Art by Bob AulIn a state complaint filed Sept. 10, a Santa Ana resident accused Orange County Superior Court Judge Gary P. Ryan of snoozing on the bench. Here's the kicker—hizzonor was investigated for the same thing two years ago. No, wait a minute, here's the kicker: on Sept. 3, the judge was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after his '99 Jeep Cherokee rear-ended a '97 Ford Expedition in Newport Beach. Cherie Snyder's complaint says the family-court judge ruled in July that her ex-husband did not have to pay her attorney fees because he was unemployed. But in her complaint to the California Commission on Judicial Performance, Snyder alleges that her ex testified that he does have an income—a factoid Ryan wouldn't have missed, the complaint charges, had the judge not been visiting Never Never Land. The judge reportedly told the Register that he had a sleeping disorder three years ago but is cured. Meanwhile, the state judicial-performance panel couldn't locate records of Ryan ever being disciplined for slumberings past. Could it be Ryan is mistaking “the prosecution rests” for an invitation?
PAGING ED NORTON In the wake of the summer of Surf City's discontent, the Huntington Beach City Council voted on Sept. 20 to spend $900,000 to overhaul crumbling downtown sewers. A mysterious bacteria scare that prompted untimely beach closures in Huntington Beach prompted the fast tracking of repairs. Officials say they've known for years that shit leaks under downtown, but they quickly discounted it as a factor in the closures. Repairs will total $1.8 million, with the Orange County Sanitation Districts kicking in the other half. The district makes that pitch to all 21 cities it covers —including some whose shit has soiled the ocean—but there have been few takers. “That is a huge issue that has to be addressed,” Garry Brown of the environmental group Orange County CoastKeeper told Clockwork, “or there will be more beach closures.” PARK PLACETucked inside the $2 billion parks bond legislation signed on Sept. 21 by Governor Gray Davis was this nugget courtesy of state Senator Steve Peace (D-El Cajon): should the Marines ever leave Camp Pendleton, the state wants the feds to leave the sprawling base as a park or open space. Too bad none of South County's politicians had the same foresight before the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station closed. Like George Argyros' wet dream, Camp Pendleton has been mentioned as a possible location for a new San Diego airport. Park, open space, airport—it's all moot because “there is no way the Marines are leaving any time soon,” state Senator Bill Morrow (R-Oceanside), whose district includes parts of South County, reportedly told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Hell will freeze over first.” LIFE'S NO FAIRThe Orange County Fair Board voted on Sept. 23 to have its attorney force two women to cough up $46,000 they had hoped to set aside for retirement and putting kids through college. Costa Mesa housewives Jeanne Brown and Laurie Lusk made the fatal mistake of trying to ensure that noise limits their neighborhood negotiated with the Pacific Amphitheater's previous owner (the Nederlander Organization) applied to the new owner (the fair). When the fair sued Nederlander for essentially unloading a white elephant (no one will play there with the volume so low), Brown and Lusk entered the suit to preserve the noise limits. Nederlander settled, but the fair has gone after the women for legal costs. The fair would waive those fees under one condition: the women drop an appeal that could force the fair to abide by the noise limits.
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.