Crystal Chlorination

Illustration by Bob AulAn Irvine Co. contractor who was sterilizing pipelines on Nov. 15 reportedly may have illegally dumped chlorine into Los Trancos Creek, which pours into the federally protected waters of Crystal Cove, a rare spawning ground for dolphins. Wildlife and water-quality officials were investigating whether the discharge violated a permit that allows for quick flushes of small amounts of chlorine into the creek and whether the Irvine Co. monitored the flows as required by law. Irvine Co. representatives reportedly said the contractor, whose work is tied to an 800-home residential development in the hills above Crystal Cove, was informed before taking the job that such discharges would have to abide by the permit. Some residents of the bungalows on the beach say the chlorine plume was 6 feet wide as it crossed the beach, and the odor was so powerful they could not get within 20 feet of the runoff without their eyes watering. “That sounds like thousands of gallons [of chlorine],” said Orange Coast College marine-sciences professor Dennis Kelly, a critic of the Irvine Co.'s building plans near the ecologically sensitive marine habitat. “Anything the Irvine Co. says about not harming the marine environment is pure crap.” The environmental group Orange County CoastKeeper has urged the California Coastal Commission to re-examine studies the Irvine Co. drafted that show their development won't harm Crystal Cove.

SON OF SAM Sam Clauder, the Garden Grove-based Democratic political operative whose quest for a California industrial-hemp ballot proposition resulted in a recent Assembly bill to study the wonder plant's feasibility, announced on Nov. 17 that he's pushing another initiative: the Three Strikes Act of 2000. If Clauder N Co. can get the measure on the November 2000 ballot, voters would be asked to amend the state's three-strikes law to apply only to violent and/or serious felonies. Ironically, Clauder collected signatures to help qualify the original three-strikes law. “I was fed up with a system that gave more rights to criminals than it did to the victims,” he explained. “So, like millions of other Californians, I supported the three-strikes law because I thought it would keep violent, heinous criminals—like the ones that slaughtered Polly Klaas and Kimber Reynolds —off the streets. Unfortunately, I was wrong.” Current law allows any crime, even those that should be misdemeanors, to be prosecuted as a third strike. “So now we have thousands of people in prison for 25 years to life for such petty crimes as stealing a loaf of bread, a slice of pizza or a bottle of vitamins,” said Clauder. His latest effort is endorsed by Families to Amend California's Three Strikes. He even took a page from the Big Tobacco/Insurance/Developer playbook when it came to naming his political-action committee: Citizens Against Violent Crime.

THE FULL LEWINSKY The entire Clockwork staff was ready to wait in a line circling the block after we received a press release on Nov. 17 touting a tour called “I'm on a Mission to Win a Hummer.” Unfortunately, the prize being offered in this P.O.V. Magazine/Konami video-game promotion is one of those wide, all-terrain vehicles that attract the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Damn!

DROP THE CHALUPA There's the kind of advertising Irvine-based Taco Bell can pay millions for—featuring their little rat dog —and then there's the kind they can get for free when an angry 270-pound University of Kansas football player gets stuck in a drive-through window in a Chalupa dispute. Dion Rayford, a 6-foot-3 senior defensive end, became so angry when he didn't get the Chalupa taco he ordered around 2 a.m. on Nov. 17 that he charged through the 14-by-46-inch window. He remained trapped until the window eventually broke. Later that day, Rayford pleaded innocent to charges of disorderly conduct, misdemeanor property damage, and having an open container of alcohol.

OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.

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