We’re all still reeling from what turns out to be the Really Big News of the Week. Apparently, Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach the night before had done something to out-Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Apparently, this city’s top cop, according to authorities, jumped a curb on Central and Hillside avenues, taking out a fire hydrant and a light pole and subsequently blowing out two of the city-owned car’s tires and then continued to drive for more than three miles, shooting sparks all the way, before he was pulled over by his own officers. But before you could say, “DUI,” you’ve got to give Leach the benefit of the doubt. I mean, memory’s a funny thing. “I don’t have full memory of this,” 61-year-old Leach says of his drive and his state of mind, which he describes as “disoriented.” “But I take absolute full responsibility for what happened.” Now that’s a committed civil servant for you. Taking responsibility for something he doesn’t have a friggin’ clue about. But just in case you’re thinking Leach’s, ahem, impaired motoring is gonna get the kid-glove treatment, not to worry. The investigation’s been turned over to the California Highway Patrol. That RPD’s Internal Affairs is also all over this case is just gravy. So . . . was Leach cited? No. Was he taken to the drunk tank? Nope. Breathalyzer? How about a sobriety test? No. Did officers recommend treating this as a crime? Nope. Doesn’t sound like special treatment to us! Being chief has its advantages.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10
We learn that Derrek Gillespie and his pregnant wife made a bet almost three years ago that hinged on a game-winning shot by Kobe Bryant to determine the name of their son. Bryant made the shot. Twelve days later, Kobe Adrian Gillespie was born. This sure as hell is Kobe Country. Sorry, LeBron. Riverside student Kobe Bryant Campoverde also sports The Closer’s moniker (Remember, we’re talking about NBA champ-era Kobe not sexual-assault allegation-era Kobe). Surely it should come as no surprise that someone would be so smitten by an athlete as to christen the child of their loins with an MVP’s name. But you know what name you won’t hear? Dirk Nowitski Campoverde.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11
Chief Leach announces a medical retirement. Maybe it’s for the amnesia and disorientation he claims has blocked out his memory of Monday’s accident. Maybe it’s for a bad case of the hit-and-runs? Whatever it is, it must be pretty darn serious. “We’re frustrated and upset this thing was blown way out of proportion from the beginning,” Leach says. And in a sense he’s right. It’s not as if he had been drinking and driving, destroying public property, pleading the Fifth and then getting away with it. Oh . . . right . . . My bad.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12
Christie Christensen of Lake Elsinore is really miffed. You see, she claims that a diet product she bought that is endorsed by The Biggest Loser fitness guru Jillian Michaels doesn’t work; doesn’t do what it claims to do. So she sues Michaels and the creators of Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control supplement. The Lake Elsinore woman’s lawyer says this may turn into a class-action suit which would allow other California folks similar to Christensen to join the legal fight. Those people would include folks stupid enough to think that diet pills actually work. And that celebrity endorsements mean more than a warm cup of spit.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 13
Three Hemet business owners are struggling after a fire ravages through portions of downtown Hemet (yes, I guess this place does have a downtown). And everyone deals with loss and grief in their own special way. Pat Shearer plans to up and leave and reopen Elite Flowers over on Florida Avenue, calling the new spot “the best location in Hemet.” (Weird. When I hear people mention “Location, location, location” I never imagined Hemet.). Hoa Benson has given up though and won’t reopen Ellen Nails and Spa. Debra Williams of Document Solutions, a firm that prepares paperwork for folks dealing with custody and divorce court proceedings, puts her loss in technological perspective. You see, all of her computer files, her backup files, records and legal documents were turned into a bucket of soggy ashes. “Just imagine if you lost your Rolodex,” she says. I’ll have to imagine that since I never really “lost” my Rolodex. I threw it away in 1998. Along with my Walkman, my laserdisc player, my cassette tape collection. And my pager.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14
Finally. The excitement. The anticipation. The spectacle. The drama. It’s the NBA All-Star Game that pits East against West. And in a moment of clarity I realize: This isn’t really a real game. God, I miss the Staples Center.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 15
Everybody back to work. Groan.