October-December

OCTOBER Huntington Beach city officials and coastal protectors raised glasses on Oct. 2 to announce that televangelist Pat Robertson had dropped his plans to reopen an offshore oil terminal. Praise the Lord, indeed. . . . The Orange County Board of Supervisors abandoned a key opportunity to actually supervise the county on Oct. 6 by voting 3-2 to extend CEO Jan Mittermeier's contract three years. The board did change the "C" in CEO to stand for "County" instead of "Chief," and the Stupes can now torpedo Mittermeier's department-head appointments with a four-fifths vote. But she intimated before the vote that she'd walk if there was any further reduction of her power. "Who the hell is running the county?" Supervisor Todd Spitzer, Mittermeier's most strident board opponent, asked after the vote. "The Board of Supervisors aren't running this county. They're just rubberstamping the staff's recommendations." . . . A federal judge on Oct. 8 denied defeated Congressman Jay Kim's plea to have his probation cut short so that he could host a Larry King-style political talk show in his South Korean homeland. We couldn't help but thank U.S. District Judge Richard A. Paez for this mercy ruling. Paez spared the world this picture: Kim in suspenders, hunched over a desk, shoulders up around his earlobes, eighth wife in the wings, barking into the microphone: "Wonju, you're on with Tina Yothers." Not a pretty sight. . . . To the delight of a mob of protesters-okay, six people with signs-the Anaheim City Council passed an ordinance on Oct. 13 that allowed residents to keep pot-bellied pigs as pets. Approved at the urging of the owner of an oinker named Mu Shu, the ordinance brought "a pig from being an illegal pig to a well-regulated pig," Councilman Tom Tait snorted. So where do you take your pig when it dies: The pet cemetery or the smoker? . . . The Eastern Transportation Corridor, a $1.5 billion toll road that runs the 24 miles from Riverside to the Irvine Spectrum, opened on Oct. 18. Boosters of the road touted the beautiful canyons, passes and views visible from the road, which snakes through Presida, Peters, Blind and Gypsum canyons. Environmentalists feared the toll road would destroy the habitat of California gnatcatchers and chop the land into unsustainable chunks for deer and cougars, which need wide swaths of undeveloped land to survive in the wild. But the worst is likely yet to come: while the corridor is supposedly aimed at relieving traffic on the perpetually snarled 55 freeway, once the Eastern toll road connects with the Foothill toll road extending from the Spectrum to Oceanside, it will only be a matter of time before those virgin landscapes admired from your roadster will be dotted with residential tracts. . . . About 100 placard-carrying protesters-most of them Latino relatives of claimed police-brutality victims and their supporters-demonstrated outside the Santa Ana Police Department on Oct. 22. After marching, the protesters rallied outside the Santa Ana jail, where they were told of fatal police actions around the country. "There needs to be a bridge between law enforcement and the community," David Delgadillo of Anaheim-based United Neighborhoods told the crowd. "There needs to be accountability". . . . Lil' Petey Wilson, who went to great lengths in his final days to ensure he'd be remembered as the meanest governor in California history, told a group of reporters on Oct. 22 that the lawyer who advised Indian tribes to put Proposition 5 on the November ballot "ought to lose his scalp." The remark offended Native American leaders, particularly those who supported the initiative that expanded Indian casino gambling in the Golden State. We obtained a copy of da gov's next speech, where he warned tribal leaders to keep firewater out of their casinos, quit spending big wampum on Prop. 5, and remove slot machines or face having their tepees burned and squaws raped. . . . In a $10 million claim filed on Oct. 23 against the city of Westminster, its police department, the involved officers, Orange County, the Orange County Fire Authority and the involved paramedics, the family of Tuan Thanh Tang alleged their son's drug overdose 13 days earlier was caused by negligence and racial bias. The claim asserted that after paramedics who arrived at Tang's home to treat the 19-year-old consulted with police officers on the scene, they left with their equipment without physically examing him. The claim further alleged that after telling family members to stand outside the house, Tang screamed for help, was hog-tied by officers and thrown face-down into a police car. Nearly an hour and a half after the teen, who was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance, was taken to the Westminster PD detox cell and placed "in restraints," he was found to be suffering a seizure. He arrived unconscious at Huntington Beach Medical Center a half-hour later. His family, who claims this would not have happened if Tang had not been Vietnamese, ultimately had to take him off life support. . . . We were spoon-fed the image of U.S. Senate candidate Matt Fong as a middle-of-the-road Republican. He hated hate crimes! He supported a woman's right to choose (in the first trimester). He had gay family members he hadn't disowned! So the Oct. 25 revelation that Fong donated $50,000 to the Traditional Values Coalition, the ultraright Anaheim group that wants all abortions outlawed, gay rights blocked and biblical creationism taught in public schools, was a bit curious. The Fong campaign's response that coalition chairman Lou Sheldon was a friend of the candidate wasn't exactly reassuring. . . . Among the endless accusations heaped on Steven J. Frogue was the notion that the embattled South Orange County Community College District trustee's words and actions had legitimized hatemongers. In the fall of 1997, Frogue tried to book a seminar at Saddleback College that would have featured the author of a controversial tome that alleged the Israeli government offed President John Kennedy. Some of the longtime OC high school teacher's former students then came forward to allege that Frogue made racist or anti-Semitic remarks in class. Past newspaper articles surfaced in which Frogue advocated a public airing of Holocaust-denying views. And a Frogue fan club populated with individuals tied to anti-Semitic organizations started appearing at-and oddly, videotaping-the same events the trustee attended. So it should not have surprised anyone that hate literature littered two South County public schools on Oct. 28-a week after anti-Semitic e-mails were sent to 400 faculty and staff members at Irvine Valley College. About 500 index-card-sized leaflets featuring a disparaging cartoon of a Jewish man were found on El Toro High School's tennis and basketball courts. Nearly 100 miniature posters ridiculing African-Americans were scattered across Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate School's athletic field and parking lot. A sticker attached to the fliers directed students to the Fallbrook chapter of White Aryan Resistance, which reportedly recruits young skinhead activists. . . . Wait, there's more! Accreditation teams wrapping up three-day visits to Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges on Oct. 29 were reportedly "stunned" by the deep divisions they found between employees and elected officials and warned that the disharmony was eroding service to students. Irvine Valley College, where students organized weekly protests since president Raghu Mathur's 1997 appointment, received the harshest criticism, with the team finding that the district-board-directed obliteration of "shared governance"-in which faculty, staff and community members help administrators and the board shape district policy-was a major cause for concern. Saddleback got off easier, but its accreditation team expressed fear that academic programs and student services could suffer unless people just got along. The teams' not-so-subtle message to the board: stabilize a district that lost administrators like Burt Reynolds shed hair, and keep your collective nose out of the colleges' day-to-day operations. If the colleges want to continue receiving federal aid and having their credits transfer to universities, they must be reaccredited in January 1999.

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