Friday's Headlines & Surprises: Hanging with Henry Segerstom

  • Pair of Jacks: To build the impressive Great Park that it has promised, Larry Agran’s Irvine political machine is desperate for new sources of revenue. Congressman John Campbell (R-Nothing Down; Drive Off The Lot) wants to block Agran, a Democrat, from partnering with the Juaneno Mission Indians, who are shopping for locations to build a casino if they soon win federal recognition of their tribe. Vanja Petrovic and Vik Jolly at the Register report that Campbell, a longtime Agran nemesis, introduced legislation this week that “would ban any American Indian tribe from building a casino for 25 years after it has been federally recognized.” According to Campbell, the idea is to make sure tribes are seeking federal status “to preserve their cultural heritage and not to establish a casino.” The Bureau of Indian Affairs is set to announce it’s decision regarding the OC-based Indians by Nov. 26. Campbell notes that the tribe has already hired a lobbyist, Billy Horton with Hard Count Inc., to explore Irvine options. San Juan Capistrano Mayor Sam Allevato tells the paper that Campbell’s interference is “a little unfair.” Right. Either a tribe meets the standards for federal recognition or it doesn’t. If it does, who is John Campbell or any other politician to restrict its ability to earn money?
  • M'm! M'm! Good! Campbell Soup Company announced a voluntary recall yesterday of 72,000 18.8-ounce cans of its Chunky Baked Potato with Cheddar and Bacon Bits. Pprobably a good idea, considering that the company accidentally inserted bits of hard plastic into the soup. If a can code is “JUL 08 2009 07097,” return it to your grocery store for a refund, Campbell’s officials request. By volunarily recalling the product, the company wins immunity from lawsuits.
  • Mayor Mansoor: You Disrupted The Meeting: Alicia Robinson at the Daily Pilot declares the Costa Mesa government’s persecution (my word) of student Benito Acosta “officially dead” now that a state court of appeal has refused to ignore the city’s legal miscues. You may remember Acosta—or perhaps you know him better as Coyotl Tezcatlipoca. During a 2006 city council meeting, Acosta attempted to speak against a Minutemen Project-endorsed plan to use local cops for federal immigration enforcement. Mayor Allan Mansoor, a member of the Minutemen and a sheriff's deputy in real life, turned off Acosta’s microphone, closed the meeting, allowed cops to drag Acosta away. The tiny fellow was arrested and charged with crimes. Yep, this is the condition of the United States--or, at least, Orange County--in 2007.
  • He Loves Jewelry: South Coast Plaza owner Henry Segerstrom, a natty 84, sits with Hang Nguyen and declares that his mall, which takes in $1.5 billion annually, is superior to any other shopping venue in the U.S. “When a retailer wants to open a store these days, the thought is: "'Should we go to Russia?,” he tells the Register reporter. “Should we go to China? Should we go to Japan? Should we go to South Coast Plaza?' That's about the way it stacks up.” His secrets to success? Personally lobbying the owners of exclusive shops—especially jewelry dealers—to come to South Coast Plaza and the pursuit of foreign—especially Asian—tourists as shoppers. Indeed, go to the place almost any day and there are moments you’d think you’ve landed in Tokyo.
  • Clean Rats? We mentioned yesterday that Orange County lawyer Gregory Lee Parkin has been named a slumlord by the city of Fullerton for the nasty condition of a family owned apartment complex that is routinely roach- and rat-infested. The Reg reports that Gregory’s 43-year-old son, Eric (also a lawyer), blames “dirty tenants” and adjacent fast-food restaurants for the rats at the South Gilbert Street property. What conditions are you talking about Eric? “We’ve been through many audits that have shown a clean bill of health,” he told reporter Barbara Giasone. So Eric: You’re blaming the rats for the clean bills of heath? I guess this dispute will be sorted out in court, where criminal health and safety code charges have been filed against the family.
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