Diary of a Mad County

Photo by Jeanne RiceSUNDAY, Sept. 8 An on-air interview between Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Gary Copelandand KABC talk-radio host Brian Whitmangets heated when Copeland accuses Whitman of endorsing the abuse of immigrants. Whitman turns off Copeland's microphone. Copeland starts storming out of the Los Angeles studio but hears Whitman continue to disparage him. So the Trabuco Canyon resident stops to launch a loogie into Whitman's face. State Libertarian Party Chairman Aaron "Stop Calling Me Ringo" Starrlater feigns outrage. At Starr's behest, the party's executive committee rescinds its nomination of Copeland and suspends all support for him. Copeland vows to fight on, noting that the Libertarian hierarchy hasn't backed him anyway. Shortly after his nomination, the party distanced itself from the practicing Druid (see Victor D. Infante's "Why Don't This Druid Hit the Road?" April 19). In that story, Starr told Infante that Copeland had the party's support but secretly tried to pull the plug on the candidate's campaign. Hock-pheeewww!

"Bang! Zoom! To the Moon!"

MONDAY, Sept. 9 Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin doesn't spit on anyone, but the former Emerald Bay resident does punch independent filmmaker Bart Sibrel outside a Beverly Hills hotel. Sibrel, 37, who has built a career trying to prove Apollo 11 never left Earth, confronts Aldrin, 72, with a camera crew outside the Luxe Hotel and tries to get him to swear on a Bible that he went to the moon. Aldrin—who is four inches shorter, 90 pounds lighter and 35 years older than the six-foot-two, 250-pound filmmaker—then clocks Sibrel. Aldrin tells cops Sibrel provoked him by repeatedly poking him with the Bible. No one is arrested. History books regard Aldrin as the second man to have walked on the moon, after Neil Armstrong, on July 20, 1969. The boxing Buzz footage will be part of a new Sibrel film that seeks to prove NASA faked that moon trip to fool the Soviet Union into believing we'd won the space race. Aldrin, who now lives in Westwood, is president of a Laguna Beach company that's racing to get tourists into space.

Anaheim police engage in a standoff with two armed men believed to be holed up in the Sunkist Carwash at Lincoln Avenue and Sunkist Street. SWAT teams stake out positions for clear shots. A police negotiator on a bullhorn tries to reason with the suspects. A cell phone is tossed in to communicate with them. After 10 hours, officers finally burst inside to find no one there—nor any sign anyone had been there since police arrived. We're no witnesses, but we imagine negotiations went something like this:

HOUR 1: "We have you surrounded. Come out with your hands up, and no one gets hurt."

HOUR 2: "Look, guys, this is stupid. You're not going anywhere; we're not going anywhere. Put your weapons down and come out peacefully."

HOUR 3: "See that officer with the rifle atop the building across the street? That's 'Hair-trigger' McGee, who's been known to fire before getting the kill order. I'd come out if I were you."

HOUR 4: "Say, do you fellahs like ice cream? Because there's a 31 Flavors just down the street. Anything you want—it's on me. Just come out."

HOUR 5: "Oh, great, guys, that was just the chief on the phone, and he's really steamed that I haven't been able to get you to surrender. There goes my retirement. Thanks a lot."

HOUR 6: [After tossing in the cell phone] "If you pick up on the first ring, swear to God, I'll only make you pay half for the airtime."

HOUR 7: "Did anyone tell you guys that tonight's a very special Everybody Loves Raymond? If you come out now, you can still catch it."

HOUR 8: "The kids used to call me Little Timmy Poopy-Pants. Do you know how humiliating that is? No one wants to play with a kid called Poopy-Pants. So you turn it all inside and make imaginary friends. Then your imaginary friends call you Little Timmy Poopy-Pants. Why do they do that? [Sobbing] Don't they know what that does to a kid?"

HOUR 9: "Okay, fine. If this is how you're going to play it, I have no choice but to call your mothers."

HOUR 10: [To his officers] "Okay, boys, go in there and get their moms' phone numbers."

TUESDAY, Sept. 10 About 15 surfers competing in the Boost Mobile Pro competition at Lower Trestles near San Clemente paddle out past the breaks, sit atop their boards, form a circle, drop leis in the water, scatter dirt said to be from Ground Zero, join hands, bow their heads and observe a moment of silence in honor of the victims of last year's terror attacks on the East Coast. One surfer observes that the waves at Trestles are the best they've been in years, but that they somehow calm, as if out of respect, during the ceremony. "A year ago was one of the worst days of our lives," six-time world champion Kelly Slater tells a crowd of 5,000 over the public-address system, "and today is one of the best."

Hands across OCC

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 11 Shortly after last year's terror attacks, Richard Landingham erected a 10-foot-tall wooden cross atop his LAP Extreme surfboard company in San Clemente. He figured a display of his Christian faith would help everyone cope. Instead, there were complaints. The city ordered the cross removed. Landingham refused. The city threatened to fine him. Landingham vowed to go to court to protect the cross. The city now says they may jail him. He responds today by adding American flags to the cross for the anniversary of Sept. 11.

In other attack anniversary news, people at Orange Coast College hold hands.

THURSDAY, Sept. 12 State Senator Dick Ackerman (R-Fullerton), the Republican nominee for state attorney general, calls on current Attorney General Bill Lockyer to investigate Governor Gray Davis' "borderline extortion" brand of campaign fundraising. To press his case, Ackerman cites a recent San Jose Mercury News story about a high-tech executive who called Davis to express support for a bill to fight global warming. The governor's first question to the executive was allegedly, "How come you weren't at my last fund-raiser?" The Davis campaign dismisses Ackerman's call for a probe, while the attorney general's office says it needs evidence—not a newspaper story—to conduct an investigation.

FRIDAY, Sept. 13 Fullerton Police Chief Pat McKinleyidentifies a scapegoat for his city's overall crime rate jumping 11.6 percent from 2000 to 2001: activists who call for reform of the state's three-strikes law. He also blames California voters who, in 2000, overwhelmingly supported Proposition 36, which lets petty drug offenders get substance-abuse treatment instead of prison time. "This is not rocket science," McKinley tells the Fullerton News Tribune. "If you put people who commit crime in jail, crime goes down. If you let them out, it goes up." Logic would dictate that Fullerton could not experience substantial statistical ramifications from the extremely rare sentences that go against the three-strikes law nor a drug-treatment initiative that kicked in the same year crime jumped. But why bring logic into the debate. Confronted with experts' opinions that a poor economy creates more criminals, McKinley only accepts half that argument, saying an economic downturn means he can't afford more cops on the street.


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