By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
19. ED LAIRD
If there's a more obnoxious guy than Garofalo (No. 7), it's Ed Laird, a longtime right-wing Republican benefactor and currently a self-appointed write-in candidate for the 67th Assembly race against Huntington Beach City Councilman Tom Harman. A few months ago, Laird cracked himself up by jerking around the local media and pretending to run for the Huntington Beach City Council. Yuk, yuk. His claim to fame: a local lacquer company that, in his words, "makes paint for Barbie's lips." While sitting on the Huntington planning commission, Laird played a key role in the pro-Wal-Mart political campaign, going so far as to hold secret meetings with city officials (like Councilmen Garofalo and Ralph Bauer) at his plant. He sits next to Garofalo on the Pacific Liberty Bank board of directors. MITIGATING FACTOR: His name rhymes with "cared."
20. CHRIS COX
The esteemed 47th District Republican congressman from Newport Beach has had a big year. First, the Cold War-like espionage prosecution of Los Alamos nuclear engineer Wen Ho Lee blew up in the face of the Justice Department, with a federal judge tossing out 58 of 59 counts of espionage on a technicality called "lack of evidence." That was bad enough for the feds but much worse for Cox, whose 1999 congressional-committee report on alleged Chinese espionage set off the whole Lee fiasco in the first place, with Cox promising that his report's classified portions were so damaging to Lee that they made the Rosenbergs look like Paul Revere. Undaunted, Cox is back with a new report detailing the Clinton administration's so-called failings concerning Russia. And the mastermind of America's "disastrous" Russian relationship—according to Cox—is none other than Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore! First a spy who isn't a spy, and now an American vice president who fails to turn around the Russian economy. Shocking! MITIGATING FACTOR: His star will never shine outside Newport's old-money neighborhoods.
21. TONY THE BARTENDER
Tony the Bartender at the Little Knight in Costa Mesa isn't really scary. In fact, he's warm and funny and outgoing and makes you feel better by just talking to you. But then . . . sometimes he removes his shirt, puts on a tool belt, dons a cheap pair of fucked-up fake teeth and maybe a mask, and climbs onto the bar and sings a song while massaging his stomach and his long blond hair. That's scary. It frightens us. We don't like it. It makes us tremble. It makes us uncomfortable. It makes us cry. MITIGATING FACTOR: He has a baby, and people with babies aren't scary. Except for the people with Rosemary's baby. They're scary.
22. PHIL INGLEE
While serving as the 1999-2000 grand jury foreman, Inglee apparently botched what has become the hottest investigation in Huntington Beach. According to two grand jury members from Inglee's panel, they never saw a private citizen's letter asking the jury to investigate Huntington Beach City Council influence in local start-up Pacific Liberty Bank. This is a violation of established grand jury procedures. But we know foreman Inglee saw the letter because he responded to the letter writer twice—first to say the panel had taken up the issue, and second to say there wouldn't be an investigation. What we also know is that Inglee had a conflict of interest in the matter—not just as an investor in the bank but as a founder. But he never recused himself from the issue. And of course, Inglee used to be tight with fellow bank founder and current Huntington Beach Mayor, Dave Garofalo (see No. 7). In fact, on Aug. 21, Garofalo presented Inglee with an achievement plaque for his stint as an alternate member of the Huntington Beach Infrastructure Committee. It was a pretty good achievement for a guy who attended just one meeting. MITIGATING FACTOR: Bad publicity from the grand jury revelations forced him to cancel plans to run for the Huntington Beach City Council.
23. DAVE WAKELING
Dave Wakeling is a legend, instrumental in bringing two-tone ska to the States with his band the English Beat. Then about five years ago, he started playing venues with inflatable football helmets hanging from the ceiling; we were told he was getting his new band ready and was using the lowbrow gigs as rehearsals for the new band. How many rehearsals do you need? MITIGATING FACTOR: Ska's dead, so who cares, anyway?
24. SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE GARY P. RYAN
In September 1999, Newport Beach police arrested the judge after an accident in which his blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. It turned out that Ryan had spent five hours drinking beer, wine and vodka at the Yankee Tavern in Newport Beach before getting behind the wheel of his Jeep Cherokee and plowing into the back of a Ford Expedition. But he was neither removed nor suspended from his $100,000-plus per year job on the bench. Indeed, Ryan received a mere admonishment—the lowest grade of public discipline meted out. In addition, Ryan paid no fines or court costs and spent no time in jail. Of course, there were also the complaints of Ryan snoozing on the bench in '97 and '99, but that was a long time ago. MITIGATING FACTOR: He's buying!