Diary of a Mad County

April 5 - April 11

Wednesday, April 5
Costa Mesa Police Chief John Hensley retires at the ripe old age of 50, apparently because he wasn't thrilled with the idea of having his men go through people's garbage. Now, you may only know Costa Mesa as South Coast Plaza's backup band—or Newport Beach's buffer zone from Santa Ana—but folks in that city really take an interest in each other, so much so that the City Council told Hensley to have his cops start checking people's papers, you know, like something out of Orwell or Nazi Germany or Wal-Mart. Led by Mayor Alan Mansoor—a phrase that inspires Little Bighorn-type confidence—the council voted to have Hensley's officers trained to check people's immigration status. Well, not all people's; the possibility of cops screening Lichtensteiners—the bloodsuckers—is unlikely. The law is directed at the city's Latinos, who make up a measly 30 percent of the local population. Hensley was concerned that a third of his city would be scared to death of his cops to the point they would not want to report crimes or cooperate in investigations of crimes. Echoing Hensley's misgivings, Sacramento Police Chief Albert NŠjera called the plan "chaos in the making," adding: "There is no way on God's green earth we can go out there enforcing immigration laws and then say, 'By the way, call us when someone rapes you or fires a round into your house.'" Hensley was lukewarm in regards to the law, saying at one point that "I'm not sure how it is making Costa Mesa safer." Still, it was Hensley who was forced to go out to the public and assuage fears that cops would be breaking down doors. "We will not be stopping people on the street or in their cars to ask their legal status," Hensley said. "If you are a victim of a crime, a witness to a crime or have a complaint about the police, we are not interested in your status." Still, he seemed resigned to the fact that he was going to have to enforce something he didn't really believe in, you know, like George W. Bush and the Constitution. Mansoor—the technical term for a male masseuse—and his ilk believe such drastic steps are necessary because illegal immigrants cause such a financial drain on cities. So they wanted Hensley to train anywhere from 30 to 40 officers, at a cost of about $28,000 per officer, to perform immigration checks on felons, even though the felons are checked once they are transferred to county jail. The best Hensley could muster in favor of the new law was to say it would be worth it "if one person is deported who could prey on our community." The council agreed and immediately moved to have Alan Mansoor deported.

Thursday, April 6
Long Beach police officer and mayoral candidate John Stolpe is arrested in Griffith Park on suspicion of exposing himself and resisting arrest. Stolpe hasn't been formally charged yet, but he does have an April 27 court hearing, clothing optional. Stolpe, one of five candidates in Tuesday's mayoral election, also ran in 2002, "also ran" apparently being his platform, since four years ago he was crushed by a write-in candidate and the Spruce Goose, which doesn't even live in Long Beach anymore. The Griffith Park ranger who apprehended him said Stolpe suffered cuts and scrapes when he was caught near the zoo. Animal lover? Who can say? Who would want to say? In fact, just stop saying that.

Friday, April 7
Worst day ever.

Hensley
Hensley

Saturday, April 8
Better.

Sunday, April 9
The National Geographic Channel runs a two-hour documentary about the recently recovered, restored and authenticated Gospel of Judas. Prominent in the special is Chapman University professor Marvin Meyer, who helped translate the document, believed to have been written about A.D. 180. The gospel has gotten a lot of press because it gives a differing view of Judas' betrayal of Jesus, clearly saying that Jesus, in fact, asked Judas to hand him over to the Romans, telling Judas that in doing so he would surpass all other Apostles, even Spanky. It might sound strange, but remember, without a betrayal, there can be no crucifixion; without a crucifixion, there can be no resurrection; and without a resurrection, there can be no $50 prayer cloths available on the TBN website, tax and shipping not included, amen. Meyer comes off as not only smart but also spiritually balanced, as he did in a recent Orange County Register article in which he said that Judas' gospel comes from a Christian mysticism that "says to follow Jesus means to waken to one's true humanity and to find that spark of what it truly means to be human before God." Righteous. I really believe that. I really believe being human gets a bad name in Christianity when, actually, I think it's our highest calling, to be human. Most of us don't approach being human. Most of us barely approach Snarfing Feeding Craven Being. (Some of us approach zoo animals in various states of dress/undress, but, really, I don't want to hear any more about that.) So I want to be clear that I admire Meyer's work but still would like to add that the idea that Judas was misunderstood was pioneered by most Catholic school fifth-graders, who, having been taught that we are all given free will, always felt as if Judas was set up, his fate predestined and predicted thousands of years before in the Old Testament. We also thought it was a little strange that the Romans needed someone to point out who Jesus was when, just four days before, he'd been welcomed into Jerusalem as a rock star. We also thought that Julie McCurdywas a total fox.

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