The Rundown

By Allen David

Posted January 12, 2012 in News


Everybody’s back to work—well, except for all the unemployed people, whose numbers may swell a bit on Feb. 1, when redevelopment agencies across California are closed, thanks to a Dec. 29 ruling by the California Supreme Court. There’s been a lot of doomsday complaining about this ruling, and all of the whiners have worded the woe so as to show their concern for the average Joes whose lives will ostensibly be worsened by the demise of RDAs. But few average Joes are actually doing the complaining. Most of the noise is coming from politicians and their private-sector supporters, who enjoyed a mutually profitable arrangement under RDAs. The politicians could steer big money toward high-profile projects—most of them for the benefit of the companies who built them or the constituencies who enjoyed them—with very little oversight. The major standard these projects had to meet—“the elimination of blight”—was defined so loosely as to be nearly meaningless. When Riverside Press-Enterprise columnist Dan Bernstein asked about local projects funded by Riverside’s Redevelopment Agency, City Hall sent him a list that included a $1.25 police dispatch center, a $12 million downtown fire station, $12 million to construct and improve Hunt Park; $5.1 million for Doty Trust Park and $10 million for rehabilitating the Municipal Auditorium. Nice work, if you can get it.


Far to go.


Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-edlands) doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to say anything about his plans for this year’s election. Will he run in what’s expected to be a contentious race for the seat in California’s newly formed 31st Congressional District? Or will he stroll in the overwhelmingly Republican 8th District? There’s talk he may retire, but again, none of that talk is coming out of Lewis’s mouth, which is frozen into a contortion people usually describe as a smile—mostly because nobody knows how Lewis would react if it was described as the model for the Wampa Ice Creature in Star Wars. For now, he’s not reacting at all, even as three Democrats—Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar, businessman Russ Warner and not-for-profit rounder Renea Wickman—prepare to run for the 31st District seat. Until Lewis does make a move, no other Republicans–such as San Bernardino DA Mike Ramos, Rep. Gary Miller (R-Diamond Bar) or Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas)—can make one, either. Is Jerry Lewis just a massive asshole? Hmmm, yes and no.


Yes, Lewis is a massive asshole. But no, he’s not just a massive asshole. In fact, in this particular case, Lewis’s discomforting silence probably has less to do with a political calculation than a physics equation. It’s probably getting harder and harder for Lewis to summon the energy and devise the technique that’s required for him to get his collection of heavy-duty dental infrastructure into motion so that it might eventually—in theory, anyway—make it possible to form words. Lewis has until March to announce his intentions.


Acting on an anonymous tip, San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials surprise a crowd of about 300 people gathered inside a barn in the High Desert community of Baldy Mesa. The deputy seizes 92 fighting cocks and arrests 47 fleeing dicks. The dicks are detained on suspicion of animal cruelty and related charges. Five of the cocks are put into the custody of Animal Care and Control as evidence, and the other 87 cocks are euthanized. “We will not let allow this blood sport to flourish in the county of San Bernardino,” says Sheriff Rod Hoops, whose cockiness borders on dickishness.


Much hifalutin‘ discussion ensues after the announcement of the musical lineups for this spring’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which include Radiohead for the gazillionth time, a reunion of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, as well as the Black Keys. Some describe the festival as a sellout. That seems premature.


General admission passes (priced at $285, plus fees) and VIP passes (priced at $665, plus fees) for the first weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival Coachella Festival sell out. That seems about right.


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