Diary of A Mad Year

2004 regurgitated

DECEMBER

1 UC Irvine and the Public Policy Institute of California publish a survey of Orange County residents in which 81 percent of respondents say they knew little or nothing about the disastrous county bankruptcy that occurred 10 years ago and that reverberates to this day in a legacy of limited services. Now, forgetting stuff is not an OC thing. Why, just last month, 51 percent of Americans forgot that gas used to be less than $2, America wasn't universally despised and that civil rights used to be considered a good thing. The bankruptcy question was just one of many survey questions gauging locals' attitudes toward living in Orange County. Topping the list of concerns was housing prices, with only 25 percent of respondents saying they considered it "very likely" they could afford a more expensive home in Orange County; 59 percent said they were "very concerned" their children wouldn't be able to afford a home at all; while 67 percent said they believed the Larson kid, the one with the weird tooth, had been "doing something funny" in the bushes. The survey also showed opinions tended to vary given someone's cultural background. Latinos, for instance, were more likely to have confidence in public schools while whites were more likely to lock their car doors as they drove by public schools . . . 4 Media outlets are falling all over themselves to congratulate Bishop Tod D. Brown for the Diocese of Orange's $100 million settlement with 87 victims of sexual abuse. The stories paint him as a reconciler and fail to mention that, years ago, he had to be ordered by Superior Court Judge Jim Gray to apologize to a victim. They also fail to mention that Brown's real reason for a settlement is that if the court case were to continue, a long line of OC power brokers ranging from former GOP head Tom Fuentes—diocesan communications director from 1977 through 1989—to mega-developer William Lyon to hamburger jefe/über-Catholic Carl Karcher. Angry rich people make for unopened wallets, which might mean Brown would not be able to build that cathedral nobody wants and have to make deep cuts

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