ask for transforming power on any who would sow fear or hatred, who would impede voting or the complete vote counting or the proper and just certifying of election results," said Pastor Terry LePage of Brea Congregational United Church of Christ, in prayer. "May their hearts be changed as their efforts are stopped nonviolently."

She offered blessings for all OC vote center staff from behind a big bilingual banner that read "every vote is sacred, cada voto es sagrado."

Akbar Hussaini, the director of the Newport Mesa Irvine Interfaith Council, offered more thoughts on the impending election from the perspective of a Muslim.

"The principals of democracy are not new to Islam nor to knowledgeable Muslims," said Hussaini. "More than 1,400 years ago Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, founded a new state of Medina on principles similar to that upon which this nation was founded."

Hussaini described Medina under Muhammad as a state that renounced monarchy and dynastic rule, that governed by a constitution which respected the rights of diverse religions under one God.

Turning back to the election before us, Hussaini ended with a prayer. "Dear God, you are the perfect peace," he said. "Please bless our lands with peace, tranquility and prosperity at all times."

More than just ballot blessers, the clergy pledged to be defenders of democracy following the general election. To that end, they led a nonviolent training in preparing for whatever may come in the weeks and months that lie ahead.

But first, Rabbi Marcia Tilchin of the Jewish Collaborative of Orange County, reminded everyone of the words of late Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a leading theologian who joined the ranks of the civil rights movement.

"The opposite of good is not evil; the opposite of good is indifference," said Heschel. "In a free society some are guilty, but all are responsible."

Voting is a quick but vital civic duty. It reshapes the landscape of political organizing that should consume every tick and tock of the clock before and after the ballot.

"In every generation, brave souls have put their lives on the line for a new understanding of freedom," said Tilchin. "If we've learned anything in the last four years, it is that it could be your vote that will tip the scales of decisions great and small."


- Gabriel San Román

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Your Mouse Muckraker / Photo by Federico Medina

Mouse Muckraker

By now, everyone knows that Downtown Disney is extending into Buena Vista Street this month. California Adventure restaurants and retail shops along that stretch will open up to the Disney deprived masses (limited capacity, of course!). Even with staples like Carthay Circle coming back, much of the Mouse House's iconic foods will still be off-limits. For one, Adventureland and its Dole Whips remain out-of-reach. Even Trader Sam's at the Disneyland Hotel isn't available to satisfy boozy Dole Whip cravings outside the park. Back in April, Disney released the recipe for the tropical treat so people could make it at home. But if those efforts have proven messy, don't despair; there's Glee's Donuts and Burgers in Anaheim! When Glee's first opened where Tom's Tacos used to be, the breakfast and lunch spot hoisted a big banner advertising Dole Whips. I never bothered trying them, even if Glee's got much press attention from the OC Register for their breakfast burritos and burgers. Now, with the Mouse House closed, I decided to give Glee's a chance. I called ahead first. Dole Whips don't appear on the online menu, but are still available. A kind lady greeted me at Glee's behind a sturdy plexiglass window. Due to Covid, only a few patrons are allowed inside at a time. Glee's offers both Dole Whips and Dole Whip floats. The latter has the swirl atop a pineapple slushy that's a bit too bitter. But the Dole Whip itself? Divine!

Glee's has perfected the texture and taste of famed Disney dessert. All that's missing is the warmth of the torches outside the Tiki Room. The next time those Mouse House cravings come calling, Glee's gotcha covered as far as Dole Whips are concerned!

Glee's Donuts and Burgers, 3024 West Ball Rd, Suite E, Anaheim. Each Dole Whip goes for $5; the floats are $7.50.

By the Byline

This Friday, stay tuned for another edition of my monthly "Off the Page" column for LibroMobile!

But in the meantime, you can catch me alongside Los Angeles Times columnist and former OC Weekly Mexican-in-Chief Gustavo Arellano on "A Slice of Orange." Jodi Balma, an awesome Fullerton College poli sci professor, invited us both on her podcast to dish on the scariest politicians of Orange County in 2020, the scariest year this century!

I reprise favorites from my recent OC Gallery of Ghouls newsletters, a tribute to the late OC Weekly's annual "Scariest People" issue.

Gustavo and I also take time to discuss something scarier: the death of local journalism in OC, particularly of the rude, muckraking variety!

Well, almost dead. Head over to Gustavo Arellano's Weekly to check out his latest newsletter, a compendium of a week's worth of original stories, including my history piece on Ole Hanson, the founder of San Clemente!

Lead photo: Rev. Jason Cook of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Fullerton Blesses the Ballot / Photo courtesy CLUE

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