Diary of a Mad County

March 24 The hits keep coming for deposed Sheriff's Department strongman George Jaramillo, who a couple of weeks ago was riding high and now has been stripped of his job and $135,000 salary. Now, I don't pay attention to anything that doesn't come with a soundtrack, but I think people should have been aware this guy was bad news given his piranha-like countenance—jutting lower chin, razor-sharp teeth. Every day brings new accusations of conflicts of interest and kickbacks, you know, just like Antonin Scalia, though without so much killing or coups d'etat.

March 25 Most police are admirable people doing actual police work like the cops currently looking for Alvaro Flores, who, they believe, has been attacking women, pushing them down and attempting to make off with their panties, which isn't funny or sexy, though it was Bill Clinton's domestic policy while governor of Arkansas. (Love ya, Bill. Please come back. And this is no kidding because, unlike the search for WMDs, we know the panties actually exist.) As many as 40 women have reported being victim of the panty raids, and police say the attacker usually preys on victims carrying heavy items such as groceries, laundry or George Jaramillo's upcoming court calendar. Virtually all of the victims were wearing skirts. Organizers of the county's annual Scottish Festival are said to be on high (tartan) alert. March 26 Weekly Editor Will Swaim, who apparently doesn't understand the terms "personal space" or "restraining order," calls and asks if I'd like to go back to writing my brilliantly incisive, gut-bustingly hilarious Diary of a Mad County that he killed months ago while in the midst of a girl-drink binge. I figure I'm obligated to say yes since I haven't actually appeared in the paper since he pulled the Diary, but I ask him if there isn't already a diary-like column written by the managing editor, whom, in deference to his children, I will not refer to by name and instead call Natt Koker. Swaim says the catch is that my first column must actually begin with items from two days before and can I do it? No problem, says I, as long as I have the Big Three of political columns—crooked politicians/cops, degenerate criminals and/or Scotsmen —I should be fine. March 27 With temps reaching the 90s, many of us head to the beach, where soon, God willing, you won't be able to smoke anymore (cigarettes make baby Jesus cry). Word on the street is that Laguna Beach Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Pearson and Councilwoman Toni Iseman will soon present the council with a proposal banning smoking on Laguna Beach—"Person Presents Public Puffing Proposal. Peeved, Panting Pissants Plan Protest Pronto." Laguna would join Solana Beach, Santa Monica and San Clemente in banning cigarettes. While secondhand smoke is a concern, the main reason for the ban is the mess cigarettes make. Maintenance crews have complained for years that cigarette butts are among the most disgusting things on the sand, along with used condoms and Iowans. March 28 Cigarette butts ain't the only thing dirty. Sheriff Mike Carona admits that concerns were raised about political contributions to his campaign from a Newport Beach businessman but that he was told the money was given legally. Two things seem odd about this: first, the Sheriff having to ask someone what's legal and what isn't. Second, that the person he asked was his then-chief fund-raiser Lisa Jaramillo, wife of George Jaramillo—DA DA DUUUH! Newport businessman Charles Gabbard admitted last week that he illegally gave Carona $29,000 because he was hoping to get Carona's help in marketing a laser device that would stop fleeing cars. Carona says he didn't do anything to help Gabbard's CHG Safety Technologies, which has been stalled (thank you!) in its attempt to market the device by Detroit automakers who say the device is unnecessary given that they mastered the science of disabling a moving vehicle with the introduction of the Ford Explorer. March 29 In a report handed to the Board of Supervisors today, county Registrar Steve Rodermund admits that enough OC voters were given the wrong ballots to influence the outcome of at least one race. Now, Rodermund did a great job in the last election—just ask him or Orange County Register reporter Dennis Foley—but election workers who were either poorly trained or publicly educated gave voters incorrect access codes for ballots as well as confusing and many times wrong directions. There were reports of verbal fights and voters being denied the right to vote. Almost sounds like the bad old days of the South, though no one is impugning the character of the poll workers, who, in many cases, were distracted from their duties by shiny objects. The thing is so bad that across the pond in Ireland [editor's note to Orange County poll workers: that's the place where Lucky Charms comes from. What's that? Santa Claus? Sure. Santa Claus comes from Ireland. No, I don't have time to explain the difference between soup and gravy], columnist Ian O'Doherty of the Irish Independent is using the electoral failures in Orange County to help bolster his case that electronic machines should not be used in their upcoming elections. Great, we're getting the business from folks who still believe in the divine right of royalty and pick their local councils based on the arrangement of pig innards. March 30 In an act of panty stealing-like brazenness, this morning, Registrar Steve Rodermund presents himself and a bill for $22,000 to the OC Board of Supervisors for catering costs for an upcoming barbecue thrown for poll workers. Here's hoping the sharpest implement at the party is a spork. The timing and very existence of the barbecue have been criticized by politicians such as state Senator Don Peraltain light of the electoral farce. Pissed-off poll workers, noting that Peralta is from Oakland, say those who don't live in California should mind their own business.

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