creep |krēp| n.(Participate in our poll at right!)
informal: a detestable person.
I offer three chief candidates:
Candidate #1: TOM FUENTES
Fuentes, already the long-time chief of the local GOP, brought a huge sack of “creepage” (i.e., creep baggage) with him when he joined the SOCCCD board in the summer of 2000 (to replace resigning Holocaust denying trustee Steve Frogue).
Had he been, as the politically ambitious Nathan Rosenberg had angrily blurted during a 1986 political debate, Ronald Casper’s “bagman”? Fuentes was executive assistant to Supervisor Caspers, who died under mysterious circumstances off the coast of Baja in 1974. Upon Caspers' death, Fuentes entered a seminary. Six months later, he left the seminary and became a "consultant." As near as I can tell, he was and is some sort of lobbyist. By '84, he was OC GOP chair.
To explore the curious question of what Fuentes does for a living, see O.C. Company's Gift-Giving Gets Attention (LA Times, 4/11/93) and Tom Fuentes: professional schmoozer, circumventer of open processes, and THUG (Dissent the Blog, 10/6/10).
Long before the summer of 2000, Fuentes had attained a reputation as a thuggish boss of a powerful political machine that tolerated no divergence from Pooh-bah Tom’s narrow conception of Republican values. (Businesses that gave to both political parties, he opined to his pal Robert Novak, are “whores.”)
On the SOCCCD board, Fuentes quickly fulfilled his nature as a doctrinaire and dogmatic foe of public employee unions. He publicly trashed faculty with dubious "facts." He openly contemned the Accreditors. Ever the fan of red meat tossing, he led an (at first, successful) effort to discontinue Saddleback College’s Spanish “study abroad” program owing to that country’s pulling its troops out of Iraq!
From the start, he was Raghu Mathur’s most inveterate supporter. That he lost the struggle over Mathur with trustee Don Wagner—who was running for the state Assembly at the time—probably reflects Fuentes declining stature and pull in Republican county politics.
Disagree? We welcome your input!
Candidate #2: DAVE LANG
Irvine’s Dave Lang arrived on the scene during the infamous trustees campaign of ’96, when (then-)corrupt SOCCCD faculty unionists made a pact with a group of ultra-conservative candidates (Williams, Frogue, Fortune, and Davis) in a successful effort to gain control of the board. (Lang beat Davis, but, thanks to the union’s homophobic flier, Williams, Frogue, and Fortune prevailed in their races. Lorch, the fourth majoritarian, was not up for reelection.)
For years, Lang, an intelligent albeit fiscally conservative moderate, joined with trustees Milchiker and Hueter to combat the Neanderthalic “board majority” (Frogue, Williams, Fortune, and Lorch). Owing also to his strong and consistent opposition to union Old Guard- (and Board Majority-) favorite Raghu Mathur—the pompous lickspittle who had become, first, the President of IVC and then the district Chancellor—many faculty, especially at IVC, campaigned hard for Lang in ’00 and ‘04.
But then, all of a sudden, Lang pulled a switcheroo. In the course of a lengthy board battle over renewal of Mathur’s contract, Lang inexplicably switched sides, joining the decidedly non-moderate Fuentes, Williams, and Wagner in supporting Mathur, who also received a big raise. (Faculty supporters confronted Lang, who offered no intelligible explanation.)
Then, as board president, Lang openly took on the role of Mathur’s mentor. The idea seemed to be that Lang would help Raghu become a decent (or, anyway, a less offensive) person.
Long-time Lang supporters couldn’t believe their eyes and ears.
Why did he do it?
A rumor surfaced that Lang had switched sides in order to satisfy diehard Mathur-supporter Fuentes, who (according to the story) would reciprocate by assisting Mr. Bean in his efforts to become OC Treasurer (in the election of ’06).
But that was the year of the rise of Fuentes and crews’ latest star, Chriss Street, who, despite his hinky handling of the Fruehauf Trailer bankruptcy in the 90s, allegedly deserved Jeremiah cred re the OC bankruptcy. According to the old boys of the OC GOP, Street would vault the County to new and wonderful heights of fiscal health!
Whatever Fuentes might have suggested to Lang, he was really behind his new boy Street.
By a year or so ago, the rumor seemed to be validated, for, with Street seemingly going down in litigious Fruehauf flames (not unlike earlier Fuentean star Mike Carona, who was ultimately convicted of a felony), Lang signed up to run for Treasurer. (Less than a year ago, Street was found to have committed fraud most foul in the Fruehauf business. He thus declined to run for reelection.)
Despite Fuentes’ endorsement and Lang’s huge campaign spending (including over $100K of his own dough), Mr. Bean went down in flames, coming in third in the primary. According to some Republican observers, Fuentes made no effort to rescue the campaign. There were no special events at the Balboa Bay Club.
One wonders, then, why Lang continues to march to Fuentes’ drum.
What’s Fuentes promising now?
Candidate #3: RAGHU MATHUR
From the moment of Raghu Mathur’s arrival at Saddleback College North (the future Irvine Valley College) in 1980, he angled and schemed to become an administrator. But the fellow was incompetent; further, he was a notorious schemer and a liar, and everyone knew it, and thus his efforts were repeatedly thwarted.
District-wide, among the disgruntled and "oppressed" (including various faculty who routinely got away with appalling misconduct, thanks to growing union muscle), Raghu promoted a theory according to which most or all problems were attributable to the dark machinations of the alleged Morrison/Burgess cabal at IVC. (Utter nonsense.)
Naturally, conspiracy nut and SOCCCD trustee Steve Frogue embraced the theory and, armed with a dubious petition, got Mathur (illegally) appointed as interim IVC President in 1997. Soon thereafter, the board (again illegally) reorganized the district, exporting "offending" (according to unionists) Saddleback deans to IVC and eliminating equally offending IVC faculty chairs (including yours truly). Soon after that, the ever-defiant board (again illegally) appointed Mathur “permanent” IVC President.
Especially at IVC, it was downhill from there.
I won’t repeat the familiar litany of Mathurian and related outrages that followed. Let’s just say that, despite two powerful votes of faculty no confidence, and with utter disregard of approved district processes, the board majority appointed Mathur Chancellor in 2003.
Mathur’s conniving, officious, and autocratic ways led to a district-wide faculty vote of no confidence (93.5%) in 2004. That only served to bolster our rogue board’s resolve to support their man.
Still, by 2005, Mathur had managed to alienate former supporter Nancy Padberg (who had arrived, along with Don Wagner, thanks to union and Education Alliance support in 1998), and it appeared that he no longer had the four votes necessary to remain Chancellor.
Dave Lang’s sudden and mysterious switcheroo took care of that. (See above.)
Among Mathur’s outrages: he took the lead in changing the procedures for faculty hiring over the protests of the faculty senates (and thus, as it turns out, in violation of the law--according to the courts). He went along with the board’s meddling in the Accreditation process, which led to dire warnings and then a Wagner-led effort to do whatever necessary to prevent accreditation Armageddon.
In the end, Mathur was undone by his conniving ways, which, coming once-too-often at the expense of the stunningly ill-tempered Don Wagner, led to an unstoppable Wagnerian jihad. By mid-2010, Mathur was gone for good.
* * *
|Eventually: contra Mathur/Fuentes|
• Well, Wagner, governed by his enduring hot-headedness and arrogance, did get rid of Mathur. And that wasn’t easy.
Plus Wagner ended his days on the board thwarting Tom Fuentes’ agenda—admittedly, a consequence of the rift caused by his anti-Mathur jihad.
So, though he's certainly a creep, he ended up an anti-Mathurian and an anti-Fuentean. He’s thus disqualified for this honor. Or so it seems to me.
|Poop for brains|
"Creepwise, what he amply possesses in hair loss, he sorely lacks in gravitas." You can quote me.
• Lang, too, lacks gravitas, but he makes up for it by being the special kind of guy who would betray good people for the sake of mere self-aggrandizement.
In some circles, that makes him a shoo-in for Creep of the Decade—or, anyway, future resident of Hades' basement.