Wendy Leece, a Newport-Mesa Unified School District trustee, on Nov. 10 refused to endorse the science component of the state's new recommended standards for various subjects. Leece's beef: the standards promote the theory of evolution as “fact” and “dogma,” undermining what “conservative Christian parents” teach their young'uns about this God fella creating everything. “I protest the unilateral enforcement of an atheistic, against-God point of view that instills in children that there is no place for God in science,” Leece reportedly said. No place for God in science? Jeez, ever pray before a chemistry exam?
STAYING PUTSteven J. Frogue can rest assured his seat on the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees is safe-at least for a few more years. The county registrar of voters reported on Nov. 12 that the committee that sought to oust Frogue came up 5,625 signatures short of collecting the 37,947 John Hancocks required to force a recall election. Frogue has been targeted for recall since last year, when he proposed a John F. Kennedy assassination seminar that would feature speakers branded anti-Semitic by Jewish activists. He has reacted to the recall effort by accusing his critics of conducting a “vicious, bitter smear campaign . . . fraught with lies, slander and outright hate.” That so-called bitter smear campaign figures to start anew when Frogue faces re-election in 2000.
HITTING BELOW THE BELT A report issued on Nov. 11 alleges that 306.8 million pounds of toxic chemicals were spewed into California's air and water from 1991 to 1995. The release of those chemicals-which have been linked to infertility in men, instant abortions in women, and stuff you really don't wanna know about-increased an average of 1.3 million pounds per year during that period, according to the 180-page report titled “Generations at Risk: How Environmental Toxicants May Affect Reproductive Health in California.” Compiled by Physicians for Social Responsibility, Californians for Pesticide Reform and the California Public Interest Research Group Charitable Trust, the report included ominous references to our little slice o' heaven. While Orange County ranked ninth out of 58 California counties for total release of reproductive and developmental toxicants, we came in second for such spewage solely by manufacturing plants. In fact, nearly half of all toxic crap vomited by manufacturing plants in the state occurred in LA and Orange counties. Being No. 2, we'll just have to try harder.
DON'T BE STUPID The specter of bombs falling on Iraq prompted the Orange County Human Relations Commission on Nov. 13 to advise us all to make nice. In an “Urgent Action Alert,” the commission noted that hateful rhetoric would no doubt fly amid Saddam's little nightmare, which could push white supremacists to pounce on “anyone who looks Arab, Muslim or Middle Eastern.” Local Muslim and Arab children “have reported being called names; taunting by classmates; and even attacks from other children during the Gulf War, after the Oklahoma City bombing . . . and in connection with other incidents 'perceived' to be perpetrated by Arabs or Islamic people,” the alert states. Everyone was advised to “reel in our rhetoric” to keep society's assholic fringe from making violent idiots of themselves. Amen.
SIGN OFFHuntington Beach resident Barbara Coe's California Coalition for Immigration Reform was at it again. On Nov. 13, a week after Coe's cronies put up a billboard near Blythe that read “Welcome to California, the Illegal Immigration State. Don't Let This Happen to Your State,” the message was taken down. The landowner reportedly worried for his family's safety with so many motorists stopping by to gawk at and photograph the dag-gum thing. You'll recall that two summers ago, Coe and company put the same sign up at the California-Arizona border only to have it quickly removed by the billboard company after Latino activists threatened to tear it down.
DOUBLE VISION We picked up a Times Orange County, and an Orange County Register broke out! We've mused before about the papers' striking similarities (right down to enterprising features on the same subjects-appearing on the same day), but the Times' redesigned Metro section shows recently arrived editor Lennie La Guire didn't travel too far for inspiration. The format of her new Focus section, a “comprehensive page of news from all 31 Orange County cities,” appears to be a photocopy of the Register's well-established County Scan-right down to the reporters' phone numbers following their bylines at the end of the tiny, um, “news” blurbs. Makes us wonder if the Times culled the focus group from Grand Avenue in Santa Ana.
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.