A New Fantasy League: Trading Public Officials
The trading deadline for Major League Baseball ended Monday with a flurry of deals. What a life ballplayers have: Play your little heart out and give 110% for your team on Monday and then be swapped to a different one on Tuesday. Thanks for everything, and it’s been nice knowing you.
For baseball fans, it’s an exciting time of the season. We all want our favorite team to improve, and if that means trading a shortstop we’ve come to know and love for a pitcher we’ve just got to have ... well, so be it.
Or, sometimes, we just want to look at some new faces.
If trading baseball players keeps life exciting, imagine how much fun it’d be to trade public figures.
Some Capistrano Unified School District residents would have gladly traded Supt. James Fleming anytime in the last couple of years. Fleming recently announced his retirement, but he still has some gas left in the tank. What if Capo worked out a deal with Los Angeles to get a new superintendent -- someone with no South County baggage but who’s clearly interested in running a school system?
Someone, for instance, like Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Of course, that would leave L.A. without a mayor, so Capo residents would have to sweeten the deal. I’m thinking of Mayor Lance Mac-
Lean of Mission Viejo. Bright guy, known to speak his mind and not someone you want to trade, but you’ve got to give something to get something. So the deal would be Villaraigosa for MacLean and Fleming. I like it.
L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca might be trade bait these days, especially if the Mel Gibson situation blows up on him. Even a mini-scandal -- like giving favorable treatment to a movie star -- reduces a public official’s value, but plenty of Orange County residents might be interested in a straight-sheriff swap.
Mike Carona has his own potential problems here, and a change of scenery might do him good. This could be the classic baseball trade that “helps both teams.”
I see only one potential deal-breaker: When Carona had personal security protecting him at public events, his code name was “Braveheart.” Unfortunately, that’s a rather well-known movie by you-know-who. The connection might be enough to sour the deal; if so, I propose that Orange County throw in some “extras.”
For example, the outlines of a deal could be: Sheriff Baca for Sheriff Carona, three squad cars and a helicopter.
I know for a fact Anaheim would love to trade Angels owner Arte Moreno, who changed the team’s name from Anaheim Angels to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. But this is a situation where the city must not let its emotions rule. Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle would swap Moreno for a resin bag, but he has to realize that Moreno has been a strong owner and could command a quality owner in return.
Los Angeles would be the obvious landing spot for Moreno, but I wouldn’t take Dodgers owner Frank McCourt for him -- not straight up. My sense is that Angelenos would take a Moreno-for-McCourt deal in a heartbeat, so Anaheim should up the ante.
If I were Anaheim, I’d ask for McCourt (and his wife, Jamie) and insist on throwing in TV weatherman Dallas Raines.
I wouldn’t make that trade, but Pringle would.
If only life could be this easy. Imagine what Orange County could have gotten on the open market in the early 1990s for Bob Dornan, our rambunctious conservative congressman with the great quotes.
Or, what might have happened if we’d traded locally renowned Treasurer Robert Citron before his investing strategies led Orange County to bankruptcy in 1994.
Truth is, Orange County isn’t exactly overflowing with gaudy characters in public office these days. The Board of Supervisors, for example, sports a fairly solid but uninspiring lineup.
So, if you were looking to shake up the Orange County roster, the inclination would be to add some flamboyance.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a real pistol down here.
Maybe some other board of supervisors could use a dependable hand -- someone like a Bill Campbell, for instance. Doesn’t fly off the handle, gets the job done. Not a headline-grabber, sorry to say.
Say, I wonder what Los Angeles would take for a Mike Antonovich or a Gloria Molina?
Dana Parsons’ column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He can be reached at (714) 966-7821 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. An archive of his recent columns is at www.latimes.com/parsons.