Connect with us

Orange County

Alleged sexual assault of male footballer at Catholic H.S. by teammates

The allegation follows months of controversy over an alleged hazing scandal involving the football program at the elite private high school



Mater Dei High School/Facebook

SANTA ANA – Details in the alleged sexual assault of a teen football player at Mater Dei High School were published Monday by the Los Angeles Times. According to the paper, the incident occurred two weeks after the student started attending the private school in Santa Ana.

The Times reported that last August in a locker room at Mater Dei, several football players forced a teammate to the floor and exposed their genitals, according to a Santa Ana Police Department document. They held him down as one player “began humping” him from behind, through his pants.

The incident allegedly happened in late August, two weeks after the student started school at Mater Dei, home to one of the country’s most celebrated high school football programs. He wasn’t physically hurt, but the episode left him suffering from anxiety, police said in the document. He left Mater Dei shortly afterward.

The allegation follows months of controversy over an alleged hazing scandal involving the football program at the elite private high school.

Read the full LA Times story here.

From KTLA:


Orange County

Guilty plea for defacing mural with white supremacist graffiti

Daniel Hotte pleaded guilty to a court offer of one felony count of vandalism exceeding $400 and the hate crime enhancement



Alicia Rojas in front of her defaced “Poderosas” mural October 2022 (Photo courtesy of Alicia Rojas)

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A 28-year-old man pleaded guilty today to felony vandalism and a felony hate crime enhancement for spray painting white supremacy graffiti over a mural in Costa Mesa that recognizes prestigious Latinas from Orange County.

Daniel Hotte pleaded guilty to a court offer of one felony count of vandalism exceeding $400 and the hate crime enhancement. He was immediately sentenced to 180 days in county jail, placed on formal probation for two years and received 90 days of credit for completing a 90-day drug treatment program.


On Oct. 31, 2022, Hotte was seen by several witnesses scratching out several names on the Las Poderosas mural, a public mural created in 2020 to honor eight poderosas – or strong women. He also spray painted “white power” and “PEN1 737,” a reference to Public Enemy Number 1, a documented white supremacist gang.

“Defacing a mural in the name of hate that honors Latina women who have played prominent roles in Orange County is despicable and deplorable,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “This was a cowardly act and incidents like this remind us that any attempts to divide our diverse communities will not be tolerated.”

At the time of Hotte’s arrest last October, Costa Mesa Mayor John Stephens said:

“Costa Mesa is a great city known for its inclusivity. We celebrate our diversity and are proud of our various backgrounds. This type of crime flies in the face of what we have achieved as a multi-cultural community. I’m grateful for the witnesses who came forward to help identify him and thankful the police stayed on the case and captured the suspect.”

“I represent a community rich in culture,” said Councilmember Loren Gameros. “This suspect came from another city into Costa Mesa to commit this crime and hurt the identity of some of our neighbors. That is unacceptable and now he will have to face justice.”

Continue Reading

Orange County

Huntington Beach City Council restricts LGBTQ+ & other books

The groups pointed out beyond the books with LGBTQ+ themes, the ordinance would impose an “unconstitutional censorship regime



Huntington Beach City Council Meeting - October 17, 2023 (Screenshot/YouTube)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – After a contentious round of public comments, on Tuesday, October 17, the Huntington Beach City Council approved Resolution No. 2023-41, an ordinance that restricts minor’s access to books containing sexual content in the city’s library system.

The First Amendment Coalition, ACLU Foundation of Southern California, and the Freedom to Read Foundation sent a letter to the Huntington Beach City Council that urged it to reject Resolution No. 2023-41, which would prohibit any city library from allowing access to “any content of a sexual nature” for anyone under 18 years of age without consent of a parent or guardian, regardless of “whether the books or materials are intended for children or adults.

The groups pointed out beyond the books with LGBTQ+ themes, the ordinance would impose an “unconstitutional censorship regime on the people’s right to access library books and materials protected by the First Amendment,” noting that everything from seminal works of literature such as “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Great Gatsby,” “1984,” and “Beloved,” to textbooks such as “Introduction to Plant Reproduction,” to the Bible, would be covered by the resolution’s overbroad definition of “content of a sexual nature.”

The resolution would also establish a “community parent/guardian review board” that would have veto power over the city library’s acquisition of new children’s books “containing any sexual writing, sexual references, sexual images and/or other sexual content.” Such a ban on the acquisition of new material would be based solely on undefined “community standards.”   

“Parents and children have the right to decide for themselves what library books to read,” said David Loy, Legal Director for the First Amendment Coalition. “The government does not belong in the censorship business.” 

KABC 7 reported when Councilwoman Gracey Van Der Mark proposed a change in library policy in June, she read passages from several books for young readers that she claimed were recommended by the state and were in the city library’s children’s section. One of the books she cited was “Gender Queer.”

“I do believe parents have a right to know” about what books are available to check out at the library, she said.

“What I am asking is we look into different ways to protect kids,” she said. “If you want this for your kids go for it… but a lot of parents don’t know this material is in the books.”

Van Der Mark suggested placing “a sticker on books to let parents know it is especially graphic.”

During the public comments section many of the speakers opposed to the ordinance eviscerated Van Der Mark and the other councilmembers supporting her. They pointed out that actions like this are akin to homophobic book bans, and are comparative to the actions taken in the 1930’s by the Nazi Party.

Huntington Beach City Council Meeting – October 17, 2023:

Continue Reading

Orange County

KTLA: Anti-Semitic hate flyers discovered in the City of Orange

Levi believes it’s not a coincidence the flyers appeared on residents’ vehicles just days after the terrorist attacks in Israel



Anti-Semitic flyers were discovered in the City of Orange Tuesday morning. (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA 5)

ORANGE, Calif. – (KTLA) Anti-Semitic flyers were discovered in a community in the city of Orange on Tuesday as the deadly attacks in Israel continued.

KTLA’s Chip Yost reported that some of the flyers could still be seen on cars parked near Harwood Street and Chapman Avenue. The flyer features a headline saying, “Jews wage war on American freedoms!” while taking aim at the Anti-Defamation League, an anti-hate organization fighting anti-Semitism. The flyer then encourages the public to join a local nationalist group.

“It’s very disturbing,” said Kari Ratkevich, an Orange resident told KTLA. “Someone is placing propaganda like this on our cars. It doesn’t belong here and it doesn’t belong in America.”

“It’s clearly hate speech,” Peter Levi, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League in Orange County and the city of Long Beach told KTLA. “It subscribes to numerous anti-Semitic tropes about the Jewish people’s power and control over media, finance, government, the criminal justice system, American policy.”

Levi believes it’s not a coincidence the flyers appeared on residents’ vehicles just days after the terrorist attacks in Israel. 

“When we see increased activity in Israel, we see increased anti-Semitism against the Jewish people here in the United States,” Levi explained.

Anti-Semitic flyers appear across Orange County community:

Continue Reading

Orange County

Proposed Huntington Beach voter ID requirement violates state law

The city is also considering amending its charter to require that city officials “monitor ballot drop boxes located within the city



California Secretary of State Shirley Weber. (Photo Credit: Office of the Secretary of State)

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta and California Secretary of State Shirley Weber today sent a letter to the City of Huntington Beach warning that the city’s proposal to require voter identification (voter ID) at the polls in municipal elections directly conflicts with state law and is preempted.

On October 5, 2023, the City Council is set to decide whether to put this proposal before the voters in March of 2024. In the letter, Attorney General Bonta and Secretary of State Weber urge the city to drop the proposal and express grave concerns that it would only serve to suppress voter participation without providing any discernible local benefit.   

“The right to freely cast your vote is the foundation of our democracy,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “State elections law are in place to ensure the fundamental right to vote without imposing unnecessary obstacles that can reduce voter participation or disproportionately burden low-income voters, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, or people with disabilities. Huntington Beach’s proposed amendment violates state law and would impose additional barriers to voting. If the city moves forward and places it on the ballot, we stand ready to take appropriate action to ensure that voters’ rights are protected.”

“We cannot turn back the clock on voting rights,” said California Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber, Ph.D. “Voter ID requirements at the polls have historically been used to turn eligible voters away from exercising the franchise, especially low-income voters and voters of color. Not only is the action unlawful, it is also unnecessary because California already has guardrails in place for establishing both eligibility of each voter and for confirming their identity when returning their ballot.”

In the letter, the Attorney General and Secretary of State explain that, under state law, people registering to vote must provide identifying information under penalty of perjury, and county and state elections officials are responsible for validating that information.

Those who register to vote knowing that they are ineligible to do so are subject to criminal penalties. At the polls, voters are only required to provide their name and address; no further identification is required.

A person’s eligibility to vote can only be challenged by election workers on narrow grounds, and only where there is probable cause to make a challenge.  In this way, state law guards the ballot box against ineligible and/or fraudulent voters while at the same time simplifying and facilitating the process of voting so as to avoid suppressing turnout and disenfranchising qualified voters.

It also makes clear that the job of local elections officials is to supervise voting at the polls, not to take over voter-eligibility functions performed by the county registrar and the Secretary of State.  

In violation of this legal framework, Huntington Beach’s voter ID proposal would place the burden on the voter to establish their identity and right to vote with some form of identification at the time they cast their ballot.

By requiring additional documentation to establish a voter’s identity and eligibility to vote at the time of voting, Huntington Beach’s proposal conflicts with state law and may constitute “mass, indiscriminate, and groundless challenging of voters,” in violation of Elections Code section 18543. The Attorney General and the Secretary of State also point out that the city has not identified any basis for its voter ID proposal, much less a basis supported by uniquely local concerns. 

The city is also considering amending its charter to require that city officials “monitor ballot drop boxes located within the city”. The Attorney General and the Secretary explain in their letter that state law already provides for video monitoring of ballot drop boxes by county elections officials.

The Elections Code also prohibits anyone, with the intent of dissuading another person from voting, from video recording a voter within 100 feet of a polling place or other outdoor site at which a voter may cast a drop off ballot.

At present, no details about how the city’s proposal would be implemented have been made available, and thus it is unclear whether or how the proposal might conflict with state law. The Attorney General and Secretary of State explain that, if the city moves forward with this proposed charter amendment, they stand ready act to ensure it is not implemented in a way that interferes with the right to vote or otherwise conflicts with state law. 

Continue Reading

Orange County

OUSD school board passes anti-trans policy after toxic meeting

The majority of the speakers were proponents of the policy some who identified themselves as residents of other jurisdictions



Riverside Republican Assemblymember Bill Essayli speaks to Orange Unified school board trustees during public comments. He was one of the co-sponsors of Assembly Bill 1314, which would have required schools across the state to notify parents when a child identifies as transgender. However, the bill died for the 2023 Assembly legislative year after the chair of the Assembly’s education committee opted not to schedule it for a hearing. Essayli was among the majority of speakers in support of the OUSD anti-trans parental notification policy. (Screenshot/YouTube OUSD)

ORANGE, Calif. – The Orange Unified School District Board of Trustees minus three trustees who left after being fearful for their personal safety after a contentious and combative meeting, described as ‘extremely toxic’ by an attendee who spoke to the Blade, voted just before midnight Thursday to approve an anti-transgender parental notification policy. 

The new policy requires all schools in OUSD to notify parents if their child requests to be identified or treated as a gender other than what’s listed on their birth certificate. The policy would include requests to use pronouns that don’t align with their biological sex or gender or a name different from their legal name.

Additionally, parents would be notified if a student asks to use a restroom or changing facility of a gender different than the one listed on their official paperwork. 

The meeting was interrupted and had delays several times, including at one point by an audience member using a bullhorn shouting against the policy who was then escorted out by security after the room exploded into chaos. The meeting lasted nearly three hours with audience members cheering and booing speakers, and some of the speakers holding props like American flags and some wearing light blue, pink and white transgender flags; A few holding up graphic photos.

The attitudes in the room and outside in the overflow spaces grew more heated and acrimonious with angry vitriolic comments directed at the board, causing three trustees opposed to the policy to abruptly leave.

In an emailed statement to the Los Angeles Blade and other media outlets, OUSD Trustees Kris Erickson, Ari Page, and Andrea Yamasaki, accused Board President Rick Ledesma of allowing the chaos and enabling the pro-policy anti-LGBTQ demonstrators to disrupt the proceedings.

“During the September 7th board meeting, outside extremists from LA to San Diego, who are aligned with Ledesma’s majority, filled our boardroom, shoving OUSD parents and teachers out of the process. The rhetoric and vitriol maligning our teachers and others escalated throughout the night. We received reports our security team could not control the physical fights between groups outside the boardroom and, at one point, were advised to shut the meeting down for the safety of us and others. Yet, the meeting continued.

“When the altercation erupted inside the board room, President Ledesma did nothing. The audience, many of whom seek viral video content for social media, turned on us. One videotaping agitator, in a frenzy, started targeting and encouraging the mob to focus on Trustee Erickson. Our staff escorted us to our vehicles as we saw no safe option other than to leave. President Ledesma failed to follow board protocol to stop the meeting and escort the board to a safe room. His lack of leadership or concern for us as his colleagues is appalling.”

After the scuffle broke out with the audience member with the bullhorn and the meeting had resumed, Erickson, Page, and Yamasaki had departed the meeting, escorted to their vehicles by school board staff and security.

In their statement the three trustees offered their support for the LGBTQ+ students of the district and placed the blame on the toxic environment on the Board President and his allies.

“By bringing culture wars into Orange Unified, the Ledesma majority has invited the most radical elements into our district, OUR home. We can only imagine how difficult it is for our LGBTQ youth to exist in this toxic and hateful environment where politicians are exploiting their very existence to score political points. The five-day forced outing is arbitrary and cruel and has no basis in good mental health practice. We provide no ongoing support for these students and families that we inject ourselves into – on our timeline, not theirs – to confront a sensitive and nuanced issue they may not be ready to deal with. This will force young people back into the closet to deal with difficult issues alone. It’s shameful. 

We have put our hearts and souls into OUSD as trustees, parents, longtime volunteers, and former students. We are heartbroken that our board is focused on political antics instead of driving our district forward for our students.”

Just prior to the vote at around 11:30 p.m., Trustee Madison Miner told those in the room,  “Keeping parents aware of what is happening is the only way we can move forward towards safety in our district.”

The majority of the speakers were proponents of the policy some who identified themselves as residents of other jurisdictions. These included Riverside Republican Assemblymember Bill Essayli, one of the co-sponsors of Assembly Bill 1314, which would have required schools across the state to notify parents when a child identifies as transgender. However, the bill died for the 2023 Assembly legislative year after the chair of the Assembly’s education committee opted not to schedule it for a hearing.

Essayli framed the issue as parents rights and critiqued the Democratic-majority legislature and took aim at California Attorney General Rob Bonta who sued the Chino Valley Unified school board over a similar policy which a San Bernadino Superior Court Judge blocked on Wednesday. The Republican lawmaker said he had a message for Bonta: “Do your job. Focus on crime. Leave parents alone.”

Recently, Attorney General Bonta issued a statement following Anderson Union High School District, and Temecula and Murrieta Valley Unified School District Boards’ decisions to implement copy-cat mandatory gender identity disclosure policy targeting transgender and gender-nonconforming students, warning those districts that his office would be vigilant and proactive in defending the civil and human rights of LGBTQ+ students in California.

Also speaking was Ana A. Gonzalez, the District Director for State Senator Thomas J. Umberg (D-Santa Ana), representing Umberg delivering a message of opposition to the policy.

Ana Gonzalez, the District Director for State Senator Thomas J. Umberg (D-Santa Ana)

“As a parent and a grandparent, I urge you to reject this proposal. This policy, in search of a problem, would only cause irreparable harm to a minority of students who would be outed and potentially endangered. Students who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming already face extremely difficult lives. In a recent American Academy of Pediatrics study, 73 percent of transgender students reported psychological abuse and 39 percent reported physical abuse.

“Additionally, I worry about the adverse impact this parental notification policy would have on students who have parents who would not be welcoming of such news. Given that according to a 2012 study of service providers, the primary cause of homelessness among LGBTQ youth is family rejection. While this may not reflect the home of every family- forcing administrators to out students benefits neither the schools not the students.”

The policy voted on last night was revised from an earlier version which read that parents would be notified by writing within three days if a student requested to use a different name or pronoun or wanted to change sex-segregated programs such as athletic teams or changing facilities that differ from the student’s “assigned biological sex at birth.”

In interviews with KTLA’s  John Fenoglio, Rosa Otero, a parent who supports the policy, believes that parents have a right to know.  

“All we’re asking for is to please just let us know what’s happening with our kid,” she told KTLA. “I’m for this policy not because I’m against gay or LGBT. I have three LGBT people in my family, and I am very, very religious, but we just want to be notified as parents.”  

On the opposite side of the issue, Jennie Sloan is a parent who opposes the policy, saying it is deeply flawed.  

“It singles out these kids as problems, as one singular issue to be dealt with, and children in our schools are dealing with all kinds of issues,” she said. “The fact that it’s just one shows that they are targeting a specific group, which is not fair and is illegal.”

Equality California released the following statement from Executive Director Tony Hoang in response to the vote by the OUSD Board to implement the policy that will forcibly out transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming students to their parents or guardians without the student’s consent: 

“Last night’s action by the Orange Unified School District Board of Education is yet another example of far-right extremist rhetoric influencing the votes of school boards across the Golden State. With LGBTQ+ youth around the country under attack, these school board members put their most vulnerable students in harm’s way with their dangerous vote to forcibly out transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming youth without their consent. The policy they passed is dangerous and in direct opposition to recommendations made by the California Department of Education.

We are also deeply disappointed that some school board members allowed anti-LGBTQ+ extremists from outside of Orange County to threaten and intimidate students, parents, teachers and even board members who did not agree with them – resulting in three board members needing to be escorted out of their own meeting just to remain safe. This pattern of threats and intimidation at public meetings, which also occurred at the Chino Valley Unified when their board adopted a similar policy, is dangerous and has no place in California.

A similar forced outing policy was adopted Wednesday evening by the Rocklin Unified School District. Equality California is furious that anti-LGBTQ+ extremists continue to push forward these harmful policies that are decidedly anti-student.

The policy that began this wildfire, originating in Chino Valley, has been halted by the San Bernardino Superior Court after California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed suit arguing that it infringes on several state protections safeguarding the civil and constitutional rights of students. It is our hope this action gives pause to those who would seek to enforce similar forced outing policies.

Equality California will continue to work with our partners at the local and state levels to ensure that LGBTQ+ students have safe and supportive learning environments, and treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

OUSD Board Meeting – September 7, 2023:

Continue Reading

Orange County

Newsom celebrates Disney Pride, highlights Disney investments

Newsom briefed on Disney’s plan to invest in the region and attended Disneyland’s first-ever Disney After Dark Pride Nite event



Governor Newsom attends Disneyland’s first-ever Disney After Dark Pride Nite event. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

ANAHEIM – Following the recent release of an economic impact study on the Disneyland Resort’s multiyear public planning effort to expand in Anaheim, Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday received a briefing on Disney’s plan to invest in the region for decades to come, and attended Disneyland’s first-ever Disney After Dark Pride Nite event. 

Earlier in the day, the Governor met with parents, school leaders, teachers and staff at the Glendale Unified School District following anti-LGBTQ+ protests held in response to the school board’s move last week to recognize June as Pride Month for the fourth year in a row. 

Governor Newsom attends Disneyland’s first-ever Disney After Dark Pride Nite event. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

As part of its Disneyland Forward initiative, announced in 2021, the Disneyland Resort recently released a study from Cal State Fullerton’s Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting. The study showed that every $1 billion that Disney invests to expand its theme parks at the Disneyland Resort is expected to generate more than $250 million annually in economic output and $15 million in tax revenue for the City of Anaheim, as well as create more than 4,000 construction and 2,000 ongoing operations jobs.

In addition, more than $20 million in tax revenue will go directly to the State of California. Disneyland is the largest employer in Orange County and generates more than $5.7 billion annually for the Southern California economy. California’s tourism industry is a major economic driver – travel spending increased to $134.4 billion last year, supported 1.09 million jobs, and generated $11.9 billion in state and local tax revenue.

Governor Newsom meets with Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company (left) and Josh D’Amaro, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products (right).
(Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

Moving to welcome companies that share California’s values, Governor Newsom and the Legislature took action to update the California Competes program to provide additional consideration for companies leaving states that have enacted restrictions on reproductive rights and anti-LGBTQ+ laws. The change in statute will go into effect July 1, 2023. 

Governor Newsom meets with Disneyland Resort Cast Members who are participants and alumni of the Disney Aspire Program, Disney’s groundbreaking education program that enables hourly Cast Members to pursue their education goals, paid for by Disney.
Continue Reading

Orange County

OC bans flags except U.S., state, county on county property

Do told his fellow supervisors he wanted to limit the county’s exposure to being accused of supporting any particular interest group



Vice Chairman Andrew Do, Orange County Board of Supervisors (Screenshot/YouTube)

SANTA ANA, Calif. – In a narrow 3-2 vote Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved a policy that would limit flying of flags on county property to solely federal, state and county flags.

The new policy was authored by board Vice Chairman Andrew Do, who told his fellow supervisors he wanted to limit the county’s exposure to being accused of supporting any particular interest group.

“The flag policy that I proposed today has nothing to do with any particular cause or social issue,” Do said. “We have speakers from both sides so both sides can claim they’re right and there have been efforts to define my item as one being exclusionary, particularly with respect to sexual orientation and I want to unequivocally refute that point.”

There had been debate around the Pride Flag, which is normally flown in acknowledgement of LGBTQ people during the month of June. Do deflected telling the audience and the board:

“Orange County is welcoming to everyone,” Do said. “This board has demonstrated that over and over. I recruited Dr. Chau, a member of the LGBTQ community, here during COVID to head of our health care agency.”

The issue over the display of flags arose after a failed effort from Supervisors Katrina Foley and Vince Sarmiento backing a proclamation in support of Pride Month to honor the LGBTQ community. The two supervisors also voted no on the Vice Chairman’s flag policy.

“We know this is not about (constitutional) law — this is really more of a political decision,” Foley argued. “As the sixth-largest economy in America and the fourth-largest economy in California, as the home of Disneyland, as the home of Vans, as the home of so many corporations who are inclusive and express that inclusivity, they’re supporting Pride not because it’s divisive, but because it’s inclusive. It’s a representation of diversity.”

Supervisor Sarmiento noted the high level of suicide and depression in the LGBTQ community.

“My son, who is queer, says those numbers are totally underestimated,” Sarmiento said. “To me, it is personal. We have to have a talk with my son whenever he goes and when he wants to show affection to his partner. Don’t hold his hand, don’t embrace him, don’t have him do all of these things we take for granted, and he cannot because there is still rampant hate in this county, unfortunately.”

The Orange County Board’s actions comes four months after the Huntington Beach City Council approved an ordinance/policy to restrict display of flags on city-owned property to only flying the city, state and national flags, along with occasionally flying the county flag and flags supporting prisoners of war and each branch of the military.

The council voted 4-3 approving the ordinance/policy along party lines with Democratic council members Dan Kalmick, Natalie Moser and Rhonda Bolton voting against it. 

Republican Councilman Pat Burns, a former Long Beach Police Department Lieutenant, and a publicly proclaimed proponent of “family values” said “Special flags or recognition flags of some sort that aren’t governmental or representative of the community, as one, I don’t believe has a space on our government flag poles.”

Continue Reading

Orange County

Anaheim invites drag group rejected by Dodgers to Angels Pride

Two prominent L.A. groups withdraw from Dodgers event to show support for The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence



Anaheim Mayor Ashleigh Aitken (Photo Credit: City of Anaheim)

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Just days after being dropped by the Dodgers Major League Baseball team from its Pride Night event, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence nonprofit organization has found an angel of sorts, waiting in the wings, to welcome them. 

As KABC-TV reported, the mayor of Anaheim invited the group to Angels Pride Night in a tweet Saturday that threw shade on the Los Angeles ballclub for its controversial decision.

“I’m inviting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to join me for @Angels Pride Night at Anaheim Stadium on June 7. Pride should be inclusive and like many, I was disappointed in the Dodgers’ decision,” tweeted Mayor Ashleigh Aitken.

Anaheim’s mayor is the latest in a growing list of politicians, organizations and everyday people criticizing the Dodgers for caving to pressure from an anti-LGBTQ Catholic group and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, as the Los Angeles Blade reported.

Earlier this week, the team disinvited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence because of complaints from the Catholic League and Rubio for allegedly “mocking” the Roman Catholic faith. 

“The ‘sisters’ are men who dress in lewd imitation of Roman Catholic nuns,” Rubio wrote. 

He was following the call of the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue to write to the baseball commissioner to protest the Dodgers’ plan to award the Sisters its Community Hero Award. 

The next day, the team changed that plan. 

“Given the strong feelings of those who have been offended by the sisters’ inclusion in our evening, and in an effort not to distract from the great benefits that we have seen over the years of Pride Night, we are deciding to remove them from this year’s group of honorees,” the team said in a statement it also tweeted

The backlash over that decision keeps growing, as The New York Times reported. The Los Angeles LGBT center and L.A. Pride pulled out of the Dodgers Pride Night celebration scheduled for June 16. 

The Sisters organize fundraisers and volunteer at LGBTQ+ community events, and sometimes dress-up as nuns. But members of the group reject the claim that they are anti-religious. In an interview with KNBC-TV, Sister Unity said the group’s focus is on community service, ministry and outreach for marginalized populations. She said the group uses humor to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt.

KNBC-TV reported Saturday that the Sisters have accepted Mayor Aitken’s invitation to meet in Anaheim on Monday to discuss next month’s Pride Night celebration at Angel Stadium.

Continue Reading

Orange County

Disneyland’s ‘Fantasmic’ massive animatronic dragon catches fire

Due to smoke and wind, attractions near the island were safely cleared of any guests. The cause remains under investigation at this time



Maleficent’s animatronic dragon prop literally exploded in flames Saturday night at Disneyland. (Screenshot via Twitter)

ANAHEIM – In a unexpected twist, the massive fire-breathing Maleficent’s animatronic dragon prop literally exploded in flames Saturday night at Disneyland during the last performance of the Fantasmic nighttime water and fireworks show held on the Rivers of America on Tom Sawyer Island.

Multiple videos shared on social media by park goers shows flames first igniting from the dragon’s face before spreading to the rest of its body fully engulfing it quickly spewing heavy thick smoke into the air.

Several videos also show Disneyland cast members evacuating crowds out of the waterfront viewing area and nearby attractions as responding Anaheim Fire & Rescue firefighters worked to extinguish the fire.

“During the final showing of Fantasmic at Disneyland park on Saturday evening, the dragon caught fire,” a spokesperson for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Inc. explained in a statement. “Anaheim Fire & Rescue quickly responded and the fire was extinguished. All cast members were evacuated from Tom Sawyer Island. Due to smoke and wind, attractions near the island were safely cleared of any guests, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation at this time.”

Continue Reading

Orange County

Knott’s Berry Farm reinstates its chaperone policy this Saturday

Under this policy, all guests ages 15 years old or younger must be accompanied by a chaperone who is at least 21 years old



BUENA PARK, Calif. – Knott’s Berry Farm, the 57-acre theme park located in Buena Park, California, announced Thursday the park plans to reimplement its chaperone policy this Saturday, April 22, that park officials had enacted last summer after a series of violent altercations.

The Orange County theme park was the twelfth-most-visited theme park in North America and averages approximately 4 million visitors per year. Last year visitors 17 years old or younger needed a chaperone on weekends, although the park removed the Saturday restrictions for the winter.

In a statement published to the park’s website, the Code of Conduct and Chaperone Policy specifies:

The safety of our guests and associates has always been our top priority at Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City Waterpark. Over the past two years, there have been increasing incidents of unruly and inappropriate behavior across our industry and at other major entertainment venues. 

We are committed to keeping Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City Waterpark a place where families and friends come together to enjoy a one-of-a-kind park full of fun experiences and immersive entertainment.

As part of that commitment, we are implementing a chaperone policy beginning Saturday, April 22, 2023.

Under this policy, all guests ages 15 years old or younger must be accompanied by a chaperone who is at least 21 years old in order to be admitted to or remain in the park after 4:00 p.m. local time to close. 

The chaperone must present a valid government-issued photo identification with date of birth at ticket entry. One (1) chaperone may accompany no more than ten (10) guests ages 15 or younger per day. In addition, the chaperone must accompany their party during entry, remain inside the park during their visit, and be available by phone throughout their stay. 

Guests ages 15 years old or younger who are found inside the park unaccompanied by a chaperone will be subject to ejection. This chaperone requirement applies to all Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City Waterpark ticket and season passholders.

We believe these changes will help ensure that Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City Waterpark continue to have a positive atmosphere where generations of families and friends can gather for a day of safe, fun, and good food. Millions of guests have counted on us for exactly that, and we will continue to deliver on that promise for generations to come.

The following behaviors or acts are strictly prohibited at Knott’s Berry Farm:

  • Carrying firearms, ammunition, knives, and weapons of any kind and any other prohibited item. Knott’s Berry Farm reserves the right to prohibit any items at their discretion.
  • Unsolicited photographing or video recording that disrupts a guest’s experience or interferes with park operations
  • Unruly or disruptive behavior that interferes with guests’ enjoyment of the park including running, the incitement of running, and blocking midways and exits.
  • Fighting or physical aggression of any kind, including verbal and physical assaults
  • Acts or behavior that park management determines is a safety concern or that interrupts park operations or guests’ experience
  • Harassing/threatening behavior, sexual misconduct, or lewd behavior including inappropriate interaction with park guests or associates
  • Offensive language or gestures
  • Clothing with offensive language, obscene gestures/graphics, or nudity or clothing that does not sufficiently cover undergarments
  • Intoxication or substance impairment that results in irresponsible behavior
  • Smoking/Vaping is not permitted inside the park
  • Entering restricted areas including but not limited to ride Danger Zones and behind-the-scenes areas
  • Line Breaking- includes leaving and re-entering a line for any reason or place holding in line
  • Theft of any kind
  • Selling park tickets or soliciting and distributing literature not sponsored by the park
  • Refusing to follow verbal or printed instructions or cooperate with park personnel or security

Themed Attire

Family-oriented themed outfits/attire are permitted. Attire must not represent or resemble any official Park character, disrupt regular company operations, or potentially harm another guest or associate. Attire and accessories must meet Code of Conduct dress requirements and may not be offensive or violent and may not disrupt the general safety of guests or associates.

Guests wearing character-themed outfits may not sign autographs for other guests or represent themselves as a park associate. Costumes that conceal identity are prohibited. Rides and attractions may also have additional restrictions on dress attire. Themed outfits/attire may be prohibited during evening Halloween events.

Children/Teens – Notice to Parents & Guardians

Parents or guardians are responsible for the behavior of their minor children. Appropriate behavior and supervision are the responsibility of the parent/guardian and is always expected. In addition to our chaperone policy, we strongly recommend that minors (under 18) be accompanied by an adult. The park does not assume any responsibility or liability for unattended minors. Parents/guardians may be held legally liable for all acts of the children under their care.

Personal Conduct

Conduct deemed by Knott’s Berry Farm to be inappropriate for the peace and good order of the park, guests, or associates, and which may adversely affect the safety of others is not permitted. Anyone who violates the Code of Conduct may be subject to ejection without refund.

Guests are encouraged to report any violations of the Guest Code of Conduct or suspicious activity to the nearest Knott’s Berry Farm associate, Security associate, or call 714-220-5016.

Knott’s Berry Farm reserves the right to revise or modify this Code of Conduct with or without notice.

NOTICE: Knott’s Berry Farm Security personnel utilize surveillance cameras and body-worn cameras as part of their overall security program.

Continue Reading