Firecrackers, Rats and Some GOP guy's Mansion

On a cool evening in the heart of Little Saigon loud firecrackers periodically exploded as Vietnamese Americans celebrated the coming of Tet (Vietnamese New Year) and something that should comfort Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle: the launching of the Year of the Rat.

Of course, I'm kidding. According to Wikipedia, “rats can be terribly obstinate and controlling.” Pringle is just the opposite: controlling and obstinate.

I’d thought of Pringle because as I worked my way through a traffic jam in Westminster, I’d observed cocky, on-duty Anaheim officers harassing someone—wasting taxpayer’s dough as dirty cops are apt to do with smiles on their plump faces.

But this wasn’t a night to contemplate the petty machinations of petty police officers or the elected officials who protect them.

Or was it?

I’d come to see California state Assemblyman Van Tran without anticipating the hurdles. Beyond the disturbing wailings of an intoxicated middle-aged man attempting to sing Vietnamese karaoke, a malfunctioning escalator, an angry lost elderly woman and an oddly locked door stood a smiling Tran. He held a beer, warmly greeted guests (mostly young Republican operatives and one especially cute woman), conducted media interviews and studied election returns on a laptop computer.

Orange County's Republican Party is often monolithic, but Tran broke ranks to support Arizona Senator John McCain for president. This show of independence could cost him a finger or, at least, an illegal but highly profitable investment tip. The rest of his homeboys—Scott Baugh, Mike Schroeder (pictured above ordering dinner at Chat Noir), John Campbell, Dana Rohrabacher et al.—went with the Maytag repair man from Boston. Romney’s hopes of winning California hinged entirely on his OC GOP success. To borrow a line from UC Irvine professor Mark Petracca: Ha!

McCain kicked Romney’s ass in California.

My spies tell me that far away in another part of OC—behind a guarded gate and illegal-immigrant-manicured lawns—the Romney men huddled in some guy’s mansion. They eased the night’s sorrows with some sort of red grape concoction, ridiculously expensive for sure. Drink up boys! And then tell us why you Republicans back a man—your “true conservative”—who supported liberal Democrat Paul Tsongas in the 1992 presidential election.

— R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly

R. Scott Moxley’s award-winning investigative journalism has touched nerves for two decades. An angry congressman threatened to break Moxley’s knee caps. A dirty sheriff promised his critical reporting was irrelevant and then landed in prison. The U.S. House of Representatives debated his work. Federal prosecutors credited his stories for the arrest of a doctor who sold fake medicine to dying patients. Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.

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