Taboo Jubal: Does Cunningham have a new Strip Club client? (Also, Pauly, homeless shelters & property rights!)

taboo jubal

Who can forget the cognitive dissonance this whole county felt a couple years ago when it was revealed that Matt “Jubal” Cunningham, the righteous “Christian conservative” defender of “traditional marriage” from the pollutant of gay equality, the recklessly unquestioning champion of pederast-enabling Catholic clergy, had taken a few thousand dollars from the owners of famed OC strip clubs “California Girls to help them overcome police objections to a new location in Orange?

In that case, he was defending the putatively “conservative” value of the strip club owners’ property rights, to do whatever they wanted, for profit, with what’s theirs.  But this year, when the all-nude “Taboo Gentlemen’s Club“‘s interest is in opposition to the property rights of a nearby building owner who wants to sell to the county for a desperately needed full-time homeless shelter, Matt is making the exact opposite, NIMBY, public nuisance arguments.

Again with the “stunning moral flexibility.”

taboo outside

I haven’t been to the Taboo Gentlemen’s Club at 3025 East La Mesa in Anaheim, right around the corner from the proposed “Kraemer site,” but judging by the Yelp! reviews, SOME guys think it’s the bomb:

“I can’t say enough how much I love this place. Literally the best girls on earth or at least in Orange County or at least in a strip club after midnight. taboo 4Really main reason I love this place is cuz I have had the ability to get lucky on several occasions due to my amazing looks, charm, and ability to take a girl out to dinner and pay for it. You should definitely check it out…”

“…Good-looking girls, very sweet. The lap dance booths were very spacious and very private.  The lap dances were fairly inexpensive and the songs were “long”. The special was one lapdance for $20, three for $40.

And others are, eh, not so much:

“Every fifteen minutes terrified customers are subjected to another fearsome minotaur. These bull-headed horrors rustle their knotted manes and stamp their cloven hooves to som erratic unheard music. I don’t know if I’m alive or dead or both. Or neither…”

taboo 5“Depending on the night, the women could be really hot or inbred ugly….” 

“Cover is 10 bucks and they force you to be at least one drink for 6.50 (non-alcholic to boot).  The club advertises full nude…however that’s only when the girl is on stage.  Private dances are not so private.  They consist of a boot[h] and thin transparent curtain in which everyone can see.  Private dances cost 20 bucks and they girls dont go nude or topless which is a major rip off!

“…I bought me and my boyfriend a lap dance from one of the prettiest girls there and the only thing that I didn’t like is when i stepped out so she can give him a more private dance n my boyfriend returned and told me she took his private part out and licked it. He let her touch cuz he didnt think she would really do anything but it gave him asco (spanish for heebie jeebies) that it made him dry heave cuz he thought of how many others she’s probably done that to.. lol”

taboo shoes

But apparently to Taboo (as well as other nearby businesses like Piano Empire and Walter’s Electronics) the proximity of a 24-7 all-year 200-bed homeless shelter would be a major cock-blockage, a depressing and menacing death-knell to their heretofore thriving enterprises. 

Likewise, once the homeowners on the other side of the freeway caught wind of this development a mere mile away from their neighborhood, they took up a hue and cry as though a platoon of meth-addled Freddie Kruegers was on the verge of staggering across the 91 and the riverbed, and fondling their children.

kraemer location map terror

Into this inviting breech stepped, predictably, Matthew “Blogging doesn’t pay the bills” Cunningham – at first anonymously, just like the way he began his scabrous, Chamber-funded AnaheimBlog three years ago;  then unmasked by our own Ricardo Toro.

Just the guy for the job too:  Always needing extra cash;  living not far away in Orange; nursing a grudge against Kraemer site mastermind Todd Spitzer who had removed him as Parks commissioner over his nauseating Teddy Bear prank;  but above all a past master at stoking public fear and loathing of (relatively) powerless minorities – from gays who want to marry, to Latinos and others living in gang neighborhoods, to OC Democrats and liberals in general – demonizing the homeless would be child’s play for Matt Cunningham!

So in rapid order we had the Orange-Riverdale Homeowners Alliance organizing events to share scare stories and tactics, the website/blog Better Solutions 4 Anaheim;  and the associated Facebook page (which unavoidably attracts a lot of hostile comments from good people.)

And we saw the Aug 5 “townhall” event  at the local Embassy Suites, where local residents and politicians could take turns amplifying each other’s fears and trade gross-out anecdotes.  (video below by Lou Noble)

And we saw article after article confirming that indeed the typical beneficiary of a shelter would be a disgusting and ungrateful menace to the society around him.  And collections of “man on the street” comments like the following gems, written in the high literary style of a Taboo Yelp! reviewer:

“This shelter will attract bad people into the neighboring neighborhoods. Which will drive good people away from this great established area.”

“This proposal is not in the best interest of Anaheim which already has its share of criminal felons, child molesters, and gang violence.. The homeless shelter needs to be placed near wide open areas of the dessert [sic] communities such as east corona away from neighborhoods.”

“Our new bldg will be right by it and will be real bad for us and other businesses. Will see a huge increase in theft, graffiti, drunkards. Also it will bring the property values down in that area as well. Bad bad idea Todd Spitzer. I hear about all the bad, corrupt things you do on KFI.”

And we saw flyers like the following disseminated to the community, a picture of Aqualung being worth a thousand words:

cunningham flyer 1

cunningham flyer 2


Matt Cunningham:  An Enigma Wrapped in a Scorched Teddy Bear.

Pity the reader who takes any of Matthew Cunningham’s arguments seriously, if such a person exists, for they must accommodate themselves to dizzying contradictions with alarming regularity:

teddy bear mutilationThey must explain to themselves a self-professed “Christian” whose guiding principle is to afflict the afflicted, whether lampooning the grieving rituals of bereaved Latinos, salivating over the prospect of using the transgendered against Democratic politicians, or helping to ensure that homeless men, women and children continue to have no place to lay their heads.

They must explain to themselves the spectacle of a Republican blogger describing himself as “conservative” and railing day and night against “liberal” government excess on his old “Red County” blog, while secretly spending his days pulling in tens of thousands distributing toothbrushes and monitoring media for a big liberal government programFirst Five – so disorganized and wasteful that its own founder, Rob Reiner, eventually turned against it.

Again with the "stunning moral flexibility."

Again with the “stunning moral flexibility.”

They must explain to themselves a supposed arbiter of conservatism in this county who uses the mantra of “property rights” as a litmus test judging the conservatism of others … while he himself supports property rights when convenient (when being paid by the owners of California Girls or Orange Park Acres) and finds pretexts to OPPOSE them when convenient (when being paid by NIMBYs against homeless shelters or the Ball Basin Power Plant.)

SEGUE ALERT:  We are now going to spend a little time discussing assembly candidate Deborah Pauly, and the 2011-12 development attempts in Orange Park Acres, before we get back to our main homeless shelter topic.  Think of it as a slow movement, or perhaps scherzo, in a symphony.

Punching Pauly on Property Rights

Sidhu as depicted by the late great "Friends For Fullerton's Future."

Sidhu as depicted by the late great “Friends For Fullerton’s Future.”

Cunningham’s horse in the race for termed-out Don Wagner’s assembly seat, his klepto teammate whose praises he sings on his Chamber-funded AnaheimBlog, is the hapless but wealthy assclown Harry Sidhu.  Thus, Matt must find ways to bash Harry’s firebrand true-conservative opponent Deborah Pauly, and his favored line of attack thus far is to claim she’s no real “conservative,” because in Orange Park Acres a few years ago, she fought against a developer’s “property rights.”

There’s something personal there too:  Cunningham was working as a “consultant” for those developers whose property rights – or right to build condos on Orange’s last remaining open space, in defiance of Orange’s general plan – Deborah and many others of us SUCCESSFULLY thwarted.  (What we did see Matt and his wife do as “consultants” was help supporters of the developer find seats in Orange council meetings, and hand them talking points.)

Very uncharitable friends of mine have argued that Matt’s “conservative” principles seem to hinge on who is paying him, and ask what’s the difference between Pauly’s opposition to the OPA developers and Matt’s NIMBY opposition to property rights in the Kraemer and Ball Basin cases?  (Beside the obvious fact that Deb’s not being paid by anybody and seems to do what she actually believes is right?)

pauly posterAnd Matt responds that the big difference is that Debbie when defending Orange’s last remaining open space *gasp* made common cause with environmentalists and liberals.  (It’s true!  She fought alongside my friends Gus Ayer and Theresa Sears, as did MANY disgusted Orange Republicans.)  Guilt by association – another arrow in Matt’s quiver that he never tires of, just as he never tires of saying “This came over the transom.”  Is anybody really that stupid, closed-minded and hateful that that sort of argument still works with them?

Anyway, I asked Debbie why she “opposed the property rights” of the Orange Park Acres developers, and as usual she had PLENTY to say:

“Oh, brother.  This wasn’t a matter of private property rights, unless you’re talking about the property rights of neighboring residents who will be impacted by these high density developments.  I do not have a problem with property owners developing their land to its best, most profitable use.  What I do have a problem with is a developer who purchases a piece of property that is zoned one way and then ‘purchases’ a city council majority – with hefty campaign contributions or independent expenditure campaign mailers to get their surrogates elected.

“And then that council proceeds to do the developer’s bidding, and rezone the property to allow for the desired development, usually without regard for the long-time neighboring property owners and residents.  These neighbors purchased their property with an understanding of what the surrounding zoning allowed.  Changing the rules in this fashion affects THEIR property values.”

… sounding a lot like a politician *I* would vote for, if I were sure she’d knocked off HER bashing of minorities for good.

There’s a lot more to be said about the Orange Park Acres goings on, how it connects with Matt’s removal from the Orange Planning Commission in early 2011, how it led to a completely inappropriate amicus brief being filed by Anaheim City Attorney Michael Houston as a special favor to his former law partner Orange Councilman (and current OC GOP head) Fred Whitaker, and I hope Cynthia is going to write all about it soon.  But for now we’d better get back to our topic of the day, OC homeless shelter sites:

The Karcher-Kraemer Kabuki of the Kleptocrats.


Up till now, all confusion expressed in this story has been feigned and disingenuous, as in “What can Cunningham possibly have been thinking?” when we all know he just does what he’s paid to do.  But THIS is real:  ALL of us did a double-take and scratched our heads when it was revealed that Cunningham was doing his best to sabotage the Kraemer homeless shelter location.  Because, to all appearances, he was acting in defiance of a group of people he’s been in lockstep with, and paid by, for at least three years.

That’s the klique we call the Kleptocracy, klustered around uber-lobbyist Kurt Pringle, his loyal Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, his OCBC, his OC Tax Association, his paid propagandist Matt Cunningham at AnaheimBlog, and his three-member Council majority of Murray, Brandman and Kring, between any of whom there is NEVER daylight.

murray small wonderWhen this council majority voted enthusiastically to approve the Kraemer site, Mayor Pro-Tem Kris Murray gave what seemed like a very heartfelt speech on the virtues of kindness and taking care of our less fortunate neighbors, which many considered her finest moment.  Homeless advocates in attendance (most of whom probably hadn’t been paying attention to her for long) hailed her as a heroine.

Meanwhile her perpetual ally Cunningham was sabotaging everything she was purporting to do.  Was this really a rare schism in the Klepto ranks?  Was Kris that good of an actress, or was she a dupe, out of the loop?  Or did the Klepto plans actually change that quickly?

Cynical observers, who generally turn out to be correct with these folks, remind us that Anaheim had ALREADY purchased a property for a shelter, much closer to the center of town where the homeless actually do hang out – this, originally belonging to Carl’s Jr. founder Carl Karcher, is known as the “Karcher property,” and is located not far from NIMBYs much more powerful and well-connected than the ones near Kraemer.  (Cynthia, who also lives nearby, was a rare enthusiastic backer of this site and wrote a piece about it back in April called “YES in My Back Yard.”)

And these cynical observers have reason to believe that another use – a more profitable use for certain well-connected investors – had been quietly found for the Karcher site, and that the only purpose of the suddenly exciting Kraemer site was to distract attention from the Karcher site.  And, on observing Cunningham apparently having permission to make money on the side sabotaging the Kraemer site, they are putting their smart money on NEITHER site actually happening, Kris Murray’s pretty rhetoric notwithstanding.  Demoralizing all around.

I listen to Chris Vance, and to North OC’s Homeless themselves.

vance piano empireThe other day Chris Vance, owner of Piano Empire which is across the street from the proposed Kraemer site, Vance who has become one of the site’s most outspoken opponents, found it worthwhile to talk to me for a pretty long time.  “You run a blog – you could SAVE my store!” he exclaimed with startling faith.  He might even have a job for me, he said, demonstrating pianos.

Mostly he wanted me to know, and believe, and tell you, that, despite what many say, he is a really nice guy, who on several occasions in his life has tried to help homeless people.  But he has learned through observation that most of them PREFER to be homeless.  And this is partly because homelessness is made so comfortable for them.  Free food everywhere, and a 24-7 shelter would even make things worse, MORE tempting.  “Do you know how many homeless people, statistically, are EVER going to pull themselves up from homelessness?” he asks, pausing for effect … “ONE TO TWO PERCENT.”  That is NOT true.

The first politician he considers blaming for the Kraemer location is Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, whom he suspects of profiting off it somehow, when in actuality he had nothing to do with it, having recused himself from all votes and discussions on the subject.  “You really DO listen to Cunningham, don’t you?” I asked him, explaining “Matt blames EVERYTHING on the Mayor, but this seems to be more the doing of the Mayor’s enemies.”  “Well, I’m not too happy with ANY politicians right now,”  Chris allows.

A shelter across the street is going to kill his business slowly and painfully, he is sure of it.  He explains that most of his customers are Asian – Korean, Chinese – who live in great concentrations near that area and love to force the piano on their kids (my words not his.)  These ARE his words:  Asians are particularly uncomfortable around the homeless.  That immediately puts me in mind of how Asian distaste for dead people – even heroic dead American soldiers – in their feng shui – is inspiring them to fight tooth and nail against the OC Veterans Cemetery in Irvine.  Gentle readers, is there a Politically Correct way in which I can be very irritated at a huge ethnic swath of humanity for THEIR prejudice and intolerance?  Please advise.

My friend Eileen Pheland, author of "The Brighter Side of Homelessness"

My friend Eileen Pheland, author of “The Brighter Side of Homelessness”

Meanwhile, I have breakfast every Sunday with several dozen homeless folks from Fullerton, Anaheim, and thereabouts, after playing piano for them at the Fullerton church I work at.  Typical overheard conversation is “I hear John’s in jail now.  Three tickets.”  What kind of tickets do the homeless get?  “Sleeping tickets, panhandling tickets, jaywalking tickets, loitering tickets.”  You go to the homeless judge, tell them you can’t pay, they let you go.  But the police get points, the more useless stupid tickets they give to the homeless.

OJ friends Lou Noble and Roussan Joshua Collins have been filming police harassment of the homeless in Anaheim parks.  The cops are not supposed to confiscate their belongings if they have them on them, but they do anyway, they’ll take a backpack right off of you and you’re lucky if you ever get it back.

Sunday mornings at Orangethorpe United

Sunday mornings at Orangethorpe United

Of course the Karcher site makes better sense than the Kraemer one, being in the populated center of town where the homeless already are and feel comfortable.  Still, everyone I talk to prefers the Kraemer site to NOTHING.  “We can get down there no problem – straight down La Palma, we have bus passes.”  What they need even more than a place to sleep is a place to shower and change, and keep their stuff without it being stolen by cops or other homeless people.

Sure, about half of them have alcohol and drug problems, and have mixed feelings about utilizing a shelter where those vices aren’t allowed.  So what.  Half of them don’t.  And the ones who do can still control themselves long enough to get in an occasional shower shit and shave.  Sure a lot of them are mentally ill.  But Lou Noble tells me that often that is the RESULT, not the cause, of long-term homelessness.

We Need It All and More.

shakespeare as flies

So, if these “Masters of the Universe,” as Kris Murray half-jokingly calls her gang, are gonna be fucking with us, playing shell games, I say let’s fight for all of it – the Kraemer site AND the Karcher site.  And the temporary modular units that David Zenger suggests.  And the other four supervisorial districts of the OC need to do their share too.  And meanwhile the always-constructive Ricardo Toro suggests:

Ricardo (on left)

Ricardo (on left)

“An alternative temporary site, before El Niño arrives,  could be in the land next to the Honda auto center in Ball, where the Power Plant was going to be located. It is not that close to residences. Homeless are already in the river anyway.  Build it with Zenger’s temporary modular units. This also could be presented as a compromise as the big single shelter is causing so much negative reaction.

“Smaller shelters could be set up throughout the county to diffuse the reaction and it would be better for the homeless population countywide. It could start  with two shelters, one in Anaheim in a better location, and Ball is a better location. The second shelter could be the OCTA Santa Ana bus terminal.”

Well, that’s my story, and it’s called “Taboo Jubal.”  It rolls off the tongue.  And for some reason, along with all this talk of pianos, it makes me feel like hearing Ahmad Jamal.  Particularly his irresistible rendition of “Poinciana.”  So hit play, enjoy, and think on these things.  Peace out.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official political troubadour of Anaheim and most other OC towns. Regularly makes solo performances, sometimes with his savage-jazz band The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.