The state Senate voted 23-0 on Jan. 31 for a state holiday honoring late civil-rights leader Cesar Chavez. All Republican senators abstained. So much for that crap about the California GOP opening its arms to Hispanics. The bill to celebrate the March 31 birthday of the United Farm Workers founder is now bound for the Assembly, where speaker Antonio Villaraigosa (D-Los Angeles) expects it to "fly through." If he's right, the measure will go to Governor Gray Davis, who hasn't taken a position on Cesar Chavez Day. Hispanics shouldn't take it personally; the Gov never takes a position on anything.
FREE ART Arthur Carmona, the 18-year-old Costa Mesa High School student wrongfully convicted of robbing an Irvine juice bar, on Feb. 1 was transferred from a northern California youth correctional facility to the state prison in Chino. Those fighting for Carmona's freedom had sought to keep him out of adult prison, but the transfer represented a partial victory: he'll now be closer to his family—and, hopefully, safer, as northern and Southern California prisoners have been known to mix it up in northern adult facilities. Now if only District Attorney Tony Rackauckas—shamed by a string of recent high-profile overturned convictions—would only unmix things up and let the lad out already. HOUSE OF THE RISING YOUNG Carmona is part of a growing trend! A new study shows minority youths charged with serious crimes are much more likely than white juveniles to face trials in adult courts and end up in prison. Hispanics accounted for 42.4 percent of the youths arrested for felonies in California from 1996 to 1998 and 51.5 percent of the juveniles sent to prison by adult courts, according to the Justice Policy Institute. Whites made up 28 percent of juvies arrested for felonies, but only about 9 percent got prison time from adult courts, the San Francisco criminal-justice think tank found. A spokesperson says the Gov "believes the laws should be applied fairly" but will wait to see if lawmakers take action. Whoa—don't go too far out on that limb there, Gray. WEDDED BLISS VS. JURY DUTY About 250 religious leaders and gay-rights activists from around the country packed into the United Church of Christ in Irvine on Jan. 31 to denounce the state ballot measure that would bar same-sex marriages. (Any thoughts, Governor Davis? What's that? You're against gay marriage but oppose Proposition 22 because it divides Californians? Gee, thanks for that decisive position.) Gays and lesbians may be banned from trotting down the aisle should the so-called Knight Initiative pass, but a state appeals court says they can't be banned from trotting into jury boxes. The 4th District Court of Appeals on Jan. 31 told an Orange County judge to reconsider a burglary case and grant a new trial if the prosecutor removed two jurors because they were lesbians. Damn—that means Clockwork can't use the lesbian excuse to get out of jury duty anymore. MANSON FAMILY VALUES Leslie Van Houten was arrested in a grisly slaying. No, Clockwork didn't just have another LSD flashback to that Tate-La Bianca item we wrote here in '69. This Leslie Van Houten is eight years younger and no relation to the Manson Family member rotting in prison. Shortly after 8 a.m. on Feb. 2, the Newport Beach mother of three drove the couple's faded red 1993 Geo Storm into a neighborhood a half-mile away from their mobile home to allegedly hide the vehicle from her 52-year-old husband, who had recently filed for divorce. Kenneth Jerome Van Houten, still wearing his bedroom slippers, gave chase on bike—amazingly steering with one hand while clutching a Club anti-theft device with the other. Police say the missus, apparently upset, used the car to knock her better half off the bike and then returned to run him over three times. He later died at Hoag Hospital. The Van Houtens are believed to be the only couple in Newport Beach history to fight over custody of a Geo Storm.
Strangely, Gray Davis had no comment.