Diary of a Mad County

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 We pick up the latest issue of our favorite independent newspaper in North Orange County, the Fullerton Observer and read that the Fullerton City Council denied a conditional-use permit to a businessman who wanted to open a two-story sports bar and dance hall downtown. Some residents and fellow business owners argue there isn't enough parking, others that there are already too many bars downtown. But according to Saskia Tristan's Observercolumn, Tony Florentine, the owner of Florentine Bar and Grill, objects that the bar's theme nights would "draw in gays and homosexuals to our downtown." In the spirit of tolerance and enlightenment, this ticktocker urges queers to flood downtown Fullerton and spread your wealth among the various shops and restaurants—except a certain eatery owned by an asshole with the initials Tony Florentine.

Today, 54 days after we requested an e-mail address for the president of Spain, the U.S. State Department gets back to us: "The State Department wishes to apologize for not responding to your question in a timely manner, but we have been met with an abundance of questions due to the Sept. 11 incident." They call that an excuse? No sweat: weeks ago, we found the e-mail address and forwarded to President José Maria Aznar Lopezour Dec. 7 story "Lo Siento: An open letter of apology to the Spanish people," which details U.S. Ambassador to Spain George Argyros' many misdeeds.

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 As part of a conflict-of-interest probe that sounds eerily similar to the case that drove ex-Huntington Beach City Councilman Dave Garofalo out of office, investigators raid the home and apartment of Seal Beach City Councilman Shawn Boyd. The Orange County district attorney's office is trying to determine if Boyd broke the law when he voted on matters involving former Seal Beach Trailer Park owner Richard Hall while working for Hall on various real-estate projects outside the city. Boyd is being represented by Al Stokke, the attorney who represented Garofalo, who wound up getting convicted of one felony and 15 misdemeanors. There is one striking difference between the Garofalo and Boyd cases, however: The Orange County Register and Times Orange County are all over Boyd's shit. When the Weekly and the Huntington Beach Independent were the lone newspapers hammering Garofalo early on, Clockwork begged the dailies to pile on. Both declined until much later. In the spirit of tolerance and enlightenment, this chronometer applauds both. THURSDAY, Jan. 31 More Garofollies: Surf City's ex-councilman recently tried to funnel $11,500 from a city organization's charity bank account into his own account, the Register's Jim Hinch reports. Garofalo reportedly returned the money to the city-sponsored Conference and Visitors Bureau only after officials threatened to sic the district attorney's office on him. Like that scares Garofalo. The bureau account and Garofalo's personal account are held at Pacific Liberty Bank, where the convicted felon served as a director until his recent resignation. Allegations early in the Garofalo probe that there was something fishy about his role and that of billionaire developer-turned-Ambassador to Spain George Argyros in Pacific Liberty's formation were discounted last year by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who had previously attended Garofalo's mayoral coronation and received substantial campaign contributions from Argyros.
Photo by Roy Bauer FRIDAY, Feb. 1 Irvine Valley College (IVC) president Raghu Mathur, who has sued his own district, survived faculty votes of no confidence and been the target of stinging criticism from campus rabble-rousers, is appointed chancellor of the South Orange County Community College District. Mathur was ranked at or near dead last by the selection committee of faculty, administrators and staff who forwarded five or six names to the conservative-leaning board of trustees, who looked at those rankings, wiped their asses with them and chose Mathur, whom they called the most qualified person in the entire U-S-of-freakin'-A to lead the district that includes IVC and Saddleback College. Of course he is.
Illustration by Bob Aul SATURDAY, Feb. 2 Former Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins coach George Allen is named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Allen, who compiled a 116-47-5 record in 12 NFL seasons, never coached the Rams when they played in Anaheim, having left the team in 1970. But he does have a local connection: Allen ended his coaching career with Long Beach State in 1990. Taking over a losing program on the verge of being dropped by the university, Allen led the 49ers to a 6-5 record. Players celebrated their final win of the season on Nov. 17, 1990, by dousing their 72-year-old head coach with ice water. Allen, who was not wearing a jacket on the sidelines, caught a cold and died six weeks later. Folklore has it Allen succumbed to pneumonia brought on by the drenching, but Allen's family claimed his death was caused by a heart condition unrelated to the celebration. SUNDAY, Feb. 3 Mrs. Clockwork arrives at John Wayne Airport with $12,000 collected on behalf of the company that employs her. With a half-hour to go before kickoff at Super Bowl XXXVI, we suggest contacting our favorite bookie and placing all the loot on the St. Louis Rams, who we're sure are going to win in a blowout. Then we can give her company the $12,000, skim the profits and no one will be the wiser, capiche? But woman waits for no timepiece, and the Rams, who look more like the version that used to stink up the Big A, wind up losing to the New England Patriots 20-17. On the bright side, we avoid an embezzlement conviction. The moral of the blurb: don't ever listen to us. MONDAY, Feb. 4 Friends of the Foothills, the group trying to stop construction of a toll road through pristine South Orange County hills, tells members that officials with the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) are being disingenuous when they say they don't know why McDonald's ended the program that allowed toll-road users to charge burgers and fries on their transponders. Internal TCA memos reveal that Mickey D's couldn't figure out how to handle patrons who brought their transponders inside the restaurants (they'd only been set up to charge drive-through customers). Friends of the Foothills also said the Weekly's Feb. 1 Hey, You! item by an anonymous San Joaquin toll-road user confirms that fresh animal parts are "smeared all over the fresh tar." Did somebody say McDonald's?! Joel Beers and Dave Wielenga contributed to this week's report.
 
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