By Allen David
WEDNESDAY, MAY 11
The Granny Bandit’s short reign of small-time, strong-armed robbery appears to be over, not to mention something of a misnomer. Four victims since Sunday had reported being robbed at gunpoint by an old lady wearing a muumuu and a scarf over her face and driving a dark sedan with missing front hubcaps, but suspect Dodi Wasbotten turns out to be only 51. Ouch! Trying to cut the witnesses some slack, Sgt. Billy Green noted that Wasbotten “has a weathered face.” Aww, Sergeant, you don’t have to go there: fact is, Wasbotten does have a grandchild, so “Granny Bandit” is correct. But the cop can’t let it go. “I can see how she hasn’t aged well,” he says. The case was broken by a law enforcement crime analyst who was on a food break . . . which when it comes to cops always suggests deep-fried circles of cake . . . which suddenly makes me wonder if the best name for this case might be “The Granny’s Donuts Bandit.”
THURSDAY, MAY 12
Moreno Valley announces a safe-driving seminar for older adults on June 1. Classes will include “Keeping That Left-Turn Signal Blinking,” “Staring Straight Ahead Through The Steering Wheel,” “Always Drive The Speed That’s Half Your Age” and “The Braille Institute’s Guide for Changing Lanes.”
FRIDAY, MAY 13
SATURDAY, MAY 14
SUNDAY, MAY 15
That’s a pretty sensitive and detailed story they’ve got in The Press-Enterprise this morning about the domino-effect of sad consequences that are befalling horses because of the high price of hay. I mean, did you know the price of alfalfa hay has doubled since last summer? Of course you didn’t. But there’s no more ignorant bliss now, what with that Press-Enterprise story pointing out how hard it is on, for example, Villa Chardonay-Horses With Wings, the sanctuary for abandoned and neglected horses outside Temecula that spends nearly half its monthly operational costs on hay. And topping off the hard-luck horse news, the wet spring delayed the first crop of alfalfa hay in the Imperial Valley. Despite the depressing tone of the story, its care and concern are impressive. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever read a story that made me truly feel what it must be like to be a horse. What kind of reporter—which one in the Press-Enterprise’s stable—could have the empathy to produce this kind of piece? Look at the by-line: the story is written by Jeff Horseman.
MONDAY, MAY 16
Geez, the very next day in the Big Bear Grizzly there’s a story written by a fish named Kathy Portie. It’s written in the first person, and it confirms every negative stereotype you’ve ever had about fish—that they are self-centered, reactionary, boring and don’t write as well as horses. It also reminds you why newspapers are sometimes disparagingly called “fish wrap,” although what we actually have in this case is a fish rap. A sample: “This time of year the menu usually consists of those tasty little midge flies, what humans think are gnats. After that tasty treat it’s time to swim off a little of the extra weight. Whoa . . . what was that? I swear I saw some great big shadow passing by overhead and it wasn’t a cloud. It made a real strange putt-putt noise, too.” Ugh.
TUESDAY, MAY 17
Hard to believe it’s already been a month, but sure enough, it’s time for Pat Williams to pay his bill with the Valley of Enchantment Mutual Water Company again. Let’s see . . . it’s May . . . so . . . that’ll be . . . wow . . . $900!! My goodness, if I remember correctly, $900 is exactly what Williams’ bill with the Valley of Enchantment Mutual Water Company was in April, too! Actually, without even looking it up, I can tell you that his June bill with the Valley of Enchantment Mutual Water Company will once again be $900. See, it’s going to go on that way for the next 24 years because when Williams was the general manager of the Valley of Enchantment Mutual Water Company . . . well . . . he freakin‘ robbed it blind. First he was nailed for misappropriating more than $80,000 from the Water Company. Then during the course of the criminal court case, it was discovered that, in addition to misuse of company credit cards, and appropriating large sums of money from the water company, Williams had also embezzled monies that were intended to pay employees’ payroll taxes. Unfortunately for him, that’s not all water under the bridge.