Diary of a Mad County

TUESDAY, Aug. 6 The streetwise Los Angeles Herald-Examiner may be long gone, but lives on, mildly jabbing or praising Southern California media outlets over online versions of stories linked to the website. This Union Jack-faced timepiece salutes today's LA Ex item on the "naughty Brit tabloid hacks" terrorizing Orange County as they cover the stalking case against Alastair Irvine, the son of England's top law enforcer. Included is this quote by county DA's office spokeswoman (and frequent Weekly punching bag) Tori Richards: "I've never seen anything like this. This is America, and we don't have a society where news reporters chase down victims in their cars." Really, Tori? The LA Ex tricksters underline select words in her quote. Click on one, and up pops a story that shows we do live in a society where photographers chase down victims in their cars, such as the paparazzo roughed up by Alec Baldwin or the two jailed for using their vehicles to box in the car in which Arnold Schwarzenegger and wife Maria Shriver were driving their son to school. One click leads to a Dallas Morning News feature on notorious shutterbug Alan Zanger, who says, "In a certain respect, a camera is like a gun, and the stars are my prey."

The Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs, the state's largest police organization, endorses a ballot initiative that would allow adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana. That certainly distances Nevada's cops from their Orange County counterparts, who put the "ass" in "compassionate use." (For a related story, see "Bust the Kids, Pass the Bong" by Mike Males on page 16.) This cannabis-leaf-shaped timepiece salutes the eclectic website for posting by far the best headline on the issue: "Bright Light City Gonna Set My Bowl on Fire: NV cops back pot ballot."


WEDNESDAY, Aug. 7 Praise Jesus! Those feuding Nixon sisters finally resolve their spat over a $20 million gift from the estate of their stubbly faced dad's longtime friend, Charles "Bebe" Rebozo. Key is the role of John Taylor, executive director of the Richard Nixon Library and Mirthplace in Yorba Linda who aligned himself with Julie Eisenhower and sued to get control of the $20 mil. Tricia Cox, who wanted the family in charge of the funds, at one point demanded Taylor be fired for driving a wedge between the siblings (ouch!). After a court-ordered mediation, Trish and Jules agree the money will go to the library, but they, another Nixon friend and the library foundation's board must unanimously agree on how it's spent. No word on Cox's previous demand for Taylor's head.

Citing free speech concerns, Orange County Superior Court Judge Dennis S. Choateputs a freeze on Garden Grove's anti-cybercafť ordinance. Spooked by the slaying of two teens after they'd left local Internet-gaming businesses, the city in January approved the law that mandated curfews and other security measures for cybercafťs. But owners say gangs—not their businesses—are the problem, so they seek redress in court. Choate set an Aug. 29 hearing so both sides can try to reach a compromise. Hey, invite the Nixon sisters to help you—but no John Taylor.

Three black men file a federal lawsuit alleging a group of Orange County Sheriff's deputies—known as the "psycho crew" and "suicide committee"—beat, psychologically abuse and yell racial slurs at African-American inmates at Orange County Jail. It remains to be seen whether the allegations will dull some of the luster buffed onto Sheriff Mike Carona's badge by the mainstream media during the Samantha Runnion abduction/murder coverage.

THURSDAY, Aug. 8 Orange County Transportation Agency Chairman Todd Spitzer questions the City of Irvine's plan to shorten the proposed CenterLine light-rail system from a measly 18 miles to a measlier 11.1 miles. "The system keeps getting shorter and shorter and is serving less and less people," Spitzer reportedly says. "How can you keep a straight face and say it's a better system?" Irvine officials essentially say size doesn't matter; it's how you use it. And by getting trains rolling—even if on the glorified HO scale like the one they're proposing from downtown Santa Ana to the Irvine Civic Center—the public will become enamored and demand the system's immediate expansion. All aboard the Boondoggle Express!

We're walking along Main Street in Huntington Beach after an excellent two-blackened-fish combo dinner at Wahoo's and witness the Greatest Use Ever for OC Weekly. A burly, blond-haired gentleman has somehow acquired a stack of today's new edition and spread them out into an alternative-weekly tarp to protect the pavement while redoing the entrance of the Sugar Shack Cafe. Who says we don't matter?

FRIDAY, Aug. 9 Funeral services are held for legendary Los Angeles Lakers announcer Chick Hearn. Probably not in the pews of St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Brentwood is immigrant-basher Glenn Spencer, who has been chronicled in these pages for clashing with Santa Ana Police at a rally against Mexican President Vicente Fox, demanding that a Latino Los Angeles Times columnist be hanged for treason, and alleging that Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) is trying to merge the entire Southwest U.S. with Mexico. Spencer's venomous group, American Patrol, sinks to new depths of depravity with the banner headline on its website (www.american "Did Chick Hearn Die Because the Closest E.R. Was Full of Illegals?"

Alejandro Avila pleads innocent of charges he kidnapped, molested and strangled 5-year-old Samantha Runnion of Stanton last month. Overshadowing the question of guilt is whether he can get a fair trial in Orange County thanks to Sheriff Mike Carona, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and President George Dubya Bush all publicly pronouncing Avila guilty before he had even been arraigned. Indeed, Carona and Rackauckas stand to lose political points if what will surely be a spectacle of a murder trial is removed from their jurisdiction. One person no doubt cheering all the Avila publicity is Orange County Superior Court Judge Ronald C. Kline, who also pleads innocent today to charges stemming from alleged sex acts with a 14-year-old boy. Thanks to the Avila witch-hunt, Kline coverage is scant and buried.
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