Illustration by Bob AulAn April 11 letter from Orange County Republican Party chairman Thomas A. Fuentes took Orange Unified Education Association president John Rossmann by surprise. Fuentes sought support for "three good Republican school board members" who have been targeted for recall by "liberal Democrats," "liberal opponents" and "union bosses." In Fuentes' small-minded little world, anyone who belongs to a faculty union, is a union president or supports the removal of three fundamentalist Christian school board members who have turned a once-respected district into the laughingstock of California public education is obviously a liberal Democrat. But as Rossmann so eloquently put it in an April 27 letter addressed to "community leaders," there are problems with Tio Tomas' reasoning: the union boss in question (Rossmann) is a lifelong Republican, most teachers in the association are Republicans, and so are most of the 20,000 residents who signed recall petitions against the school board members Fuentes supports. Rossmann advises anyone "bombarded" with information, ridiculous claims or political-party talk from "right-wing fringe, ideological zealots" like Fuentes to keep in mind "that these are the very people who have politicized your schools and turned them into an ideological battleground." Amen, brother.
SURF'S UP, SNOOPY A Sacramento County Superior Court judge's ruling in a lawsuit over a Balboa Peninsula kelp bed could pave the way for the paving over of the rest of the California coast. As part of his April 24 ruling, Judge Charles Kobayashi found that the state Coastal Commission is unconstitutional. The commission last year ordered Marine Forests Society to stop maintaining the experimental kelp bed it planted 300 yards off Balboa, so the Newport Beach research group sued. The judge agreed with the society's attorney that the commission is a "rogue" agency that lacks authority to issue cease-and-desist orders—the same cease-and-desist orders that have been used to protect beaches and coastal wetlands since the commission's formation in 1976. Recent commission votes have saved Crystal Cove State Beach and the Bolsa Chica wetlands from harmful development—so far, anyway. No one is sure what will happen if the judge's decision stands, but chances are it won't be pretty. At least we'll always have that fake beach next to Knott's Berry Farm.
END OF CAMPAIGN DAYS In a perfect Clockwork world, Robert "B-1 Boogerlicker" Dornan would win back an Orange County congressional seat, Larry Agran would be elected to the county Board of Supervisors, and Arnold Schwarzenegger would become the next governor of California—all on the same day! Alas, that ain't happening—at least not in 2002. Despite having been serious enough about the governorship to confer with Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, former Governor Lil' Petey Wilson and convicted swindler Michael R. Milken, Conan the Republican has decided he isn't the Running Man after all. Schwarzenegger said having a film career and young chitlins will keep him out of politics for now, but others claim tabloid stories about womanizing spurred the hasty retreat. Whatever the reason, Schwarzenegger's withdrawal was immediately hailed by Secretary of State Bill Jones, who faxed us something under a fancy "Bill Jones Governor" logo that practically begged someone to cover his hyperuninspiring candidacy. Bill Jones vs. Gray Davis? Wake us in 2008.
COMEDY OF ERRORS May 4 is Superhero Collectible Comic Book Night at Edison Field. All Angel fans aged 12 and under who attend the Detroit Tigers game will receive Angels Dig In, a comic book featuring Troy Glaus, Darin Erstad, Bengie Molina, Garret Anderson and manager Mike Scioscia as superheroes. After they save California from the clutches of Thormac the evil Troll King (Michael Eisner?), our Halos will inevitably morph into the Amazing Suck-o as the playoffs approach.
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