Friday, August 14, 2009

An Ending and A New Beginning

It has been over three months since we had a new post here and I apologize to all those who were eager to see some new posts. Sometimes life gets crazy and who knew running a blog would be so time consuming. I learned the hard way just how much time one must put into it and when you have a full time job and other priorities, well sometimes you have to choose what comes first.

When it comes to doing things like spending time with my children or blogging, I would chose spending time with my children any day of the week over maintaining a blog. With that being said, this will be the last post of Sunny D. Of course it does not mean I am going away.

I have been given an opportunity to blog over at The Liberal OC. There I will have the freedom to post my opinions on the many issues we face here in Orange County and not have to worry about running and maintaining the blog, I can rely on Chris Prevatt and Dan Chmeliewski to do that. So with that, thanks for reading folks and see you over at the Liberal OC.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

To Fight Gangs, Get Rid of Graffiti

Graffiti on walls and businesses is more than just an eyesore.

Some of the markings are messages sent back and forth between gang members.

While some of the spray paint is merely vandalism, other marks are communication between gangs. It may also be part of "ranking in," an initiation process.

To get into a gang, members may have to be beaten or "jumped in" by several gang members for several minutes, steal a car or break into one, or put graffiti in a noticeable place.

Unlike Santa Ana City Council, I don't believe in imposing fines on business owners who have had their property vandalized.

Imposing fines effectively makes the business a victim twice.

It's time for Santa Ana City Council to step up and begin the process of effectivly dealing with graffiti in our city by updating our outdated and uneffective graffiti ordinance.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Green Dot Santa Ana?

Matthew Cunningham over at the Red County posted a great read today about Charter Schools.

I'll excerpt a bit here: "Rather than plodding along the well-worn path of mediocrity and failure, SAUSD should adopt a radical approach like converting as many district schools as possible to charter status. Such a move would enable those schools to escape stifling red tape of the California Education Code, control their own budgets, and focus discipline and the fundamentals of a quality education"

Why not SAUSD?

I've seen radical change up in Los Angeles at several of the schools taken over by Green Dot, such as Animo Venice using six simple tenents.

1)Small, Safe, Personalized Schools
2)High Expectations for All Students
3)Local Control with Extensive Professional Development and Accountability
4)Parent Participation
5)Maximize Funding to the Classroom
6)Keep Schools Open Later

If it can work in Los Angeles, why can't it work in Santa Ana?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Coarsening of America: From the Right

Coarsening of America: From the Right is back. In this edition, we will be focusing on the tax day protests, a so-called "American rebellion." Fact is, it was organized by Republican activists still sore about getting pummelled in the last election. It was attended by the same people who yelled racist and hateful comments at McCain and Palin rallies demanding Obama to be killed. The pics below clearly demonstrate the true world view of most Fundamentalist Conservative Christians. The silence from the organizers of these events clearly shows them to be guilty of promoting this hateful message. Here are the pics that show how the conservative movement is coarsening the debate in America:

Yeah, I think they said enough. There were said to be similar signs at the OC rally's as well. As I have said before, I always disliked the comparisons of Bush to Hitler, as bad as Bush was as a President, there is no comparison. I never hesitated to hold my end of the aisle accountable, we can't say the same for the conservatives. Christian conservative icon J.P. Moreland always loved to knock the left for signs like "Buck Fush" yet is silent on this. Can we call this a tacit approval? I think so.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

High Minority Concentration In Elementary Schools is Not The Problem

At article featured in the OC Register last week featured a study done by the Pew Center for Hispanic Studies in which Garden Grove Unified School District was one of the most segregated suburban school districts in the nation. They based their information on targeting six elementary schools in particular, Murdy, Allen, Russell, Hazard, Baker and Garden Park Elementary Schools. They compare it to the overall district data which shows it is a diverse district, with Latinos having an edge with 53% of the students. Yet there are 46 elementary schools in the district, they chose to single out six and say they are segregated. That thinking is flawed, the basic data may show something, but as we look closer we can see it is not a case of modern day segregation.

To understand what school segregation is, one has to go back to the 40’s and 50’s to understand what problems were faced by people like the Mendez family in Westminster and the Brown family in Topeka. In those days there were schools specifically designated for either a Latino or a Black child. In the case of Mendez and Brown, there were schools that were much closer and much more convenient for their children to attend, yet they were forced to make a long journey to another school simply because of their ethnicity or race. Ultimately, it was their longing to send their children to their neighborhood school that brought about the overturning of our segregation laws.

Which brings me to GGUSD and the “Segregated Six.” I looked at where all six schools are located. The two with the highest concentration of Asians(Murdy and Allan) were located in the vicinity of Little Saigon. The two with the highest concentration of Latinos(Russell and Hazard) were located in Santa Ana near the Santa Nita Barrio. The two with the highest concentration of Caucasians(Baker and Garden Park) are located in the far west end of Garden Grove, known for having the highest concentration of Caucasian residents. In other words, it is demonstrating that students are going to school in their NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS. There is no problem with outright segregation. The neighborhoods themselves are highly concentrated with people of a certain ethnicity.

By the way, did you know Garden Grove Unified School District posts the ethnic data of every school in the district. Check it out HERE. I did and found, for the most part that the district schools mirrored the population around them. Upon checking a couple of schools, I noticed they had an unusually high Latino population even though the schools were located in either Little Saigon or the northwest end of Garden Grove, far from any Latino population centers.
What I found was that the Buena Clinton Barrio and the Santa Nita Barrio north of 1st St. is bused to schools far from their attendance area. Two of those schools, Simmons and Skylark, in the north end of Garden Grove, it seems those students fill those schools while the kids in the immediate neighborhood go to another school in the neighborhood. Therefore it seems that the busing is done because of a lack of schools in one area and to fill areas where too many were built. At the same time, there are some who are bused to the Little Saigon area in an effort, it seems, to integrate Latinos and Vietnamese.

If the Pew Center for Hispanic Studies wants to really show some disturbing numbers on Latinos being left behind or segregated, they should look into the student populations of Hare Continuation and Lincoln Education Center which specializes in a program for teen mothers. While Latinos make up 53% of the district population, they make up over 70% at Hare and over 90% at Lincoln. The fact that they make up a disproportionate number of students at a school for failing high school students or for teen mothers should be more disturbing and alarming than the fact that a school in a predominately Latino or Asian area has a majority of students in that ethnicity. Instead of doing studies to try to claim segregation when it is not the case, it would be much more constructive to point out where minorities such as Latinos are being left behind and do something about it. Bringing down that percentage of Latinos at Hare and Lincoln is where to begin.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Angels Pitcher Nick Adenhart killed by hit & run driver

Angels aspiring star pitcher, 22-year-old Nick Adenhart was killed late last night while riding as a passenger in a car that police say was struck by a motorist who ran a red light. Two other people in the car also died and another was injured.

Adenhart had started for the Angels against the Oakland A's just a few hours earlier.

The Angel's have announced that this evenings game against Oakland has been postponed.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Santa Ana's economic woes explained

This financial crisis is forcing Santa Ana to make tough decisions,there is a risk that we might need to lay off Andre....

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mike Carona, A Blogography Chapter 3

CARONA AND THE GANG OF FOUR! From Left to Right: Joseph Cavallo, Mike Schroeder, Don Haidl and George Jaramillo

To truly understand this entire sordid tale, one must understand the Inner Circle who surrounded Carona and influenced his decision making. We must go back in time to the beginning to truly see the culture of corruption that invaded Orange County. The inner circle of George Jaramillo, Don Haidl, Joe Cavallo and Mike Schroeder was an interesting alliance indeed. While the first three simply sought power for themselves, Mike Schroeder was in it to empower the Republican Party. I guess you can say Schroeder was the least selfish of them all, since he was not 100% in it for himself. He was the odd man out in that his goals were not the same as the first three, but they were corrupt nonetheless.

In 1998, when Carona first ran for Sheriff against Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters, he got the support of the GOP establishment thanks to Schroeder, who was also helping D.A. candidate Tony Rackauckas. At the same time, Haidl, Jaramillo(fresh from being fired from the Garden Grove PD) and Cavallo saw a way to basically run the show in Orange County. They were obsessed with being “powerbrokers” and dreamt of running a political machine much like Daley in Chicago or Tammany Hall in New York. Walters seemed a little too honest for their taste, so the best choice was a little known Federal Bailiff named Mike Carona.

Carona did not come from a law enforcement background in the traditional sense, instead he was a lifelong bailiff for the Federal Courts rising through the ranks to a Federal Marshall, although he never was out in the field. He actually gained a reputation for being honest, ethical and hard working. Many people who know him personally have told me that they classify him into two times, BS- BEFORE SHERIFF and AE- AFTER ELECTION. Many close friends of his were wary from the very start of Haidl(who made his fortune as a used car salesman) and Jaramillo. They warned Carona, to no avail. It did not take long for Haidl, Jaramillo and Cavallo’s corrupt lifestyle to rub off on Carona, and rub off it did.

Many people who knew Carona try to put the blame on the gang of four, but ultimately, Carona is responsible for his own actions. They never forced him to do a single illegal act. He decided he loved their lifestyle of life in the fast lane. He ultimately threw away his lifestyle of honesty, fidelity and ethics for a lifestyle of lies, sex and greed. It was a lifestyle Haidl and Jaramillo provided Carona as they used taxpayer funded helicopters for jaunts to Vegas to party like rock stars. In once gambling escapade in Lake Tahoe, Don Haidl spoke of an incident where he gave over $4,000 worth of Black Jack chips to Carona, which he blew in minutes(someone obviously never listened to Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler).

Their lives could have made for an interesting Aaron Spelling show. Carona took up a permanent mistress with famed realtor Debra Hoffman, but she was far from the only “other” woman. Some of the other women were Russian interpreter, Vegas showgirls, and even the wives of rank and file officers. Jaramillo even offered up his own secretary as a sex toy for Carona.

In the meantime, this inner circle turned to old fashioned shakedowns in order to keep the flow of money to their pockets, this is where defense attorney Joseph Cavallo comes in. Cavallo was considered a very good and very shrewd defense attorney in Orange County. He struck up a friendship with Haidl and Jaramillo, who in turn introduced him to Carona. Together this little section of the Gang of Four was complete. They even used the jails and the inmates to spread their culture of corruption. They shook down bail bondsmen to “invest” into a pool that would get them new business. In turn they were to “refer”, more like intimidate accused suspects to use the services of Joseph Cavallo.

Bail bondsmen who signed on to their little scheme and paid the “fee” were referred business as well. Newly arrested inmates booked into the Central County or Theo Lacy Jail near the Block were “encouraged” by inmates to use the services of these bondsmen. Of course this encouragement usually involved a couple of punches to the stomach and face, especially of the inmate hesitated at their “offer.” In return, the families of these inmates under the employ of Cavallo’s and Carona’s bondsmen were given a share of the “protection” money. This practice continued among some of these bondsmen even after Cavallo’s scheme came apart and Carona’s indictment.

This culture of corruption was the order of the day, and all this was known to the fourth member of the inner circle, Mike Schroeder. Schroeder had a different goal though, his was to make the Republican Party of Orange County into a monolithic organization by any means possible. He knew having control of the DA and the Sheriff would allow the party to operate at a level of corruption not seen in years without worry of consequences. He encouraged the Sheriff to hire his friends as consultants or reserve Sheriff’s such as Adam Probolsky and Jon Fleischman. He influenced Carona to give official badges to Republican insiders in Orange County and campaign donors such as Casino owner Gary Primm(pictured at right), many of whom took advantage of this and abused this system to get special treatment. Then, in the most egregious abuse of power of all, Schroeder had Carona give Concealed Weapon Permits to all prominent Republicans throughout the county, many of whom should never have received them. One recipient of these CCW’s pulled a gun out on men in a golf course who were moving too slow.

The DA and the Sheriff were nothing more than slaves to the GOP and their culture of corruption flourished. Rackauckas sat in silence as voters were disenfranchised, who were being shaken down or outright secretly switched by meth and cocaine addicts to register Republican. It was only with public outcry and an OC Register investigation that this was brought to an end. In fact the house of cards all began to come down in the summer of 2002, just after Carona was dubbed “America’s Sheriff” when Don Haidl’s son Gregory Haidl and his two friends Kyle Nachreiner and Keith Spann videotaped themselves raping an unconscious girl.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Carona: THe Movie

Chris Emami likes putting together matches for politicos who could be portrayed in a movie on THE OC. There is one saga that I know could be a worldwide hit, a movie on the rise and fall of "America's Sheriff", Mike Carona. Below is what I believe to be the perfect cast ensemble for the major players of this saga. Of course there is only one director who could capture the intrigue, corruption and drama, that man is none other than MARTIN SCORSESE(pictured below). The rest of this all star cast would be:


Nicholas Cage as Mike Carona

James Cromwell as Don Haidl

Javier Bardem as George Jaramillo

Michael Imperioli as Joe Cavallo

Kevin Spacey as Mike Schroeder


Edie Falco as Deborah Carona

Marcia Cross as Debra Hoffman

Bryce Dallas Howard as Susan Holloway

Jessica Alba as Erica Hill

Olga Kurylenko as the Mysterious Russian Interpreter


Peter Gallagher as Tony Rackauckas

Steven Van Zandt as Rick Rizzolo

Shia LeBeuof as Greg Haidl

Dennis Quaid as Wayne Quint

Harvey Kietel as Bishop Todd Brown

Dennis Farina as Patrick DiCarlo(No pic was available for DiCarlo)

Neil Patrick Harris as R. Scott Moxley (no pic was available of R. Scott)

Ellen DeGeneris as JoAnn Galinsky

Betty White as Shirley Grindle