Driving Through the Valley of Malls

Photo by Johan VogelSTILL "B-1 BONKERS"
The sole drawback in seeing Robert K. Dornan ousted from the seat now holding the kiester of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is that the Weekly no longer has "B-1 Boobyhatch" to kick around anymore. Yes, the right-wing maverick does still pop up onscreen, meaning something spectacularly stupid for us to lampoon is never far behind. But with his full-time retreat from Orange County to his Virginia estate, it's increasingly difficult to give a frig. Still, with local and national mainstream print media now heartily covering war protests—well, pro-war protests—the red-faced redheaded red-baiter is back like recurring anal warts. The Free Republic website, which organized the protests outside then-Vice President Al Gore's mansion as the Florida recount dragged on and on and on, trotted about 150 right-wingers out to the Washington Monument on March 2 to counter the millions around the world who had earlier marched for peace. Front and way right of center under the bitterly cold skies was our own bitter, defeated ex-congressman. (Damn! We owe R. Scott Moxley another quarter royalty for using his "bitter, defeated ex-congressman" line.) Calling Saddam Hussein a "mini-me Hitler," Dornan assured the crowd, "We are the good guys" and that the millions of dissenters "were wrong during Vietnam, and they're wrong today." The ex-fighter pilot—who managed to avoid war by taking theater classes at Loyola (now Loyola Marymount) University and to crash planes during peacetime—then had the audacity to single out decorated-and-injured-Vietnam War-hero-turned-U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) for protesting that war and the upcoming one, referring to his fellow Catholic as a "Judas Catholic." Such twisted logic makes a certain anti-war pontiff a "Judas Pope"—who we believe open this year's Ozz Fest.

Anyone who has attended meetings of local boards, councils and commissions is used to the superfluous public ass-kissing elected officials give one another. Taking such manufactured passion to new depths is the South Orange County Community College District board of trustees, which governs Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges. At a recent meeting, board president Don Wagner paused at one point to congratulate trustee Tom Fuentes for being re-elected to a 10th term as Orange County Republican Party chairman. Fuentes had earlier toasted fellow trustee John Williams for being sworn in as Orange County's new public administrator—the part-time elected official who oversees conservancies for feeble-minded folks who can't care for themselves and have no next-of-kin. But what Fuentes did next says a lot about Orange County Republicans, county government and that particular school board: he congratulated fellow trustee Nancy Padberg for being appointed to Williams' professional staff. The same board awarded a plum district administrative job to the trustee Padberg replaced—even though her qualifications were questionable. The funny thing—not funny ha-ha, but funny as in ironic—is Williams was first swept into his trustee seat as a reformer who would protect South County taxpayers by ending rampant cronyism on the part of faculty and administrators. Dissident trustee David Lang has long complained of cronyism practiced by Fuentes, Williams, Padberg, Wagner and Dorothy Fortune—Republicans who cast identical votes so often you'd think they trained at the old Soviet Politburo. We would have asked Padberg if she foresees any conflicts, but she was too busy nominating her new boss Williams to a seat on the California Community College Trustees board of directors.

"Yet merely mounting such provocative theater in the seat of conservative Orange County seems heroic and recommends these Polaroids to adventurous audiences."

David C. Nichols, in the Feb. 28Los Angeles Times, reviewingSome Explicit Polaroids at the Empire Theater in Santa Ana and further proving the daily has so completely withdrawn from Orange County that obsolete canards about this region are again considered "journalism." JOHNNY BE NOT-SO-GOOD
It's getting difficult to figure out exactly who is for Johnny Crean remaining as chairman of the nearly century-old Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad. Parents, faculty, alumni and the military academy's president—a retired Army brigadier general—banded together to file a lawsuit intended to overthrow Crean for "unsafe," "reckless," "bizarre," "violent" and "erratic" behavior. A North San Diego County judge scheduled a March 20 hearing and issued a restraining order forbidding Crean or his board from firing anyone at the nonprofit boarding school that serves more than 300 seventh- through 12th-grade boys. The complaint by the Friends of the Army and Navy Academy coalition accuses the board of ceding virtual total control to Crean, himself a graduate of the institution and the 53-year-old son of John Crean, the Santa Ana Heights travel-trailer tycoon and public-TV cook. Junior allegedly carried a loaded gun onto academy grounds, forced the institution into a costly settlement last year with a former female employee who'd accused him of sexual harassment, and championed the wrongful firing of the previous president. That official had questioned an employee profit-sharing plan that could have jeopardized the academy's nonprofit status, called for a sexual-harassment probe, and refused board orders to give the city of Carlsbad false information about school construction plans. "It's as bad as it gets," Michael Winsten, the Laguna Niguel attorney representing the plaintiffs, told San Diego's North County Times. "I've never seen so many people scared of one person." The suit claims that Crean's antics threaten the academy's continued operation as an educational institution. Whether true or not, the allegations certainly fit his profile. Crean was the GOP nominee poised to cruise into a South Orange County/North San Diego County congressional seat in 1982 until his bizarre behavior on the campaign trail led to fellow Republican Ron Packard's unprecedented victory as a write-in candidate in the general election. And Crean was arrested and jailed last year for carrying a loaded handgun into a Santa Ana courthouse. But he told a San Diego Union-Tribune scribe he's looking forward to his day in North San Diego County's courthouse, where he's "sure the result will be good for the school and me."

Or else.

Paul Brennan contributed to this week's report.


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