Not long ago, while listening to trustee Tom Fuentes refer to the “James B. Utt Memorial Library,” a bell went off in my head. “Hey,” said Herr Bell, “I think I heard something in Fuentes' voice; he reveres this guy Utt. Utt's gotta be some kind of Neanderthal.”
Couldn’t find much info on the guy, but here are some preliminary factoids (or alleged factoids).
According to Wikipedia, Utt, born in Tustin in 1899, was a “conservative Repubican Congressman” who held that office from the early fifties until his death in 1970. (His successor: John Schmitz!) That means that Fuentes, as OC Supervisor (and Republican) Ronald Casper’s bagman (er, executive assistant), may have known the guy. It’s hard to say. I guess I could ask Tom.
Utt was seriously right-wing. According to Wikipedia, “one of his unachieved goals was to remove the United States from the United Nations.” (For what it's worth, the right-wing fringe views the U.N. as involved in vast conspiracies: black helicopters, one-world government, etc.) Further, he “voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1960, 1964, and 1968, and against the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
And get this:
In 1963, [Utt] claimed that "a large contingent of barefooted Africans" might be training in Georgia as part of a United Nations military exercise to take over the United States. [See OC Almanac.] In 1963, he also claimed that black Africans may be training in Cuba to invade the United States. [See Washington Merry-Go-Round.]The bell in my head went off again. It yelled, “Hey, maybe Utt was somehow associated with Liberty Lobby, the seriously evil anti-black and anti-Semitic organization started by the seriously wicked Willis Carto.”
You remember Willis C. He was the guy behind “Spotlight” newspaper and its boy reporter Michael Collins "count my footnotes!" Piper, Trustee Steven Frogue’s Holocaust-denying, conspiracy-mongering, pal. Carto started OC’s own “Institute for Historical Review" (it denies the Holocaust), with which he eventually had a seriously nasty falling out—in the early 90s as I recall. A lawsuit between the two sides of that war went against Carto and finally ruined Liberty Lobby in 2001. (Recently, Carto has started a new newspaper, The American Free Press. It's more of the same.)
Wikipedia and, according to W, there is a Liberty Lobby/Utt connection:
The Liberty Lobby was the subject of much criticism from all quarters of the political spectrum from the first day of its founding [in the late 50s]. … ¶ Many critics...have noted that Willis Carto, more than anybody else, was responsible for keeping organized antisemitism alive as a viable political movement during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, when it was otherwise completely discredited.Good grief.
Evidence for the antisemitic stance of the Liberty Lobby began to mount when numerous letters by Carto excoriated the Jews … began to surface. "How could the West [have] been so blind. It was the Jews and their lies that blinded the West as to what Germany was doing. Hitler's defeat was the defeat of Europe and America."….
Starting in October 1966 two American journalists, Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson, published a series of stories under [the title] "The Washington Merry-go-round" that recounted the findings of a former employee, Jeremy Horne. Horne said he had discovered a box of correspondence between Carto and numerous government officials establishing the Joint Council of Repatriation (JCR), a forerunner organization to the Liberty Lobby. The JCR stated that their fundamental purpose was to "repatriate" blacks "back to Africa". Ex-Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Tom Brady and various members of the White Citizens' Councils who had worked to [establish] the JCL, also contributed to the founding of the Liberty Lobby. Other correspondence referred to U.S. Congressional support for the emerging Liberty Lobby, such as from South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond (former Dixiecrat Party presidential candidate in 1948) and California Congressman James Utt.
The reports on Utt's remarkable comments about black or barefoot "Africans" appear to be reliable, though it must be said that Mr. Pearson—and to a lesser extent, his protégé Mr. Anderson—had a reputation for ruthlessness and occasional significant error. (Fox's Brit Hume used to be one of Anderson's "legmen.")
I'm still looking for verification of the Utt-LL connection. I doubt I'll find that.
It does appear, though, that Saddleback’s gosh-darned Library was named after a right-wing, UN-bashing nut—who was hostile to, or at least, um, unsupportive of, his African-American brethren.
I know. Let's just add an "n." Just call it the "Nutt" Memorial Library.
That would be cool.