A Clockwork Orange

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Since Clockwork's obviously in a magnanimous mood, we're going to praise someone this fish wrap has not praised in quite some time, Larry Agran and his fellow Agranistas in Irvine, for being absolutely correct in their quest to have $121 million in light-rail funds that had been earmarked for a regional transportation project -- the since mothballed CenterLine light-rail line -- returned from to the City of Irvine from where those funds originated. As directed by city staff, the Irvine City Council voted to apply that $121 million to a new light-rail that will circle the Great Park and connect to the city's train station and Spectrum Center parking swamp.

Since it was a unanimous vote, guess we should praise the non-Agranistas, too.

County transportation officials have already allocated millions in other funds collected for the now-doomed CenterLine where the Weekly many moons ago suggested they belong: in improving our degrading county bus system and installing high-speed buses along certain routes. But since Irvine is the entity that applied for that particular $121 million, becoming the only local municipality to get that much cash from the state for such a project, the city is entitled to get it back. And if local residents feel a Great Park choo-choo would be an enormous waste of that $121 million, they have every right to run Agran and his gang out of City Hall, although we're pretty sure those bucks have to be used for light rail or they go back to the state.

Heck, it's not like the state could use that money back. Right, Arnold?

The exact route for the Great Park line, which is envisioned to run on an elevated track like a certain OC theme park's you-know-what, will be determined once the park's final design is chosen. The council also approved a search for $5 million and hefty change to pay for planning the rail line, which they hope to have a chuggin' along by 2012.

Posted Oct. 17, 11:45 a.m.
Pay up, Jack:
Dana (left) and Lucky Lou

It's bad enough that indicted Congressman Tom DeLay has Orange County's Republican congressional delegation wrapped around his stink finger. And it's even worse that the firebrandiest members of that caucus -- Dana Rohrabacher -- has an oh-so-cozy relationship with DeLay's pal, fellow indictee and super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff (scroll down to "FOO Fighter"). Now come revelations that Abramoff has also been paying off Rohrabacher plaything/OC religious right wacko sound biter the Rev. Lou Sheldon.

Indeed, Sheldon's prominent role in an Oct. 16 Washington Post piece on Abramoff's Christian-right tentacles delighted America Blog. Sheldon, the founder of the Anaheim-based Traditional Values Coalitionthat's got a holy bug up its collective ass over The Gays, was among the right-wing, supposedly anti-gambling activists who received money from Abramoff client eLottery to push its $2 million pro-gambling campaign. Former Christian Coalition chief Ralph "Babyface" Reed and anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist also got eLottery bucks as part of the crusade, the Post reports.

Abramoff reportedly called Sheldon Lucky Louie, but the Rev. is now -- natch -- distancing himself from Abramoff, saying he does not recall legislation eLottery paid him to oppose, nor does he remember the $25,000 check eLottery cut him.

"This is all tied to Jack?" Sheldon reportedly said. "I'm shocked out of my socks."

After getting over the shock and putting on his socks in a box with a fox, the Suessical Sheldon goes on to say the TVC may have received eLottery funds to offset the cost of printing voter fliers. "I wasn't aware the money was coming from them [eLottery]," he says in the Post piece. "I don't think I ever saw the check. It came in, and we paid the bill for some of the printing."
It all gets curiouser and curiouser when you consider how tight the Rev. is with Rohrabacher, who was there when the Abramoff-Norquist alliance was formed during the early Reagan years.

Abramoff and eLottery are not the only gambling pushers who've pushed mountains of cash to Rohrabacher and Sheldon. As the Weekly's R. Scott Moxley first reported in his June 26, 1998, cover story (which is not available in our cruddy online archives but you can see encapsulated here), Los Alamitos horse racing park owner Dr. Edward Allred has cut huge checks over the years to Sheldon, Rohrabacher and other right-wing candidates and causes. And those bastions of the GOP and Religious Right have gladly cashed them in -- despite Allred's day job as one of California's most prolific abortion doctors.

Hopefully, umpire Doug Eddings' call, actually, his NON-CALL that turned the entire American League Championship series around, will infuriate the Angels enough this off-season that they'll make a stronger run next October just out of spite.

But, as convenient as it is to blame that non-call call for the team's swift demise, we must also admit the Halos have serious deficiencies that need immediate rectifying. The fact that the failure of the Angels previously vaunted bullpen and ability to manufacture runs is now being credited for their sad demise against the ChiSox exposes what was evident the last half of the season: without key players such as Bart Colon, John Lackey, Chone Figgins, Vladimir Guerrero, Scot Shields and Frankie Rodriguez, the Angels were just another below average team, wholly deserving of the Los Angeles before their name because they may as well have been those lame-ass Dodgers.

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