- How Did Bren Recently Gain $5 Billion? Those of us who’ve watched the county operate know that Donald Bren’s Irvine Co. gets away with murder in Orange County. Several years ago, I reported that Bren had won public recognition from the Times and Register for donating land to the public at his Newport Coast project. What they didn’t say was that the land was mostly sheer cliff around his McMansions. Far from being generous, Bren’s donation quietly shifted earthquake and fire liability from himself to taxpayers at Newport Coast. Socialism for a billionaire! Now comes Times reporter Christian Berthelsen, who uncovers documents showing that Bren got the county to give him free use of public park land for his housing development in Orange. Bryan Speegle, head of the Resources and Development Management Department, did his job well. He fought the giveaway. His reward? He was fired.
- Cops Don't Cheat: Federal prosecutors unsealed evidence that the Mafia bribed an FBI agent with “cash, stolen jewelry, hotel rooms, liquor and prostitutes” in exchange for tips, the Associated Press reports. Now ex-agent L. Lindley DeVecchio, 66, denies that he worked for the Columbo crime family for 20 years. But prosecutors claim he aided in murders, bank robberies, wiretappings and provided information about police surveillance of Mafia establishments. If convicted, DeVecchio--free now on $1 million bail--faces a maximum prison sentence of 25 years to life. What is so wrong with a cop hanging out with mobsters? In fact in Orange County, the top dawg--Sheriff Michael S. Carona--has been known to actually embrace, uh, colorful characters with multiple underworld ties.
- Government Pays Consultants to Tell It What Business Should Do: Deepa Bharath at the Reg reports that the Washington D.C.-based Urban Land Institute is visiting Little Saigon for a $60,000 study on ways to re-market Orange County’s Little Saigon. Westminster city officials who run the area hope that the five-member panel can find ways to attract more tourism and keep younger generation Vietnamese Americans from fleeing. Another consultant hired by the city this year recommended more population diversity, theaters to showcase culture and high-end restaurants, according to Bharath. Hey, Councilman Andy Quach. You’re a conservative Republican. Isn’t free market capitalism supposed to solve the issue without politicians pretending to be business folk? Ayn Rand can't be happy.
- Aid The Pedophile Enablers, Please: It’s not just Matt Cunningham at OCBlog who thinks the Catholic Church has been unfairly tarnished by all the media coverage of the priest man-boy and man-girl sex scandals that seem to erupt weekly. Three Register readers let off similar steam. William D. Robinson of San Clemente is angry that reporters have written about Bishop Tod Brown’s alleged repeated molestation of a boy, Scott Hicks, in the 1960s. “Giving this unsubstantiated, uncorroborated and unreliable allegation such status, simply because the man has made the allegation, is a pathetic and vile form of journalism,” writes Robinson. T.A. Russell of Newport Beach compared coverage of Brown to the Duke Lacrosse players fiasco. “Shame on you and your editors for your prejudice against the Catholic Church,” he writes. Paul A. Jordan of Placentia says he was an altar boy and he wasn’t molested so molestation charges can’t be true. Jordan is “saddened” not at the coverups and enabling of pedophiles by church officials but rather by newspaper coverage because if the “false impressions” are true “society is seriously endangered by Catholic priests.” Robinson, Russell and Jordan get an extra shot of wine next Sunday!
- Costa Mesa Fascists Were Boneheads too: In their rush to persecute Benito Acosta for speaking against a government plan to use local cops for immigration patrols, Costa Mesa city officials forgot to swear in the city attorney as a prosecutor. Dan Peelman works at Jones & Mayer when he isn’t playing public servant. The firm likes to represent aggressive police officers and is involved in protecting (at public expense) the soiled image of Sheriff Michael S. Carona following a series of sex scandals. According to a Daily Pilot story today by Alicia Robinson, Superior Court Judge Kelly MacEachern tossed the charges against Acosta because of Peelman’s error. Acosta, 26, says he wants to get on with his life, but we can guess that the shameless Allan Mansoor crew is contemplating an appeal.
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