By Allen David
TUESDAY, APRIL 5
Molly Friga drives to work at Joshua Circle Elementary School in Hesperia. About noontime she assumes an identity the kids call The Lunch Lady, and dishes up whatever’s on the menu in the school cafeteria. Then she drives home. The difference is that these days The Lunch Lady does her commuting behind the wheel of a brand-new Toyota Tacoma pickup. She got it after watching a taping of The Price is Right. Well, one thing led to another, and The Lunch Lady ended up spinning the Big Wheel and winning that Toyota Tacoma—yeeaahh, that’s how The Lunch Lady rolls—and then, here’s the bittersweet part . . . driving it back to Hesperia.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6
In yet another example of the land shenanigans that Native Americans have used to cheat and control the naïve and trusting European immigrants for centuries, Lloyd Fields says he can’t develop—or even get easy access—to 41 acres of undeveloped property he owns in the midst of land owned by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians reservation near the Cabazon outlets in Banning. Fields, whose own homeland is an address in Beverly Hills, clearly is inspired by spirituality of the mountains that overlook his Banning land. He says they would make a perfect backdrop for the 146 homes he wants to put on the property—development that he estimates could mean a $15 million profit. Adding insult to this injury, says Fields, is the prospect that “there’s water under my property, and Morongo’s been sniffing around to drill wells, and have asked me not to develop it because they don’t want me to pollute the aquifer.” Fields is suing Banning over road access to his property, since he can’t directly sue Morongo, which is a sovereign nation. He has put up a banner signpost along the freeway’s east entrance to Banning—prominently displayed on another 90.2 acres of property he owns—that reads “MorongoLandGrab.com.”
THURSDAY, APRIL 7
I admit I was just skimming today’s editorial in The Press-Enterprise, which is why I misunderstood its condemnation of an “event that celebrates the degeneracy of Charlie Sheen while offending a large swath of the public [and] offers a textbook example of poor taste and wayward marketing.” I mean, I knew the piece was referring to Lake Elsinore, but I had kind of forgotten that the town’s minor-league baseball team plans to host a “Charlie Sheen-co de Mayo” night on May 5—complete with $1 beers, “Tiger blood” cocktails and a two-for-one “Ho Hos” special—and has invited the actor to attend. But when the editorialists lamented “an event that glorifies erratic, depraved behavior,” I thought they were talking about what happened on April 9, 1888—the date Lake Elsinore became a city.
FRIDAY, APRIL 8
A student at Arlington Regional Learning Center—a continuation school—punches a policeman taking him to the principal’s office, and a bunch of other students join in, setting off a brawl among kids and cops that results in the arrest of eight students and the hospitalization of three. What does this sudden eruption of violence say about relations or conditions or frustrations at Arlington Regional or other continuation schools? According to administrators and educators, nothing. Those contacted by the Press-Enterprise preferred to note that brawls like this are rare, then kept using words like “bonding” and “connections” and “relationships,” as if attending a continuation school is kind of like a long weekend at the Mt. Baldy Zen Center.
SATURDAY, APRIL 9
Gone fishin‘ at Rancho Jurupa Park.
SUNDAY, APRIL 10
MONDAY, APRIL 11
Brandon Dowdy, a forgettable basketball player at UC Riverside from 2008-10, becomes rememberable when his name is included among 10 people charged in a federal grand jury indictment. They’re charged with running a sports betting business to affect the outcome of games. One of Dowdy’s partners in the alleged crime is Brandon Johnson, who is the all-time leading scorer at the University of San Diego. UC Riverside coach Jim Wooldridge says he’s “in shock.” Me, too. What are the chances that Dowdy and Johnson would have the same first name? And that the name they share would be … Brandon? The indictment doesn’t say how the alleged game-fixing scheme worked, the number of games involved or whether or not the plan actually worked. Upon hearing the news, UCR’s athletic director, Stan Morrison, says he’s “stunned and disappointed.” Me, too. Charlie Sheen could write a better indictment than that.