Hello and welcome to the TimesOC newsletter.
Today is Friday March 11. I’m Ben Brazil, bringing you the latest roundup of Orange County news and events.
Orange County had some ties to the January 6, 2021 uprising at the United States Capitol, which shook the country and further revealed the deep ideological divisions in the nation and this county.
One such Orange County tie was former Chapman University professor John Eastman, who spoke at the pro-Trump rally that preceded the violent Capitol riot. At the rally, he made baseless claims that “secret records” inside the ballot-counting machines tipped the results of Georgia’s presidential and Senate race in favor of the Democrats. Baseless allegations of voter fraud fueled the violent rioters.
Eastman, who also advised former President Trump on efforts to overturn the election results, was forced to pull out of school about a week after the incident due to the uproar. Since then, Eastman has become a central player in the investigation into the mob attack on the US Capitol.
Eastman tried to block a congressional committee investigating the Capitol riot from seeing more than 100 emails he was involved in. Journalist Melanie Mason wrote this week that a judge ruled the court would review the emails and choose which ones the committee can see.
The congressional committee subpoenaed emails Eastman sent or received from January 4 to January 7, 2021, which are on Chapman University’s servers. But Eastman argued they should not be consulted by the committee due to solicitor-client privilege, Mason wrote.
U.S. District Judge David O. Carter did not believe this argument.
“After reading the emails, the Court will determine for each document whether privilege existed, whether privilege was waived, and whether any exceptions apply,” Carter wrote. “Ultimately, the Court will render a written decision comprising its full analysis and final decision, the documents of which, if any, must be disclosed to the select committee.”
The committee alleged that the emails could be important in determining whether Trump broke laws by trying to block Biden’s victory. Charles Burnham, Eastman’s lawyer, played down claims that the emails contain such blatant illegality.
“There won’t be an email where anyone involved in the campaign effort says, ‘We need to have thugs rushing to Capitol Hill if the vice president doesn’t make the decision we want. It won’t be there,” Burnham said. “There won’t be an email saying, ‘We all know the election wasn’t fraudulent or illegal, but we have to find something. “”
NO MORE NEWS
Last week, I wrote about my colleague Gabriel San Román’s story about local business owners being financially impacted by the construction of the OC Tramway. The drama continued this week as the contractor for the planned streetcar system sued the Orange County Transportation Authority for $50 million. The company claims the transit agency should pay them more for the work. The lawsuit could be bad news for local businesses as it could stall construction. “It would kill a lot of businesses,” said Eric Hansen, who manages one of the businesses affected. “It would kill downtown if they shut down completely and didn’t finish the job.”
A once-controversial Orange County veterans cemetery appears to be making progress in Anaheim Hills after county officials this week backed a plan to dedicate part of the grounds to firefighters and police officers. For a decade, veterans fought for the Irvine Cemetery, but the proposal became bogged down in local politics. Now, with the support of all towns in the county, plans for the cemetery are being drawn up. The Orange County Cemetery District will decide if a parcel of land will be set aside for first responders.
Priscilla Perez has lived periodically in hotels since 2016 after her father’s suicide, leaving her mother to care for the family. The 22-year-old, now a mother, started working at a car wash in Anaheim. This car wash business is now working with a nonprofit organization to secure housing for Perez.
More information about the death of a Huntington Beach police officer in a helicopter crash was released this week in a National Transportation Safety Board report. The report describes that in the final moments before the crash, the helicopter pilot fought to keep it aloft before it crashed into the ocean last month. One of the main points highlighted in the report is that the pilot chose not to use a special emergency maneuver that would have required reducing or shutting down engine power because he was overhead. of a populated area.
School officials will consider moving construction of a $41.2 million performing arts complex to save scarce open space at Estancia High School. The project had been criticized and targeted in a lawsuit for its plans to snatch nearly an acre of green space from the school’s campus. The Newport-Mesa Unified School District project has been mired in local controversy, and its costs have risen more than $9 million from its original budget estimate.
Pacifica Christian High School will be able to remain at its current location after Newport Beach officials this week extended the city’s agreement with the school. The school will be able to continue operating free of charge for at least another 10 years on the city’s 12,700 square foot plot. My colleague Lilly Nguyen has the story.
LIFE AND LEISURE
During the pandemic, many of us survived on takeout. But the return of Orange County Restaurant Week is encouraging people to come and try some of the county’s best culinary favorites through tomorrow. My colleague Sarah Mosqueda wrote that the event has something for everyone.
For 70 years, the Santa Ana Zoo has entertained and educated local families about wildlife and conservation. To celebrate his birthday this week, zoo director Ethan Fisher spoke to me about how the zoo has changed over the years. “Really, there were just a few cages with monkeys inside,” he described the zoo when it opened in 1952. He also spoke of $2 million in public funding that the zoo was recently awarded to construct an educational building to increase outreach to the underserved. young people in the community.
Huntington Beach author Namrata Poddar spoke this week about her debut novel “Border Less,” which is made up of several stories about different characters who don’t derive their identity from a specific country. Orange County features in the book as one of the characters works at a motel near Knott’s Berry Farm and another gets a taste of the culinary diversity of downtown Huntington Beach.
Michael Stefanic went from being an undrafted free agent in 2018 to being on the verge of making the Angels roster. Stefanic continued to work hard despite receiving no signing money and meager paychecks. That effort resulted in a Triple-A All-Star Game selection last summer, which could help propel him into the major leagues. Journalist Mike Digiovanna wrote that Stefanic gained 20 pounds of muscle and strengthened his weaknesses including limited reach, quickness and arm strength.
Orange County Soccer Club made waves in the United Soccer League last year when they won a league title. The veteran who managed the team, Michael Orozco, will return this season to help defend the title. Although he’s 36, retirement is the furthest thing from his mind, my colleague Matt Szabo wrote. “People ask me, ‘How long do you want to play?’ If I like it, until I’m 40 or 42, I’m still going to do it, ”he said at a media event this week.
Here’s a roundup of high school sports scores in Orange County, including Estancia baseball which remains undefeated in the non-league. Additionally, Costa Mesa Boys Golf defeated Orange in a match at Costa Mesa Country Club in an Orange Coast League competition.
Staying in touch
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