Do you know what I’m talking about?

It’s an expression that refers to someone holding an unquestioned belief, argument or philosophy that was a change from their former beliefs, that occurred after joining a group and being influenced by peer pressure.

It came to the common lexicon courtesy of Rev. Jim Jones and his pre-Thanksgiving party in Guyana on Nov. 18, 1978. That’s black humor. Not actually a party. A real party serves more than only Kool-Aid to put some life in it. Oops, gotta stop that.

Jones was one of the most horrific mass murderers in history. Go find an account of it, it’s fascinating and completely chilling. Hard to believe.

When he convinced his cult of followers to commit mass suicide (and a few murders thrown in for good measure — including a U.S. Congressman), and parents to kill more than 300 of their children, it was the largest single loss of American civilian life in a deliberate act until September 11, 2001.

But Kool-Aid got a bum rap, that they’ll probably never get rid of. Or maybe in the world of marketing, keeping your name before the public in any way is a good thing. Name recognition.

Kool-Aid was originally spelled Kool-Ade in 1927, lost popularity during WWII because there was no tons o’sugar to add, but recovered big time post-war and was ubiquitous in commercials, ads and every American kitchen with a kid attached by the time the ‘50s rolled around. It cost a nickel a packet. Really. Plus whatever two truckloads of sugar cost. Kool-Aid was just a small package of flavor crystals and you had to do the mixing, water and sugar, yum. Which is why moms loved to throw the kids a packet and go take a nap, clean the kitchen up later. Everybody, everybody, drank Kool-Aid. Its popularity continued into the ‘70s but started waning by the end of the more health-conscious ‘80s.


Even though that’s what Rev. Jones used a tub of to mix with his cyanide and tranquilizers cocktail for the congregation, we don’t today say, looks like he drank the Flavor Aid! But that’s what a big deal Kool-Aid was. Even it’s lower-priced competitor (lower than five cents?!) got called by the big guy’s name. When you look at a tub of ice and soft drinks at a party you probably say, pass me a Coke, right?

Jones had millions in the bank even before he started draining his followers’ bank accounts. And yet he went with the cheaper Flavor Aid (which now costs a whopping 15 cents a packet). I guess that’s how the rich keep their money. Not even the not-so-good reverend reminded himself that you can’t take it with you. Come on, big guy, it’s their last shot, give ‘em the good stuff.

So, here we are today, and we say, they’re drinking the Kool-Aid. Specifically, in Santa Monica, it is almost always used in reference to our City Council.

Who’s drinking it? I would estimate, oh, maybe, let’s see, let’s say — six out of seven. Yes, I give Sue Himmelrich a pass, for now (Sue! put it down! no sips!), which acknowledgment will probably make her even more isolated and ineffective on this Council that needs to be voted out starting this November.


Before I got carried away on slow boats of snarkiness, was to note how anyone who is awarded the mayor’s gavel seems to delight in lifting the veil on their disdain for their constituents who dare to speak in their august chambers against their chosen predilections. It also comes out sometimes in comments from other Council members.

It’s really shameful and so telling but it seems they don’t care, because, well, we’re not the ones who put them and keep them in office, are we? Kevin McKeown and Pam O’Connor in the center seat were really bad too (not all the time of course), Tony Vasquez not so much in his brief turn with the title.

But now, if you’ll excuse me, the Presidential Helicopter of the oh-so-Presidential President of the United Snakes Donald J. tRump is landing now at our doomed airport (hope he doesn’t get caught in a Stormy and slide off the short runway!), and I must journey there to give him the kind of Santa Monica welcome he deserves, even though he’s just taking a shortcut to Beverly Hills and won’t even know he was here. But I know.

On a positive note, we finally have a new Police Chief (well, that didn’t take long, did it?), our second female in a row. I salute! We’re behind you, Chief! (Hiding…) But I hope and trust that Cynthia Renaud, 20 years in Long Beach but coming at us from Folsom, where most of the bad guys are already locked up, knows full well what she’s getting into, and has some answers, to our many serious problems that she didn’t create.

CORRECTION WITH APOLOGY: Last week I wrote: “Attorney (for the district voting lawsuit) Kevin Shenkman told me that his deposition of (Maria) Leon-Vazquez is being fought by the City’s lawyers, (who) filed a motion for protection order but the discovery referee, same judge, threw it out.” Hasn’t been decided. He said he expected it to be thrown out, and I misunderstood.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Can we try the entire Republican Party in Washington for treason? No collusion here, folks, and let’s stop this “investigation” now so we don’t mess up and stumble across some, despite all our efforts to the contrary. Russia’s just fine, let’s just get along, okay? Better do it quick before the treason trials have to be conducted in Russian.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.” — Donald Trump


Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 32 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at