TUESDAY, JUNE 13
The Hemet city council unanimously places a moratorium on housing for parolees and probationers, giving local officials 22 months and 15 days to incorporate rules for such housing into the city’s general plan. Sounds like a fine first step toward preventing a problem that’s really getting out of control—until I realize they’re not talking about the Scientologists holed up at Golden Era Studios. My bad. Then again, I’m just Raw Meat, Pre-Clear.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 14
It’s Flag Day, and there may be no better reminder of the freedoms represented by our star-spangled banner than the sight of Lyman Stucky opportunistically wrapping his self-centeredness and intolerance in red, white and blue. Flag Day began in 1877 as a tribute to the 100th birthday of the stars-and-stripes and a rededication to our patriotic duty to make good on our founders’ profound commitment to freedom, equality and opportunity. But Stucky prefers to substitute flag-waving and tough-talking calls to “defend” freedom for the truly hard, ego-sacrificing work required to “grant” freedom to all. That’s why he organized a Flag Day demonstration at San Bernardino city hall, calling four city council members “anti-American flag politicians” because they voted against draping a mega-sized flag from the side of the building on federal holidays and September 11. San Bernardino already displays two flags, and hauling out the humongous one would cost $5,000 a shot at a time when bigger problems are draining the city budget. Sounds weird, I know. The weirdness turns to sadness when you realize that the whole thing began as a mine’s-bigger-than-yours reaction against the people who dared to wave Mexican flags during immigration demonstrations a couple months ago. But it takes all kinds—Stucky’s the kind who paints his Mercury Cougar red, white and blue and drives it to Washington DC to promote the vigilante values of the Minuteman Project—and thank God we’ve got a flag that reminds us that America grants freedom to mean-spirited showboaters, too.
THURSDAY, JUNE 15
News hits that a celebrity female-impersonator show—Make BOYlieve—will be the main attraction at Palm Springs’ newest nightclub, but save your pity for the fallen fortunes of the city that used to be the Beverly Hills of the Desert. They don’t even get it. Someone tells Mayor Ron Oden that Palm Canyon Drive may soon be crawling with guys dressed up like Bette Midler, Celine Dion and Cher, and he predicts it will improve Palm Springs’ reputation with tourists. “Can you imagine?” Oden gushes to the Palm Springs Desert Sun. “They will say they saw celebrity sightings, which will be great for us.” Oden may have a point, but if so, it’s just the latest discouraging point against the onetime Spa To The Stars. It wasn’t all that long ago—1994, I believe—that I waited in line at a Palm Canyon Drive ice cream parlor behind the real Elizabeth Taylor. But that “Palm Springs” is just a concept now, a name that brings up a certain image, but really isn’t specific to that place anymore . . . you know, like “Hollywood” or “trailer trash.” You’ll know that the Make BOYlieve revue has become truly chic when it relocates to one of the surrounding desert communities, like all the rest of Palm Springs’ lost glamour. Watch for the show under its new name, “Rauncho Mirage.”
FRIDAY, JUNE 16
Some $9 million in upgrades have transformed Pharoah’s Lost Kingdom into Pharoah’s Theme and Water Park, adding a concert amphitheater, a fine dining restaurant and even a cocktail lounge to what was just a bunch of water slides, but foolishly leaving unserved Redlands’ lucrative female-impersonator demographic, which will now export its dollars to Palm Springs.
SATURDAY, JUNE 17
Theo Gantt III, 24, graduates from Cal State San Bernardino with a business marketing degree, a five-day old son, and a helluva commute from his Moreno Valley apartment to his new job as an account executive in Buena Park. Talk about the real world! Umm, actually, Gantt isn’t talking too much about that, anymore, not unless somebody brings it up. The way he figures it, the year he spent as a cast member on the MTV series The Real World—way back in 2001—has very little to do with his life today. “In real life, no cameras follow you,” says Gantt. “In real life, you’re not living in the best house on the block.” On the TV show, Gantt and his companions in a Chicago apartment went through the crises of romance, illness, recovery from alcoholism and the events of the 9/11 attacks. In real life, he hopes that he’ll someday be able to buy a house and put his kid through college. Why doesn’t somebody make a reality show about that? Because nobody would believe it.
SUNDAY, JUNE 18
Dad likes chorizo and eggs at Goody’s restaurant in Riverside.
MONDAY, JUNE 19
A report identifying five potential sites for Riverside County’s newest jail—San Gorgonio, Mead Valley, Gilman Springs, San Timoteo Canyon and the West Badlands—oooh, we like the sound of that last one—is submitted to county supervisors today, and nobody who lives near any of those places is particularly happy. There’s also the prospect of a countywide vote on a quarter-cent increase in the sales tax that would generate some $1.58 billion over 15 years to help pay for new jails and criminal justice offices. That’s even more unappealing. Of course, there’s another option—changing California’s three-strikes law, which is creating a behind-bars population boom by imposing long-term sentences on people like Banning’s Michael Wayne Riggs, who served nearly 10 years of a life sentence for stealing a $20 bottle of vitamins. Over the weekend, Riggs—freed in a subsequent plea-bargain—spoke at a Los Angeles fundraising dinner sponsored by Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes. Outside the banquet room, however, his words fall mostly on deaf ears. In 2004, California voters rejected Prop. 66, which would have removed some non-violent crimes from the list of three-strikes offenses. We like our punishment simple, with no questions asked. Ante up.