Sunday's Headlines & Surprises: Register UCI Panic!

  • OC Gym Crook Arrested in LA: Police arrested Ronald James Navarrette Jr. of Mission Viejo Friday in El Segundo for breaking into men's lockers at the Spectrum Athletic Club not far from LAX. Gym employees had been on the lookout for the 45-year-old crook they knew from surveillance video taken at other incidents. His dark glasses and black beanie disguise (to cover his bald spot) apparently didn't fool anyone this time. Police say Navarrette, already on parole for burglary, stole wallets from lockers or used binoculars to see if gym members tried to hide their wallets in their vehicles before working out. Records show he's a habitual criminal convicted of burglary, forgery, narcotics, auto theft and assault since 1980.
  • Lagunatic Popular in Tokyo: The next issue of Fortune highlights Nissan Motor Corporate Spin Doctor Simon Sproule, the 38-year-old Laguna Beach resident of seven years though he's there about 20 days a year. Sue Zesiger Callaway reports that the Britain native most often bases himself in Japan where he's hailed for his most eligible bachelor status. Other tidbits Callaway uncovers: Sproule carries a 60-gig iPod, loves any Four Seasons hotel, enjoys drinks on the roof of Laguna's La Casa del Camino--the spot where the local planning commission wants to ban alcohol except for paying hotel guests, and shirts from Turnbull & Asser. Sproule offered the magazine's readers this advice about visiting Japan: “Tokyo's subway system is amazing. But be careful you don't get into one of the women-only carriages during rush hour. It's not a mistake I'll make twice.” Hmmm. Need more info.
  • Giving Birth to the Dune Buggy: Today's New York Times celebrates Newport Beach-native Bruce Meyers for inventing the first dune buggy in 1964. Meyers “took a standard Beetle of the era, threw away the body, shortened the frame, fitted fatter tires and bolted on a fiberglass tub with two seats,” writes reporter Jerry Garrett. “Voila! The dune buggy, which he called the Meyers Manx, was born.” In 1967, Meyers and co-rider, Ted Mangels, took the dune buggy for a non-stop run from Tijuana to La Paz. The trip to 34 hours. “Almost overnight we had 350 orders,” the still active 81-year-old told Garrett. The following year, actor Steve McQueen used one in “The Thomas Crown Affair.” And now you know the rest of the story.
  • Register Finally Tired of Having its Ass Kicked: Until now, one daily newspaper--the LA Times--has dominated the week long Erwin Chemerinsky scandal story. Today, we learned that Reg management finally realized the point and huddled nine reporters: Norberto Santana Jr., Marla Jo Fisher, Cindy Carcamo, Gary Robbins, Martin Wisckol, Greg Hardesty, Gwendolyn Driscoll, Sam Miller and Ellyn Pak. I haven't seen this much Reg frenzy since they got a whiff that Nativo Lopez might be dirty. All of us in journalism know it's a bitch playing catch up, and the Register story today essentially reported what the Times published yesterday: There is an effort underway to end the mess, Chemerinsky--reached at his North Carolina home--says he's open to further negotiations, and Michael V. Drake, the klutzy UC Irvine chancellor, won't answer his phone. "I have nothing but the highest respect for Michael Drake and of course I would talk to him," a generous Chemerinsky told the Reg. "I really like him as a person. I feel bad about what has happened." Meanwhile, OC Republicans Scott Baugh and Matt Cunningham said they were unaware of any organized plot to derail Chemerinsky. That position seems to conflict with recent words of ex-California GOP boss Michael J. Schroeder (AKA Vader because of his cutthroat behind-the-scenes maneuvering in Orange County). Schroeder claims the Chemerinsky hit began with conservatives emailing each other and then a “daisy chain” reaction.

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