Orange County's Scariest People!
1. Gloria Matta Tuchman
Mexican-American teacher who co-authored with troglodytic Ron Unz the "Save Our Children" initiative -the one that gives Latino kids in our state a year to learn English before being thrust into an English-only classroom setting. And she proudly stated to the ever-hard-hitting Orange County Woman that her own kids had to learn Spanish in high school classes because she never taught it to them at home. And she's involved with the truly frightening Eagle Forum-a group whose members believe that essay tests are designed by Big Brother to probe our political and religious beliefs via our children's brains! And she's shrill. And she wears a lot of mauve. And she wants to be in charge of all the state's schools. And she said current Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin wants to put Playboy in our elementary schools. And she simpers a lot. And she lies. And she rags on Eastin because Eastin is endorsed by gay and lesbian politicians, fostering, shall we say, a climate of hate. And she bleaches her hair orange. And we don't like her at all! MITIGATING FACTOR: When she really gets screaming, she might as well be speaking Greek.
2. Jan Mittermeier
County CEO. Following the county's 1994 bankruptcy, local political swells gathered to discuss how to stall OC's first real populist challenge to authority (see Gary Hunt, last year's No. 4 scariest person). They settled on a strategy to persuade the public that the real cause of the bankruptcy was excessive democracy, that what was needed was more secrecy-"businesslike efficiency," they called it. To that end, they hired Mittermeier, a longtime bureaucrat with a secretive style and a refusal to brook democratic oversight. That style has manifested itself most clearly in her running of the county's highly prized El Toro International Airport planning authority, a department that's so mismanaged and secretive that it must make old Russian communists nostalgic. Said Bill Mitchell, past local president of the nonpartisan group Common Cause, "Jan Mittermeier is a key part of the plantation politics that thrive here in Orange County." MITIGATING FACTOR: Plantation politics of the South produced the Civil War.
3. Patrick Tocher
Owner of Santa Ana-based California Coastal Towing. He didn't make the list because of what he does, as loathsome as that is. It's what he and his disciples want to do, perhaps in your neighborhood, that makes him very, very scary indeed. Tocher's company tows vehicles parked illegally on private property in Santa Ana. He does this without the blessing of city officials, he does this without the permission of the property owners, and he does it without notifying police so that the poor wretches whose cars end up on Tocher's hook often believe their rides have been stolen. To get your car out of Tocher's private impound requires $200, $60 more than the city of Santa Ana charges. Taking advantage of an oversight in 1994 federal legislation regulating UPS that bars cities from enforcing their own towing regulations, Tocher reportedly hauls anywhere from two to 20 vehicles per night, many times placing his predatory trucks in the shadows, waiting for the next poor bastard who misparks himself. A pest? Certainly. A prick? Your word, not ours. But scary? Well, consider this: the misery business has been such a boon to California Coastal that Tocher is pushing in court to do his dirty work in Anaheim, Tustin and Costa Mesa. His actions have garnered enough attention to embolden tow truckers around the country to try to do the same, potentially launching the biggest grassroots movement of pains in the ass since the Christian Coalition. MITIGATING FACTOR: Tocher is not being handled by Ralph Reed . . . yet.
4. Richard Nixon's corpse
Last year, Nixon's corpse came in at No. 23. But in the past 52 weeks, Nixon's corpse has made a strong-and terrifying-comeback. The proximate cause of this Dawn of the Living Dick? Bill Clinton. Check out the www.nixonfoundation.org Web site titled "Nixon's Sins Pale Compared With Clinton's Transgressions," in which Nixon symps argue Nixon was a dupe deceived by foul underlings. "[Nixon] did not authorize the Watergate break-in, and accordingly, in whatever accounts of what happened he shared with the American people, he had no firsthand knowledge of events and had to rely on information-frequently quite self-serving and misleading-provided to him by others," the site claims. This strange conviction is apparently shared by former Nixon speechwriter and perennial right-wing-loon poster boy Pat Buchanan, who on his American Cause Web site (www.the americancause.org), argues: "Richard Nixon's involvement in Watergate came of misplaced loyalty. He was trying to protect his people." MITIGATING FACTOR: Nixon's is among the majority of presidential corpses without bullet holes.
5. Dana Rohrabacher
Republican congressman from Huntington Beach. Rohrabacher, who once called global warming "liberal claptrap" and "junk science," sees killer asteroids as the greatest threat to the Earth and wants to deploy nuclear weapons on orbiting missile platforms to stop them. Earth to Dana: what you saw was a movie. Remember? Morgan Freeman played the president? Didn't the fact that a black man had become president of the United States clue you in that this was a work of fiction? MITIGATING FACTOR: Playing Asteroids keeps Rohrabacher away from the National Endowment for the Arts.
6. Ted Moreno
Santa Ana City Councilman. Forget that Moreno faces charges of bribery, extortion, money laundering, conspiracy to commit election fraud and a whole host of election violations. We don't like Moreno because he's just plain rude. MITIGATING FACTOR: While under indictment, he'll probably lose Tuesday's mayoral race.
7. Josef Bischof
Huntington Beach restaurateur. Bischof is a resident, developer and owner of Old World German Restaurant in Huntington Beach's Old World Village. He also owns land in Santa Barbara, where slow-growth county officials refused to allow Bischof to build as many homes as he had hoped. Bischof responded with Old World charm. He put up a sign on the property that read "AUST THESE NO GOOD SUPERVISORS. THEY DESERVE THE AUSCHWITZ TREATMENTS [sic]." Asked to explain, Bischof suggested Hitler was a lot nicer than any of your regular Santa Barbara officials: "The Third Reich took . . . land from my relatives in the 1930s. They paid a fair price for it," he said. The supervisors, by contrast, "are 10 times worse. They take your property and don't give you anything for it. . . . They should all go to Auschwitz [and] be incinerated. Make fertilizer out of them." MITIGATING FACTOR: Would have scored lower, but DataLab researchers had him confused with Newport Beach resident and ex-funny man Joey Bishop.
8. Peter Warren
Los Angeles Times reporter. Warren gambled his career on the hopes that a Republican district attorney, a Republican secretary of state, a Republican-packed grand jury or a Republican-controlled congressional task force could prove Bob Dornan's absurd claim that "1,789" unidentified Mexicans "conspired" to steal the 46th Congressional District's 1996 election. Recently, the humorless, bow-tied Warren has disappeared from the political beat. Nowadays, Dornan and his pal Warren are shamelessly courting Orange County's Latinos, the same people they self-servingly maligned for 18 months. Dornan, of course, wants Latino votes in his rematch with Loretta Sanchez. Warren-who rarely gets his name in the paper anymore, except for lightweight weather stories and such-recently wrote a sympathetic article about medical woes in the local Latino community. Nice try. MITIGATING FACTOR: Dornan will need a loyal press secretary if he wins.
9. Dana Reed
Costa Mesa attorney. His nickname says it all: "PAC Man." Reed is the attorney serious candidates retain for real campaign advice. He knows all the loopholes in Orange County's campaign-finance regulations. He helped funnel tens of thousands of political-action committee dollars in Jim Silva's 1988 Huntington Beach City Council race. He helped former 4th District Supervisor Don Roth raise money, until Roth got caught accepting gifts from rich business types and had to leave office in 1993. He was treasurer for Loretta Sanchez's abortive 1994 Anaheim City Council race. He helped the Chandler family (the majority owners of the Times) in its campaign to develop the Dana Point Headlands. He helped move Proposition 62 contributions into the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Group general fund-an act that landed him in court but brought no conviction. Most recently, Reed acted as "courier" between big public-relations firms in LA and the city of Newport Beach in the city's effort to promote El Toro International Airport. MITIGATING FACTOR: He's nondiscriminating; he'll work for anyone who can pay his retainer fee.
10. Jeanne Costales
Chairwoman of the Orange County Democratic Party. She got her gig as chairwoman not so much because of her energy or vision but because nobody else wanted it. With Costales running the party like a burned-out high school shop teacher, Democrats have become even slower targets for Republicans. Defeatism is pervasive, and the party has been continuously accused of not giving enough-or, in some cases, any-support to its own candidates. Needless to say, this has done nothing to energize the party's faithful: in the last primary, it seemed Democratic candidates were required to have been born before Roosevelt entered office (Teddy, not Franklin). Her shortcomings wouldn't be so bad if they weren't matched by her pettiness. She once told the Times that Tim Carpenter-the most dynamic, non-Republican, political activist in the county-was not representative of mainstream Orange County Democrats. (Note to Costales: that's because Carpenter can chew his own food.) MITIGATING FACTOR: She's the best friend local Green Party recruiters have ever had.
11. Kay Rager
Dana Hills High School principal. What is it about high school administrators and their fondness for reliving German history, circa 1933 to 1945? In early October, a single sophomore attended a Dana Hills High School football game trashed on vodka. Should Rager have been concerned? Absolutely. Should she have threatened to force every student to take Breathalyzer tests at future games? Absolutely not. It's easy for overzealous school officials to produce students who graduate without ever reading the Federalist papers or even knowing the Bill of Rights-and then to trample those students politically. Orange County's high schools shouldn't be U.S. Constitution-free zones. MITIGATING FACTOR: Rager backed off on her threat-at least temporarily-after mixed publicity.
12. Billy Zoom
Guitarist for X. How does a guy born Ty Kindell end up with a handle as deliciously flashy and absurd as Billy Zoom? How does a guy close to 50 look 30? Play brilliant, blazing guitar while standing stiller than a granite statue of himself? Peel off Ray Charles-like riffs at the Hammond B3? Blow cool jazz into a flute? Write what guitar god Dave Alvin calls "mathematically perfect arrangements" for a rawk band? MITIGATING FACTOR: Zoom says he's a Christian, but we're thinking it's gotta be a pact with Someone Else that animates this guy.
13. Wayne Wedin
Real-estate consultant, development booster and former Brea councilman. Wedin retains his No. 11 ranking from last year. He left his Brea City Council post during a 1992 conflict-of-interest scandal that set the tone for Wedin's new career in the private sector: helping out his developer pals by convincing people to hire them. Wedin helped put together a financing scheme for a Los Angeles Unified School District project, and the final cost exceeded the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Wedin's fee? A cool $125 per hour. After an LA Unified official resigned amid scandal, Wedin showed up as a partner in a Panama deal with the same architect-Ernie Vasquez-whom Wedin had recommended for the LA Unified project. Most recently, Wedin popped up in a so-far-unsuccessful bid to bring a new football stadium to Anaheim. MITIGATING FACTOR: So far, nothing has been named after him.
14. Ken Khachigian
Right-wing crackpot, Times Orange County columnist. You know you're getting old when, having slaved for heroes of the Right like Richard Nixon and Pat Buchanan, the only gig you have now is writing a few hundred words off the top of your weary head every other week for the Times Orange County. While working for Nixon, Khachigian and Buchanan puzzled out ways to screw with Democrats-mostly slimy stuff designed to attach Democrats to what the pair called "New York Jewish money," "fairies," "black radicals," "Harvard" and "elitist left-wing professors"-in other words: the entire readership of the OC Weekly. Not much has changed for Khachigian, who uses his column not to illuminate Orange County, but to darken the reputations of old, old political foes: the National Endowment for the Arts, Barbara Boxer, Jerry Brown. Snore. MITIGATING FACTOR: Out of his first 27 columns, throw out the three Khachigian wrote to resuscitate the reputation of Richard "Still Dead" Nixon, and you're left with the only regular opinion columnist at the Times Orange County writing about Orange County just five times.
15. Tina Schafnitz
Newport Beach socialite. Normally, just having rumors abound that you're a peroxide-blond, surgically enhanced, shamelessly self-promoting, married mother of two and Newport Beach socialite would be enough to warrant consideration for our scary list. And sure enough, Schafnitz was a finalist for last year's inaugural compilation. But there was no denying the millionairess' inclusion this year when she got popped for trying to sell an ounce of cocaine to an undercover cop in Tustin (welcome aboard, Tina!). After pleading guilty in April to two felony counts of possessing and selling a controlled substance and one felony count of possessing a controlled substance with a firearm (she had a handgun in her Mercedes-Benz the night of her arrest in the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant), Schafnitz was sentenced to 10 months in jail, a $5,000 fine and three years' probation. Her insurance-mogul husband, Matt Schafnitz, filed for divorce shortly after the plea, and then rescinded it. In other family matters, her half-sister is seeking to get permanent control of Schafnitz's substantial assets, asserting she's unfit to represent her own interests. The blond bombshell's jailhouse interview with Times OC society columnist Ann Conway ('97's Scary Person No. 13) brought nearly as much reader ridicule to the newspaper for running it as it did to Schafnitz for her non-apologetic comments that she snorted coke only twice per month "because it gave me a lift," that her hubby visited her on their 15th anniversary and promised to give her a 15-carat diamond once she's paroled, and that she plans to return to the charity-gala circuit. MITIGATING FACTOR: She turns 40 this spring; cut her some slack.
16. Frank Ury
Education Alliance founder. Two years ago, Ury got his butt whipped in a race for a seat on the Saddleback Valley Unified School Board. He did what any self-respecting upholder of traditional values would do: he found a scapegoat. Couldn't be that Ury lost because he's a truly scary guy whose bizarre public-policy positions might legitimately terrify voters. Must be that unions-teachers unions-had kept him out of office. Working with two other OC conservatives-the equally scary Mark Bucher and Jim Righeimer-Ury helped draft and qualify for the June 1998 ballot the so-called Campaign-Finance Reform Initiative. That sweet-sounding effort became Proposition 226, which, if passed, would have effectively blocked unions from participating in elections. The result: corporate control of the electoral playing field. MITIGATING FACTOR: Hopefully, three's a charm. Ury, who lost his board race in '96 and whose initiative was defeated earlier this year, is on Tuesday's Saddleback Valley Unified ballot.
17. Gordon Dillow
Orange County Register columnist. For weeks, we couldn't decide who is scarier at the Register: Jeff Kramer, the paper's tweaked-out "humor" writer; Holly McClure, the Christian Coalition-minded movie reviewer; or Dillow, who yearns for the 1950s, when-he imagines-there were "no moral ambiguities, no situational ethics, no gray areas. . . . We never had any trouble figuring out who to root for; all we had to do was look at the color of the hats." In the end, however, Dillow edged the other two out, in part because of his Jan. 15 column, "Pig Rescuers Are Nothing to Poke Fun At." Here's a taste of the piece: "A friend of Susie's had gotten the pigs as pets some years ago, perhaps not fully realizing that today's cute little piggies become tomorrow's big fat porkers. . . . Unfortunately, I had to tell Susie that I wasn't the right guy for the pig-saving job. After all, I said, chuckling, I just had bacon for breakfast, a ham sandwich for lunch and pork chops for dinner. Save the pigs? I'd rather eat the pigs! Haw! Haw! Haw!" Earlier this year, Dillow admitted he got off on the "sweet sound of handcuffs snapping" around a suspect's wrists. MITIGATING FACTOR: We'd take Dillow over the mind-numbing partisan propaganda of Times OC columnist and GOP strategist Ken Khachigian any day (see No. 14).
18. Jan Crouch's breasts
Flipping channels on a recent Sunday evening, one couldn't help but pause on Trinity Broadcasting Network, where Jan Crouch appeared, complete with pink cotton candy hair, raccoon eyes and HUGE BREAST IMPLANTS! Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick! We almost threw up our lasagna! Our roommate had to pull the fork from the bloody mess that used to be our eye sockets. Isn't it so nice to know that some of that money that the Crouches receive from little old ladies' pensions may have helped create her voluptuous, supple bosom and a tacky Carvel wedding cake of a holy temple in Costa Mesa? She's older than rocks and was obviously proud of her gravity-defying sweater puppies. She wore an alluring, tight, crushed-velvet, low-cut blouse to show off those San Onofre reactors pointing straight up to the good Lord. Her face looked haggard-as usual-as those non-pagan pyramids protruded from her frail, grisly frame. One has to wonder what she looks like topless. Uh, on second thought, scratch that. Only a couple of months ago, while tuning in Praise the Lord, Crouch had grandma-sized, drooping-toward-Satan flesh islands (which, along with the rest of her, ranked No. 16 last year). Perhaps her renovated rack was budgeted into the new TBN headquarters' construction costs. MITIGATING FACTOR: If it wasn't a boob job, she must've been wearing one of those new Pray for a Miracle bras!
19. Vangi Oberschlake
Green Party activist. Greens are a well-meaning bunch who, especially in Orange County, fight daily an uphill battle on par with Hannibal. So we have no problem with Oberschlake's heart or mind. It's her mouth. It tends to be in-your-face, moving rapidly, constantly pounding you, holding you, allowing neither interruptions nor graceful exits, talking about this well-meaning cause and that well-intentioned rally-and she doesn't stop, really; she just keeps talking, and though you nod, you are screaming inside, "Please, God, set fire to my head so I may excuse myself," but you realize that even if the Almighty were to take mercy upon you, it would only allow Oberschlake to lecture you on the devastating effects of wildfires and of the group's position paper on that very subject and why is it that the Greens don't get more media coverage, and why aren't you writing any of this down? . . . MITIGATING FACTOR: She's usually right.
20. Larry Bowa
Coach for the Anaheim Angels. He'd like once again to be a big-league manager, a post he held with the San Diego Padres from 1987 to 1988. But general managers are reportedly hesitant to call him, concerned about what Bowa's legendary "intensity" (read: temper) would do to their clubhouses. It's ironic since Bowa's all-out attitude was responsible for making him one of the best shortstops of the last quarter century. Playing mostly with Philadelphia, he not only battled the media but also managers and teammates. That was okay, since he was also the leading National League shortstop in fielding six times and was named to five All-Star teams. But as the Padres' manager, he once yelled at his players: "There are three or four of you; you can get the hell out of here any time you want!" He has the distinction of being the only manager ever thrown out of a game for mocking the way an umpire walked. That might have been overlooked, except that San Diego had a .389 winning percentage (or put another way, a .611 losing percentage) under him. Today, there's talk Bowa is mellowing, but it's in comparative terms. He remains baseball's most aggressive third-base coach, sending runners home in just about any situation. He engaged in at least one yelling match last season with center fielder Jim Edmonds, whose relaxed manner is the antithesis of Bowa's. Before an August game against Cleveland, Bowa reportedly shouted at Edmonds, "I'm tired of your [act]!" (How's that for a snappy Reg quote?) Unfortunately for Bowa, general managers may feel the same way about him. MITIGATING FACTOR: Though too intense for big leagues, he'd fit right in managing Little League.
21. Matthew Fertal
Director of the Agency for Community Development (ACD). An entire institution given over to mayhem! Garden Grove's ACD works like a reverse Habitat for Humanity: instead of sending workers into poor neighborhoods to hammer together homes for the neediest among us, the ACD sends bulldozers, evicts the poor, and sells off the vacant land to developers for major projects to raise tax revenue to pay off the bonds that funded the bulldozers! Diabolical! MITIGATING FACTOR: Gary Hunt ('97's Scary Person No. 4) has not left the Irvine Co. to become the ACD's vice president.
22. SOCCCD meetings
Otherwise known as public meetings of the South Orange County Community College District. And we're not even talking about silent-but-deadly trustee Steven J. Frogue. We're talking about the people who come to see him, to defend or attack him. Like the guy who called an opponent in the audience "subhuman" and "a lower life form." Or the guy who singled out someone else as "a self-admitted Hitler-lover." Or these creative epithets we hesitate to publish in a family newspaper but will anyway since we don't work for one: "convicted child-molest offender," "pervert," "garbage-mouthed idiot," "piece of garbage," "nuts case," "sweathog," "toad," "fruitscake," "no, you're the fruitcake," "most unpleasant man" and "creep." MITIGATING FACTOR: When the Green Party finally takes power and destroys all televisions as a source of violence, greed and evil, we'll still have the South Orange County Community College District's board meetings.
23. William Lyon
Developer. We could dismiss Lyon as the community crank who tries to get the cops to arrest his neighbors. But Lyon, a former co-owner of AirCal, is also one of the county's most powerful developers. Two weeks ago, he was trying to hold a $1,000-per-head fund-raiser for 2nd District Supervisor Jim Silva at his palatial Coto de Caza estate while 100 or so of his neighbors picketed outside. The object of their outrage: Silva, who supports the El Toro International Airport, which may destroy the value of their very prestigious properties. So Lyon called the sheriff. Never mind that the U.S. Constitution protects lawful assembly or that the protesting residents stayed on community property: entertaining the fat cats who support an elected official like Silva is truly a private affair. Very scary. MITIGATING FACTOR: Good ol' boy Lyon isn't as slick as his former AirCal partner and fellow airport booster George Argyros.
24. Bobby Ray Inman
Director of Irvine-based builder Fluor-Daniel and a former CIA and National Security Agency official under President Ronald Reagan. Inman worked at the highest levels of American intelligence during an era when it displayed a stunning lack of it. Inman's achievements include helping: fail to predict the peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union; prolong violent, useless civil wars in Central America; and give arms to terrorists in exchange for hostages. In typical shadow-government/revolving-door fashion, Inman arrived at Fluor the same year that former CIA official Bill Nelson-who met with CIA contra-coke figure Ronald Lister at Fluor's Irvine offices-left the multinational corporation. MITIGATING FACTOR: He let a congressional oversight committee know when CIA chief Bill Casey was lying by tugging on his socks under the table.
25. Mark Dornan
Son of Bob. Earlier this year, Mark's dad was ranting to us about homosexuality when he paused and inexplicably bragged that his unmarried 38-year-old son had bedded "his share" of females. We were surprised, not so much because premarital sex is against the same Bible that the elder Dornan quotes to slam gays but because we hadn't asked about Little Dornan's sex life. Go figure. Bob, of course, requires an around-the-clock audience for his political lounge act, and Mark has nothing productive to do. The two are inseparable. Junior's so out of touch with reality that he calls the bitter, defeated ex-congressman "cool." He also enjoys videotaping "Poppy's" every move. At public events, Mark is the seemingly overcaffeinated one who regularly yells in that trademark raspy Dornan voice: "You da man, Dad!" He's learned the art of smear from the master. MITIGATING FACTOR: Little Dornan lacks his evil dad's campy performance-art skills and will never hold public office.
26. Reed Royalty
Director of the Orange County Taxpayers Association. At a recent county Board of Supervisors meeting, Royalty stood up and likened the five elected supervisors to a corporate board of directors while explaining why they should leave the business of actually running the county to CEO Jan Mittermeier. Ostensibly head of the Orange County Taxpayers Association ("OC Tax," as he likes to call it), Royalty is one of the more annoying lobbyists in Orange County. His "Taxpayers Association" represents far more developers and corporations than individual taxpayers, which explains why Royalty supported Measure M-the transportation bond tax increase supported by corporations and developers. Royalty, who ranked No. 19 last year, supports the proposed El Toro International Airport and all the toll roads, despite serious evidence all those projects will cost county taxpayers billions. MITIGATING FACTOR: Cool name.
27. Rich Archbold
Executive editor of the Long Beach Press-Telegram. This is the time of year that Archbold comes to work in the wig and robe of an old English judge to oversee the Press-Telegram's Halloween contest. The rest of the year, he's apt to dress up as a knickered newsboy, a baseball player or a fuzzy yellow bird. Archbold has never met a staff meeting he couldn't turn into a costume party, and for two decades, Press-Telegram reporters have been a captive audience for the flamboyant indulgence of his bizarre alter egos. But that's nothing compared with the price paid by Long Beach residents when the fashion show ends and Archbold begins pretending he's a journalist. In a city flush with the kind of big-money redevelopment projects that tend to attract sleight-of-hand corruption (not to mention a police department noted for misconduct and a school system challenged with overcrowded conditions and multiple cultures), Archbold proudly looks the other way. He laid out his philosophy last year while addressing 125 mayors, law-enforcement officials and educators at a conference sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "The main thing you have to have is trust between media and public officials," Archbold said. "We've been blessed by leaders like [Long Beach Police Chief] Bill Ellis, [Unified School District Superintendent] Carl Cohn and Mayor Beverly O'Neill, who are totally honest with us." MITIGATING FACTOR: Archbold has also presided over a circulation plunge so drastic that the paper's influence is waning anyway.
Michael Schroeder and Johnny Pink and the Big Shots. Schroeder, head of the California GOP, is a lawyer, an Irvine resident and last year's Scary Person No. 21 (step it up, Mike). Actually, it's a tossup who's scarier: the Times Orange Countyfor printing Bob Dornan's groundless attacks on Latino voters? Or Schroeder, Dornan's lawyer and the man who played the Times like a piano throughout the controversy and then-stupidly-bragged about it before a Republican audience in northern California. MITIGATING FACTOR: He's not bright enough to keep his mouth shut; he eventually outs himself.
The horror of the neo-swing craze was brought disturbingly to life a few months back with the unholy nativity of Johnny Pink and the Big Shots, a group fabricated-like the Monkees, but not so campily well-for the OC Fair. It was the manifestation of everything demented about this most unfortunate trend. Taking the lead from such swillmongers as Cherry Poppin' Daddies and Big Bad Doodoo Patty-errr, Voodoo Daddy-Pink and company were a cynical, opportunistic pander machine that sought to cash in on the wagon-jumping swing kids. That their crass brand of Roquefort was hosted under the auspices of the OC Fair and that this middle-class Cab Calloway actually wore a pink zoot suit for the occasion only made their very existence more grotesque. MITIGATING FACTOR: They have the word "big" in their name, but not the more offensive "daddy."
29. Lisa Muehle
Founder of Cambridge Academic Services. For a fee of $2,500, Muehle's company will prepare your child for the all-important, make-or-break, my-life-is-over-and-I-can't-even-drive SAT test. And she takes five years to do it. Five years! We got through college in five years. Well, almost. It's not Muehle who is scary as much as the success of her business; it's been around six years, a symptom of a larger problem, one that views higher education almost exclusively as a training ground for the business world, a place one attends not necessarily to enhance one's mind so much as one's rsum. ITT with ivy. In this atmosphere, frantic parents, worried they will fail their kids or their own reputations as providers, begin to value scores over learning, competition over comprehension. Plus, Muehle's school is yet another piece in an ever-growing and increasingly worrisome puzzle: kids studying for SAT tests coupled with recent surveys that suggest kids are having less sex and taking less drugs. Is this really the world we want to live in? Is this what Jimi Hendrix died for? MITIGATING FACTOR: Kids are soooo stoopid.
30. Darnel Squad
Not a "who" but a "what," the Darnel Squad is a secretive group of womyn [sic] opposed to people opposed to hair on women's legs and arms. At first, the Huntington Beach-based group was so eager for publicity and members that it submitted a Calendar listing in the Weekly. When we attempted to find out more about this effort to find "alternatives to American society's obsession with manmade body chemicals and the removal of body hair," they told us darkly the group was moving underground. Not far enough underground for us! Yikes! MITIGATING FACTOR: Nair sales were up the past two quarters.
31. Harold Ezell
Former Newport Beach resident, Ronald Reagan buddy and snake-oil salesman. There are many prescient reasons to oppose the nation's current immigration policy; Ezell found none of them. While working for Reagan's Immigration and Naturalization Service in the 1980s, Ezell helped revive the 20th century's know-nothing movement against immigrants. Upon leaving his federal-government job, Ezell traded on his influence, helping wealthy immigrants buy their way into the U.S. MITIGATING FACTOR: He's dead.
HALL OF FAME
Dr. Bernard Rappaport
No. 1 last year. While there was some controversy in this year's scary voting-specifically, what will forever be embarrassingly referred to as the Joey Bishop Incident-there were no qualms about making Rappaport our first inductee into the Orange County Scariest People Hall of Fame. As head of the county's Children and Youth Services (CYS), he ignored complaints concerning at least one psychiatrist who gave patients at the Orangewood Children's Home potentially dangerous drug combinations, illegal office drinking parties at one CYS clinic, a supervising psychiatrist who was allegedly making dangerous misdiagnoses, and an Orange County grand jury who described him as "unaccountable." He still works for the county mental-health department. Enough said. MITIGATING FACTOR: He looks like Simpsons cartoon character Mr. Burns.
ATTENTION, WEEKLY GEEKS!
Several readers have pointed out that the decision tree we've used in past issues seems to ignore Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, especially Nietzsche's critique of the oppressive nature of moralizing agents in society and the possibility that the OC Weekly DataLab functions as one such agent. "Untrue," said DataLab associate director M. Hankey. He pointed out that last year's decision tree allowed for the possibility that a Scary Candidate (SC) ought to be awarded Mitigating Points (MP) for Socially Marginalized Behavior (SMB)-including, but not limited to, stiffing panhandlers, eating meat, smoking in California bars and restaurants, refusing to exercise regularly, using phone-sex services and membership in fringe political parties. "The model we use to analyze each SC excludes from consideration subjects whose MP rating is more than 3," he said. However, Hankey pointed out, the DataLab model is predicated not on Nietzsche's-"which we found cumbersome to render into our Bayes Risk Principle"-but on more recent work by V. Yerushalmy, J. Garland and M. Quinn, especially their use of the Relative Impact (RI) quotient usually regarded as useless in surveys of SCs. Reader J. Luster pointed out that computers such as ours-using the 187, 209 and Proposition 13 computer chips-were likely to yield errors beyond one-ten-thousandth. To which we reply: rankings are totally arbitrary. All decisions are final. Kill television. Steal this book. Danger, Will Robinson. Caution: read backward, this note contains a subliminal message that will encourage you to send us money. Special thanks to DataLab technology team members C. Cunningham, P. Davis, G. Lewis, B. Mott and D. Piangerelli.
Contributors include Matt Coker, Ginger Dank, M. Hankey, Steve Lowery, R. Scott Moxley, Mark Petracca, Anthony Pignataro, Rebecca Schoenkopf, Nick Schou, Will Swaim and Dave Wielenga.
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