Diary of a Mad County
Cat show at OC Fairgrounds
Photo by Jack Gould
Illustration by Bob Aul
TUESDAY, Feb. 19 Nearly dead Vice President Dick Cheney turns up at dead President Dick Nixon's Yorba Linda cryptoleum to amplify on duh President George W. Bush's "axis of evil" remarks. Cheney, who's in California raising buttloads of cash for Republican candidates, says Dubya was right to call out Iran, Iraq and North Korea, and if our friends and foes can't take it, tough titties. But as Cheney's chit-chatting, the Shrub is backing off from the North Korean smack, seeing as how he's knee-deep in the DMZ. Back at Dickland, Julie Nixon Eisenhower presents Cheney the Architect of Peace Award, something 40 protesters outside the gates think should be renamed the Architect of War Award. Orange County Register reporter Ann Pepper includes the demonstrators in her next-day coverage, but they're missing from Jean O. Pasco's Los Angeles Times story. Must be her editors' fault. Again.
California Assembly Business and Professions Committee chairman Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) hosts fabled securities lawyer William Lerach as the opening witness for a hearing on accounting practices in the wake of the Enron/Arthur Andersen scandal (for more on Lerach and the debacle, see "Made in Newport," page 18). The nation's largest accounting firms and a lobbying group boycott the hearing, fearing a witch-hunt when they scan the roster of witnesses and see names like Lerach, whom many in corporate America see as the enemy of capitalism and who is lead counsel for the investors' suit against Enron. Witnesses call for several accounting reforms, but an industry lobbyist who obviously didn't get the message about boycotting argues that enacting "funky" rules might drive businesses out of California. Let 'em all go to Texas where they belong!
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 20 Just in time to help you at the polls, the League of Conservation Voters releases its 2001 National Environmental Scorecard, which rates members of Congress on every vote they cast on environmental issues. If clean air, clear water and land conservation are important to Orange Countians, they'll toss nearly every local congressman out of office. On a scale in which 100 represents a perfect record and one means the next thing you know, they'll vote for burning rivers, charcoal-black skies and dead dolphins bobbing in the surf, Representatives Ed Royce(R-Fullerton), Chris Cox (R-Newport Beach), Gary Miller (R-Diamond Bar; his district includes parts of North County) and Darrell Issa (R-Oceanside; his district includes part of South County) score zeroes. Zeroes! Global-warming denier Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) pulled off a relatively fantastic seven. Steve Horn (R-Long Beach) got 50, so he's only half an asshole. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) aced it with 100, as did Cali's Democratic U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. Her pseudo-Democrat colleague Dianne Feinstein hit 75.
Is there a state version of this green barometer to help local voters? You betcha. Is the California League of Conservation Voters' 2001 Scorecard any more promising? Yeah, right. On the state Senate side, Dick Ackerman (R-Fullerton; he now wants to be your state attorney general), Ross Johnson (R-Irvine) and Bill Morrow (R-San Juan Capistrano) got goose eggs. Commie Girl's pal Joe Dunn (D-Santa Ana) scored 93. Over in the Assembly, members Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), Bill Campbell (R-Orange) and John Campbell(R-Irvine) didn't log one stinking point, while Lynn Daucher (R-Brea) earned a seven, Ken Maddox (R-Garden Grove) rated a 20, and supposedly enviro-friendly Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) settled for 33. Correa, who had a perfect 100 in 2000, dropped to 64. See what happens when you piss off accountants?
THURSDAY, Feb. 21 The Times and Register report on an affidavit that details how a Canadian hacker allegedly busted into Orange County Superior Court Judge Ronald C. Kline's computer and stole an electronic diary and kiddie-porn images. Authorities say Kline details his boy love and ways to snare little laddies in his diary. But Kline's attorney claims the hacker is a child-porn purveyor who could have planted the stuff on the judge's rock-hard drive. Further, if the hacker hacked on behalf of law enforcement, the evidence can be tossed out since hacking is a crime. Kline, who's currently fashioning a chic electronic anklet while under house arrest, appears unopposed on the March 5 ballot, but everyone in Orange County and their mother are running against him as write-in candidates. FRIDAY, Feb. 22This fake Rolex nearly busted a sweeping second hand guffawing over the TV commercial for former central county Assemblyman-turned-Clinton administration hack Tom Umberg, who's aiming to be state insurance commissioner. After an old lady complains about those dastardly insurance companies, we get a closeup of Cub Scout-faced Umberg, mustering all the charisma of a pall bearer, saying he'll fight for her—but not in the humorously whiny voice of personal-injury lawyer Larry H. Parker; Umberg parrots the deadpan of Ben Stein. The ad then quick-cuts to Umberg—silent, eyes glazed over like he's thinking of the cheese sandwich in his lunch pail—standing next to Erin Brockovich. But it's not Julia Roberts playing Erin Brockovich, it's Erin Brockovich playing Erin Brockovich as she says, "Tom Umberg is the pro-consumer Democrat for insurance commissioner." It's not exactly a ringing endorsement, but there's no denying Ms. B brings something special to the uptight Umberg campaign: they're called boobs, Ed. SATURDAY, Feb. 23 In a bid to undo years of anti-Latino fervor birthed mostly in Orange County, the Republican National Committee and California Republican Partyconvene a "Latino summit" a safe 40 minutes away at the LAX Marriott. Every Republican with a Hispanic surname is there to discuss ways to attract candidates and messages that appeal to Hispanic voters. The three major GOP candidates for governor—Ricardo Riordan, Guillermo Simon and Guillermo Jones—address the 300 attendees, and instead of lashing out at one another, they gang up on El Gringo Muy Ca-Ca, Gray Davis. But it was just plain pandering for Riordan to wear that bee costume from the Spanish-language comedy show. SUNDAY, Feb. 24 Ex-county supervisor turned El Toro airport pimp Bruce Nestandepops up in a Pasco Times story that's ostensibly about a poll showing no one wants an El Toro airport: "'If [local foes] say they should be able to kill the airport, then the people in Los Angeles and Riverside should be able to not allow Orange County residents to fly out of their airports or should be able to impose a surcharge on Orange County passengers and cargo for using their airports, Nestande said." Orange Countians will be the ones at the ticket counters with big orange "O's" painted on their clothing. Nestande claims to represent our best interests, right? So why is this butt-munch filling our neighbors' heads with ideas on how to impose special taxes on us?
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