The tam-o'-shanter-wearing professor always looks at you with an askew eye, a physical malady picked up after a brutal police beating during the Chicano Movement in the 1960s. Battle scars might be expected of a history or sociology professor, but math?! A former volunteer for the Southwest Voter Registration Project, a foundation he still supports, Ortíz-Franco's status as a tenured professor (the only Latino tenured professor at Chapman, mind you) allows him the liberty to advise the campus' MEChA club and to join janitors in their efforts to unionize the anti-union university. We wouldn't have failed algebra if our teacher were this interesting.


You don't find Huntington Beach's hard-right Republican representative Dana Rohrabacher crossing party lines on most anything—except when it comes to medical marijuana. Though the former hearty-partying libertarian was known for busting out the spliffs as a lad, he has consistently opposed efforts to legalize the devil's weed for the masses. However, just as consistently, Rohrabacher has locked arms with Democrats to sponsor House bills that would protect medical-marijuana users from federal prosecution. One reason he has taken the brave stand is because he doesn't like the feds trampling on state law—like in California, a bedrock of conservatism, where medical pot is legal. But Rohrabacher also has a personal reason: his late mother, who suffered through excruciating pain after hip surgery. "I couldn't help thinking when I was in the hospital feeding her, what a travesty it is that my mother, who's lived such a good life, would be denied marijuana if it could actually help her," he said earlier this year. Sadly, the most-recent medical-marijuana legislation co-sponsored by Rohrabacher was defeated—although by the closest margin ever. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) was the only other member of the Orange County congressional delegation to support it. Representatives Chris Cox (R-Newport Beach), Ed Royce (R-Fullerton) and Gary Miller (R-Diamond Bar) voted to have folks like Dana's mom continue living in debilitating pain.


Fountain Valley's official logo is supposed to represent a fountain gushing water sprays over a nondescript pond. But slip on your Freudian goggles and look closely at the emblem. The dark center of the spray looks like a woman's thong; the falling droplets curve so that they take on the appearance of supple thighs. In its entirety, Fountain Valley's official sign looks like a woman bending over, begging for some hot civic action. We're not sure who designed the sign, but after seeing the women jogging around Mile Square Park in the early morn sweating, we at least know why city officials call their burb "A Nice Place to Live."


Gay-rights groups rejoiced this past January when Irvine-based Freedom Communications, which owns The Orange County Register and assorted other media companies, became the first national newspaper chain in the nation to enact a policy requiring its papers—including the knuckle-dragging Reg—to print same-sex union announcements. Conspiracy-minded folk like us wondered at the time if this was a ploy by stodgy old Freedom to make itself more attractive to prospective—and more progressive—buyers, since the chain's up for sale. But reality was worse than we feared. After the inevitable backlash from Freedom's core conservatives, the company announced that it was not "requiring" its papers to enact policies to allow same-sex ads; it was merely "encouraging" them to do so. Freedom went on to say it had no policy regarding the enacting of policies to allow same-sex ads. It's nice to see their corporate announcements make about as much sense as Registereditorials.


As American troops were preparing to roll over Iraq, the West Coast Fertility Center in Fountain Valley made an offer they've made before previous military conflicts: they would provide any male soldiers who wanted it free sperm storage for a year. That would normally cost about $500—sugeadeal! But, sadly, because many of our fighting men seem doomed to stay in that hellhole indefinitely, their man-juice will likely expire before their tours of duty do.


When the late Molly Lyon of Women For started the immodestly if accurately named Great American Write-In 18 years ago, she and her left/liberal feminist; pro-choice; and environment-, human-rights-, peace-and-justice-, clean-water-and-air-loving comrades set up tables at UC Irvine's Faculty Club, installed volunteers from local advocacy organizations with fliers and pamphlets; made coffee and bagels; passed out free pens, writing paper, envelopes and postage; invited the public; and sat back to observe the experiment. The highly successful Write-In, though larger and next year in a new location, has stayed true to its deceptively simple method of direct-mail citizen lobbying, bringing representatives of 40 or 50 local groups to a couple of thousand area residents who sit down together in comfortable solidarity for a few hours, composing letters to their elected officials on the spot. You can bring your laptop and a printer. Women For mails the letters for free, and letter writers get the satisfaction of actually living up to their responsibilities as citizens, not to mention perhaps receiving a response letter a few weeks later from an elected official. It's called accountability and might be the model for hundreds of similar community write-ins. Yet the Write-In is the best kept secret in Orange County, if not Southern California, partly because Women For, founded in 1984, is exactly that variety of frightening "special interest" group you hear so much about (if you listen to Der Candidate or AM talk radio), advancing the agendas of such power-hungry political machines as (yikes!) Amnesty International, Planned Parenthood, the Alliance for Survival, Veterans for Peace, the Kurdish National Congress, and the Interfaith Committee to Aid Farm Workers. And, you ask, won't Women For force me to toe its political line? Sure it will. Big time. "The participating organizations," reads its mission statement, "may not be anti-choice, racist or sexist." That's right, pal. These Hillarys on wheels attract like-minded feminazis who will naturally try to ensnare you in the web of their liberal, Birkenstock-wearing, evildoer ways. But, hey, you can write a letter about any bloody thing you want, for or against. Women For doesn't care; they just want you to learn about "today's vital issues." Hell, you could write George Bush, demanding he incarcerate civilian suspects without trial, deprive women in other countries of reproductive freedom, install a right-wing nut as Attorney General and unilaterally invade sovereign nations. Yes, you could do that. Go ahead. Do it. See if anybody cares.

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