Down and Out With Deportees in Tijuana

Andrew Galvin
Exterior of Casa del Migrante, Tijuana

Armando is my third interviewee of the night, the one I want to write about. Unlike some of the other deportees, he doesn't seem beaten down by his fate. He smiles a lot and exudes confidence. His black hair is pulled into a tight ponytail. He brings a lightness to our conversations that the others can't. He seems as though he'd be a fun companion for a road trip back to his home in Mexico--with me driving him there.

We're sitting in an office at Tijuana's Casa del Migrante, a shelter for working men who just got booted from the United States and are either waiting to cross the border again or wondering how to go back home to their pueblos. I'm behind a desk. Armando is in a chair, facing me.

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Meet OC & LA Law Enforcement's Favorite Rats!

Illustration by Luke McGarry

Anthony Calabrese suffered no vision problems and wasn't a moron in September 2012, but the 23-year-old college student couldn't have known he had just seen a mirage inside the Orange County Jail (OCJ). Only a madman would think law enforcement officers had staged an elaborate, multi-hour, multi-pronged con game aimed at prompting him--one of 6,000 local detainees--to inadvertently forfeit his constitutional right to not self-incriminate. But Anaheim police detectives and sheriff's deputies anxious to solve a March 2007, drive-by murder indeed targeted Calabrese, whom they suspected of Barrio Small Town gang membership, for trickery.

The notorious Mexican Mafia ruthlessly reigns over all major Latino gangs in Southern California and, according to law enforcement officials, maintains a no-drive-by shootings policy; any affiliate who violates it without their permission suffers severe repercussions. Because deputies believed Calabrese might have violated the no-drive-by policy when he allegedly killed rival Citron Street gangster Armando Hernandez, and because a recovered "green light list"--a gang document detailing the identities of individuals to be attacked on sight--included Calabrese's name, they placed him in protective custody. Calabrese's housing location away from the general inmate population also--not accidentally--gave officers an easier forum to employ their secret weapon: a pair of ratas.

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Tom Tait Is Anaheim's Mayor In the Middle

Illustration by Kevin McVeigh

A portrait of Max Strobel hangs in a hall on the seventh floor of Anaheim's City Hall, just outside the mayor's office. The aged black-and-white photograph of the city's first mayor, elected in 1870, is one of dozens of photos of the men who've held the job over the past century and a half. White whiskers recalling Walt Whitman and bushy Nietzschean mustaches from the 19th century fade into the clean-shaven mugs of the 20th; hairstyles and glasses reflect the passing decades. Big, tall, skinny, small, it's a smorgasbord of faces save for one thing: They are all white men.

The last portrait belongs to the current man in charge, Tom Tait. He's the end of this parade in ways both literal and symbolic. Thanks to white flight and a rising immigrant population, Latinos now make up 53 percent of Anaheim's population, while whites now constitute just 28 percent--half of what they were 20 years ago. A city once so reliably Republican that it gave Orange County its only U.S. senators (Thomas Kuchel and former mayor John Seymour) now has more registered Democrats than GOPers. And in a position where each mayor mirrored the establishment-friendly policies of their predecessors, the mild-mannered Tait turned into something no one expected when he was first elected in 2010: a populist.

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Where's the Beach? Orange County's War Over Public Sand

Cameron K. Lewis/OC Weekly

It's 7:02 on a recent summer evening, and the main gate at Strands Beach, located next to a parking lot on Selva Road on the north side of Dana Point Harbor, slams shut. The gate, which opens to the Strand at Headlands development, locks at this time every evening from May through September; from October to April, the gate shuts promptly at 5 p.m. Factoring in seasonal changes in daylight as well as daylight saving time, this means that no matter what time of year it is, the sun is still shining when the gate closes and blocks off the beach to all but the wealthy homeowners who live there. (Though there is public access less than 200 yards north of this gate.)

According to California's state constitution, the gate shouldn't even be there: All the sand below the high-tide line is public property, and access should be guaranteed to anyone. But over the past few decades, throughout the state--especially in places such as Malibu and South Orange County--you'd be forgiven for thinking the beach is for millionaires only: Well-heeled homeowners use everything from bogus no-parking or no-trespassing signs to private security firms to keep the public away.

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Randy Orbach, Paroled Stalker at Center of March Weekly Cover Story, is Arrested Again

Photo by John Gilhooley/OC Weekly
Randy Orbach, shown at home in Newport Heights earlier this year, swore prison reformed him.

So much for Randy Orbach's redemption song (allegedly). The parolee and subject of a Weekly cover story in March has been arrested on suspicion of making illegal contact with the ex-girlfriend whose complaints of being harassed sent Orbach to prison in March 2010.

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An A to Z Guide to Being Undocumented

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Term used by the federal government and legal system to refer to all immigrants, legal and otherwise, in the U.S. Also used by bigots (in combination with "illegal") to try to seem clever. Silly bigots!

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Toby G. Scammell Cops to Using Insider Info to Make Killing Off Disney Acquisition of Marvel

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If Marvel needed a comic book villain who commits fraud, Scammell would be a fitting name.

The company learned this first hand thanks to the federal securities fraud prosecutions of 29-year-old Toby G. Scammell, who pleaded guilty Monday to having made about $192,000 in profits by purchasing Marvel Entertainment Inc. stock options immediately prior to its acquisition by the Walt Disney Co. in August 2009. The San Francisco resident now faces up to 25 years in federal prison.

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Will Ferrell on His South Coast Repertory Acting Class and Pay-to-Play Standup at Golden Bear

Paramount Pictures Corp.
Stayin' classy
"I would start by singing the theme song to Star Trek. The whole [in falsetto:] aaaaaaaaa-aaaahhhhh, aaa-aaa-aaa ahh-ahhhhh .... But I'd sing the whole thing. Aaaaaaaaa-aaaahhhhh, aaa-aaa-aaa ahh ahhhhh. That would usually get applause or some reaction. And then [I'd say] I was originally the singer and I don't have any testicles."

-Will Ferrell, to WTF podcaster Marc Maron, on our Holiday Film Issue 2013 cover boy's first performance on stage at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach.

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Will Ferrell on Watching Irvine Improv Open Mics and Life in "Park Watts Apartments"

Photo by Gemma LaMana, cover design by Dustin Ames
"... I had an older neighbor, in Irvine's only apartment complex by the way."

Hee-hee, yeah?

"Park West Apartments."


"Which the rich kids referred to as 'Park Watts.'"

Oh, really, it was bad?

"It was just that one black family [was among those living there] but everyone thought, wow, it's ethnic."

-Will Ferrell, our Holiday Film Issue 2013 cover boy, to WTF podcaster Marc Maron.

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Watch Black Behind the Orange Curtain Documentary Online!

A film screening and mixer was held this past Saturday for the debut of Black Behind the Orange Curtain, a documentary partially inspired by a Weekly cover story on the embarrassing lack of African-Americans in OC. The goal of the film, as stated on its website, is "to help people understand that our diverse perceptions on social matters such as racial profiling and injustice, affects us as individuals and as a community."

For all those who didn't have the opportunity to attend the event held at the UC Irvine Cross Cultural Center, the half-hour short directed by Shandell Maxwell was made available yesterday in its entirety online!

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