Excerpts: Part 2

Sept. 3, 1999 "And . . . we . . . are . . . rolling!" says the guy pointing the Entertainment Tonight camera toward the hospital bed on which a bedraggled Leif Garrett is sitting for his latest way-too-closeup. The long-ago teen idol is 37 years old. His shoulder-length hair is greasy, his goatee is surrounded by unshaven stubble, and his ragamuffin getup—cloth cap, blousy shirt, weathered jeans and moccasins with no socks—goes far beyond faux-boho fashion statement. This is the look of a bona-fide drug addict. Garrett is coming off heroin.

Dave Wielenga, "Shakin' Like a Leif: Kicking smack with Leif Garrett"

Sept. 10, 1999 You know, of course, that Orange County is a place of great wealth: expensive cars, towers of glass and steel that gleam in the sun, big and well-tended houses surrounded by emerald lawns and banks of flowers cared for by gardeners. On the Mitchell Ranch, the homes of the residents consist of small trailers or shacks roughed together from scavenged lumber, camper shells and corrugated tin. Children play a game of tag along the dirt pathway. A man boils a kettle of water over an open fire. Chickens peck for feed. There is no electricity and no plumbing. Water for washing and drinking is carried by hoses strung together from a spigot at the big house. There was a time when the tenants had no bathroom facilities and relieved themselves, by common agreement, in the trees and brush a few yards from the campsite; today, they visit several battered portable outhouses scattered along the road. The residents own their dwellings but pay rent for the land. The rent varies. A single man living alone pays $135 per month. A married couple with a child or two pays $250 per month. An extended family of children and several adults pays as much as $800 per month. Rent is paid to the property owner in cash; speaking conservatively, this may amount to $100,000 per year.

Bob Emmers, "Slumlord Sweepstakes! Is Eve Mitchell the county's most successful tenement entrepreneur?" More...
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