Surf and Turd

Is it just us, or does it seem weird that an advertisement for the release of Jaws and Jaws II on DVD is all over trash cans along the strand in Huntington Beach? The movie was all about city officials trying to silence warnings about a killer shark so as not to spook tourists. So wouldn't the image of a marauding great white on receptacles along the shoreline reinforce fears of going in the water? Speaking of reinforcing fears of going in the water, two teens died of unknown causes on June 27 a few miles apart near the surf in Newport and Huntington beaches. “This is a little too Jawsesque for me,” someone named Callopy wrote the Weekly's Commie Girl. Callopy wondered whether the culprit might be “some ghastly turd floating around and targeting our county's youth?” No. Though they smell the same, that would be the state Commission on Judicial Performance.

SPEAKING OF GHASTLY TURDS As we were channel surfing on June 29, a most unsightly image came on our screen: puffy-faced Huntington Beach Mayor Dave Garofalo. When the camera pulled back and revealed the set of KOCE/Channel 50's Real Orange, we figured the seldom-newsy show had scored a major coup. Garofalo—as you've no doubt read here and on the front pages of The Orange County Register and Times Orange County edition —faces a slew of corruption accusations. There are signs all over Huntington Beach—where Real Orange is taped on the campus of Golden West College—that read “GROG,” as in “Get Rid of Garofalo.” Getting straight answers from Garofalo has been difficult; the last time a Weekly reporter tried to interview him in person, he called the cops. So we were glued to our Zenith for the entire five minutes or so Real Orange anchors Ann Pulice and Ed Arnold had Garofalo in the hot seat. But guess what? All they talked about was the city's freakin' Fourth of July parade! There were no questions about investments with developers, cozy real-estate deals, his 87 questionable City Council votes or even the fact that the state Fair Political Practices Commission is looking into all this. Near the end of the piece, Arnold blurted out, “I've known Dave for a long time, and I know that he busts his buns for his community.” Can you say “Baaaaaaaarrrrrffffff”? Reached the next morning, Arnold said, “Garofalo's really a good person” and that the mayor promised to go back on the show and discuss his problems later. Of course, that later date might conflict with an AMPM minimarket ribbon-cutting ceremony, so Real Orange would have to talk with the mayor about that first and then see if there is time to ask any hard questions.

HERE COME DA JUDGES The state Commission on Judicial Performance admonished Orange County Superior Court Judges Susanne Shaw and Gary P. Ryan on June 26 and 27, respectively. Shaw was dinged for singing in her courtroom, discussing punishment with prosecutors without defense attorneys present, letting a defendant know what they do to “skinny white boys” in jail, and other inappropriate behavior. Ryan was arrested by Newport Beach police after an accident in September 1999 in which his blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. Neither will be removed or even suspended from their $100K-plus jobs on the bench; an admonishment is the lowest grade of public discipline meted out by the panel. This is most troubling when it comes to Ryan, who paid no fines or court costs and spent not one day in jail after spending five hours drinking beer, wine and vodka at Yankee Tavern in Newport Beach before getting behind the wheel of his Jeep Cherokee and plowing into the back of a Ford Expedition. The same judicial panel had received complaints of Ryan snoozing on the bench in '97 and '99. Something stinks in OC, and it ain't La Palma.

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