By Allen David
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19
Donald N. Ecker is a developer, an action-word kind of job title that just by giving it to somebody makes them sound like they’re right-at-that-moment doing a job—doing something, anyway. And that right there, what I just wrote, is about as good a description of that job as I’ve ever read. Thank me, thank me very much. See, the job of a developer is to look and talk and act as though something is developing as a result of something you are doing, when most of the time all you are doing is looking and talking and acting. A developer is like a circus ringmaster, a TV weatherman, a street-sweeping machine—a bullshitter. That’s what makes Donald N. Ecker a great developer.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20
The greatest fear of a great developer? That somebody calls bullshit. Moreno Valley Mayor Richard Stewart has just called bullshit today on Donald N. Ecker, the great developer of the March LifeCare medical campus to be built on former March Air Force Base property. It’s been more than five weeks since Donald N. Ecker showed up and showed off at the September 13 meeting of the Moreno Valley City Council meeting—flashing a huge toothy smile for the cameras while presenting a huge, fake check for $43,569.90, ostensibly to pay for changing the name of a stretch of Cactus Avenue to March Memorial Drive. And Ecker still hasn’t written a regular-sized check—a real one. So Mayor Stewart asks Ecker for assurance that he was going to come through with the money he promised. Ecker immediately develops—that is, bullshits—responding that Stewart can “take it to the bank” (in the lexicon of developers: “shove it up your ass”). Sure enough, Ecker later issues a statement in which he backs off from his commitment. “Due to recent developments it has become clearly apparent that the Moreno Valley City Council and staff view our project as a threat to their own economic development plans and have chosen to adopt an adversarial stance toward us,” Ecker write, indicating he will be re-evaluating his contribution—which, of course, he never contributed in the first place. I call bullshit!
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21
Santa Ana suckerfish are slowly making a comeback following the expansion of their habitat up the Santa Ana River all the way to Seven Oaks Dam, extending into City Creek and Mill Creek, among other Santa Ana River tributaries. That makes Santa Ana suckerfish happy—they’re sucking like nobody’s business—lots of developers and their lackeys think the restrictions on land use . . . well . . . suck. They want the Department of Fish and Game to rescind a 2009 order that helped save the suckerfish. Listen to economist John Husing’s apocalyptic overstatement of the situation: “This could be the most important issue ever facing this area. This could shut us down.” Listen to Republican congressmen play victims as they confront biologist Ileene Anderson of the Center for Biological Diversity at a subcommittee hearing.
Tom McClintock: “It’s my understanding that local water agencies have had to file a Freedom of Information Act case to get information from you. Why haven’t you responded?”
Anderson: “We have responded partially. We’re working on it.”
McClintock: “Do you want dams like the Seven Oaks Dam removed?”
Anderson: “That’s our goal.”
Ken Calvert: “Is there any water project you would favor?”
Anderson: “I’m not sure, I can’t think of any.”
Jerry Lewis: “You’re so interested in protecting habitat for species; how about the human species?”
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22
There’s nothing like potatoing on the couch, turning on a college football game and hearing the undulating sound of the crowd . . . to put me to sleep. It’s like putting your ear to a seashell and hearing the ocean.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23
If you’ve seen a photo of the car, you understand why it will be awhile before investigators know exactly what caused its 18-year-old driver to lose control of the vehicle, cross into westbound lanes and hit a railroad trestle, where said vehicle burst into flames. If you’ve ever been a teenager, you probably can’t understand why something like this never happened to you. All the things you do at that age? And because you’re that age, without the benefit of experience? If you’ve ever looked back at some of those things years later and seen your life pass before your eyes, you understand that you’re here because you were lucky. If you’re ever tempted to pass some sort of self-righteous judgment on the four Fontana teenagers—three 18, one 16—who died on Foothill Boulevard near Almeria Avenue at 1 a.m. this morning . . . pass. They simply weren’t as lucky as you.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 24
Yes, it’s all luck.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25