Sunday's Headlines & Surprises

  • 'Biggest racist ever' back on Anaheim school board: Last week, the Anaheim Union School District appointed Harald Martin to an open board seat created by the death of Denise Mansfield-Reinking. I managed to obtain the board's top-secret qualifications checklist for Martin: Racist, check. Uneducated cop mentality, check. Nincompoop, check. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! Of course, I'm kidding. Nothing was top secret. We all know about Martin's history during his previous board service. Art Montes, past president of Orange County's League of United Latin American Citizens, told Times reporter Seema Mehta, “It's like nominating [segregationist] George Wallace. Even ultra-conservative Alexandria Coronado, who has served with Martin, calls him “evil” and “the biggest racist ever.” According to Mehta, Martin says his plans include boosting police presence on school campuses. Harald, how about a couple of tanks too?
  • Twisted: An Orange County Juvenile Court sent 22-month-old Miranda Davila back to her drug addicted parents and their nasty motel room. It was the best place for her, according to court Commissioner Gary Vincent. In an excellent if sad story, the Reg's Jenifer B. McKim reports that seven months later paramedics found the baby girl “bruised and unconscious, her skull shattered, in a motel room fouled with mold and infested with maggots.” She died hours later.
  • Frederick Forsyth eat your heart out: During a trip to her native Russia in February, UC Irvine graduate Yana Kovalevsky and her mother were poisoned with thallium, a substance usually associated with “political assassinations or “murderous inheritance seekers,” reports Paul Pringle of the Los Angeles Times. Pringle says it's unknown how the pair ingested the poisoning favored by Saddam Hussein or why someone would want them dead. But this much is certain: if it wasn't for an Orange County pharmacy, 27-year-old Yana and Dr. Marina Kovalevsky, 50, might be goners. While Russian doctors twiddled their thumbs, Dr. Leon Peck--Marina'a brother, called an FDA staffer for an antidote. “He told me about this company in Texas, and they gave me the number of this pharmacy in Santa Ana.” Writes Pringle: “The pharmacy had a batch on hand. Peck had a relative speed down to Orange County to buy $1,300 worth and was on the next plane to Moscow.”
  • No, you are: A Little Saigon weekly publication published a pro and con about the impact of long dead Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh and some elements of the community are protesting that the paper is pro-communist and sympathetic to terrorists. In fact, yesterday about 1,000 people gathered in front of Viet Weekly's Garden Grove offices to protest, according to Erik Ortiz of the Register. Recently, Le Vu--the paper's publisher--told me that he isn't going to be intimidated into shaping stories to suit a bitter group which hasn't accepted history. To Ortiz, he merely said he isn't pro-communist. Here's the rub: George Friggin Bush (R-Skipped Vietnam Combat Duty) has repeatedly huddled with the Vietnamese communists of Ho Chi Minh lineage. Yet these Little Saigon protesters--who are mostly elderly and Republican--look the other way to harass a small newspaper staff. Shamefully hypocritical.
  • Revolution! Like many of us who routinely see the nuts and bolts of government and come away horrified, Steven Greenhut at the Reg editorial department says it's time for change. He notes that most local bureaucracies are “centered on what's best for the officials who run the city, and the privileged interest groups that live off of government largesse.” Very true. Greenhut offers “a 5-point, new urban agenda that embraces freedom rather than top-down planning and regulation.” Read his plan here.
  • No. 1 high school football in SoCal? Reporter Eric Sondheimer of the Times says he's spent seven weeks watching high school summer football tournaments and he's decided that the No. 1 pre-season ranking belongs to Newport Harbor. Okay, calm down. It's not Newport. It's Santa Ana's Mater Dei. According to Sondheimer, the school might not be invincible but with junior quarterback Matt Barkley--could be the “top prospect in the nation for 2008”--and “secret weapon” kicker Patrick Duffy the Monarchs have to be favored.
  • The bootlicking on Grand Ave. continues: Gordon Dillow went looking for a story and once again found--suspense moment: would it be a cop or a soldier?--Cpl. Stephen Tatum on trial at Camp Pendleton. The 26-year-old is accused by military officials of “the unpremeditated murder and assault of Iraqi civilians, including women and children.” Dillow is pained that Tatum--a soldier doing God's work, dagblameit--must answer for his actions. He writes, “I can't help but feel sympathy for young infantrymen who are thrust into a deadly situation, told to follow rules of engagement that seem to change from place to place and day to day, and then are criminally charged when things go wrong.” Speaking from experience, he concludes, “to think too much can sometimes be to die.” Don't start now, Gordo.
  • Comedy tonight: Last chance to catch Norm McDonald of Saturday Night Live and movie fame at the Brea Improv. 120 S. Brea Blvd., (714) 482-0700.

    Also, Gabriel Iglesias from NBC's Last Comic Standing has one last evening at the Irvine Spectrum's Improv. For more information, call (949) 854-5455.

  • And don't forget: The U.S. Open of Surfing takes place all day in Huntington Beach.

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