Posted May 15, 2008 in News


Times get tough for more seekers of the American Dream—the one con artists have, in which they lay awake at night coming up with schemes to turn the dreams of others into nightmares. In this case, 10 residents of San Bernardino County are accused of preying on homeowners desperately trying to save their homes from foreclosure. The homeowners, already being impaled on their white-picket fences by the sub-prime mortgage fiasco, allegedly wound up selling their houses to straw buyers. In the process the remaining equity in their houses allegedly was stolen through inflated commissions, escrow charges and other fees. The mastermind is allegedly—yes, this is the third allegedly; consider my ass covered—a 52-year-old Alta Loma resident named Andrew Whitaker, who’s already done prison time for a prior real estate-related felony. And the dude is definitely a mastermind—prosecutors say he got his two daughters, his ex-wife, her son, and his current wife to collaborate on the project. Genius! Except, you know, for the getting-arrested part



Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant is recognized as the Most Valuable Player in the National Basketball Association during a ceremony before a playoff game against the Utah Jazz. Kobe has the audacity to tell the sellout crowd at the Staples Center that he loves them, and everybody conveniently has the amnesia to forget that a year ago Kobe was telling Southern Californians that he didn’t want to live among them, anymore. Well, not everybody forgets. Riverside’s own Reggie Miller—doing commentary on a TNT television broadcast—reminds millions of viewers that Kobe “threw the owner, the general manager and his teammates under the bus” with his requests to be traded last year. No, I can’t let go of that. Or this, either—an excerpt from the July 6, 2003 interview that police in Vail, Colorado, did with Bryant when a female hotel worker accused him of rape:

Detective: Did you ever ask her if you wanted, if you could come in her face?

Bryant: Yes. That’s when she said no. That’s when she said no. That’s when she said no.

Detective: So what did, what did you say?

Bryant: Um, you know, that’s when I asked her if I could come in her face, she said no.

Detective: So you like to come in your partner’s face?

Bryant: That’s my thing, not always, I mean, so I stopped. Jesus

Christ, man.

Did we mention Kobe is the Lakers shooting guard?



Two men from San Jose are arrested while driving through Victorville with about 250 pounds of marijuana and 50,000 tablets of Ecstasy. Sometimes, that’s what it takes to get through Victorville.



Anti-coyote fever has been burning for a while among Inland Empire residents who have built homes in areas close to—or in the middle of—the animals’ habitat. But the story of the coyote in Lake Arrowhead that tried to drag a two-year-old child out of the front yard really inflames things. In Chino, state hunters have killed five coyotes around Alterra City Park and 23 in the Chino Hills region since December. Reached for comment, the Roadrunner says, “Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!



Frank Kessler, the vice mayor of Canyon Lake, wants people to believe that he made a simple mistake when he billed the city more than $8,000 for a cruise he and his wife took in March. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is investigating why Kessler put the charges on a city-issued VISA card rather than his own American Express card. Kessler wants people to believe he accidentally used the wrong card. The problem is that the cruise didn’t cost more than $8,000. It only cost $6,239—and Kessler ran up the rest of the expenses with a payment to a debt-collection agency. He wants people to believe that, anyway. And I, for one, might—if Kessler weren’t the vice mayor.



A big backyard barbecue at my brother’s home in Jurupa honors my almost-80-year-old mother, my two sisters, my two sisters-in-law, one of their mothers and two of my nieces—one with a two-month-old daughter, and the other with a bulging bellyful of baby-on-the-way. It is a wonderful Mother’s Day.



A buddy of mine asks me how I spent Mother’s Day. Now that I think about it, he poses that question every year. But I don’t think about it when he asks, and I rhapsodize about the wonderful day, getting carried away like I always do, forgetting what he always says when I’m finished. And he says it again: “That’s great, I’m happy for you.” Then his expression shifts from bright smile to dark gloom, as he adds: “My mother is dead.” It’s true—she is—and I don’t know what to say. I feel very uncomfortable. He thinks that’s funny.




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