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
18. TODD SPITZER
In the early morning hours of Feb. 19—seven days after Christopher Dorner's life ended in Big Bear—another blood-soaked nightmare befell OC when 20-year-old Ali Syed fatally shot a young woman in his family's Ladera Ranch home before taking off in his parents' SUV to open fire on local freeway motorists. By the time the gunsmoke cleared, three more were dead, including suicidal Syed. A press conference at which media members hoped to fill gaping holes created in the frantic spot-news coverage was hijacked by headline-grabbing Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer. The Spitz, who cut off a police official giving vital details about the crime spree, was there to remind reporters that Ladera Ranch and Irvine, where the Dorner bloodshed began, are within his supervisorial district and he would present "a community discussion on violence" (later canceled). This came after Spitzer inexplicably showed up in Big Bear the night the Dorner manhunt ended, granting more unnecessary interviews for reasons only Todd knows. Mitigating factor: Proving he's no two-trick press-conference hog, Spitzer grabbed the mic after Easter, when reporters and TV crews gathered for details on rescued teen hikers in Trabuco Canyon, which is, as you of course know, also within you-know-who's district.
19. RACKY'S ATTACKERS
The longtime OC Weekly news box stood on Main Street in Huntington Beach for as long as the paper existed . . . until the U.S. Open of Surfing riots that engulfed downtown Surf City last summer. Vandals smashed up Racky, no doubt still pissed that Steve Lowery's Diary of a Mad County column is no longer published. The Weekly put up a substantial reward in exchange for info on the assailants that has yet to be claimed, showing how much people actually read our blogs. Mitigating factor: While the rioters knocked down The Orange County Register news rack with ease, they heaped the most abuse on Racky—yet she never buckled under the pressure. Battered and bruised, but standing plain and tall—what a metaphor for journalism in Orange County!
20. WILLIAM FITZGERALD
Used to be that this babbling Anaheim gadfly only railed about Disneyland fireworks in his neighborhood. Maybe he was on to something, and the pyrotechnic chemicals finally went to his brain because William Fitzgerald has set his sights on other enemies: Muslims and Vietnamese. But nothing prepared the Anaheim City Council audience for the anti-Semitic tirade he unleashed a few weeks back at Councilman Jordan Brandman. Speaking about Hitler and the Holocaust, Fitzgerald had this to say: "It was the Jordan Brandman type of evil Jews that led to the hatred of all Jews in Germany and the Holocaust." He also called the council member "an evil, greedy, scheming" Jew who "bragged" about having relatives who died in the Holocaust. Finally, despite having been politely asked to refrain from "mean" personal insults by Anaheim's mayor, Fitzgerald went full Nazi and concluded his speech by saying, "Jordan Brandman is one very sick faggot." Mitigating factor: Those Disneyland fireworks are Jewish, right?
21. ARTE MORENO
It was bad enough that Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim owner signed Albert Pujols in 2012 to a mega-deal that means Halos fans get to see the first-ballot Hall-of-Famer turn into Willie Mays with the Mets instead of Willie Mays with the Giants over the next decade. It was even worse when Moreno signed Josh Hamilton this year to a mega-deal that means Halos fans get to see their team's finances shackled for the next five years on two over-the-hill hitters. But Moreno went from merely being a bad owner to becoming a possible welfare queen when details emerged of a package the Anaheim City Council crafted to keep the Angels in town. The deal seeks to give Moreno rights to develop the land around Angels Stadium (and all the subsequent tax revenue) and allow the team to drop any Anaheim references in its name. Meanwhile, Moreno won't speak to the local press, justifying legendary sports columnist TJ Simers' nickname for him: Angry Arte. And he makes all front-office personnel dress in those god-awful red polos that Moreno probably grabbed from a Warehouse Shoe Sale bargain bin. Mitigating factor: He's antagonizing Mike Trout with his penny-pinching, meaning the young slugger will show Moreno the errors of his ego by bouncing.
22. LOU CORREA
When federal officials recently announced they would tolerate the sale of marijuana in states that had well-regulated marketplaces, their bold new policy was a tribute to the leadership of politicians in Colorado and Washington. California, on the other hand, isn't yet covered by this mandate. The reason: weak-kneed, feckless hacks in Sacramento who prefer to sit on their hands rather than figure out a way to protect the rights of citizens covered by the 17-year-old Compassionate Use Act. Then there's Lou Correa, the Democratic state senator from Santa Ana who's even worse. Earlier this year, he introduced a totally useless, scaremongering law that only the police could love; Senate Bill 289 would make it illegal to drive with any detectible amount of marijuana in your system. Translation: smoke a joint and get pulled over the next morning, and you'd be breaking Correa's stupid law. Mitigating factor: Correa's colleagues in the state Legislature refused to go along with his knuckle-headed plan.