Hosting One Of The

July 19, 2013


Back in the day, when I was a younger and more idealistic man, I happened to be installed as the pastor in a small church located in the “LA Strip,” which included the Los Angeles /Long Beach harbor-area community of Harbor City. When I took over the church,  it was primarily populated by a faith-filled group of African-American Believers.

One Sunday evening, I was given the opportunity to host a young singer, who went by the name of Cindy  Hewlett.  As I was always eager to “be a blessing to others,” (Ironic, isn’t it?) I accepted the invitation and scheduled the unknown  Ms. Hewlett to perform on a Sunday evening.

It wasn’t until after she had ministered in song that I recognized her professional identity, as follows:

Ms. Hewlett was a sweet and unassuming songstress, whose voice easily surpassed her professional  moniker “Birdsong”  and I consider it a special moment to have met her personally and to have enjoyed her singing talent.

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We Don’t Need No Stinking….

April 22, 2013


Over the span of a significant portion of my adult life spent in the ecclesiastical world, I was amazed at the number of ministers and religious leaders that I came across, who were willing to conduct church business in defiance of the common rules and regulations found in municipal Building Codes. There seems to be a sense that the perceived goodness and worthiness of a religious act of charity somehow supersedes any secular civic obligations, to the point where such mundane trifles as the pulling of building permits for a charity project can be ignored by church leadership.

For example, being made evermore curious by the  recent disclosure of civic  subterfuge  by the Parks & Recreation Subcommittee, in cooperation with the United Methodist Church/Great  Day of Service 2013, I found this additional video:

Since Rancho Damacitas is located in the County, the charity work depicted in the video on May 17, 2012 should have, at the very least, required the pulling of building permits for the construction of a patio cover, through the Building Department of the County of Riverside.

Click on the following link (and scroll down to “patio”) to confirm:

 In addition to the permit fees required, ranging from $258.47 for a “residential lattice patio cover” up to $657.06 (If the improvement  were deemed to be a “commercial patio cover”),  the purpose of the building permit, according to the Riverside County Building and Safety , is, as follows: “Building permits provide the means for Code Officials to inspect construction to ensure that minimum standards are met thus reducing the potential hazards of unsafe construction, and therefore, ensuring the public health, safety and welfare.”

After checking the permit records maintained by Riverside County for Rancho Damacitas, located at  38950 Mesa Road , Temecula California , I was unable to confirm the existence of any permits for the construction of a residential lattice patio cover.

Not surprisingly,  neither could I confirm that any subsequent inspections were conducted by the County of Riverside Building Department, in order to ensure  minimum standards  were met for the patio cover.

Based on the above conduct by the promoters and facilitators of the Great Day of Service 2012, it would  be appropriate for the citizens of Wildomar to be vigilant about the proposed “improvements” to be made to the city’s parks during the Great Day of Service 2013, which is somehow now “scheduled” for October 12, 2013.

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Zak’s Brush With….

May 18, 2012



Relax. It’s not what you think.

Yesterday, May 17, 2012, I spent the entire day at the Disneyland Hotel Convention Center, attending the world’s largest construction defect seminar, put on by West Coast Casualty Services (a prominent Third-Party Administrator specializing in construction defect litigation management), for whom I was the manager of their San Diego office, back in the day.

This seminar was attended by construction defect plaintiff attorneys, defense panel attorneys and experts, as well as judges from California, Nevada (including two sitting  justices of the Nevada Supreme Court) and southeastern states, such as Florida and South Carolina.

After passing and greeting, in the hallway, in the hallway, Chief Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court, the Hon. Michael Cherry, I recalled the afternoon, several years ago at a previous conference, when Justice Cherry and I were conversing while having a cocktail at the end of the day.

I was telling Justice Cherry about my success with Qui Tam lawsuits (a California “whistleblower” statute for private citizens) while fighting political corruption in Lake Elsinore.

Since he appeared to be interested, I recounted pursuing Former Lake Elsinore Mayor Pam Brinley for fraudulently having her grandchildren on her city-paid health insurance, when they should have been on her son’s health insurance, who was a school district employee.

As a result of the lawsuit, $18,000 was returned by Brinley.

I also recounted the pursuit of former Lake Elsinore City Manager, Ron Molendyk, who had received a questionable “sweetheart” contract, in the amount of $24,000, for “services” from his successor, then-City Manager, Dick Watenpaugh. After some pompous posturing through his defense attorney,  boasting that we would never be able to lay a legal glove on his client, the former City Manager wrote personal checks totaling $24,000 to reimburse the citizens of Lake Elsinore.

At that point, Justice Cherry reached into his pocket and handed me his business card, stating that if I would bring a version of the “False Billing Act” (Government code 12650-56) to the Nevada State Legislature for consideration,  he would support it.

However, at that point in my life, I had little interest in facilitating anti-corruption legislation in the State of Nevada.

Not to mention that Mafia thing.

My interest has always been, and remains, local politics.

Nevertheless, it was personally satisfying to have a prominent jurist acknowledge the efficacy of my efforts in dealing with corruption in local politics.

I have looked at several “situations” in the City of Wildomar that appeared to have the basic elements  of corruption, but none of those situations, while questionable, met my personal standard for Qui Tam  “slamdunkness,” nor did they rise to the base monetary threshold required for a Qui Tam lawsuit.

But I’m always watching.

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If You Lived Near Long Beach In The ’50s…..

January 26, 2012


I was a seven-year-old youngster, living in Brookings, South Dakota when we received word that my first cousin Shirley Roberts, and her infant son, Douglas, had been killed  by a  Navy jet which had crashed into her home  in the community of Signal Hill, which is completely surrounded by the larger City of Long Beach.

The local newspaper, the Brookings Register, carried the story on the front page, with a photo of a firefighter carrying the tiny remains of a baby in his hands.

Please click on the following to read of the event and the only newspaper archive that I could find chronicling the event online:

When Shirley’s husband returned to his home that evening, only to find everything he loved gone, his hair understandably turned white overnight.

Since Shirley was the second child of my eldest uncle, I can recall only one other happenstance involving Shirley. It was when she returned home to her parent’s house, where I was visiting with my parents, after having been in a solo car accident (Shirley and her friends apparently rolling over in one of the prominent ditches that are common to rural dirt roads in the Midwest). I can recall how she painfully limped around the living room due to her injuries.

As a teenager growing up in Long Beach, I used to include a brief tour (included, without additional cost, if the young lady were fortunate enough to be asked out on an infrequent date with the quirky geek, Gil Rasmussen) to the corner of 19th St. and Raymond Avenue, where the concrete foundation of the destroyed residence remained exposed for many years.

Which probably explains why I never got very many second dates (when I felt sufficiently confident to attempt my initial good night kiss “move”).

Shirley Roberts and her infant son were buried in the same plot at the All Souls Cemetery on Cherry Avenue, just north of Carson St.

Thirty-five years after the event, my elderly uncle confessed that his daughter had approached him and requested the use of his brand-new Chevrolet for a vacation trip to South Dakota. Unfortunately, Uncle’s stingy demeanor prevented him from acquiescing to his daughter’s request.

Had he done so, to his lifelong regret, the Navy jet would have struck his daughter’s unoccupied house.

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Rose Bowl Parade 1963 Or Why…..

January 3, 2012



As a recall, it was a very cold morning on January 01, 1963, when I got out of a school bus in my Long Beach Poly High School band uniform, went to the equipment truck and located my trombone case.

After putting my trombone together (a trombone breaks down into two sections) and I pressed my embouchure against the cold mouthpiece of my trombone (not unlike licking the handle of the frozen pump on the farm), I suddenly realized 7.5 mile parade route was going to be more than a memorable experience. It was going to be an ordeal.

And, of course, it was an ordeal. Which is why I lost my desire to ever return to Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Day.

When you see a horse and rider entry in a large parade such as the Rose Bowl Parade, followed by a marching band, understand that the band members, in addition to keeping their eye on their pages of musical notes, must also keep a wary eye open for the inevitable “road apples,” laying where they were dropped by the preceding, thoughtless equines.

Take a moment, if you would, to reminisce with me about the 1963 Rose Bowl Parade, as follows:

The intersection in the photographs is a 120° turn, which requires some marching skills and organization to be able to make that turn while maintaining some resemblance to a marching band.

While our band was making that turn, the CBS television crew focused on a thin trombone player in the front row, yours truly, making my mother, who was watching at home, squeal with delight, upon seeing her firstborn son on national television.

Therefore, in honor of that day, I am apparently my own brush with fame.

Although belated, have a Happy New Year, dear readers.

Lunch With….

December 23, 2011

Headshot - Judah Friedman 


On Wednesday, Sheryl and I had the  pleasure of having lunch with Judah Friedman, radio talkshow host of the KLEAN Radio program which is heard on the historic Los Angeles radio station KFWB (980 AM) as well as KFMB (760 AM), and my beautiful daughter, Melissa.

Judah is a bright and interesting young man, whose primary interest, when not distracted by my daughter, is substance abuse recovery.

For more information, please click on the following link:

Melissa is the former President of the Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter, a 501 (c) ( 3) nonprofit organization and has been involved in the rescue of animals for a number of years.

When the Soviet empire collapsed in the 1990s, she was involved in the rescue of dogs in the former Eastern Bloc country of Rumania.  (True to my Zakian instincts for priority, I often inquired of Melissa if she rescued all of the hungry people in Romania before she spent time and energy rescuing  hungry dogs.)

It appears that interesting, and attractive, people still gravitate to one another.

It was a great pre-holiday lunch.

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Zak Was The Mailman For…..

July 19, 2011


Just two weeks out of high school, due to the earnest influence of my widowed mother, who was one of the first female postal clerks hired by the Long Beach Postal Service after World War II, Zak was a letter carrier.

And, for a brief period of time, I actually delivered the mail to a California bungalow, located in the 100 block of Roswell Avenue. This section of Long Beach is known as Belmont Shore, and the bungalow was owned by a woman by the name of Mrs. Sidney Preen.

Other than being the postal customer of the future Zak Turango, Mrs. Preen also had the unique fortune to be the mother of Hollywood actor, John Wayne.

Please click on the following link to confirm his maternity:

As an aside, Wayne also graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School, Zak’s alma mater.

Zak apologizes for his exploitation of a long-ago, brief encounter with the deceased mother of a deceased actor, in order to satisfy the demands of my curious readers for something new to read.

But that’s what happens when Wildomar dangles perilously on the brink of its own economic demise.

There just isn’t much to write about until the demise issue is resolved.

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At the very least, it takes Tim Walker off the front page of Wildomar Magazine.