By LP Hastings
By Michael Goldstein
By R. Scott Moxley
By Gustavo Arellano
By Gustavo Arellano
By Matt Coker
By Nick Schou
By Bethania Palma Markus
Illustration by Bob Aul
27 DR. KALI P. CHAUDHURI
This Bombay-raised physician is known in Orange County medical circles as a genius -- not for his groundbreaking contributions to surgery or curing diseases, but for his ability to elude government regulators. Five years ago, he purchased dozens of Southern California medical clinics. A little more than a year later, he shuttered them, leaving more than 250,000 patients hanging in the wind. Flash-forward to January 2005, when Chaudhuri stood poised to become the majority shareholder in a new company that purchased four struggling Orange County hospitals: Western Medical Center Anaheim, Chapman Medical Center Orange, and Western Medical and Coastal Communities Hospital in Santa Ana. During a series of hearings that month, state Senator Joe Dunn (D-Garden Grove) forced Chaudhuri out of the deal. Or so it would seem. In fact, Chaudhuri has the right to purchase up to a quarter of the company's stock and, more important, already owns nearly half the land under the hospitals. In other words, the worst-case scenario for Orange County -- four closed hospitals -- could mean a fortune to Chaudhuri, whose critics say they wouldn't put it past him to sell the land to real estate developers. MITIGATING FACTOR: He provides an excellent case for de-privatizing health care.
28 SHERIFF MICHAEL CARONA
What's truly scary about Sheriff Carona isnâ€™t that so much of his high command is under indictment for corruption (George Jaramillo) or that they quit for personal reasons involving a teenage son who helped gang-rape an unconscious teenager (Don Haidl). Nor is it that Carona himself is dogged by allegations of sexual harassment and extramarital affairs -- our favorite rumor involves a hooker in Moscow. No, what makes Carona so scary is that he reminds us of the incredible power of the male libido to screw things up: In a matter of months, Carona fell from his place as America's hero (Samantha Runnion murder case) to Sex Pistol. Scary? This could happen to anybody with sufficient power and access to Russian hookers. MITIGATING FACTOR: So far, it hasn't happened to anyone else.
Courtesy Mike Davis
29 MIKE DAVIS
This UC Irvine professor has a knack for predicting disasters. In the 1991 film City on the Edge, Davis predicted that LA was ripe for Watts-style riots. A week or so after the film was completed, the LA riots erupted. Two years later, Davis was lecturing a UCLA class on earthquakes. The Northridge earthquake followed the next morning, on Jan. 17, 1994. Davis has authored increasingly scary books, like Dead Cities: And Other Tales and the forthcoming Planet of Slums. But none is scarier than his current title, The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu, which predicts that avian flu will soon become a global pandemic killing hundreds of millions of people. MITIGATING FACTOR: Davis also writes lighthearted fantasy novels starring his teenage son that fail miserably to wreak terror.
Photo by Jack Gould
30 BEN "PUNCHY" NIELSEN
We were wigged out when we read R. Scott Moxley's story about Benâ€™s kid, Jeffrey, the thirtysomething Republican Party activist who prosecutors say raped a teenage boy and who has an art collection featuring more than 400 pictures of naked boys. We're not saying it didnâ€™t make sense -- hardcore Republican activist, nice ties, stuffed animals on bed, friends with (Republican party chieftain) Scott Baugh and (former party boss) Tom Fuentes -- just, you know, we were creeped out, even though Jeffrey says heâ€™s not guilty (didn't know boy was a boy). Then, in September, we met Jeffrey's dad, Ben, outside the Orange County Central Courthouse where Jeffrey's case had been delayed for the 28th time since his 2003 arrest. We're not saying the fix is in, or we are, but that's not the point. Point is: we thought Jeffrey was too tightly wrapped -- and then Ben came after OC Weekly photographer Jack Gould with fists a-flying, like Robert De Niro as the aging Jake La Motta in Raging Bull but fatter. Gould says Ben hit him; speaking to Santa Ana police, Ben didn't deny it but said he had to hit Gould because Gould actually asked him to -- not figuratively, as in "Jack was asking for it because he aimed a camera at my son, and a dad must protect his son even in the face of charges he sodomized a high school kid in Westminster," but literally, as in "Jack was saying, 'Please hit me because I've always wanted to look like Jared Leto in Fight Club.'" MITIGATING FACTOR: A former Fountain Valley mayor and Republican, Ben is not accused of picking up a boy at his high school and nailing the boy next to his mother's bed while the boy's mother is at work.
The shit that's done in this guy's name? Hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides -- and now this: Last year, 18 parents (out of like 1,200) petitioned to get twin 5-year-olds kicked out of kindergarten at St. John the Baptist School in Costa Mesa because the boys' dads are gay. Teachers, other parents and the school's principal of 30 years objected, citing the school's non-discrimination policy. The Gang of 18 appealed to the Diocese of Orange and, when that failed, threatened to go to the Vatican. That's when the Norbertine Order of priests running the school Solomonically allowed the kids to stay -- but forbade the parents to enter the campus together. Gay-dad bashers began surveilling the school parking lot from their cars every morning, binoculars in one hand and cell phone in the other, ready to punch the principal's number on speed dial should both men be spotted on the church grounds simultaneously. Frustrated, the dads left St. John and enrolled their twins in a more liberal Orange County Catholic parish. MITIGATING FACTOR: More liberal Orange County Catholic parishes.
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