The Rundown

By Allen David

Posted September 16, 2010 in News


Press-Enterprise Washington D.C. reporter Ben Goad has a way with words. As an intro to a story about a closely watched race between Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet and Rep. Mary Bono Mack, he dips his pen in the purple ink: From the rolling hills of Murrieta to the bustling strip malls of Moreno Valley to the dusty, palm tree–lined streets of the Coachella Valley, California’s sprawling 45th Congressional District is a land of contrast. Wow. That’s a mouthful.  That’s some National Geographic docu-speak there. But when the hackneyed prose fizzles away, we’re left with some disturbing, morning-after questions . . . and realities. Rolling hills. How exactly does a hill roll? And “bustling strip malls of Moreno Valley”? Really? Bustling? Strip malls? God forbid we describe the Moreno Valley Mall as bustling. Why do the strip malls get all the love? But lets continue: “Palm tree-lined streets”? Why do I get the sense that the Coachella Valley’s more genteel residents don’t regard their ’hoods in quite such a poor man’s Joan Didion style. Say “palm tree-lined streets” in L.A. and you’re talking Hollywood. Say “palm tree-lined streets” out here and I’m gonna think of Twentynine Palms or Mecca or some other godforsaken, hot-as-hell scorched plot of turf. And no one is stricken by the irony. Write “palm tree-lined streets” in a newspaper and, well, I’m gonna talk smack about it. Oh, almost forgot: Vote for Pougnet.


If you want me to get fancy-pants about things, it’s called the Parthian shot, from a period in ancient history when troops would pretend to retreat—and then they’d fire off a battery of arrows as they galloped away into the sunset. So, basically it’s throwing out a last bit of smackdown—before pretending to run home to mama. And no one does it better than the folks running the Jurupa Unified School District. Apparently, Pam Lauzon, the district’s superintendent of business services, loosened her tongue right before she stepped down and retired. Specifically, Pam called out call-me-Captain school board member Noreen Considine, saying the elected official never asks questions about important district business, like, oh I don’t know, the budget and things of that ilk. “You often appear lost and confused,” Lauzon tells the Cap. So, when is Considine not lost and confused? Not sure if Pam can answer that one.


Who’s living large? I mean bitches-and-money large? I mean New Jack City large? Meet David and John Zepeda, two fiftysomething brothers from San Berdoo who—officials say—love to gyp people out of their hard-earned cash. In this case, investigators say the siblings are the Lex Luthors behind a $1.5 million in real estate foreclosure scams that allowed them to live like kings. Well, kings in San Bernardino anyways. SB Co. district attorney investigators seized a grip of loot, including a white Bentley sedan, gold watches, diamond bracelets, $335,000 in uncashed checks, gold coins and silver ingots. And at a time when the economy is royally crappy and so many people are hurting, to see these alleged swindlers taking advantage of the poor and desperate—it’s cool to see that a Bentley remains, notwithstanding, the status symbol of choice for the douche bags and Bernie Madoffs of the world.


In a story about members of the House and Senate who are connected to charities and foundations—and how those same charities and foundations get big bucks from corporate interests with business on Capitol Hill—Joe Baca is ready with an answer. Nope. Uh-uh. Not me. He’s talking about the Joe Baca Foundation, which is run by his son. Sure, Joe. Whatever.


Whoops. I mean, big “whoops.” As in, the Corona-Norco school district effed up and mistakenly posted the Social Security numbers of more than 80 teachers and administrators online. Naturally, the party that discovered this faux pas was an information privacy watchdog called (and you know those tea-baggers are kicking themselves that they didn’t call shotgun on this name) the Liberty Coalition. So, how was Aaron Titus, the info privacy director for Liberty, able to discover this cyber screw-up? Some high-tech 24-type hacker/infiltration software? Some well-placed mole within the school district’s inner sanctum? Some slick, surveillance? Nope. Not even close. It’s called Google, people. And Titus was more than happy to reveal that it was a Google search that helped him. But even after the school district yanked the Social Security numbers off its website, a copy remained online on Google docs. “I’m doing everything in my power to make it right,” Michael Lin, assistant superintendent for human resources, says. Which leads us to the point of all this. Nothing beats Google. Nothing.


Wow, people are still trippin’ over “don’t ask, don’t tell”? Thankfully, the homophobia that still graces the Justin Bieber testicle-sized brains of some of the conservative yokels doesn’t seem to be the case on the bench. It was a judge out of Riverside who ruled that the military’s ban against openly gay soldiers was unconstitutional . . . In a related development, tea party types and the Mormon church just burst into tears.


Done with work!


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