OC's Scariest People 2004
Photo courtesy pool photographer
Michael Goulding/ The O.C. Register 1. JOSEPH G. CAVALLO
In the process of defending three accused gang rapists in the sensational Haidl case, lawyer Cavallo called the 16-year-old alleged victim a "slut"; "a nut"; "a pathological liar"; a wannabe "porn star"; "a tease—that's what she is!"; "a mess"; a "master manipulator"; "a compulsive liar"; "a cheat—that's what she is"; and a "callous" drug addict and alcoholic who trimmed her pubic hair, had "dishwater-colored hair" and once drank a beer in a car. To say Cavallo is vulgar and obsessive is an understatement. He bragged that at least three jurors—two women and one guy—fancied him. Gross. But to truly gauge Cavallo's slime factor, consider a question he asked a female prosecution witness: Is a pool stick bigger than "the average male penis?" MITIGATING FACTOR: Feels inadequate when passing pool halls.
2. BISHOP TOD D. BROWN
This year, Brown purchased a $1.2 million home in a gated Santa Ana community to replace his current $1.2 million pad and pushed forth plans to build the $100 million Christ Our Savior Cathedral up the street from South Coast Plaza. All the while, His Excellency refuses to settle sex-abuse cases, make public documents that sex-abuse survivors claim will show church complicity in their rapes, and meet sex-abuse survivors. Brown's most cardinal sin, however, was the January hiring of a New York-based PR firm for about $350,000 to spin his pedo-lies. MITIGATING FACTOR: Can—and does—absolve himself.
(Illustration by Bob Aul) 3. THE WESTMINSTER SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF TRUSTEES
We keep explaining to anyone, including The New York Times, that OC's reactionary rep is outdated hooey. But then the Weird Sisters of the Westminster School Board come along. Roll call!Helena Rutkowski once said school libraries have too many books on Judaism. Judy Ahrens calls the teachers' union "Communist" and talks about how her "rewards are going to be great in Heaven" by defying state law. And Blossie Marquez-Woodcock—whose name we just really like to say—has offered varying accounts of phony educational degrees before finally admitting all her degrees are from now-defunct, unaccredited ministerial colleges. It all came to a delicious gestalt in March, when the Sisters refused to allow the district to pledge—as all other schools in the state had—against discriminating based on one's perceived gender. The decision nearly cost Westminster $40 million in state and federal aid, but Ahrens justified it on her website by claiming "the legislative gay agenda . . . shortens the lifetime for the average male to 34 years if he becomes gay . . . just to get that tiny 1 percent vote of the gays the liberals have legislated a shortened life span for your child by approving an alternative lifestyle that is poison." The same week, three Hayward men went on trial for shortening the life of Eddie Araujo, a transgendered teen beaten, strangled and left in a shallow grave. MITIGATING FACTOR: Woodcock. Heh, heh.
4. KOBE BRYANT
From a July 6, 2003, police interview Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant
gave to Vail, Colorado, police the night he allegedly raped a 19-year-old
Detective: Did you ever ask her if you wanted, if you could come in her face? Bryant: Yes. That's when she said no. That's when she said no. That's when she said no. So what did, what did you say?Um, you know, that's when I asked her if I could come in her face, she said no. So you like to come in your partner's face?That's my thing, not always, I mean, so I stopped. Jesus
Christ, man. MITIGATING FACTOR: Shooting guard. Heh, heh. 5. PAUL CROUCH
We've said many things about Paul Crouch, many not very nice things about the co-head of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) being tacky while shamelessly playing upon others' spiritual needs for his own material gain. But we never called him a two-timing gay man—that would be Enoch Lonnie Ford. In a front-page September exclusive for the Los Angeles Times, Ford said he was paid $425,000 to, among other things, not discuss a sexual encounter he claims to have had with Crouch in 1996 in a Lake Arrowhead cabin. What frightens us is, though we aren't into manlove, we could see ourselves powerless when caught in Crouch's dreamy dark gaze, his bony fingers reaching for us from his pastel sweater, talking to us in that way that has caused so many people across the globe to send him money. We wouldn't know—or care—what he was saying, lost as we would be in the romantic thicket of his bushy, San-Francisco-cop mustache. Trembling, we thank him for the sequined tank top. MITIGATING FACTOR: Looks like a cuddler to us. 6. R. SCOTT MOXLEY'S FANSMoxley's reporting on the Haidl gang-rape trial, politics and law-enforcement corruption generated letters from across the nation. Although the vast majority commended Moxley's work, others weren't so pat-on-the-back, unless that pat came at the end of something very sharp: "Have you found your biological father yet? Yeah, the real one, not the one who fucks your throat! You little bitch ass pussy. Why don't you walk you [sic] white trash piece shit ass into oncoming traffic!" "I suggest you watch your step because vengeance shall be mine. And may god have mercy on your soul. You are done." "I guess I should not expect more from an inbred, child-molested, piece of shit such as your self. What about your mother? You work for a rag, and you still cannot get any attention. Perhaps your mother was 'gangbanged' by all the brothers and now you are left to figure out which ex-con actually had the guts to penetrate your mother without a condom." "Bottem [sic] feeding reporters like yourself need to be put in check. Watch your back." "Dear Scott, I have some surprising information for you. . . . I suggest we meet alone at an anonymous place on Thursday night. I'll tell you who I am then." MITIGATING FACTOR: Loyal readers. 7. EDWARD CARTER SWANSTROM
It takes truly despicable stuff to disgust hardened sex-crimes detectives; Edward Carter Swanstrom succeeded. Before he could be sent away to prison in Arizona after a conviction for raping his own 13-year-old daughter, prosecutors say he used the Internet and phone to launch a six-month relationship with a 12-year-old Orange County girl. According to Deputy District Attorney Kal Kaliban, the 47-year-old Swanstrom gave the girl a cell phone so her mom wouldn't learn of the intimate relationship. On a trip to the county, he rented an SUV, picked the girl up at her school, taped black trash bags to the vehicle's windows, and then committed sex crimes against her. If convicted again, Swanstrom faces 25 years to life in prison for aggravated rape. MITIGATING FACTOR: In prison, turnaround's fair play. 8. SANTA ANA POP WARNER PARENTSIt takes a lot to get noticed in the crowded field of pathetic youth-sports parents, what with homicidal hockey dads and the entire state of Texas. That's why you have to admire the moxie of that brave band of Santa Ana parents who went the extra mile to not only get in a brawl while their six- and seven-year-olds played football, but also got into it among themselves. That's just the kind of plot twist that gives a story legs. What's more is that the fight included not only flying fists but someone also apparently swung a bottle in a sock. Broken jaws and stitches ensued, and the police continue to investigate the matter, and the local Pop Warner governing body is considering disciplinary action and . . . what's that you say? The local governing body's deputy commissioner faces grand-theft charges for allegedly stealing 50 large? Gold! Still, what puts this ridiculous incident over the top is that it was visited upon a bunch of American children by a bunch of American neighbors on Saturday, SEPT. 11. Boo-yah! MITIGATING FACTOR: Team nickname? Redskins. Hi-ooooh! 9. MIGUEL PULIDOUnder Mayor Pulido, Santa Ana has become the country's youngest, most-Latino, most-Spanish-speaking, most-crowded big city with deteriorating schools. All of which led researchers at the State University of New York's Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government last month to deem Santa Ana as the toughest city in the country in which to live. Pulido's reaction? Difficult to say: J.D. Salinger makes more public proclamations. MITIGATING FACTOR: The older we get, the less we like The Catcher in the Rye. 10. LIZ GATELEYMTV's vice president of development is really making Orange County youth look bad. Try as Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County might to mirror the music, fashion, wealth, outrageous pads and model-quality looks presented weekly by the far superior The O.C., without the latter's smart dialogue—hell, any coherent dialogue—all America can conclude from Laguna Beachis that Orange County youth are vapid, brainless and, in the end, extremely pathetic. MITIGATING FACTOR: Nice asses, though. 11. 55/5 NORTH FREEWAY INTERCHANGEI did the 55/5 thang the day I came into the office to write this, and sure enough, a woman directly in front of me suddenly slammed on her brakes, skidded slightly and then scooted over to the far-right lane even though she could've stayed in her original lane and still gotten on the 5 north. It's as if three-quarters of the drivers don't realize where exactly they're going until the exact moment they reach this interchange, and then they all scatter. If I wanted that, I'd move to Laguna Woods. MITIGATING FACTOR: The county's population could use some culling. 12. KITSCH BAR PATRONSThere was the time two plastered patrons scampered out to the parking lot to get their fumbling, public fellatio on; the time a Bruce Springsteen doppelganger laid his lady down on the sofa and climbed on top of her, straddling her teensy bod with his enormous stonewashed thighs; and the time a Cosmopolitan-fueled blonde dismissed the possibility of having crabs by announcing—loudly!—the only hair on her luscious, tanned body was her flowing, bleached-till-it-hurt mane. Patrons at Costa Mesa's Kitsch Bar aren't scary like tattooed bikers who'll stab you in the stomach. No, they'll just guzzle a half-dozen martinis and turn into the most crazed, randy nymphs in all of Drunks Town. MITIGATING FACTOR: What's wrong with that? 13. KELLY GRAY
She's blond, tanned, beautiful and has been the face of St. John Knits for more than half her life. Recently appointed St. John creative director, Kelly Gray, scion of company founders Robert and Marie and resident of one of Newport Beach's swankiest pads, is stereotypical Orange County incarnate, you know, if Orange County were a bunch of white ladies who lunch in resort togs. MITIGATING FACTOR: Those Kelly and Cabana Boys ads in W are still charmingly retro. 14. RUTH WARDWELLWhen Wardell, Chapman University's PR head, isn't putting a positive face on the desecration of Old Town Orange by Chapman's aggressive expansion plans, she fights the First Amendment. In May, Weeklywriter Gustavo Arellano tried to interview former Spanish Prime Minister Jose María Aznar, who was visiting Chapman. But Wardwell refused Arellano's request because two months before, he wrote an essay blaming Chapman's largest donor and current U.S. Ambassador to Spain, George Argyros, for the horrific March 11 Madrid bombings. Despite protests by other reporters present, security booted Arellano from Chapman. Wardwell just looked on. MITIGATING FACTOR: Originally thought she was the old chick who played Phoebe on All My Children. 15. KEVIN DUANE VAN OTTERLOOAttention all pederasts: the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) wants YOU. Molested a boy? No problem. Molested a handicapped boy? Fine. Molested a handicapped boy when you're supposedly treating his cystic fibrosis? Get a raise! Such is the story of Kevin Duane Van Otterloo, who was convicted of lewd conduct with a minor in 2000 while a nurse at the county's Juvenile Facility. Instead of firing Van Otterloo, HCA officials transferred him to their Animal Care Services division, which has a reputation for animal cruelty, where he now earns $70,000 writing grant proposals. A spokesperson for the county's human-resources department told the Weekly that a prior child-molestation conviction "wouldn't be an issue" for those seeking a county job as long as said molester wasn't around kiddies. MITIGATING FACTOR: Kiddies safer. Kitties? Not so much. 16. MARIJUANA: THE BAND
(Photo by Tenaya Hills)Someday, when smoking pot is mandatory, historians will hail Marijuana: The Band as the movement's Crispus Attucks. In June, the Huntington Beach-based band placed an advertisement in the Weekly for a "pot party" at Surf City's Liquid Den, telling fans to "bring your best pot to smoke with the band!!!" The club's owner canceled the show after reading the ad but still got a nasty letter from H.B. cops threatening closure. Soon after, Marijuana: The Band changed its Weeklyads to read "Banned in O.C.!" As of press time, the band was still banned in OC, but singer/drummer Bong Rip says they won't be stopped. "If the government comes and kills me for the message we're spreading," he said, "the band will just keep on going." MITIGATING FACTOR: I'm hungry. You hungry? 17. DJ KRISTINA BHer skills? She owns records and plays 'em, too. Her personality? Woooooo! She'll slip off to snap some racy shots in the bar bathroom before a DJ set—would that explain any of the, um, portraits on MySpace? But then how to explain the one with the knife? She knows all the words to "Fuck the Pain Away" and she'll sing them out loud to you, probably in broad daylight. She's not shy about anything, plus everybody you talk to about her always says, "She works out," which is a camouflaged way of saying, "She's hot, but she could also slap me around, but maybe I'm not ready to admit I like that." And yeah, she is hot! But we worry about why we think so. MITIGATING FACTOR: Kristina B doesn't need any mitigating, you wimp. 18. TONY DIGIOVANNIOn March 3, Corinthian Colleges president Tony Digiovanni told investors that a Florida-based lawsuit would not affect the stock value of his Santa Ana-based company, the nation's second-largest owner of for-profit schools. Of course, this was before the one lawsuit blossomed into many, before the U.S. Department of Education investigated Corinthian for financial-aid shenanigans in August, and before Digiovanni resigned on April 28 for unspecified reasons. As for Corinthian stock? On March 3, Corinthian closed at $59.77 on the NASDAQ Market; as of this printing, Corinthian stock now sets you back less than $15 a share. MITIGATING FACTOR: The television commercials for Corinthian subsidiary Bryman College remain the most entertaining morning diversion after I Love Lucy. 19. DAYSTARThe second-largest Christian televangelical network after TBN proves you don't have to be Orange County-based to engage in the Gospel of Litigation. In February, Daystar sued the Coast Community College District after trustees sold KOCE-TV Channel 50 to the KOCE Foundation, alleging that trustees "desire to prevent a religious organization from owning and controlling KOCE." What Daystar doesn't like to mention is its own hiring policies—if you don't believe in J.C. as your MC, don't bother; Catholics, this means you—violates California's Fair Employee and Housing Act and would probably lead to multiple fines against the station. MITIGATING FACTOR: Like anyone watches KOCE. 20. MARIA SCHINDERLEAs diocesan general counsel, Schinderle is the main brick in Bishop Brown's stonewalling of the sex-abuse lawsuits against the diocese. Workers at diocesan headquarters in Orange's Marywood Center tell the Weekly that Schinderle operates "a reign of terror" and "uses spies, private investigators and any other means that get at people" to keep dissidents in line. Latest victim: Father Joe Fenton, former diocesan spokesman whom Schinderle supposedly booted in early October for not keeping the media hounds at bay. MITIGATING FACTOR: Workers' constant humming of How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria is charming. 21. PAM JULIEN HOUCHENThree years ago, fortysomething real-estate agent Houchen used her health benefits as a Huntington Beach council member to purchase fertility drugs and left Surf City taxpayers covering the multithousand-dollar tab. Around this time, Houchen also began illegally converting apartment units into condominiums without applying for city permits as required by law. She then used her seat on the council to "streamline" the city's permitting process, which would make life easier for developers and essentially eliminate the Huntington Beach Planning Commission. Houchen's life is now in ruins: thanks to the Weekly, she faces an FBI investigation into charges of bank fraud relating to those illegal conversions. If convicted, the taxpayer-created triplets she produced will visit Mommy in state prison for the next several years. MITIGATING FACTOR: Houchen resigned as councilwoman on Sept. 2 citing "personal reasons," which could include her husband recently filing for divorce. 22. ADAM YAHIYE GADAHNIn May, Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller revealed the identities of seven suspected terrorists who were allegedly planning a stateside terrorist attack. One was a heavy metal music fan named Adam Yahiye Gadahn. Local Muslims remember Gadahn as a former volunteer at the Islamic Society of Orange County in Garden Grove, the county's largest mosque, whom mosque leaders kicked out in 1997 after he began espousing radical views and punched out then-director Haitham Bundakji. The mosque is also where Gadahn allegedly became friends with Khalil Deek, a former Anaheim resident who authorities arrested in Pakistan in connection with a thwarted Dec. 31, 1999, terrorist plot in Jordan. (Deek was later released without charges and has since disappeared.) On Oct. 27, ABC announced it has a tape featuring a masked terrorist speaking Arabic with an American accent. The man, who identifies himself as "Assam the American," gleefully predicts an imminent terrorist strike on U.S. soil that will dwarf 9/11. U.S. intelligence officials believe the man may be Gadahn.MITIGATING FACTOR: We tried to think of one, but we're too fucking scared. 23. THIS GUY!
24. LUPE MORENOAs one of the few Latino members of the anti-immigrant California Coalition for Immigration Reform, Moreno frequently appears on Spanish-language shows to warn fellow raza against the coming Mexican menace. As one of the few Latinos on Orange County Republican Party chairman Scott Baugh's transition team, Moreno frequently appears around the county touting the virtues of the GOP for Latinos. And as president of the Santa Ana-based Latino Americans for Immigration Reform, Moreno frequently appears at anti-immigrant rallies to bless all racist speeches and likes to compare illegal immigration to the Holocaust. MITIGATING FACTOR: Self-loathing becomes her. 25. JUDGE JOHN WATSONFour years ago, the Weekly reported that Orange County Superior Court Judge John Watson forced lawyers and witnesses who appeared before him to divulge whether they were HIV-positive. Watson terminated his policy after the article, so you'd think he'd have learned some manners, right? But in 2001, Watson ruled that the Orange County Tax Assessor's office routinely overtaxed local property owners. (An appeals court later overturned his ruling). Turned out Watson wasn't just a judge, but a property owner and a landlord to boot. According to one of his ex-tenants, Leticia Bañuelos, Watson used courtroom stationery to threaten Bañuelos when she complained about his shortcomings as a landlord. After months of refusing to pay for condo repairs, Watson finally paid for half the cost of the work—and then switched her to a month-to-month lease and increased her rent. When Bañuelos got fed up and terminated her lease, he withheld about $200 from her security deposit. MITIGATING FACTOR: When Bañuelos filed a complaint with the State of California Commission on Judicial Performance, Watson finally paid her. 26. JOSÉ GUILLENAngels management ignored reports about Guillen's temper—part of the reason he had been with six different teams in as many years—and signed him during the off-season. In May, Guillen bitched out the Angels' pitching staff for not retaliating against Toronto hitters after Blue Jays pitchers beaned several Angels. Several other nasty Guillen outbursts followed, culminating in a late-September incident in which Guillen sulked after manager Mike Scioscia replaced him with a pinch runner, throwing up his hands in protest, slowly walking off the field, and then flipping his helmet in Scioscia's direction. The Angels suspended Guillen for the rest of the season and postseason—where Guillen's big bat was sorely missed. MITIGATING FACTOR: Yankees suck! 27. WEST-NILE-VIRUS-CARRYING MOSQUITOESThat sound you don't hear is a bunch of dead crows killed by a bunch of West-Nile-virus-carrying mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are very hot right now—hot as in hot zone. Formerly just an annoyance—though a great excuse for inappropriate scratching—mosquitoes now have schlubs with a few cold symptoms terrified they're going to end up in a medical journal. Pests? The little pricks are the harbingers of the End Times. How do we know? When people in the richest nation on Earth start dropping dead from mummy diseases, it's time to settle up. What's worse, here in Orange County, we have nary any public-health mechanisms to track the skeeters' deadly kiss or test for it. There are more effective ways to handle the crisis, and we went into great detail about those solutions in a recent cover story, but none of y'all read it. See you in hell! MITIGATING FACTOR: Don't worry, it's probably just a cold. 28. DR. HODA ANTON-CULVERWhen a group of bereaved Huntington Beach parents realized in 2001 that their dead children shared two things in common—brain stem glioma, a rare form of cancer with a zero survival rate, and playtime at Edison Community Park, which sits atop a former landfill across the street from a hazardous-waste dump—they wrote to Dr. Anton-Culver. She's the chief epidemiologist for Orange County and head of UC Irvine's cancer-surveillance program. The parents asked her to investigate whether their kids were part of an emerging cancer cluster. In a one-page response, Anton-Culver refused to do anything. When the Weekly wrote about the children this spring, Anton-Culver didn't return our phone calls. Turns out Anton-Culver was too busy misspending up to $2.3 million in federal and state funds meant for cancer research but which she diverted into an unauthorized software data project. MITIGATING FACTOR: If you ignore cancer long enough, it might go away. 29. THE LADIES OF VENICEGary Nye Schwebs' paintings of women are a bizarre mix of commedia dell'arte and Dallas. Their masked white faces evoke boys in geisha drag, and their eyes glimmer creepily behind mask slits that make them look like 10-year-old boys pulling their eyelids inside-out or like Jocelyne Wildenstein, whichever is worse. Queen of Diamondsis as taut as a Newport Beach grandma, with cosmetics painted pretty much up to her hairline; she's supposed to be "mysterious" and "glamorous" but comes off as Dorian Gray meets Linda Gray. MITIGATING FACTOR: Not yet as popular as Thomas Kinkade. 30. SUSAN & MIKE SCHROEDERSusan is the tough-tongued media director for District Attorney Tony Rackauckas; Mike is a top strategist for Rackauckas, Sheriff Mike Carona, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, the Republican Party and a slew of elected officials—and you do not want to cross them. A few years ago, DA investigator Mike Clesceri wore a wire in hopes of catching colleagues obstructing justice. He turned the recordings over to the California attorney general's office, but there was apparently no incriminating evidence. When Rackauckas discovered the betrayal in 2002, Clesceri quickly took medical leave and, claiming overwhelming stress, never returned. Taxpayers now give him tax-free disability pay at $56,000 annually—though he's healthy enough to work as mayor of Fullerton and campaign for re-election. Enter the Schroeders. They recently spent $6,000 on a political mailer informing 27,000 Fullerton households that Clesceri is a wimp. "I was sitting here thinking, 'This guy has some nerve claiming stress disability while running again for the city council in Fullerton,'" Mike said. "I don't think what we did is vengeful. I call it a noble public service." MITIGATING FACTOR: Mike doesn't support Bush's Iraq war. 31. ROSEMARIE AVILASanta Ana Unified School District trustee who, when not pushing for abstinence-only sex-education funded by right-wing crone Phyllis Schafley, is telling her congregation at Calvary Chapel to show up to board meetings and protest the district's policy of offering domestic-partner benefits. Avila is the longest-tenured school board member in Orange County. Friends affectionately call her "Rosie" with good reason: like Romeo's much-quoted soliloquy, a rose by any other name is still a thorny, aphid-infested weed. MITIGATING FACTOR: Unlike the coven over at the Westminster School District, Avila will never have a moral majority to call her own. BOB DORNAN SCARIEST HALL OF FAME LARRY AGRAN
(Photo by Jack Gould)There was a time when Larry Agran was like a light switch permanently turned to "on," a beacon in a City Hall on a hill for liberals. As an Irvine city councilman and sometime mayor from 1978 to 1990, he helped create one of the nation's first curbside recycling programs. He fought to reverse jacked-up Reagan-era policies that militarized America, sent jobs overseas, polluted land and water, and destroyed Main Street America. He battled the powerful Irvine Co. to preserve open space and established the world's first municipal ban on CFCs, for which he was honored at the United Nations. And when, by a narrow margin, he was run out of office in 1990, it was for putting the civil rights of Irvine's gay and lesbian residents ahead of his political future. We loved him all the more when he ran for president two years later and was hailed by many as America's Mayor. Agran lost that race and wandered into the desert, emerging in the mid-1990s to join the battle against the county's preposterous plan to build an international airport at El Toro. Agran had a vision: plant the abandoned Marine Corps base with grass and trees and call it the Great Park. We loved him till our hearts burst—and then they broke. The Weekly's R. Scott Moxley discovered documents and sources that suggest Agran has recently worked to direct a lucrative city contract to an energy company with ties to his longtime friend and political adviser Ed Dornan. Others show that Agran allies have quietly maneuvered to take advantage of the millions to be made in Great Park construction. The old Agran would have called for an investigation; this one has threatened reporters and critics with lawsuits. MITIGATING FACTOR: He's OUR son of a bitch. PREVIOUS INDUCTEES2003: Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas 2002: Ex-Congressman Bob Dornan's confirmed offspring (Robin, Kate, Theresa, Mark and Bob Jr.) 2001: The Reverend Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition 2000: Orange County Supervisor Jim Silva 1999: Gloria Matta Tuchman, self-hating author of anti-bilingual-language Proposition 227 1998: Dr. Bernard Rappaport, former head of the county's Children and Youth Services (deceased)
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