Time was when you could drop the name of dirty politician, and you wouldn’t even have to explain who that person is. That era has apparently past for Huntington Beach residents when it comes to Dave Garofalo, so let’s do a quick refresher. Garofalo is a convicted felon who just happened to commit his crimes while serving as the city’s mayor in the early part of last decade. His dirty deeds? Let’s cite our 10th anniversary issue from 2005:
Injustice takes just a second; justice moves more slowly. This Weekly story revealed that Huntington Beach Mayor Dave Garofalo attempted to sell ads in his own newspaper to people with business before his City Council. It looked like a conflict of interest to us. Three years later, following a district attorney’s investigation sparked by the story, Garofalo finally quit the council—and then pleaded guilty to one felony and 15 misdemeanor counts of political corruption. A judge barred him from ever seeking political office in California. By then, the Weekly had run some 30 stories on Garofalo. “My life has been in turmoil for over two years. I simply cannot take it anymore,” he complained. “I know of no one in modern times more closely investigated than I have been.” You’re welcome.
Sounds like someone everyone should shun, right? Well, not if you live in HB, a place where the politics are as wacky as the contamination over at the Ascon Nesi landfill. Instead of getting the hell out of town, Garofalo stuck around, continuing to publish his own weekly rag, The Local News, which reads like The Mini Page as edited by Ted Cruz and features a regular column in which Garofalo tries to channel his inner Paul Harvey. But in the past year, Garofalo has begun to up his public persona for reasons known only to him.
It started with him co-chairing the Blessing of the Waves, the wildly popular annual event put on by the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council, on which Garofalo sits on the executive committee. His reinvention act was so great that an Orange County Register article only identified him as a “director” on the committee and noted nothing about his felonious past or even Garofalo being an ex-mayor (at least a 2013 article about the holy surfing event in the Huntington Beach Independent noted he was a Hizzoner back in the day, but politely didn’t mention the crimes).
This week, Garofalo upped the ante by bringing on board to his newspaper HB’s most famous columnist, Chris Epting. Last time we checked in with Epting, he was waging jihad against Ocean View Unified School District (OVSD) president Gina Clayton-Tarvin, claiming her criticisms against his criticisms about her criticisms of the Rainbow Disposal plant across the street from the Oak View barrio cost him his longtime columnist gig at the Independent.
Epting came out swinging in his first column, writing, “I’m looking forward to having a platform in print once gain to examine and research the behavior of certain elected officials.” And who might those certain officials be? Though never naming Clayton-Tarvin by name, he really didn’t try to hide his playing hand, accusing the OVSD school board of “exhibiting what I can only call corrupt behavior.”
You want corrupt behavior, Chris? Look at the guy who writes your checks.
Anyhoo, Garofalo knows what he’s doing, so one wonders what he has planned for 2016—the hiring of someone with a local presence like Epting ain’t a coinkydink. Regardless, we’ll be watching. You’re welcome.