Among the endless accusations fired at Steven J. Frogue has been the notion that the embattled South Orange County Community College District trustee's words and actions have legitimized hatemongers. Last fall, Frogue tried to book a seminar at Saddleback College that would have featured the author of a controversial tome that alleges the Israeli government offed President John Kennedy. Since then, some of the longtime OC high school teacher's former students have come forward to allege that Frogue made racist or anti-Semitic remarks in class. Past newspaper articles have surfaced in which Frogue has advocated a public airing of Holocaust-denying views. And a Frogue fan club-populated with individuals tied to anti-Semitic organizations-has popped up. So it should not surprise us that hate literature littered two South County public schools on Oct. 28-a week after anti-Semitic e-mails were sent to 400 faculty and staff members at Irvine Valley College (IVC). About 500 index-card-sized leaflets featuring a disparaging cartoon of a Jewish man were found on El Toro High School's tennis and basketball courts. Nearly 100 miniature posters ridiculing African-Americans were scattered across Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate School's athletic field and parking lot. A sticker attached to the fliers directed students to the Fallbrook chapter of White Aryan Resistance, which recruits young skinhead activists. Meanwhile, IVC officials are still trying to determine who sent the electronic letters to employees on Oct. 22. Clockwork isn't suggesting Frogue had a role in these incidents, but his continued presence on the board isn't helping matters.
WAIT, THERE'S MORE Accreditation teams wrapping up three-day visits to Saddleback College and IVC on Oct. 29 were reportedly “stunned” by the deep divisions they found between employees and elected officials and warned that the disharmony is eroding service to students. IVC, where students have organized weekly protests since president Raghu Mathur's appointment last year, received the harshest criticism, with the team finding that the district-board-directed obliteration of “shared governance”-in which faculty, staff and community members help administrators and the board shape district policy-is a major cause for concern. Saddleback got off easier, but its accreditation team expressed fear that academic programs and student services could suffer unless people just get along. The teams' not-so-subtle message to the board: stabilize a district that loses administrators like Burt Reynolds sheds hair, and keep your collective nose out of the colleges' day-to-day operations. If the colleges want to continue receiving federal aid and having their credits transfer to universities, they must be reaccredited this fall. Final accreditation reports are due in January. Stay tuned.
MAIL BAGGING Clockwork returned from a lost weekend in Las Vegas to find our mailbox overstuffed (but there was no hate literature, thank you very much). We'll swear on a deck of souvenir Golden Nugget cards that this is what happened when we thumbed through our postal pile: an Edison shutoff notice, a flier from 2nd District Supervisor Jim Silva attacking challenger Dave Sullivan for receiving campaign contributions from outside the district, a Pacific Bell shutoff notice, a flier from Sullivan attacking Silva for not ruling out a commercial airport at the Los Alamitos military base, another Pacific Bell shutoff notice (we have two phones), a different flier in which Silva attacks Sullivan for receiving contributions from outside the district, a gas company shutoff notice, a flier from Sullivan attacking Silva for giving in to developers' wishes to build residences at the environmentally sensitive Bolsa Chica wetlands, a water company shutoff notice, a flier from Congressman Dana Rohrabacher that features a photo that appears to show the Huntington Beach Republican explaining what paper is to Silva and Surf City Councilman Dave Garafolo, a Weekly Standard subscription renewal notice, a flier from Sullivan attacking Silva for funding the defense of a cop killer, and our favorite: a flier from the anti-airport Taxpayers for Responsible Planning that totally reprints the Weekly's Oct. 23 Silva feature “If He Only Had a Brain.” If you toss out the regular mail (like we do!) and marry the campaign fliers up with previous ones in which Sullivan accuses Silva of coddling child molesters and Silva gets a bureaucratic wet kiss from outgoing Sheriff Brad Gates, it gets very comical. You half expect Sullivan to come out with a new flier accusing Silva of killing puppies and Silva to respond back with one alleging Sullivan doesn't bathe. “He's a confirmed nose picker!” the next missive will reveal. “Am not!” will be the response. “Are, too!” will be the counterpoint. Makes us damn proud of Tuesday's victor.
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.