By Gustavo Arellano, Josh Chesler, Matt Coker, Courtney Hamilton, Kristine Hoang, Charles Lam, R. Scott Moxley, Gabriel San Román and Nick Schou
For all of 2015, your favorite infernal rag has been for sale, which made 2015 among the scariest years we Weeklings have ever faced (the thought of Susan Kang Schroeder getting her GOP pals to buy us? Shudder). Thankfully, no one put in a big-enough bid, meaning business as usual reigns again! Enjoy the year's batch of Scariest People, and don't forget to go online to learn who was inducted into the Bob Dornan Scary Hall of Fame!
SOUTH COUNTY MOMS Every year, South County moms have done something dumb that makes them national laughingstocks. In the late 1980s, they tried to make Mission Viejo High change its Diablos moniker; last year, they began the great OC measles outbreak. This time, when Aliso Niguel High School students managed to win a $10,000 donation to the music program and a Q&A session with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Principal Deni Christensen declined the donation because some parents (Were they from Aliso Viejo? Laguna Niguel? Rancho Mission Loser?) were worried about the pair's music (here's the time to remind everyone the duo's two most popular songs are about LGBT rights and shopping at thrift stores). Christensen relented after an online uprising, allowing the event to go on but requiring permission slips. For high schoolers. To see two white Seattleites talk about the music industry. One of whom almost got booed off a stage for asking audience members to not smoke too much. Mitigating factor: Anything that keeps moms off dem pills.
ADAM DANDACH The El Modena High graduate became OC's first convicted ISIS supporter earlier this year when he pleaded guilty in federal court to attempting to provide material support to terrorists and making a false statement in a passport application. He now awaits a January sentencing date that can see him spend at least 25 years in the can. Mitigating factor: Looks like a young Andre the Giant, which is more than can be said for OC's last homegrown Adam-named terrorist, al-Qaeda propagandist Adam "Goat Boy" Gadahn.
SCOTT MALONI Anyone who has ever attended a meeting related to the Poseidon desalination project in Huntington Beach has seen company vice president Scott Maloni stalking the aisles in his heavily shoulder-padded navy blazer and khakis, rubbing elbows with political allies such as Orange County Water District President Cathy Green. Doesn't ring a bell? He's the rude, really short guy with a smarmy smile who likes to talk through his opponents' presentations, scoffing whenever someone says Orange County doesn't need the water . . . which it doesn't. Most unpleasant San Diegan to invade the county since Congressman Darrell Issa. Mitigating factor: Did you know OC saved the yearly equivalent of three Poseidon plants' worth of water since Governor Jerry Brown enacted his cutbacks? Barely hurt, huh?
JOEL KOTKIN A presidential fellow in Urban Futures and the R. Hobbs Professorship in Urban Studies at Chapman University, whatever the hell any of that is, Joel Kotkin is a prodigious essayist for everyone from the Register to the Wall Street Journal, even though he's a four-trick pony. In his world, California and cities are liberal stupid-holes, while Texas and suburbs are God's gift to humanity--and that's all he can say, again and again and again, as if Dorothy clicking her heels to return home. Never heard of Kotkin? Don't worry: Unless they're conservative wonks, no one else has, either. Mitigating factor: Thinks immigrants are good.
RAINBOW ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES This Huntington Beach garbage company has exponentially increased in size over the past four decades--never mind that it's right across the street from an elementary school and less than 1,000 feet from Surf City's Oak View barrio. Never mind that the stench of its product has annoyed residents for years, or that it attracts seagulls that shit all over poor Mexican preschoolers: It's an HB institution that funds the city's politicians, nonprofits and OC supervisors, so it operates virtually unchecked. Mitigating factor: It employs a falcon--and falcons make everything cool!
SCOTT PEOTTER What politician in this era is stupid enough to send out a newsletter to constituents stating that gays stole rainbow symbology from God himself? Why, Newport Beach City Councilman Scott Peotter, dahlings! Even better, Peotter never bothered to apologize for his remarks and claimed he was the victim--of political correctness. Mitigating factor: Local gays now use "peotter" to describe a multiracial, gay gangbang.
THE GREAT WOLF LODGE Anyone who has driven on Garden Grove's stretch of Harbor Boulevard can't help but notice the tubular terror that is the Great Wolf Lodge. Just on the outskirts of the Disneyland Resort, the water-park resort is not only a case study in corporate welfare--the city booted poor RV-park residents off the land and gave it away for free to the developer, then rewarded said developer with $47 million in subsidies for a 600-room hotel in a desperate attempt to be anything but Garden Grove--but it's also a WATER PARK BEING OPENED IN THE MIDDLE OF AN APOCALYPTIC DROUGHT. Mitigating factor: Jobs, jobs, jobs! Trade-union construction jobs!
SKY HIGH COPS When Santa Ana police raided the Sky High Collective in May, the first thing they did after arresting everybody inside the marijuana dispensary was rip out all the cameras. Or so they thought: Unfortunately for them, the cops missed a backup system that recorded everything that happened as they confiscated boxes full of marijuana and assorted edibles. About an hour into their work, one of the officers began apparently munching on a pot candy bar; soon, three others joined in. As they got high--one of the cops remarked that he felt "dizzy"--the officers threw darts at a wall and insulted a paraplegic activist. When the cops were investigated by their own department, they tried to argue that the footage couldn't be used against them because it violated their privacy. Nice try. As of now, the officers still face unspecified disciplinary action including possible termination. Mitigating factor: Their supervisor stole the show when he boasted about drinking and driving with the Orange County judge who signed the search warrant for the raid.
OC VECTOR CONTROL This agency is in charge of eradicating nasty, West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes. OC Vector Control's grand plan? Spray most of North County with bug poison it claims won't harm humans, plants or any animals not of the Culicidae family. Too bad it barely told constituents about its strategy, which led to multiple protests across various city councils by residents alleging the planned spray was really a tactic to eradicate Mexicans. Okay, so maybe they didn't say that, but Vector Control tried to do major damage you-know-what while still pushing to continue . . . until the agency had to scrap the whole thing after finding out that its contractor had failed to grab the permits necessary to fly over Disneyland. Mitigating factor: Does anyone even know who's on the Vector Control Board? It's hard to be scared of people you don't know.
BIG NEWPORT LEAF-BLOWER-WIELDING TEENS We usually don't put non-murderous, non-raping teenagers on this list, but special dispensation is given to the quartet that terrified moviegoers at Big Newport in August with leaf blowers during a screening of horror flick The Grit. The prank led to a mini-stampede that left a couple of people with minor injuries. Mitigating factor: They turned themselves in for questioning.
ROB CURLEY Notice that nowadays, all Disney has to do is cough to make the Orange County Register unleash front-page stories, multiple slideshows and an army of reporters on the story, no matter how non-newsworthy it is? Thank editor in chief Rob Curley, who made it be known in the Reg story reporting his ascendance last year that he shows up to the office daily sporting "at least one garment with Mickey Mouse on it." TMI! Perhaps the only Kansas native dweebier than Bob Dole. Mitigating factor: Has yet to expose his #hiddenmickey to staff.
GARDEN GROVE POLICE ASSOCIATION In August, after Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen reported someone screaming while walking down Garden Grove Boulevard, Garden Grove Police Sergeant (and Garden Grove Police Association president--and there you go: We just set the world record for saying Garden Grove the most times in one sentence) Mike Viscomi stopped by Nguyen's home to check in. There, Viscomi secretly recorded the mayor asking how Viscomi's kids were doing, talking about working Sundays, his feelings on his fellow Garden Grove City Council members and a possible congressional bid. Viscomi left the house after about half an hour; a month later, the police association put out a press release stating Nguyen was drunk during his talk with Viscomi for reasons it never bothered to explain. Just when we were ready to ditch the Garbage Grove slur. . . . Mitigating factor: Thanks to Bao, the process to make a complaint against the police department is now on the city's website.
#CHUNTI Chunti is short for chúntaro, which is short for "wab." #chunti was a sign held up by a Foothill High student in January during a basketball game against eternal rival Tustin High. Don't blame the kid who held up the sign: He was merely following the froufrou school's proud tradition of racist taunts against working-class Tustin, a smear campaign that goes back decades. It didn't matter to the Tillers; they still kicked Knights ass that game. Mitigating factor: No matter how much Foothill students and alumni protest otherwise, their school is still in SanTana.
JUDGE M. MARC KELLY If a looming recall election is successful, Hizzoner will have gaveled himself off the Orange County Superior Court bench. Judge M. Marc Kelly not only gave a 20-year-old child molester a 10-year prison sentence instead of the state-mandated quarter century behind bars, but the judge also said in reference to the 3-year-old girl who was victimized, "There was no violence or callous disregard for [her] well-being." Mitigating factor: His beloved Notre Dame beat USC in football this season.
CENTER FOR MEDICAL PROGRESS Those doctored videos of Planned Parenthood executives discussing fetal tissue for research that almost caused the closure of the federal government (again) had an unexpected source: the Center for Medical Progress, based in an Irvine shopping center. Completely expectedly, the videos led to a bunch of nothing other than six states and the federal government investigating the accusations, only to find no wrongdoing whatsoever by Planned Parenthood. Isn't the GOP the party of saving money and limited government overreach? Mitigating factor: The Center's headquarters are next to a Ranch 99 and a bunch of awesome Chinese restaurants.
ROBERT COLDREN Mobile-home dwellers, lock your doors and stow your money: Lawyer/developer extraordinaire Robert Coldren is coming for ya! Coldren is the guy mobile-park-property owners call when they feel like doubling space rents for their largely low-income and senior residents, as did El Nido Mobile Estates owner Richard Worley earlier this year. Some residents of the San Juan Capistrano park face up to 106 percent rent increases--a jump from $600 to $1,241--and if the City Council upholds the hikes, all credit goes to Coldren's "special reputation in the area of property rights, land use and regulatory 'taking' issues," as his law-firm website boasts. He relies on such expertise in his gig as managing partner in Pacific Current Partners (PCP), an investment group that makes cash cows out of mobile-home parks. Just ask the 150-plus residents who have fled Huntington Shorecliffs, a PCP-owned park in Huntington Beach where rents have shot up from $1,250 to $2,500 in seven years. Mitigating factor: Seniors need somewhere to direct their anger, and it's refreshing when it's not at "kids these days" or Obama.
BETTERSOLUTIONS4ANAHEIM When a group cares more about property values than human life (and--bonus--has an early 2000s-era number in their name), you know something's dubious. And BetterSolutions4Anaheim, the NIMBYers protesting against the county's proposed year-round homeless shelter in an Anacrime industrial park, is nothing but Astroturf, painting an apocalyptic scene of human leeches destroying quaint tract homes with their filth and non-job-, non-home-ness. All you need to know about this group is that they associate with OC politico Matt Cunningham, a gopher-looking pendejo who in previous incarnations outed Catholic Church sex-abuse victims and mocked men killed by Anaheim police with a torn-up teddy bear. Mitigating factor: All of BetterSolutions4Anaheim's whining probably won't stop the county Board of Supervisors from putting a homeless shelter in their neighborhoods, which they deserve at this point for being such heartless dicks.
DEBORAH PAULY The former Villa Park City Council hatemonger managed to keep her yap shut--or, more likely, people stopped listening to her teabaggy rants even as she plots a return to Orange County politics as a state assemblywoman. But we were reminded all over again why she deserves a political ice-float send-off (in boiling water) by capping a Sept. 12 DUI arrest by allegedly going off on Muslims. She's scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 26. Mitigating factor: By crashing her Porsche into a parked Mazda pickup, at least Pauly avoided jumping a curb, as her husband's Porsche did in 2012, when he drunkenly tried to avoid a DUI checkpoint in Orange. (He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI, placed on three years' probation and ordered to pay $390 in fines.) According to the Register, the Paulys are divorcing, which Deborah claims is among the "personal problems" that spurred her crash.
JORDAN BRANDMAN Anaheim City Councilman Jordan Brandman exudes all the glee of a high school ASB president in public appearances and behind the dais. But peer behind the Democrat's Dick Powell-esque rosy cheeks, and you'll notice he actually resembles In Living Color's Fire Marshall Bill. And like Jim Carrey's best-ever character, Brandman loves to wreak havoc--in his case, as former mayor Curt Pringle proxy in the Dark Lord's eternal war against current Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait. As with his Republican council colleagues Lucille Kring and Kris Murray (both past Scariest People inductees), Brandman genuflects before Pringle-connected developers and their lust for subsidies. Ever the careerist, he hopes to win Loretta Sanchez's vacated congressional seat next year, following in the footsteps of another Anaheim mayor, Tom Daly, in taking a central county seat away from a Latino. Mitigating factor: Despite being called "scheming Jew" by a bigot at council two years ago, Brandman's a steadfast supporter of official designation for Anaheim's Little Arabia District.
REBECCA FRIEDRICHS Sporting eyeglasses framed by golden, twirling locks, Rebecca Friedrichs resembles a nice teacher to impress with a shiny, red apple. But the veteran educator in Buena Park's Savanna School District strikes fear in the hearts of teachers' unions as the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the California Teachers Association's funding for collective bargaining rights. The case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court, making Friedrichs the anti-union darling of conservative media. Should SCOTUS rule in her favor, the potential blow to "fair share" fees by Friedrichs would do irreparable harm to public employee unions. Today's lesson, kiddos: Don't pay dues but reap the benefits of a union-negotiated contract? That's how conservatives will put the free in freedom! Mitigating factor: Maybe her union-busting ways will set her sights on yellow school buses next, telling parents to use Uber for their kids instead--which is okay since Uber's so cool, right?
TAMIE MARIE BIEKER Orange County law-enforcement officials habitually perform warped stunts, but Tamie Marie Bieker, a former county juvenile hall officer, is an original. For example, Bieker repeatedly soaked the shoes of her captives, already-troubled teenage males, in urine, and then forced the boys to wear them. Turns out that such alleged acts are misdemeanors, and the now-fired, 38-year-old government bureaucrat faces a potential maximum three-year imprisonment stint if convicted. As of press time, Tamie's case remains opened and unresolved. Mitigating factor: Bieker's deed will soon be forgotten after another sick OC cop tops it.
ROBERT ALVARADO Baseball is America's pastime, just as is Chevrolet, apple pie and raging elitism--and we know Robert Alvarado is a supporter of at least half of those. While serving as vice president of marketing and ticket sales for your Anaheim Angels of Anaheim, he told the Orange County Register in June that he didn't care for poor fans who couldn't spend as much money as say, selfie-taking Mission Viejo MILFs. "It's not like I can segregate [poor fans]," Alvarado told Reg reporter Pedro Moura, "because I'm offering it up to the public, and I'm basically downselling everybody else in order to accommodate them." Mitigating factor: Alvarado resigned soon after and wasn't responsible for that whole Los Angeles Angels chingadera.
THOMAS PHILLIPS Legendary conservative publisher Thomas Phillips of Newport Coast made an estimated $100 million fortune by coddling bigots such as the Reverend Jerry Falwell and running right-wing media organizations that savaged gay and lesbian citizens as a cancer on America. But his wife's lawyers--including ex-Register columnist turned bar-approved attorney Frank Mickadeit--reported in court documents that Phillips lived a secret life as a closet homosexual, keeping young, hot males as companions, cruising gay-pornography websites, and stockpiling sex toys and condoms for his--cough, cough--business trips. Mitigating factor: Anti-gay hypocrites are so 1985.
RACHAEL MULLENIX How would a normal teenage Orange County girl react to a mother's 1 a.m. curfew? Perhaps reluctant acceptance or bitching, but definitely not how Rachael Mullenix responded: by stabbing her mother more than 50 times, with the help of her boyfriend. This year, Mullenix hoped a federal judge would declare her a victim of an unfair legal system for the 2006 murder of her mom. When the authorities recovered the corpse in the Pacific Ocean near Corona del Mar, a knife protruded from Barbara Mullenix's eye socket. This year, U.S. District Court Judge Manuel L. Real accepted the conviction as righteous. The killer will continue to serve 25 years to life. Mitigating factor: Prison curfew is 6 p.m.
SETH TUNSTALL Probably the highest-educated deputy in the history of the Orange County Sheriff's Department, Seth Tunstall has earned multiple master's degrees and a Ph.D. But during special evidentiary hearings this year about the county's snitch scandal, Tunstall attempted to dodge questions about his role in a jailhouse conspiracy that routinely violated the constitutional rights of pretrial, in-custody defendants by employing informants to improperly obtain confessions. He repeatedly claimed memory loss about important events. That wasn't surprising. Tunstall also insisted he had no association with snitches because the department didn't have them. In a Perry Mason moment, Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders introduced a court record written by the deputy and signed under oath in another case. In it, Tunstall had told a judge he'd "cultivated," "interviewed" and "supervised" numerous confidential informants. The doctor with a badge then boldly claimed he'd wrongly used the three words. Mitigating factor: In OC, most judges allow deputies to lie on the witness stand without punishment.
RANDOLPH BRUCE ADAIR A white-haired geezer earned the nickname "Snowbird Bandit" for pulling armed robberies at five Orange County banks last spring through early summer. In July, the Orange County Sheriff's Department announced the arrest of a former LAPD cop who had helped arrest Sirhan Sirhan in 1968. The family of Randolph Bruce Adair explained gramps had an escalating gambling problem. Adair was indicted for armed robbery by the grand jury in August. At his arraignment that same month, he pleaded not guilty. Trial has not started yet. Mitigating factor: If convicted, he'll get all the Wilfred Brimley parts in prison plays.
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MEGHAN BREANNA ALT Mrs. Orange County 2014, Meghan Breanna Alt is charged by the Orange County district attorney's office with one felony count of possession and control of child pornography, three felony counts of lewd acts upon a child younger than 14, and a sentencing enhancement allegation for substantial sexual conduct with a child. The alleged victim? A 4-year-old female relative of Alt, whom authorities claim Alt posed in sexually explicit positions. Mitigating factor: She's now in the running for Mrs. Theo Lacy 2015.
MATTHEW GREGORY MCLAUGHLIN The Huntington Beach lawyer made national headlines earlier this year after he filed paperwork for "The Sodomite Suppression Act," a proposed California proposition that would have all gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people and Paul Lynde killed by "bullets to the head or by any other convenient method." Fun! McLaughlin's move unsurprisingly went nowhere, since state-sanctioned killings of minorities is only legal in Oklahoma. Mitigating factor: The Sodomite Suppression Act was better than his last attempt at California law: to make the Bible mandatory reading in all public schools.
SAINT JUNIPERO SERRA Writings of Junipero Serra, penned by the Spanish missionary upon whom Pope Francis just bestowed sainthood, show the Roman Catholic priest advocated, instituted and defended forced residency and floggings of California's natives. But would Jesus do that? Consider that Father Junipero Serra was supposedly bestowing Indians with a better, Christian life by having them rounded up by soldiers, forced to abandon their traditions and tortured--if they were "lucky" enough to not die first as many did. Mitigating factor: It's not as if native people lived in what is now Orange County; just ask the tribal-recognition-denying U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.
DANA ROHRABACHER Congressman Dana Rohrabacher won't wear a dress in public, but he'll wrap himself in a soft, sweet-smelling American flag any damn time he thinks it will divert public attention from his sliminess. Over the decades, he has advocated one after another stance and, when those positions proved laughably wrong, denied uttering his prior bonehead statements. What gives? Well, this man (who has won entry into the Weekly's Scary Hall of Fame) is our Otis from Mayberry in the U.S. Congress. But we applaud the self-styled Christian Republican, who chickened out of Vietnam War combat duty, for his relationship with Dan Bilzerian, an ultra-wealthy, trust-fund playboy who makes Hugh Hefner's partying resemble an outing with Mr. Rogers. Bilzerian publishes Twitter entries bragging about having his dick sucked simultaneously by three people, claiming he can survive a boating accident because his penis will serve as a floatation device and happily observing the impressive size of his baby nephew's balls. Wow: Blowjob fêtes, dick obsession, testicle ogling and unbridled obnoxiousness. Dana must be in heaven. Mitigating factor: The congressman's polyester shirts continue to wreck highs.