By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
6 PREDATORY TOW TRUCK DRIVERS
Round and round and round they go, and when they finally stop they snatch up cars with 4-year-old boys sleeping inside or crush the towed vehicle's owner -- to death! That's what happened in Orange County this February, when Hinh Van Nguyen took a car double parked (but with emergency flashers on) outside a Garden Grove apartment complex with a child still inside, and in June, when Paul Sassenberger first taunted and then ran over Santa Ana resident Leoncio Flores after the methed-up Sassenberger took Flores' SUV from an alley. The former case prompted then-Congressman Christopher Cox -- in probably his first and only show of compassion ever -- to help pass a bill that outlaws predatory towing; the Orange County district attorney's office launched criminal investigations against local tow truck companies after Sassenberger's crime. MITIGATING FACTOR: Three a.m., 5 freeway exit off Jeffrey, flat tire . . . .
7 THE GIRLS OF THE REAL OC
What can you say about a group of girls, mostly blond, whose favorite sports are "shopping and laying on the beach," whose entire lives are spent trying to steal each other's lunkish boyfriends? What can you say about the fact that they're doing it in our county's name on national television, in a show so vapid it actually makes you stupider just listening to them -- and that their show is like totally the most popular show ever (alongside My Super Sweet 16)? What can you say about a bunch of girls whose harrowingly impervious consumption habits will probably be directly responsible for the coming People's Revolution (alongside My Super Sweet 16)? Well, you could say that Jessica's favorite artists are Britney, Mariah, Natalie, Christina and Justin, and she plans to go to Saddleback and be a teacher! You could say that the apparently slightly cooler Kristin likes the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lauryn Hill. And you could say that Taylor, LC and Alex M. also exist. MITIGATING FACTOR: The Girls of The Real OC would make a smokin‚€™-hot Playboy spread, if they were just 18.
8 VLADIMIR GUERRERO'S HELMET
Guerrero, right fielder for your Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, is one of baseball's finest players, that rare mix of power, speed, bravado and humility. He is an Adonis, a Latino Ruth, a hero. But, 'mano, that helmet!? Every time Vlad enters the batter's box, he puts on a helmet capped with a season's worth of accumulated super-sticky pine tar that picks up anything with which it's come into contact. It's like a lint roller you wear on your head, or Courtney Love. A Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist once said it looks "like it was extracted from a pizza 10 minutes after the timer went off." It's the ugliest thing you'll see in a baseball park outside of the president throwing a first pitch. MITIGATING FACTOR: As long as he keeps launching homers into the Anaheim sky, Vlad can do whatever the hell he wants.
9 EDWARD JOSEPH O'NEILL
In a world of sword-banging do-gooders, one man was willing to take a stand. And that man was Edward Joseph O'Neill, a simple businessman -- owner of Newport Beach's wonderful Ho Sum Bistro -- who asked only to be afforded the quiet one would expect living near the Balboa Pier. But they finally pushed this man of peace, and his cache of guns, too far one September night. According to police, some Disneyland employees gathered at the beach near O'Neill‚€™s home, brazenly not drinking, not doing drugs, not listening to music, not shooting off fireworks, not talking loudly, not making much noise at all. That's when it got personal. Police say O'Neill walked up to the mob and asked, "Are you the people banging your swords out here?" They said they didn't know what he was talking about, and it was at that point, allegedly, that O'Neill did the only thing a man can do: pulled a handgun from his waistband and fired it once in the direction of two members of the group. As you'd expect, The Man got involved; apparently it's now illegal to shoot at people -- damn activist judges -- but O'Neill stood his ground. And that's where the police found him: standing his ground at the rear window of his home, attempting to sneak out. MITIGATING FACTOR: The bullet from the gun he fired probably landed in the ocean, where, we can only hope, it hit a swordfish.
10 DR. MARC MARTINEZ
Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the courthouse, buy me some lawyers and slander suits . . . wait a minute. J.D. Martinez, son of Newport Beach emergency room doctor Marc Martinez, used to pitch for Corona del Mar High. Martinez the Elder thought CdM coach John Emme was damaging J.D.'s career potential by overusing him, so he took the destruction of his son's career into his own hands and pulled J.D. from the team entirely -- and then sued Emme . . . two times! Allegations ranged from Emme's basic coaching ineptitude to actual threats that Emme would "close the door" on J.D.'s college pitching if Martinez went to the school board. Once his legal double play fell apart, Martinez fell victim to a wicked Emme changeup: the coach filed a defamation countersuit, alleging that Martinez's actions had damaged not only his reputation but also his hope of coaching college baseball. In January, a jury awarded Emme $700,000 of the good doctor's funds, nipping future "disappointment" lawsuits in the bud. Just think of all the angry soccer moms, Louis Vuitton purses itching at the prospect of legal action against any athletic figure reluctant to acknowledge their child's excellence. Advice to coaches: be honest and tell all parents their children are outstanding in the field. MITIGATING FACTOR: Didn't kill the coach; hockey remains the dominant blood sport.