By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
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Will Swaim has chutzpah. What else can describe a writer willing to charge Jean O. Pasco and others with "blatant historical revision" in an article filled with blatant and numerous inaccuracies ("Still Hazy After All These Years: The Regstill ain't talking about its role in the Baugh scandal," April 2)?
Since when, as Swaim's article repeatedly suggests, was I "directly implicated" in Orange County's so-called "biggest political scandal?" My association with Rhonda Carmony (now Rhonda Rohrabacher) does not mean I was directly implicated in anything. First of all, Rhonda, as the story falsely asserts, was not "one of the few Republicans organizing the decoy effort." Laurie Campbell, the so-called decoy candidate, testified that she had never spoken with Rhonda, much less been instructed or advised by her. Furthermore, Campbell testified that the district attorney had pressured her to lie in order to implicate Rhonda. This was the district attorney's star witness.
Swaim also indicated Richard Martin was a "former Rohrabacher aide." Where did he get that? That is pure garbage, probably taken from the pile heaped upon the public by Los Angeles Timeshit man Peter Warren. Like Warren, who has since been taken off the political beat, Swaim repeatedly and intentionally leaves the false impression that Republicans helping Democrats (or vice versa) during an election is illegal. Leaving out that the so-called "decoy" maneuver was perfectly legal is about as dishonest a reporting job as could be done. Swaim followed Warren's example on that.
Finally, Rhonda was not found guilty. The jury was hung even though she had been completely exonerated by the DA's star witness. She ended up pleading out, as happens far too often just to get the damn thing over. The pressure and expense were too much.
Swaim may not notice that the DA's charges against Scott Baugh in this case have been repeatedly thrown out by judges and law-enforcement officials, including California's top law-enforcement officer, who happens to be a Democrat. The judges cited "grave prosecutorial misconduct," and the state attorney general cited bad prosecutorial judgment.
Pasco, as compared to Warren, did a decent job of covering this story. Pasco did not highlight me because-contrary to Swaim's totally unsubstantiated claim-I was not involved. Rhonda was not mentioned because, while she kept a close eye on the situation, she had no role in this legal yet controversial maneuver.
Frankly, Swaim's article, like Mike Capizzi's prosecution, appears to be out to do me harm, and like Capizzi, Swaim didn't let the truth get in the way. Unlike Capizzi, however, I'm sure the OC Weeklywill play fair and print this letter, just like they did my cute little poem (Letters, April 2).
-Dana Rohrabacher, Member of Congress, 45th District
Will Swaim responds: It's no surprise that Rohrabacher regards Pasco's self-censorship as "decent" reporting. Nor is it surprising that he would ignore the uncomfortable fact at the heart of my story: Rhonda Carmony-then Rohrabacher's campaign chief of staff, now his wife-was in the same car as decoy Democrat Laurie Campbell when the election documents were falsified. Pasco, a veteran reporter, knew Carmony was with Campbell at the key moment in the GOP election scheme but puzzlingly left that critical detail out of her articles for three months. Whatever Pasco's loyalties were at the time, they evidently were not to Register readers who expected her to tell the truth.
100 AND STILL KICKING
Cheers to Anthony Pignataro and the OC Weeklyfor El Toro Airport Watch No. 100 (The County, April 2). The series has provided some of our most readable and informative tidbits about the awful El Toro International Airport project.
Our Web site receives complaints from airport communities all over the world about local press that is completely on the side of the developers, the establishment and the political powers that be. It's good to have voices here that speak out against bad government policy.
Keep digging, Anthony. There is dirt out there for many more articles.
-Len Kranser, Editor, El Toro Airport Info Site
Thank you, Anthony Pignataro, for persevering week after week after week, digging up dirt in the filthiest garbage dump in the universe: the domain of the El Toro Airport crazies in the Hall of Administration in Santa Ana. One needs a gas mask to stand the stench.
We in Laguna Woods would be willing to discontinue commercial operations at John Wayne Airport if the tradeoff is no airport at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. We would consider that a small sacrifice of convenience for the certainty of never having another jet land or take off at El Toro. Remove the fear of what will happen at John Wayne Airport when the cap comes off in 2005 for an agreement of no jets at El Toro. No one is buying, but we believe this is a workable compromise. John Wayne Airport would be restricted to general aviation and shuttle flights. If the Safe and Healthy Communities Initiative doesn't resolve the problem, we would like to offer this alternative solution. Any sane person knows that an international airport for the 21st century would never be in a built-up community like that surrounding the air base. It's sheer madness driven by George Argyros-the two most profane words in Laguna Woods. Thank you for your incomparable series of watch columns done with skill, wit and wisdom.
-Dave Blodgett, organizer, Leisure World Residents for Cityhood; founder and president, Leisure World Residents to Save the Canyon; member, Board of Directors, Laguna Canyon Foundation; No. 1 fan of Anthony Pignataro
Loved your 100th column! I always pick up the Weekly to check out what Pignataro has come up with next. Because of this growing interest in your periodical based on his work, I urge you to give him a raise! Nice reporting.
-Richard Bosworth, Laguna Beach
I'm curious about your new "Hey, You!" column (The County). Allowing the OC Weekly to become a forum for people with personal vendettas who are too cowardly to sign their names threatens the credibility of the entire publication. I've always thought you were an important voice in Orange County, exploring issues that were too uncomfortable, too unpopular, or just too off-the-wall for the Register or the Los Angeles Times to touch. Surely you'd like to keep your standards for integrity and professionalism high enough to withstand the scrutiny you apply to other newspapers.
By the way, when was the Poetry Contest announced? I would have liked to enter it.
-Name withheld by request, Lake Forest
The editors respond: No need to enter the contest: we've just named you winner of our first ever Poetic Irony Award.
A LIT FIT
After seeing Rich Kane's so-called "review" of Lit's A Place in the Sun, I must say it's no wonder the OC Weekly is free (CD Reviews, March 26). Why would anyone pay to read a review by a music editor who obviously should be the fashion editor? It appears that Mr. Kane once again devoted his entire column to slamming the appearance and character of a band (who he has obviously never met) instead of reviewing their music (which, by the way, is No. 1 in Billboard and on KROQ).
Thankfully, the rest of the music industry and the public are listening to the music instead of judging the CD for its cover. Shame on you, OC Weekly, and you, too, "Mr." F#?%ing K*^#!!! (nice language for kids to read in a weekly publication). Sign this as from a former reader.
-Sheri Suglia, via e-mail
Has Kane checked the music charts lately? Lit is No. 1 on the modern-rock charts! That's No. 1 in the nation! It's rare when I like every song on an album, which is the case with Lit's A Place in the Sun. These guys got to where they are on the quality of their music and not the number of tattoos they have or the way they dress.
For Kane to say their music "blows" doesn't say much for his credibility as a music reviewer. Maybe he should switch to book reviews, but then I'm sure he would do some quality author an injustice.
It was with amusement that I read R. Scott Moxley's opinion column, "Pilot Error, the Sequel" (The County, March 19). While I agree with most of what Mr. Moxley said, I found him to be guilty of a similar journalistic ethics problem for which he was taking Daily Pilot editor Bill Lobdell to task. My amusement came at your senior editor's hypocrisy.
To wit: before illustrating how the Pilot had doctored letters to the editor, Moxley cited-out of context-a statement I had made but which had nothing to do with his article. His statement was not only irrelevant to his argument, but also misleading. He said, "Contrary to the Pilot account, however, it was only Crawford who had bizarrely referenced the 'espionage world' and effectively proclaimed Angela Newman's 11th-grade class a national threat." It is true that I believe multiculturalism and its E pluribus pluribum philosophy to be a threat to our social fabric. However, it is cognitive dissonance, not multiculturalism, that is a product of the espionage world. Moxley never mentioned cognitive dissonance, leading the reader to infer that I believe multiculturalism to be tied to the world of espionage.
I "bizarrely" referenced the espionage world to illustrate the potency of cognitive dissonance. It creates an agitated state of mind wherein one can more easily be shaken loose from his values' underpinnings. This renders the individual more susceptible to opinion molding or brainwashing.
In Lisa Richardson's Los Angeles Times article "History Takes a Multihued Turn for Newport Students" (Feb. 22), one can see how Newman's detraction of our leaders and heritage led to internal turmoil among some of her students. She had created a state of cognitive dissonance in their minds. This impact was the basis for my statement, which Moxley failed to connect.
As to whether George Grupe's reputation has been sullied by linkage to me in the Pilot, I can attest that he and I appeared at the board meeting independently of each other. We had not coordinated before the meeting. He spoke in reference to the vapid texts used in our schools while I spoke of the social problems with multiculturalism and its relativism. The sole link between us is that the texts he detests have been written by the revisionists and multiculturalists I abhor.
-Bruce Crawford, Fountain Valley
R. Scott Moxley responds: The perplexing details of Mr. Crawford's theories were tangential to my article on how the Pilot doctored letters to the editor but were amply and accurately quoted-including his rant tying the black teacher to cognitive dissonance and the espionage world-in the previous week's story "Pilot Error?" Both stories can be found on our Web site (www.ocweekly.com).