OC's Scariest People 2013

Murderers, Todd Spitzer, pervy teachers, Arte Moreno and so many more!

OC's Scariest People 2013
Illustration: Lalo Alcaraz | Design: Dustin Ames

Every year, we pick the 31 scariest people in Orange County so you can laugh, cringe and be glad we didn't pick you this time around. But we hear you, gentle readers: You want more. More Instagrams, more tweets, more interacting with us. In that spirit, we've decided to offer cutout dolls of some of our scariest people, complete with accessories! Now you can pit Christopher Dorner against pervy Judge Scott Steiner, with Todd Spitzer saving the day by hijacking yet another press conference. Or you can just continue reading our latest collection of OC's lowest of the low. And don't forget to visit our Navel Gazing blog, on which we'll reveal the latest inductee to the Bob Dornan Scary OC Hall of Fame!

1. CHRISTOPHER DORNER
The poster boy for scary in 2013 was Christopher Jordan Dorner, the 33-year-old former La Palma resident who famously washed out as an LAPD officer (because he was flippin' nuts!). In early February, Dorner terrorized all of Southern California generally and anyone in a police uniform specifically. The former naval reserve officer's blood spree began with the lives of a bright, happy, young couple in Irvine—the female half being the daughter of the police captain who had represented Dorner in disciplinary proceedings. The discovery of those bodies was quickly followed by the disclosure of the madman's online manifesto against the LAPD (and, oddly, in favor of certain celebrities, including the stars of KFI's John and Ken Show). Amid an all-points manhunt that included false sightings, raids on empty dwellings, and cops using a Latina mother-and-daughter team delivering newspapers as target practice, a Riverside cop on routine patrol was shot to death and two other policemen were injured. Then, in the Big Bear area standoff that would end SoCal's nightmare, one deputy was slain in an exchange of gunfire and a second was hurt. With cabin walls in flames around him, Dorner presumably shot himself dead, but his folk-hero status survived. Mitigating factor: The only bright spot in all this? Howard Stern Wack Packer Captain Janks crank-calling KCBS-TV Channel 2 during the final showdown.

2. GREG PARHAM
Despite the fact that his bosses—Deputy U.S. Attorney General Andre Birotte, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama—had repeatedly insisted their policy wasn't to interfere with patients obtaining medical marijuana in states in which it was legal to do so, Greg Parham was a man on a mission. The assistant U.S. Attorney was in charge of the federal government's pot-eradication efforts in Southern California, and as he saw it, his job was to shut down every cannabis dispensary in his jurisdiction, policy and public statements be damned. Internal emails obtained by the Weekly reveal that Parham instructed his colleagues to threaten landlords with seizure of their properties without regard to whether their tenants were complying with state law. Worse, the emails showed that Parham and his pals relished the knowledge their actions were ruining lives and found such news cause for celebration. Mitigating factor: Thanks to our coverage, embarrassed higher-ups in the Obama administration forced Parham's office to drop several major cases against landlords in Orange County.

No. 1: Christopher Dorner
D.W. Frydendall
No. 1: Christopher Dorner
No. 4: Gabrielle Nestande
D.W. Frydendall
No. 4: Gabrielle Nestande

3. AARON KUSHNER
Have you ever watched someone being interviewed on television that clearly has no meaningful grasp of the topic? Regardless of the pending question, this interviewee expertly regurgitates marketing-department prepared lines with fake sincerity. That has been the m.o. of Aaron Kushner, the public face of a secretive business entity that purchased Freedom Communications Inc. and its flagship Orange County Register in 2012. It's one thing for a corporate flack for, say, a real-estate-development firm to utter nonsense to inquiring reporters. But it's another, more problematic thing when the empty suit is the leader of a media empire of more than 30 publications. It's even worse that Kushner, whose prior experience in journalism was buying an established greeting-card company, seems to think his carefully manufactured utterances equal facts. Adding free tickets to Angels games, cocktail party-like pictures and saccharine reports of churches, clubs and high-school sports doesn't push the paper into the "great" journalism category worthy of a complete paywall that even The New York Times or Washington Post don't dare. Perhaps what's most frightening is that so many otherwise-clear-headed reporters have cheapened their bylines by leaping on the Kushner bandwagon. Mitigating factor: A profile we wrote on him won us Best Business Story awards from both the OC and LA Press Clubs.

4. GABRIELLE NESTANDE
By day, Gabrielle Jane Nestande was a Texas legislative aide, former debutante and scion of a powerful Newport Beach political family headed by Bruce Nestande, a former OC assemblyman, county supervisor and campaign chairman to various high-profile GOP candidates who still advises OC's Republican Party. One night in 2011, petite Gabrielle downed five celebratory beers, a vodka drink and a 3-ounce shot, transforming into "Gabby Nasty," the nickname she earned in the Austin area for plowing her BMW into a nanny out for her last early-morning walk. Nestande, who'd previously worked on Governor Rick Perry's campaign, initially avoided the most serious fatal DUI hit-and-run charges, sparking a public outcry that had a state attorney taking the case over from local prosecutors. Gabby was convicted of criminally negligent homicide, sentenced to 180 days in jail and, just before her stretch ended in September, beaten up by a fellow inmate. None of this, by the way, was covered by the Register. Mitigating factor: Bruce got house arrest after a hit-and-run DUI crash into a parked car in Newport Beach. That was after a previous conviction for DUI hit-and-run in San Bernardino County. The appletini obviously does not fall far from the tree.

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26 comments
innercityskyline
innercityskyline

I love this, I have not heard of something like this for LA. I bet LA would have a much longer list! 


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949girl
949girl topcommenter

Jill Easter pled guilty yesterday (Oct. 30th) and got one year in jail which was reduced to 120 days in jail plus community service.

CaBeachNative
CaBeachNative

#24 I cant stop shaking my head over Kent and Jill Easter. Their folks must be so proud that they graduated from such prestigious schools to come out as dangerous criminals. What absolutely pathetic individuals. Where did those drugs come from? Those poor kids raised by parents with zero morals. I suspect ill be sued by the pair, right up there with Amazon's Anonymous poster.

johnmanly
johnmanly

Matt Cunningham is actually pretending he did not defend notorious pedophile priest protector and Diocese of Orange Vicar General Monsignor John Urell.  It is uncontroverted that Urell systematically lied and covered for child molesting priests and allowed them access to kids after knowing they had molested children. However, the worst thing Mr. Cunningham did, was internet post an un-redacted copy of a Urell's deposition, that I took, and thereby disclosed the victims names for all to see.  Pursuant to order of the court the victims names were  confidential.  This caused tremendous suffering and re-vicitmized them yet again.  To this day Mr. Cunningham, who in my view, is one of the most despicable people I have ever encountered, refuses to identify who gave him them deposition so that the victims can hold that person accountable. 

ToddSpitzer
ToddSpitzer

18: Todd Spitzer: First of all, I was going to call a press conference to clarify your nomination!  Monica Quan was killed by Dorner in Irvine.  Her dad is a retired LAPD officer who became an attorney.  He represented Dorner.  I spoke about the connection with LAPD given that I was a cop there for ten years.  Randy Quan called and thanked me for defending the family's honor on TV; I also attended the funeral ceremony at Concordia.  I had a multi-faceted connection to the Quans.  We did have the safe communities forum on violence so at least print a correction (you incorrectly state it was never held).   We held it in Irvine weeks after Dorner's capture and Mayors Choi and Murray were in attendance.  I am surprised you didn't know about it.  While we didn't have a press conference, television and print media covered it.  Last night we had the second safe communities forum on bullying at Foothill High.  We are planning the third townhall on video game violence.  Thanks for the nomination.  I am so honored I am putting it up on my FaceBook page.

n2bigmuscle
n2bigmuscle topcommenter

Maybe next year you can keep it down to 20.  This takes too many clicks ( I get paid by the click and this would be $1000 job to read all 31 people which lists only 3 on each page) and not everyone is so scary.  Some just want attention and act to get it but not scary.  I think Gustavo's hate for the city of Anahiem council is scary, jk, not really but kinda....

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

"the public face of a secretive business entity".

What is the name of the Secretive Business Entity?

And why is it so secretive?

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

"Todd Spitzer saving the day by hijacking yet another press conference".

Or just by showing up at a job fair hosted by him (Spitzer) at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine and not having him show up at all and having the table completely empty of OC reps where they never helped anyone because they weren't there, makes you wonder what they did with the information on the resumes that were given to them because not a single one of them ever called me, I haven't heard a thing. This is even after I went online and applied for almost all of the job positions that I could find by the sponsors that were represented at the job fair. I bet I sent out at least 75 different resumes.

Matthew_Cunningham
Matthew_Cunningham

Well, if the OC Weekly thinks I'm scary, I must be doing some thing right. 

That said, it's too bad - but not surprising - the Weakly continues to misrepresent my role and actions in the "Friends of Msgr. Urell" episode. It's futile to run through a truthful recounting of what happened, because Gustavo and the rest of the crew of this rag put a far higher value on attacking people they don't like than in being truthful - and that's on them.

NoValueForMyMoney
NoValueForMyMoney

Re: #3, Aaron Kushner: The OC Register's "complete" paywall wasn't so complete until last week.  If you clicked on an article, brought up the partial article along with the plea to subscribe, then clicked "Print", it would bring up the entire article.  This allowed me to be confident that the Register's reporting remains inadequate and woefully brief, and not worthy of my media dollars.  They finally patched the hole, which was very hard for me to resist posting about as I wanted it to remain open.  I gladly pay for an LA Times subscription, even though their paywall is weak and easily evaded, because I get value for my money.  OC Reg?  Not so much.

jcasteix
jcasteix

@johnmanly I agree. The only way to begin to put the issue at rest is for @Matthew_Cunningham to tell where he got that deposition. I still speak with victims who won't come forward to expose their abuse in the Diocese of Orange because of the fear that un-redacted legal documents will be leaked and posted on the internet.

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

@Matthew_Cunningham I'm going to object to Matthew Cunningham making the list. Susan Kang Schroeder has more scary belches when she's asleep and there's a devious smile on her face.

Biff
Biff

@Matthew_Cunningham Imagine!  Someone who "put[s] a far higher value on attacking people they don't like than in being truthful"?

I don't think that I've ever seen a clearer case of projection.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

"Gustavo and the rest of the crew of this rag put a far higher value on attacking people they don't like than in being truthful - and that's on them".

Well customers have complained numerous times about Gus not answering them back and you almost never got that from Will Swaim, and the magazine was a lot thicker and more interesting too but after all it's a free street rag in the first place. That's why many believe that it was better before Gus and Village Voice took it over. Who is the actual person that puts this thing out anyway and how do they pay for the publishing when it's free, it has to be the advertisers.

SickSnail
SickSnail

@Jerbaly Fart Boy I'll agree with you on the "attacking people they don't like" comment, but if you out victims of sex abuse you are a p o s.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@Matthew_Cunningham Matty: You outed sex-abuse victims, plain and simple, and no amount of spinning can change that. The great thing about this is that only you believe it didn't happen; sex-abuse victims know the truth about what you did, and that Pringle and Co. think you're somehow legitimate shows how decrepit you and your side is. I'll never forget how frightened you were when you first met John Manly haha

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@jcasteix @johnmanly @Matthew_Cunningham And there you go, folks. You can either believe John Manly (who has done more to legally expose the pedophile protectors at the Diocese of Orange than virtually anyone) and Joelle Casteix (one of many courageous survivors of the Orange diocese's perverted employees) about Matty's role in outing sex-abuse victims, or you can believe the whiny coward himself. The choice is yours!

ToddSpitzer
ToddSpitzer

@SickSnail @ToddSpitzer Thanks Sick Snail: Dorner led So Cal on a manhunt for ten days; he killed Monica and Keith on Feb. 2 and was cornered and killed on Feb. 12. So Cal was paralyzed and in significant fear because Dorner was focused on cops and their families but for several days people believed it was random and motiveless.  When Ali Syed killed four people on Feb. 19, the police stated publically that there was no motive.  Given Dorner's randomness and the randomness of Syed's killings, my district (and the County and So Cal for that matter) were searching for explanations to ensure we were safe.  Orange County residents being shot and killed for being in the wrong place/wrong time was sending panic throughout the community.  I had been briefed throughout the Dorner event by OC Sheriff; OC Sheriff provided resources in the manhunt.  OC Sheriff briefed me about Syed as well as Tustin PD.  I joined Mayor Murray in his city of Tustin to discuss Syed because I am elected to represent the community and to explain my concern and grief for the victims at the appropriate time.  I have since held two public forums to address violence with Mayor Murray: the first within several weeks of the Dorner resolution on community violence; the second this week on bullying.  One of the keynote speakers was a young man who was bullied because he was gay.  He had repeated suicidal thoughts and was ready to take his own life. It is my role and responsibility to bring the county resources necessary ( i.e. County Health Care Agency which deals with behavioral health issues) to the table to discuss approaches to addressing mental illness and violence.  I was elected to represent the community and to be a problem solver.  I don't mind being poked at by the OC Weekly.  It's ok to have levity at the appropriate times when we are faced with such serious and deadly community issues.

GustavoArellano
GustavoArellano moderator editortopcommenter

@tongue_twister_for_t That's a lie—I respond to EVERYTHING, including drivel like yourself. And I didn't out sex-abuse victims haha

 
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