Mommy Nearest

Forgive Clockwork for this week's Andy Rooney-esque opening, but have you ever noticed that people who attack welfare are often the same ones who believe mothers should stay home with their children? The Los Angeles Times' always-excellent Column One on Aug. 12 featured Marla Dickerson's story “Training a New Army of Child-Care Workers.” It was about a government program “that's molding welfare recipients into entrepreneurs.” How? By having welfare moms baby-sit other people's kids. So instead of receiving government funds to stay at home and raise their own children, these moms are receiving government funds to raise someone else's kids. God bless America. DRUG WARS Like the jurist he stepped in for, Superior Court Judge Frank Fasel ruled last week that Orange County Cannabis Co-op founder Marvin Chavez cannot use Proposition 215, the state medicinal-marijuana initiative, as a defense against pot-distribution charges. Fasel said the law protects patients and caregivers, not drug distributors, so Chavez would have to prove he is a designated caregiver to receive protection under the law. Deputy District Attorney Carl Armbrust reportedly told the Times that Chavez's argument was irrelevant because some charges against him stem from marijuana he gave to undercover police officers. Of course, Armbrust conveniently failed to mention that those cops were posing as patients. Fasel said the court could not endorse Chavez's operation because methods of distribution are a legislative function. Good luck getting local officials to fill the gaping hole in Prop. 215. If it doesn't boost tourism, swell developers' coffers or further politicians' careers, you can count on it getting ignored in OC. Oh, to be Oakland, which on Aug. 13 became the first city in the U.S. to begin distributing weed to the chronically ill by making operators of their cannabis co-op officers of the city.GOING TO THE VOTERS It's a given during campaign season that officeholders must abandon their palatial homes and ivory towers to wallow with the masses back home. The governor of Guanajuato, a small Mexican state northwest of Mexico City, took that press-the-flesh philosophy to startling new heights on Aug. 14 when he made a presidential-campaign stop in Santa Ana. That's Santa Ana, California-our county seat. Vicente Fox, the PAN Party candidate who's been called a capitalist with a conscience, met with politicians and merchants in Santa Ana and high-tech executives at the Irvine Spectrum. It was reportedly the first time a Mexican presidential candidate has openly campaigned in California. And why not? Our fair state has the highest concentration of Mexican citizens living outside the country-legally or otherwise. TENDER MERCY It had the makings of yet another outrageous example for Families to Amend California's Three Strikes, the group trying to prevent more people arrested for nonviolent felonies from being handed life sentences under the state's “three strikes, you're out” law. A 57-year-old wheelchair-bound amputee-who has suffered from diabetes, cancer and three heart attacks-faced 25 years to life in prison for allegedly trying to buy rock cocaine from an undercover Santa Ana cop who was actually hawking macadamia nuts. Prosecutors wanted to put Foster Morris away for good under Three Strikes. But something happened in OC Superior Court on Aug. 14 that you don't hear too much about in these days of politically expedient, cookie-cutter justice: compassion. Three days after a jury deadlocked 8-4 in favor of convicting Morris, the district attorney's office agreed to drop seven of the eight strikes he'd racked up for robberies and burglaries between 1959 and 1981. Morris then pleaded guilty, was sentenced to three years in prison and was ordered released by the judge, who ruled the year he's already spent behind bars for almost buying a nut satisfied the sentence.MOUSE INFESTATION The Walt Disney Co.'s maniacal plan to turn all of OC into one huge theme park (like it isn't already) continued on Aug. 15 with the announcement that the Mouseketeers will swallow up a 52-acre chunk of Anaheim for a third theme park. For those keeping score at home, the other parks are Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure, which is currently being imagineered in the parking lot at 1313 Harbor Blvd. Disney is buying a strawberry farm from a family who refused for years to sell. The announcement gave tourism boosters woodies

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