Diary of a Mad County

Photo by James BunoanMONDAY, April 7: Late into the evening, the Costa Mesa City Councilargues over big-time developer Segerstrom's plan to replace the colorful old Kona Lanes bowling alley with a Kohl's. The council eventually votes 4-1 to trash the Kohl's plan, saying that part of town already has its share of 96,000-square-foot superstores. Of course, Paul Freeman, Segerstrom's shrill spokesperson, says this late turn of events won't save Kona Lanes, which is already contractually obligated to shut down at the end of May. What happened, Freeman? Someone drop a bowling ball on your foot? It's a beloved old bowling alley. Try not to sound so happy it's doomed. . . . The most controversial story in the latest OC Metro isn't Jason Reed's piece on why the Angels have a shot at another World Series title, the piece advocating gold investment or even Tom Umberg's op-ed on why the Geneva Conventions outlawing stuff like genocide and torture and gassing millions of people to an agonizing death "make good sense," but the rundown on the OC Music Awards. The author was Jennifer Corday, who also won this year's Best Acoustic Female award. This is clearly the most shocking conflict of interest in the Metro since, well, the previous issue, when one of the cover story's 10 Women Making a Difference turned out to be editor Kevin O'Leary's wife.

TUESDAY, April 8: The Los Angeles Times finally discovers that former Huntington Beach Mayor/current disgraced felon David P. Garofalo is now part owner of a new downtown Italian restaurant (The Orange County Registerfirst reported it on Feb. 24; our own Matt Coker offered Garofalo a possible menu on March 7). Because of Garofalo's felony conviction for the years he spent personally profiting from city business, the state won't let Garofalo's Bella Luna serve any alcohol. In a bizarre twist, reporter David Reyes actually makes Garofalo seem sympathetic, writing, "The former mayor said that some of the things he did didn't merit severe criminal charges." Severe? What's severe is that Garofalo didn't spend a day in even minimum-security prison for repeatedly using the public trust that put him into office to line his own pockets. . . . Speaking of sell-out ex-city councilmen, wasn't Paul Freeman the Laguna Beach councilman who cozied up to the developers who converted the old Treasure Islandtrailer park into a ritzy mega-resort? Yeah, what a wad. He always used to deny being the developers' pawn yet often bragged about giving them taxpayer-funded subsidies.

WEDNESDAY, April 9: Local fossil and former Assemblyman Mickey "Spanky" Conroy left his cave to speak at a UC Irvine pro-war rally organized by college Republicans. Of 21,000 students, the event drew all of 30 people and barely lasted half an hour. "Don't let the lefties get the best of you," Conroy told the "crowd" before retreating into his cave. . . . You know what I love? Anonymous faxes from far, far, far right-wing news sources. One just came across my desk containing an interview between David Freddoso of Human Events Online(that Ann Coulter is their "legal affairs correspondent" tells you all you need to know about their sincerity) and our own Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. According to the interview, Freddoso asked Sanchez what she thought of calls to try famed war correspondent Peter Arnett for treason. "Who is that?" asked Sanchez, one of the most powerful Democrats in the House. After Freddoso explained, Sanchez allegedly replied, "I don't know—I don't know who any of these guys are. I don't really watch TV. Sorry." At last, a reason to support Sanchez. . . . On the lighter side, the Orange County grand jury reports that even with 96 phone lines, the county Registrar of Voters still can't handle all incoming calls—even from poll workers—on election day. That's sweet. Glad they got to the bottom of that. Now can the grand jury use its mighty investigative powers to find out how the Registrar lost 8,000 absentee ballots last November, then suddenly found them a month later? Anyone looking into that?

THURSDAY, April 10: British Airwaysand Air France announce they're permanently grounding the Concorde. The French will end flights at the end of May, the British in October. The airlines say the largely subsidized, old, loud, heavily polluting, insanely expensive toy of the filthy rich is simply too expensive to fly. What a shame, considering hardly anyone anymore talks about that horrifying crash a few years ago that killed 113 people. . . . Here's something shocking: local gasbag Paul Freeman shoots his mouth off again. This time, he's in the latest Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot, saying the OC grand jury has no business examining the Centerline light-rail project or—heaven forbid—criticizing Freeman's boss Segerstrom & Co. for wanting to have the rail line run beneath South Coast Plaza so shoppers wouldn't have to drive around it. "The idea that they would opine on a public transportation system is a joke," Freeman said, ignoring the fact the grand jury can investigate any damn thing it wants to. In fact, if the panel wants to "opine" that Segerstrom is a greedy old man who will jack up the cost of light rail solely for his company's selfish interests, they can do that, too. Not that they did. Or would. I'm just saying.

FRIDAY, April 11: Signaling a major shift in marketing and strategy, Disneyland opens The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, a new attraction designed to appeal to "young children and their families." What's next—a whole park devoted to California? Nahhh, that would be stupid. . . . The Reg drops a small but painful bombshell on "future Lieutenant Governor" Sheriff Mike Carona. Seems Carona has been using official Sheriff's patrol helicopters to fly to award ceremonies, TV interviews and other personal destinations. Of course, Carona and his top lieutenants already have official cars and SUVs at their disposal. Carona's defense: department policy says it's okay, and lots of other sheriffs do it, too.

SATURDAY, April 12: What is this: Freaking Paul Freeman Week? In addition to telling the OC grand jury where to get off and enjoying watching locals cry over their doomed bowling alley, now the Laguna Greenbelt says Freeman is playing a key role in a sleazy public-relations plan to keep El Morro beach from returning to its old status as a public state park. Is there any special-interest ass this guy won't kiss?

SUNDAY, April 13: Hey, didn't Paul Freeman play a Nazi stooge in Raiders of the Lost Ark? Oh, that was another guy? Our Freeman only plays a stooge in real life?


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