OC Weekly's Year In Review 2013

Tacos and terrorists, chopped-off dicks in the desert, and drinking with Marines in Coachella cap off our year that was

2. Fullerton's Continued War Against Kelly Thomas. More than two years after Fullerton police bludgeoned Kelly Thomas to death, the City Council finally considered the issue of police oversight. One option before them was a two-year, $120,000 contract with Michael Gennaco's Office of Independent Review (OIR). The other was to continue exploring other models, including a civilian review board. Police Chief Dan Hughes made a strong pitch for OIR while dismissing a review board late into a marathon council meeting. Activists who formed the Police Oversight Proposal Committee (POPC) had precious little time to make their case and defend the model they spent months crafting during meetings at Fullerton Public Library. Mayor Bruce Whitaker was the sole dissenting vote against the contract with Gennaco's firm, dealing a critical blow to citizen engagement in police-oversight matters. Coupled with the council vote against a year-round homeless shelter in the city, Fullerton's local government has learned nothing from Thomas' death.

3. Anaheim's War On the Homeless. With a lingering recession, tents began popping up in Anaheim's public parks, where homeless persons stayed before clearing out at night. An anti-camping ordinance was born in September, aimed at criminalizing homelessness and confiscating their "abandoned" possessions. After a contentious council meeting, the action was postponed until Anaheim and Fullerton decided to jointly contribute $40,000 each to open the Fullerton Armory Winter Shelter weeks ahead of schedule. The City Council also decided to grant a 30-day grace period, beginning Dec. 15. The ACLU of Southern California has been watching for any infringements upon civil and human rights.

4. Anaheim City School District's War On Latino Parents. Latino parents from Benito Juarez Elementary were on the march in May, but no liberal groups rallied to their cause. Their demand: Retain Principal Roberto Baeza, who had been slated to be transferred at the end of the school year. The parents pleaded their case at school board meetings and school-site sessions and even started a petition, all to no avail. Anaheim City School Board District member Jose F. Moreno was accused of being behind the move in a shadow feud with Baeza, but neither he nor his colleagues cared about parent concerns, defending the rotation as a matter of routine policy. The school year after the shuffle scuffle? The policy was changed to strengthen the superintendent's hand and further weaken the voice of parents.

Seems like a Kushy Job
Eric Hood
Seems like a Kushy Job
Right before the riots
John Gilhooley
Right before the riots

5. OC Hip-Hop's War for Attention.With multiple city scenes, the local underground movement possesses a rich depth and diversity. This year saw the release of many albums and mixtapes that the Weekly spotlighted through the Spare Notes feature on our Heard Mentality music blog. Whether it was Kevin Parx of SanTana's Freethrows, Locally Grown Collective's DaveAllen representing Orange on Young American or Emcee Classiq pondering Cupid's Vices from Anaheim, there was no shortage of beats and rhymes for the times. Other rappers such as Sage One, Hands, and Innate & EP gave county hip-hop-heads something to bump from San Clemente to Costa Mesa and beyond. The ladies are taking to the mic, too—watch for Miss Char, Vally Vicious, Wicked Babydoll and Noel to make moves in the New Year. For hip-hop in OC, the rhymes of KRS-One ring true: We only get better, and only better we have gotten!

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1. Steve Smith Pays Back the Punk Rock Community $50 At a Time. One of our most frustrating and funny sagas this year came thanks to a guy named Steve Smith, who promoted the ill-fated (or perhaps never-fated?) Punk Rock Picnic that he abruptly halted in April. Our cover story on the topic led to interesting discoveries—namely how Smith was able to take over the identity of the original festival from its founders, promote his own, and then cancel it after he'd accepted money from scores of ticket holders and dozens of local vendors. Months later, in an attempt to symbolically clear his name, he called us to say he'd taken a part-time, $9-per-hour side job to pay back all the money he owed. Naturally, another blog post followed in which we wished OC's punk community good luck with the slowest, most inefficient refund attempt in festival history.

2. 50 Best/Worst Things About OC's Music Scene. Normally, you gentle readers rely on us to get a clear take of the good, the bad and the utterly ridiculous in OC music. But when we decided to give musicians the chance to plop down on the therapist couch and say their piece about the OC scene, their joys and frustrations about their stomping grounds made for funny reading. Never failing to keep it real, the artists who participated in this special two-part list chose to rant about everything from OC's bro-iest downtowns to the false sense of accomplishment that comes with winning an OC Music Award. At the same time, they were thankful for their favorite post-gig food joints (Molcasalasa!) and the opportunity to run into crusty old-school punk legends such as Rikk Agnew at the supermarket. Guess you gotta take the good with the bad.

3. Trent Reznor's Stunning Tribute to Our Andrew Youssef. Last month, we thought we'd seen just about everything Nine Inch Nails could do to show their support for beloved Weekly photographer Andrew Youssef. Though he passed away just after Thanksgiving, Youssef is definitely going down in history for having one of the most legendary NIN fan experiences ever thanks to the time spent with Trent Reznor and company before their fall arena tour. But when the Weekling unexpectedly answered a FaceTime chat with Reznor on Nov. 16, after seeing the band perform at the Staples Center on Nov. 8, it turned out he got an even better seat to their show at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Just before launching into the song "In This Twilight" (a song Youssef also used as the title to one of his bravest blog posts), Reznor gave Youssef a special dedication as both he and his fans chanted the photographer's name. The video of the whole thing, which we wrote about on the blog, is unforgettable—the gesture instantly shined a national spotlight on Youssef and his story, his harrowing Last Shot column, and the cover story we did about his life.

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