Illustration by Bob Aul South Orange County Community College District trustees on Nov. 22 decided to appeal a court ruling favorable to Roy Bauer. The Irvine Valley College (IVC) professor publishes rabble-rousing newsletters that hilariously lampoon a board and administration that does a damn fine job of hilariously lampooning itself (Nazi sympathizers attending board meetings, homophobic political mailers in trustee elections, faculty fuckheads willing to sell their souls for coin—such a hoot!). Bauer's bosses tried to force him to seek therapy because, they alleged, his Vineand Dissent newsletters were filled with violence and hatred. Bauer sued on First Amendment grounds. The district countersued, claiming employees had been threatened physically in what friends and foes affectionately refer to as the “Unabauer Manifesto.” But the judge sided with Bauer—in humorous fashion. When the district tried to make hay out of a comment in one newsletter that stated the author wanted to drop “a 2-ton slate of polished granite” on the IVC president's head, the judge dismissed it as pure hyperbole, noting, “Think of the logistics!” So now the not-so-appealing district is appealing, even though Bauer's court record against them is a solid 3-0. Two other cases involved the board's cavalier violations of the state's open-meetings law (we forgot to include those with the “District Lampooning Itself” examples). Defending the appeal motion, Chancellor Cedric Sampson says he wants to defuse workplace hostilities in an era when not only postal workers go postal. Subliminal message to Bauer: ixnay on the ackblay enchcoattray.
TOY STORY Every once in a while, Clockwork descends from our ivory tower (which is not really made of ivory but rather a soy-based substitute) and actually attends a media event that is held for no other reason than to get us to write what someone else wants us to write. Some in the biz refer to this as “news.” And so it was that we fought rush-hour traffic on Nov. 23 to shiver our butts off on the sidewalk in front of the Toys R Us store on South Harbor Boulevard in Anaheim, where students from UC Irvine's California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) not-so-promptly told us which toys are unsafe this Christmas shopping season. The CALPIRGers were 20 minutes late to their own press conference, and we were the only press present. But spokeswomen Bobbi Jones and Grace Garcia soldiered on, dutifully reading carefully crafted “Trouble in Toyland” scripts that basically said their group has been after toy manufacturers for 14 years, yet unsafe toys remain on store shelves. They then whipped out a toy sewing kit with many small pieces a toddler could choke on and a soft vinyl picture book that teething tots might fancy gnawing on, which may not be such a good idea since it's composed mostly of phthalates—toxic chemicals linked to liver and kidney damage. That was it! We'd left our snugly perch and braved the 5 freeway for TWO STINKIN' TOYS! Imagine our shock the next morning when we opened the Times Orange County and read an account of an earlier CALPIRG press conference at the Irvine Medical Center, where they showed off 34 toys that shouldn't be under kids' Christmas trees. Screw this: it'll take free food, an open bar and major schwag to get us off our fat asses again. There's a principle at stake here.
DAN THE MAN Former U.S. Congressman and state Attorney General Dan Lungren will join the faculty of Chapman University next spring, the Times reported on Nov. 24. He'll teach one law course and one political-science course, which we suggest titling “How to Get Trounced in a Gubernatorial Election and Take Your Party Down With You Despite Seeking a Seat Your Party Held for 16 Years and Facing an Opponent As Bland As Clear Consomm.” By the way, Clockwork will also be on Chapman's faculty in the spring. Hey, Dan, maybe we can take a steam together and chortle over lethal injections!
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.