Ho Chi Minh

Ex-leader, Communist Party of Vietnam

These days, Ho can't even buy a cup of coffee in Little Saigon. Why? Because he's dead.

Stephen Burgard

Editorial-page editor, Times Orange County

As the top opinion writer at the Orange County bureau of the Los Angeles Times, you'd think Stephen Burgard would have, well, opinions. It's not that Burgard doesn't necessarily have views; it's just that in a county where there's so much to bitch about (corruption, overdevelopment, official mismanagement and boneheadedness), his editorials are routinely timid and inconsequential. That Loretta Sanchez had been in office for nearly two years before the Times OC editorialized against the congressional campaigns of certifiable fiend Bob Dornan symbolizes the paper's Prozac-fueled editorial operation. Another major gaffe? The paper came out in favor of the county's risky multibillion-dollar investment strategy only months before the county's $1.64 billion financial collapse. A genuinely personable and bright man if prone to favor the establishment, Burgard sees himself as a defender of the county's silent majority, who—he says—hold "middle-of-the-road" opinions. The formula for a Burgard editorial is to appear unbiased, rehash the views of opposing sides of an issue, and then conclude with a lame plea, like this one in a June 3, 1994, editorial: "Can we all get along?" (Answer: no. Sometimes it's important to stand and fight for a cause without selling out.) While the schizophrenic Orange County Register op-ed page (which flip-flops between libertarianism and right-wing Republicanism) energetically hammers away at most public topics, the supposedly liberal Times OC apparently fears alienating subscribers in the dailies' circulation war. Such anxiety may help explain why Burgard's section is infamous for shying away from controversy. Here's a taste of Burgard's trailblazing takes on local issues: Toll-road accidents? "Drivers need to be safe, and animals must be kept off the road for their own sake." Toll-road speeding? "Drivers have a responsibility to handle their vehicles prudently." A miniriot at Knott's Berry Farm? "Knott's should plan better in the future . . . so it can keep being known for its fried chicken and thrilling rides." Scott Baugh's election scandal? "Signing papers without reading them is never a good idea." Swimming-pool safety? "Vigilance is the key." County elections? "Voters . . . have a responsibility as individuals in a democracy to make informed judgments on their own." Ethnic disputes in Santa Ana? "The art of getting along must be learned as soon as possible." Police policy on rebellious South County youth? "Zero tolerance makes sense. . . . An ounce of prevention goes a long way." School anti-drug policies? "Zero tolerance is too rigid. . . . Common sense should rule." Deterring suburban crime? "Common sense should rule."

Christina Shea

Mayor of Irvine

Irvine has a reputation as a stuck-up, spoiled-rotten, cafť-latte-drinking, precocious, child-bearing, gated upper-middle-class college Twinkie town. It's no wonder. It's got a dumb blond cheerleader for a mayor. If you don't believe me, listen to this. Mayor Christina Shea's lame brainchild, the Irvine Romance Task Force, recently reported back to her with a list of proposals to pump up her city's romantic allure. Yes, you heard me right: Irvine has an official governmental organization that amounts to a chamber of amorous commerce. What kind of pathetic bathetic lifestyle is Shea leading to give rise to this Danielle Steele-esque socialism? What's next on the agenda? State-sponsored fucking? When Shea tweaked her cutie cheeks, inflated her pompons and established the Romance Task Force, she revealed just how utterly powerless she is in matters of love.

Jennifer Mazur

Artist

To hear Laguna Beach's Jennifer Mazur tell it, she is the victim of the worst injustice since police officers beat Rodney King. Mazur is an artist. Her specialty: handmade plush toys, which she has sold at Laguna's funky Sawdust Festival for eight years. Just before this year's show, she signed a licensing agreement with a toy company, which now pays Mazur royalties and has her creations made overseas. Mazur claims there is a clause in her licensing agreement that allows her to continue making handmade toys exclusively for Sawdust, and that after meeting some minor conditions, the festival's board was fine with her continued exhibitions there. But when Mazur returned from a Hawaiian vacation earlier this summer, she found her art had been removed from her booth; the booth had been repainted for a new occupant. Attempts to maintain artistic integrity at a festival dedicated to wind socks, blown glass and chips-and-salsa trays is laughable enough. But what's really comic is Mazur's response to her ouster. She has organized a boycott of board members' booths, had her husband pitch the eviction as a major investigative piece for the Weekly, and dedicated at least 31 pages on her Web site (www.funnyfriends.com) to the sordid mess. "I was raped," she says.

Mike Mudd

Cultural Services director, Huntington Beach

The Huntington Beach Cultural Services czar has made a deal with the devil that would make Faust snigger! Gay himself, he allied himself with crotchety old people who thought the Huntington Beach Art Center was too gay-friendly and raunchy and ousted from the center the people responsible for getting it positive notices from such hallowed entities as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. In exchange, his breathtakingly successful coup d'etat will mean more watercolor and "community-oriented" shows—and absolutely no respect from anyone. Shouts of hosanna are being heard everywhere that such shining stupidity is happening in someone else's brainpan.

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