Privilege Has its Membership

We're used to real-estate press releases filled with references to "picturesque splendor," "exquisitely detailed architectural elegance" and our all-time fave, "soaring vaulted ceilings." But San Diego-based Ron Hicks & Associates' Aug. 2 "Incomparable Newport Coast Lifestyle Awaits at Newport Ridge Neighborhoods" takes such puffery to new, soaring vaulted heights. Apparently no place other than Newport Ridge has direct access to the Balboa Island Ferry, the Fun Zone, Pelican Hills Golf Club, Fashion Island, Newport Center, Irvine Spectrum, the Laguna Beach Art Festival, Pageant of the Masters, the Sawdust Festival, and the Balboa and Newport piers. This just in: only 29 percent of Orange County residents could afford a median-priced home here in June, according to the California Association of Realtors.Nowhere does Hicks reference stinky methane clouds, allergy-inducing sage scrub and Crystal Cove dolphin-spawning-habitat-choking runoff around "stunning" Newport Ridge, but "privacy-oriented cul-de-sac locations" do get a nod—thank God. This just in: one-fifth of California homeowners spend more than 40 percent of their income on housing, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.Says Don Moe, senior vice president of residential sales and marketing for Irvine Community Development Co., "These neighborhoods suit the privileged lifestyle of those who choose to call Newport Ridge home." This just in: the census also found that over the past decade, hundreds of thousands of newcomers poured into densely populated neighborhoods in north and central Orange County, where few new homes were built. Meanwhile, new homes popped up like weeds in formerly sparse areas of Irvine, South County, east Orange and, yes, the incomparable Newport Coast.I've got yer privileged lifestyle right here!

Illustration by Bob Aul

DON'T BE STUPID, BE A GADDI, COME AND JOIN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY The Boston Globe carried an Aug. 6 editorial blasting President George "Dubya" Bush's nomination of former Orange County Supervisor Gaddi Vasquez to head the U.S. Peace Corps. "The public has learned to shrug off the practice of both Democratic and Republican presidents who reward generous campaign contributors with plum ambassadorships, from Dublin to Rome," states the Globe. "But a line should be drawn at handing out the top posts of important government agencies this way, especially when the nominee's public-service experience was to help bankrupt his county." Ouch! Vasquez led OC's Board of Stupes to the largest municipal financial collapse ($2.1 buh-buh-billion!) in U.S. history before resigning in shame to become vice president of now-near-bankrupt Southern California Edison. Ironically, the Globe's new editor is Marty Baron, who, while editor of the Los Angeles Times Orange County edition, made the cover of the Weekly's second issue (Susan Paterno's "Whooops! How the Timesand Register blew Orange County's story of the decade," Sept. 22, 1995). If Baron had any influence over the editorial's placement, perhaps he's making up for past blunders. Too bad his old paper isn't following suit. As of this writing, the Times has not taken an editorial stand on the Vasquez nomination (must need further study, eh, guys?). The Register ran a Vasquez nomination editorial back on July 27, but it didn't deal with whether he's fit to run a $275 million agency. Instead, in typical loony libertarian fashion, the Reg urged Vasquez to privatize the Peace Corps.

REPTILES AND SAMURAI Disclaimer: the Easter Seals is a wonderful organization that makes life better for children with disabilities. But the milk shot out of our nose when we read the Southern California chapter's Aug. 8 promotion of an event later this month in Anaheim Hills. "Kids have a chance to get up close and personal with slithering, wiggling reptiles and amphibians when naturalists from the Oak Canyon Nature Center return . . ." If they refer to naturalists as "reptiles" and "amphibians," we don't even want to know what they call smart-ass newspaper folk.


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