Invoking the code of silence familiar to gang members everywhere, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meets behind closed doors to discuss the allegedly illegal behavior of its top two fire department officials, then refuses to reveal either what crimes have occurred or what punishments have been levied. “Personnel matters require confidentiality,” they say in a statement, “and the county cannot disclose the nature of the allegations or the resulting action.” Translated, the message to outraged taxpayers is, “Blow me.” The meeting concerned Chief Pat Dennen and Deputy Chief Dan Wurl—paid $185,716 and $174,782, respectively—who used a fire department trailer to move Wurl’s belongings from his home in Running Springs to his new home in Yucaipa. Meanwhile, both men receive an extra $1,000 a month in car allowances, but use fire department vehicles, anyway. There’s really no way to rationalize this kind of self-serving, taxpayer-robbing, sleazeball behavior, and I’m not just talking about the fire department officials, anymore. I’m talking about the Supervisors—uhh, homies—again.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12
Considering the constitution of the Board of Supervisors, it’s a relief to hear that the state attorney general’s office is going to join the San Bernardino County district attorney in its criminal prosecution of former Assessor Bill Postmus and his subordinates on a variety of political corruption charges. “It’s my job as the chief law enforcement officer to see that the laws are fairly enforced,” says California Attorney General Jerry Brown. “That’s what my deputies will be present to accomplish.”
THURSDAY, AUGUST 13
His government-issued smile gleaming opportunistically, Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-Judas) hosts a Town Hall-style meeting at the University of Redlands to stoke the fear and ignorance of his constituents. Lewis has assembled a long political career—and a head full of taxpayer-bought teeth—by manipulating the money in the political system to cast himself as a fiscal conservative while spending like a drunken, earmarked sailor. This time Lewis—who like all members of Congress, benefits from top-of-the-line, government-run health care—coerced a full house to follow him in opposing President Barack Obama’s plan to reform the country’s health care system. Hypocrite.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 14
SATURDAY, AUGUST 15
Cody James Clark of Fontana achieves the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honor for a participant in the Boy Scouts of America. Clark has earned 23 merit badges—Environmental Science, First Aid, Swimming, Personal Management, Family Life, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Camping, Emergency Preparedness, Personal Fitness, Rowing, Canoeing, Wilderness Survival, Lifesaving, Mammal Study, Sports, Forestry, Indian Lore, Leatherwork, Fingerprinting and Art. His leadership positions include patrol leader, senior patrol leader, assistant patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, instructor and troop guide. Clark’s Eagle Scout project was to improve the drainage at the entrance of the Fontana Boys and Girls Club clubhouse and make an outdoor barbeque kitchen and entertainment area. Clark is a senior at Kaiser High School and is the captain of the school’s golf team. Clark would like to stick around, but he is due at his pod for his time travel trip back to the 1950s.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 16
Mother Nature gets fucked-up and goes fishing at Lake Elsinore, where she has one helluva day—bringing in a haul of between 10 million and 15 million of mostly threadfin shad minnows. Them’s goooood eatin‘. Well, Mother Nature likes ’em, anyway, and she gets right down to gorging on them, which is why it stinks so badly along the lakeshore as those millions and millions of fish corpses start to rot—Mother Nature’s favorite way of preparing them. Of course, the question on most other fishermen’s minds was: what kind of bait was she using? But when Mother Nature gets messed up, she doesn’t need bait. In this case, the confluence of high temperatures and low water levels and several factors of the urbanized environment created a lack of oxygen that basically smothered all those fish. “I’ve never seen anything like this anywhere,” another fisherman says in awe. And then, with the gagging stench rising everywhere around him, he casts in his line to see if he can tap into a bit of that luck.
MONDAY, AUGUST 17
My new issue of Esquire arrives, and columnist Stacey Grenrock Woods takes on the question of why crystal meth makes sex better—something about the drug’s influence on dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that activates a pleasure center . . . apparently the same one that makes you want to cover your windows with aluminum foil. But she warns that too much meth will decimate your ability to feel any pleasure about anything. “You’ll be stuck in what’s called “anhedonia,” which addicts describe as “kind of a flat, gray haze that people live in.” Then, of course—and I’ve been waiting for it—comes Woods’ finish: “Whatever. It can’t be much worse than Riverside.”