BY T.C. BORELLI
Groucho Marx once said, “These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.” If Groucho were alive today, you might think he was talking about Mitt Romney.
Or Jane Egly.
Traditionally, when an incumbent council member runs for reelection while serving as Laguna Beach mayor, that council member has a decided advantage over their opponents. Everyone in Laguna Beach politics knows that.
Several weeks ago, I was talking to some political junkies in Laguna Beach. One of them told me a couple of years ago that Jane Egly asked to trade places with Verna Rollinger so Egly instead of Rollinger would become mayor during the next election cycle in 2012. They went on to say Egly promised not to run for another term on the City Council. Later, Egly changed her mind and decided to run for another term on the council as mayor of Laguna Beach.
On the surface, this story seems unbelievable, because both Egly and Rollinger are Democrats. I dismissed the story as a rumor and political gossip. Move on, I thought, nothing here to see. Then the two dyed-in-the-wool Republicans on the city council, Kelly Boyd and Elizabeth Pearson, endorsed the Democrat Egly.
Whoa … what’s going on here?
So I decided to email everyone on the Laguna Beach City Council and ask each member if the Egly-Rollinger story was true. Boyd and Pearson did not respond to my emails. Egly emailed me back three times, each one responding with NO. I asked Egly to elaborate in a follow-up email, but never heard from her again. That was it.
Rollinger, on the other hand, sent me this response: “Two years ago I asked Jane to nominate me for Mayor Pro Tem. If that had happened, I would be Mayor this year. She said she couldn't nominate me because she wanted to be mayor again and this was her last term.”
Toni Iseman emailed back and said: “Jane Egly called me and said she wanted to be Mayor Pro Tem for the 2011 [council term], which would mean she would be in line to be Mayor in 2012. Previously Jane had committed to nominate Verna for Mayor Pro Tem but Jane said she wasn't going to run again and wanted to be Mayor in her final year on the council.”
When I brought the Egly-Rollinger contradiction up to a couple of fawning fans of Egly, both said Egly had a right to change her mind. Well, who could argue with that, right?
There is no doubt Egly has the right to change her mind. But if Egly was a principled representative of the people of Laguna Beach, then once she had changed her mind and decided to run for another term on the city council, she should have resigned as mayor and asked the council to nominate and confirm Verna Rollinger for Mayor of Laguna Beach.
The fact that she did not do the principled thing, well, that makes Egly look like an unprincipled opportunist. And if Egly and Rollinger should both win another term on the city council, the suspicion and undercurrent of animosity between the two will certainly spill over to the rest of the council.
That is something no one in this town wants to see or deserves.