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JOSEPH N. BELL

Quote--A List to End All '89 Lists--Unquote

January 06, 1990|JOSEPH N. BELL

Are you as bored as I am with the interminable year-end lists we've been seeing almost daily for the last couple of weeks in our newspapers and on television? They represent an annual compulsion on the part of journalists to share their expertise on the shaky assumption that readers and viewers have an endless appetite for gauzy predictions and endless summations of the past.

We have surely been subjected to every imaginable list: worst movies, best movies; biggest news stories; greatest moments in sports; what's ahead in everything from electronic intelligence to computerized body conditioning. On and on and on. And to compound the problem, we are also getting in 1989 not only the best and worst of the year but also of the decade as well. It's enough to drive a person to "Wheel of Fortune."

In spite of the fact that I'm drowning in year-end lists, I still feel out of the media mainstream. I haven't contributed a list of my own. I've been brooding about this over the holidays, trying to come up with one that hasn't already been done--and I think I have it.

Following are my selections for the Orange County quotes of the year, divided into appropriate categories:

Most accurate: (tie)

Assemblyman Dennis Brown (R-Los Alamitos), when asked about his reasons for voting so consistently against environmental bills that he earned the state's lowest legislative rating on environmental matters: "We vote on thousands of measures up here every year, and I have no idea what my reasoning was on any particular one";

Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove): "If I rated each one of my 11 years in Congress for congressional accomplishment and, therefore, personal satisfaction, this (1989) would be 11th out of 11."

Most pragmatic:

T. Carleton Thompson of Irvine, on turning 100 years old: "At my age, there gets to be so many physical problems that I wouldn't mind if I just went to bed some night and didn't wake up--although I'd like to wait until I get my taxes prepared for this year."

Most understated:

Rep. Ron Packard (R-Carlsbad) on Oliver North: "He didn't keep all the rules, but the intent was there."

Most courageous (tie):

Randy Garell, owner of a Costa Mesa gun store who banned the sale of military weapons in his store: "I went into this business believing that I should never risk making a customer mad. I broke that rule . . . by taking a larger view. But if we can't all do that, we're going to be in trouble--not just in gun control but in housing and law enforcement and criminal justice and other areas where new thinking is also badly needed";

Mike Marino, embattled Corona del Mar High School psychology teacher: "I have no intention of turning our curriculum over to any group of people."

Most chilling (tie):

Capt. Tom Lazar of the Costa Mesa Police Department, asked under what circumstances police officers are authorized to use their guns: "What it finally boils down to is the judgment of the individual officer";

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Lomita): "If the government is going to spend money on art, which I don't believe it should, then it should set a standard. And I think it's reasonable to set standards that say the money can't go to indecent or obscene art."

Most cynical (tie):

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh's solution to the homeless problem (offered while speaking to an enthusiastic audience at UC Irvine): "Give them a list of no-down-payment condominiums";

The Rev. Lou Sheldon, founder and head of the Traditional Values Coalition in Anaheim: "We believe all men are created equal. A homosexual can get a driver's license."

Most spacey:

Deputy Public Defender Ramon Ortiz, who represented Charles Rothenberg, soon to be released after serving a prison sentence for trying to kill his sleeping son by dousing his motel room with kerosene and setting it on fire: "I think he wants to make amends to his son . . . so his son won't think he's an animal. He wants to re-acquire the love of his son."

Most reassuring:

Christina Shea, one of the leaders of Irvine's Traditional Values Coalition responsible for removing homosexuals from the protection of a local human rights ordinance: "I would never be associated with a . . . police state. I don't want people to think our group is here to police people for their behavior."

Most wishful:

Republican political consultant Eileen Padburg after the Orange County Republican Party settled a $400,000 lawsuit over to its use of uniformed guards at polling places: "There's been enough said on this one. I think everyone would just like to forget about it now."

Most spiritual:

The Rev. Paul F. Crouch, Orange County fundamentalist Christian pastor and international TV broadcaster after one of his former employees filed charges against him of unethical business and employment practices: "I probably did pray that God would kill anyone or anything that was attempting to destroy the ministry."

And, finally, the Non-Quote of the Year: When the Orange County Board of Supervisors questioned the spending of $335,000 of taxpayer money by the Sheriff's Department to host President Bush at a remote local ranch: Gates could not be reached for comment.

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