The Agony of the Long-Distance Run

Regardless of what you think of Bruce Nestande as a county supervisor, you should feel a little compassion for him at this moment. He has declared himself a candidate for lieutenant governor, which means that for a year he’ll be sweating out the uncertainty of campaigning. Make that nearly a year and a half, if he wins next June’s Republican primary election.

Nestande has been a politician for a long time, he has been running for office since the ‘60s. He worked for Reagan when the latter was governor in the ‘70s, and he held a seat in the state Assembly until he ran for Orange County supervisor in 1980.

But all that will be a picnic, compared to the kind of a statewide fund-raising and campaigning he will have to do this time. The prolonged anxiety of not knowing whether you will win can take a dreadful toll.

So let’s do him a favor and settle that uncertainty right away. The trouble is that the typical political fortune teller only confuses matters. The political pundit doesn’t really know, he only sounds as if he knows. And polls are virtually useless until just before the election.


So I consulted the Yellow Pages and found “Spiritual Advisor by Diane. Psychic and Palm Advice. Business, Social, Marriage, Family, etc. All Matters of Life.”

I selected Diane for two important reasons: (1) She is located outside of Nestande’s supervisory district, so her spiritual sources presumably would have no conflict of interest, and (2) she was one of the few listed who was willing to do it. “All I can do is try,” she said over the phone.

I entered her storefront on Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa not knowing what to expect. Inside were statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary and saints, lots of flowers, a plastic-covered sofa and a coffee table covered with rows of cards depicting ancient Egyptian figures.

Out came a small, young woman with black, black hair and large, deep brown eyes. We sat on the sofa together.


I told her what I wanted to know. She said that since Nestande had not come in himself, she would have to see things through me. She would only be able to see a little. She would have to probe me first, she said. To do it would require the “full reading,” which costs $50.

“OK,” I said.

She grasped my hands--both right and left, presumably for political balance--and bowed her head. After a few silent moments, she began. Eventually she got around to Nestande.

She said he’s a very strong-minded man, very strong-willed. He has been working toward something for six years, but has failed to achieve it. He secretly considers himself a failure right now, she said. He is still working toward his goal, but it won’t be achieved until next year. “I’m sorry,” she said.


The election is next year, I told her. “Oh,” she said, brightening.

She said two people will be working against him, two very strong people. An old enemy will return, someone with whom Nestande used to work but who will return as an enemy. He must be avoided at all costs. He has salt-and-pepper hair; that was all she could see.

All will be arranged by the end of the summer, she said. You mean fund raising? I asked. She could not be specific.

He has two big decisions to make in the meantime, and should tell no one what he decides. And he must not permit a single doubt to enter his mind for the rest of the year. If he does, all will be lost. If he avoids negative feelings, he will achieve his goal, she said.


I called Nestande with the good news. “That’s interesting,” he said. “That’s interesting. I’m totally relieved.”

But I don’t think he was taking it very seriously. He has not, for example, canceled any of his fund-raisers yet. And he did not offer to speculate on who the powerful opponents and old enemy are.

So I called Stuart Spencer, an Orange County-based political strategist who has managed most of Reagan’s political career and who has strong connections with local politics and Nestande.

“I have no idea” who the opponents and old enemy are, he said. “Probably somebody in the Legislature. That’s where he (Nestande) had most of his battles.


“And I don’t think things will be ‘arranged’ by the end of the summer, either. That’s too soon. We won’t know who’s running for sure until we get close to the filing deadlines. If Mike Curb (the Republican former lieutenant governor) files, he could be very strong.”

See what I mean? Analysis from pros like Spencer is expensive, and only makes you feel more nervous and uncertain. If Nestande will only take my advice, which cost only $50, he will awaken each morning confident that his next term will be spent being driven around Sacramento in a state-owned car.

And if those $50 predictions come true, Spiritual Advisor by Diane will have to open a Newport Center branch just to handle the political business. Regardless of anything else, politicians flock to the people who they think might have the magic touch.

Ask Spencer. “I’ve dealt with candidates who’ve dealt with astrologers,” he said. “It’s not as uncommon as you might think.”