Tuesday's Headlines & Surprises: Anaheim Subsidizes Private Tennis Club

  • Slow Road to China: Officials at the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) are puzzled as to why a private construction company is repeatedly missing deadlines to finish the $550-million road-widening project, according to a story by Ellyn Pak at the Register. The delays aren't just costing commuters time. They are also losing money. Taxpayers have already shelled out $1 million in delay-related expenses. So why the delays? Well, the construction company apparently isn't required to explain. Why? The OCTA boneheads accepted a pre-construction contract with private joint venture joint Granite-Meyers-Rados term allowing the secrecy. Funny thing: In 2004, the construction company said it's “best and final offer” to do the project was $160 million less than current billing.
  • Bishop Sex Ball Dropped? A Fresno diocese official claims a man's decades' old sex abuse claim against current Orange County Bishop Tod Brown was investigated by the church and then turned over to law enforcement. At least, that's the story Deacon Jesse J. Avila, diocese spokesman, told Emily Hagedorn, a reporter at the Bakersfield Californian. Funny thing: the local sheriff's department and police have no record that the diocese told them anything about allegations made by Scott Hicks, who claims Brown molested him when he was 10 years old. Kern County District Attorney Ed Jagels (pictured) told the paper that he had a “faint” memory because his office file is (allegedly) missing. According to the news account, Jagels said it's “normal” that he'd discard records “that are erroneously sent to his office” for investigation. Why probe? Jagels apparently possesses supernatural detective skills that require no investigation. He's got his hunches. “Basically it was this guy saying this happened and this guy saying it didn't (happen)," he told Hagedorn. Besides, to find out if a priest molested a 10-year-old boy might require catching a bad guy and he's too busy putting innocent folks in prison. According to acclaimed investigative reporter Ed Humes, Jagels has sent “at least 60 people to prison unjustly, many for lengthy terms in cases riddled with mistakes and misconduct, neither Jagels nor his office have ever been held accountable, never admitted a mistake, and never apologized for the errors.”
  • Thanks for nothing: Anaheim wins publicity today in the Times for turning a “dilapidated city-owned [tennis] facility” over to a private company for renovation. Tennis folks are excited. City politicians are holding their chins high. And Mike Nelson, the new operator, got a great deal. But what did Anaheim taxpayers, who own the property, get? Almost nothing. According to the paper, city officials will allow Nelson to keep about 100 percent of all profits for up to 20 years. Oh, taxpayers do get $2,500-a-month in the deal, just about what they'll need to take care of the project's landscaping and parking lot costs they got stuck with. Funny thing: Instead of subsidizing Nelson, Mayor Curt Pringle's city could have sold the property at a fair market price, pocketed the dough and let all of its citizens benefit.
  • More Twisted Badges: Deputies who contributed to the sheriff's re-election campaign were promoted while deputies who didn't were punished. Did this take place in Orange County? Sure, our law enforcement landscape is trashed with Sheriff Michael S. Carona's reoccurring ethical lapses. (Or, to be precise: the ethical lapses of his Yes Men and Yes Women anxious for promotions. Carona doesn't have the cojones to do his dirty work himself.) Still, Carona operates without fear of accountability. Yet in a parallel universe--indeed, Riverside County--Sheriff Bob Doyle was stealing Carona's playbook and smacked for it. The LA Times reports today that Riverside supervisors appointed Stanley Sniff Jr., Doyle's nemesis, as the new sheriff. Here, Carona slid Jo Ann Galisky, his most vocal Yes Woman--into the second in command slot. Funny thing: See, if something happens, his gal would run--at least until supervisors found a replacement--OC's most powerful and sneaky government body.
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