Already, shows like "At the Threshold of the Visible"—described by one viewer as the exhibit of the decade—have opted to take themselves elsewhere, like to the Laguna Art Museum, which received kudos from all over for snagging curator Tyler Stallings, whom Mudd had squeezed out in a frenzy of incredibly self-serving power madness. Isn't it ironic, then, that Mudd's newfound power means next to nothing? Rather than heading up a celebrated community art center, he stands strong and alone at the top of what may as well be a Thomas Kinkade gallery, except without all the success. For Michael Mudd, it must be lonely at the top.

Pat Bates

State Assembly Member, 73rd District, Laguna Niguel

When Pat Bates was elected to the state Assembly in November 1998, South County was alive with hope and anticipation. Bates is bright, energetic and says she is committed to the defeat of the El Toro International Airport. Soon after being sworn-in, Bates proposed two bills that would have put the brakes on the airport machinery. But those proposals have been—as they say in the parlance of collateral damage—"sidelined." Why? Bates is a Republican. After years of Democrat-bashing by members of her party in South County, the now-Democrat-controlled Assembly and Democrat Governor Gray Davis are paying back South County in kind. Bates is powerless. As far as the airport is concerned, she's in the wrong party at the wrong time.

Will Lopez

AM/PM counter guy, Costa Mesa

"If I were in charge, I'd kick out all the Mexican gangs and have them deported as they get arrested."


Kid who lives next door

Michael has changed. Last year, he couldn't sit still. He was a crazy, wide-eyed, mischievous 9-year-old, talking incessantly, leaping around the neighborhood, and astutely finding ways to do what his teachers said he couldn't. But instead of seeing a bloom, his parents saw a bug. They paid a Newport Beach shrink to calm Michael down. The bug was called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The medication was Ritalin. Now Michael has no complaints. He's placid. Serene. Dull. The doctor is richer, and the parents have peace of mind. Michael's power is gone, and the world is short one more creative genius.


Whatever I can find

Talk about powerless. My friend won't return my calls. The box boy made fun of my hair. I can't even get the dog next door to shut up.

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