The Rundown

Posted November 25, 2009 in News


It’s the time of the year to start getting grateful, and that’s not easy. Or is it?



The residents of San Jacinto are suddenly extremely thankful for City Councilman Steve Di Memmo, and all he had to do to win their gratitude is not be indicted on corruption charges. The city’s four other councilmen—Mayor Dale Stubblefield, 41; Vice Mayor John Mansperger, 41; Councilman James Potts, 67; Councilman Jim Ayres, 48—are part of a 155-count indictment that accuses them and five others (including Ayres’ wife, Nancy Jo Ayres, 44, a San Jacinto Unified School District board member) of laundering tens of thousands of dollars in campaign money as well as tax fraud, bribery, perjury and filing false government documents. Di Memmo seems to have opted out—or been left out—of that sordid loop, and that simple non-act has turned a turkey-shaped guy previously best known as a serial candidate for city council into the panel’s icon of integrity after all of one year in office. “The first year has been an adventure,” says Di Memmo. “It’s the best way to put it.”



Most of us don’t have to breathe the hideous old-person smell that emanates from Sierra Dawn Estates, the large seniors neighborhood in Hemet, where hundreds of long-past-their-prime people provide still-somehow-living proof that you’re never too old to be heartless assholes. Be grateful for that! More to the point, be grateful you’re not the 71-year-old woman with a flesh-eating disease who has been ordered by her neighbors to remove the sweet mural that a friend had painted on a wall in her backyard. The woman loves the beach—she lived most of her life there—and so while she was recovering from a leg injury last summer, a friend commissioned a colorful mural of hula dancers, tropical birds, surfboards and dolphins. Her friend didn’t know he was supposed to seek permission from the homeowners association, which soon sent a letter notifying them of that. They applied. Permission was denied. They appealed. They were rejected. They were told to paint over the mural by early December with one color. Happy Thanksgiving.



The ballyhooed recall of Republican Assemblyman Anthony Adams of Hesperia turns out to have been mostly bluster, and that’s a good thing on a few fronts. First, because Adams—targeted because of his vote last February to temporarily raise taxes to address a stalemate over the state’s budget problems, despite his pledge not to raise taxes—was an example of a politician responding to circumstances that were unforeseen at the time he made the pledge. Second, because KFI 640AM radio hosts John and Ken—whose fame is based on cynically parlaying the pain of real people into their own pathetic celebrity—were the leaders of the recall. Third, because it revealed precisely what kind of phonies inhabit this movement: Of the 58,384 voter signatures the organizers submitted and said they had verified—far more than the 35,825 needed—only 24,579 were actually registered voters. That’s just 42.1 percent. Turkeys!



All it took for Denise Tubangui to get into the Guinness Book of World Records was a little envy, a little imitation and lot of shelf space. Nineteen years after she went out and bought the same tacky tchotchke she’d admired at her mother’s house—a ceramic cow with its front legs hanging over the edge of the microwave—she’s been recognized for the world’s largest collection of cow-related items, at 2,261 and counting. Denise, who is 50 now, has the requisite salt-and-pepper shakers, coffee cups, socks and ashtrays—but she’s also got chimes, a mail box and even a piece of preserved cow shit. Did we mention she lives in San Jacinto? Might as well. Did we mention she has a 5-month-old pot-bellied pig named Dolly that has black-and-white fur, like a cow? Yeah, let’s get that in there, too. How about the fact that Denise owns a beauty shop called La Petite Hair Shoppe? You probably saw that one coming. 



Landon Donovan—the onetime kid from Redlands who has grown up to be the pre-eminent soccer star in the United States, complete with model-for-a-girlfriend and a Most Valuable Player Award in Major League Soccer—misses one of his penalty kicks during a shootout to help enable Real Salt Lake to win the MLS Cup over the Los Angeles Galaxy. No, we’re not haters. We’re just glad there’s something left for Donovan to be thankful for next year.



Christine Lopez, the treasurer for the La Verne Girls Softball Association who pleaded guilty to embezzling funds from the kids, is sentenced to 30 days in county jail, three years probation, 120 days of community service and must pay $20 in restitution. She’s spending Thanksgiving behind bars.


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