Orange Countys 31 Scariest People

She has been haunting Huntington Beach City Hall for nearly a quarter of a century now, and at this time of year, there is no shortage of old-timers who like to rattle the little ones by insisting they have seen her—have spoken with her, even. There's an office with her name on it and an expenditure in the budget that pays her a salary well into the six figures. Records show that she contributes to the campaigns of local council members —in 1998, she gave $275 to Dave Garafalo and $250 to Shirley Dettloff. The voters of Huntington Beach play along, re-electing her to the office of city attorney every four years. Yep, the ghost of Gail Hutton is becoming a part of local lore. Personally, we don't believe in ghosts, of course. But when it comes to Hutton, it's hard to know what to believe. We've never seen her. Hutton has missed every Huntington Beach City Council meeting we've ever attended, with a member of her staff always substituting and giving some weird apology. Last time, it was explained that Hutton had disqualified herself from discussions about a Wal-Mart development because her son pilots the private plane of the developer, George Argyros. Speaking of that staff, would it really require 14 people if a living, breathing city attorney was actually on the job? Beyond that, much of Huntington Beach's legal work is still farmed out to private firms and consultants, and the results are sometimes scary: recently, the law firm of Rutan & Tucker was litigating both for and against the city. MITIGATING FACTOR:We've never seen her.


Though he announced in 1995 that he definitely would not seek reelection to the Orange County Board of Supervisors when his term expired in December 1998, Bill Steiner nevertheless continued to solicit and accept "campaign contributions." According to county documents, the nearly $60,000 Steiner took from local corporations seeking lucrative county contracts was spent on making his already comfortable life more comfortable: $700 dinners, $1,300-plus wine purchases, trips and shopping at Fashion Island. Until the Weekly exposed Steiner's shenanigans earlier this year, the supervisor had—thanks to the county's daily press —maintained a reputation for charity and compassion for the poor. When we called for comment, Steiner apparently wasn't feeling charitable or compassionate. MITIGATING FACTOR: Exiled in Phoenix.


Laguna Beach City Councilman Paul Freeman says he once loved the Weekly. That was before we uncovered and published stories about Freeman's far-too-cozy relationships with real-estate developers seeking special favors from City Hall. Freeman now says we're clowns and has asked how we could question a registered Democrat. (Answer: easy. We couldn't care less about his party registration, particularly since his closest campaign advisers are right-wing conservative Republicans.) He has also adamantly denied that he's a pawn of developers, even though he's bragged about giving taxpayer-funded subsidies to the Merrill Lynch-connected developers at the historic Treasure Island project. No surprise here: by day, Freeman works as a lobbyist for C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, one of Southern California's largest commercial developers. MITIGATING FACTOR: He speaks in a nerve-racking, pompous monotone that should preclude future political advancement.

31. LOB

It's not that OC poetry and noise-band promoter Lob is scary in and of himself, but anyone who can successfully run an ongoing poetry reading at Club Mesa has to be in league with Dark Elder Gods who have walked the earth in secret for untold millennia. But perhaps even scarier than Lob's probable Lovecraftian connections are the drunks at the bar who have now become part of the show. "IS HE STILL TALKING?" one shouts as the featured poet begins his fourth poem. Another time, one tried to pick a fight with an older poet reading about his experiences in Vietnam (until the barfly was forcibly ejected by Stephanie, the bartender, who is without a doubt a force for good on this wretched orb). Lob floats above the slurred, Michelob-fueled heckling, quite possibly possessed by none other than the great destroyer Cthulhu, who will rise from the depths and devour us like Chicken McNuggets. Confident in the powers of darkness, he grabs the microphone and shouts, "I AM YOUR HOST, AND I SUCK! I AM NOT YOUR FRIEND AND AM NOT EVEN HERE TO PRETEND TO BE SUCH!" The audience chants along as if they were ritually summoning Hastor, Queen of the Outer Planes, until Lob ends his diatribe: "I SUCK. I SUCK YOU IN. AND YOU LOVE IT." MITIGATING FACTOR: We do.

The Bob Dornan Hall of Fame

Dr. Bernard Rappaport

Inducted 1998. The first inductee into the Dornan Hall, Rappaport was head of the county's Children and Youth Services (CYS), where he ignored complaints concerning at least one psychiatrist who gave patients at the Orangewood Children's Home potentially dangerous drug combinations, illegal office drinking parties at one CYS clinic, a supervising psychiatrist who allegedly made dangerous misdiagnoses, and an Orange County grand jury that described him as "unaccountable." He still works for the county mental-health department.

Gloria Matta Tuchman

Inducted 1999. The terrifying Mexican-American schoolteacher co-authored with Ron Unz the troglodytic "Save Our Children" initiative—the one that gives Latino kids in our state one year to learn English before being thrust into an English-only classroom setting. Proving that narrowness begins at home, she proudly told a local magazine that her own kids had to learn Spanish in high school classes—because she never taught it to them at home. She's now betting that voters in the county's heavily Latino 46th Congressional District will put her in the seat once occupied by Hall of Fame benefactor Robert K. Dornan.

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