Laura Rooney and her husband, Mickey Rooney Jr., reportedly filed a lawsuit against the Newport Beach Police Department on Sept. 1, alleging that six officers committed assault and battery, false imprisonment, and negligence while arresting the height-challenged, multimatrimonied actor's 52-year-old daughter-in-law last year. The Rooneys' lawyer claimed to have a videotape that shows police used unnecessary force while handcuffing the missis, who'd been picked up on suspicion of possessing more than a gram of crack. The lawsuit apparently states that Laura Rooney, who was residing in a Newport trailer park at the time of her arrest, suffered mental anguish and emotional distress, and the couple wants bucks for general damages, lost wages and medical expenses. A police spokesman told the Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot there is no evidence of improper conduct by Newport officers. Laura Rooney reportedly pleaded guilty to drug charges on June 2 and was sentenced to 90 days behind bars and three years' probation. The same day, according to the Pilot, she was convicted of four charges-including resisting arrest-from another case in 1996.T-MINUS TWO MONTHS Disneyland is not sure when Rocket Rods, the centerpiece ride in the new Tomorrowland, will get off the ground again. Originally scheduled to be shut down for five weeks, the attraction has been out of commish for two months and counting. Having fixed the mechanical glitches that first closed the ride on July 6, Disney engineers are currently resolving software problems that would improve customer flow, a park spokesman reportedly said on Sept. 1. So the Rods, which feature electric vehicles that whisk riders up to speeds of 35 mph over a mile-long track, have collected dust over the prime, packed-like-sardines summer tourist season. In other mothballed-attraction notes, Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade is coming out of retirement. Featuring a flotilla of floats, a shitload of light bulbs and an ice-pick-to-the-ear-canal soundtrack, the parade is scheduled to hit Main Street next summer. That's Walt Disney World's Main Street in Florida. Huge crowds poured into Disneyland after park officials announced the parade would be “gone forever” after November 1996. They were apparently whispering, “from Anaheim” under their breaths. INSERT FRECKLED FOOT IN MAMMOTH MOUTH Robert “B-1 Bulbenik” Dornan on Sept. 2 mentioned he's exploring the use of election observers to curtail voter fraud in his November run-off against Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove). That, of course, conjures up frightening images of the infamous 1988 poll-guard incident that tainted the Orange County Republican Central Committee and Garden Grove Republican Curt Pringle's first election to the Assembly. In that one, the party sent uniformed guards to patrol polling places in heavily Hispanic precincts. Pringle won by fewer than 800 votes of 93,000 cast. Democrats filed suit, charging the guards were posted to intimidate Latino voters. The case so distracted Pringle, some Capitol observers say, that he was less than effectual in his first term. As part of the out-of-court settlement, the GOP promised to never use poll guards again. So Dornan's statement was quickly extinguished by his campaign-manager son, Mark Dornan, who told The Orange County Register, “There is no Dornan campaign organization mobilizing poll watching.” But if a few volunteers show up to watch the proceedings, what can he do?POP GOES THE CULTURE Philadelphia Mayor Edward G. Rendell quoted from a national survey on Sept. 2 that showed more American teenagers can name the Three Stooges than the three branches of government. Rendell used the telephone survey of 600 Americans ages 13 to 17 in an attempt to squeeze funds out of a Senate appropriations subcommittee so the National Constitution Center can build a museum to familiarize more Americans with the Constitution. Clockwork decided to see how our own 14-year-old stacked up with his peers, and sure enough, he fell in with the 75 percent who knew that 90210 was the ZIP code for Beverly Hills, but not the 25 percent who knew the Constitution was signed in Philadelphia (he guessed Washington, D.C.). Like three out of four teens, he knew Bart Simpson lived in Springfield, but he was not among the 10 percent who knew Abraham Lincoln was born in Springfield, Illinois. And he was down with the 95 percent who knew that Will Smith played the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on TV, but not the 2 percent who knew William Rehnquist was the chief justice of the Supreme Court. He did identify Bill Gates as the father of Microsoft (58 percent), but he guessed Thomas Jefferson was the father of the Constitution. Actually, as less than 2 percent answered, James Madison gets the nod. Like Mickey Rooney, we're so proud.
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 paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.