Did Gray win any converts?

At the end, he received an enthusiastic ovation from a room full of, yes, grannies.

How’s that for progress?

“I’m so glad I got to hear Judge Gray speak,” one woman told her friends as they left. “He was so thought-provoking.”

While living in Orange County in the late 1990s, 27-year-old Mexican national Cosme Medina-Villa was arrested for performing “continuous sexual abuse” on a girl under the age of 14. The acts, which occurred regularly during a two-year-period, included oral copulation and intercourse. In a plea bargain, Medina-Villa got prosecutors to dismiss one of three felony charges and was sent to Chuckawalla Valley State Prison for three years before his deportation. He’s back. This time, he was arrested for acting as a paid border coyote near San Diego and, based in part on his criminal history in OC, was given a 60-month prison sentence. With the assistance of publicly provided attorneys, he complained that his punishment was unconstitutionally severe. On May 28, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld his sentence. Any bets on when we’ll hear again from Medina-Villa?

OC lost four public servants last week. Assistant United States Attorney Ken Julian resigned from his agency’s Santa Ana branch to join Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. Julian—a mild-mannered but devastating master of cross-examination and courtroom strategy—most recently served as co-counsel in USA v. Michael S. Carona, our infamous, dethroned ex-sheriff. Across town at The Orange County Register, veteran reporters John Gittelsohn and Norberto Santana Jr. announced their departures. Gittelsohn has accepted a job with Bloomberg News in New York City; Santana is mum about his plans. Both men gave the Reg energy and skill that’s going to be difficult to replace. And finally, ace Los Angeles Times investigative reporter Christine Hanley, who worked in the paper’s OC bureau and helped expose Carona’s corruption, announced her resignation.

Local taxpayers shell out millions of dollars annually to the county’s OC Public Works department for many tasks, including tree-trimming services. But apparently the job’s too big for them. On June 2, the all-Republican board of supervisors voted, without public discussion, to pay as much as an additional $55,000 per month to a private company for tree trimming.

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