By Allen David
TUESDAY, MARCH 8
After weeks of hearing local cities cry foul and get teary eyed over Gov. Jerry Brown’s plans to put the kibosh on redevelopment, a state review of 18 redevelopment agencies in California seems to prove what critics have been saying all along: namely, that redevelopment doesn’t work. According to State Controller John Chiang, schools were shortchanged by nearly $40 million and millions were spent on questionable projects that couldn’t prove exactly how many jobs they created. “The lack of accountability and transparency is a breeding ground for waste, abuse and impropriety,” Chiang says. To be fair, Chiang well, he should have talked first to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, San Bernardino County, the San Jacinto City Council and the now-former mayor of Upland. That “waste, abuse and impropriety” he’s so worried about–we’ve kind of got that crap on lock already. Sorry, redevelopment. First come, first served.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9
It’s a great day to be a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s employee—not! Oh no, not when seven folks who swore an oath to protect and serve instead swore an oath to protect their paycheck and serve their financial interests by falsifying law enforcement training records to boost their income. At least, those are the accusations coming from a special grand jury that drops bombs with names like “perjury,” “grand theft” and “conspiracy.” “I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say it’s a very disappointing day for the Sheriff’s Department,” Sheriff Rod Hoops says. Naw—you’d wouldn’t be lying, Rod . . . it sounds like your deputies and employees (allegedly) have pretty much taken care of the lying part.
THURSDAY, MARCH 10
Sure, Redlands gets a bad rap for being, well, Redlands (read: snooty), but it’s nice to see when someone puts that city’s elite on equal footing with its less pedigreed residents. That’s what local photographer Marc Piron did when he took portraits of the area’s homeless—and community leaders—as part of a three-day exhibition called “The FACE of Redlands.” For one shot, he captured The Farm restaurant chef and owner Roberto Argentina tenderly kissing a severed pigs head. What? Severed pig heads can’t get no love?
FRIDAY, MARCH 11
It’s a bad, bad, bad day in Japan. The worst, actually. Hi wa kiyurédomo tô-shin wa hiyédzu.
SATURDAY, MARCH 12
Something’ rotten in—no, not Denmark—the stretch of 215 in Colton: the reek of thousands of sardines that spilled all over the roadway on their way from Redondo Beach to Victorville. “It’s gonna stink over there for a while,” says a Caltrans spokeswoman. “It’s probably gonna smell for a few days.” Suddenly, in the Coke-and-Pepsi debate of Colton vs. Victorville, Victorville looks, er, smells good.
SUNDAY, MARCH 13
Oh, man, if a Corona councilman can’t even keep his own financial house in order, how can we expect him to make prudent, diligent decisions from the dais? That’s the question that local residents might be asking themselves once they get wind of the fact that Councilman Steve Nolan just filed for bankruptcy. And it ain’t pretty–far from it. It would appear that Nolan’s business debts total nearly $2 million. But here’s the kicker: What he owes includes nearly $3,400 to Corona’s Department of Water and Power. In other words, this city official owes the city money! If Nolan’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the dude that closed down his Backwoods BBQ restaurant on Green River Road last year. Then he shut down another Backwoods restaurant from its McKinley Street building near a Costco. Bad luck, I suppose. But then again, Nolan seems to have problems everywhere he goes. The guy used to be an Anaheim police officer–and he’s tangled up in litigation with that city. Locally, one of his Backwoods trucks was impounded for violating the city’s rules and zoning laws. Plus he had a very ugly, public feud with the Police Department, specifically the chief. Many of these problems came to light via anonymous tips. According to The Press-Enterprise, Nolan “criticized tipsters for trying to embarrass him.” Actually, Steve, you’re doing a damn good job all by yourself.
MONDAY, MARCH 14
Awesome. That’s the word of the day to describe how I feel after seeing the Lakers—including Kobe with a messed up ankle—run over the Orlando Magic for a 97-84 victory and prove their championship mettle. I got a little worried in the first half, first because L.A.’s finest couldn’t seem to build a lead and secondly because Kobe was as cold as ice as far as his shooting was concerned. All that changed, however, when Bynum (once again) delivered a monster game with (count ‘em) 18 rebounds and Pau chipped in 23 points. And just to keep thing very interesting, Lamar and Barnes threw up and made some gratuitous three-pointers, Derek Fisher snaked two steals and Shannon, well, he was just being Shannon with his high-flying acrobatics. Brown might not walk on water, but this shooting guard from Maywood, Illinois can sure as hell fly over it.