Orange Countys 31 Scariest People

In January, Wally Kreutzen was named chief executive officer of the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA). He replaced 70-year-old William Woollett and was Woollett's financial wizard since 1989, during which time mammoth cost overruns plagued the toll roads (the cost for the San Joaquin Hills road alone went from $350 million to $1.5 billion). At the time of his selection as the new CEO, he told the TCA's board of directors, "I am looking forward to the construction of the Foothill-South project and leading the agencies into the future." Kreutzen says the 16-mile Foothill-South is his main priority—that's the toll road that would slice through either downtown San Clemente or San Onofre State Park while doing little to reduce traffic congestion anywhere. The park route is the TCA's preference and would bridge the San Mateo Creek—the last remaining pristine river mouth in Southern California. MITIGATING FACTOR: The overruns and chaos of past projects also infect the Foothill-South, forcing the TCA to push back construction from 2001 to late 2003 at the earliest.

21. MARK McGRATH

Mark McGrath is frightening not simply because he fronts up Sugar Ray—which, as the most embarrassingly contrived bit of aural foofery to emerge from OC since Stacey Q, is scary enough by itself. But what alternately spooks and fascinates us is how perfectly content this überdude is with being a walking rock cliché and a music-industry puppet—and how he either relishes this fact or is just too stupid to notice. Witness the moment in the "Every Morning" video when McGrath spreads his knees and thrusts his crotch toward the camera, as if he's asking all of us to sniff it; the interviews where he seems a little too honest ("We're extremely hateable; I understand that. If I wasn't in this band, I'd hate it, too," he told Rolling Stone), but honest nonetheless; the Rolex logo he has tattooed across his abs; his dating Madonna, and the clip that was shown on Hard Copy of him threatening to punch out a photographer who dared snap their picture; that he initially hated the calculated commercialism of "Fly" and even left the band for a week over it, changing his 'tude only after he realized how many Benjamins he'd pocket; that Atlantic Records executives initially hated Sugar Ray's music but were impressed enough by their "visual appeal" (read: hunky lead singer + teenage-girl target market = $$$!!!) to offer them a deal; that he roamed the stage at this year's KROQ Weenie Roast yelling, "Anybody got any coke? Anybody got any heroin?" while the crowd got the sinking feeling that he wasn't entirely kidding . . . and so on. MITIGATING FACTOR: This too shall pass. But McGrath's VH1 Behind the Music special oughta be a hoot.

22. MR. HANKY

We had always assumed Mr. Hanky was just a crude construction-paper cutout that depicted human feces on Comedy Central's twisted cartoon South Park. That was before he brushed up against Weekly staffer Matt Coker's pinkie finger while Coker was body boarding in the Huntington Beach surf near Pacific Coast Highway and Magnolia Street in July. Coker went stiffer than California Coalition for Immigration Reform leader Barbara Coe's Queen Victoria's Secret panties. Mr. Hanky turned out to be a friendly enough fellow, his yellowish-brown torso joyfully bobbing alongside our scribe. Perhaps under different circumstances, they could have struck up an immediate friendship. But Coker—obviously unaccustomed to wallowing in shit anywhere outside Orange County Republican Party headquarters—made a beeline for shore and refused to enter the water the rest of that day. A few days later, county officials closed that stretch of beach because of unusually high bacteria levels. Around that time, Coker fell ill; his concerned doctor drew blood and recommended further tests. At recent hearings involving the county's beach closures, Assemblyman Scott Baugh (R-Huntington Beach) mentioned that he's seen no reports of anyone getting sick from Surf City's bacteria scare. Coker can't prove his illness is ocean-pollution-related, but he did learn a valuable lesson: the next time he gets sick, he's not calling his doctor—he's calling Baugh (714-843-4966) because Baugh is obviously the one who's supposed to be informed of such things. MITIGATING FACTOR: Has anyone ever seen Mr. Hanky and Mr. Baugh in the same room at the same time?

23. SUSAN JESKE

Susan Jeske is one of those women who will let you know within the first 30 seconds of conversation that she was Miss So-and-So 20 years ago. The 37-year-old refuses to surrender the tiara, competing to this day in Ms. This and Mrs. That contests, which are only slightly less frightening than the beauty pageants JonBenet Ramsey competed in before someone (or no one) offed her. Jeske is currently the reigning Ms. America 2000. Sadly, even that loftiest of titles isn't enough to keep her from desperately trying to extend her 15 minutes of fame. The county Republican Party's perennial National Anthem singer in 1992 set the world record for belting out "The Star-Spangled Banner" at public events 17 times in 24 hours. The next year, Jeske angled for a notation in the Guinness Book of World Records for oh-say-can-you-seeing it at public events 400 times in a year. You go, girl! But did you really have to write to The Orange County Register's Trouble Shooter columnist, seeking everyone else's support for your obsession? Earlier this month, she addressed Buena Park High School students. Her topic? School violence. What qualifies her to tackle that subject? She's a native of Littleton, Colorado. Please. Enough already. MITIGATING FACTOR: We'd still do her.

24. KILLER BEES and FIRE ANTS
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