Diary of a Mad County

Nov. 15 - Nov. 21

Wednesday, Nov. 15
Proponents of the Foothill South toll road have long argued that the thoroughfare's destruction of San Onofre State Beach would be well worth it because it would ease congestion on the Santa Ana Freeway (5), thereby providing people easier access to AYSO soccer games and Costcos for purchase of flats of Fruit Roll-Ups to utilize as post-AYSO snacks. And today, the Orange County Transportation Authority releases a study that totally supports toll road supporters. The study, titled "We Are So Screwed: Seriously, Royally Screwed" says that if the toll road is built, traffic will be alleviated on the Santa Ana Freeway to the point of being "severely congested" by the year 2030, which would be about the year the toll road would open, what with the expected work delays, cost overruns, mob extortion and unearthing of dinosaur/Native American/guy who wouldn't pay the mob bones. James Birkelund, an attorney for Natural Resources Defense Council, asked "Why are we building a project with a stated purpose that won't be achieved, at the expense of our parkland?" I dunno, pal, why does Radio Shack ask for your ZIP code when you buy batteries? Lisa Telles, a tollway spokeswoman, waylaid all fears by assuring motorists, "We know there's going to be more traffic on the 5 Freeway in the future." I'm placated. Of course, there are some who say that the added traffic will come about because of the toll road. Their crazy circuitous "logic" goes like this: once you build a toll road into areas previously uninhabited and unreachable, it makes it easier for developers to build homes and people to buy and live in those homes, bringing with them their Fruit Roll-Up-laden SUVs. Could you follow that? Me neither. Who are any of these people to question the TCA, especially when you see the good work they did with the San Joaquin (73) toll road that has been such an enormous success? I mean, remember when the San Diego Freeway (405) used to have traffic?

Thursday, Nov. 16
I don't know if I mentioned this, but I've been teaching alternative journalism at UC Irvine this quarter. I really enjoy the gig—the kids aren't nearly as diabolical as I'd been led to believe—and I enjoy talking to them about the real world, though I think I come off as Grumpy Old Man and/or Lyndon LaRouche-ish at times. Still, I love being at UCI, except for one thing that happens whenever I'm walking to or from my classroom—which, I swear to you, is a trailer. (Not that I'm complaining, it's very functional, if a little funky-smelling. Probably has something to do with all those empty cough medicine bottles I always find near that topographical map of Riverside County. Kids.) Anyways, whenever I'm making the walk, I pass person after person handing out post cards and fliers promoting parties, shows, raves and ways to make easy money in Riverside. The thing of it is, as fast as these folks work to get this material in the hands of students, they act just as fast not to give any to me. They give me the once-over, spy my dark circles and wannabe footwear and immediately pull back their hands like a turtle in cold water. It's gotten so that I go out of my way to walk by these people, making eye contact and even shooting them a somewhat pleasant "Hi," to which they respond "Hi," though they might as well say, "Nice try, pops, now how's about you and your weak-ass Skechers just keep on moving?" Children can be so cruel. That is, until today, when one of these kids—a handsome, well-mannered young man—handed me something. "Thanks," I said, barely hiding my ecstasy. Finally, one of these young people had seen that youthful spark still present in me and deemed me worthy. I looked down at my quarry. It said "Is Joseph Goebbels on Your Campus?" It was a pamphlet published by Lyndon LaRouche.

Friday, Nov. 17
Legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler dies, leading numerous people, mostly under 30 and laden with rave fliers, to exclaim, "What's a Bo Schembechler?"

Nov. 20: Bye-bye, Lynn. Photo by Jennie Warren
Nov. 20: Bye-bye, Lynn. Photo by Jennie Warren

Saturday, Nov. 18
Wonder what ever happened to that Michael Richards guy? He seemed nice.

Sunday, Nov. 19
The Chicago Cubs sign free agent outfielder Alfonso Soriano to an eight-year, $136 million deal. Soriano, who became one of the few players in the history of the game to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in the same season last year for the Washington Nationals, is considered the top prize in this year's free agent class and was targeted by Angels owner Arte Moreno to rehabilitate an inconsistent offense. Perhaps the team should look at another National League slugger, this one who would no doubt benefit from the lowered physical demands of being a designated hitter in the American League. You may have heard of him, his name is Barry Bonds and word is that at least one team, the Oakland As—the Angels' main rival in the American League West—have been talking to Bonds' people about signing with them. The very fact that Bonds, and his present team the Giants, are even allowing such talks to happen is proof of what a miserable march Bonds' breaking of Henry Aaron's home run record is going to be. Can you imagine the Baltimore Orioles allowing Cal Ripken to leave the team just as he was about to break Lou Gehrig's consecutive game record? Yet here is Bonds, about to break the most hallowed record in American sports, and the Giants are considering letting him go? Apparently they have a weak stomach for flung syringes, questions about performance-enhancing drugs, and the ultimate day that figures to be more sad than celebrated. On second thought, maybe the Angels should think about bringing Mo Vaughn back.

Monday, Nov. 20
According to the Buzz column from The Orange County Register's Martin Wisckol, Democrat Lou Correa's lead over Republican Lynn Daucher has grown to 783 in their race for the 34th state Senate district seat. Daucher had this seat all but sewn up, at least that's what she and Republicans told everyone. On election night, flush with the kind of confidence that comes with a 13 vote lead in the race, Scott Baugh, head of the Orange County Republican Party, said, "The Democrats believe they own central Orange County, and they believe they own the ethnic voting block there. We know we will never concede that ground." Daucher was more direct, declaring that her campaign "showed how to win Mexican and Vietnamese votes . . . Bye-bye Loretta," that last bit intimating that she would go on to defeat Republican-killing Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. Uh, Lynn, some advice. Before you start calling out a six-time Congresswoman, first make sure you can beat Otto Bade. It's Bade that Daucher and Republicans say really beat her. He's a conservative Republican candidate who they claim was propped up to siphon votes away from Daucher. As it stands, Bade—who, admit it, you're picturing right now in a Kaiser helmet—has 899 votes. Of course, Republicans have no one but themselves to blame since they pretty much pioneered this back in 1996 when in a race for a 1996 state Assembly seat they siphoned off votes from Democrat Linda Moulton-Patterson with decoy Democratic candidate Laurie Campbell. The beneficiary of that ruse? Scott Baugh.

Tuesday, Nov. 21
A shudder goes through the office as Rebecca Schoenkopfholds aloft a DVD, the cover of which reads Real Housewives of Orange County 2.

slowery@ocweekly.com

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