Diary of a Mad County

MONDAY, Sept. 30 Governor Gray "Pay for Play" Davis today vetoes legislation that would have allowed 1 million undocumented immigrants to legally obtain California driver's licenses. Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) calls the veto "another example of failed leadership," while Green Party gubernatorial candidate Peter Camejo—who Davis later bars from his debate with Bill Simon—brands the rejection an "open betrayal of Latinos." At least Davis is an equal-opportunity disappointer: he also vetoes a bill that would have protected sacred Indian sites. Tribal leaders are furious. Sonia Johnston, a local Juaneo/Acjachemen leader and official with the Fountain Valley-based Southern California Indian Center, forwards Clockwork a message lamenting Davis' latest "betrayal," saying he's no better than George Dubya Bush and Interior Secretary Gale Norton. Reached by Clockwork for comment, someone identifying themselves as Dubya and Norton say they're offended being compared to Davis.

TUESDAY, Oct. 1 Remember how the Santa Ana Unified School District wanted to build a school on the former Tustin Marine base where the city of Tustinplanned luxury homes? How the school board then accused mighty whitey Tustin of racism for not handing the land over to the inner-city district? Tustin was eventually shamed into giving the school district a 22-acre plot. Well, today the school board decides it may want to give the land back. It's too contaminated—the land, not the school board—from years of leaking fuel tanks and other solvent spills at the ex-helicopter base. The district now wants the $22 million the city was originally going to pay for new classrooms. As for luxury homes, how about a gated community called Solvent Greens?

It apparently is not enough for Huntington Beach City Council candidates to post one sign on busy corners; many have dozens per corner. One council hopeful is more thoughtful. Norm "Firecracker" Westwell eschews the normal wood-and-cardboard sign, instead promoting his candidacy with chalk drawings on walls. Unfortunately, someone's washing Firecracker's signs down. He circulates a complaint today accusing city staffers of violating election codes and his First Amendment free-speech rights. Why would city employees target Firecracker? He says it's because he wants to reduce government. All we know is someone better stop lighting Firecracker's fuse before he switches to Magic Markers.

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 2 An anti-abortion group has sued the city of Huntington Beach over its ban on aerial advertising, the Associated Press reports today. The Santa Fe Springs-based Center for Bio-Ethical Reform says the city is violating its First Amendment rights by banning aerial ads that include the center's banners featuring photos of aborted fetuses. Besides going to court, the center is circling Surf City middle and high schools with trucks bearing globs of fetal goo. (Mmm, was that the lunch bell? Damn, meat loaf again!) No word on whether city leaders will reconsider the ban, but abortion foes are quite adept in shaping laws. For instance, Republicans and some Democrats in Congress so solidly supported the credit-card industry's call for legislation to make it harder for average folks to declare personal bankruptcy that the bill was considered a slam dunk. But just before the bill's expected passage, anti-abortion activists realized that declaring bankruptcy allows them to avoid paying court fines when they break the law. You see, even though abortion is legal and constitutionally protected, lawmakers—particularly conservative types—fear the wrath of these no-choice thugs. So the conservatives abruptly aborted the credit-card bill.

The Orange County Gay and Lesbian Pride Festival may be back, according to promoters of a Saturday night club in Garden Grove. You'll recall the Weekly's R. Scott Moxley reported this year's annual festival at UC Irvine had been quietly canceled due to waning interest ("No Pride," June 7). But today, an e-mail circulated by Club Pride says, "Word has it a promotion company may organize an OC Pride Festival this year after all. They are hoping to have it at Edison Field in Anaheim." So that's why hard-core baseball fans say the Rally Monkey is gay.

THURSDAY, Oct. 3 At a Disneyland Hotel breakfast this morning, the Orange County Human Relations Commission lauds the Orange County Sheriff's Department and Sheriff Mike Corona for their work in the Samantha Runnion abduction/murder case. Carona, his posse and other agencies are cited for quickly "solving" the case. Meanwhile, over in a Santa Ana courtroom, defense attorneys for Alejandro Avila, who faces the death penalty if convicted of kidnapping and killing 5-year-old Runnion, file a motion that claims DNA and other forensic evidence against their client is faulty. The filing says cat hair, shoe print and tire print comparisons are "legally and scientifically problematic" and that all the evidence may be too weak to warrant a trial. The filing further claims that the Orange County crime lab violated its own protocols. Give them awards a good spit shine, boys.

FRIDAY, Oct. 4 One wonders how Gray Davis still leads in the polls. Latino Democrat lawmakers are so agitado with the governor over the driver's license veto they vow they will not aid in his re-election.

SATURDAY, Oct. 5 Anaheim—the city where nasty, racially charged anti-immigrant state voter initiatives were born; where former city police clerk Barbara Coe launched a national movement to protect whites from what she perceives to be a looming brown threat; where school board member Harald Martinforever targets children of parents with shaky immigration status—is the proudest place on Earth today after the Angels pound the mighty New York Yankees to win the first playoff series in franchise history, thanks in large part to the strong arm of Francisco Rodriguez, a 20-year-old Venezuelan who speaks barely a lick of English.


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