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
28) JAMES FLEMING
The former superintendant of the Capistrano Unified School District has been charged with misspending schoolkids' money and making "enemy" lists of schoolkids' parents, and he now faces jail time because of it. Although Fleming pled not guilty to three felony charges, grand-jury testimony by former and current employees and board members of the school system he once ran is pretty damning. He discussed vocal members of the public in secret board meetings and refused to tell taxpayers who was paying for the giant district administration building—which included a shower in his office. While he built it, kids went to school in old portables. Parents and teachers were afraid of him for a long time. And now, even though Fleming's gone, people still wonder if they or their kids will be subject to having their names compiled or their kids retaliated against for speaking out against the board members who supported him. MITIGATING FACTOR: How scary can someone be who looks like Santa Claus?
29) CHUCK DEVORE
The Republican Assemblyman wants to resurrect construction of nuclear power plants in the state, a practice shelved 30 years ago. DeVore's stated intended purpose, to build additional reactors at San Onofre to fuel a water-desalination plant, would have far-reaching benefits for residents, developers and energy companies in our near-desert climate. Of course, that's if you ignore the tremendous cost of building nuclear reactors and desalination plants, coupled with the waste problems both create. Hazardous byproducts from desalination plants tend to disrupt or kill large percentages of nearby marine life, while nuclear waste is, well, nuclear waste. DeVore's response to his critics? "I remain deeply skeptical of an environmental left that is, at its core, hostile to people, while constantly demanding that we give up our inalienable rights in service of the greater environmental good, which they, of course, define," he wrote on his website. MITIGATING FACTOR: DeVore's proposal already died in committee, but undeterred, he says he'll try to get the issue on the ballot in 2008.
30) MARK MCGRATH
It sure seemed like we were rid of Sugar Ray and the band's obnoxious, Madonna-fingerbanging front man Mark McGrath once and for all after their 2003 album In the Pursuit of Leisure bombed hard. Check out the used bin on Amazon, where you can pick up plenty of copies for a mere penny (and even then, it's overpriced). Alas, like a bad fungus, McGrath just wouldn't go away—now, instead of stinking up terrestrial radio (thank God for XM), the überdude made a leap to the telly, where he somehow landed a permanent gig co-hosting celebrity gossip show Extra!He's also emceed such profound cultural masterpieces as The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll, been a guest judge on American Idol, and made acting appearances on Law & Order: SVU and Las Vegas. And now, the other shoe: Sugar Ray are threatening to make another album in 2008, according to their website. Be afraid. Be very afraid. MITIGATING FACTOR: McGrath may be scary, but in terms of empty-headed OC TV celebs, he's no Pete Weitzner.
31) JOE DALLAS
Ignore the delicious irony of the guy's name, which reads as if it were lifted from a gay porn casting list. As the founder of Tustin-based Genesis Counseling, Dallas peddles the Christian fundie line that gays can magically change—like Transformers!—into happy, breeding heterosexuals, if they would only pray, accept Jesus and develop an insatiable appetite for whatever set of genitals not currently in their possession. Oh, and forking over cash for some of Dallas' books and MP3 lectures—with titles such as The Gay Gospel? How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible, When Homosexuality Hits Home, and Homosexuality and the Church ($30 for that one, ka-ching!)—certainly wouldn't hurt, either. Dallas is merely another in a long line of moneychangers preying on his flock's fears and self-hatred, all while ignoring such inconvenient facts as the failure of the bogus "ex-gay" groups he's been involved with to provide any independent statistics showing how many queers have truly switched teams (because if they have, then they were never really gay to begin with). MITIGATING FACTOR: With his goatee and rugged good looks, Dallas would fit right in at a Sunday beer bust at Pistons.
32) YOUR LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM
With each passing year that the Angels fail to win the World Series, their triumphant 2002 season just keeps getting all the more precious. Call it the curse of victory bringing about high expectations, but fans now count on the Halos to not only play deep into the postseason every year, but some of us also expect them to win the whole effing thing on a regular basis. Impossible, sure, but since '02, their playoff record is a woeful 4-12, and each year entering October, they've looked tired, haggard and banged-up, giving off a just-glad-to-be-here aura that all but guarantees a quick exit.
So here's what's scary: The Angels need a bat. A big one. Preferably Alex Rodriguez. Because if they don't pick one up this winter, then the Angels are in danger of becoming the next Atlanta Braves: always winning, but never winning enough to hoist championship trophies. MITIGATING FACTOR: Yankees suck!