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Saturday, February 24, 2007
CORRUPTION sure is a drag.
In Orange County, we’ve got lots of corruption. All kinds.
For instance, we’ve got a Republican Mafia, a secretive group of Karl Rovian thugs who make life difficult for decent Republicans. These mafiosi pretty much do as they please around here.
And when things get hot, they sure know how to cool off, boy. They're amazing!
You remember our big OC priest scandal. GOP names—Tom Fuentes, et al.—kept popping up in that one. It looked bad, and, as litigation moved forward, it seemed that it could only get worse, much worse.
Well, no. It took $100 million, but "they" (the Diocese, I suppose, which has long had very close ties with the OC GOP) definitely put a lid on it. The truth is in there, under that lid, but we’re never gonna see it, that's for darned sure. (See Gustavo Arellano's Boy-buggering bingo.)
Recently, the Sheriff’s ex-best pal, former Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo, was convicted of various corrupt deeds. (See County of lights, county of magic.) He didn't seem to get much of a sentence: one year. That seemed odd.
Years ago, at the beginning of that case, it sure looked like Jaramillo was gonna spill the beans—about his corrupt boss and who-knows-who-else. But, in the end, no beans.
The OC Republican mafia’s got a farm system, you know. They find young men and put their patrician hands on those young shoulders. “Let me help,” they say.
“Really? You wanna help little ol’ me?”
“Why, yes, young man! Let’s go to the spa and talk about it!”
Jeffrey Nielsen was such a young man. According to the OC Weekly (R. Scott Moxley's Boy crazy), back in 1996, then-25-year-old Nielsen was being mentored by some local GOPers. That, at any rate, is the impression left by letters printed by the Weekly and allegedly written at the time by Nielsen to a young boy in Virginia. (The boy, now an adult, reportedly asserts that, when he was in 7th and 8th grade, Nielsen had sex with him.)
In a letter dated October, Nielsen reportedly wrote the boy:
It was really nice to get a letter from you and for you to call me….
So, here’s what’s going on with me. On Friday, Tom Fuentes (the chairman of the OC Republican Party) called me and wanted me to meet him at Macy’s at South Coast Plaza. I got there and he bought me a suit. Then he took me to dinner and the sauna at the ritzy Balboa Bay Club. [Name deleted] told me he likes to reward hard-working young Republicans that he likes and he knows are going to go far. It was really rewarding.
As you know, I’ve been working really hard on the Scott Baugh campaign…. [Baugh is the current OC GOP chairman.] The only time I’m not working is when I’m watching a USC game, at church, asleep or writing you . . . or trying to get my law school applications together. I’ve got both my USC and Chapman applications typed. I’m working on getting all of my Letters of Recommendation together now. I’ve got Rohrabacher, Flanagan and Fuentes done. Today I found out that this guy who is the state chair of the Republican Party, Mike Schroeder (a friend of Rohrabacher) [Schroeder is the current kingpin of the Republican mafia], would also write me a letter of rec. It’s really good that he does because he’s on the board of trustees at USC Law School.
—Wait a minute. Tom Fuentes? Is that the same Tom Fuentes who, these days, serves on the SOCCCD board of trustees? Our Tom Fuentes? The pious and Spain-hating Tom Fuentes?
Why, yes it is. But Tom likes to mentor. Does it all the time. Apparently, Tom’s mentoring of young Jeff later blossomed into friendship or something. According to a Moxley article from late ’05 (Nambla fantasy), “More than once, Fuentes…visited Casa de Nielsen for parties.”
Eventually, Scott Baugh got Nielsen a job with fancy Irvine law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. Then (says the Weekly), in 2003, “Nielsen was arrested…for allegedly molesting a Westminster High School freshman boy and possessing a huge, illegal cache of man-boy pornography.”
That can’t be good.
After several (suspicious) delays, the trial finally got under way a few days ago. 'Bout time!
The first to report on it was—who else?—the OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley (Imaginary teen sex?, Feb. 22):
A frowning Paul Meyer, defense lawyer for accused child molester Jeffrey Ray Nielsen, stood before the jury during opening statements this week…His client—a onetime congressional intern and aide to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher—is not just innocent but a victim, he said. Meyer pounded his finger on the podium and railed about the “audacity” of the prosecutor introducing a small sampling of the hundreds of man-boy sex pictures Nielsen possessed at his home.
“Those pictures have nothing to do with this case,” said Meyer, who fought to keep the jury from seeing the child pornography by arguing there is a “dissimilarity” between possessing kiddie porn and molesting youngsters.
Besides, said Meyer, Nielsen is no freak. “Don’t be misled,” he told the jury. “Jeff Nielsen is a conservative guy, responsible, caring and very family-oriented. He cares about people.”
…Deputy District Attorney Dan Hess began the Feb. 22 trial by explaining that Nielsen, 36, “actively sought out a boy, pursued this boy to carry out his own sexual perversion” on a 14-year-old freshman at Westminster High School…“The defendant is free to do what he wants, but not with a 14-year-old boy,” said Hess, who noted that a minor cannot legally consent to have sex with an adult in California.
…The defense version is that Nielsen was startled at the boy’s age when they met, resisted the boy’s sexual passes and chose instead to mentor him because, as Meyer claimed, “he’s a kid who is out of control . . . wanting to run away from home . . . suicidal . . . hating his life.”….
Nielsen is a “successful lawyer,” USC graduate, home owner and BMW driver who loves his dog “Page,” Meyer often noted for the Newport Beach jury. What, he asked, would he see in a boy who “lives in a Westminster trailer park”?....
—A day later (Friday), the LA Times weighed in (Molestation trial begins for lawyer with ties to O.C. power):
Accused of molesting a 14-year-old boy he met over the Internet, a former aide to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and onetime intern at the Orange County district attorney's office was portrayed Thursday by a prosecutor as a man who repeatedly preyed on a minor for sex.
…Nielsen's trial opened in a Newport Beach courtroom nearly four years after he was arrested…The case might have received little attention if not for Nielsen's connections to Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and other influential members of the local Republican Party.
As first reported by the OC Weekly, Nielsen was an aide at Rohrabacher's Washington, D.C., office in the mid-1990s, a period during which the congressman and GOP power brokers Tom Fuentes and Michael Schroeder provided character references to USC Law School on his behalf. Nielsen's father, Ben, is a former Fountain Valley mayor.
….[Deputy District Attorney Dan] Hess displayed blown-up copies of e-mails between Nielsen and Doe, which, he said, corroborate the allegations and show that Nielsen pursued the relationship after Doe told him he wanted to end it and find someone closer to his age. Hess closed by handing each juror a folder containing copies of five images of child pornography he said were found on Nielsen's computers.
Taking umbrage at that move, defense attorney Paul S. Meyer asked the judge for special permission to start his opening statement before the recess that is typically given after the prosecution opens the case…"The reason I didn't want to take a break is because a picture is worth a thousand words," he said, urging jurors to ask themselves, "Why are we looking at these photos?"….
The accuser is expected to take the stand next week.
—OK, I'VE GOT A PREDICTION. Nielsen may or may not be convicted. But, conviction or no, we’re never gonna learn much about Nielsen's interesting life with the boys of the good old OC Republican Party. That’s for damn sure.
Friday, February 23, 2007
I took this one from near Modjeska grade—very near DISSENT the COMMUNE. We're looking at Santiago and Modjeska peaks (i.e., "Saddleback"—elevation, 5687 feet).
Looking west, toward Fashion Island (Newport Beach) and even Catalina Island.
Looking south, over near my place.
IRVINE VALLEY COLLEGE'S "PERFORMING ARTS CENTER":
Earlier today, I walked over to the new Performing Arts Center, still under construction. It's gonna be impressive, I think. Hear that IRVINE?
Took a few pics:
Have a nice weekend!
P.S: this is what the Performing Arts Center is supposed to look like when it is finished (some time in the fall):
Thursday, February 22, 2007
▼ ASTOUNDING. Among the innovations brought to IVC a couple of weeks ago for the "Astounding Inventions" kiddie event were some extreme modifications of the plumbing in at least two buildings. Those scamps!
Gosh, that reminds me of my youth, when one of my 8th grade colleagues attempted to clear the pipes of a toilet at Cerro Villa Junior High by flushing a lit cherry bomb. "Boom," it said.
As I recall, the colleague was the rat bastard son of a high-profile Villa Park doctor, namely, Dr. R, the official medical advisor of the California Angels (we were terribly impressed), and, according to rumor, Dr. R showed up with a wad of green to make the whole thing go away, and it did.
My school days were filled with such glamour. The principal of the junior high was one C.B. Courson. Years earlier, he was the principle of Villa Park Elementary, where I spent my first two or three years of school (c. 1961-2). I recall he had occasion to drive me home once when I missed the bus. (He seemed nice enough.) When the new elementary school was built (Serrano), I was among its students, and C.B. Courson became its principal! And—get this!—when I went from Serrano to Cerro Villa (7th grade), so did CB! It was an amazing coincidence. Naturally, it had no meaning whatsoever.
As it turns out, CB Courson was the father of Jim Morrison's girlfriend. (I think she was played by Meg Ryan in the movie.) I don't know the details, but I do know that, by about 1970, Courson went Hollywood bigtime. I recall his mod suits and hair and gold chains. Wadda asshole.
Years later, when I checked out a copy of that posthumous album of Morrison's poetry, I was amazed to discover that the name of the producer on the album's cover was none other than--C.B. Courson, Mr. hair and suit--Mr. Executor of dead daughter's estate. Wadda creep.
Anyway, my sources tell me that the restrooms still haven't been fixed. In the meantime, the Amazing Wayne has been scarce of late and he seems to too preoccupied to make life hell for his employees as per usual. Or so I'm told.
What does it all mean? Dunno.
▼ BOARD MEETING MONDAY. Don't forget: meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees, Monday! For the agenda, go to AGENDA.
▼ "IT'S HIP!": BROUGHT TO YOU BY STUDENTS--AND THE DEPARTMENT OF WOMEN STUDIES! Sheesh, check out this wacky story (see Inside Higher Ed) about, um, the "deconstruction" of our "assumptions" about "sex workers" (it's all very academic, you understand) at the venerable College of William & Mary: Show draws crowd:
...Sparkling nipple adornments, feather boas, bare bottoms, erotic dances, striptease music and sex toys entertained a crowd of more than 400 who were packed into the auditorium of the University Center. Another 300 were turned away. The show attempted to empower the actors by portraying the realities of their careers.▼
…"It's just so out there and expressive," said Josh Campbell, a member of Lamba Alliance, one of six student groups to sponsor the event. "It's hip, it's in your face, and it's exciting."
In addition to curiosity, the show also aroused some opposition.
Ken Petzinger, a physics professor, was outraged to learn that the college had permitted such an event. He found out about it last Friday, too late to stop it.
"I think it's a totally inappropriate use of student funds," Petzinger said. "It's in conflict with other values the college has."
President Gene Nichol issued a statement Tuesday afternoon, perhaps hoping to preempt inevitable criticism tied to the Wren cross.
"I don't like this kind of show and I don't like having it here," he said. "But it's not the practice and province of universities to censor or cancel performances because they are controversial."
Most of the money for the event, which cost about $1,800, comes out of student fees. The Office of Student Activities helps disperse the money for all kinds of campus-wide events. The Department of Women Studies donated $200 to help pay for the show.
…Senior Sean Barker, a black studies major, … felt it important to bring back such a unique perspective to college students…Barker felt the provocative performances and crass anecdotes don't encourage promiscuity or promote sexual activity.
"It serves to deconstruct some of the assumptions we may have about sex workers," he said. "It's just exposure to a different world."
The event is part of a month-long national tour, which included a stop at Virginia Commonwealth University on Sunday. It serves to give sex workers an opportunity to explain how they view their own work. They don't sugarcoat the details.
…A 75-year-old man, who wouldn't give his name, was in attendance with a group of people accompanied by a faculty member. He was bothered by what he saw.
"It's shocking they had this type of event for impressionable young people," the man said.
▼ NEVER MIND ALL THAT. Here's something good. I remember this recording (with Lester on piano, unlike in this live performance, evidently) from my childhood. Just love it.
(No doubt Principal Courson and I listened to it in his little sports car.)
Absolutely for my SP in F!
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
WHO KNEW that IVC had its own unofficial softball team? Apparently some of you did but you weren’t telling. It took Rebel Girl stumbling across two of the players exchanging bon mots about last week’s game and showing off their injuries (ouch!) in the A-200 hallway to discover the existence of the – get ready – IVC TASERS! [Update: we stand corrected. Evidently, they're called the "PHASERS." You know. Star Trek.]
Dominated by self-described “shy tech guys” who declined to go on the record for this report and at least one sporty Bio type, the team has suffered a string of weekend defeats at nearby Harvard Park but their spirits remain undaunted.
Sources say that the next game is scheduled for this Saturday.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
I FIRST RAN AWAY when I was — oh, I must have been about ten or eleven. It was after my first younger sister was born but before my second one was. The sister was finally sleeping through the night but my mother and her new husband were not — instead they were having what the novels I would later love characterize as "rows." I left the apartment and spent the night across the street in the 24-hour laundromat. The dryers rumbled. The lights were bright and no one bothered me as I tucked myself away in a linty corner. It was my protest against poor parenting and drunken all-night brawls. My mother did not notice. I returned at dawn, before the baby woke up, made breakfast, and got myself off to school.
Five years later, I ran away again, this time to a runaway shelter, which fed me and made sure I got to school and to the local police department, where the officers duly took photos of my bruises and took down my sad story. My mother showed up for counseling sessions at the shelter and even I was impressed by her. I went back home, leaving behind a plaid flannel shirt for a girl who needed it more than I did.
Two months later, I left again, never to go back, pedaling away one night on my lime green ten-speed bicycle. No one came looking.
Since then I have tried to not run, epecially since I come from a family of runners. I recognize irresponsibility, recklessness, the selfishness — and worry I have it too. My father ran away as did my mother and my sisters, though my siblings were mostly taken by young husbands or the state.
Then, last week, I ran away, although, since I had my sweetheart and son in tow, I don't know if it really qualifies. There was something solitary in the other escapes. This one was different. For example, from the outset, returning was a given. But then again, there was the irresponsibility too — the recklessness, selfishness. I left behind things undone, ill friends, ailing family, dishes in the sink, laundry piled in baskets and a broken computer that seemed to underline the general brokenness of everything else, or so it seemed at the time. Broken hearts, bodies, world, the sad anniversaries of loss.
Where I went, too, was broken, albeit beautiful. ("Albeit" — another word from those novels!) It helped to understand that again.
So I am back. My computer is still broken. I'm using someone else's. It works; mine doesn't. That's okay. It has to be.
I will work harder to do what I should with what I have.
The wee birdies sing and the wild flowers spring
And the sunshine and waters are sleeping
The broken heart it kens, no second spring again
And the world does not know how we're greeting!
—The Bonnie, Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond
Monday, February 19, 2007
REMEMBER Adam Probolsky? He was at Tom Fuentes’ side during the days, back in the summer of 2000, when Fuentes was selected by our very Republican Board to replace trustee Steve Frogue. Frogue, a Holocaust denier and conspiracy-theory fan, had resigned just four or five months prior to election.
That was mighty convenient for everybody. Fuentes, then the controversial head of the OC GOP with a closet full of skeletons (and maybe a few live ones), was suddenly an incumbent. In a world of idiot voters, the F Man coasted to victory. I mean, he was the incumbent, wasn't he? Well, there you are!
Another close Fuentes ally was Michael Schroeder, the current kingpin/kingmaker of Orange County Republican politics. You know: he’s the one they call the “most powerful man in Orange County.” Probolsky, a well-known Republican consultant, is a member of Schroeder’s nasty little crew, aka the Republican mafia. I guess he's what you call a "lieutenant."
Martin Wisckol, some time partier at Reb’s place, has this to report in this morning’s THE BUZZ. (File it under "typical Schroeder-Fuentes Republican Party intrigue"):
The venerable Lincoln Club apparently had its own money used against it to defeat the club's candidate, Carlos Bustamante, in this month's special election for county supervisor.
The OC club is made up of Republican business people that participates in campaigns on many different levels. For instance, last year it was a primary financer of a political action committee – "Irvine City, School and Neighborhood Leaders Committee" – created to help John Duong's ultimately unsuccessful bid for Irvine mayor.
The PAC, which was coordinated in part by GOP consultant Adam Probolsky, ended that election with about $2,700 left. The account was collecting dust when somebody decided to rename it, raise more money and use it for attacks on Lincoln Club-endorsee Bustamante.
"It just gets weirder and weirder," said Matt [“Jubal”] Cunningham, the Red County/OC Blog editor trying to unravel the intra-party cloak-and-dagger affair.
The new treasurer of the committee, now called the Orange County Healthcare, Education & Neighborhood Leaders PAC, hasn't returned Cunningham's calls. But Cunningham tracked down some of the PAC's latest contributors as also being Janet Nguyen supporters. [Nguyen very nearly tied another Nguyen for the 1st district OC Supervisor race that Bustamante lost. She’s been spouting off about “fraud.”]
Probolsky, it so happens, has done some work for Nguyen, and that has lead to speculation that he had a hand in transforming the PAC.
"There is no advantage for me to get involved in that discussion," Probolsky told the Buzz when asked if he would deny the speculation.
In other words, “nope.”
Now wait a minute. Probolsky's pal Mike Schroeder is Janet Nguyen opponent Trung Nguyen's attorney. Right? (See Claiming voter fraud.)
This don't add up. Well, whatever.
One more factoid: Adam Probolsky is on the Board of Governors of the Irvine Valley College Foundation. (IVC is in Fuentes' SOCCCD.) Jeez, how do you suppose he ended up there?
The Director of the Foundation (admittedly, a nice guy) is a close friend of Fuentes (do you suppose that Fuentes had something to do with his landing that job? --Nah). Fuentes, as you know, just happened to be a paid consultant of last year's infamous congressional candidate Tan Nguyen--yes, yet another Nguyen. You'll recall that Tan got into hot water by sending rather questionable mail to Spanish-speaking folks. That tactic seemed to come straight out of Mr. Fuentes' bag o' dirty tricks. Remember those poll guards?
Well, Tan's treasurer (who resigned amid the letter scandal) just happened to be--you guessed it--the Foundation Director's wife.
It's OC, baby.
See also The man who sued his own mother.
...And Giggling in court.
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Goals and Values and Twaddle
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.—The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?
• Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013
• THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013
• IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013
• THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013
*From my Apple laptop's dictionary