the fuentes files

Tom, 1974
     The worst thing that ever happened to the South Orange County Community College District was the arrival and tenure of Trustee Tom Fuentes. Fuentes, until 2004 the chairman of the OC GOP, was somewhat of a kingmaker and tended to run things with an "iron fist." Though he never sought direct leadership of the board, he did transform it, for it included its share of those who sought higher office: John Williams, Don Wagner, Nancy Padberg, Dave Lang (Republicans all).
     Fuentes was known for his no-holds-barred approach to politics, which in truth infected our little college board, distorting it and its policies and actions. Fuentes' ugly shenanigans sometimes led to national embarrassment, as when he led the non-approval of "study abroad" trip to Spain on the grounds that, by withdrawing its troops from Iraq, that nation had "abandoned our fighting men and women."
     The list below is by no means the entirety of our postings about Tom Fuentes, but it’s everything going back two or three years.

Remembering Tom: the world is leaving him behind, I hope - Jan 6 2014
~ Tom's hatred of women

Writing OC history: the Bold and the Ruthless - Jul 19, 2012
~ Understanding OC political history: the importance of Butcher-Forde and the Caspers victory.

The "win at any cost" ethic: Butcher-Forde, Tom Fuentes, & James Lacy - Jul 15, 2012
~ Tracing OC's "win at any cost" legacy

Louis Cella's trial: Harber, Overby, Hoffman and unanswered questions - Jul 10, 2012
~ Why was Cella paying Overby? Why did Arlene Hoffman reveal so little about Fred Harber's activities in her courtroom testimony?

Ron Caspers c. 1973
When solicitations are threats (and, as always, Tom Fuentes was there) - Jul 5, 2003
~ Caspers & team accused of bullying solicitations in 1974; the (SOCCCD) Old Guard solicitation letter after Fuentes' arrival in 2000; worries about the pressures to collect campaign cash in 1974

The corruption files: early seventies (Fuentes, Michelena, et al.) - Jul 3, 2012
~ The new board majority (Supes) of 1970; curious pursuit of clean government on the board; the "Firehouse Restaurant" case; lobbyists before TINCUP

Fuentes, Michelena & Overby: plump mosquitoes from the same swamp - Jun 30 2012
~ Microcosmic

"St. Thomas" Fuentes was an appointee, too—twice - Jun 27, 2012
~ Tom applied to replace Frogue on the SOCCCD Board in July of 2000. Did he then proclaim that there should be no appointment, that trustees should leave the matter of Frogue's replacement to voters in the general election just four months away? He did not.

Special "trustee replacement" board meeting - Jun 25, 2012
~ Jolene and one other apply to replace Tom in Area 6. The Fuenteans (and their toady, Dave Lang), anticipating the board's selecting the far more qualified applicant, James Wright, urge the board not to appoint—to leave the matter to the voters in November (in five months). "That's what Tom would have done," says Jolene. No, the board has decided, says board prez Nancy Padberg. Former military man and Saddleback administrator Wright gets the nod. The Fuenteans (via Frank Mickadeit's column, which posts only hours later) cry foul.

Caspers was an "able public servant" and "a human being." Anything else? Tom Fuentes counted heads at the service. - Jun 25, 2012
~ The other Supes don't show to Caspers service. Too busy, I guess. Tom Fuentes has nothing to say except that he saw lots of people there. He counted 'em, apparently.

El Toro, 10/6/64: soon to be Caspers'
1954: "Shooting Star" was Caspers' second boating tragedy. The first was a doozy - Jun 23, 2012
~ What are the odds of a guy experiencing two weird boating tragedies?

Tom Fuentes qua student—Rumored Clips & Actual Clips, c. 1967! - June 21, 2012
~ Both as a Santa Ana College student and as a Chapman College student, Tom got in the news—and wrote some right-wing letters, too.

★ The Fuentes file: Puppets and Puppeteers - Jun 21, 2012
~ It's pretty clear that Dick and Doc's political mastermind, Fred Harber, was the puppeteer to OC Supervisor Bob Battin's puppet. And yet Harber was Battin's "assistant." File this under: things are not always what they seem. We examine Tom Fuentes, Ron Caspers "assistant," and the extraordinary roles he seemed to play during and after Caspers' mysterious disappearance in 1974.

1976: Tom Fuentes, lobbyist, deputy—investing in a "singles bar" with Sheriff Brad Gates - June 20, 2012
~ Right after Tom returned from the St. Patrick's—where he studied to be a priest—he joined Bein & Frost and commenced lobbying government officials. Evidently, he and some others, including Sheriff Gates, invested in a "singles bar" together. Golly.

Harber, 1960
★ Harber and Caspers attempt to bribe a developer, but then they die instead - June 18, 2012
~ A RIPPING YARN: Based on two 1978 articles (Reg, Times): Richard Jordan's account of how Supe Caspers and consultant Harber tried to shake 'im down. (Tom figures into this story.) Jordan brought in the DA's office, but then Caspers, Harber, and eight others mysteriously disappeared off the coast of Baja: see "Shooting Star" below. Jordan sued; the County settled: $700,000.

The Fuentes file: Fred Harber & the ubiquity of violent death - June 17, 2012
~ It's really quite odd. There are the ten deaths of the Shooting Star sinking. There's the Arlene Hoffman killing (arrow through chest), never solved (she was Harber's secretary). Air plane crashes galore. I know that most of this is just coincidence, but still: weird.

Fuentes & Schmitz, 1967, 1970, 1972 - June 16,2012
~ Nothing special. Tom was a Schmitz fan—until Schmitz turned hard against Nixon.

Tom, c. 1973
★ What does Fuentes’ tutelage under, esteem of, and five years with, Ronald "shakedown" Caspers tell us about him? - June 14, 2012
~ An attempt to provide a fairly big picture. Upshot: (1) Caspers and Co. [Harber, et al.] were seriously dirty; (2) Fuentes was Caspers' right-hand man during those dirty years. (3) Do the math.

Just who’s "underhanded" and "manipulative"? —Courtesy distortions re Fuentes vs. ubiquitous factoidal residue - June 12, 2012
~ Contra revisionism. Goofy/dishonest local pro-Fuentes right-wingers complain that Baugh and crew are undemocratic, corrupt—not like St. Tom. Wisckol smacks that down, and I provide further details.

★ Norton Simon in Orange County—Tom Rogers' terrific "chopper" yarn—and Arlene Hoffman - June 8, 2012
~ ANOTHER RIPPING YARN: Rogers was OC GOP chair, 1969-72. Tells a great yarn about attempting to thwart Simon's move on George Murphy. His secretary was Arlene Hoffman, who worked for Jess Unruh and then Unruh's campaign guy, Fred Harber. Harber and Caspers were tight. They died on the Shooting Star. Much later (1994), she was killed by arrow, in Laguna Niguel; crime never solved.

Gettin' grassrootsy, like Tom used to do? - June 6, 2012
~ Tom and his complex relationship with Rich Guys. He loved 'em—sought to be one of 'em. He hated when they controlled the party. He helped 'em get what they want. Where's Tom in this messy picture? WTF?

He was a greatly interesting man - June 6, 2012

Howard Ahmanson on Tom Fuentes - June 2, 2012

Tom meets his idol
TJ Fuentes “to become the most insightful and wily political monster,” says Tom Fuentes’ hagiographer - June 1, 2012

TJ Fuentes working for Regnery's Tom Phillips - May 26, 2012

A man utterly convinced of his own greatness - May 23, 2012
~ A minor/obvious point about Tom's psychology.

R. Scott Moxley on Tom Fuentes - May 23, 2012
~ He had secrets, kept 'em to himself. Died with 'em.

Funeral mass for Tom Fuentes - May 23, 2012

With a cigar in one hand and a drink in the other - May 23, 2012

Tom, 1983
Mickadeit’s latest obituary for Tom Fuentes: ever more greatness - May 21, 2012
~ Mickadeit does his sychophantic best to portray Tom as a great man.

Remembering Tom Fuentes: Photo Tom - May 19, 2012
~ On the occasion of his death.

★ Remembering trustee Tom Fuentes: video Tom - May 19, 2012
~ On the occasion of his death.

Orange County incomporuption: toward a "big picture" - April 1, 2012

Mr. Bagman, bring me a dream - March 24, 2012
~ Minor tale of accidental connections between my childhood and Ron Caspers.

The SHOOTING STAR series (reverse chrono order):
Tim Klein on the Shooting Star, La Paz, BC, Mexico
Shooting Star, part 11: mob connections, an unexplained murder - March 23, 2012 
Shooting Star, part 10: the "grand scheme of patronage" - March 22, 2012 
Shooting Star, part 9: straight-shooting conservative Tom Rogers on Caspers, Harber, and what they portended - March 20, 2012 
Shooting Star, Part 8: La Paz-to-Cabo details - March 13, 2012 
Shooting Star, part 7: my correspondence with passenger Lyle Overby - March 13, 2012 
The sinking of the Shooting Star, part 6: an 11th passenger? - March 12, 2012 
The sinking of the Shooting Star, part 5: psychics & shadow governors & seriously special executive aides - March 10, 2012 
Shooting Star, part 4: semi-rogue searchers & the elusive "unsinkable" Boston whaler - March 7, 2012 
The Sinking of the Shooting Star, part 3 - March 6, 2012 
The sinking of the Shooting Star, part 2 - March 4, 2012 
The mysterious sinking of the "Shooting Star." Part 1 - Feb 24, 2012
Tom and mentor, Ron Caspers, c. 1973
Dueling TJs? - Feb 9, 2012

Smouldering, anyway - Jan 26, 2012

Gosh, he must be soooooo wise - Jan 24, 2012

"The rest is history," says Moorlach - Jan 21, 2012
~ Mutterings of a deluded, pompous ass. Feeling good about our performance, are we? Your story is "history," is it? It's actually easy to work up some passion against this guy. What a pious, narcissistic jerk.

A recent Fuentes sighting - Jan 18, 2012

Fuentes sends chicken feed to chicken man - Jan 15, 2012
~ Minor rustling of a dying lion, in the weeds.

Orange County: same old same old (and see how Tom Fuentes threads through this stuff!) - Dec 14, 2011

Fuentes to receive spiffy golden orange - Dec 3, 2011

Our nebulous past: these guys are all dying - Nov 30, 2011
~ Cella, now Fuentes.

Trustee Tom Fuentes' dark warning, November 16 - Nov 27, 2011
~ Obviously, in Tom's view, the district—and the world, I think—is going to hell in a handbasket. The board ignores him.

The November board meeting (Strangelove Returns) - Nov 16, 2011

More Tom - Nov 7, 2011

More unsightly Fuentean residue: Carona loses appeal - Oct 25, 2011

Fuentes: "not a Liberal in sight!" - Oct 20, 2011

Wisckol dares to get real (just a little) - Oct 11

Fuentes greets Perry in Newport Beach - Sep 8, 2011

Update on one-time Fuentes/GOP golden boy Jeffrey Ray Nielsen - Aug 19, 2011
~ Tom always targeted "young people"—it was like a farm system for the Party and for Goodness on Earth. Always young men, it seemed. Took this one to the sauna at the BBC. Jeff turned out to be a pedophile. What does it all mean, Tom? We only want to understand.

Tom gifts Frank with Tricky Dick wine - Aug 16, 2011
~ Why doncha get a room?

Reagan bust artist busted for dumping statue acid on public land - July 26, 2011
~ A curious story of one old boy in the Party who was, in truth, a bit of a thug. Sloppy with acid in the 'hood. Got Tom his bust of St. Ronald.

Fuentes: "I will say a prayer for Roy, and hope he is helped" - June 16, 2011
~ They slapped me down. Tom ultimately did a victory dance and said he'd pray for me. The FPC is, as my dad used to say, as useful as "tits on a boar."

Fuentes, cancer, and “tumor” rhetoric - June 14, 2011
~ He figures, since I'm dying of cancer, I get to talk "tumor." And he calls Ah-nold a tumor. Guys like A, they're the real tumor, he says. I do think that Tom feels vindicated by Ah-nold's long slide into multifaceted and total ignominy. It blinds him to the mess he's made in other areas. Pissing off all those Mexicans was a seriously bad idea, dude. Claiming the high ground — that's always an unworkable strategy for a guy who daily donned brass knucks.

Hey, wait! Wasn’t the world supposed to end? Tom Fuentes jokes about Asian drivers - June 9, 2011
~ I don't really care. (Asians will survive.) But it's fun watching such profound, oblivious incorrectitude.

Fuentes - May 17, 2011

Whence Fuentean isolation? Herculean labors in the lower Circles of Hell! - Apr 2, 2011

Bonzo Park - Mar 31, 2011
~ It's true. He wanted to name the "Great Park" after Nixon. Or was it Reagan? I've been examining those pictures he took with Reagan. I think Reagan disapproved of Tom. That must've been crushing. But was Tom crushed? He still had those notes from RN. Yeah. 

The March meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees: Merlin the Magician? - Mar 28, 2011

Who can ‘splain 'em? - Mar 24, 2011

A prayer about Ronald Reagan in the Ronald Reagan meeting room - Mar 6, 2011
~ Classic Tom. What boggles me about Tom, finally, is his certainty that his is right and others are wrong—not just wrong, but evil, the enemy, people to crush, to defeat, to send to hell.

Tommy Tales: lobbying plus piety. Genius! - Mar 6, 2011

Endgame for an incompetent (What's it all about, Tommy?) - Mar 3, 2011
~ Over the years, so many Fuenteans have gone down in flames. Recently: Carona, Street. (Still waiting for "T-Rack.") And now we see his boy John absolutely flaming out—with John giving the flames all kinds of wonderfully lurid colors and sparkles. What's Tom thinkin' right about now? What kind of Christian Soldier is he?

February board meeting: "Corporate welfare!" fumes Fuentes - Feb 28, 2011

Wherever you see corruption and cronyism in this County, he’ll be there (no, not Tom Joad; Tom Fuentes) - Feb 14, 2011

He has his father's eyes - Feb 10, 2011
~ Remember that great moment in Rosmary's Baby? Very cool.

The OC GOP central committee: "An incestuous mob of fellow sycophants" - Feb 5, 2011

Tom Fuentes, 1970 (boy S&L "consultant") - Feb 1, 2011
~ Gosh, he'd just graduated from Chapman, but someone held out that brass ring: he ran Caspers' campaign—against the wishes of the local party. What was that thing Tom would always say years later? We support the GOP incumbents! I wonder what the ghost of Alton Allen did when he heard that?

New flag/FPPC complaint/lobbying reform in OC? - Feb 1, 2011
~ Todd called me up and said, "Gosh, you're the onliest one on top of this!" I filed with the FPC. Didn't need the S-man's encouragement.

★ Claremont Institute, part II: the few who are fit to receive the message - Jan 29, 2011
~ More of the profoundly anti-democratic philosophy at the heart of CI. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

★ A conservative think tank: the "distinguished" Claremont Institute - Jan 29, 2011
~ Tom and some of his rich pals are seriously connected to this "conservative think tank." What do you suppose they're thinking? Pretty unbelievable stuff, that's what. It'll curl your hair.

Tom Fuentes and Stanbridge College (a local for-profit) - Jan 17, 2011
~ It's a little-known fact, I guess: these for-profits are, well, mostly like corporate welfare: a mechanism for taking taxpayers' money and funneling it to some rich guys who don't give a shit about anything but profit. A few years from now, there'll be a massive public bailout. Thanks, GOP. 

Is the local GOP finally changing? (Tom Fuentes: brass knucks and roses) - Jan 15, 2011

Dire Dingleberries of Sordidity (Bauer's FPPC complaint against Tom Fuentes) - Jan 13, 2011
~ Todd called me up and said, "Gosh, you're the onliest one on top of this!" I filed with the FPC. Didn't need the S-man's encouragement.

Creepological postings (in the past year) - Jan 7, 2011

Tom Fuentes at age 34: "consultant"
~ Just before he became the OC GOP chairman. About to get married to the "love of his life." Running around, taking care of his "properties"—just like Fred Harber used to do! A 1983 article, catching Tom at his most vibrant and hopeful. Someone needs to write a novel.

Tom Fuentes: professional schmoozer, circumventer of open processes, and THUG Oct. 6, 2010
~ I ain't finished spelling out the "thuggery" part of the TAF story. But here it starts.

Was Tom Fuentes a shill for LFC re the Coast Rabbit Island sale? - Sep 5, 2010
~ A tasty (apparent) factoid, revealing the real Tom Fuentes? Think so. 

Tom Fuentes: ubiquitous paid consultant - Oct. 4, 2010
~ Tom appears to have made his living helping firms "connect" with taxpayer money, by hook or by crook. But wasn't Tom always carping about public employee unions sucking on the public teat? I'm trying to understand how Tom didn't help others, and thus himself, do precisely that. Tom was complex (disturbed?).

Fuentes, Williams, & LFC: new documents - Oct 4, 2010

Tom Fuentes and LFC/Lange 
- Oct 3, 2010

LFC, Fuentes, and Williams: oh my! - Sep 30, 2010
~ Tom is seen doing what Tom did. Oh my.

New charges filed against one of Tom Fuentes’ former advisees - Jun 29, 2010

The long and lurid FUENTESization of the SOCCCD 
- May 28, 2010
~ Tom's Borg-like march into the infrastructure of this institution. Cronyism. Petty pay-back. Furthering careers of team members of creeps like Williams, Lang. And all the while, complaining about nepotism, cronyism, and teat-sucking. There's a special circle of hell, I think, for curious guys like you, Tom. (I hope not, but I fear so.)

Tom discusses tomorrow's commencement - May 20, 2010
~ A little docu-fiction for you kids.

Low in the Fuentesphere (where it's always low) - Jan 6, 2010
~ When you get Tom Fuentes, you get his stable of stars, including Mike Carona (in federal prison), Chriss Street (fraudster), Phil Greer (ethically challenged attorney), et al. Thanks, Tom. And just what did Phil do to earn that $25,000 he got from the district to help Raghu sign the dotted line?

History question: who argued that college Poli Sci professors should teach the Board’s political views? Guess! - Dec 31, 2009
~ Try to guess. Could it be Tom?

Old boys, young boys in the OC GOP - Dec 16, 2009
~ Among those taken under Tom Fuentes' fluffy wing was one Jeffrey Ray Nielsen. Yikes!

A new board majority? Fuentes gets hopping mad - Dec 11, 2009
~ It gets seriously ugly in the Ronnie Reagan Room. Wagner v. Fuentes.

Thanks, Tom Fuentes: incestuous and Cronyistic South Orange County politics - Jun 5, 2010
~ "[Don] Wagner, [Tom] Fuentes and other board members love to crow that the SOCCCD has raised no taxes through bonds. That's true, but because of the unusual amount of tax money diverted to the district owing to its reliance on local property taxes (this peculiar funding arrangement is called "basic aid"), the district has been swimming in dough (aka tax money) for years and thus has had no need to seek bonds."

Incumbent Republican Alton Allen
taken out by Caspers, 1970
★ Tom Fuentes, Caspers' "bagman"? - Sep 17, 2009
~ Young Nathan R wanted to run against the lazy Republican incumbent, but Tom declared, "thou shalt leave GOP incumbents be!" Nathan got pissed, right on TV. Called Tom "Caspers' bagman." The truth is revealed, but Nathan's political career is over.

The day Fuentes’ boss called Mexican-Americans “banditos” - Sept 16, 2009
~ No biggie, really. It's Orange County. On the other hand, isn't Tom a Mexican? Yep. (He's a Mexican like I'm a German.) My guess: it tells us something that Tom would put up with a guy talking about his people that way. There was some serious self-loathing going on inside TAF. I'll say no more.

Trustee Fuentes’ Spanish Adventure --or “No one would do that!” - Mar 22, 2005
~ Is it possible that this was just payback for some imagined slight? Yeah, it's possible.

Trustee Fuentes' Cuban adventure - Feb 14, 2001

The Fuentes "Poll Guards" Incident (1988)

That notorious episode: Tom's "goons"


Anonymous said...

Good Lord!

Anonymous said...

RIP, Tom. One day "Resentful Roy" will meet his maker, the aimless piece of cosmic shit rocketing to nowhere that he is.

Roy Bauer said...

His maker is an aimless piece of cosmic shit? Do tell.

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