Monday's Headlines & Surprises: Laguna prefers goats on grass

  • Mexicans are safe on this one: A report issued recently to the Laguna Beach City Council found that goats will clear vegetation from fire-sensitive slopes for a cost of $198,000 per year, while juveniles working off a crime in the county’s Probation Department would require $385,000. A consultant to the city noted that goats are “advantageous in their ability to work in all types of weather and terrain conditions.” So the goats win again. But tell me recidivism rates for probation punks wouldn’t go down if they were forced to chew on hillside grasses and weeds as punishment.
  • Carona is a thief, too? Tony Saavedra, veteran sleuth at the Register, reports today that the Orange County Sheriff’s Department “swallowed” some $20 million in bond money voters approved for class upgrades at Santa Ana College. Virginia Avila, 74, told Saavedra, “It’s outrageous. . . . It’s not fair, they used what they wanted on the sheriff and not on what they promised the people.” Others call Michael S. Carona’s plotting “bait-and-switch tactics.” Still more citizens said the sheriff’s department had been acting without accountability. It seems the department took the money to build itself a new, 100,000-square-foot training facility in Tustin that is set to open on Sept. 11—you know, the day nobody is supposed to question police spending sprees. Odd thing about this Reg story: Carona—our frisky, secretary/Russian translator-lovin' and mobster-hugging sheriff—is never mentioned. Hmmmm.
  • The DeVore Resolution: At this weekend's California Republican powwow in Indian Wells, state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore let off some steam about a personal Labor Day disaster. His Irvine home was without power for 11 hours. On Sunday, DeVore won a unanimous party vote to end our state's 31-year ban on the construction of new nuclear power plants. The party will now officially back a ballot measure to enforce its position. Reason for non-Republicans to support it? According to DeVore, “The only way we can meet California's ambitious mandate to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent in 13 years is if we allow the construction of new nuclear power plants." Has Rush Limbaugh given Republicans permission to acknowledge the problem of global greenhouse emissions?
  • Corporate sneak gives back? George Argyros, whose Arnel Management Co. systematically ripped off thousands of poor Vietnamese and Latino apartment tenants by fabricating charges against security deposits, has given some of his ill-gotten gains to charity. In recent days, he’s promised to make a $10 million gift to South Coast Repertory, a move no doubt pushed by his lovely, crime-free wife Julianne. Not that Argyros would acknowledge the connection between the apartment con and his own fortune. You see, the Newport Beach billionaire says it was his company—not him personally—that got caught in the scam. Arnel Management Co. is 100 percent owned by Argyros.
  • My Favorite Republican: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told a statewide gathering of Republicans this weekend to move to the center or continue to lose voters. But state Senator Tom McClintock rallied the troops yesterday with a big hell, no! “Today, I hear some say that we need to re-define who we are as Republicans," said McClintock. "I've got news for them: We don't need to re-define our principles; we need to return to them." I don’t agree with McClintock on many issues, but the guy is probably the most honest California politician in either major political party. And I’ll say it again: I’d like to see him as governor someday if only to make the state’s Democrats clean up their lazy acts.
  • Lost in OC: Read the Times's OC edition online this morning and find the top seven stories have zero OC connection. Very embarrassing. These are the stories they put in the OC news page: “Plastic may not be so fantastic for kids”; “Final note comes early for rockers”; “A closer look: injuries”; “What we eat,” a story about Marine training in San Diego; “My Turn,” a column about doctor’s orders; and a news brief about a shooting on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. So I went to the paper itself and was left weeping. Not a single OC story in 10 pages of local news. Very, very embarrassing.
  • Best weekend column: Steven Greenhut takes a look at the post-9/11 world and doesn’t like what he sees:
    Although our government has for decades been getting bigger, nosier and more obnoxious, the 9/11 attacks moved the ball far down the field in one 'Hail Mary' pass. The quick change in laws and, especially, in attitudes following that fateful day have been stunning, as average Americans have come to increasingly let down their guard and blindly follow their leaders as we advance, step by step, into something that, although not quite a police state, has many attributes of such a society.


    Sadly, Greenhut’s right. We’re a nation of sheep. To read his column, go here.


  • A New Day in OC: This morning launched the first Daybreak OC news broadcast on KDOC-TV. Led by veteran broadcaster Pete Weitzner, the show did well. It offered a large number of Register-ish stories including ones about the Great Park, a new San Juan Capistrano high school, a Bower’s exhibit, the 40th anniversary of Fashion Island, the Fullerton Arboretum and an exercise boot camp. But there were first-day gaffes: a plus or target sign appeared in the middle of the screen throughout the show; the traffic map is so awful it looks like drunken scribbling on a cocktail napkin; they ridiculously reduced the screen by about 40 percent for distracting ads, a traffic camera at an unknown highway and a news ticker with unnecessarily long sentences. Also, the woman who conducted a live in-studio interview with a hockey team official rested her chin on her right fist. Uh, no. Station owner Bert Ellis did a promo welcoming the new show, repeatedly mentioned KDOC’s “family-friendly broadcasting,” and touted—among other shows on the station—Hawaii Five-0, one of the most violent crime shows ever broadcast. Anyway, good luck to the Daybreak OC folks.


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