Valley Fever sounds almost sexy, until you find out the valley where people get it is Moreno Valley. And Lake Elsinore. Then it sounds kinda funny, until you read in the Press-Enterprise that that Araceli Jimenez’s husband nearly died from Valley Fever and five years later still has a shunt in his head to ward off fluid build-up in his brain. Then you see where the Riverside County Health Department says several residents have died from the disease in the past four years, and it gets spooky. Then you start to understand why residents in Moreno and Elsinore are opposed to a pair of construction projects in their area—because the disease is found in semi-arid areas and is caused by spores in soil that are distributed by wind and activities . . . such as construction projects. Then, when you read the president of a homebuilders association in an area with some of the highest concentrations of Valley Fever say the whole thing is “a bogus argument,” he sounds like kind of a dick.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8
Assemblyman Anthony Adams (R-Hesperia) is served with recall papers by a group—The Committee to Fiddle While California Burns, I think it is—that can’t abide the fact that he helped break a seemingly endless legislative stalemate that was threatening to destroy any sense that this state is still governable. Yes, Adams foolishly made a campaign pledge that he would never vote for a tax increase. Yes, Adams was among six Republican lawmakers who voted in February to raise taxes by $12.5 billion—part of a $41.7-billion package of budget fixes to deal with plummeting revenue caused by the state’s economic downturn. But rather than appreciate the fact that Adams has the mental facility to make judgments based on current conditions, rather than vote like a robot, some wingnuts want to punish him. They need 36,000 signatures to get it to the ballot.
THURSDAY, APRIL 9
We awake to learn that a 22-year-old Angels pitcher with a faintly Dickensian name—Nick Adenhart—has died overnight, his body suddenly smashed in an out-of-nowhere crash between the car in which he was riding and a minivan driven by the drunken Andrew Thomas Gallo. We’re all stunned—some of us, who watched him pitch the night before on TV, even more than others—and we’re all sad and angry and yearning for justice. And we’re not going to get it, no matter what charges are filed or punishments served, because there is none. Life is about the churning process of coming to terms with the fact that justice does not exist. That’s why our wish for those who die is to Rest In Peace.
FRIDAY, APRIL 10
A mutiny is stirring among constituents Noreen “Call me Captain” Considine, the ex-military officer who may soon become an ex-Jurupa Unified School District board member, too. PTA official Cynthia Ashenfelter has filed a Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition with the Riverside County registrar of voters, and Considine gets her certified-mail copy of the keel-haul-o-gram today. Considine has only been in office since November, but she’s already racked up a full term’s worth of bizarre behavior, which only began when she started insisting that she be called “captain” in deference to her military service. The recall notice notes that “refusing to return confidential student records, arriving late to meetings, and taking phone calls while parents are addressing the board are unacceptable behaviors for anyone, especially an elected official.” In March the school district and Considine traded lawsuits. Ashenfelter sums up The Captain’s short term as “childish behavior,” and I gotta say I’m relieved to hear that she is leading the recall movement without any delusions. That is what she is signaling when she says, “I don’t think I’m the Lone Ranger,” isn’t it?
SATURDAY, APRIL 11
Calling it Orange County long ago became a joke. The only things vaguely orange about the place are the residents’ tanning-parlor skin and the terrorist-alert level on the Homeland Security Advisory system. But there are still orange groves in the Inland Empire—in Redlands, of all places—and the members of the Inland Orange Conservancy throw their fifth annual Celebrate Citrus event at the Prospect Park grove to try to keep it that way. Sixteen citrus fruits from the UC Riverside research grove—with names that seemed to prove it: Italian citron, Meyer lemon, variegated pink-fleshed eureka, W. Murcott mandarin from Morocco, Rio-red and Tahoe gold and a kumquat kinda thing called Meina—were available for tasting. It was a real mother-pucker. Well, that’s what they would have called it in lame-ass Orange County.
SUNDAY, APRIL 12
Rooting against Tiger Woods is fun, especially when he doesn’t win.
MONDAY, APRIL 13
Golf still sucks, though.