I've always believed in doing my Christmas shopping early, but somehow I never actually got around to it. This year, however, I'm determined not to wait until the last minute.
Clearly the first step is preparing a Christmas gift list. I've been working for several weeks on my list for people who made news in Orange County last year, and now I'm ready to get on with the shopping.
Here's how my list shapes up:
To Charles Keating Jr.: The opportunity to eat Christmas dinner with several of the Orange County families who lost their life savings in the Lincoln Savings & Loan scam. This will give him an opportunity to explain to them how he was able to salvage $34 million in salaries for his family from the money his customers lost. He might even be willing to pick up the dinner check.
To Sen. Alan Cranston: An invitation to the same dinner, where he might be able to solicit a political buck or two.
To the 63% of Irvine's citizens who couldn't make it to the polls in the Measure N election: A new referendum to remove the protection of the Human Rights ordinance from people who don't vote.
To Rep. Dana Rohrabacher: A set of the collected works of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, along with a whistle to blow whenever he looks at one of them.
To the Costa Mesa City Council: A heart transplant.
To the Rev. Lou Sheldon: His personal copy of the video version of "The Last Temptation of Christ."
To Rep. William E. Dannemeyer: The Atrociously Bad Taste Award, along with a framed copy of the Congressional Record in which he described homosexual lovemaking in graphic detail, to hang on his living room wall so that guests in his home can enjoy it as fully as his associates in Congress.
To Sheriff Brad Gates: A waiver of the $86 he says the county owes him in travel expense if he will pick up the $300,000 or so tab that we taxpayers are on the hook for to take care of the legal fees in a lawsuit he lost for an unwarranted criminal investigation of a political opponent.
To members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors--Don R. Roth, Roger R. Stanton and Gaddi H. Vasquez--who rejected a law that would have made it illegal to discriminate against people infected with the AIDS virus: the Bah Humbug Award for 1989 as the first major urban area in California to reject such a law.
To Richard Nixon, whose presidential library is abuilding in Yorba Linda: A secret underground vault to contain the papers he doesn't want future historians--or the public--to see.
To Rep. C. Christopher Cox, who received more than any other California congressman from the National Rifle Assn.: an AK-47 for each member of his family.
To the Orange County journalists who have to write about them: just one organization in 1990 that will call a spade a spade instead of hiding behind whatever flag they are espousing. How about the Committee to Punish Homosexuals or the Alliance to Substitute Religion for Information in the Schools or the Coalition to Replace Homes with Green Belts.
To the citizens of Orange County who are worried about getting shot by a police officer: An honest-to-God Police Review Board that has no connection to the district attorney's office.
To Assemblyman Gil Ferguson: A samurai sword for his sensitive recent comments on the Assembly floor in Sacramento about the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II.
To Scott Peotter and the Irvine Citizens for Equal Rights or whatever they call themselves these days: Free passes (and a police escort) to next year's Gay Rights Festival.
To the people who still grieve over the loss of KFAC: A classical music station for Orange County.
And to Gene Autry (and me): A World Series in Anaheim.
I know I've probably overlooked someone who is deserving, but this is the best I can come up with at the moment. I won't be seeing you in the stores this year since I'm getting started so early, but I hope your shopping goes well. Just remember, it's a lot easier if you have a list.