Year in Review

MARK OF THE BEAST When Robert "B-1 Buttcheeks" Dornan decided in 1999 not to run for the South Orange County and North San Diego County congressional seat being vacated by the retiring Ron Packard, Dornan's 40-year-old son Mark got married, moved to San Juan Capistrano from Los Angeles and announced his candidacy. On Feb. 21, Mark and nine of his Republican primary opponents in the 48th District race gathered to debate at Mission Viejo's Saddleback Church. Beneath an oversized Christian-hip billboard that read, "Hangtime with God," the younger Dornan enthusiastically slammed the proposed El Toro International Airport, toll roads, Bill Clinton, communist China, immorality, the National Endowment of the Arts and the Department of Education. You could have closed your eyes, listened to that familiar raspy voice, and almost believed that Bob Dornan had taken the stage. God, we miss him.

ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, HE'D RATHER BE IN ANAHEIM Pelican Theatre owner Bill Gammoh on Feb. 22 was sentenced to 24 days in jail and a $6,000 fine for repeatedly allowing lap dances in his La Habra club despite a city ordinance that prohibits nude dancers from getting within six feet of patrons. (This presumably applies even to patrons with six-foot laps.) Gammoh is now a May hearing away from a judge's final ruling on whether to kill Pelican. The same day Gammoh was led away in cuffs to join medical-marijuana providers, young teens tried as adults, Third Strikers rotting for swiping Tic Tacs and whoever else gets locked up these days, Anaheim officials dropped a 2-year-old case against seven nude dancers from the Sahara Theater. The city had won convictions in Superior Court against the lapping ladies for violating the city's no-touchy ordinance and for "prostitution," which need not include exchanges of sex or bodily fluids under state law. Which tells you something about the state of sex in Anaheim. But an appellate court ruled that Anaheim's lapless law was too hardcore and that the jury should have been given the option of considering lap dancing a form of artistic expression—just like the Lambada, another forbidden dance of love.

WE'LL HAVE A GAY OLD TIME On Feb. 22, a feisty Reverend Lou Sheldon of the Anaheim-based Traditional Values Coalition debated former local Democratic Party chairman Jim Toledano on the merits of Proposition 22, the limits-on-marriage initiative also known as the Knight Initiative. Dressed in his standard uniform—conservative gray suit, white button-down shirt and red power tie—the reverend spent the hour offering the overflow crowd at Costa Mesa-based Whittier Law School breathtaking non sequiturs. Sheldon launched his Prop. 22 defense by announcing that "marriage is necessary for life, for those of us who are blessed enough to engage in it." He then quickly turned to talk about George Washington's farewell address and colonial-era morality and ethics. Before it was over, the reverend had referenced Jesus Christ, orgasms, Abraham and the Torah, "cooties," giraffes and elephants, a "little Methodist Church in Michigan," promiscuity, predators, princesses, Time magazine, Jim Crow laws, artificial insemination, "attraction juices," monkeys, Mars, molestation, AIDS, archaeology, the "N word," Virginia, "icky" girls, "God's plan," science, gay-owned credit cards, dysfunctional families, intercourse, playing with a black janitor's son—and, of course, "the beast." Exactly how would state recognition of same-sex unions destroy marriage, the family, heterosexuals, children and the country? Sheldon couldn't answer.

LAW AND ODOR Judge John M. Watson on Feb. 23 shitcanned his controversial rule that his bailiff be notified if any witness or party entering his OC Superior courtroom "has an infectious disease such as hepatitis, AIDS, etc." More surprising than Watson's reversal was the manner in which the Deukmejian appointee's stand on his rule changed depending upon whom he talked with. In R. Scott Moxley's Feb. 18 Weekly piece—which, ahem, broke the story—Watson defended his rule as essential to "comfort and safety in my courtroom." That story included shocked reactions from local attorneys and gay civil-rights activists—as did The Orange County Register's Feb. 19 follow-up, in which Watson reportedly expressed second thoughts about his rule. By the time the legalese Los Angeles Daily Journal got to the matter on Feb. 24, Watson was quoted as saying he had spiked his HIV-status directive, that he should have done so long ago, and that he'd forgotten all about his order until "someone" had recently brought it to his attention. Wonder who that was?


QUIET RIOT It's doubtful that Republican presidential candidate John McCain expected a 150-pound roadblock when his "Straight-Talk Express" arrived for a March 1 campaign rally at Little Saigon's Asian Garden Mall. But that's what happened—at least figuratively. Bao Nguyen and about 15 other UC Irvine students rejected the McCain campaign's emotional pleas to disband and instead—with a surprised national press corps observing—protested the U.S. senator's long history of repeated use of the anti-Asian racial slur "gook." The peaceful protestors suddenly found themselves surrounded and under physical attack—by older Vietnamese-Americans—as uninterested Westminster police officers looked on. Nguyen—though visibly shaken, his face splattered with spit— asked for calm. "Dear people, we love our country like you do. We hate communism like you do," he said in perfect Vietnamese. "But we don't agree with the word 'gook.' It's wrong. It's hurtful. People need to be educated about that." More than 40 minutes after the shoving began and with reporters swooping in for interviews, tensions finally broke.

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