Diary of a mad county

MONDAY, March 11 Clockwork joins the Orange County Libertarian Party in saluting Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach). You read that right: saluting—and not the one-fingered kind. The former writer of scary Ronald Reagan speeches and even scarier Orange County Register editorials warrants kudos for becoming the first California Republican to co-sponsor a medical-marijuana bill that has sparked up in the House. Authored by libertarian-leaning Ron Paul (R-Texas) and man-leaning Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), the bill would give states the right to decide their own medical-marijuana policies without interference from the feds. Rohrabacher's support is not that surprising; he previously backed California's medicinal-cannabis initiative and opposed tough mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. Indeed, while this blow-by-blow barometer frequently blasts the Mouth That Rohrabachered for such asininity as Asian-bashing, political cronyism and global warming pooh-poohery, we do respect his unwavering adherence to his core libertarian/conservative beliefs—even when it pisses off his political party. Okay, especially when it pisses off his political party. And unlike Bubba, Dana admits he did inhale.

TUESDAY, March 12 Accused boy-loving Judge Ronald Kline informs the 11 write-in candidates who ran against him that he wants his name off the November ballot. That sets the stage for a runoff between the top two write-ins, who can now try to persuade voters why they are best qualified to make judicial decisions having profound effects on thousands of Orange Countians. Uh, not so fast. The man who likely finished second to Kline (the county Registrar is still one-Mississippi, two-Mississipping ballot cards as we type this), Dana Point attorney John Adams, says he does not want to go against the will of voters who chose Kline. Adams also points to election laws that state primary-campaign winners can only be removed from ballots if they die or are appointed to another office. His arguments are, of course, disingenuous. Facing an opponent staring at multiple child-molestation and child-porn-possession charges, Adams would waltz to victory even if he didn't post one campaign sign. But facing another write-in candidate, he'd have to raise money, press the flesh, debate, talk to snotty reporters, and have his past and every word thoroughly examined. If he sincerely believes Kline must remain on the ballot because the law says so, that shows an unwillingness to consider extenuating circumstances when passing judgment. Would you want your life in the hands of an unknown who may be deceitful, is admittedly unbending and wants to get on the bench with the second-most votes split 12 ways in a primary? We're better off electing Kline, who'd be removed from the bench if found guilty and replaced by an appointee who managed to convince someone he or she was qualified to serve the people.
Illustration by Bob Aul WEDNESDAY, March 13 Did Tom Lowe move to Australia and change his name to Andrew Kilvert? Lowe was the Republican media aide who boasted in the Weekly of "making it with two female lobbyists at the same time on top of Assembly Speaker Curt Pringle's desk at 2 a.m." (Lowe's "I Was a Gigolo for the GOP," July 12, 1996). Reports from Down Under say that after Kilvert resigned as the Northern Territory Labor Government media adviser, he had some late-night drinks, sneaked into the Parliament House with an unnamed female partner and got down under with her in the Speaker's chair. That proved to be uncomfortable (remember, people: remove the Speaker before doing it in his chair). The couple finished the deal on a nearby bench, oblivious that security cameras caught their fleshcapades. We could not confirm at press time whether Pringle had contacted Australia with cleaning tips. Taco Bell announces it is debuting the Club Chalupa at the Irvine-based chain's bazillion stores nationwide. Combining Mexican-inspired flavors with classic "club" ingredients, the Club Chalupa will cost a reasonable $1.99—or 51 cents less than Florida tomato pickers get after filling 20-pound crates for Taco Hell. THURSDAY, March 14 A study by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California finds that "living wage" ordinances adopted by Los Angeles, San Fernando and other cities reduce poverty among low-income families. "The benefits seem to outweigh the costs," David Neumark, the conservative economist who authored the study, tells Los Angeles Daily News. "The numbers are a moderate reduction in urban poverty. That's good. There are not many things we've discovered that lead to a moderate reduction in urban poverty." Leaders in Orange County's urban center, take note: the Michigan State University economics professor went into his study opposing not only living wages but also regular old minimum wages. FRIDAY, March 15 Governor Gray Davis delays his ban on the fuel additive MTBE, a carcinogen he screams has leaked into drinking water up and down the state. MTBE also makes gasoline burn cleaner. So we suppose you want clean air and clean water. What's next? Egg in your beer? The additive was supposed to be phased out by this December, but Irvine-based Stillwater Associates issued a report stating that would cause gas shortages and price spikes. Stillwater—which may or may not run deep; we haven't really checked—recommended delaying the ban until 2005. Fearing more tainted wells and higher cleanup costs, clean-water activists urged Davis to stick to the ban he first demanded. Da Gov instead opts for a December 2003 deadline, which means he's passing it off to Bill Simon. SATURDAY, March 16 As part of Dana Point's Festival of Whales, we're encouraged to "leave our mark" on the Baby Beach wall. For $50, we can paint a tile on the wall. But we mistakenly wander into Baby Beach's surf—the most polluted water in the state—get sick to our stomach and leave a different kind of mark on the wall. SUNDAY, March 17 You can now fly from John Wayne to John Lennon. No, this trip doesn't involve watching The Green Berets while listening to The Yellow Submarine and chomping Purple Microdot. Liverpool's airport has been renamed John Lennon Airport. Like John Wayne Airport's life-sized bronze statue of the movie star, John Lennon Airport has a life-sized bronze statue of the rock star. Of course, we can't really fly directly from John Wayne to John Lennon, not until the county acquires more land, pours more cement and internationalizes John Wayne Airport. The noise you just heard was heads exploding in Newport Beach.

Shoot! Monday, March 18: A door for me, and a door for my wives in Orange.
Photo by Jack Gould