Wednesday, June 20, 2012

1976: Tom Fuentes, lobbyist, deputy—investing in a "singles bar" with Sheriff Brad Gates

The entire “Fuentes/Shooting Star” saga can be found here.

     MONEY TALKS. I found an old LA Times article, dated February 6, 1976, about lobbyists and the gifts they had given to members of the OC Board of Supervisors. —This was about a year and a half after the mysterious sinking of the Shooting Star, which took the lives of OC Supervisor Ron Caspers, political consultant Fred Harber, and eight others.
     1976: those were, of course, the days of Louis Cella and the "Coalition." With the loss of strategist Harber and the reliable DA-hating Caspers, Cella could not effectively block scrutiny of his operation. Soon, OC DA Cecil Hicks, and then the feds, were all over 'im. 
     According to the article:

     Among the lobbyists mentioned was our own (until recently) Tom Fuentes, who was by then working for the engineering firm Raub, Bein & Frost.

     (Also mentioned among lobbyists is Frank Michelena, a ubiquitous [notorious] lobbyist who had worked with Fuentes on campaigns during the Caspers days.)
     A LOBBYIST DOING WHAT LOBBYISTS DO. In 1993, Fuentes was still working for Raub, Bein & Frost (by then called Bein & Frost) as a lobbyist. The company got into hot water for wining and dining officials of the Santa Margarita Water District. Fuentes appeared to be directly involved in these "lobbying" efforts. (See O.C. Company's Gift-Giving Gets Attention.)
     In 1996, as the dust of the scandal settled, Fuentes left BF and joined Tait and Associates. The Times noted the curious circumstances in which Fuentes joined Tait:
     Early last year, while still with the company [i.e., Bein], Fuentes lobbied members of the Anaheim City Council for the appointment of Tom Tait. Tait was appointed to the City Council in January 1995. Shortly afterward, in March 1995, Fuentes became a vice president at Tait and Associates, an Orange engineering firm where Tait is president. (See Guiding With an Iron Hand)
     By then, of course, Fuentes was the chairman of the local GOP (that started in 1985).
     When officials at Bein were asked why Fuentes left the company, they were very vague, saying only that they and Fuentes were on good terms.
* * *
     PIETY BOY INVESTS IN SINGLES BAR. Remember those "deputy" badges that convicted felon (and former OC Sheriff) Mike Carona used to give out, like candy, to campaign contributors? Well, as it turns out, that's an old practice, though, by 1976, it had all but died out everywhereexcept for Orange County. I found a 1976 Times article ("Sheriff Gates grants 'special deputy' status to actors, politicians," 9/23/76) that explains that then-newly-elected Sheriff Brad Gates was giving these things out in very much the same spirit in which Carona did starting in the late 90s.
     One of the "special deputies" was Tom Fuentes.
     Oddly, the article mentions a business deal that Fuentes had gone in with Gates and others:

     OK, "last year" (presumably 1975), Fuentes and these others "invested in a singles bar"? That was the year that Fuentes had returned from the Menlo Park seminary, having abandoned his plan to become a priest.
     He goes from studying for the priesthood to investing in singles bars? (And with the Sheriff?)
     These pious OC Republicans are something else, ain't they?


Anonymous said...

Is there something inherently immoral about a singles bar?

Roy Bauer said...

No. It is odd, I think, for a man who sought to become a priest to then invest in a bar--especially a singles bar.

Anonymous said...

so?! Roy, you once sought to become a dolt and now you teach Philosophy...

Anonymous said...

6:34: please look up the word "hypocrisy," regarding the original post. Then look up "dolt," preferably in front of a mirror.

Old—and insane (—and when <I>eugenics</I> was in the air)

Young Frieda Flueckinger, c. 1893      Here's another post on the historical blog I'm doing for a friend. You might find it i...