Killer Quince

Happy Quinceañera to us! A look back at 15 years of telling the other side (that is, the real side) of OC's story

“If it wasn’t for OC, your scene wouldn’t be alive.” That’s what the Adolescents sneered correctly about punk, but, of course, those snotty geniuses could have been sneering about a lot more. Without OC, you wouldn’t have the brilliant, bizarre latter days of sci-fi iconoclast author Philip K. Dick, who holed up in Fullerton and Santa Ana in the 1970s and, as Chris Ziegler exhaustively detailed in 2005, saw God. You wouldn’t have Sandow Birk wracking up critical acclaim for his paintings while shocking and awing and depicting Muhammad as an angry cab driver for his interpretation of Dante’s Inferno. After all, suburbia isn’t a bad place from which to launch plans of world cultural domination. Irvine gave us Zack De La Rocha’s civilization-razing Rage Against the Machine, who, Hobey Echlin wrote in 2007, resemble God because if they “didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent them.” Westminster fostered the globe-trotting ambition of Vietnamese music studio Thuy Nga, producers of the iconic variety-show spectacle Paris By Night. And Costa Mesa culinary auteur Wing Lam may have produced Orange County’s greatest export of all. Per Matt Coker in 2000: “Fuck me, Wahoo’s makes the best fish taco. Ever. End of story.”

Hollywood has craven talent agents. Washington, D.C., has craven lobbyists. The Eastern Seaboard has craven polluters. Mexico has craven drug dealers. And Orange County has craven land developers. Over the years, the Weekly has repeatedly targeted Tony Moiso, scion of the Moiso family of Rancho Mission Viejo, for purchasing local politicians, invading the county’s last protected wildlands and master-planning more South County traffic; Donald Bren, chairman of the Irvine Co., for purchasing local politicians, roughing up tenants of his vast commercial properties and spreading his man seed like ugly clusters of estates carved into the Newport Coast; and George Argyros, chairman of Arnel Development Co., for purchasing local politicians, roughing up tenants of his vast fleabag-apartment empire and spreading his me-first, right-wing politics from Chapman University to Spain. Those, of course, are the biggies. There are also associated feeder builders/developers and their business groups and their hand-picked county supervisors whom we’ve called out over the years for putting the interests of the wealthy few ahead of the well-being of the millions of the rest of us. Coming on strong to join the craven crass like bleeding boils are the Irvine City Council, Redevelopment Agency and Great Park Corp. Board of Directors, which are each composed of mostly the same people. Indeed, as they burn through billions for the Orange County Great Park, the county’s largest public-works project, Agran and his minions must leave our fair region’s mega-developers green with envy. After all, the developers actually have to build something.

Are you out of your fucking mind?

Star Foreman
Star Foreman

Looking back over the past 15 years, one constant theme of the Weekly’s coverage has been highlighting our fair county’s amazing penchant for sending people to jail for daring to follow the will of the people and actually make medicine available to patients. It all started in November 1996, just more than a year after our first issue appeared, when California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 215, legalizing marijuana for medical use. When Marvin Chavez and Dave Herrick, a former cop and combat medic in Vietnam, tried to organize OC’s first cannabis collective, county narcotics agents posed as patients and tricked the pair into providing them with pot. Prosecutors painted both men, who weren’t allowed to mention Prop. 215 in their trials, as drug dealers, resulting in both men heading off to the slammer. (Herrick’s case was later dismissed, thanks to prosecutorial misconduct, and he was released years early.) The county’s war on pot continues to this day; nary a week goes by without news on our Navel Gazing blog of yet another marijuana dispensary being raided. Just ask Mark Moen of the since-shuttered 215 Agenda in Lake Forest; he’s now awaiting trial for alleged money laundering and, if convicted, could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Early in Weekly history, a cover package was dedicated to all things Disneyland. It was so long ago that Craig Kilborn was still the host of The Daily Show. We know because we included fake-news correspondent Brian Unger’s biting segment, “In the Shadow of the Mouse”—word-for-word and with photos and the blessing of Comedy Central’s then-fledgling program. The huge pick-up that print edition received would be duplicated any time Disney-related images appeared on our cover. (Which reminds us: Isn’t it about time for another Disneyland feature, guys?) Corresponding stories can be Disney-positive—like strategies for families scaling Disneyland in a day—or Disney-negative—such as the investigative report that exposed huge pay disparities between Mouse House executives and lowly workers. Or, as in “The Happiest Freaking Place on Earth” by Vu Nguyen and Fermin Leal, an exposé of the controversy surrounding the theme park’s fireworks display. Even non-park-related covers with Disney imagery are quickly snagged from news racks, like the one advancing the Newport Beach Film Festival that included a photo illustration of Marilyn Monroe exposing Mickey Mouse-ear breasts and another on OC’s sexiest cities featuring a shot of topless lasses (and one lad) wearing Mickey Mouse-ear hats. Okay, the toplessness may have also helped spark the huge pick-ups. That’s not important right now. What is important is the love of our Magic Kingdom has spread to our blogs, where Disney-related content always receives large numbers of page views—with or without bare-breasted babes.

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